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.

4 Steps to Get God's Help

In life-threatening circumstances, to whom can we look for help?

Most people frantically search for someone reliable—perhaps a family member or friend. If they are desperate enough, they may look for anyone willing to help, even for a price. Instead, why not look to the Lord?

Here are four simple steps to get God’s help.

Realize and Admit Our Mistakes

In the Bible, Hezekiah, king of Judah, counted on an alliance with Egypt, Philistia, and Phoenicia to defeat the Assyrians, who smashed every kingdom in their path. This was a mistake, for they were ungodly and unreliable. The alliance didn’t help Hezekiah. All of Judah’s fortified cities were smashed by the Assyrians, except Jerusalem, the capital city.

Turn to God for Help

Hezekiah made preparations for an upcoming siege. That was his responsibility. However, sometimes our efforts are not enough. We need supernatural help. Hezekiah called on his God, the one true Sovereign of the universe.

Have Confidence in God and Do Not Be Dissuaded 

In contrast to Hezekiah’s confidence in God, Sennacherib, king of the Assyrians, was confident in his abilities. He was arrogant and had a misconception of Israel’s God. To him, Judah’s God was no more powerful than those of other nations he had conquered. Israel’s God had not saved the northern kingdom of Israel from his destructive hand or any other fortified cities of Judah. Why should He deliver Jerusalem?

Regardless of who or what causes us severe anxiety, if we are living a righteous life, the Lord is on our side. And one plus God is a mighty majority.

Seek God’s Glory

How can we know we will get God’s help? We must seek His glory. The Lord is delighted to answer those seeking to please Him.

In one night, the angel of the Lord destroyed 185,000 Assyrians as they slept. Humiliated, Sennacherib returned home. Later, his sons assassinated him. Through this victory, God received the glory.

No one is more powerful than the Lord Almighty. Will you trust Him?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Thought Control

Martin Luther said, “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.”

The quote came to mind as I compared the teachings of psychology and professional theology as they relate to controlling our thoughts. Having served professionally in both fields, this comparison interested me. I refreshed my curiosity and found two premises built into modern mental health that, if not modulated by the Word of God, can encourage the violation of moral absolutes, which produces tension in the ego core and often leads to a breakdown.

The emphases from both fields will help us find freedom from hindering restraints and will bring healing from emotional dysfunction. Adultery is an example. When a person believes that adultery is an essential core moral betrayal, and yet they commit adultery, this violation produces an internalized self-contempt that produces a breakdown that normally takes three to five years to recover from. They have been taken into slavery again after being set free by Christ.

I learned that behavior grows from our thoughts. I would change Martin Luther’s quote to, “We cannot keep birds from flying through the branches of our mind’s tree, but we can keep them from building a nest in our mind in which their offspring begin to grow and multiply.”

Thought control is similar to taking a broom and sweeping our mind’s nest clean from the unprofitable chatter and lice that wild birds fly in with as they take residence.

God can help us take each thought captive as we yield to Him. He is a loving Shepherd.

Follow Christ’s example by quoting Scripture to the evil one’s minions as they attempt to take residence in your mind and heart.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



A Sweet Aroma

As I planted my freshly purchased annuals, I wondered which flower had such a sweet aroma.

I sniffed each one as I dropped them into their new mud homes, but I never found that lovely spring messenger. My work finally done—and my grass-stained knees creaking—I gathered my garden tools and wandered over to a bed I had not tended. I wanted to at least peek at my project for another day. The aroma greeted me again, growing stronger as I approached.

Tucked in among the Hosta, the plant that can overpower a garden, rested some tenacious Lilies of the Valley, barely peeking out from among the giant plants. They stood unassuming and small, but sent out a large and inviting fragrance as a message of their presence, even among the giants that squeezed them. I wanted to stand near the flowers, look closely at their blooms, and inhale their fragrance.

