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Outward Signs

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Read Colossians 3:12-17

View the July-August, 2015 Issue

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

- Galatians 5:22-23 (CEB)

For the last six years, my husband and I have been teaching in a bilingual school in the northeast part of Thailand. The plain silver cross I wear has given me a connection to Thai Christians, despite the language barrier between us. One heartwarming experience was hearing a voice in the local marketplace say in hesitant English, “Are you a Christian? I am too. God bless you!” Unexpectedly, I was connected to another person by warm Christian fellowship that enveloped me and made me thankful for God’s goodness and encouragement.

While I was glad to be recognized as a Christian by my cross, I would rather be identified as a follower of Jesus by my actions and by the way I conduct my life. Too often I fail to live up to the teachings of Christ in my everyday life. However, as I study the Bible, pray, and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, I trust that with God’s help, I will become more like Jesus and show his love and compassion in my life.

The Author

Margaret Anne Martin (Otago, New Zealand)

Thought for the Day

How do I show God’s love to those around me?


O God of all the world, help us each day to follow your teachings faithfully and to show — through the way we live — that we belong to you. Amen.



Comment by Joe

Margaret, thanks for your devotional. I definitely believe you are going in the right direction in your faith walk with Jesus. Being a perfect Christian is out of the question for 99.9999% of we 'churched' folk. We have had only one perfect one and that was Jesus Christ our Lord, Savior and most perfect roll model. But you and I are trying our best and that is all he wants from us. Remember, He is always walking with us.

Posted June 30, 2015 at 08:20AM CDT
Comment by Tommie of Dayton, TN

I've read somewhere that our lives are the only sermons some people will ever experience. I pray that mine will bless someone today.

In Adam's first prayer, he gives the reason for not posting the day before.

Comment by adam of Dublin, OH
Good Morning God and UR family. Much sadness as I write this morning our neighborhood hit hard with storms. All is well and no one hurt, so huge praise. The blessings beside the sun and the His new mercies is the kindness and love being shared by the neighbors as we all try and put things back together. Amazing to watch God bring people together. Tried to post last night but couldn't get through. A day filled with chainsaws and sunscreen. Praying for those who are also affected and afflicted. Thank You family for being there for me.
As I rose this morning to see You I realized just how much You love me each moment of each day. With tears running down my face I stop and thank you for the blessing You are in my life. I know I am loved like no other and I so try and reflect that love back so all can see how beautiful You are to me. Oh how I love You. Oh how I need You. You beautiful You.
Posted June 30, 2012 at 08:25AM CDT
Comment by adam of Dublin, OH
Good evening God and UR family. As I pause to write a few words of praise and longing I listen to the rolling of thunder and the rain has returned to remind us we are not done with this period of challenge. Blessed are we who have had there power return, as many around still languish in the dark and heat. Much work remains but we will wake tomorrow to praise You, Lord. Thank You for the strength to make it through the day. I felt You near me all the day. Feeding me with Your love, keeping my spirit up and carrying me when I could walk no more.
You beautiful You who makes the sunrise in my mornings. You beautiful You who make my soul sing with joy. You beautiful You who makes my heart beat to the rhythm of Yours. Come to me and take my hand and let me walk with You. I so need You in times like these and You are always there with Your forever arms pulling me near and comforting my soul. Allowing a place of rest when chaos reigns and all around me is destruction. Encourage me to reflect your love as it dwells within me, burning with such passion for You. Knowing You are there stills my emotions, allowing me breath and hold You life giving inside me. So I thank You for all You are to me. Love, beauty, passion and comfort all these and more are You. I so love You.
Posted June 30, 2012 at 10:41PM CDT

