A Devotion May Be Someone's Only Bible

Faith & Family

Faith is a vital role in the family unit. It draws us together. Holds us tight. Binds us with the ties of God. Keeping faith in our families secures the values of Christ are embedded in our children

Detour

The new Interstate 65 overpass bridge near our home has been under construction seemingly since the Spanish-American War.

About forty-five minutes south of Nashville, Tennessee, this Interstate exit that connects with Bear Creek Pike was never one of Tennessee Department of Transportation’s finer moments.

Engineers had to sandwich the exit ramps and overpass bridge in the original interstate construction into a very awkward space, shoehorning them between a cemetery, a pipeline right of way, a substantial creek, and a gas station/convenience store. The results weren’t pretty. Bear Creek Pike actually curved under the interstate bridge. Because of that bend, you couldn’t see what was coming from under the bridge when you came off the Interstate exit ramps and stopped to turn on Bear Creek Pike. Major accidents were common. Then a few years ago, a truck stop was built at the exit, adding a constant flow of eighteen-wheelers to an already dangerous situation.

Finally, the county, state, and DOT decided the infamous I-65 Exit 46 would get a makeover. As I said, that feels like it was a few centuries ago since we’ve been dodging orange barrels and negotiating wild lane changes for decades.

One day was worse than usual. I pulled onto Bear Creek Pike and headed toward the interstate, only to be greeted by a blocking row of the ubiquitous orange barrels and a sign that read, “Road Closed. Find Alternate Route.” No helpful detours or even an arrow suggesting which way to go. Just “Road Closed.”

I can’t tell you how often I’ve run into a similar proverbial road sign in my often-wayward life. A sign that would flash in my brain like a neon sign: “Road Closed. Find Alternate Route.” And I’m embarrassed to tell you how many times I ignored that warning and breezed merrily on to near disaster and ruin.

It didn’t have to be that way. I knew there was an “Alternate Route”—one found in the Word of our Lord. But I had to read, study, and live God’s Word to find the detour. The Bible did me no good sitting as a leather paperweight on my desk.

The Word of God is a seed. The more I plant it inside me, the more it grows and fills me. Most importantly, when I encounter one of those life-changing “Road Closed” situations, God’s “Alternate Route” lights up in my heart like a neon sign.

Are you planting the seeds of God’s Word where they can grow and guide you when you need your next alternate route?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Your One True Father

I miss my dad.

Twenty-seven years ago, we bade him goodbye as he took flight on angel wings. It was a strange moment for our family. Once Dad was gone, we just stood there quietly.

“What do we do now?” I whispered to my niece, an RN.

“Call the nurse’s desk. They’ll know what to do.”

We didn’t call. Instead, my niece took my hand, and together we walked down the long hospital corridor to the nurse’s desk.

“He’s gone.” My voice quivered. The nurse on duty walked around the desk and hugged me.

“I know. I saw his stats on my desk. You and your family take the time you need to say goodbye, and when you’re ready, you can leave. I’ve already called the doctor to come and make the declaration.”

Dad’s cancer road was short, and we are fortunate that God saw fit to take him before he began to suffer. His compassion for Dad and us was immeasurable when we think about what could have been.

The psalmist grasped the great compassion of our Father in heaven. He reminded us God’s mercy is available to us in so many ways—even though sometimes we don’t recognize it immediately. God’s passion is girded in His compassion, and He longs to share that with His children. 

Dad knew the Lord intimately, but not until his elder years. He was baptized as a young man but chose to walk away from God’s love and compassion during his mid-life years. But one day, God moved in Dad’s heart. We still don’t know how or why, except that from that day forward, Dad walked hand in hand with the Master. He learned of the mighty compassion of the Lord for those who fear Him, and when his time came to take flight, Dad took hold of God’s hand and was gracefully lifted into His arms.

Some feel they never had a father, and others, like me, only knew immense love from their dad. Still, we all have a Father who longs for a relationship with us and whose compassion will carry us through every joy and hardship.

Reach up. Take hold of the Master’s hand. He is your one true Father.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Surprises in Scripture

I was raised in a Christian home, so I knew about Jesus.

