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.

A Jealous God

Late comedian Rodney Dangerfield gave an example of jealousy during one of his stand-up comedic routines. “My wife’s jealously is getting ridiculous. The other day she looked at my calendar and wanted to know who May was.”

Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. This Scripture speaks of God in anthropomorphic fashion by using a human example to describe an aspect of God’s character. But how can God be jealous?

Jealousy for God is not envy or a desire for something He does not or cannot possess. In this context, jealousy means God is a protector of His name and reputation. He admonishes us to put away all other gods that compete for our attention. Nothing should be on the throne of our heart except God. He is like a husband who lovingly demands fidelity from his spouse, as any sensible husband does.  

God is not recklessly jealous, as Rodney Dangerfield described his wife as being. Our Lord loves us so much that He wants us for Himself and demands nothing less. He displayed this level of commitment by sacrificing Himself on the cross to pay for our sins (Romans 5:8).

Take a moment to thank God that He is jealous for you. Then ask Him to give you the same type of love for Him.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Competitive Edge

I grew up in a competitive environment.

I strived to have the best grades, have the best attendance in church, and learn the most verses for Sunday school. Then I went to a college where competitiveness was part of the culture. Everything—grades, sports, cars—was a competition between groups.

With that kind of background, I viewed the Christian life as one characterized by competition as well. Who couldn’t empathize with James and John for wanting to be top dogs in Jesus’ kingdom (Mark 10:36)? Peter and the others were probably just as mad because they did not get to ask the question first (Luke 9:46). Jesus took the wind out of their sails by telling them that the one who wished to be the greatest would have to serve everyone else.

But who wants to serve, unless it is in tennis or volleyball? Serving wasn’t on my bucket list of things to do.

Like everything else, God taught me about my selfishness. His patience, along with a forbearing wife and two sons, helped me learn to serve. One of the key things in being a servant is asking the one you want to serve what they really want. And Jesus was the supreme example because He knew what we needed and served even when it cost Him everything (Philippians 2:5-8).

The secret of serving is doing the opposite of what we naturally want to do: placing the desires of others ahead of our own and looking for opportunities to serve without calling attention to ourselves.

Imagine our world if we all competed in serving others?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Each New Sunrise

Early morning was his time—and the porch was his place.

I didn’t understand why my grandfather arose at five in the morning. After all, he was a full-time farmer, had no place to be at any particular time, and hired out most of his work. But when I spent time with him and my grandmother, I discovered why.

He rolled out of bed, put on the same pants he had worn the day before, and headed for the kitchen. He fixed a cup of instant coffee (Sanka, I believe), smoked a cigarette or two, and headed for the wraparound porch—the side facing east. Although darkness still enveloped the surrounding fields and forests, he waited patiently. 

One morning, I arose at the same time. He wanted to know why. I made up an excuse. When he sauntered onto the porch, I followed. As shapes began to appear, I saw why he came. The sky turned an orange hue. An array of colors captured the clouds. And then it appeared. The sun peeked over the pines that surrounded the fields. That’s what he waited for.

Once the sun topped the trees, my grandfather got up and went about his business. He wasn’t an overly religious man, but I believe he knew God authored each new day—as did the psalmist. And every day, the psalmist rejoiced.

My grandfather’s morning routine reminded me that God controls nature. He began the world through acts of creation, and He still controls it. Sin causes nature to do things God probably never intended—such as form natural disasters that take lives and property. But God can turn the hurricane, tsunami, or tornado if He chooses.

Beginning and ending my day with thanks for a new day is proper. Since God made the day, He must have things for us to do within it. Through prayer and attention to His indwelling Spirit, we discover what they are. Every day provides an opportunity to serve Him by serving others, to use the gifts He’s given, to care for the world He’s created, and to prepare ourselves for the eternity He has waiting for us.

Don’t let your emotions or circumstances ruin each new day God creates. God controls both, and He can help you rejoice, regardless of what the day brings. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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.)

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