I will be taking a camping trip soon, so I’m collecting and organizing the gear I plan to pack. I have bought new towels, swim suits, flip flops, and sunscreen; gathered sleeping bags, flashlights, backpacks, and bug spray; collected trail mix, granola bars, beef jerky, and water bottles. I am bringing everything I can possibly imagine to make this trip more comfortable and pleasant.

No trip is about the things we carry with us, but its purpose is to find something new. We venture out to enjoy time with our companions, discover new and memorable views, and explore how people and worlds are different yet similar. We return home with a renewed appreciation for the place where we are known and loved.

Our journey through life is not about the possessions we accumulate, but its goal is to appreciate the lessons we learn. We create a rich life by celebrating time with people we love, discovering new ideas and abilities, and expanding our perceptions of the world. We learn to express our trust and gratitude for the God who knows all and loves us always.

Soon I will be traveling a new and unpredictable road. I will take with me an open mind, an eagerness to explore, and a trust that I’ll return home with a new perspective. Throughout all my journeys I have learned that life is not constantly comfortable or pleasant, but we always have everything we need.

Where is your journey taking you this summer? What do you hope to learn along the way?

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This week the car needed new tires and wheel alignment, an oil change and a brake exam. Waiting for our car to undergo this necessary overhaul reminded me of all the time I have spent waiting in repair shops while guys in matching blue shirts installed a new battery, oil filter, water pump, timing belt, or brake pads. Here are a few things I learned while spending time in the auto shop waiting room.

Maintenance is important. Whether in relationships, roles, or reaching our goals, we have to pay attention to what is most important to us. Taking care of small problems early prevents larger problems from developing later.

Name the problem before planning the repair. In life, we can’t fix what we can’t identify. We have to understand what the real problems are before we can choose and apply the correct solutions.

Use waiting time to regroup and rest. We all have periods in life when we have to wait for the right circumstances before moving on, and impatiently pacing won’t make those happen any faster. Wise people use down time to relax and reflect on where they are headed before moving forward.

Make sure all the work is done before returning to the road. Sometimes we have to work on ourselves before we are ready to accept new challenges and assignments. Doing the necessary upgrades before moving on prevents future breakdowns so we don’t end up in the same place we started.

This week our car repairs took little time before we were on the road again. I am grateful for the many ways God reminds me of his presence and keeps me moving in the right direction.

What can you do the next time you find yourself waiting? How will you know when it’s time to move on?

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For those who need some extra inspiration today, I offer a few of my favorite Bible verses.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Remember that God knows all you need, and he will always act on behalf of your highest good.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

Have faith that God is always with you, and let his presence give you peace.

“I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:38-39).

Believe he cares for you and has a plan for your well-being.

“For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:13).

Trust the Lord holds you in his mighty right hand.

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes . . . ; There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away . . . ‘Behold, I make all things new’” (Revelation 21:4-5).

Know that no matter what happens, God is always in control, and he always promises a new beginning.

Today I pray you know that a loving God cares for you. Be at peace and trust that God is aware, and he knows everything you need.

What is your prayer today? What verses remind you that God has you in his care?

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Years ago I rode the bus to work each morning. I stood outside in the rain and cold, boarded the drafty and creaking bus, clung to my seat and fought off motion sickness throughout the jolting, jarring ride to my office building. The best part of my morning commute was the elderly, smiling bus driver. When we reached our destinations, the driver called after each passenger as we stepped down onto the pavement, “Have a blessed day.”

I carried those words with me throughout those days of gray cubicles, fluorescent lights, and narrow hallways. Have a blessed day. The bus driver’s blessing reminded me that someone cared enough to speak a prayer for my well-being and that blessings can be found in every place and situation we seek to find them.

We all share this jolting, jarring road through life. We sometimes face long and tiring travels, unexpected turns, surprise dead ends.

But God is always at the wheel. He takes us where we need to be and delivers us to each destination for a purpose. No matter what we face each morning; God, our driver, speaks words of protection over us and tells us that he cares for our well-being. He comforts and inspires us, and reminds us his blessings can be found in every place we seek to find them.

This morning I encourage you to speak a blessing over someone you know. Remind them that you care for their well-being and that God is always taking them where they need to be. This morning I pray you have a blessed day.

Where is your journey taking you today? What blessing do you need to hear?

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This week I’m exploring a few truths I have learned about God.

"For I know that the Lord is great" (Psalm 135:5).

God is always listening. I was raised to avoid conflict by keeping my mouth shut. I have learned that God is not offended by hearing our true opinions. He created us with minds and emotions, he knows our every thought and feeling, and he encourages us to share every truth with him. We need not keep any secrets from God, but we can always tell him how we feel and know that he will still accept us.

God wants me to listen, too. I have been guilty of not always paying attention, of being busy, self-centered, and caught up in my own agenda and goals. I forget to focus on others, to hear their stories and concerns, to offer my understanding and compassion. God wants me to listen to the people in my life, and he asks that I listen for his voice, too. He gives me quiet promptings about the next steps I should take, and I need to be receptive to those moments when he speaks to me.

God blesses me, whether I notice or not. An old friend once told me this simple prayer: “Thank you for my many blessings, even those I cannot see.” I often take for granted the good things that come to me each day: the loving friends and family, my safe and comfortable home, my gifts of health and purpose. I try to remember to thank God daily for all my benefits and blessings; but I know that on the days I forget, he is still giving. I have been richly blessed, and I am grateful to the God who always listens, loves, and gives me everything I need.

What are you grateful for today? What have you learned about the God who always hears and responds?

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Someone close to me is struggling this week, so please join me in sharing a prayer for everyone who needs support today.

I pray you feel the peace of knowing God is always near and always cares.

I pray you know the hope that assures you a new day and a promising future.

I pray you are comforted by the awareness of all your blessings and the realization of God’s plan for your life.

Today please know you have the support of family and friends, the attention of a loving God, and the strength to face any challenge. Today I pray you know how much you are loved.

What is your prayer for today? What do you need to give you peace and strength?

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