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The Matter of the Heart

  • February 2015 Issue
From the Editors

February is the month when many celebrate love and romance on Valentine’s Day. As followers of Jesus Christ, we know that God offers us amazing love that forgives sin, changes lives, and brings us into relationship with Him. He offers His love through His Word, and many of you, our readers, have sent us testimonies of how the study of the Word of God, with the help of Today in the Word, changed your heart. Indeed, God is after our hearts—the essence of who we are. “The LORD looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7), He tests it (Prov. 17:3), and commands us to love Him with all our heart (Matt. 22:37). We’re grateful that our devotional has a role in this work of grace.

We are featuring some highlights from our readers’ stories this month. We hope they’ll encourage you as well. The first letter we wanted to share with you came from Micah who is serving a prison sentence in the Oshkosh correctional institution in Wisconsin and whose heart belongs to God now.

When I first began receiving Today in the Word, my heart was cold and defiant. “Someone thinks they can change ME?!” I thought. “I’m fine just how I am!” Someone added me to your mailing list, but I had no desire to know God whatsoever. It was a dark time in my life—in prison, empty, alone, and angry. I cut off my family, I plumbed the depths of my sinfulness, and I refused to believe there was any god, much more the God of the Bible.

[I was] giving away each month’s issue of Today in the Word to an older prisoner who converted from Catholic to Protestant. But the Bible was in my locker all along, [though] I hadn’t looked at it in years. So, when “my mind” started to speak to me, the fact that it was a passage of Scripture dawned on me. It took some fumbling around to find, but I eventually came upon 2 Timothy 3:1–7. And the words in those verses hit me like a ton of bricks! I was all of those things, and more! That was all it took for me to realize I’d been foolishly blind for far too long. God was speaking “directly to me”! Needless to say, I prayed then and there, and I repented, and I asked for a new life with a new direction. And wouldn’t you know, two years later I’m on a path that God alone could’ve put me on. I have a great relationship with my family; I have a great job and a future opportunity to earn a chef’s apprenticeship; and I have more peace and contentment (in prison, with 9 ½ years left to serve) than I would’ve ever imagined possible just two years ago.

I’d like to thank the staff and contributing partners of Today in the Word for the valuable work they accomplish each day, month, year. Your ministry has been a staple in my walk with the Lord. I have learned much and had many questions (that I never asked) answered, because of your ministry. May the Lord bless each of you with the peace and joy that you impute to so many people because of your work. Thank you so much! —Micah, Oshkosh, WI

I have been using Today in the Word for years. Shared it with friends and coworkers. It has been a blessing to me at different times, some days it is just what I needed at that particular moment. Keep up the good work of God! You touch someone’s heart
each day and that’s a God thing.
—Monica (via email)

To all involved in Today in the Word ministry, I don’t know where else to put my note of love for all you do. I’ve been reading and sharing Today in the Word for several years now but never before said thank you. I know that now is the right time because I’m in tears. Started crying after reading October’s “Q & A” column [by Mike Kellogg]. Still now, as I write, tears flow. My heart has been heavy all day long, and now I believe healing is on its way. Many thanks for Bible-based encouragement. May God continue to bless all you do through increases in your ministry. From my heart to yours, much love! —Althea (via email)

We have been using Today in the Word I think since it first came into print. We now receive it from you on our iPad. Moody has played a HUGE part in our lives. We came to Christ in 1973, [when] God took our three-year-old son to live with Him two weeks after the birth of his sister. A friend introduced us to MBI and what a blessing it has been and is. We pray for you and thank God for you, especially how you stay true to God’s Word. Thank you! —Linda (via website)

I want to thank you so much for the wonderful devotions in Today in the Word!They are so enlightening, helpful, and informative—in learning more about my Lord and His Word. Many, many thanks! —Corliss (via email)

I just want to thank everyone who has a part in providing the wonderful devotional Today in the Word in print, which I have used for many years, and now for the marvelous online version, which I love to use before I start my day on the computer. Thank you all so very much for the blessed ministry you provide. —Mona (via website)

My sister died of cancer on October 2. When I returned home from her memorial I was delighted to find that this month’s subject was Lament and Comfort. It has been so helpful in this time of grief. I am sharing it with a number of friends and family who are grieving. —Brenda (via email)

I have enjoyed using Today in the Word each month, but I just wanted to say that the September issue has been one of the best for me so far. Maybe it’s where I’m at in my walk with the Lord, but almost every day there is something that just stands out for me in these pages and the Scriptures it leads me to. Thank you, and may God continue to bless your ministry. —Celia (via email)

Editors, I have been using Today in the Word as a daily devotional guide in addition to my reading the Word each day for a number of years, and want to thank you for the GREAT blessing it has been. Many, many times the reading and messages seem to be directly tied to situations going on in my life. Amazing!! Not really, when you consider Who is in charge! Thank you again. —Robert (via email)

Dear readers, it’s a privilege for us at Today in the Word to know that you include this devotional in your journey of learning how to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Thank you for standing with the ministry of Today in the Word! May the Lord bless you with His grace and mercy. May the words of Psalm 69 be fulfilled in your life: “You who seek God, may your hearts live!”

BY Elena Mafter, Associate Editor

Elena Mafter has been working at Moody’s Marketing and Communications department since 1999 and has been part of the Today in the Word team in a variety of roles: editor, proofreader, project coordinator, and contributing columnist. A transplant to the United States, she loves traveling, getting to know other cultures, and learning foreign languages.

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