THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV®
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblical, Inc.®
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Published by Mandy Hackland at Shakespir
Copyright: Mandy Hackland 2015
All rights reserved
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The ‘You are Invited’ devotions grew from an email sent to some friends who needed a Word of Encouragement from God on a regular basis during a challenging time.
The recipients began to talk about how these devotional messages helped and challenged them, and the distribution grew to almost two hundred people receiving them on a daily basis.
After a couple of years I knew that the distribution method needed to change and so I began a blog entitled ‘Discovering the Rainbows’ on which I post ‘You are Invited’ every day. You are welcome to follow to it if you would like to receive the devotions on a daily basis. The address is:
In the meantime, people began to request a printed version. So I gathered the devotions in one month groups and produced them for local readers who preferred to have a book in their hands.
But God was not finished with them yet. For here they are, available in a digital format. They will be released gradually, to cover the entire year. My prayer is that each month’s devotions will bless you, my reader, and draw you closer to Christ as you consider the invitations they contain.
God bless you
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Today you are invited to consider what you hope for in this coming year.
Where do you need God’s hope?
What does it mean to you to know that God is there for you and will fill you with hope as you trust in Him?
How could the power of the Holy Spirit make a difference in your life as you begin this New Year?
Spend some time with God and ask Him to increase your faith and trust in Him, that He may fill you with hope and power for the year ahead.
May God bless you richly today.
… call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding …
Today you are invited to consider where you need insight and understanding.
What decisions are you trying to make?
How big a part are you inviting God to play as you consider the alternatives?
Are you deciding on a study programme; building a house; planning a trip; beginning a new project?
How often are you consulting God as you make each decision?
May God bless you as you call out for insight, cry aloud for understanding and seek His wisdom today.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.
Today you are invited to consider your time.
How do you spend it?
What takes up most of it?
How are you investing it – in building God’s kingdom, in helping others, in growing your own skills and abilities; in strengthening your relationship with God?
Where do you waste it?
When do you use it to relax and rejuvenate yourself?
How can you balance your use of time more effectively?
Dedicate your time to God today and then spend a moment at the end of your day thinking how you have used your time and talk to God about it.
May God bless you as you spend time with Him today.
You are the salt of the earth …You are the light of the world …
Matthew 5:13, 14
Today you are invited to consider how you are salt and light to the world.
Where do you add flavour to the lives of those around you?
How do you show Jesus to them as your light shines for Him?
What are you doing in your day to day life that impacts the world and grows the kingdom?
What little things do you do, that perhaps you do not even think about, that touch and change people’s lives?
How can you do these things more intentionally for Jesus, so that you can add more flavor and light for Him?
May God bless you today as you flavor other people’s lives with salt and brighten their lives with His light.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land.
God instructed Moses to do what would have seemed impossible.
Today you are invited to consider what you are being called to do that seems impossible.
What challenges face you that are far too big for you?
What is it that takes so much faith and courage that it leaves you rooted to the ground, unable to take the first step forward?
What dream has God given you that seems to be so huge that you cannot imagine it ever coming true?
How do you feel about ‘stretching out your hand over the sea to divide the water’; taking some action of faith and making the next move?
What is the next move – and how and when will you take it?
May God bless you and fill you with courage as you step out in faith today.
Surely ….Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Today you are invited to consider what this verse means to you.
How much does it color your life?
What does it mean to you to hear that goodness and love will follow you?
How do you feel about living in the house of the Lord forever?
What hope do these words give you?
What struggles do you have in accepting them for yourself, in your current circumstances, in your past, in your unknowable future?
Spend some time sharing your thoughts and feelings with God about any struggles or hope you may have when you consider this verse.
What is He saying to you today?
May God bless you with goodness, love and hope today.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Today you are invited to consider what there is in your life that may be holding you captive.
What limits you from achieving your full potential as a child of God?
What is stopping you from taking a step of faith into an unknown future?
Maybe it is fear, or a lack of knowledge, or financial restrictions; maybe it is habit, or insecurity or public opinion.
Perhaps it is a physical constraint, an emotional hurt, or a lack of spiritual assurance.
What is holding you as slave?
Speak to Jesus about the things that hold you back – listen to His response – and rejoice that He has helped you take the first step to freedom.
May God bless you as you celebrate freedom today.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Today you are invited to consider whether you are confident in your faith – or confident in your God.
How much confidence do you have?
What do you feel you have to do to approach the throne of grace with confidence?
