MEN’S DEVOTIONAL BIBLE – SUNDAY, JANUARY 27, 2019

Storms of Life

Matthew 8:23–27

Recommended Reading: Psalm 27:1–14; Isaiah 41:10–11; Matthew 6:31–34; 14:30–31

Billy Tyne, a down-on-his-luck captain of a sword-fishing boat, set out with his crew in October, 1991, for one last try at a big catch. However, when a unique confluence of weather conditions combined in the North Atlantic to form what meteorologists later called “The Perfect Storm,” Tyne and the rest of the crew of the Andrea Gail perished.

According to locals, weather over the Sea of Galilee in Israel can be equally unpredictable. A squall can rise up at a moment’s notice, hitting with such a fury that fishermen in the area must be quick on their feet and ready for anything. At least four of Jesus’ disciples—Peter, Andrew, James and John—made their living as fishermen. Certainly they knew of Galilee’s infamous storms. Yet as Jesus slept in the ship’s bow, even these seasoned sailors panicked when the storm rose. After waking Jesus from his slumber, they pleaded, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” (Matthew 8:25). Imagine a storm so intense that even hardened fishermen cowered in fear.

Jesus responded with a rebuke: “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26). As the disciples faced the greatest storm Galilee had ever thrown at them, Jesus expected them to trust him first. And then he calmed the storm.

Life often seems to rise up against us when we least expect it. A dark spot shows up on an X-ray. A pink slip lands on our desk at work. A quarterly report reveals a serious downturn in revenues. Suddenly our deepest fears rise to the surface. So we look to the sky and plead, “Lord, save us!”

And Jesus responds, “Don’t be afraid. Trust me first.”

The next time the turbulence of life’s trials blows into your life, remember what Jesus asks. Trust him first, no matter how overwhelming the storm appears.

To Take Away

  • What storms in life do you find most difficult to face?
  • Why do most of us struggle with trusting God first?
  • When you’ve trusted God during difficult times, what has resulted? How can those experiences help you place your trust in him during the next trial you face?
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CHOCOLATE FOR YOUR SOUL WITH SHERI ROSE SHEPHERD – SUNDAY, JANUARY 27, 2019

Laying Down Your Dreams
by Sheri Rose Shepherd”He is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us.” — Ephesians 3:20

My Dream was to have the perfect family and a white picket fence. However, it was in a moment of crisis that I found the true meaning of following Christ. My dream came to life when I laid down my wants for God’s will and began to live out my life for a cause greater than my own happiness. I thought God had forsaken me, but I discovered that my most disappointing moment was the moment God freed me from depending on others to fulfill my personal dream.

Once I realized that His dream for me would leave a legacy of faith and my dreams would only benefit me, I received peace from Him that was stronger than my painful past and found a new hope for my unforeseen future. I realized then that every day I had lived and every day I have yet to live are masterfully created by Him, so wasting those days in worry is just a victory for the enemy. That night I gave my deepest heart’s desire to God and chose to follow Him at any cost.

My faith was no longer in people; it was in Christ alone.

His Love Letter to YouMy Beloved Daughter,

I want to birth a new thing in your heart and bring forth the perfect peace and plan I have for you. I am asking you, as your heavenly Father, to look to the future and not to the past to find the path I have prepared for you.

I know it won’t be easy, but it will be worth letting go of what once was to receive all I have for you. Your past has prepared you for your purpose, and nothing and no one can stop My plans for your life. Don’t allow disappointment to direct your path. Now is the time to take My hand and walk out the rest of your days on earth and dream with Me, your heavenly Daddy.

Love,
Your Lord and Giver of Dreams!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” — Proverbs 3:5-6 

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C. S. LEWIS DAILY – SUNDAY, JANUARY 27, 2019

We have two bits of evidence about the Somebody [behind the Moral Law]. One is the universe He has made. If we used that as our only clue, then I think we should have to conclude that He was a great artist (for the universe is a very beautiful place), but also that He is quite merciless and no friend to man (for the universe is a very dangerous and terrifying place). The other bit of evidence is that Moral Law which He has put into our minds. And this is a better bit of evidence than the other, because it is inside information. You find out more about God from the Moral Law than from the universe in general just as you find out more about a man by listening to his conversation than by looking at a house he has built.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis

Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

HIS PRINCESS EVERY DAY – SUNDAY, JANUARY 27, 2019

Courage to ChangeMy Fearless Princess,

I gave My life at the cross for you to have a better life, my beloved. But only you can make the choice to become all I have called you to be. Nothing will change without your effort and obedience to my word. Your choice to let go of your old life and cling to the new life I offer will become the key to your freedom. You will find something far greater than temporary pleasure; you will find everlasting joy, unshakable peace, and renewed passion. This change will not only affect you, but will also make an everlasting impact on those you love.

