4:00 AM Faith

*4:00 AM Faith is written each day. There are several examples of previously written daily devotionals. If you are interested in receiving a daily message as a text or email contact me at lmcdonell2001@yahoo.com or write a comment on this post.

November 23, 2020

Godfrey Robinson was 15 years old. He was hanging out with the wrong crowd.  He and his friends were frequently bored. So bored that one day they decided to pass the time by throwing rocks at an ice-cream truck as it drove by. The following day Robinson’s life changed. The following day, the ice-cream man came back to ask Robinson why he threw rocks at his truck.  Unsure of why and how to answer, the man with the ice-cream truck decided that Robinson needed a job and that he should come to work with him. Today Robinson has an ice-cream business with 16 trucks and 22 workers. He is proud that he can help others by delivering happiness with his business. 

It would have been easy for the ice-cream man to yell at Robinson for throwing rocks and tell him not to do it again. However, the ice-cream man did something different. He decided that Robinson needed more than being yelled at and told what not to do.  Proverbs 22:6 says, Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it. 

Robinson needed a mentor and an avenue to be inspired. The ice-cream man believed in Robinson, knowing that he was capable of more.

October 6, 2020

He who is most attached to a particular outcome as the least amount of power. (Susan Stiffelman)

Immerse yourself in the fullness of each moment so that you can see opportunities.  It is when you are okay with where you are, that the magic begins to unfold. There is potential for amazing accomplishment in several outcomes.  

Stay open to several possibilities rather than limiting yourself to one outcome.  Hope continually. (Psalm 71:14) Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open. (John Barrymore)

September 15, 2020

Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion, you’re wasting your life. (Jackie Robinson) 

Be very careful, then, how you live—making the most of every opportunity. (Ephesians 5:15)

As a phenomenal ballplayer and a passionate civil rights activist, Robinson continued to play in the conditions that he was dealt when anyone would have understood if he folded. He didn’t just participate, he really PLAYED. He stole home 19 times. Not only was he the first African-American to play in major league baseball, the challenges beyond baseball that followed him into the field also showed his tremendous courage and quiet strength. He consistently showed up. Living life is about embracing your current circumstances and finding a way to stay in the game.  

September 11, 2020

I was in college the year the events of September 11th, 2001 took place.  As I walked down the residence hall that Tuesday evening 19 years ago, I was hit with the faint sounds of T.V.’s covering the earlier events of the day.  Heavy smoke drowned the sidewalks, the sound of sirens screamed throughout the city, and the American Flags were everywhere. No matter how many times I had seen images from the day, I stopped unsure of how to process the events of the day.  

As things change throughout life, I can’t forget September 11th, 2001.  Each year as there are  moments of silence to remember the victims, stories exchanged, posted photographs and videos, I am taken back to a Tuesday in September when I experienced a day like no other.  It seems as though extraordinary news both good and bad, is often delivered when we are in the most common places. Each year many people choose to remember the day, and not forget the tragedy that was followed by a country that stood together sharing stories of triumph.  September 11th, 2001 reminds us not to forget, and pause to focus on what really matters.

Acquire wisdom, Acquire understanding. Do not forget. (Proverbs 4:5) 

September 9, 2020

One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change. 

The season of fall reminds us how beautiful letting go can be. Change and letting go is tough when it is not of our own choosing or formed with our timeline involved.  As things change around us, it is our hope, faith, love, and purpose that stay constant when our circumstances do not.  

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

September 8, 2020

Brave people need people.  

I used to think being independent and well adjusted meant that I had to do everything on my own . While it worked, I also realized that I was missing out. The richness of life is filled with people who share our ups and downs of life and dream with us. Making the effort to be a teammate requires consistent effort, but pays dividends that last a lifetime. 

A true friend accepts you as you are, but also helps you become who you can be. Maybe this is one of the reasons why Christ is also referred to as one of our friends. 

If either of them falls down,  one can help the other up. (Ecclesiastes 4:10) One of the greatest gifts is having a brave person speak words that can fill you with confidence, courage, peace and a renewed spirit. 

September 7, 2020

I take whatever situation I’m in, and spin it like it’s the most positive thing that’s ever happened to me. (Adam Rippon, Figure Skater)

Life does not always allow us to choose our circumstances, or select ideal parts of life to work with. Rippon’s mindset reminds me of the television series, “Chopped” which challenges four up-and-coming chefs to turn an odd assortment of everyday ingredients into an extraordinary three-course meal.  Without notice ahead of time, they have to find a way to work with what is in front of them and make something amazing. When choices are limited, creativity is exceptional and has no boundaries.  

