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 Junk Food

I love Peanut M&M’s, but I never buy them.

One handful of these gems leads to “just a few more,” and before I know it, I’ve eaten the whole bag. Oh, I can rationalize that they’re not that bad for me because the peanuts contain protein. But the nutrition label tells the truth: ten-plus grams of fat in a vending machine size bag.

Other junk foods, like potato chips and chocolate chip cookies, have a similar effect on me. I always intend to eat only one cookie or just a few chips, but my hand reaches into the container every time I pass it. And that lack of self-discipline means banning those temptations from my house.

When Paul told the Corinthians that “everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things” he referred to athletes who avoid unwholesome foods and activities while they train. But I can broaden “all things” into anything that hinders my public testimony to others or my private relationship with Christ.

Some Bible versions translate the word temperate as “self-control” or “strict training.” Paul emphasizes that representing Christ and His gospel requires sacrifice. Most of us realize that avoiding harmful activities like immorality and bitterness is necessary, but what about things we view as harmless or even healthful?

Dried fruit or veggie chips aren’t unhealthy foods; however, if I consume too many of those foods and neglect protein and vegetables, then I’m not maintaining a healthy diet. Similarly, spiritual junk food can include Christian books, charitable works, and inspirational music if I use them as substitutes for studying my Bible or praying.

Just as I must control my physical diet by keeping certain foods out of my house, I may also need to keep certain activities out of my life—not because they’re wrong, but because I can’t control my intake.

If we want to be healthy, spiritually fit Christians, we’ll ask the Holy Spirit to give us self-control, even in the harmless areas of our lives. We’ll want to be temperate in all things so that God will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” when we reach the finish line of life.

Take time this week to inventory your spiritual junk food. What activities or habits keep you from ingesting the spiritual protein of Bible study and prayer?

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Who is My Neighbor?

When the biscuits and meat platter disappeared from the dining room table, Mary Elizabeth wondered what was up.

It was the 1930s, and the Great Depression had robbed countless men of their livelihood. Many left home, hopped on boxcars, and traveled from farm to orchard seeking work. The child of a caring minister, my mother later reflected on how often these men found their way to her back door for a handout.

“Turn no one away,” was my grandfather’s directive as he helped his children grasp the enormity of their suffering and exhorted them to show kindness to anyone in need. Perhaps that explains my mom’s affection for Johnny.

With his mop of tousled hair, Johnny bounced up our driveway on his motor bike, the sidecar filled with household items. He wore a jaunty smile and spoke with a lisp. Only a few moments of conversation revealed Johnny was not quite right. I observed with interest the kind way Momma talked with him as with a friend. And she always made a purchase, no matter how small.

Things are different now. Homeless men no longer come for handouts, and the Johnnys of this world are not selling kitchen gadgets door to door. Most people don’t even know their neighbors, much less their sufferings. And what of the beggar at the stop light? Is he truly in need, or am I supporting his addiction—or worse, his business? Loving our neighbor is complicated.

But do changing times relieve us of Christ’s command to love our neighbor? As I type this devotion, I am reminded of a single-parent family nearby. Their yard is not kept, and the children’s clothes are worn. Are they hungry? In need of friendship or practical aid? As I ponder these questions, I remember that Jesus knows the condition of every heart and the pathway of healing.

If you are wondering who your neighbor is and how to help them, join me in this prayer: Loving Father, awaken my heart to the needs of those around me. Give me Your wisdom and compassion that I might know how to best love others with Your extravagant love.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Those Dishonest Landlords

They lied to me.

My landlords told me I could stay in my apartment without renovation. I found out that never was an option. I had lived in rental housing all my adult life, but this was the first time landlords had treated me this way. I had a difficult time forgiving them, because my whole world changed suddenly. After twelve years in a place that felt like home, I had forty days to find a new place to live.  

The Bible commands us to forgive those who hurt us. When we do, the Father will forgive us. I think the Lord wants us to take forgiveness seriously, so we won’t become bitter and hostile people. That meant I needed to forgive my former landlords.  

A month before I moved out. I got up early each morning, stood across the street, and asked the Lord to help me forgive my landlords.  I also prayed that they would find the Lord. I believe through prayer God can change my heart. I hope He also changes their hearts.  

Time has a way of healing our wounds.  Because I asked the Lord for help, I hope someday I will be able to let go of what my landlords did to me.

When someone hurts you, ask the Lord for help and pray for your enemies. It might just start the healing process.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Heavenly Hydration

Water makes up about seventy percent of the human body.

I once disliked drinking water. Then I read an article emphasizing the benefits and seriously thought about how something so copiously available could have such a huge impact on my health. I prayed for God to help me crave more water.

Just as we need actual water for our bodies to survive, we also require spiritual water for our faith to flourish. God desires for us to seek Him in all we do, just as the psalmist did. God wants us to submerge ourselves into His living water.

Water aids digestion, cleanses the kidneys, flushes out toxins, keeps joints lubricated, promotes healthy skin, and regulates body temperature. We need to consume more water than usual when we are battling ill health (fever, diarrhea, vomiting), when the weather is warmer than usual, and when we are engaged in physical activity.

We need spiritual water when we are fighting spiritual battles, experiencing a challenging season in life, and facing exhaustion from everyday battles.

God answered my prayer. I am now so accustomed to drinking water that I cannot leave home without a bottle of it. Nor can I function well if I don’t get my regular dose of spiritual nourishment. As we become consistent and intentional in seeking God, we will thirst less for secular things.

If you don’t like the taste of water, try flavoring it naturally with orange slices, strawberries, mint, or cucumber. If you find spending time with God a bit tedious, reconsider your Bible version, watch video downloads, or listen to podcasts relating to the Scripture verses you find challenging to understand.

Promise yourself that you will drink both physical and spiritual water.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Stop, Pray, and Listen

Every morning I walk around my neighborhood.

I talk with God about my struggles and questions for that day. In those minutes of silence I find a place of calm, but when I return home a crowd of details demands my immediate answers. Under the pressure, I often forget to stop and listen for what God wants. Too often, my desire to hurry overwhelms me. But when I remember to make those anxious details take a back seat to God’s voice, I discover hearing Him is not so difficult at all.

The psalmist says God is always speaking. So why is it so difficult for me to hear?

The lines from the hymn, “This is My Father’s World,” remind me that God speaks to me in the rustling grass—and everywhere.

Our greatest problem is not that God is silent, but that we often don’t stop long enough to listen to what He says. God wants us to tune our ears to hear Him and remember to stop, pray, and listen.

Think of one way you can slow down so you can listen to God.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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