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.

Spiritual Discernment

One of my sister’s best friends since high school passed away at the age of forty-two.

My sister was so engulfed in grief that she felt heavy and cried a lot. I had never seen my sister in so much pain and heartache. I wondered whether she needed a phone call, dinner, or me to sit with her during this trying time.

Jehosheba, the aunt of Joash, was a spiritually discerning woman. When Athaliah knew her son Ahaziah was dead, she went on a killing spree of all of the royal heirs. Since Jehosheba witnessed all this, she decided to hide her nephew from Athaliah.

When I read this Scripture text, I was saddened that the grandma was so engulfed in her grief that she started killing people. I assume she was in a hurt place and lashed out scarily. But I was struck that the aunt was discerning enough to hide her nephew from being killed. I assume the aunt was able to examine the situation carefully and decided to save her nephew’s life, even though it was risky.

When we are faced with life-altering situations, we must decide how we will respond and if we will allow our spiritual discernment to lead us. Are we going to lash out without thinking about the lifelong implications? Or are we going to retreat until we can devise a plan we know will have lifelong implications? Simply put, are we going to be like Athaliah or Jehosheba?

I believe God put this story in the Old Testament to remind us to pause and think about our actions and reactions because lives are often at stake. When I make life-altering decisions in the moment because my emotions are heightened, like Athaliah, I often regret the decision. But when I use spiritual discernment as my foundation, like Jehosheba, I am always happy with the outcome.

How will you respond when you are faced with life-altering decisions?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



One Day at a Time

In the warmer months, I ride my bike four to five times a week.

My trek is about forty-five minutes to an hour. Toward the end of my ride, I see a hill that is significantly steep and long. I refer to this segment of my ride as “Heartbreak Hill.”

As I approach this incline and look to the top of the hill, I feel it is almost insurmountable. One day, I noticed a cement drainage ditch put together by ten to twelve-foot concrete slabs. Instead of focusing on the top of the hill, I kept my eyes on the next segment of the ditch. With one or two rotations of my peddles, I was past the present slab and on to the next.

I repeated that process, never allowing my eyes to get too far ahead of me. Before I knew it, I was at the top of the hill—and without feeling too winded.

In 1974 American country singer, Marilyn Sellars, recorded the song, “One Day at a Time.” The song’s adnomination is a scriptural way of Christian living, just as my looking at one section of the drainage ditch helped me get to the top of the hill.

We often focus on more than we can deal with emotionally or spiritually. Rarely are we defeated by one day’s problems. We lose the battle when we try to navigate present challenges while worrying about tomorrow’s potential problems.

Grace is the divine ability to cope with life’s difficult circumstances. Yet God does not give us grace today for tomorrow’s would-be problems. A large percentage of the things we worry about never happen. We waste our worry on what we cannot change because it does not exist.

So, what is the solution? We need to listen to God and not worry about tomorrow. We are not wired to take on present and future concerns simultaneously.

Take it one day at a time, and you will find that sweet Jesus will provide the grace you need for the journey.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Feeling Burdened?

If grocery bag carrying were an Olympic event, I would score gold.

Refusing to ask for help, I often lug such a plethora of plump bags from my car that I’m hardly able to fit them through the front door.

“Do you need help?” my fiancé will frequently ask.

“Nope. I can do it by myself.”

Part pride and part not wanting to inconvenience another, my stubbornness has often led to broken bags, spilled groceries, and a grumpy attitude. It’s so hard to ask for help.

As followers of Christ, we weren’t designed to navigate life’s mountains and valleys alone. God designed us to need each other. Friendship and community are fundamental not only to share the joys and accomplishments of life (the fun stuff) but also to share struggles and sorrows (the not-so-fun stuff). Even Jesus maintained a close group of twelve whom He confided in and journeyed with throughout His ministry.

I find it incredibly difficult to reach out to others when I’m struggling. The last thing I want is to weigh others down when I am feeling weighed down. And yet when I do confide in a trusted friend during the trial, I find immense comfort and encouragement and always leave the encounter feeling lighter. Likewise, when a friend or loved one reaches out to me, I am grateful when I in turn can meet them where they are and help them weather their storm.