Later the author of Hebrews says Jesus has done it all – and His gift of mercy and grace is yours (Hebrews 7:26-27).
How does this affect your answer to the questions above?
Speak to Jesus today about your feelings in this regard – and listen for His reply to you.
May God bless you today as you approach the throne of grace and turn to Him, whatever your need.
Jesus stopped and called them, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’
The two men in this story wanted to see.
Today you are invited to consider what you would answer if Jesus asked you this question.
How can Jesus help you with the challenges that face you at this time?
Where do you need healing; or eyes opened to a spiritual or emotional problem you may not be able to understand?
How can He help you with relationships, work, study opportunities, busyness, loneliness, fear, stress, bills?
How often do you remember that Jesus is there for you waiting for you to speak to Him about such issues?
Talk to Jesus today.
Carve out time in your day, make this a priority, and tell Him all about the issues that concern you.
Listen for His response.
End your discussion with praise and thanksgiving.
May God bless you as you share your life with Him today.
Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.
1 Samuel 3:9
Today you are invited to consider how much you actually listen for God to speak to you.
Whenever you draw aside to spend a quiet moment with Him what percentage of time do you talk – and what percentage do you listen?
How often do you just sit in God’s presence in silence, concentrating on Him?
How do you respond to that concept?
Spend a couple of minutes today (if this is new to you; or longer if you do this often) concentrating on God, clearing your mind of every thought that enters and listening for His whisper in your heart and mind.
Do it again later in the week and increase the time.
May God bless you richly as you spend time ‘being’ in His presence today.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
You are invited today to consider whether you are making progress or whether you appear to be slipping backwards in your life.
By what standards are you judging this?
Are you finding it a challenge to pray about everything, to ask God to intervene in every aspect of your life and to be thankful in all things?
Remember that God can bring good out of everything for you when you love Him. (Romans 8:28)
May God bless you as you turn to Him today.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?
Today you are invited to consider whether there are parts of your life that you would like to hide from God.
Be honest with yourself and look inside your heart.
What is happening that you are not proud of?
What habits are hard to break?
How are you dealing with the difficult relationships that make you want to give up?
Speak to God about the dark areas of your life.
What is He saying to you?
God loves you and no matter what you do or where you go, nothing will ever change that.
May God bless you as you share with Him these dark areas of life that you would prefer to hide from Him – and from yourself.
For we live by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7
Today you are invited to consider what is going wrong in your life.
How are the things that are wrong affecting you?
What is defeating you?
What makes you want to give up?
What would happen if God uses them for good as He has promised?
What have your learned about the way God uses all the events in your life to teach you, or to help you change direction, or to stop you from making an even bigger mistake?
Ask God today to increase your faith to help you to believe in Him rather than in what you see happening around you.
May God bless you as He grows your faith today.
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but, will rejoice over you with singing.
Today you are invited to consider how this verse changes its meaning for you if you read it putting the words ‘my’ and ‘me’ instead of the words ‘your’ and ‘you’.
How do you feel when you do this?
Spend some time listening to the song God sings over you.
Enjoy basking in His love.
Tell God what it means to you and how you feel.
May God bless you as you share your heart with Him today.
One generation commends Your works to another; they tell of Your mighty acts.
Today you are invited to remember who it was who told you about Jesus in such a way that He became your Saviour.
How often do you think of them?
Have you ever told them how grateful you are?
Who have you told about Jesus so that they too have grown to know Him as Savior?
The news passes on from one generation to the next – who in the next generation will you tell?
May God bless you as your share Him with others today.
This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’
Today you are invited to consider what these words mean to you – ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is…
Where does the good way lead you?
Who can you ask?
What does the invitation say to you?
Spend some time asking Jesus to show you the ancient paths and the good way.
May God bless you as you follow the good way today.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Today you are invited to consider those around you and see them with ‘new eyes’.
How do they look when you have a glimpse of them in a new way, when God’s love suddenly flows through you for them?
To whom can you show your appreciation for all that they are and all that they mean to you today?
Praise God for them and speak a word of encouragement to them.
May God bless you as you open yourself up to be a channel of His love and encouragement for others today.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil: for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Today you are invited to consider God’s presence in times when you have gone through the ‘darkest valley’, whatever that may mean to you.
How did He comfort you?
How did He help you as you lived through that time?
If you were not aware of His presence, how do you feel about it now?
What are you feeling if you are there right now, as these words are given to you today?
