Category Archives: Daily Bread Devotional

Daily Bread January 15

Hospitality
Erin Shelby of Cincinnati, OH, USA


How beautiful upon the mountains
   are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
   who announces salvation,
   who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’
Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,
   together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see
   the return of the Lord to Zion. -Isaiah 52:6-8

My house is in shambles with bits of drywall powder scattered about. Renovations in my kitchen have been taking place for some time now, with no end in sight. The walls are exposed down to the studs, and the tiles have been ripped off the floors. The dishwasher has been long gone, and the cabinets have been ripped out. Counter space is limited, making it difficult to cook or let dishes air dry. This morning, I drank my coffee out of a Styrofoam cup; last night I ate dinner from a paper plate. Not exactly an ideal environment for house guests. My limits for practicing hospitality are quite obvious.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I\’m just no good at hospitality,” the story of Mary and Martha’s meeting with Jesus could give you pause. In Luke 10, we see two sisters with two different ways of approaching the Master. While Martha wanted to do all the service-type preparations you’d normally associate with being a good host, it was Mary’s open heart that Jesus praised. If she’d lived in our time, Martha would have probably been the one making a Pinterest-inspired centerpiece; but in the end, it was Mary’s attention towards Jesus that was praised.

Hospitality is more than just serving meals or washing dishes; it is an opening of the heart. Mary gave the best gift of a gracious host: her presence, her time, her attention, and her kindness. In her listening to Jesus, she gave “what is better” (Luke 10:42). True hospitality is an outflow of the heart-its intentions, with a desire to give to others. It can go outside the home and into the church, the school, the streets, or the workplace.

How can you practice hospitality today, in your own unique way?

Prayer Phrase

“May I open myself to change, to being guided by the Spirit; may I risk the unknown and live into the Mystery!” (Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying, 234)

Spiritual Practice

A New Beginning

Opportunities for new beginnings occur in each moment, day, or year. Even when we feel stuck, the Spirit is always offering an invitation to return to our deeper intention of living life fully with God, others, creation, and our truest selves. Pay attention at the opening of this new year to what feels like a fresh beginning in you. Where is the Spirit inviting you into a new possibility, awareness, or way of being?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

Click here to comment or read online.

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Daily Bread January 14

The Shy Soul
Sheila Kunzweiler of Dayton, OH, USA


May the Lord give strength to his people!
   May the Lord bless his people with peace! -Psalm 29:11

The rain had finally stopped, so I gathered up my dog and headed to a metro park near where I live. I picked a trail that was remote, unleashed the dog, and off we went. Watching him tear through the woods, with tongue lolling about and what appears to be a huge grin on his face, is sheer joy to me.

We came out of the woods and headed to a clearing, where a pond provided home and sustenance to the wildlife. Dylan had slowed to a walk beside me as if aware of the change of scenery and the need to slow down and appreciate our surroundings. We came up an embankment toward the pond, and I turned to the left. There we were greeted by a young doe. Quickly, I grabbed Dylan\’s collar, and we stood rock still. The deer cautiously and haltingly continued to approach, “talking” the whole time. I was suddenly reminded of the children’s book, Are You My Mother? and wondered if maybe she had gotten separated from hers. We just stood there and admired her beauty until she trotted off.

Parker J. Palmer, in his book, A Hidden Wholeness, states that the soul is like a wild animal, and, although wild, incredibly shy. If you want to encounter a wild animal, you don’t go crashing through the forest. It’s the same with the human soul. You don’t go crashing about in a person’s life as that will only drive the soul further into hiding. When you become still and attentive to the other, you may be graced with the appearance of their beautiful soul.

As we stood there admiring the young deer, I couldn’t help but wonder, is this what it’s like to allow the shy soul to come out of hiding? May I be ever mindful in my ministry of the need to respectfully listen and sit with the other as they discover in their sharing, the divine that’s already within.

Prayer Phrase

“May I open myself to change, to being guided by the Spirit; may I risk the unknown and live into the Mystery!” (Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying, 234)

Spiritual Practice

A New Beginning

Opportunities for new beginnings occur in each moment, day, or year. Even when we feel stuck, the Spirit is always offering an invitation to return to our deeper intention of living life fully with God, others, creation, and our truest selves. Pay attention at the opening of this new year to what feels like a fresh beginning in you. Where is the Spirit inviting you into a new possibility, awareness, or way of being?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

Click here to comment or read online.

