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Monday, January 16, 2017

The Valley of Blessing

As we prepare to start the Third week of the New Year with these words of wisdom let's take these words to heart and apply them to our lives Read: 2 Chronicles 20:1,13–22 Bible in a Year: Genesis 39–40; Matthew 11 If calamity comes . . . [we] will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us.—2 Chronicles 20:9 French artist Henri Matisse felt his work in the last years of his life best represented him. During that time he experimented with a new style, creating colorful, large-scale pictures with paper instead of paint. He decorated the walls of his room with these bright images. This was important to him because he had been diagnosed with cancer and was often confined to his bed. Becoming ill, losing a job, or enduring heartbreak are examples of what some call “being in the valley,” where dread overshadows everything else. The people of Judah experienced this when they heard an invading army was approaching (2 Chron. 20:2-3). Their king prayed, “If calamity comes . . . [we] will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us” (v. 9). God responded, “Go out to face [your enemies] tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you” (v. 17). When Judah’s army arrived at the battlefield, their enemies had already destroyed each other. God’s people spent three days collecting the abandoned equipment, clothing, and valuables. Before leaving, they assembled to praise God and named the place “The Valley of Berakah,” which means “blessing.” God walks with us through the lowest points in our lives. He can make it possible to discover blessings in the valleys. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt Dear God, help me not to be afraid when I encounter difficulty. Help me to believe that Your goodness and love will follow me. Looking for hope in the middle of difficult circumstances? Read Hope: Choosing Faith Instead of Fear at discoveryseries.org/q0733. God is the master of turning burdens into blessings.

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