I want my fragrance to send out a message of the hope and peace I have in Christ, even if I am nestled among giants who don’t know Him. Like the lilies, I want to be unassuming and make no excuse, except that my hope is not my doing and that anyone can have that same peace. I want my trust in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice to be so fragrant that anyone without that hope wants to ask me how they can have it.

I pushed the Hosta leaves aside, cupped the little flowers in my hands, and breathed deeply, in no rush to leave them.

Yes. I want to be like the lilies and have a fragrance of hope that draws people closer and makes them want to tarry long enough to find out what gives me hope and peace. As they tarry, I pray they will embrace my hope and carry the fragrance of Christ with them to others.

What kind of fragrance are you emitting?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Making Waves

"Help!" Little Joey shrieked to big brother Jerry as he pointed toward the sailboat model drifting away from him on the park lake.

Jerry came up just in time to see the miniature vessel with its sails billowed, gliding with the breeze across the water and out of reach.

"You've got to get it back," Joey pleaded.

After a moment’s thought, Jerry stooped to gather a handful of small stones and hurl one at the departing model.

"You'll hit my ship," Joey blurted.  

Jerry continued to toss stones toward the ship. Although Joey couldn’t see it, Jerry was aiming the stones, not at the ship but the waters just beyond. As the missiles plopped into the water, each created a miniature wave that rippled back against the ship. Each successive billow sent out waves that caused the little ship model to pause and then turn back. Within minutes, the ship was within Joey’s grasp.

Joey was confused with Jerry’s tactic until he realized the purpose behind it. Joseph’s brothers faced the same dilemma. They had come from a foreign land to get help, but they faced opposition from a cold-natured Egyptian official. When that official later revealed himself as their long-lost brother Joseph, they discovered their evil actions against him were a part of God’s divine plan to preserve His people.  

I often feel the same as Little Joey and Joseph’s brothers when I encounter difficulties on my spiritual journey—or when I feel a sense of confusion at seemingly illogical and purposeless events. This can be frustrating, yet I have an advantage: I know God has a purpose. The Lord has a perfect plan for everything in my life. Even unexpected developments have a rationale.

When you don’t understand circumstances, remember God has a plan, then continue serving Him.  

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Looking for Courage on the Cheese Aisle

Cheddar or Italian?

I debated which to buy as my peripheral vision reported an approaching man. “You Chinese?” the thirtysomething inquired.

I nodded.

“People like us are rare around here,” he claimed.

Maybe he meant in the Caucasian neighborhood where the grocery chain was located, I thought.

He then launched a monologue about the racism he’s suffered since moving to America. His profanity-laced litany of complaints invited no response—until a pregnant pause ensued.

I sensed it was now my turn. I imagine he wanted me, another minority migrant, to join in and bash the country. I encountered an internal battle with polarized parts. One part encouraged me to voice my values—even though they ran counter to popular norms—while another part urged me to stay mum.

Jesus’ step-father would’ve understood. I’m sure Joseph didn’t plan to marry the one girl God destined as a surrogate mother for His Son, but this was what happened. Joseph must’ve heard Mary’s account of how the angel Gabriel forewarned her about the miraculous pregnancy and chose to believe her—the way he did the angel who later appeared to him. Despite the steep societal cost, he obeyed the Lord and remained with Mary.

Believing privately is one thing; exposing our beliefs in public is another. Thanks to a mandated census, Joseph had to travel with a pregnant woman whose child he didn’t help procreate. He must’ve exhibited outstanding courage.

As he readied their donkey, did he hear naysayers snicker? “There’s the guy with the outlandish tale! We know how that baby got into Mary’s belly. Angelic visitation my foot!” How many times did Joseph have to endure stares or answer fellow travelers, “No, she’s not carrying my baby?”

Cancel culture notwithstanding, we should boldly exhibit biblical values whenever appropriate. Joseph survived his haters, and we will too.

Back at the cheese aisle, I pondered my minority status and its accompanying hardship. But even if it’s fashionable to denounce the nation as racist, I refuse to do so. So, I told the man, “I love America.”

In what areas do you need courage?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



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