Speak to God about your feelings, your awareness, or lack of awareness of His presence; the comfort that He offers.
Ask Him to walk with you closely – and look for signs of His presence with you in times of trouble.
May God bless you with a sense of His presence whatever is happening in your life at this time.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself…
Today you are invited to consider your future.
How do you feel about it being in God’s hands?
How much do you worry about it, even though you read that He is already there, preparing the way and waiting with arms stretched wide for you to run to Him?
Tell Him about your concerns.
Listen to what He says to you.
Praise Him for the assurance He gives you as you read today’s verse again.
May today be a day of great blessing for you as you spend time sharing your future with Him.
Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King.
Today you are invited to consider these verses by substituting the name of your homeland with that of Israel and the name of your town with that of Zion.
What does it mean to you to do this?
What emotions are released in you?
Read this verse again and pray it for Israel and the country where you live; and for Zion and your home town.
May God bless you as you celebrate His all-encompassing love for His people around the world.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Today you are invited to consider how you feel about God loving you so very much – anyway – no matter what your past, present or future holds.
What response does that raise in your heart?
How can you show Him your love today?
Praise the Lord for His love for us that nothing ‘in all creation’ can change!
May God bless you with a day filled with the joy of the Lord.
… walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
‘… walk in the way of love …’
Today you are invited to consider whom you need to love.
How can you show your love for them?
What difference will it make to them – to you – if you do this?
Speak to God about this, especially if there is someone in your life whom you find difficult to love.
Ask Him to let you see them through His eyes, and watch for His response.
May God bless you as you reach out in love to others throughout your day.
My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Today you are invited to consider what your church means to you.
How do you see it?
Is it just a building; a place to go to worship or to meet your friends?
Is it a place you go for safety and a shoulder to cry on?
Or is church made up of people who are ministering to others and fulfilling their calling as the Body of Christ?
What part do you play in your church?
Speak to God today and ask Him, if you are already involved, whether He still wants you in that role or whether He is calling you to something else.
If you are not involved yet, ask Him where He would like you to be part of His Body as you serve others.
May God bless you as you praise Him for building and sustaining His church.
However as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ the things God has prepared for those who love Him’.
1 Corinthians 2:9
Today you are invited to consider what has happened in your life that turned out to be greater than you had imagined.
How did those dreams and plans come to be even bigger than you thought they would be?
What are you dreaming or planning now?
How great a role are you asking God play in your dreams and plans?
How do you feel about inviting Him to take them over so that you give Him control?
Speak to God about your willingness or your reluctance to do this.
Listen for His reply and watch for His responsive action.
May God bless you as you trust Him today.
I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being …
Today you are invited to consider where you need God’s power in your life?
What challenges are facing you that seem to be too big for you?
How does God’s power help you to understand His love?
Where have you used His power recently?
If you struggle to believe that God’s power is available to you, speak to Him about it.
Be honest and tell Him what is in your heart.
Ask Him to open the door to greater understanding and a release of His power in your life.
May God bless you with His power today in unexpected ways.
… I will celebrate before the Lord.
2 Samuel 6:21
How are you today?
Can you hear God’s song in your heart?
What sort of dance can you dance in time to your heartbeat – your inner rhythms?
If your song is sad or wounded, ask God to give you a new song.
If your heart is full of joy – then dance …
However you are feeling, dance through this day with thankfulness for God’s healing, consolation and blessing as you turn to Him today.
May God bless you as you serve Him with a spring in your step and joy in your heart today.
‘… the glory of the Lord shone around …’
Today you are invited to consider when you see the glory of the Lord.
How does His glory become apparent to you?
Stop for a moment and look around you.
Where is God’s glory visible?
It may be in a mighty sunrise, or a tiny moth; it may be in a glorious flowerbed, or a baby’s fingernail.
It is there if you look for it.
Praise Him for the mighty evidence of His glory.
Fall to your knees and worship Him for the small signs that may have gone unnoticed if He had not brought them to your attention.
What do you want to say to God about His glory today?
May you be blessed by the God of surprises today as you see the glory of the Lord around you.
Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol Him, all you peoples.
Today you are invited to become aware, throughout the day, of how often you praise the Lord.
Ask Him to help you to do this.
Consider whether you say thank you in the evening for the big events that have happened in your day, or whether you thank God for His blessings as they happen.
How would your day change if you walked through it praising God for the signs He gives you of His love for you?
What could you accomplish for Him if you let Him into every aspect of your life?
