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.

From Fragments to a Masterpiece

My grandmother was born in 1899.

She sewed by hand and on a treadle sewing machine. When I was a child, I loved to watch her pump the foot pedal up and down while she worked. I sat mesmerized by the low, rhythmic hum with each motion. She kept that sewing machine throughout her life. No matter what electric convenience Singer invented, she would have no part of it. All her creations evolved from the old-timey apparatus.

Her specialty was designing quilts. She stretched the sewn-together fabric on wooden quilt frames to keep the layers flat after she covered the base in batting. In a basket, she saved every snip of material left from making a dress or blouse until she had enough for the pattern she desired. My mother’s contributions from all the clothes she made for me helped fill the reserve. No remnant was ever wasted.

Most people would think those snippets of cloth were useless and send them to the trash pile. But my grandmother cherished each one, and when they were all assembled, the pieces formed a beautiful artistic creation that pleased the eye and kept the body warm.

Unexpected events can cut our lives with the scissors of tragedy and disappointment, leaving a trail of fragments behind. We can feel as if nothing will ever be healed or happy again. Our emotions drift toward the refuse heap, and without help, we can’t get out.

When we give the Lord our pain, He sutures our wounds with His healing hands. He adorns us with the thread of His love and acceptance. Our fragmented life grows into a colorful mosaic of wholeness.

Jesus doesn’t discard us no matter how hurt or broken we may feel. When we offer Him our shredded lives, He shows us how valuable we are to Him. He wastes nothing, as He demonstrated by telling His disciples to gather the leftovers after He had fed the thousands.

When pain fills your life, don’t give up. Offer your fragments to Jesus and let Him create in you a masterpiece.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Jesus Feels Our Pain

The most humiliating situation I can think of would be a toss-up between fleeing my home in the middle of the night without my chemo wig and make-up and running a marathon stark naked.

In Corrie ten Boom’s World War II biography, The Hiding Place, she and her sister, Betsie, along with thousands of other doomed prisoners at the Ravensbruck concentration camp near Berlin, were subjected to the worst treatment imaginable by their Nazi captors. My imagination is not vivid enough to take in what they suffered. One of the most excruciating portions of the book describes the emaciated prisoners parading naked in a circle while the Nazi guards laughed and joked at their degradation.

Where was God in their suffering? Where is God when I suffer? One depressing song sends the wrong message when it says “God is watching us from a distance.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only is God right beside us when we suffer, but He also understands our suffering. Isaiah describes Jesus as a man of suffering and familiar with pain. According to Merriam-Webster, familiar means “well acquainted with something.”

Pain and suffering were Jesus’ constant companions. Even though He healed deadly diseases and raised people from the dead, He was abandoned in His greatest hour of need as He hung on the cross for our sins.

Whatever our pain or grief, Jesus understands and is with us, but there are steps we should take to experience His presence fully. We can keep a journal of our anguish, grief, prayers, and helpful Bible verses. God speaks to us through His Word. The Lord can love us through people as well. We can call someone we know. There are also Christian helplines and websites where trained believers in the Lord are waiting to talk and pray with us.

Be proactive in dealing with your pain. Your healing may begin when you least expect it.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Truth about Lies

I lied. Again.

When my high school cheerleading coach noticed I'd lost a considerable amount of weight, I told her everything was fine. Even though it wasn't. My desire to fit in with the other girls on my team that were thin and in good shape overshadowed my physical, spiritual, and mental health needs. I lied about what I ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to lose weight. I believed being thin would cause people to love and accept me in a way I desperately wanted, and I would feel less broken on the inside.

As I tried to acquire the approval I thought I needed, I fought a battle I no longer had the energy to fight. The more lies I told, the harder it became to keep track of them. Living in constant terror of slipping up wore me down. I finally reached a point where changing my dysfunctional cycle became necessary and uncovering the truth of who I was and why I did what I did was inescapable.

Falling into the trap of wanting to impress people on the outside—while we are utterly oblivious to the corrupt state of our hearts on the inside—can cause damage as it did for the religious leaders with whom Jesus interacted. When we are preoccupied with keeping our exterior beautiful while our rotting interior is left untreated, we can develop spiritual cancer that causes us to die inside.

Authenticity teaches us we don't have to present ourselves a certain way for others to love and accept us. Unraveling lies we believe about ourselves instead of hiding behind them is crucial. I pretended to be okay when I wasn't. Not only was that unhealthy, it was ungodly.

When you find areas in your life where the lies prevail, seek forgiveness. Then turn to the God who sees nothing but beauty in you.

What is one area where you can work on being more authentic? Choose to be transparent when the next opportunity arises.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Master Sculptor

My son once told me that artists create sketches by first carefully penciling many lines on paper.

The desired result is then achieved by erasing all the unnecessary lines. I once read somewhere that a gifted author writes down every word that comes to mind and then skillfully removes the ones not needed.

The Lord teaches us contentment by gently removing whatever makes us discontent. We don’t always know the source, but He does. We are foolish, imperfect, greedy, grabby, and dissatisfied with what we think we love. We imagine we can fill our empty hearts with created things. Yet sometimes when we receive what we asked for, we push it away in disgust, like a tomato rotting on the vine.

God is the master sculptor. He takes our lives, like a pristine piece of stone or wood or ice, and chisels away tiny slivers to form the perfect masterpiece—smoothing edges that don’t reflect the amazing work of art He purposed us to become.

When we feel as if we’re under the sculptor’s chisel, the artist’s eraser, or the writer’s delete key, God gives us good news. He uses our discontentment. His perfection is revealed in our unique imperfections. He wants others to see Jesus more clearly through the gaping holes, the worn-out places, the broken pieces, and the missing words of our lives. 

Even though the battles with dissatisfaction will never end in this life, we will become more experienced warriors. Internal conflicts are good. They reveal the Holy Spirit’s presence in us, fighting with and for us. We face our struggles courageously so we can encourage others in theirs.

Ask God to help you be content with your imperfections, then point others to Jesus today.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Come as You Are

I woke up in the wee hours one morning—my usual routine.

I remembered I had not written a blog for that day. I headed to my office, only to find that my desk looked as if a tornado had passed through and dared to come back. I immediately cleared the paperwork and put items back in their place—all the while praying God would give me an idea for that day’s blog. His idea came quickly. “Just as you cannot work unless your desk is perfectly clean, so many people, including you, feel they cannot come to Me unless their life is perfect.”

Ouch. Don’t you love it when God shares a profound thought and includes you as a person who needs to change?

I thought about what God said and realized I believed I had to be perfect before approaching Him in prayer, my quiet time, or anything God-related. And heaven forbid I would show up at church or my women’s group without being perfect. I had to have the right outfit with matching jewelry, shoes, and handbag. I thought I had to be perfect and pretty—neatly wrapped with a ribbon and bow. How foolish of me.

Do we think God doesn’t already know our flaws, imperfections, and sins? Of course He does. And He wants us to come to Him with all those things. When we open ourselves to Him and ask forgiveness for unconfessed sins, He is quick to forgive. When we become vulnerable and transparent, He shows us what He thinks of us. He doesn’t see our flaws and imperfections. He sees us as the beautiful children He created us to be.

We might think a perfect God would want perfect people. He doesn’t. He wants us to come to Him just as we are—broken, wounded, sinners—so that His mercy and grace can overflow our lives, and He can forgive our sins. He wants to pour His unconditional, extravagant love into us, and, in our weakness, He will show Himself strong on our behalf.

Untie the bow, take off the ribbon, remove the wrapping paper, and come just as you are. God is waiting.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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