Posted June 30, 2015 at 09:36AM CDT
Comment by Sarah of Berwyn, IL

Good morning, everyone! Thank you, Margaret, for your devotional this morning. Like you stated, I would rather be recognized as a Christian because of my behavior and actions, not just because I say I am a Christian. Here in the U.S., so many people call themselves Christians, but their actions seem to indicate otherwise. My ex-husband was one of them, carrying on with a married woman in town, but at the same time quoting Bible verses to everyone. I pray that everyday my actions will show others that I am a follower of the Lord Jesus, and that the fruits of His Spirit are evident in my life.
GEORGE of Virginia Beach - I am praying for your wife, Bethanne, and daughter, Arielle, as they travel to Connecticut. I pray that they had a safe and pleasant flight, and they will have an enjoyable vacation. I am also praying that the insurance problems will get worked out, and also that they will give approval for Bethanne’s knee replacement surgery in August. I am also praying for your sister and brother-in-law, as their son, Jimmy, contacted them. I pray the Lord will give them wisdom, and guide Jimmy to get all the help he needs, and yield himself to the Lord. * KATHY of Canal Winchester - I am continuing to hold you in prayer regarding your job situation. I pray that the Lord will be moving in your co-workers, that they may see Him in you, and that the atmosphere will improve. I am also praying that He will lead you to another, better, and decent-paying job.
EDD of Ocala, FL - I am praying for your golfing companion, Jimmy Rishe, that his eye surgery yesterday was successful. I pray that the Lord brings him healing and a quick recovery. I pray, also, that the Lord blesses him with peace. I am also praising the Lord that your grandson, Zeke, is feeling much better! * FRANCIS of Hideaway, TX - I am lifting little Vivian in fervent prayer, that the Lord will bring her healing from the neuroblastoma cells, and that the Acutane treatments will be effective, and that she will have a complete recovery. I am also praying that He will heal her enlarged heart. I also lift her parents in prayer, that the Lord will uphold them and give them the strength and peace they need each day.
CRAIG of Wanchese, NC - I am praying for you, that the Lord may lead you to find another good job, one that you would enjoy and have less stress at. I am also praying that the Lord will bless all of your preparations for your upcoming missions trip to Haiti. I pray that He will use this trip to also be a blessed and moving experience for the young people who will coming along. * CAROLYN of H, WI - I am praying for your niece’s husband, that his surgery yesterday to remove a growth from his back was successful. I pray that he will have a quick recovery, and also that he will get back a good report from the biopsy.
KIM of Locust Grove - I am praying for your uncle, George, who is in the hospital with pneumonia. I pray that the Lord will bring him healing from that, and also that his remaining chemo treatments are completely effective. I am also praying for Todd, as he transitions from being in the hospital to going to a nursing home. I pray that this move will go smoothly, and Todd will have peace and contentment. * BOB of Salem, MI - I am praying for your aunt, Pat, that everything went well with her heart cath yesterday. I pray that that everything is successful, and that the Lord will bring her complete healing.
BRIAN of Amarillo - I am praising the Lord for your mother, and her desire to check in on patients whose names you have given her, at the hospital where she works. I pray that she will be an encouragement and blessing to little Vivian and her parents.
I have a praise/prayer request. Albert has found a counselor/therapist that will take his insurance, and he is willing to go for a meeting. He has a meeting on Thursday. Please pray that everything will go well, that Albert feels comfortable with this counselor, that this helps him and he is willing to continue. Thank you.
Have a blessed day, everyone!

Posted June 30, 2015 at 10:09PM CDT
Comment by babin of nil, CA

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Posted July 01, 2015 at 12:28AM CDT
Comment by raynard of newark, DE

Good Morning U.R Family. Thank you Margaret for your devotional. I believe from personal experience we all have to come thru the" Jack in the box mentally about being as Christian." " I go to Church Wearing my Sunday best", Carrying a big bible, " Look I'm a Christian" I digress.. It's humbling to me as I greet people at work and hear a few "God Bless You's and may have never seen or spoken to that person before and " it doesnt feel like" the bumber stick saying for the day".. Woke up to thunder and rain. But you know what? The sunshine is in my heart and the rain nourishes the ground and the plants.( almost had a "fredian slip and said " the rain in spain you know the rest" Prayers going out to each and every spoken and unspoken request. Be blessed and encouraged everyone and have a great day...

Posted July 01, 2015 at 02:09AM CDT
Comment by George of Virginia Beach, VA

Margaret, thank you for the reading and the importance of our actions. One of the lines in a morning prayer reading I do is "Help me be patient, gentle, wise, to see beyond what seems to be, and to know Your children as You know them; and so naught but the good in anyone behold." Sarah, thank you for showing how regardless of our circumstances we can still serve others. Tommie, I liked your comment, continued prayers for your health and rest. Dan, what a great example of service your ministry is. Francis, praying for little Vivian. Carolyn, praying for your niece and her husband as he recovers from surgery. Kim, praying for your uncle George in the hospital, and Todd going from the hospital to the nursing home. Linda, praying for good results from your test this morning. Jackie, continued prayers for you and your family, and thanks for sharing the story about your grandmother's kennel. Arielle has a passion for animals and wants to be a vet. Kathy, continued prayers for you and your family as well as your work. Lily, continued prayers for your work situation. Cherie continued prayers for you and Ron. Bethanne and Arielle made it safely to Connecticut. Off to inventory, each week gets better, thank you all for your prayers. Praises for all needs met, and prayers for all needs spoken or unspoken. Have a blessed day!

