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.

Courage to Obey

Some perceive Christians as sanitised people wrapped in perfect obedience.

I carried this false image for many years and found I failed to measure up to my own expectations. Then came the time when I knew I should write my life story and publish it. The courage to write was no problem. I knew the writing exercise was not therapeutic. Rather, it would confirm what God had done in my life. But the fear of the publishing world and the marketing became a huge hurdle.

Why was I so apprehensive? The transparent writing style left no stone unturned. It exposed areas of my life I would have preferred to have kept hidden. It opened up issues with family members that were difficult to face. And it obliterated anyone’s false perception of my now sanitised persona.

The Lord came to my rescue as I chose to obey. He showed me that Satan or the world could not point any finger at my past if God had led me to the ministry. No person could judge what God had forgiven.

As the Israelites began to seek the Lord and find Him, God said to King Asa, “But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.” The king obeyed by removing all the abominable idols from the land of Judah and Benjamin.

Sometimes it requires courage to obey the Lord, but God will supply what is needed for us to do what He asks.

What is God asking you to do that is difficult?

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Plans of Hope

Life rarely goes as planned.

My wife and I married in November of 2016 on a day filled with plans for a perfect wedding. Who could forget the anxieties and months of preparation? Sure, men have it easy with weddings. Get a tuxedo and show up, right? My wife, on the other hand, spent every aching moment leading up to that day combing over every minute detail. What color cake should we have? What song should we dance to? Should I marry this man? Wait, maybe not that one.

Our plans as a married couple included lifelong love and happiness. We never anticipated health problems for either of us—especially early on. But problems that altered my wife's lifestyle cropped up soon after we wed. Her ability to manage and maintain peace have been a constant struggle.

I’m sure Mary and Joseph had exciting plans for their lives as well. Those plans were halted when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and shared God’s plans for her—plans that differed drastically from hers. She would birth the Messiah. Mary submitted to God's will, although I imagine she did not want that enormous burden.

Being able to adapt and handle life's unpredictability is vital to our spiritual growth. Jeremiah reminds us God has plans for us—plans for our welfare and a future of hope.

Finding comfort in controlling our own life and its trajectory is easy. But it’s better for our soul if we let go of that control. If we are in tune with God's will, His plan for our life will unveil itself in ways we could never imagine.

Make it a point to align your plans with God’s plans.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

What a Drag

Swimming laps in pantyhose was a real drag.

According to my swim coach that was the point: create drag and build endurance. The intended result was speed on race day—when we swam without pantyhose. Modern runners do the same thing by adding body weight for practice runs. During competition, runners sprint through the course free of the burdensome weights.

Scripture reminds us we are not alone in our struggles. Others have experienced many of the same challenges. Hebrews chapter eleven shares a long list of those who overcame sin and adversity to run a race of purpose and obedience. Hebrews twelve reveals how their faithfulness encourages us to get ready for race day by dropping the weights of distraction and sin and focusing on the task at hand.

While our races may take different routes—and each of us will experience a variety of turns and obstacles—we are all called to lay aside the things that hold us back from running the race to completion. Some of our resources can create drag. Resources that consume our time, energy, and money. Things that if dropped would create opportunity for something more meaningful. When we shed the weight of distraction and sin, we may find that those former burdens have prepared us to dodge other obstacles along the way.

Whatever challenge you face, take courage that a great cloud of witnesses has overcome similar obstacles and crossed the finish line in victory.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Day 3 on Day 1

I opened my life to a circle of friends and asked them to hold me accountable.

I gave my friends permission to ask how my Purpose Driven Life Bible Study was going and to pray for me along the way. When one of them asked how my study was going, I had to be honest: “I am on Day 3.”

He chuckled. “That was two weeks ago.”

He was almost correct. I had started two and a half weeks before. I was supposed to be on Day 18. So, I opened the book and read the long-awaited Day 3’s question: “What drives your life?”

On one Christmas Eve, God gave me Psalm 16. The words have consumed my thoughts since underlining their truth through my tears. God is my portion, my share, and my reward. This divine, holy, perfect, merciful, forgiving, and almighty God. He is my legacy and my truth. I do rejoice, especially since I know I have a tendency to fall short.

We all have hurdles and victories … and we do our best to survive the in-between. To stay stuck in the embarrassed-emoji mindset is to let the enemy win. We must move on. I wanted that to be the case with me, but I let so much of life’s circumstances distract me into forgetting. Thankfully, God is ready to remind me as often as my memory lapses. Even when I skipped the study, He was faithful to take me to the right path. All I needed was to surrender and wait at His feet.

My heart and flesh are going to fail, but Christ is my portion, my strength, and my hope—forever. Forever is hard to grasp for my finite human mind, but it is no less true because I do not understand it. Understanding doesn’t need to accompany trust—just surrender.

The Lord will show us the way of life, granting us the joy of His presence and the pleasures of living with Him forever.

Let God give you the gift of His perfect counsel, the provision of His steadfast love, and a share of His enduring grace.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Hard Times' Prayer

After returning home from a family retreat, I contracted a Staph infection.

I told my parents about the pain in my leg, and the doctors confirmed Staff was the cause. Mom tried to drain the infection, which caused agony I did not want to go through. I went into the woods at the back of our house to ask God to remove the infection from my leg. God did not heal me right then, but He had a plan. A week and a half after I got the infection, I went to the hospitable for surgery. The surgeons removed a two inch deep by two inch wide section of tissue. The surgery worked.

Perhaps God did not heal me immediately because He wanted me to learn perseverance through prayer when life is rough.

Problems make life scary. Whether a family member dies, a disease enters our life, or another tragedy happens, we can know Jesus abides within us wherever we go. With God, we hold perfect peace, knowing the Lord is with us. We do not have to be troubled when storms hit because God will bring us out of the mess.

When difficult times come—and when we’re afraid of what might happen—we can go to the Father in prayer and ask Him what is going on. He will give us peace when storms hit and will help us when we face problems. The healing might not be instantaneous, but we don’t have to give up. We can keep praying, and God will answer in His perfect timing.

If you are facing hard times, pray.  

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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