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Daily Bread January 13

Invite People to Christ
John Wight, senior president of seventy


As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” -Luke 3:15-16

When people asked John the Baptist if he was the Messiah, it would have been quite easy for him to indicate that he was, indeed, the Messiah and draw more admiration and glory to himself. But he humbly made it very clear that he was not. John invited them to Jesus, the real Messiah, the thong of whose sandals he was “not worthy to untie” and who would baptize them “with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

When I was 15 years of age, I learned in an unexpected but powerful way about making sure that we, as disciples of Jesus, follow John’s example and truly point people to Jesus Christ. I was attending a family camp in Tennessee where one of the guest ministers was a former apostle-a man whom I admired and respected greatly. One day I was washing pots and pans by myself in the back part of the kitchen when this gentleman walked in. I thought perhaps he was looking for something, but instead he said, “Can I give you a hand?” I was stunned. But more importantly, I was impressed with his humble spirit-a great leader, a former apostle, and here he was, standing next to me, an unimportant teenager, elbow deep in nasty dish water scrubbing pots and pans. He provided me with a living example of what we are told in Doctrine and Covenants 11:4: “…and no one can assist in this work, except he shall be humble and full of love.”

He taught me, without knowing it, the importance of not drawing attention to oneself or allowing one’s charisma to become the focus of people’s admiration and worship. Instead, his actions taught me that we must always be alert to do as John did: point people beyond ourselves and invite them to the one whose sandals we are not worthy to untie, to the one who is truly worthy of our worship-Jesus Christ.

Prayer Phrase

“May I open myself to change, to being guided by the Spirit; may I risk the unknown and live into the Mystery!” (Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying, 234)

Spiritual Practice

A New Beginning

Opportunities for new beginnings occur in each moment, day, or year. Even when we feel stuck, the Spirit is always offering an invitation to return to our deeper intention of living life fully with God, others, creation, and our truest selves. Pay attention at the opening of this new year to what feels like a fresh beginning in you. Where is the Spirit inviting you into a new possibility, awareness, or way of being?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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Daily Bread January 12

Can You Hear the Corn Grow?
Nina Warriner of Bath, NY, USA


Be patient with one another, for creating sacred community is arduous and even painful.  But it is to loving community such as this that each is called. Be courageous and visionary, believing in the power of just a few vibrant witnesses to transform the world. -Doctrine and Covenants 161:3c

Recently my husband and I began taking early morning walks. We are fortunate enough to live on a hill amongst hundreds of acres of farmland. We have one neighbor a quarter mile to the west of us and another half mile to the east. Our “neighborhood” is quiet and peaceful. We are able to hear countless birds each morning, bullfrogs and crickets in the evening, and the rustling of leaves any time the wind blows. I found out recently that it’s apparently even possible to hear the corn grow.

One morning, we walked by a corn field, one which we had just passed the day before. I remarked that I honestly thought the corn was noticeably higher. My husband replied, “You know the saying about hearing the corn grow, don’t you?” I truthfully couldn’t answer that I did. (Possibly a condition of growing up in the suburbs of a city.) I soon learned that once the corn gets knee high it can grow one to three inches a day until it is fully mature. It is said that during this time the corn grows so fast that it can often be heard making creaking and popping noises, especially just before dawn. He went on to explain that once the corn is knee high its leaves are broad enough to shade the ground, creating a barrier from the heat of the sun. This helps the soil maintain its moisture, thus allowing the corn to have optimum conditions for growth.

This newfound information caused me to pause our walk and take in the vastness of the field before us. As I reflected upon this information, I began to see more than just a cornfield. I was seeing individual stalks of corn, each having sprouted from a separate seed, each a unique plant on its own. Yet there they were, standing unified as one protective canopy, caring for their shared foundation, the earth in which they were planted.

Each morning as I walk our road, I witness an expression of the Worth of All Persons, All Are Called, Unity in Diversity, and the Blessings of Community. I am reminded of our call to be community. A place where each is nurtured, accepted, and protected; a condition where every individual feels welcome to share of themselves, thus creating the beautiful landscape of the collective. It’s not something that will grow overnight as the corn does. “Creating sacred space is arduous and even painful.” However, we are commissioned to stand with one another to create something as massive and amazing as that corn field. Can you hear the corn grow? Can you hear the lessons it teaches us?