The best part is, we don’t have to carry our burdens, or the burdens of others, on our own. The Lord daily bears our burdens. We need not be weighed down, for nothing is too heavy for Him.

Do you know someone struggling? Are you struggling? Be encouraged to help share each other’s burdens, to share your burdens with others, and to lift every burden to your heavenly Father.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Deferred Hope

“I’ve prayed about this for years, Lord. I don’t understand why there’s no change.”

That was my prayer for a long time over certain situations. Well, maybe it was more like whining. I felt as though God had turned a deaf ear.

Ever felt that way? We are a generation of instant gratification. When we don’t get what we want immediately, we get frustrated and complain. We question why. This attitude especially affects our prayer life.

Proverbs tells us that deferred hope can make the heart sick. The Passion Translation puts it this way: When hope’s dream seems to drag on and on, the delay can be depressing. Sometimes we pray and wait. Ask again and wait. Even pray and ask and beg … and wait while we wonder, why doesn’t God respond?

Chris Tiegreen suggests this could be a test. “If we focus on the deferral, we grow despondent and lose faith.”

So, what is the answer? Tiegreen also says, “If we focus on His goodness, faith grows. His promises are rarely immediate, and the way you handle the wait is designed to prepare you for the fulfillment.”

The key is to learn how to focus on the goodness of God. Just because the answer doesn’t come when we think it should doesn’t mean it will never come. God might be doing a work in us to be sure we’re ready for the answer.

A child might ask for the car keys at age ten, but a wise parent won’t put those keys in his hand until he’s old enough, mature enough, has passed the driver’s test, and has a license. The waiting might seem like an eternity to that child, but the fulfillment always comes at the right time.

If you’re praying for something that has not come to pass, don’t lose heart. Deferred simply means put off or postponed. Remember, God works behind the scenes to make sure all the pieces are in place. He always has our best interests at heart, and His timing is perfect. So, keep believing. And thank Him in advance for what He is going to do.

Look up. Your answer is on the way.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Peace at Christmas

Our Christmas tree rotates, and I love it.

I can turn the house lights off, sit in my recliner, and watch it gently turn. Decorations dangle and lights twinkle. It’s beautiful. 

My habit is to wake up every morning around 1:45 and make a lap around the upstairs interior. I call it my prayer pacing. The house is quiet—nothing makes a sound—but as I walk through the hallway, I see reflections of glistening ornaments on the ceiling. 

I stopped and leaned over the upstairs railing, gazing down at the tree as it spun gently. Before me were memories of times past. Family, friends, prayer stars, one tiny handmade ornament given to me by a friend, and a baby Jesus—wrapped in burlap, sleeping and snuggled tight. As the baby Jesus’ shadow passed by, I suddenly found myself...touched. 

I can’t say it was a silent night when Mary gave birth. She did it in some makeshift-type barn, either a lean-to-type shed or perhaps a burrowed-out cave in the side of a hill. I’m sure it was noisy. After all, childbirth in and of itself is not silent. And with animals around, I doubt there was little peace for the child or mother either. I can’t begin to imagine the cleanliness factor.

Yet, in all His wisdom, God came to earth in the vilest of positions—an infant. An innocent, dependent, needy, human infant. It could have been so much more, but God chose the commoner, the poor, and the simple to place His Son among so that He would experience the fullness of humanity instead of the entitled.

There was little quiet in the life of Christ except for the moments He separated Himself from others to pray. Imagine the noise in His head. The sounds of humanity ripping at His soul. I imagine the only peace He truly felt was the moments after His death when His lungs sighed out the last push of air and His voice stilled. At that moment, when His earthly life ended and His spiritual transition happened, I wonder...was it silent? Did He have peace?

Christmas is such a sweet time to remember Christ. To imagine His momma, a child herself, holding Him tightly. And His earthly father, still a bit stunned at the birth, stepped up to love and raise a child that was not his by nature. So much happened that year. We’ve crammed it all into one night, but it was more than a night. It was a beginning to an end.

I made my way down the stairs to the tree, and when the child passed by, I gave him a little kiss. Sleep in peace wee one, for I am grateful for your birth, your plight, and your moment of silence.

May you find peace in the Christ-child.

(Photo courtesy of the author.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

 



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