Posted July 01, 2015 at 04:26AM CDT
Comment by Matt

Margaret Anne Martin, great devotional, love the last sentence & prayer, God Bless
Adam of Dublin, God Bless brother, beautiful prayer from last night
Prayers for Albert, for all here, & throughout that our whole extended UR family be under His wing , prayers please for my daughter, traveling home from Colorado Thurs, prayers for the safety and the soul of our country this 4th (& every day), Praising The Father, trusting The Father, in Jesus Holy Name (above all others), amen

Posted July 01, 2015 at 04:41AM CDT
Comment by Sharon J. of North Las Vegas, NV

Babbie Mason - Show Me How To Love.avi

Posted July 01, 2015 at 05:01AM CDT
Comment by Kathy of Canal Winchester, OH

Good Morning UR family, Margaret, this was a beautiful devotional today. I try my best to be a good testimony to the Lord. There are a few ladies at work that are Christians. We have bonded which makes me feel much better. Sarah, I totally agree with the comment from George to you. PTL for Albert and his appointment. That is wonderful. What time is the appointment? I will make sure I am praying at that time.Tommie, I pray that my life will bless someone too. Thank you again for posting Adam's prayers. I remember that storm in 2012. Some folks didn't have power for over a week. George, I am glad Bethanne and Arielle made it safely to Connecticut and praying for the both of them for a wonderful day. I am glad that each week gets better at work. Raynard, I pray you have a good day at work today. Lily, praying for your work situation. Francis, I am praying for Vivian. She has touched my heart. Jackie, your story about your grandmother's kennel was heartwarming. I read it over and over. Thank you for sharing. If only everyone treated their animals that good. Cherie, Praying for you and Ron. Maybe someday in your travels, you can visit me? Craig, Yes, you and I are in the same boat with the job search:) Julie, praying for your Mom and MIL. James, I love reading the New Testament. Adam, beautiful post from last night. My prayers today are for all spoken and unspoken needs. I am also praying for our Nation. May God be brought back into this country. We really need it. The 4th was always a hard Holiday for me when Corey was serving in Iraq. May we all remember those who have served and still are. Have a blessed day to all.

Posted July 01, 2015 at 05:01AM CDT
Comment by Edd of Ocala, FL

Gppd morning all have a blessed day. Praise the Lord. Praying that Albert will go to the meeting and find solutions for his problems. Margaret, thanks for the Scripture and your devotional. I think "God bless you" is a powerful beginning to or ending to a conversation, especially if it is said with the right heart. I pray I will be able to listen to the Holy Spirit and use all those tools He provides us and become a better Christian with actions that prove it. Thank God for Bethanne and Arielle safe trip and now may the Lord make there days there enjoyable. George, you going to be around Wed or Thurs next week. Patti and I will be there in VA Beach. May have to drive a loaner my car had a recall for the seat belt and they may not be able to fix it in time. That's ok God is is charge. Praying all the UR Family show their powerful beliefs by there actions today and may the Lord heal and care for all our different situation today. God is Love!!! Edd of Ocala, FL.

Posted July 01, 2015 at 05:04AM CDT
Comment by Charles of Port St. Joe, FL

I heard in a presentation about missions/evangelism that waiters and waitresses say that the worst crowd to wait on is the after church Sunday lunch crowd. Living by our actions can be a witness?

Posted July 01, 2015 at 05:21AM CDT
Comment by Susan of Plymouth, MN

Good morning, all! Thank you, Margaret, for sharing your faith and perspective. The last few days at work have been frustrating and this morning I woke up with a headache proving (once again) that "irritated and ornery" doesn't support good health nor a good night's sleep. It would be a good idea for me to wear my grandmother's cross necklace and keep loving and keep practicing grace and mercy. The challenge is to keep remembering that I'm wearing it! (Ouch! Was that a wet smelly fish?)
In other news, I'm a bit nervous about riding a motorcycle again with my son for his Birthday weekend, since I haven't ridden but one in the past two years, and the bike they'll be loaning me has a higher center of gravity and more powerful engine than mine. A couple of years ago when I went out, I felt like I almost went off the road. I'll ask to practice in a large empty parking lot before our ride, but I'd also welcome your prayers.
Also, yesterday was the last day for several consultants, and we've been told that we'll all be gone by end of August. I'm both excited and nervous - where will God bring me next?