Love,
Your King and your Courage
Seek the LORD while you can find him.
Call on him now while he is near.
Let the wicked change their ways
and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them.
Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously. – Isaiah 55:6–7 (NLT)

A Prayer to Change

Chosen of the King! I pray that you will be encouraged by the grace and love that your heavenly Father has extended to you and that you will be compelled by His goodness to turn from sin and walk into the life that He has for you, which is full of peace and joy. May you know God’s redeeming love and His restoring power, and may it be a testimony to everyone you meet. I pray that once you change you will never go back to your old meaningless ways but will see how precious you are to the Body of Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come! – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

 

This devotional is written by Sheri Rose Shepherd. All content copyright Sheri Rose Shepherd 2015. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Visit HisPrincess.com for devotionals, books, videos, and more from Sheri Rose Shepherd.

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5 Most Luxurious Day Spas in the U.S.

Wellness has never been more important. As our jobs become more and more stressful and our downtime is packed with home improvements and ferrying the kids to friends’ houses, it’s good to set aside some “me time” now and again. Especially in the winter, when cold winds chap your skin and all you want is a roaring fire and a sauna to warm your insides. If you’re in need of some pampering, then indulge yourself at one of these five best day spas in the U.S.

Spa Solage, California

solage-resort
Credit: Spa Solage, California

Spa Solage, located in Calistoga, welcomes non-resort guests to the property, though it will take some willpower not to book a room. Contemporary design and an ecologically-friendly ethos are happy bedfellows, making this the ultimate retreat. Geothermally-heated water and mineral-rich mud have drawn people to this corner of northern California for decades, but never has therapy seemed this indulgent. Book in for the Solage Signature Mudslide: essential oils create a customizable mud treatment followed by a dip in the warm water. Settle into one of Solage’s state-of-the-art sound chairs to be gently healed by soothing vibrations and harmonious music. Wrap up proceedings under the stars in the spa’s bathhouse, the perfect couple’s night out.

Spa Montage, Utah

spa-montage
Credit: Spa Montage, Utah

This luxury spa draws its inspiration from the Alps and sits in the heart of Utah’s beautiful Deer Valley. Nature forms an integral part of the treatments on offer: herbal mineral baths and hydrotherapy are restorative and therapeutic. Redwood saunas and steam rooms, muds and clays, draw out impurities and optimize the sense of wellbeing. Pamper yourself with a caviar facial or mountain stone massage. Yoga, Pilates, spin and dance classes are just some of the activities on offer at the spa’s fitness center. Day visitors are welcome; overnight guests enjoy complimentary access to the facilities.

Aire New York

aire-nyc
Credit: Aire, NYC

Fifteen years ago, the remains of a Roman bathhouse located beneath a sixteenth-century palace in Seville, Spain laid the foundation for a spa business that has been wowing clients across the globe. New York’s offering, Aire, can be found in what was once the basement of a Tribeca textile factory. Even frazzled New Yorkers can make time in their frantic schedule for a two-hour slot which enables them to complete circuits of a warm tepidarium pool, a hot caldarium pool, jet whirlpool and eucalyptus-scented steam room. Massages are also offered, the most decadent being a four-hand massage which follows a soak in a tub whose water has been infused with red wine. The experience is said to relax the muscles, aid digestion, improve circulation and enhance overall wellbeing.

Dragontree, Oregon

dragontree
Credit: Dragontree

The team at Dragontree takes a holistic approach to wellness, offering treatments encompassing acupuncture, massage, body scrubs, skincare and ayurvedic treatments. The spas in the group market themselves as a sanctuary from stress – if you need to duck out of your busy life for a day, then this is a good place to hide. With locations in Boulder and Portland – there’s even a branch at the airport – this Oregon gem is too convenient to pass up. Best of all their commitment to nurture and respect extends to the environment – this place has enviable green credentials.

