Growth in the Storm

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4 NLT

The rain pattered on my windshield. Three hundred feet ahead the trees were just dark shapes, obscured by the fog and rain. Hitting yet another pothole covered by water, I wondered if my car would fall apart or if my teeth would shake loose from the jolt. I’m ready for sunshine. I love the rain, but we’ve had so much more rain than usual in our dry region that I tire of the frequent storms.

On the other hand, I will never tire of the flowers that have come from the frequent rains! There are more blooms and they are lasting longer with the moisture. Plants grow quickly with the water. We need the rains for the growth that follows.

As I muse about the weather, the Lord reminds me the role of storms in our lives.

Storms hit in life. Problems, temptations, suffering, or sorrow may obscure our view of the Light. All seems dark and dismal. The potholes of life shake us as we go through them. The storm may last longer than we think we can endure. James tells us to consider the troubles as an opportunity for great joy, which seems a strange thing to consider, but the troubles lead to growth.

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:3, 4 NLT

The New International Version states that another way.

because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:3-4 NIV

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It is often in the storms that we grow. Buffeted by the winds of change or the stormy trials, we turn to the Lord in desperation. We often seek Him in the storms of life more quickly than when we are basking in the sunshine of everything going well. Our heavenly Father is waiting for us to call to Him.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. James 1:5–8 NLT

Let’s press in to the Lord when the winds blow and the storms come. He will give us wisdom. God will help us grow in our faith and endurance so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Lord, I ask for Your wisdom in the trials. Grow my faith into a beautiful flower that glorifies You. Amen.


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Scriptures marked NLT are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW LIVING TRANSLATION (NLT): Scriptures taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW LIVING TRANSLATION, Copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Scriptures marked NIV are taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV): Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission of Zondervan

I would love to hear from you. How is God working in your life?

Devotionals post every other Thursday, and are archived by month for your convenience.

God bless you.



New Beginnings: Part Five of Five

Focus on Being God’s Servant

If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” John 12:26 NKJV

How can we serve Christ? Let’s focus on how we can be God’s faithful servant.

A faithful servant follows what the boss or master says to do. An obedient servant knows what to do and does it to the best of his or her ability. That servant is loyal to the one in charge.

Consider Joseph in Genesis 39. After his brothers sold him into slavery and he was taken to Egypt, he was bought by Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh who was the captain of the guard. Joseph was trustworthy and responsible. Scripture tells us,

His master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and over all that he had. From the time that he made him overseer of his house and over all that he had, the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake. Genesis 39: 3–5a ESV

Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of wrongdoing and Joseph was thrown into prison. The LORD was with Joseph in prison and showed him His unwavering love. The keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of the prisoners and everything that needed to be done at the prison.

I believe Joseph found favor with the LORD because he was faithful in the small and the big things. He wasn’t goofing off or taking advantage of trust placed in him. He honored God in his decisions and in his actions, working as for the Lord and not for men, just as Paul tells us to do in Colossians.

Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:22–24 ESV

One way we can serve the Lord Christ is by being His hands and feet in serving others. Let’s ask the Lord to show us how and where He wants us to serve. We don’t want service to replace our worship and time with the Lord. We can plan for times of service, such as helping with the youth group or providing meals to shut-ins, but do so with the awareness that God does bring to us His own divine appointments that may not fit our schedule. Our desire to serve Christ comes naturally from our own grateful hearts as we grow closer to Jesus who provides for us and cares for us. The Holy Spirit guides us and molds us to become more like Jesus Christ. We in turn want other people to know the hope we have found.

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When our focus is on God, we can see where He is working. That is a good place for us to be as well. Let’s follow the Lord wherever He leads us. May He find us good and faithful servants.

Lord, I want to be Your faithful servant. Please help me to follow Your leading. Make me aware of when something is of Your will for me, and when something is a distraction that keeps me from focusing on You.


