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.

Spinning Thoughts

Twenty thousand feet in the air, and I had hours with nothing to do but think.

A middle-age man beside me engrossed himself in a newspaper. The beautiful young blonde in front of me looked out the window. People around me contented themselves with reading or taking naps. I, too, appeared calm, but if the others on the plane could have seen my mind, it would have looked like a gerbil running in a never-ending circle.

The same troubling thoughts ran over and over in my mind. Problems at work, unanswered prayers, health issues, and financial burdens piled up and tackled my thoughts. My mind wasn’t experiencing God’s peace.

As I shifted my weight in my seat, the Holy Spirit reminded me of Philippians 4:8. I felt as if He was calling me to take action, giving me “homework” to redirect my thoughts. I took out a piece of paper and listed things that were true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, and praiseworthy.

It took most of the flight to make my list, and I soon found myself contentedly gazing out the window. I wasn’t restless any longer, and although the circumstances that troubled me had not changed, I was changed. The Spirit of God had taken hold of my hand thousands of feet in the air and ushered me into a calm and peaceful place. The gerbil wheel stopped.

If we obey this Scripture in Philippians, we will have the mind of Christ instead of a restless mind. Renewing our mind by “thinking on these things” instead of our own clamoring thoughts enables us to hear God’s voice more clearly.

Make a list of things you know are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, and praiseworthy. Then think on those things. Your mind will be renewed as you remember all the marvelous things God has done for you.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Prayers for Bessie

Before sunrise, Pastor Troy unlocked the doors of Countryside Church. It was his custom to pray for the people before they arrived. He touched the back of the pew where Bessie customarily sat.

“Father God, I lift Bessie to you,” he said.

Outside, the sun crested as congregants arrived. Bessie had asked Sue to keep a secret. “The pastor visited a liquor store,” she said as she lifted an empty whiskey bottle from the trash.

Pastor Troy glanced out the window. “Lord, I’m not worried about the tale she’ll spin. The bottle is in the church trash because I gave Buster a ride home. I’ll gladly help him again,” he said.

The pastor had read where God invited Job to pray for three fickle friends. Job stood at the crossroads. His prayers could make a difference in the course of their lives, and this gave Pastor Troy the fortitude to pray for Bessie.

As he prayed for Bessie, his perspective changed. He now saw Bessie as broken, but reachable. He didn’t see any changes yet, but he knew love would win. He also remembered the words Stephen prayed as the crowd stoned him, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (Acts 7:60b). He recalled that Paul (Saul) had participated. Because of Stephen’s dying prayer, Paul repented and became the most prolific Bible writer. Then he thought of Jesus’ dying prayer, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34b). While Jesus’ enemies gambled for His clothing, He chose to extend forgiveness.

“Father, forgive Bessie too,” Pastor Troy prayed as he brushed away a tear. He hoped his prayers could help rewrite Bessie’s story. He moved to the next pew section—praying blessings on all who came to Sunday service, calling in salvations, healings, marital restoration, and family unity.

Then, walking toward the door, he prayed, “Father God, help me make Jesus’ story real to every person You permit me to minister to. Help me to share Your Son’s gift of salvation.”

He swung the church doors wide. “Welcome!” he said, greeting each person with a hardy handshake. He knew a secret he longed for Bessie to learn: God’s love transforms rivals into friends.

Ask God to show you people who need your prayers.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


Shame, Shame, Shame

“Shame, shame, shame.”

My parents and grandparents said the words to me. The words meant I had broken one of their rules. Even as a young child, which is when I normally heard this, I knew what it meant.

As I got older, the three words didn’t bring the same response as they did when I was younger and wanted to please everyone. The larger problem related to God’s rules, which my parents’ and grandparents’ rules supposedly mimicked. If I broke their rules, I was guilty of infringing upon God’s principles.

But I also experienced another type of shame: shame over my body. To say the least, I hated it. Skinny. Bony. And if that wasn’t enough, I had to get ugly glasses while in elementary school.

