God continues to do amazing things for those who realize how valuable they are and seek first the kingdom of God.

Take time now to seek the place where God reigns, beginning in your own heart. Then watch for the amazing things that God causes all around.

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O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before. The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent against you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other. And my people shall never again be put to shame.

Joel 2:23-27

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This year has seen continuing severe weather patterns - drought such that even the Mississippi River is shrinking, thousands of acres and hundreds of homes have burned in the Colorado Rockies, Midwest corn crops are drastically reduced, Isaac reminded Gulf Coast folks of Katrina, and then Sandy blasted the East Coast.

For many people, these are just headlines; but for others it means starting all over again, higher food prices, and perhaps a sense of shame for their families.

Yet today's Scripture reminds us to rejoice, for the Lord will restore the lean years, the times of famine and disaster. God’s people will never be put to shame again because believers and non-believers will be moved by the Spirit to feed the hungry and help rebuild lives.

We can be thankful because no experience in life is so devastating or painful that God cannot bring hope and healing and restoration - and we are God’s hands and hearts that can make it happen.

Al Masters

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God, I am grateful that even the tough times can help me to appreciate how wondrously you provide for me, turning my mourning into joy. Amen.

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Give thanks today with a grateful heart, trusting in the God who provides for your needs.

Take account of your blessings and explore the ways you can be a blessing to others.

Al Masters

Al Masters serves a small church part-time, started a community garden, volunteers as chaplain and coach for a high school football team, and teaches Bible for a community college. He is married to a breast cancer survivor and they have one daughter, a pastor-hospital chaplain who is also married to a pastor.

The Love of God

Ken Medema

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