Scripture quotation marked (NKJV) is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotation marked (ESV) is from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. ESV Text Edition: 2016. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

I hope you are enjoying this devotional series, New Beginnings. Devotionals post every other Thursday, and are archived by month for your convenience.

I would love to hear from you. Is there a devotional topic you are looking for or that has impacted you?

God bless you.



New Beginnings: Part 4 of 5

Focus on Waiting With Hope

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to sit quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:25-26 NIV

A friend gave me a sticker that reads “Until God opens the next door, praise Him in the hallway.” I put it on my water bottle to remind me to wait with praise and with hope, and not with complaining.

In this “New Beginnings” series we’re focusing on God by reading Scripture to see Him for who He really is. We’re praying to the Lord who answers. We’re asking Jesus to help us remove distractions and the sin that keeps us from connecting with Him. Yet sometimes we don’t know what God wants us to do next, or we may be struggling with something. Another discipline of the Christian walk is waiting.

Waiting is difficult. Our culture expects things rapidly. We have fast food and microwave ovens, quick computers and internet speeds, and instant gratification in so many areas of life. But the Lord often doesn’t work instantly, nor do we quickly become like Him. Answered prayers and guidance may take time. How do we praise Him in the hallway? How do we wait?

We wait with HOPE.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23 NIV

We can wait with hope because of the LORD’s great love for us. As we dig into Scripture and review His actions in our lives and especially consider Jesus Christ’s sacrificial love for us, we will come to know His love. It is because of His great love that we are not consumed by the eternal punishment for sin. As we trust in God and His great love for us, things in life don’t consume us. He is faithful.

I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:24 NIV

The LORD is our inheritance. He is our promise – and God keeps His promises. We wait for our inherited eternity with Him, but we also inherit the promises that are for us now.

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him…” Lamentations 3:25 NIV

Our hope is certain and expectant because it is based on who the Lord is and on the truth of His word. We wait, but not by wasting our time pursuing worthless things. We wait while seeking the Lord. We can see His goodness in what He does, His creation, His character, His promises, His commands, and all through Scripture.

It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:26 NKJV

It is good to sit quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:26 NIV

Sit quietly? I don’t know about you, but I tend to be over-committed and overly busy. God says it is good to sit quietly for His salvation. There’s an implied peace in sitting quietly. Instead of tapping our foot waiting for God to act or fidgeting with distractions, hope in God offers rest in the waiting. Jesus told us “Come to Me…and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28-30) I need that rest. Do you?

Let’s quiet our souls. Let’s wait expectantly, assured the God will bring about His plans and His promises for us. Let’s wait with hope.

Dear Lord, I’m thankful that Your steadfast love never ceases. Your mercies are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. Thank you. I praise You, even when waiting. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are available on my website for your convenience. I pray this will be a time of growth in Jesus for you and for me.


New Beginnings: Part 3 of 5

Focus on Planning

A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 NKJV

Welcome to my devotional blog. In this series we are looking at some new or renewed beginnings that can be part of our walk with the Lord. We’ve considered a clearer focus on God by looking at who He really is in Scripture without the distortions or the distractions that might skew our focus on Him (Part One).

We’ve focused on prayer being part of our daily lives, for when we talk with God and read and hear from Him through His word we have a closer relationship with our heavenly Father (Part Two).

Let’s focus on planning.

What does planning have to do with our walk with God?

When we plan what we want to study in Scripture, it can keep us focused and on track. Let’s ask God what He wants us to study in Scripture and be open to His guidance. Consider a book of the Bible, a topic, an attribute of God, a Bible study, or a devotional. We can write down what we plan to study next and even later on. There may be Bible studies or devotionals on our computer or shelves still waiting to be read or reread.

I often have more than one topic or book of the Bible on my plan because of the sermons and lessons in Sunday School that I hear, my devotional writing, and Biblical application in lessons I’m teaching to my students. Having a written plan helps me know what I am to focus on when I open my Bible.

Committing to a certain time to spend time with God in prayer and Bible reading also helps us to stay consistent. 