It is tough to see some circumstances as a gift, but sometimes in the most challenging situations, we uncover gifts and abilities we didn’t know were part of our identity.  As Romans 12:6 reads, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them”.

August 31, 2020

You can’t fall if you don’t climb. But there’s no joy in living your whole life on the ground.  (Unknown)

Don’t be a slave to fear. Being a climber is letting go of all the problems below while gripping onto the problem of how to get to the top. (Caroline, age 12) 

God is an everlasting rock. (Isaiah 26:4) Our faith steadies us, and allows us to focus on what lies ahead rather than what’s behind us. 

August 30, 2020

Be the best version of yourself in anything you do. You don’t have to live anybody else’s story. (Stephen Curry)

When you try to follow another person’s path and use it as your own, it becomes impossible to be the best version of you. You have been chosen to live the life in front of you. The people in your life are counting on you to be you. Notice, be in awe, and learn from what other people are doing, but get excited about your door, and your road. Begin making footprints boldly as you proudly walk in a direction that shapes your story.  Faith will guide you, the word is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. (Psalm 119:105)

It’s not about what you have or don’t have.  It’s about what you make of what you’ve got. (Stephen Curry)

August 29, 2020

I am stronger because I had to be, I’m smarter because of my mistakes, happier because of the sadness I’ve known, and now wiser because I learned. 

Be courageous; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Strength is the ability to go on regardless of great challenges. Strong people continue to rise regardless of whether or not they will fail again, experience sadness, or make mistakes. True courage that produces strength is moving forward when you are not certain about the outcome. You are strong when you have the courage to begin.

August 28, 2020 

I can carry an entire hockey team to victory, but I’m strong because I inspire others to do what they love through doing what I love. (Emily, age 17)

Doing what you love is not selfish. When you are proud, engaged, and passionate about something you lift the people around you. The world needs more people doing what they are not only good at but what sets their soul on fire.  Find what makes you light up, and do more of that.  Your spirit will inspire others to do the same. 

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

August 16, 2020

Obstacles don’t have to stop you.  If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up.  Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.  (Michael Jordan)

Obstacles or walls are temporary and are only as difficult as you allow them to be.  The last time I ran the Detroit marathon I remember a brick wall that had been constructed out of cardboard bricks featuring an area in the center of it for runners to run through.  The metaphor of the wall served as a good reminder of what the human spirit is capable of.  

 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.  (2 Timothy 1:7)

August 15, 2020

When you are going through hard times, remember that you already have everything you need inside of you to bloom again.  Trees grow their buds for the spring before the winter even arrives so that when the long nights and cold days of winter do arrive, they don’t need to do anything except rest.  People are like that too.  When you’re going through your own season of winter, know that you already have everything you need to bloom within you; you just need to hang on a little more for longer days and warmer nights.  Your spring is right around the corner.  And that bloom that’s coming, is going to be more beautiful than ever.  (Walk the Earth)

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the week.  (Isaiah 40:29)

August 9, 2020

Even when God seemed to have abandoned me, he was watching.  Even when he seemed indifferent to my suffering, he was watching;  and when I was beyond all hope of saving, He gave me rest, and gave me a sign to continue my journey. (Life of Pi)

It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you;  he will not leave you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.  (Deuteronomy 31:8)

August 8, 2020

What a beautiful thing it is, to be able to stand tall and say, “I fell apart, and I survived”.  

You have survived 100 percent of life’s toughest moments.  Rising up may have felt impossible at one point.  But, not by accident you found a way, a strength, and a new defense.  

The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.(Exodus 15:2)

August 7, 2020

Once the day comes to a close, let it remain closed.  You did the best with everything that came your way today.  Even if you made mistakes, had some trouble or struggled to balance everything in one little day, let the page turn into tomorrow.  It’s okay if everything didn’t go as planned- things don’t always do.  So set down your troubles, your doubts, and your heartaches from today.  Don’t let them carry into tomorrow because they don’t serve a purpose there.  Let them go and try your best tomorrow. (Walk the Earth)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” —2 Corinthians 5:17 

Each day is a new opportunity and a fresh start to embrace wonder and strive for new experiences. Mentally “step” into each day on the calendar. Don’t try and hang on to a day that ended hours ago or you will miss out on the full gift of the day that currently surrounds you.

August 6, 2020

To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.  (Steve Prefontaine)

Living a short life of only 24 years, Prefontaine continues to be remembered for his success as a runner as well as how determined and disciplined he was.  It was his goal to always do what he knew he was capable of.  Prefontaine wanted to show a side of running that the world had never seen before. A race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways as they’re capable of understanding said, Prefontaine.  

