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.

The Unpresence of Christ

The unpresence of Christ must have seemed illogical.

In my college French class, the instructor opened each class by calling the roll. As she read our name, she expected us to respond in French with ici, which meant here or present.

One day, I decided to liven things up by replying with something different—in French, naturally. So when she called my name, I responded, Je ne suis pas ici, meaning, “I am not here.”

An unusual statement, to be sure, but although grammatically correct in English and French, it was also wholly illogical. After all, how could I say I wasn’t there when I was?

But the women in this passage would soon encounter someone who could say that. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. If we imagine Jesus standing in front of His empty tomb and saying, “I am not here,” then the statement is not meaningless.

The women faced new challenges after witnessing the empty tomb. After all, they had seen Jesus’ death agonies, watched Him die, seen His inert body removed from the cross, and watched it placed in a borrowed tomb. However, things would soon change. Three days later, they encountered the triumphant living figure of that same Man. They would see him with their eyes, touch Him with their hands, and hear His words.

Although we can’t share their experiences the same way, we can remember the empty tomb and live our lives in light of the resurrection. “I am not here” was an illogical and ludicrous statement for me, but not for our Savior.

How can remembering the resurrection change your life daily?

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Praying Where We Need To

No one said praying where we need to would always be easy.

The theme of the freezing day on the ocean was disappointment. Always wanting to see a whale, I embarked on a whale-watching trip out of Bar Harbor, Maine. We saw a few finback whales from a distance. Not exciting. Where’s the massive tail? Can’t they jump out of the water and smash down?

Sitting in my seat, I felt the captain slow the boat and then tell us to watch. On the left side of the boat, a humpback whale emerged and fed on krill. We could see its massive mouth open and slowly shut before the whale slid back into the water.

I was stunned, thinking about the size of the boat and this leviathan’s mouth. It was a Jonah moment. How could Jonah have survived in the stomach of a fish? What was it like inside with all the krill, maybe some fish, and a lot of cold water? Considering my issues with heartburn, how did the whale’s stomach acid not consume Jonah? And Jonah had the presence of mind to pray to God? I’d be calling the Coast Guard if not the Discovery Channel.

Jonah demonstrates we can pray anywhere and anytime. God listens to prayers not only from a beautiful sanctuary but also from a hospital room, a funeral home, a courtroom, or even a whale’s belly. The place is not important, just that we lift prayers to Him.

Sometimes we limit ourselves by only praying in the “right place.” Jonah shows us the right place is wherever we feel the call to prayer. Maybe we are on the road and see an accident. Perhaps we’re sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting for a diagnosis—which, by the way, can feel like a whale’s belly.

Pray wherever you need to, especially when you need a larger boat.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Connection Brings Recognition

Connection brings recognition.

Panic crept from my stomach to my face. Immediately, this mama’s eyes switched from browsing through a clothing rack to scanning every nook of the store’s floor with the visual acuity and focus akin to an eagle. My toddler, Christian, who was previously beside me, had disappeared. He was holding my skirt, but something had drawn his attention. Then, with lightning speed, he wandered away. And I was too busy oohing and aahing over sale items to notice. 

I scurried past clothing racks, calling Christian’s name. Finally, I spotted him. Hearing my voice, he turned around, saw me, and let go of a total stranger’s skirt.

My son discerned my voice because he had heard it since he was in my womb. He has heard it as he listened to me reading bedtime stories to him. He has heard it directing and guiding him through the years. The hours, minutes, and seconds of togetherness and communication etched my voice into his mind.

Connection brings recognition.

Jesus talks about voice recognition as well. When we spend time with God and His Word, we will recognize His voice. Then we can follow Him.

Many voices compete for our attention, and the world’s voices are loud. As a result, they can drown out what we want our kids to learn. So, how can we teach our children to listen to the voices we want them to hear? How can we teach them what we want them to learn?  

Our children need to hear us speak God’s Word in our interaction with them. They need to see the way we live it out. This will help them distinguish our voice and the Lord’s. When they do, they will not be deceived and follow a stranger or the enemy of their souls.

In what ways can you bring God’s voice and word to others’ hearing?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Lesson of the Missing Forks

My grandmother taught me the lesson of the missing forks.

“Don’t throw the fork away!”

My grandma’s harsh tone stopped me on the way to the trashcan with my empty plate. I had just consumed a delicious helping of the Thanksgiving feast.

“I’m not,” I assured her and resisted the urge to sigh.

Why was she being so grumpy and ruining a perfectly good holiday by being the silverware police?

This memory rushed upon me as I opened the silverware drawer and found it empty. Searching the three-thousand-square-foot house, I found one fork and four spoons. Confused, I looked down into the trashcan and, to my horror, spotted three spoons lying at the bottom of the can.

“This is why!” I ranted to my children, who all stood frozen in their tracks in various stages of confusion. “This is why she acted like that.”

Scrubbing up my meager silverware, I wondered how many other times I had done this to people. All fifty pieces of silverware hadn’t disappeared overnight. It had been a long slow process, and I just hadn’t been aware.

I’m sure the same happened to my grandma. With twenty people coming for the holidays, she probably lost a hefty amount of her silverware into the trashcan each time. People tossing their disposable plates into the waste basket, not even thinking that the spoon or fork they used wasn’t disposable. I understood now.

We do not understand why people are the way they are and act the way they act until we’ve gone through what they’ve been through. From the outside looking in, they may seem a bit harsh, but we don’t know what made them that way.

Maybe it doesn’t make sense, but we can offer them grace. If they seem rude, extend mercy. And if they’re harsh, forgive them.

Someday, we will fight a private war that will change who we are, and all the grace, mercy, and forgiveness we planted into others’ lives will spring forth.

Drying off my solitary fork, I whispered a prayer for patience and found myself smiling and remembering my grandmother. Although she wasn’t with me on earth any longer, she still taught me lessons.

What lessons have relatives taught you?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Don't Look Back

I once learned the don’t-look-back lesson.

A few decades ago, I ran on a seaside path and enjoyed the roar of the ocean waves—the fragrance of the sea spray tickling my nose, and the rhythm of my steps echoing my heartbeats. The wind blew my hair out of its neat braids, and I brushed the damp ringlets from my neck and eyes.

As I looked along the winding path, I glimpsed approaching walkers, roller skaters, bicyclists, and fellow runners. One runner stood out because he was quite handsome. As we passed, he smiled broadly and said, “Good morning!”

I could not resist the temptation to turn and look at him as he ran away from me. When I did, I tripped over an uneven portion of pavement, fell, and rolled along the path.

Dazed and bruised, I sat up. An older couple had witnessed the entire episode. The husband helped me to my feet and over to a wooden bench where I could recover. The wife offered me a packet of tissues, which I used to blot my scraped and bloody palms and knees. She also could not resist imparting a bit of wisdom. We laughed, and they continued their stroll.

I remained on the bench a while longer, marshaling my forces and contemplating what had transpired. I was there to exercise in the fresh air but had let a secondary motivation distract me. I lost focus by looking back and tripped over something I could have easily seen had I not turned around. Additionally, I sprained my ankle. I would have a long walk back to my car and several days’ delay before returning to my favorite running place.

If we’re not careful, the same scenario can happen in our spiritual lives as well. We start well with spiritual disciplines, like daily Scripture reading and prayer, but distractions come along and derail us.

What steps can you take to keep from looking back? 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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