Planning doesn’t stop with our Bible reading. Let’s ask God where and what He wants to work on in our lives. We can plan, but we want the Lord God to direct our steps. He has the best plans for us! When we seek Him with all of our hearts, He reveals Himself to us. We can know Him better than we ever have before!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

Let’s commit to spending time in the Scriptures and in prayer to God. A written plan may help guide us. As we focus on the Lord, and on our relationship with Him through Bible reading and prayer, He will make Himself known to us.

Let’s ask the Lord to direct our steps and to work in our lives. Let’s give the Lord our planners and our lives and ask Him to show us what He desires for us. Let’s lay our hopes, dreams, and plans before the Lord.

Are we ready to follow His plan?

Dear Lord God, Thank you for Your Sovereign plans for me. Thank you for making Yourself known to me as I seek You and submit to Your will for me. Help me to focus on You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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I hope you are enjoying this devotional series, New Beginnings. Devotionals post every other Thursday, and are archived by month for your convenience.

I would love to hear from you. Is there a devotional topic you are looking for or that has impacted you?

God bless you.



New Beginnings: Part 2 of 5

Focus on Prayer

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2 NKJV

In Part One of this five-part series of New Beginnings, we started the New Year with Focus on God. In keeping our eyes on God, we want a clear view of who God is and not to see Him with a distorted point of view. We sought to remove the distractions that keep us away from God.

Today, I’ve been distracted all morning with my computer crashing; problems that may require my IT to reinstall my computer. I’ve been backing up photos, writing, and other important documents. Frustration grabs my attention.

As I sit to write Part Two of this devotional series, I hang my head. The topic is “Focus on Prayer.” The Lord gently reminds me that as I’ve been working on other things and getting irritated, I have not prayed this morning. It’s time I pray and get my focus back on God.

I spent time with God and I’m feeling better. I can even chuckle a little because I’ve gotten to another item of my to-do list by backing up files, even if it was not my idea to do it today.

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Prayer. Why do we often use prayer as a last resort instead of the first? We are called to be steadfast in prayer. God is near when we pray, and He gives us peace. Prayer is the way to avoid anxiety.

Rejoice in the Lord always…The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 NIV

Prayer also helps us to rejoice and be thankful to God. Even if we don’t feel thankful, when we practice being thankful when we pray, God changes our heart. In the Old Testament, Job faced adversity yet he still worshipped and praised the LORD (Job 1:20-22).

Prayer involves confession, declaring what God says is true is true, including our sin. Let’s seek forgiveness for our sin so God can cleanse us. (Psalm 51:1, 2).

We can go to God about everything. Nothing is too hard or insignificant for Him, because He is all powerful and He loves us so much that even the little things that matter to us matter to Him. Let’s present our requests to Him. We can ask for wisdom (James 1:5-6), seek His will for us (Matthew 6:10; James 4:13-17), and we can pray for ourselves and for others (Ephesians 1:15-16; 1 Timothy 2:1-4). He gives us peace and guidance. The Lord wants us to come to Him. God even commands that we pray.

My former pastor would say, “Let’s talk with God.” That’s what prayer is, and we can approach Him in confidence.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16 NIV

Let’s talk with God.

Helpful tip: Let’s keep a prayer journal with our requests and the Lord’s answers to our prayers. I like to date my requests and God’s answers. As we look back at how God acted in the past on our behalf, it will build our faith. Seeing His past faithfulness helps us to know that He will remain faithful in the future.

Lord, thank you for the privilege of coming to You, God Almighty. May I be quick to approach Your throne for grace, mercy, and help in time of need. Amen.


Welcome to my website. I’m glad you stooped by. Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. It is my hope that the devotionals bring you closer to the Lord and that they touch your heart. Back issues are on the website, with new devotionals posting every other Thursday.

You may have noticed the name change to my site. I’m using my pen name, Kathryn Breckenridge, because of competition from other authors in the use of my own name, Kathryn Hughes. I hope it clears up confusion rather than adding to it.

Have a blessed week!