A Devotion May Be Someone's Only Bible

Peace & Presence

The peace we find in the presence of Christ is like crawling under a warm blanket on a cold winter’s day or feeling the soft breeze on a warm spring morning. Seeking after God is a continual process that grows us into a deep and long lasting relationship with Him. Come into His presence and find peace.

Pure Joy?

“What?” I squeaked.

I went to the chiropractor assuming I had a small issue with my shoulders. I came out with x-rays that looked as if they belonged to a pro football player. I dreamed of a quick fix. Instead, I got a long and pricey haul. I wanted to scream, but I managed “Let me talk to my husband.” I slinked out of the office—shoulders sagging more than when I came in.

After months of adjustments, exercises, shoe-lifts, and other painful processes, I gained forward momentum on restoring my spinal alignment.

We all want to be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. Otherwise, how could we accomplish anything of lasting worth? We want to align with God’s plans for our life. We desire favors and blessing only. Trials and tests hinder our happy lives. Or do they?

James says to count it pure joy when trials come because they produce perseverance.

We have all met people who appear to have avoided God’s refining fire. But do we seek out these people for advice on how God provided them wisdom and perseverance through trials? Or do we seek advice from the battle-worn?

I had to decide. Do I want to be a world changer for Christ? And what about my children? Or do I want an absence of adversity? We can’t have both.

Thank goodness, God is smarter than those of us on this struggling planet are. He longs to give us our heart’s desires. My strongest desire is not only to raise children who persevere but also to raise children who demonstrate Christ’s victory in their lives.

God’s wants us to be complete in Christ, but we must do the work to align our hearts and lives with His Word and His will. Walking in perseverance, tested faith, and blessed assurance that comes from relying on God in our storms—this is the legacy I want to leave.

Face your trials with joy, and determine to leave the right kind of legacy for those you influence.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Robbed

I searched my shoulder bag with a sickening realization.

My bag had been opened by a pickpocket, and all my money was gone. I didn’t even have enough to take the bus home.

I was in another country and had just stepped off a crowded minibus. As I trudged to my destination, a mixture of anger and vulnerability filled me. Now what? The loss was more than money. A sense of insecurity and uncertainty about what would happen next almost paralyzed me. Would I really be safe here in this country? And could I actually trust God to provide for me?

It took a while to recover from this experience, but it reminded me of all the other thieves in my life: time, materialism, peace. How often was I willing to settle for second best by allowing the media to steal my time? I also realized that materialism steals my sense of contentment by making me want just one more thing.

By letting myself dwell on how I had been wronged, I lost my peace. Did I really believe God had set aside His sovereignty by allowing me to be attacked? Or did He still have a better plan despite the apparent chaos? Too often, I stop believing His plan for me is abundant life, which comes through a peace only He can give.

God’s peace only comes when I am willing to surrender my feelings about what I think is right and allow Him to direct me, despite my circumstances. I need Him to be my Good Shepherd, for only He knows the path along which He leads me. Even though I did not get my money back, I needed to forgive the one who had wronged me and trust in God’s grace and provision for me as His child.

Are you struggling with a wrong committed against you? Change your focus from your circumstances to the Good Shepherd who is watching over and caring for you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



An Encouraging Eppie-sode

Everything was going as Eppie had planned.

Our granddaughter waited patiently by the family car. Her dad and her sister Rise were inside the house, preparing for their return trip to Vermont following a delightful Father’s Day weekend visit with the Delaware grandparents. Also safely inside was Willow, their nearly-grown golden retriever.

Suddenly, Rise shattered Eppie’s plan when she opened the front door, letting Willow gallop to freedom.

“I didn’t want the dog to come outside,” Eppie screamed angrily.

Rise’s jaw dropped as Willow pranced gleefully, but only briefly into the front yard. Eppie marched up to the carefree puppy and dragged her back to the house. Willow was too stunned to object or even eek out a slight “ruff.”