Prayer Phrase

“May I open myself to change, to being guided by the Spirit; may I risk the unknown and live into the Mystery!” (Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying, 234)

Spiritual Practice

New Beginning

Opportunities for new beginnings occur in each moment, day, or year. Even when we feel stuck, the Spirit is always offering an invitation to return to our deeper intention of living life fully with God, others, creation, and our truest selves. Pay attention at the opening of this new year to what feels like a fresh beginning in you. Where is the Spirit inviting you into a new possibility, awareness, or way of being?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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Daily Bread January 11

Widening the Circle
Deb Crowley of Urbandale, IA, USA


May all kings fall down before him, all nations give him service.
For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight. -Psalm 72:11-14

How I wish the word “they” out of existence at times! It’s so easy to love, share our resources with, sacrifice for, and extend grace to family members and extended family members. It’s not so difficult to expand our care to others in our sphere of influence, those whose faces we know and connect with. For the most part, we understand circumstances surrounding their choices and give folks near and dear to us some “wiggle room” or grace. Our hearts see the Christ in their eyes and hearts and understand they are loved unconditionally.

But have you ever noticed, as the circle expands and faces become less visible, it’s easier to judge or blame or criticize? It’s harder to see Christ in the eyes of a politician on the Senate floor arguing a position we disagree with. Or to become suspicious at decisions of church leaders struggling to decide how to keep the church financially viable while congregations struggle to keep their own doors open. Or to see Christ in the eyes of a gun advocate when innocent children have been gunned down in school.

The more our circle widens and the harder it becomes to see Christ in the eyes of the “other,” the easier it is to label them as “they”! “They” are just caving in to big money. “They” do not empathize with our congregation’s situation. “They” are crazy to support gun ownership when so many innocent lives are lost! The “they” list goes on and on.

I’ve been (and probably continue to be) one of the “they”! And, I’ve been one to label “they” when decisions seem unreasonable or disagreeable to me. But we are reminded that, in Christ’s realm, we do not live in a “they” world. It’s “us” and “we.” All are of worth; all are called; we are community. The love we have for our close circle of family and friends is the love Christ calls us to have for the “they” in our lives.

Experience of being a “they” has helped me tremendously to understand the importance of not jumping to quick conclusions, looking not just at one side or two of an issue, but as many sides as possible to get a clearer picture of another’s choices or actions.

To see Christ in the eyes of those we cannot see, but know Christ resides there; to show compassion to those who express harshness and hate; to generously share time, talent, treasure, testimony with those who seem to take and take and take; to sacrifice self for one who may never appreciate the act. To love the “they” in the world because all are God’s children. This is my prayer. Amen.

Prayer Phrase

“May I open myself to change, to being guided by the Spirit; may I risk the unknown and live into the Mystery!” (Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying, 234)

Spiritual Practice

A New Beginning

Opportunities for new beginnings occur in each moment, day, or year. Even when we feel stuck, the Spirit is always offering an invitation to return to our deeper intention of living life fully with God, others, creation, and our truest selves. Pay attention at the opening of this new year to what feels like a fresh beginning in you. Where is the Spirit inviting you into a new possibility, awareness, or way of being?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

Click here to comment or read online.

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Daily Bread January 10

Time
Kenesha Blair of Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Arise, shine; for your light has come,
   and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
   and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
   and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
   and kings to the brightness of your dawn. -Isaiah 60:1-3

We all get the same amount of time, 24 hours a day to do whatever we want. Once that time is over, we can never gain it back.

Whenever I pray, I ask God to help me to study the Word so I can get closer to God. Every day, the thought of doing my devotions would silently float into my mind; but I would ignore it. I would spend more time looking at vlogs, catching up on TV shows, or simply just scrolling through social media on my phone. Then, when busy or almost asleep, the thought of my devotions would creep back into my mind. “You didn’t do your devotions today.” I would tell myself, “Tomorrow, I will definitely do it tomorrow,” but tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. God gave me the time today to get it done, but I didn’t do it. Then the same thing would happen again the next day.

