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 Wedding Dress

The plans for my wedding went flawlessly—well, except for one thing.

I once had a dream about myself in a wedding dress. A dress that was beautiful, strapless, and sparkly, and had a curvy sweetheart neckline. One year later, I got engaged and looked for that dress.

The first bridal shop had a similar one, but they could only sell me the sample dress that a million other brides-to-be had tried on. They also wouldn’t budge on the $1,300 price tag. The dress was dirty, worn out, and frayed, but they still wanted me to pay full price. I refused.  

After much research, I found an online site with the same dress (used) for $700 … except when I received the dress—weeks before my wedding—I realized it wasn’t the same at all. The dressmaker had used polyester instead of satin, and the color was gold instead of white. I couldn’t wear it.

I returned the dress and rushed to the bridal shop, begging them to sell me the sample dress. “We can do that, but we’ll have to have it cleaned and tailored,” the clerk warned, “and that will cost extra.”

“How much extra?” I asked. A whopping $500. With taxes and rush delivery fees, this filthy, tattered dress cost nearly $2,000. I’d run out of time and options, so I prayed, “Lord, I felt sure this was my dream dress. Why has everything gone wrong?” That’s when He showed me this wedding dress was a picture of His love for me.

God once had a dream of me: beautiful, sparkling, brand new. When He found me, I was worn out, dirty, and frayed. My soul needed cleaning and my tattered heart repairing. I wasn’t worth the price it would cost to do that, but He saw the beauty that could be—the beauty of something He dearly loved—and He paid full price for me with the blood of His only Son.

Ask God to make each day new for you until you are completely ready to be His bride.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Healthy Living

“Lose ten, twenty, or fifty pounds if you follow the plan.”

Every day, commercials promise incredible health results. However, positive results are possible only if we follow the suggested protocol.

After working through a recent health issue, a friend suggested a diet she thought might help. The information was two pages long: the “No” list and the “Yes” list. Wow, I thought to myself, this is great. I like the simplicity of having someone lay out what is good and what is bad. Oh, but wait a minute. What’s that on the “No” list? Pasta, rice, bananas, peanuts? But, I LOVE peanut butter. And on the “Yes” list? Hemp seeds, psyllium …

Isn’t it funny how we want good results without having to make tough choices? When God created human beings, He designed within us the ability to choose between right (the “yes” list) and wrong (the “no” list). He calls it free will.

My friend wanted her diet plan to make me feel better physically. God’s precepts help me thrive both in this world with others and in my relationship with Him. I've found some of God's principles are easier to follow than others. Yes, He has given me a choice, but if I decide I don’t want to follow His plan, then the results will likely cause pain and suffering for me or someone else.

The philosophy of the world promises we can have things our way. Such as when ordering a hamburger. I don’t want to think the consequences of my choices are only personal and affect no one but me. The “me generation” is nothing new and began in the Garden of Eden.

Free will is both beautiful and daunting. Thank God, Jesus chose well. He gave everything for me, for us—right up to the cross.

Ask God to give you a mind for healthy living.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Persevering Through Disappointment

Something disappointed me recently, and I asked God to protect my heart … to not let it discourage me.

He did protect my heart. I fell asleep with that prayer on my lips, and I woke up lighter of heart and genuinely carefree. I felt the victory of not succumbing to disappointment’s strong sway. The new and welcomed lightness made me laugh aloud, and I said to myself, “It is like there is a shield around me, and He is protecting my heart. I feel it! I shouldn’t feel this good after experiencing that kind of rejection, but I do feel good. I know this is the Lord meeting my need, encouraging me as only He can.”

How grateful I was for this answer to prayer. In the past, I had not always won this battle over disappointment, but God was teaching me through each experience of disappointment, discouragement, and rejection that I should not let it stop me. I shouldn’t let these negative circumstances bring defeat.

With each encounter, I have learned a little more, and I certainly know it isn’t wise to let disappointment become a dark cloud that follows me around like a repeating message in my mind or a broken record skipping over the same spot.

The important issue with disappointment is not to let it stop us but rather to glory in it as Paul writes: And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Disappointment can bruise our egos … make us doubt we are capable.

Good can come out of disappointment when we look inside, accept the disappointment, and find the will to go on anyway. It also helps to realize disappointment happens to all of us. Rising above disappointment is a valuable life lesson we all learn at one time or another.

Choosing to overcome disappointment builds strong character and strong hearts, bringing a healthy balance in our lives that will help us cope with all that life holds.

When disappointment knocks you down, let perseverance pick you up.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Heritage Remembered

They needed a refresher.

My wife and I arrived at the party hall to celebrate a family member’s golden wedding anniversary. The place was decked in gold helium balloons, sparkly gold-glittered flowers in golden vases, and gold-lined tablecloths.

Our adult children attended too. Considering their meager five years of marriage experience, it made sense in a funny way that our children would be curious about how fifty years of marriage looked.

Some of the septuagenarians attending the celebration stopped by our table for a chat. We hadn’t seen many of them in a while. We talked about the old days. They rattled off the names of family members, past and present. Our family elders believed it was important to know and share one’s heritage.

Not recognizing most of the names, our children wanted to hear more about their ancestors. In a way, they had forgotten who they were and where they had come from. We briefly revisited the personal stories of some of our relatives at the party—and also talked about their great-grandparents, whom they had never met. This strengthened their sense of identity.

This look-back reminded me of the Israelites’ return from Babylon after seventy years of captivity. When they returned to their homeland, the Israelites needed, as our children did, a refresher on who they were. Reflecting on their heritage, the Israelites rediscovered their identity as God’s chosen people.

As children of God, reflecting upon our Christian heritage often—and with gratitude—is important. We should never forget who we are and what it means to belong to God’s family. Being a member of His spiritual household affords us many gifts and a promise of eternal life. God will keep His promise to His family, as He kept His promise to the Israelites.

Invite someone to be part of Jesus Christ’s family today.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

 



Papa

He followed me home from school every day, but I never knew it.

When I was in the first grade and only six years old, the walk from school to my grandparents' house took about thirty minutes. Walking to and from school during this era wasn’t unusual. Nevertheless, I felt very grown up. What I didn’t know was my grandfather followed me at a reasonable distance to make sure I arrived home safely. It wasn’t until many years later that my mother told me this sweet story.

Today, when I close my eyes, I can see my tall Papa and his Fedora straw hat and fragrant pipe that I loved smelling when he was around. Thinking about him hiding behind trees, trying not to be seen by this six-year-old, makes me smile.

At the time, I would not have been happy knowing I was considered too young to make the walk by myself. Looking back, however, I see the wisdom exhibited by my loving grandfather to keep an eye on his grandchild. I also recognize the deep compassion he showed, not wanting to take away my sense of independence, while at the same time keeping me safe.

Many times throughout my life, my heavenly “Papa” has also been present when I didn’t know it. The times are plentiful when I chose reckless over reasonable, pride over prudence, and independence over God’s direction. Still, He never left me alone.

Seeing the bigger picture today brings tears to my eyes. Knowing the Lord gives me free will to learn and mature in my faith walk, while making sure I get home safely, is a tender reality I cherish.

God knows the way home: Jesus. Take time to thank your “Papa” God.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



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