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 Good Shepherd

The players in the production, “Godspell,” reminded the audience of how silly and foolish sheep can be.

In one scene, Jesus directed His followers to sit at His right side as they would in eternity. The performers slowly made their way across the stage on hands and knees, baaing back and forth to each other like children playing a game. Jesus abruptly stood in front of them and baaed back to get their attention. This sidesplitting scene revealed that Jesus speaks our language, whatever it is, and will get our attention.

We are “Sheep in Training (SIT).” We sit and wait on Jesus, the perfect Shepherd. He tends His sheep, placing our needs before His. We faithfully follow Him wherever He leads. The sheep and the Shepherd are eternally connected.

How else could we receive and understand God’s instructions? We know His voice. We hear Him in the crowds, in the grocery store, over the internet, and on the radio. We are in training wherever we go, whatever we see, and with whomever we meet.

The Good Shepherd calls us by name, but we must listen. There is so much He wants to teach us. We can be encouraged and rejoice that we are His chosen lambs whom He picks up and carries into His fold.

He guides us to calm waters, so we can be courageous. He restores our soul so we can be filled. He anoints our heads with oil, showing we are honored. He fights off our attackers, which gives us security. And He provides for our needs, making us feel complete.

Rest in the arms of the Good Shepherd today.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Thanks in Troubled Times

When I pastored my first church, I was eager to meet the members.

I began a robust visitation schedule. Figuring I would meet the regular attendees at church, I started with the shut-ins. One visit was memorable.

Betty had terminal cancer, but talking with her didn’t reveal any sorrow. She was thankful and told me how people in the church were good to her, how God was such a blessing, and how blessed she was. Although her body was wasting away—and although she labored to walk across the living room to ensure her new pastor had a clear place to sit on the sofa—she was a picture of thankfulness. I went to see her thinking I would make her feel better about her sad condition but left feeling better for having visited her.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Betty had a good understanding of Paul’s words. She was not thankful for her cancer, but in that circumstance, she perceived opportunities to give thanks. Her thankfulness during her bout with cancer amplified the glory of God. Few would have faulted her for complaining and grumbling, but her thankfulness and joy were not grounded in the shifting sands of her circumstances.

Paul encouraged the church at Thessalonica to view their present circumstances with the conviction that God was working on their behalf.

God wills for us to be thankful. By giving thanks, especially in troubled times, we give a visible expression of God's will in our lives.

Go ahead. Give thanks today.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Knowing When to Look Up

Woman falls into mall fountain while texting.

The headline came from a news story. It might sound silly, but how many times have we missed something important because we were distracted by something else?

I had been looking forward to some rest and relaxation with my family in Georgia while we camped at a beautiful farm. One evening at dusk, my husband built a fire. I gathered around with my cell phone in one hand and my coffee in the other. As I glanced around the campsite to catch the hustle and bustle of the other campers, my eyes suddenly looked toward the open sky. It was pure perfection—possibly the best sunset I had ever seen.

My heart was overwhelmed with gratitude for such a magnificent sight, and I felt the sense of peace I searched for. If I would have fallen into my routine of checking my emails and social media, I would have missed God’s beautiful display of creativity. I spent the remaining daylight time marveling at the sky.

In the daily grind, we are so focused on getting where we need to go that we often have our nose to the ground. At the end of that time, I Nebuchadnezzar raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. Nebuchadnezzar knew there was a time to look toward heaven. When he did, his sanity was restored.

Sometimes we need to quiet the chaos of life and soak up the glory God has given us on earth. This reminds us of His greatness and removes the focus from us. No matter what the situation, we can always look up. Our time is temporary, but God’s kingdom is eternal.

When things demand too much of your attention, look up. Then place those things to the side for a moment and glorify God by marveling at something He has created.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Learning to Float

My mom loved to float.

Whenever Mom could be in our backyard pool without any kids splashing about, she'd lie on her back and float. As a kid, I never understood the appeal of such a boring activity. In fact, learning to float on my back was a scary task. How could I expect the water to hold me up? I would try, lying back on the water, but soon my arms would flail, my feet would kick, and I’d sink below the surface. 

As an adult, I discovered the joy of floating like Mom. The times I find myself alone in a pool without splashing kids around, I float. The cares of the day lift as I rest on top of the water.

When it comes to faith, the same principle holds true. When we try to live by our own power—worrying, fretting, and planning our lives—we expend a lot of energy. We assume we are the only one who can keep bad things from happening. We are anxious and tired.

But we don’t have to waste so much energy. Instead, we can trust in God’s unfailing love as the psalmist did. We can stop running around trying to save ourselves and rest in the love of the One who saves us. When we do, we rejoice in our salvation and find peace.  

When things are good, floating is easy. Trusting is more difficult in times of tragedy, pain, and loss. Worry and anxiety rob us of energy and time as we attempt to control things we cannot. Learning to trust in God and His faithfulness gives us peace.

Ask God to help you rejoice in His faithfulness.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Willing Hearts

Several months before Christmas, Connie lost her job.

Connie was a single mother with two children. Her husband had deserted her and did not pay support for the kids. Although Connie’s job had been a low-paying one, she managed to pay her bills. Now, with the loss of her job, she was anxious because her rent was due, and she didn’t have money to pay it.

It seemed Christmas would be a heartbreaking time for Connie and her family. In her mind, she could picture last year’s artificial tree with no gifts under it.

Two weeks before Christmas, a stranger appeared at Connie’s door. After being assured she had the correct address, the woman thrust an envelope into Connie’s hand and quickly left. Connie didn’t have an opportunity to question the woman or ask about the contents of the envelope. The woman had appeared suddenly and left the same way.

When Connie opened the envelope, she discovered $250 tucked inside—enough to pay the rent and to purchase a few inexpensive gifts for her young children.

God chooses many ways to meet people’s needs. Often, it is through touching the hearts of others to reach out. We may be asked to send a card, visit a shut-in, or give money. Perhaps we will be asked to listen to someone’s problems or to pass along a smile. The question is whether we’ll be like Connie’s caring stranger and respond to God’s leading.

As God speaks to you today, respond to His leading with a willing heart.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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