Each of us has received a gift.  Use it to serve one another.  (1 Peter 4:10)

August 5, 2020

Bring yourself back to your why.  

It’s okay to have bad days, it’s okay to be not okay with an experience or a situation, or to be not proud about how things went on a particular day or what the next day might bring. The crummy experiences help make the great moments that much more rewarding. Refocus, each day and remind yourself why the big picture, or your why matters.  When there is a why bigger than you, it somehow feels worth it to keep going.  

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.  (Philippians 4:13)

July 11, 2020

4:00 AM Faith

Procrastination is like a credit card:  it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.  (Christopher Parker)

At the time it often seems easier to put something off.  However, as 1st Corinthians 14:40 says, “But, all things should be done decently and in order”. 

God designed the human body to be at peace and not filled with stress and exhaustion.  Putting off too many things can lead to missing an opportunity to experience the peace and freedom that is offered to us when we don’t put off what we could do today.  

July 10, 2020

4:00 AM Faith

Build relationships- not transactions.  (Jack Thompson)

I can still remember how amazed I was the first time I used a vending machine,  paid with a credit card at the gas pump, bought something online, or took money out of an ATM.  There was something about the efficiency of the transaction that seemed to simplify life.  

Throughout my life, I can think of several times that I have focused on a quick exchange rather than playing the long game. There have been several times that I have settled for completing transactions instead of building relationships.  Matthew 7:12 says “Do for others what you would like them to do for you”. Whether it be as in our jobs, as a parent, with extended family members, marriages, friendships, or teams, there is always room to cultivate the relationship rather than just complete required transactions.  

July 9, 2020

Why not you?

4:00 AM Faith

I am one of those people who believe that anything is possible.  I am one of those people who believes if you are working as hard as you possibly can, and you believe 110% that you will achieve your goal, you can do it.  You are so much more capable than you can imagine.  You have so much possibility inside of you that is just waiting to come into the world.  You can overcome any obstacle.  You are made up of the same stuff as the people you look up to.  You are brave, capable, strong, and wonderful.  You can learn anything with some time and effort.  So honestly, why not you?  (Nikki Banas)

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:24).  When you submit to the idea that if you fully believe something is possible with every part of you, a new level of blessings is possible.  When you believe something is possible with God, you don’t allow doubt, frustration and, feeling less than to stay with you.  Since anything is possible when faith is involved, why can’t you do amazing things?  Why not you?

July 8, 2020

4:00 AM Faith

You can’t skip chapters, that’s not how life works.  You have to read every line, meet every character.  You won’t enjoy all of it.  Some chapters will make you cry for a long time or be really scary.  Some parts will make you laugh so hard, some will leave you feeling full of energy and full of life. You will get stuck re-reading pages or even chapters that you don’t understand and have to keep coming back to in order to move on with the story.  And then there will be pages that you don’t want to end.  You will sit on the edge of your set in awe of everything that happens, and savor every second of some chapters.  To experience the story of your life, you will have to go through all of it from the beginning to the very end.  And then, the richness will be found, pieces will connect, and meaning will be formed.

To understand each of the chapters, you have to have read the whole story. Embrace the opportunity to experience every part, even pages that stop you and make you wonder why it’s worth turning the page or beginning a new chapter.  

“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.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

July 7, 2020

4:00 AM Faith

Progress is rarely a straight line.  There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead.  (Kara Gaucher)

A straight line is the shortest distance between two points.  While it is true that the shortest path lacks bumps, twists, and turns that prolong the journey, it isn’t uncommon for the quickest path to always be filled with depth, opportunity, life-changing moments and, memories.  

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6)

July 6, 2020

4:00 AM Faith

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.  (Mark Twain)

Life is about learning how to challenge yourself in a way that will motivate you to want to look to the horizon and lose sight of the shore.  

July 5, 2020

4:00 AM Faith

Change is not going to sit you down and ask if you are ready.  Change is not going to knock on your door and hand you a notice.  Change is not going to hug you in the middle of the night and tell you it can wait.  Change does not wait.  Change is not always the friend you may want, but it will always know when you need it. (Courtney Peppernell)

To experience the life we want, we have to be okay with change.   It’s not easy to disrupt the familiar, but can help us grow in ways that we have never dreamed possible.  

As we accept that change is inevitable, and see it happening in the world around us, we can feel a sense of peace in knowing that no matter what happens, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

4:00 AM Faith- The Beginning

(Previous Devotions)

January 25, 2020

January 27th, 2020

February 29-March 6

March 7th-12

March 14

March 22, 2020

March 26th, 2020

March 28-29

March 31

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