The Spa at Spruce Point Inn, Maine

spruce-inn-point

Wild blueberries are the state fruit of Maine. If you’re looking to break the mold and ditch the blueberry muffin, pancake or pie, why not get yourself over to the Spruce Point Inn at Boothbay Harbor? Packed full of antioxidants, munching on these juicy berries can only do you good. Book in for this timeless coastal retreat’s Blueberry Bliss Signature Facial and you’ll find the health-enhancing properties of blueberries extend beyond your stomach. Your skin will feel cleansed, exfoliated and revitalized. Best of all, you don’t have to be a guest to book a treatment here – though the inn’s so charming we know you’ll be tempted to stay the night.

About the author: Julia Hammond | Travel Writer

Enthusiastic advocate for independent travel and passionate geographer, Julia considers herself privileged to earn a living doing something she loves. When not roaming the globe, you’ll find her windswept but smiling, chatting away to her two dogs as they wander the Essex marshes.

Top 5 Airlines of 2019

Planning a trip in 2019? What’s the first step? Maybe for you it’s finding the best destination that will appeal to everyone in your group. Or tracking down an unbeatable travel package that will get you there. But for most people, the first stop is checking out those flights.

You not only want the most affordable airline, you want the one that has been voted the safest, the one that is the most comfortable and the one that gives passengers the overall best experience. To help you make a decision for your future flight, here’s a list of the top five airlines of 2019 according to industry experts.

1. Singapore Airlines

Credit: Flightlevel80/iStock

According to AirlineRatings.com, which takes into account such things as passenger reviews, operational safety, fleet age and flight offerings (to name a few), this year’s best airline is Singapore Airlines. The award may not be too surprising — this Asian airline has been one of the best for decades, and has upped its game even more with added flight routes, such as the longest commercial flight in the world, which flies nonstop from Singapore to New York City. The airline is also adding new and updated planes, demonstrating a commitment to operation safety and style. Singapore Airlines has long been known for its warm, friendly inflight service, and now has even more amenities to offer, including a special suite section in first class, which also earned the First Class Award.

2. Air New Zealand

Credit: ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock

Air New Zealand is no stranger to this list. The Auckland-based airline has always been a top contender in the world of flight — in fact, it’s been number one on the top airlines list since 2014, according toForbes.com. Despite falling to the number two spot this year, Air New Zealand is still setting trends in 2019, with the addition of new aircraft like the A321neo airbus. The airline also earned the Best Premium Economy and Best Airline Pacific awards for its spacious Economy cabin.

3. Qantas

Credit: NextNewMedia/Shutterstock

Qantas is another familiar face on the list of top airlines, and it comes in at number three this year. This Australian airline has big dreams for the next few years, including adding non-stop flights from London, England to Sydney, Australia along with introducing new aircrafts and upgrades to its existing fleet. Qantas also took home the award for Best Airline Lounges, and has done so for several years in a row. If you’re looking for a quality to wait your board time, Qantas just might be the airline for you. This airline is almost always in the top three, and is looking to stay there for the foreseeable future.

4. Qatar Airways

Credit: NextNewMedia/Shutterstock

QatarAirways is the newest addition to the top airlines list, and earned its spot this year due to its fantastic business class and delicious catering service. No matter what class you find yourself in, you can rely on great food service that “leaves nothing to chance.” Like Qantas, Qatar Airways is part of the OneWorld air alliance (along with American Airlines, British Airways and Cathay Pacific), but according to multiple sources, it is looking to leave the alliance and strike out on its own. Only time will tell if this will knock the airline off this list for 2020, or make it even better.

5. Virgin Australia

Credit: Peterfz30/Shutterstock

Rounding out the top five is another Australian airline: Virgin Australia. This airline brought home theaward for best cabin crew. Anyone who has ever taken a flight knows that a flight is usually only as good as its cabin crew’s service and attitude, and Virgin Australia certainly delivers. Though the airline mostly takes to the skies around Australia and Asia, it also has flights that reach as far as Abu Dhabi and Los Angeles, California.

About the author: Jessica A. Scott | Writer for The Discoverer

Jessica A. Scott has been a novelist and freelance writer for over 10 years. She loves travel and divides her time between her original hometown of Louisville, Kentucky and her adopted hometown of Saronno, Italy.