Posted July 01, 2015 at 05:23AM CDT
Comment by Dan of Summerfield, NC

Margaret, thank you for this devotion, and for your service in bilingual education. I have worn a wooden cross nearly every day since 1999, after my Walk to Emmaus. It is special when someone asks about it, but for me as well it is my call to live by a higher moral and service standard, especially regarding God's (and my) Matthew 25 family. It is an opportunity to witness, but as you mention, when you choose to be a Christian in a fish bowl, there are people waiting out there who would love to catch you in an act of hypocrisy.

Posted July 01, 2015 at 05:32AM CDT
Comment by Brent of West Monroe, LA

Good morning everyone and thank you Margaret for your devotional today. Colossians 3:17 " Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." May our acts through our Christian life bring someone closer to our Savior, Lord Jesus. Sarah praying that all goes well for you and Albert. Have a great day everyone. Be Safe and God Bless!

Posted July 01, 2015 at 05:39AM CDT
Comment by Dan of Summerfield, NC

Our two families with 5 granddaughters will be meeting us here at the beach today for a few days; safe travel for them, and an affirming joy-filled visit.
Martin has his trial tomorrow. I pray the judge will not give him jail time for trespassing, since it will cancel his disability and when he gets out, he will be on the street and at jeopardy.

Posted July 01, 2015 at 05:39AM CDT
Comment by Ed of Carolina Beach, NC

Posted July 01, 2015 at 05:48AM CDT
Comment by JK

Blessings to all this Wednesday morning. The first one of July 2015! Thank you all for your prayers and travel mercies. We made it safely back to VA after stopping in the vicinity of Savannah. We had no internet due to a storm the previous day, so I am catching up on all of the postings from yesterday and today. I used a Gideon bible to have a devotion yesterday morning since I had come to rely on the internet for the UR. I have the paper version with my bible at home, but since I was flying I decided to "scale down" the luggage.....and then the luggage went to Rhode Island! ha. Sarah what good news that Albert found someone that takes the insurance. Prayers for the meeting tomorrow and that all goes beyond expectations and a connection is made/felt on both ends. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! George I am glad Bethanne and Arielle arrived safely in CT for the week. Dan I KNOW your family reunion will be awesome. Praying for the outcome of Martin's situation as well.
Margaret thank you for the message this day. We cannot always judge the book by its cover, but the outward "signs" can sometimes lead us to new friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. Prayers for our nation and Christians throughout the world as the turmoil seemingly boils all around.

Posted July 01, 2015 at 05:59AM CDT
Comment by Ed of Carolina Beach, NC

Sorry , my computer doesn't want to work with me this morning.
Praying for Albert about his Dr.'s appt. and hope all goes well. Special request for my BIL, Eddie, who has gone in for treatment for 30/40 days for alcohol, it will be a long journey for him. It will take a miracle for him to come out and stay sober.

 God bless everyone this day.

Posted July 01, 2015 at 06:05AM CDT
Comment by Bob of Guyton, GA

Walk through life with humility, for we are known by what we do, not what we say.

Posted July 01, 2015 at 06:07AM CDT
Comment by Heidi of Woodstock, IL

Good morning, thank you Margaret for your devotion. Happy you experienced Christian fellowship in a foreign country, how comforting.
Great news SARAH about Albert, it's all about baby steps.praying for a successful meeting with he's counselor.
Have a busy week ahead , started to help my very pregnant granddaughter to move in her new house yesterday. The house was not cleaned as scheduled, as a picky German was a little difficult for me to see them move their stuff in as I am cleaning. As I looked around was so happy for them they did not seam to be upset. Looked at all the positive things and praised God for their new adventure. Prayers to all the spoken and unspoken, have a blessed day.

Posted July 01, 2015 at 06:25AM CDT
Comment by Marilyn of Yukon, OK

Charles in FL my daughter who was a server for so many years and a single Mom would ask her boss not to schedule her for Sunday lunch because the church people would not tip hardly anything. How sad when I tried so hard to nurture her in the faith of kindness and generosity. Christians behave the way God demands! People are watching!

Posted July 01, 2015 at 06:34AM CDT
Comment by Marilyn of Yukon, OK

Charles in FL my daughter who was a server for so many years and a single Mom would ask her boss not to schedule her for Sunday lunch because the church people would not tip hardly anything. How sad when I tried so hard to nurture her in the faith of kindness and generosity. Christians behave the way God demands! People are watching!

