A Devotion May Be Someone's Only Bible

Spirit & Body

We have two bodies as such. The physical body and our spiritual body. The Spirit is an important part of both. Giving our hearts to Christ brings that spiritual body into balance and therefore, helps us understand the ups and downs of the physical body – even accept them when others cannot.

You Are Walking Well

My husband and I have three Newfoundland dogs: Harvey, Baloo, and Daisy, a nine-month-old rescue puppy.

Harvey is the eldest. Arthritis has made his joints stiff, so sometimes walking is difficult for him. Exercise is crucial for his resilience and well-being. We have all learned to adjust our walking times to accommodate how he feels.

The perfect conditions for a good stroll are when it’s cool and dry. On those days, Harvey feels great and walks well. On other days, he still wants the company and exercise, but he is slower and needs to take his time, spending a little longer sniffing and taking a few breaks to rest. And he needs encouragement, so I walk next to him and tell him how well he’s doing. Every time I say, “Good boy, Harvey,” he walks a little farther.

Paul knows the Colossians exercise strong, confident faith, and there is order, unity, and harmony among them. His heart is with this fledgling church, and a part of his joy is that they are growing in faith and knowledge—without needing an apostle like him to be there in person. The Colossians have taken responsibility for their spiritual walk.

We need to own our spiritual walk too, and commit to journeying with Jesus every day. Regardless of how we’re feeling or how our day appears, continuing in our walk with the Lord is crucial for our resilience and good for our well-being.

And we don’t do it alone. The Holy Spirit understands the highs and lows of life and walks beside us through it all. He encourages and spurs us on. The Father sees our heart and everything we do for Him. He tells us we are walking well.

Make sure you stay in step with God and keep walking well.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Character Matters

Michael Jamison would not be alive today if not for his reputation.

Mike, a bank employee, was known for dependability. He rarely missed work, would call well in advance if he needed to be off, and was never late. Never.

One morning, Mike didn’t show up on time. His boss and coworkers became concerned. When Mike didn’t answer his phone, they called his wife who had left earlier that morning for work. She contacted a neighbor, who found him unconscious on the floor of his bathroom and immediately summoned an ambulance.

An aneurysm in Mike’s brain had ruptured, causing a catastrophic cerebral bleed. Doctors agreed that if Mike hadn’t arrived at the hospital when he did, he would have died.

Although he never returned to full-time employment, Mike worked with the youth at church, volunteered at the public library, and nurtured his two children into adulthood. He continued to live out his well-deserved reputation for dependability—the character trait that saved his life.

Several people in the Bible were known for their dependability, especially the prophets. Samuel, in particular, comes to mind. From childhood, he steadfastly proclaimed the words God gave him, no matter what danger threatened. Whether anointing kings, delivering bad news, or calling Israel to repentance, he refused to soft-pedal the truth. Leaders and common people alike trembled at his coming because they knew he proclaimed God’s judgment, whether good or bad. His reputation made him a respected servant of the Lord.

Whether meeting a writing deadline or just meeting a friend for lunch, I strive to be on time. To do what I say I will do. To be trustworthy. Not only because I was raised that way but also because a good character honors God.

Are you cultivating a reputation for dependability? If not, start now and see how God can use it in your life. Character matters.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Believing the Simple Answers

“Lord, You’ve got to be kidding me.”

The answer for direction I’d been praying for seemed right in front of me, confirmed by a settling in my soul that finally brought a sliver of peace. The answer was simple, but one that seemed too simple to be legitimate.

I tend to expect answers to be multilayered, well-planned, or detailed. But sometimes God works in ways that seem oversimplified, crazy, or even laughable.

Take Naaman, for instance. He was a high-ranking soldier with power and authority, accustomed to being in control of situations. He was also a man afflicted by leprosy.

A servant girl in Naaman’s household suggested that he see the prophet Elisha for healing. Naaman got permission and went, but Elisha didn’t come to meet him. Instead, Elisha sent a message to Naaman through his servant: “Go wash in the Jordan River seven times, and you will be healed.”