Paul says anyone who believes in Christ should never be put to shame.

Shame comes in two varieties: misplaced and rightly placed. One bad, the other good. If I do the opposite of what Paul says—feel ashamed—I experience misplaced shame. I should never be ashamed of who I am in Christ. Nor should I ever refrain from telling others through my actions and words that I belong to Him.

Misplaced shame also shows up when I try to improve on how God made me and who He made me to be. He gave me my body and my personality. What others think is, on one hand, important, but, on the other hand, not so important. I’m here to please God, not others. When I fail to accept that, along with the gifts God has given me, I feel shame when I shouldn’t.

Rightly placed shame entails recognizing I am what the Bible says: a sinner in need of forgiveness. I should feel ashamed that I’ve failed God. The good news is that God made a way out of that shame. Through believing in His Son, I can experience forgiveness and release from condemnation, knowing Christ has paid for all my sins. Daily confession of my failures and sins keeps me on good terms with God.

Satan wants us to continually beat ourselves up, making us think we are no good, getting us to think God can never use us. If he convinces us, we’re defeated, and God won’t be able to use us.

Don’t let the wrong type of shame lead you to a life of misery.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Vitamin Gratitude

Research shows living a life of gratitude benefits the mind and body by improving mood and anxiety levels, improving sleep, and bolstering problem-solving abilities.

In 2017, I started living an intentionally thankful life. I obtained an empty glass jar, and every week I wrote down things I was thankful for in that week, then placed the note in the jar. On New Year’s Eve, I read all of my gratitude notes. I felt so overwhelmed by how God had blessed me that year—in ways I had completely forgotten.

Maintaining an attitude of gratitude is one way we honor God. Just as we sometimes take vitamin supplements to give our bodies an extra boost, so we should also praise God as a way to enhance our spiritual health. While it’s easy to feel grateful during the good times, more often than not, a grateful heart is what gets us through the difficult times.

Cognitive neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf, suggests that thanksgiving, praise, and worship decrease negative thoughts in the brain. A profound suggestion.

Consider writing down a few things you are thankful for. Then praise God for them. Paste them on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or in your car (anywhere you can see them) as a reminder of God’s continued faithfulness to you.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Breaking Down

In frustration or tiredness, I sometimes snap at someone with a snarky comment.

One morning at Home Depot—after working an overnight shift at the hospital—I shuffled endlessly through the vast aisles trying to find a simple list of five items. I had stopped at the customer service desk on my way in to get a list of aisle numbers for my shopping list. However, the clerk gave me the wrong directions.

In the paint department—frustrated and tired and trying desperately to locate cheesecloth—I sternly asked the lady at the counter to call a manager to help me. She told me she was occupied, and I retorted, “Well, that’s why I asked you to call a manager.” Not my finest hour.

Some can relate. Some have more self-control or are filled with a deeper sense of peace, but on occasion my reaction overtakes what I know I should do.

God offers an alternative through Paul’s letter to the Colossians when he says to do everything in the name of Jesus. The verse summarizes the call on our lives to be the most Christ-like humans possible.

What we say matters as much as what we do. Paul gives both equal weight. Often, we speak without thinking, tell crass jokes, participate in gossip, curse, and offer commitments we don’t work to keep without batting an eye.

All we speak should be said in the name of Jesus. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t laugh or that we need to preach every time we open our mouths. But we should practice awareness of the words we choose to say and how they affect others.

We can be too prideful or busy to put accolades where they rightly belong: with God. Slowing down and taking time to thank God for opportunities, people, and abilities creates space for gratitude to blossom.

We need to give thanks in all circumstances, even when we grapple to stay afloat or control our emotions. Cultivating an attitude of thanks helps alleviate struggles by removing our eyes from ourselves and reminding us of God’s power and grace.

Remember, you are the light of Christ in the world. Speak and act in His name.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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