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.

Craving an Answer

A chocolate craving ambushed me as I sat in the waiting room at Jiffy Lube.

We wrestled for a few minutes, but it attacked at the most vulnerable time of my day, mid-afternoon. In defeat, I slinked to the vending machine, inserted my quarters into the slot, and waited for a Snickers bar to drop. It didn’t. I glanced behind me and then banged on the glass. Nothing. I grabbed the sides of the machine and shook it. Unbelievable! I fumed as I headed toward the receptionist.

“I’m sorry,” she said, sliding my refund across the counter. “We’ve had a lot of trouble with that machine lately.” The craving howled inside my stomach as I shuffled back to my seat.

Sometimes I approach prayer as I approached that vending machine. An urgent situation arises. I slide my request toward God and expect immediate results. If an answer doesn’t drop down quickly, I complain, “Where’s my answer, God?”

However, God isn’t a vending machine, and prayer isn’t the coin that operates His will. Prayer is a doorway through which I can enter God’s presence and wait for Him to speak. Paul said, “present your requests,” not “demand an answer.” He didn’t mention God granting the requests either. The response we can expect from God is peace—a calm assurance that He will do what He knows is best.

Why does He respond with peace? Paul says God’s peace will guard our hearts. Guard is a military term that refers to soldiers assigned to prevent invasion or protect civilians.

Peace strengthens our confidence in God’s ability to prevent enemies from defeating us—enemies like discouragement, fear, and bitterness. His peace also protects us from making rash decisions and harmful choices. We may not understand why God doesn’t dispense the solutions we desire, but His Word assures us God’s peace “transcends all understanding.”

I banged on the vending machine because I assumed I could compel it to fulfill my desires. Have you been banging on the window of heaven, trying to force the answer you desire to drop? Lower your fist and extend your palms in humble expectation.

Let God fill your hands with His peace and your mouth with thanksgiving.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

 



Why Wait

Contrary to my expectations, the first three days of recovery were extremely painful.

Not long ago, I had eye surgery. When I called the surgeon to ask if the pain was normal, he informed me it was common. I just had to wait out the healing process. Now this may come as a surprise, but I hate to wait.

But the discomfort I felt paled in comparison to the grief and emotional pain the followers of Jesus felt. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. I was intrigued when I came across this often overlooked verse. With all they had seen and with all the fears swirling about them, they chose to wait and to rest.

When we have been through pain and feel the pressure to do something, the fastest way to heal is simply to wait on God. If we will trust Him, He will quietly knit back together what has been wounded and scarred. 

Ask God to help you remember He is preparing you for what can come only by waiting for the miracle of the third day.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Heavenly Triggers

I married a widower with no children.

After three years of marriage with no children—natural or adopted—I was desperate to be a mommy. Having people tell me why they thought I was barren didn’t help. As an introvert, this only depressed me.

After visiting a new mother and her precious baby one Sunday, my anxiety became severe. That night, I wrestled with the clashing emotions of acceptance of my childlessness or storming heaven with my plea. I tossed all night, and on Monday morning I dropped to the floor, crying out to God about my barrenness.

When I had exhausted my tears, I reached for my Bible and turned to the Psalms—the place I normally go when life becomes complicated. And God’s Word did not disappoint. I got a hint of dynamic hope for us to become parents.

I grabbed that glimpse and did not let go. My confidence wavered at times when I saw a pregnant woman or a baby, but eventually a heavenly thought flitted through my mind: “Why not use the pregnant women and babies as triggers to praise the Lord for what He is doing and is going to do?”

I latched on to this heavenly thought and praised God for three months until my appointment with the OBGYN. Some days, I praised Him all day. If I dreamed about babies, and I often did, I praised the Lord when I awoke. After all, didn’t the Psalms exhort me to praise Him? Five times to be exact, even from sunup until sundown.  

I determined to praise God no matter the outcome of my tests, but I was stunned when the OBGYN said I was pregnant. Such conflicting emotions. To think God made me to be a joyful mother of children. I was humbled.

When we need something from God, He will give us heavenly triggers to remind us to praise His name. Even our aches and pains are triggers to praise Him.

What heavenly triggers do you need God to send to you?

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Letters

Letters. How old fashioned can you get? Why send letters when you can email or text? Not to mention posting on social media?

Believe it or not, letters are more personal. My first letter was from my grandparents when I was six, and I was excited the day I got it. I could hardly wait to rip open the envelop. And I won’t tell you about my first love letter.

The day came when my sons wrote me their first letters. They were simple and in the language of the country from where we adopted them. But they were sincere expressions of their feelings. They understood we had adopted them and that they were ours for keeps. While I am not that sentimental, I still keep those letters as reminders of where we have been.

I am sure the readers of the New Testament letters felt the same. The authors of these letters, (Paul, Peter, and John primarily), wrote to encourage believers in their faith. In many cases, Christians endured suffering because they did not conform to Roman paganism. Those letters reminded the readers of God’s grace, mercy, and peace and were so precious that the churches often circulated them among themselves to share the encouragement.

But the proof of the letters’ preciousness was shown by how often they were copied and because they were saved for over 2,000 years. People saw the value of sharing them with future generations. Now, we have them in the New Testament.

Rather than looking at these letters as something boring, ancient, and dusty, we should get excited when we read them, even though we may be accustomed to reading thirty-second emails or ten-second posts.

I finally realized there was a passion in these letters I couldn’t find in a short blurb online. Now, I am back to reading these letters in one sitting and enjoying every moment. They have become intimate and personal, just as they were always intended to be.

Don’t neglect reading God’s love letters to you.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Many More Things

As I washed dishes, I listened to the Audio NKJV Bible, a dramatized version of the Old Testament.

My mind traced the new realization of how greatly King David messed up. How far he wandered from that close relationship reflected in so many psalms. And I considered how I’d stepped off the path to follow my wisdom, not God’s. Umpteen times. But my thoughts felt more comfortable focusing on King David’s folly.

I’d known about some of King David’s follies, but not the extent of them. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! This verse says God would have added to David many more things, so I thought I’d ask of the giver, confident the asking would produce an answer. Even prevent error. In King David’s case, a gross coupling of sins.

Imperfection has a way of clinging to shadows and unlit corners of memory. Avoiding awareness is the easy road, but thinking this will solve the problem is a lie. Already, my thoughts wrestled with the question of how my obedience could have altered my life. Refocusing on King David became impossible, for I recalled my misadventures: wayward comments and thoughts, prickling judgments, speeding (just a wee bit), seeking answers to problems, or goal planning from friends or myself and not Father God.

Confronting my inconsistent attempts to follow the Lord struck the realization that all my good intentions, false starts, and deliberate followings of my desires for stuff, attention, and acceptance missed the mark and grieved the Holy Spirit.

The key that unlocked the trap of wayward wanderings for King David and myself seemed too good to be true and much easier than either of us deserved. Accepting God’s forgiveness—the kind of forgiveness that causes Satan to cringe when we know and embrace God’s unconditional grace with wholehearted willingness—softens our judgmental tendencies.

We have no need to allow our willful lapses of focus to entertain Satan. Choosing to do everything, even the mundane tasks of dishes and dusting with God’s perfect presence, will tether our will to His loveliness. Simplicity and satisfaction are available to us all, if we choose Jesus.

Find your fullness of joy in God’s presence.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



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