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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On Monday morning, the snow began, falling all day to cover streets, sidewalks, and the flowerpots on my patio. I watched the rising ripples of snow and wondered how long I would have to stay inside my warm and cozy walls.

Through Monday night, the road crews worked, pushing snow into piles on the corners, cleaning roads, walkways, and parking lots. I heard the crashing blades and grinding gears rumbling out of sight across the dark. In the morning I saw streets smoothed, slick and glittering, in the sun.

God often works that way within our lives. While we rest and wait and wonder, God operates behind the scenes. We hear the distant rumblings of change, trust that God is performing the needed work, then awake in the morning to find new roads cleared, new routes created where none had been before.

God opens the paths he wants us to take, clears some roads, and blocks others we should not travel. He indicates the safest routes available to us and steers us away from dead ends and blind corners. We can know that whatever the storm drops onto the road ahead, God will know how to make the way clear.

Today I pray you trust that God is clearing the road you should travel. Know that wherever you turn, God always sees what lies ahead.

Where is the road taking you today? Where have you seen God’s work opening paths in your life?

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Many years ago I spent my days teaching a kindergarten prep program for the school district. While I taught my students about sharing toys and rhyming words, I learned a few lessons as well.

We learn something new every day. Each day is an opportunity to discover and explore new ideas, experiences, and relationships. We never outgrow the desire to learn, and when we remain open to new possibilities, every day can be an exciting adventure.

As we grow stronger, we will climb higher. Life is about testing our limits, and we never stop growing and developing new abilities. When we are not afraid to face new challenges, extend our reach, and grab for a higher bar, eventually we will arrive at the top.

Friendships can be fluid. Sometimes people join us for a while, teach us what we need to learn in that season, and then move on to interactions with others. When we love the people who share our lives, and remain open to discovering new friendships, we find that we always have the relationships we need when we need them.

Play outside every day. We live on a great and beautiful planet of changing seasons and endless horizons. We are never too old to find wonder in the world around us. When we take time to notice new sights and appreciate the beauty God created, we experience joy.

Wash your hands. While playing outdoors is fun, it is important to clean up when we go back to class. We are responsible for taking care of ourselves, and when we spend the time properly maintaining our health, we stay strong and available to care for others.

Today I pray you love and learn, play and grow. Always know God is at the head of your class.

What have you learned from your experiences with children in your care? What do you want to teach the children in your life?

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