Give today to God – and thank Him and worship Him at every opportunity.
Then at the end of the day consider what has happened.
May God bless you as you spend your day with Him today.
He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.
Today you are invited to consider how God provides for you.
What needs has He met for you recently?
What needs do you have now that you are not sure how you are going to meet?
Have you given them to Him?
Today, praise Him for past provision – and for future provision, even if you do not begin to understand how that is going to come about.
May God bless you as you trust Him today.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever
Today you are invited to consider how this verse makes you feel?
How does it help you to know that God never changes?
What do you think about His constant presence in your life?
What difference does it make to you to know that He will keep His promises, provide for your needs, love you no matter what happens in your life?
Praise Him today for the fact that He will never change and can be relied upon to love you whatever happens.
May God bless you with an assurance of His consistency today.
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Today you are invited to consider how you feel about those who appear to be weaker, spiritually, physically or emotionally, than you.
Who are they?
Name them before the Lord today and consider:
How much patience do you have with these people?
How eager are you to help them?
What are you doing to strengthen and encourage them?
What struggles do you have in doing this for them?
Speak to God about them and your relationship with them today.
Ask for His help, wisdom, strength and the perseverance you may need to work with them as He desires.
Then give the whole situation to God and go forward in His strength, with His love to encourage these people in the days ahead.
May God bless you as you encourage your weaker brothers and sisters in His way today.
I am a Christ follower and I live in Johannesburg, close to my family. I am passionate about encouraging others to grow a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. I try to communicate this as I paint creation and God’s love for His people through word pictures in both fiction and non-fiction and through devotional material. In addition I enjoy speaking to people about writing and journaling, watching birds, being in the African bush and spending time with family and friends.
I hope you have enjoyed the January edition of You Are Invited, and that you have discovered more about both the God you worship and yourself, as you have journeyed through the pages this month.
I would love to hear from you and it would be great if you leave a review of my book at your favorite retailer.
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An Interlude with God
Is your life very hectic? Is God being sidelined by all the demands placed on you? Do you want to draw closer to Him?
An Interlude with God invites you to set aside time once a week to spend with God. Every Interlude encourages you, the reader to pause for a while and seek God’s presence in your life; to make a note of where you discover Him; and to pray for a deepening of your relationship with Him. Here is an opportunity for you to open your eyes to the world around you; to open your ears to the still small voice of God, and to be blessed. He is here now, waiting for you to begin.
And Always God … is the story of God’s faithfulness to an ordinary Christ-follower as she struggles to believe the God who promises hope, in the light of an illness which predicts death. It is the amazing account of God’s tangible, audible presence in a time of pain and the glorious, although unexpected, fulfilment of the promises He made. It is a story told at God’s request with the prayer that others may know that whatever their struggle, emotions, belief or doubt, God loves them and is waiting with arms stretched wide in welcome … always.
Have you ever wondered what impact Jesus had on those who witnessed him in action? What impression did he make on those he met? Witnesses is an imaginative account where unknown personalities share the stories of their encounters with the Son of God, and reveal to us how their lives changed as a result. Through their personal testimonies you too may meet Jesus in a fresh way.
Twelve ordinary men with families and problems. Townsmen, farmers, fishermen. These were the disciples living their everyday lives, just as we live ours today. But then they met Jesus and their world turned upside down. What happened behind the scenes as they followed him? Disciples is an imaginative account of their personal stories. Perhaps you too will meet Jesus in a different way as they share their journey with you.
Ten guidelines for life-changing ministries
A short handbook for those who wish to start and grow life-changing Small Group Ministries in their Church.
Ten guidelines for facilitating life-changing Small Groups
A short handbook designed to equip Small Group Leaders to facilitate their Groups in homes and offices whilst being continually aware of the Spiritual element of such Groups.
Nine guidelines on how to keep a Christian journal
A short handbook designed to encourage Christ-followers to keep a journal of their day to day walk with God and so to strengthen their relationship with Him.
A series of daily devotional meditations which invite the reader to spend time with God. Each collection covers a month of meditations and questions on Bible verses to help you apply Scripture to your life.
The ‘You are Invited' series comprises daily Christian devotions for each month of the year which invite you to draw closer to God. Every day offers you a Scripture verse and an invitation to consider what God is saying to you through the words you read. Questions help you to examine each Scripture verse in light of your own life at the present time and to apply what you discover to your current situation during the day. This volume provides devotions for January.