Then I wonder to myself, why do we find it so easy to spend time doing the things we love but find it so hard to just spend ten minutes to do our devotions? God gives us 24 hours, but it’s so hard to give back just 10 minutes of our time. I had read something a long time ago that said, “Knowing that we will have to give an account to the One who gives us time should motivate us to use it well.” I can surely say that, whenever I get to do my devotions, I feel a closeness between God and myself. I feel happy that I was able to share my time with God, and the thoughts of doing my devotions usually fade away. It’s a gentle reminder of the time given me and being able to share it with God.

What are you going to do with your time?

Prayer Phrase

“May I open myself to change, to being guided by the Spirit; may I risk the unknown and live into the Mystery!” (Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying, 234)

Spiritual Practice

A New Beginning

Opportunities for new beginnings occur in each moment, day, or year. Even when we feel stuck, the Spirit is always offering an invitation to return to our deeper intention of living life fully with God, others, creation, and our truest selves. Pay attention at the opening of this new year to what feels like a fresh beginning in you. Where is the Spirit inviting you into a new possibility, awareness, or way of being?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

Click here to comment or read online.

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Daily Bread January 09

At the Helm
Everett Graffeo of Independence, MO, USA


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. -John 1:1-5

Called “People of the Journey,” but
Time has put down roots,
Culture has put up fences,
Routine has found its place.

Heart’s call is, “Lift anchor!”
Continue the journey.
Ocean’s vastness yet to explore,
Much more to discover.

Salvation’s promise launches the voyage,
Enlightens the passage,
Surmounts the waves,
Gift to those willing to journey.

‘Tis our watch at the helm.
Our hands hold fast the wheel.
The captain has set the course,
Stands with us, together we venture.

The call is, “Pull up anchor!”
The tide is running strong.
“Release the ropes! Set the sails!”
The wind is in our favor.

Loving Friend stands with us,
Encourages, reveals the way.
Dares us cross the expanse,
Points to horizon’s star.

Winds of blessing are enlivening,
Holy Guide moves among us,
Sets the course for peace and justice.
Now’s the time for kingdom’s pride.

Prayer Phrase

“May I open myself to change, to being guided by the Spirit; may I risk the unknown and live into the Mystery!” (Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying, 234)

Spiritual Practice

A New Beginning

Opportunities for new beginnings occur in each moment, day, or year. Even when we feel stuck, the Spirit is always offering an invitation to return to our deeper intention of living life fully with God, others, creation, and our truest selves. Pay attention at the opening of this new year to what feels like a fresh beginning in you. Where is the Spirit inviting you into a new possibility, awareness, or way of being?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

Click here to comment or read online.

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Daily Bread January 08

Beyond Our Hopes
Karen Anne Smith of Ludington, MI, USA


Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. -Psalm 37:3

My heart fell when I received the call. Alex’s adult foster care home in Scottville would be closing. I was sick with anxiety. Would he be placed close enough for me to watch over him? Thirty-three years old, and he’s still mute. He can’t tell us if anything is wrong. In times like this my imagination runs away to images of the scariest possibilities. Breathe. Pray. Trust God.

We had hopes for a miracle that Alex’s new home would be in Ludington. I pictured outings to the beach and to our Christmas party at the church, but Alex’s caseworker called with news of a placement that would be a two-hour drive away. I shared my discouragement on Facebook, and an inspired friend responded, “There comes a time for YOU to heal. You’ve actually lived with trauma for a very long time. Granted, it’s loving trauma, but still it’s been traumatic for you. Two hours away is just right. If your son is where he is nurtured, that’s a real blessing. And you can let go, not completely, but enough for you to realize life without the trauma. He’s in God’s hands and you’ve done your job. You need to live.”

Time for me to heal? I hadn\’t even considered that possibility.

When I toured the new home with Alex’s caseworker, the first thing I heard was a resident’s enthusiastic greeting, “Grandma!” The next thing I discovered was a kitten, which I held close to my heart for much of the visit. The home is in a friendly, rural setting. The staff are compassionate and experienced with autism, and the residents are content. Alex’s new room is quiet and out of the way. The home organizes outings and holiday parties for the guys, and Alex will be well cared for.

Miracles usually don’t happen the way that we hope or imagine. The real miracles are the ones that are needed.

