Home Altar: Week of April 11, 2021

by LaToya Hayes

Receive His Peace

Sunday, April 11
John 20:19-23


In today’s passage, Jesus speaks peace to the disciples in the midst of their fear, not once but twice. “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you’” (v. 21). This Scripture reminds me that even when I am fearful of the unknown, Jesus has given me the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, and that peace will help me to fulfill his purpose.

It is easy to allow fear to consume us, blind us, weaken us, paralyze us, and get the best of us. But it is beyond reassuring to receive and accept the peace God offers us. When we accept that peace, we are able to move according to the Holy Spirit. What is disturbing your peace today?

What can you do to receive God’s peace?

Dear God, we pray for your peace, which surpasses all understanding, and we receive the peace that you have offered us in your word today. AMEN.

Trust His Word

Monday, April 12
John 20:24-31


The writer of the book Hebrews tells us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (11:1).

Have you ever placed a time frame on God? When God did not move within that time frame, did you develop a faithless disposition? Maybe you thought to yourself, “I will believe it when I see it.”

If our faith is based on seeing, are we truly operating in faith? Waiting until we see it is not the type of faith God calls us to. According to Hebrews 11:1, that is not biblical faith at all.

Genuine faith is activated when we are able to trust God’s word and his promises even in the midst of uncertainty. God wants us to accept his word at face value. Jesus said to Thomas, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (v. 29).

Dear God, help us to trust that even when we don’t see it, you are working. AMEN.

Give Generously

Tuesday, April 13
Acts 4:32-35


Shortly after my husband and I were married, I experienced a lapse in employment, so we were forced to live on a tight budget for a few years. One day, someone was selling boxes of fish at church, and I really wanted to buy one. Fully aware of my limited finances, I walked over and asked the price. When I heard the cost of $50, I walked away quietly. Witnessing the exchange, a senior member of the church insisted on making the purchase for me. I was overjoyed to receive such generosity.

Reading today’s passage, I examine my own tendency to contribute toward the needs of others. If I could eradicate homelessness, poverty, or hunger, would I be willing to share all my possessions for the good of all? What are you holding on to that could be a blessing to someone else?

Dear God, give us a spirit of generosity. Help us to be cheerful givers. AMEN.

Be Unified

Wednesday, April 14
Psalm 133


The first verse of today’s psalm reminds me of the joy I experience when my two sons are operating in unity, encouraging each other, supporting each other, and loving each other. I imagine God feels the same way when believers are unified.

With everything going on in the world, it is easy to retreat and cease fellowship with others, but I believe it is more important now than ever to be unified. Two heads are better than one, teamwork makes the dream work, strength in numbers, and power in unity are some of the expressions that come to mind when I think of believers being united.

Take a moment to reflect. Are you feeling unified, divided, or distant? What steps can you take today to strengthen your bond or reunite with fellow believers?

Dear God, help us to resolve conflicts and disputes within and with others. Help us to unite in harmony. AMEN.

Walk in His Light

Thursday, April 15
1 John 1:1–2:2


As soon as I read today’s passage, I thought of the hymn “Walk in the Light”: “Walk in the light / Beautiful light / Come where the dewdrops of mercy shine bright / Shine all around us by day and by night / Jesus is the light of the world.”

I can think of some decisions I have made that led me to dark places, and I remember some decisions that others have made that led me to darker places. During those times, I learned that if I could cling to the word of God and connect with other believers, the darkness could not overtake me. While we may sometimes miss the mark and find ourselves in unpleasant situations, we don’t have to stay there. Remember, “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all” (v. 5). What is hindering you from walking in God’s beautiful light today? I encourage you to give it all over to him.

Dear God, help us to seek you and not dwell in the dark places. Lead us to the light. AMEN.

Love One Another

Friday, April 16
1 John 2:3-11


As children, my siblings and I were forbidden to use the word “hate.” My mother would say, “Hate is a strong word. If you hate someone, you are willing to cause them serious harm.” At the time, I thought my mother was being a bit extreme; however, as an adult, I rarely use the word and regret it whenever I do.

Although we may avoid openly expressing hatred toward others, we have to make sure our thoughts and treatment of select groups of people do not convey hatred. While we may be able to hide our disdain from others, God knows our heart. Let us look within ourselves and ask God to reveal any hatred we may have.

The day I was writing this devotion, I stumbled upon the following message on social media: “You love differently when you know God.”

Dear God, help us to search for the good in everyone. Help us to see each other the way you see us. Help us to love one another. AMEN.

Seek God First

Saturday, April 17
1 John 2:12-17


“Do not love the world or the things in the world” (v. 15).

In verse 15 of today’s passage, we are discouraged from loving the world. What does that mean? Have you ever found yourself obsessing over a pair of shoes, a luxury bag, a new vehicle, a new gadget, a new career opportunity, or a new relationship? (Or insert your own obsession.) You become so focused on it that you lose sense of reality while trying to attain it. Then you finally receive what you have been obsessing over—just to realize it is not what you really want or need. Soon, you find yourself pursuing your next obsession.

I know this sounds extreme. However, I believe if we direct that same energy toward seeking God first, he will fill those voids that we are failing to fill with our worldly obsessions.

Dear God, help us to love you with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. AMEN.

About the Author: LaToya Hayes

I am a high school teacher with 19 years of teaching experience. I have been married for 20 years and have two teenage sons. I was introduced to the Covenant at New Zion Covenant Church in Dolton, Illinois. I enjoy reading, searching for treasures at secondhand stores, traveling, spending quality time with loved ones, volunteering, and encouraging others. My aspiration is to be the best version of the person God created me to be.

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2 Comments

  1. LaToya- your devotions have been spot on for our current times. Thank you for your insights to God’s word

  2. I have really been touched by your messages this week. Your aspiration would do us all well.
    Blessings.

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