Naaman reacted as many of us might: with anger and disbelief. What made the Jordan River more special than others? Why had he traveled so far to be given an answer that seemed ridiculous? Why hadn’t Elisha bothered to see Naaman himself?

In other words, Naaman said the same thing to Elisha’s messenger that I said to God: “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Naaman’s servants convinced him to go down to the river. He followed Elisha’s instructions—despite how odd they sounded—and was healed of his leprosy.

God doesn’t need fancy, complicated, or attention-grabbing tactics to answer our prayers. How easy it can be to miss God’s answer because we don’t hear what we expected. But we don’t need to understand the answer to believe it will work. Like Naaman, we just need to listen, follow, and let God do the rest.

Are you believing God’s simple answers to you?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Take Time to Teach

He had no idea how to do what I asked.

One of my grandsons, along with his family, was visiting from Arkansas to attend the funeral of their other “Pop.”

The weather was hot and sultry. That’s okay when driving around in an air-conditioned vehicle, but not if you’re driving around in a little truck in which the air conditioning doesn’t work. And mine didn’t. I had bought the small 1986 Toyota pickup from a neighbor after her husband died.

Since I had grown up riding in vehicles without air, it didn’t bother me too much, but my grandson…well, that was another story.

When he complained about being hot, I said, “Roll down the window.”

“Roll” proved an interesting concept to him since all he knew how to do was “push.”

“How do you do that?” he asked.

“With that handle,” I replied.

He was intrigued. He had never rolled down a window. That started a ride-long discussion about how vehicles once looked on the inside and how they had changed into what he was accustomed to. I told him how vehicles looked when I was his age, and he listened intently. 

I try never to miss an opportunity to teach something of worth to my grandchildren—and to the middle schoolers I teach. And when it fits, I throw in a biblical application with the story.

Timothy had also been taught. Paul reminded him of his faith and how his mother and grandmother had passed it down to him.

God places teachable moments in our life regularly—and it’s not just with children and grandchildren. Teachers have the privilege of influencing many students. Sunday school teachers as well. So do employers, work peers, and coaches. Actually, anyone.

So, what did showing my grandson how to roll down a window teach him? That not everything in life happens with the push of a button. Some things…many things…require effort and forethought. He may not have gotten that lesson then, but I suppose a day will come when he’ll think about it.

Telling others about God’s love remains the most important thing we can teach, but showing others how we can take godly principles and apply them to everyday life also proves essential.

Ask God to send you teachable moments.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Participation

As a grandmother, I inwardly giggled as I watched my young grandson.

The concert was ready to begin, and I sat in the audience to watch him perform. He stood on the riser with the many other children as the program commenced. I heard some off-pitch voices in different octaves. I saw dancing with gusto, hand motions with flare, and expressions that would melt a parent's heart. That is—all but my grandson. I watched in amazement. His face did not change even slightly as he stoically stood, hands tight to his side, expressionless, and tight-lipped like a figurine on a shelf for the entire concert. He was a choir member, but refused to participate.

I wonder if God views His children as I did my grandson. God extends His love and forgiveness to make us part of His kingdom choir, yet some refuse to participate in His program. Many people, battered with scars of suffering and pain, have developed calloused spirits. They have a lock of protection on their hearts. Does God still love, chase after, and romance the disabled nonparticipant, leaving the ninety-nine active choir members?

According to Matthew, this is the precise action of Christ. As a flawed human grandmother, I did not scold or criticize my grandson after the program but wrapped him in my charitable arms.  My love for him did not diminish but swelled. I knew of my grandson's pain, and I did applaud his fortitude to remain like a defiant statue without fleeing. He had his reasons for non-participation, and I did not view him with contempt but with compassion, empathy, and pity.

If my imperfect love swelled, can we assume God's perfect love overflows even for those who refuse to participate? God knows the pain, the blindness, and the spiritual handicaps that keep some from responding to His call. His grace is like applause wooing us with these words, "I love you. My blood has made you a choir member, but if you want to experience my glorious music, take my hand, receive my forgiveness, dance and sing and participate in me."

Be willing to step out of the choir to reach those who are in pain. You may never know who will eventually participate, but God does.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



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