Prayer Phrase

“May I open myself to change, to being guided by the Spirit; may I risk the unknown and live into the Mystery!” (Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying, 234)

Spiritual Practice

A New Beginning

Opportunities for new beginnings occur in each moment, day, or year. Even when we feel stuck, the Spirit is always offering an invitation to return to our deeper intention of living life fully with God, others, creation, and our truest selves. Pay attention at the opening of this new year to what feels like a fresh beginning in you. Where is the Spirit inviting you into a new possibility, awareness, or way of being?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

Click here to comment or read online.

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Daily Bread January 07

When the Mist Blows Away
Andrew Fox of Chesterfield, England


Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” -Luke 8:19-21

We had spent several days walking in Scotland. Each day the walks had become more challenging as we prepared ourselves for the final walk of the week. And so, on a cold November morning, our small group started off on a trek that required us to climb one of the highest peaks in Scotland.

As we neared the peak of our climb the weather quickly deteriorated, and it became very misty. We were trekking along a narrow walkway and could see virtually nothing in front of us. I was very inexperienced at walking on such a terrain but was not particularly concerned because I had confidence in our leaders, Andrew and Simon. I later discovered that Andrew and Simon were far more concerned than I was. The weather conditions made it virtually impossible to see the path we needed to be on, and they did not know whether or not it was safe to proceed.

Suddenly, the wind blew away the mist. I was filled with awe as spread out in front of me was mile upon mile of the most incredibly beautiful landscape. When the mist cleared, I saw beauty; what Andrew and Simon saw was the path. Soon the mist rolled back in, but we were now on the right path and were able to return safely to our base.

Sometimes things in our life blind us to the path God wants us to follow. But I am convinced that, for each one of us, there will be occasions when the mist is blown away, and we will once again see the path of the disciple spread out in front of us.

Prayer Phrase

“May I open myself to change, to being guided by the Spirit; may I risk the unknown and live into the Mystery!” (Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying, 234)

Spiritual Practice

A New Beginning

Opportunities for new beginnings occur in each moment, day, or year. Even when we feel stuck, the Spirit is always offering an invitation to return to our deeper intention of living life fully with God, others, creation, and our truest selves. Pay attention at the opening of this new year to what feels like a fresh beginning in you. Where is the Spirit inviting you into a new possibility, awareness, or way of being?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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Daily Bread January 06

What Gifts Do You Bring?
Stassi Cramm, Presiding Bishop and member of First Presidency


…and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. -Matthew 2:9b-11

I have a compulsive need for a clean house as we celebrate the New Year. This causes me to take down all the Christmas decorations and clean the house shortly after Christmas. One year I shocked my friend when she learned I had packed away our manger scene before the day of Epiphany. She knew we always made a big deal of putting baby Jesus in the manger for the kids to find on Christmas morning. She was puzzled why we wouldn’t have a similar tradition of adding the three wise men to the scene on January 6.

I confess I have not overcome my compulsion to pack away our decorations before New Year’s Eve. However, I now ponder my packed-away wise men in a way I didn’t before. I doubt they were aware of the important part they would play in the Christmas story, how their story of fearlessly following the star and offering precious gifts would become an example of sacrificial generosity.

In the Presiding Bishopric, we have the privilege of witnessing similar acts of generosity. We receive emails, letters, and calls sharing stories of individuals and families who are passionate about local and worldwide mission and are generous in giving to Mission Tithes. We hear stories of people’s wishes to help complete the Bridge of Hope project who give from their abundance to Bridge of Hope Tithes.

We meet with families who plan their bequests so the mission of the church continues to be supported. Every story has a “star” leading the people to a deeper understanding of what they are following. The stories also culminate with a generous “gift” people discover they can share.

What star guides you, and what gifts do you bring?

Prayer Phrase

“May I open myself to change, to being guided by the Spirit; may I risk the unknown and live into the Mystery!” (Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying, 234)

Spiritual Practice

A New Beginning

Opportunities for new beginnings occur in each moment, day, or year. Even when we feel stuck, the Spirit is always offering an invitation to return to our deeper intention of living life fully with God, others, creation, and our truest selves. Pay attention at the opening of this new year to what feels like a fresh beginning in you. Where is the Spirit inviting you into a new possibility, awareness, or way of being?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

Click here to comment or read online.

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