However, it wasn’t until I was in my forties that I experienced a change in my thinking. I was studying the book of Romans. I had gone through a few difficult years. My husband had left me with two children to raise. A year later my father died. I had lost the two most important men in my life.

When I read Romans 5:8, I realized I didn’t need earthly men for support. The Man I needed to rely on was Jesus. I have never remarried because Jesus’ support continues to grow stronger. I needed to break down to open my heart to what Jesus did for me and to believe deep down how much He loves me.

I had read this verse many times throughout my life, but this time something happened. I realized Jesus suffered and died on that cross for me. At that moment, my relationship with Him became real and personal. I cried like a baby.

As we read our Bibles, we can read a certain passage multiple times with no reaction. Then suddenly, a new meaning hits us. God opens our minds to things in Scripture when we need them.  

God knows what’s going on in our lives, and His timing to intervene is perfect. Moses had to experience God away from the Egyptian influences before God could use him to save the Israelites. He spent years in Midian until he was ready to accept God’s interaction. God also knows when we are ready to accept His interaction.

Now, when reading my Bible, I think, What is God trying to teach me in these verses? Sometimes, reading a passage gives me comfort but nothing more. At other times, a verse pops out. When it does, I spend more time on it because I know God is trying to teach me something.

As you are reading your Bible, a verse might touch you for no apparent reason. Be open to what God has in store for you. What you find might surprise you.

When you read your Bible, do it with a clear mind.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Adopted by God

I often say the adoption of our daughter from Russia in 1989 was a different kind of “labor.”

Still, the adoption was fraught with the same emotions of a biological birth: excitement, fear, joy, anxiety, hope. Because of that process, I gained a new perspective for my own adoption as a child of God. I see with fresh eyes the emotional and physical cost Jesus paid in laboring for my inclusion into His family.

Jesus’ joy was not in what would happen to Him, but in what it would accomplish—salvation for sinners—and in what His reward would be—sitting at God’s right hand.

In His most human of moments, Jesus sweated drops of blood as He thought about what lay ahead for Him. He knew it would not be easy or pain-free. It would be brutal and cost Him everything.

It wasn’t enough that Jesus suffered emotionally; He also suffered beatings and torture. Death. The ultimate cost.

When I saw Jesus’ laboring for my adoption in this light, it overwhelmed and humbled me. I can’t begin to imagine the cost He paid. While our daughter’s adoption cost us considerable time and money, my eternal and priceless adoption cost Someone His life.

Have you thought about what it took to adopt you into God’s family? If not, take a few minutes and meditate on it. Give thanks to Jesus for the cost He paid on your behalf.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Recall

With one hand holding the jar of peanut butter and the other holding my magnifying glass, I struggled to read the tiny numbers on the sixteen-ounce plastic container.

The manufacturer had printed the numbers below a barcode on the bottom of the jar. I moved the magnifier up and down until the numbers swam into focus. Finally, I could make sense of them. I compared them to the long list on my computer screen. About halfway down that list, I stopped short. I read the ten-digit sequence of numbers listed there again. And then, I compared them to the ten-digit series on the jar of peanut butter. They matched. The container I held in my hand was on the recall list—part of a batch strongly suspected of being contaminated with salmonella. And our family had already eaten three-quarters of the peanut butter in the jar.

No one in our family had become sick with diarrhea, fever, chills, or stomach cramps that salmonella loves to bestow on the people it infects. Even so, I tossed the plastic jar in the trash can. I can happily do without abdominal pain.

In this age of Covid, this psalm has become a watchword around our house. We thank the Lord for that wonderful promise in family prayers, blessings over food, and just plain conversations with our Lord. But the assurance doesn’t just apply to Covid or any other dangerous virus. It also applies to the unseen dangers lurking around the corner and over the horizons of our lives.

I have no idea how many dangers and sicknesses I’ve NOT encountered because of God’s love and grace—such as the possibly contaminated jars of peanut butter. And I can’t even count all the bad situations from which He rescued me before I planted His word like a seed in my heart.

I know I walk in the darkness of a fallen world. God’s love and His Word are the only lights I have to find my way.

Are you walking in God’s divine light?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



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