Posted July 01, 2015 at 06:34AM CDT
Comment by Lily of Palmyra, NJ

Good morning UR family! Margaret, great devotion & photo. I hope you and your husband are enjoying living in Australia.
I am so grateful that I am still dearly loved by my heavily Father, because like most folks I too fall short daily. Thank you Father God for your mercy and grace, help us all to show your love to all we meet. I am so thankful for my UR family, continued prayers^ ❤

Posted July 01, 2015 at 06:37AM CDT
Comment by Judy of Yalaha, FL

Marilyn of Yukon, OK Yes about the poor tipping by church people on Sundays. Our pastor mentioned that a server told him "I hate to work on Sundays, the Church people are always the mean ones who you can never satisfy." We must leave our "love" at the church door.

Posted July 01, 2015 at 06:55AM CDT
Comment by Marsha of Brownwood, TX

Good morning URF!
Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of this new day! I am so blessed!
Thank you, Margaret for your devotional today! They will know we are Christians by our love!
Thank you for your prayers, URF! Please pray for my son, Nick, he is having surgery to remove a bone spur in his neck today. They will be putting a metal plate in his neck to aid healing, but they do not plan to remove it, since that will been another surgery. I have my grandson, Zakk today and tomorrow. I am also caring for my son's two dogs, more like small horses. 🙀
I am praying for you.
Have a blessed day walking with Jesus!

Posted July 01, 2015 at 06:57AM CDT
Comment by Dawn of Rogers, AR

Margaret, thank you for a lovely reminder of how we should "display" that we are Christians.
SARAH, praise God that Albert was diligent and found a counselor that would take his insurance and that he is willing to go. May God guide him and lift his spirit through the counselor and may God bless the counselor for taking his insurance. May the two of them have a good first meeting, leading to a good relationship, leading to healing. I am thrilled for you!

Posted July 01, 2015 at 07:01AM CDT
Comment by patricia of laurelton, NY

Goodmorning UR family and thank you Margaret for your devotion. I love to sing and pray this song "let my life be a picture of you dear Lord, let my life be a picture of you. Let me be a letter written by your hand for the world to see and to know you live within me" Amen. Sarah I thank God that Albert has found a doctor, continue prayers that his sessions with the doctor will go according to God's plan. Amen. How is your writing coming? Am waiting to read it. Praying for all requests and thanksgiving for all prayers answered. A very blessed and lovely day everyone.

Posted July 01, 2015 at 07:08AM CDT
Comment by chris of Myerstown, PA

Good morning Margaret, and thank you for your devotion today. Your thought for the day, might best be answered, by accepting others wherever they are in their spiritual walk in life.
 Sarah, your story about your ex-husband, sounds like the pot calling the kettle black. Is judging him and others like him any less Christ-like behavior, than their behavior is? Christ died and forgave them the same as HE did for you and me. Today's scripture captures the essence of what I'm saying. 3:13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Praying all goes well for Albert and you. God bless you and the work of your hands, here and elsewhere.

Posted July 01, 2015 at 07:17AM CDT
Comment by cherie of Inverness, FL

Good morning UR family and thank you Margaret for your devotional. I know I want to show the world Christ through my actions not just mouth the right sayings.

Everyone have a beautiful day! Love and light

Posted July 01, 2015 at 07:35AM CDT
Comment by cherie of Inverness, FL

Sarah I will be praying for Albert's counselling session. Thank God prayers are answered here in this loving space.

Posted July 01, 2015 at 07:38AM CDT
Comment by Barb of Crown Point, IN

Praising the news that Albert found a counselor!
Lifting up Francis, and little Vivian.....Carolyn and your niece and her husband.... Kim for your uncle George and Todd.... Linda and good results....... Kathy, for your work and family.... Lily, and her your work situation.... Cherie and Ron... Traveling mercies for all this holiday weekend...... Praying for all requests lifted and those held in the ❤️
My dad found out that is leukemia/lymphoma that they have been following is what effected his kidney so he will have some treatment called Rituxan (not chemo) for the next 8 weeks. Never heard of this. He does not seem worried as this too is a slow growing long term kinda situation so I guess this is kinda good news???

Posted July 01, 2015 at 07:39AM CDT
Comment by Lisa of Southlake, TX

Thank you for all the prayers for my dad, Bob, who fell, in May. He had broken ribs and a blood clot on the brain as a result of the fall. While in the hospital he had a stroke, blood pressure issues, a severe UTI, and other complications. With his will of iron, a great medical team, and all the prayers that went up for him, he is back home and nearly back to his old self. God bless you today and every day.

Posted July 01, 2015 at 07:44AM CDT
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