“That dog is stronger than you, Eppie. You can’t pull her by yourself.” As soon as Granddad uttered the words, he knew he had said the wrong thing to the four-year-old.

“No, she’s not. I’m stronger than she is,” erupted Eppie.

And Eppie proved it. Willow was back in the house in record time. Although her victory was won mainly by sheer tenacity and willpower, Eppie’s resolve speaks volumes. We must have the same determination and bulldog faith when the Enemy of our souls knocks on our door with sickness, fear, doubt, strife, lack, or condemnation.

Paul says God will do what He promises. Daniel opened the windows of his home and prayed unashamedly to his God despite the satrap’s evil plot against him. The three Hebrew youths refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. Josiah pledged himself to the Lord and required the Israelites to do the same. Nehemiah’s team repaired the walls of Jerusalem though surrounded by enemy ridicule and threats.  

These heroes of faith expected God to lead and protect them in the face of danger and death. We can be fully persuaded that God’s promises are “Yes” and “Amen.” 

Even though life can be ruff, as Willow discovered, choose to believe God can do whatever He promises.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Seeds of Faith

I kept silent. Again.

I arrived at the office at 6:30 a.m. and scooted over to the breakroom for coffee to jump-start my day. As I dumped creamer into my coffee, I overheard two colleagues discussing their daughter’s clothing choices. “My parents would have never allowed me to dress the way they do these days,” said one of them. “It’s too showy for my taste.” But they did not think it caused any real harm.

Even though I believe it is important to teach young people about modesty, I did not say a word. Instead, I elected to show tolerance toward my co-worker’s dress code views.

As I returned to my desk, I realized I had silenced my Christian beliefs for the sake of tolerance. I remained quiet about something I could have spoken up about. In truth, it was not in favor of tolerance that I remained silent—but fear. Fear of offending others and of being labeled around the office as another narrow-minded Christian.

Jesus often told His disciples not to be afraid and to remain steadfast in fulfilling their mission. His words to them are also words for us. Jesus did not command us to tolerate all views. He wants us to go and make disciples of all nations—even if it means ruffling feathers along the way.

God wants us to remain faithful to His teachings and allow our true Christian light to shine forth for others to see. We are called to be His messengers. And this supposes telling others about Jesus Christ and His life changing message—a message many of our colleagues may label as offensive.

But the risk is worthwhile, knowing it allows others to see Christ in us. And when we boldly share the Christian message, seeds of faith are planted, and God brings a harvest.

Become a mirror of Christ. Be a courageous seeder of your faith.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Two Brothers

I was not as good as I thought.

I grew up in church and had all the perfect attendance Sunday school pins down one lapel and up the other one. I made a public confession of my faith and was baptized—which was expected of all young people in the church. People knew me as a good boy. I tried to do the right things, especially on Sunday mornings—until one day on my college campus I gave my heart to the Lord. Then I saw I was a lot more like the older brother in the story Jesus told.

Luke records Jesus’ story about two sons. The younger forsook his father and his household while the older stayed home and did all the right things for all the wrong reasons.

The younger brother spent his inheritance on wild living. He lived among the pigs and even desired their food. He finally came to his senses and realized he no longer had the right to be called his father’s son.

The younger brother returned home and told his father about the sorrow he had experienced in his heart. His father, being a type of Christ, treated him as if he had never sinned. He clothed him with a beautiful robe and killed the fatted calf for a celebratory feast.

Enter the older brother. He was not excited about his brother’s return. He was angry that his father didn’t give his brother what he deserved. All the elder brother’s good works did little to change his heart. He served his father, but not out of love. He tried to earn what he felt he deserved: his inheritance.

Recognizing our sin against God is like finally seeing the obvious. There are none so far from God that live close to Him without ever really knowing Him. We can never receive anything from God until we realize we deserve nothing.

But repentance never demands mercy from the one we’ve offended. And when our hearts are right with God, we always rejoice when others repent.

Trying to work for our salvation always makes us feel entitled. Don’t try to earn what you can only receive by God’s grace.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



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