A Devotion May Be Someone's Only Bible

Spirit & Heart

Where your heart is, there is where your treasure lays. Our hearts guide our emotion and decisions. Unless God is the center of the heart, things are askew. Allowing the Spirit into the matters of the heart promises the faithfulness of Jesus in our lives.

Teach Me

Never underestimate the older ladies in the church.

They taught me as I led a Bible study with them. We spent a year studying Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s Choosing Gratitude. We planned to wrap up with a summary and luncheon at my house. However, I took an unexpected fall at my daughter’s house when I tripped over a suitcase in the middle of the night. I landed with all my weight on my right knee. The worst eruption of pain since childbirth shot through my entire body, and my utterances were unintelligible (thank goodness).

Not one word of Choosing Gratitude came to mind. My granddaughter brought me an ice pack. My grandson worried. I had proven I could not care for myself, much less for them, while their mother was out of town.

To my great surprise, I could walk the following day if I braced myself against the wall. Fluid gathering in my knee shook like a bowl of Jell-O. Nothing seemed broken or torn. When I returned home, my daughter called to say she had tested positive for COVID-19—double whammy.

Hobbling around, I watched my aggravation increase as I pondered necessary cancelations. I felt irritation rising in my soul. After nine months of studying gratitude, I was about to hit rock bottom. Finally, I prayed—with some impudence, I admit.

“Okay, God. Is this another one of those ‘Be careful what you pray for events?’” I suddenly recalled what Joni Eareckson Tada had written in the foreword of the book we studied. A quadriplegic for fifty years, Joni thanked God daily for her wheelchair because it kept her focused on her constant need for God’s strength.

I felt sorry for myself because I faced an inconvenient week or two to rearrange. Joni rearranged every day and every detail for living for the rest of her life. She thrived on gratitude.

I have a personal paraphrase from John’s gospel: “The world could not contain the books if we wrote all God has done for us.” My fall could have been so much worse.

By Sunday morning, I had contacted those women God put into my life. I have difficulty asking for help, so perhaps that was a part of the lesson learned as well.

What are some ways you can let the Lord teach you?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay and ast25rulos.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Unity and Diversity

The conductor poised the baton between his thumb and pointer finger, raised his arms, and, with sweeping motions, bid the others to play. What I heard was unity and diversity.

The strings eased in first. Then the cellos hummed, and the violins joined as the melody built. The flighty flutes and clarinets also jumped right in. As the conductor’s movements widened, the brass instruments rang in the mix, followed by the pulsating percussions. And as all the sections swelled, each instrument came together to create a single orchestral piece.

The world abounds with illustrations of individual parts making up one whole.

Paul exemplified the human body—the eyes, hands, head, and feet. All parts compose one body. His analogy revealed the unity and diversity designed to characterize the body of Christ, the church. Division ruled in the Corinthian church. Many members experienced neglect and belittlement, while others considered themselves more important and valuable—all based on their spiritual gifts.

Paul defined the church as one body (not many bodies) made up of many members (not just one member or a few members). Just as the ears, feet, and mind serve important purposes, so do all the individual church members as they use their unique gifts and work together as one church. By flipping the illustration (“the body is one and has many members” plus “all the members of the body, though many, are one body”), Paul emphasized unity in diversity and diversity in unity.

Paul’s message still applies to churches. Each believer makes up one piece of the church. God has uniquely gifted each member to serve as the body of Christ together.

To function, the church needs every member faithfully serving—from the Sunday morning worship band to the coffee station cleanup crew. When a church operates together, division subsides. The body experiences the beauty of unity in diversity and diversity in unity.

As the orchestra is one and has many sections, so is the body of Christ. Play your instrument. No matter your gift, use it for Christ and His church.

How can you do your part in God’s church?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay and Pexels.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Welcome with a Smile

The woman who stood at the back of the sanctuary brightened as my eyes met hers.

She was only slightly older than me, well-kept and put together, petite in statue but large in personality. “Hey!” she said as though we were old friends who’d not seen each other in forever.

I frequently visit my cousin’s church in Shellman Bluff, Georgia. I know a handful of people by sight, a few by name, but this woman was, to me, a stranger. I placed my hand on my chest, smiled, and said, “Do I know you?”

“No,” she said, her voice Southern and pure, “but it’s my joy to welcome you!”

We both laughed. We hugged. And then I went to the pew where my cousin and her family sit.

I have thought of that woman quite a few times in the days since. We are all children of God. Some of us, when we walk through the door of the church building, have already accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, which makes us family. But others may be seekers, those who are searching for Truth and have finally come to the right place to find Him.

Sadly, churches can be places where cliques form. How might the seeker’s perception of Christianity be changed by those who only blink at them as they enter the sanctuary versus greet them like the woman who greeted me?

Jesus warned us that only loving those who love us or only greeting those we consider “our own” were the actions of pagans. Instead, whether inside the church building or outside of its walls, we should greet others with joy and love and the heart of Christ.

Today, take the time to truly see those around you. Greet them with a smile and the heart of God.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay and 1494202.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



A Pearl of Great Price

The largest and most expensive pearl on record is valued at one hundred million dollars, weighs nearly seventy-five pounds, and is almost two feet long (FORBES.com).

How does a pearl form, and why is it so valuable? People cannot make it. It’s a work of God through nature with an incredible story.

Initially, an irritant enters the shell of a mollusk, such as an oyster or clam. Foreign objects like a grain of sand, food, or a parasite embed in the mantle or muscular wall of the mollusk and surround the vital organs. Then, as a defense mechanism, the mollusk secretes two thick organic liquids that combine to form its shell. Multiple layers of this combination cover the irritant, preventing organ damage. Over time, this substance becomes hard and smooth.

The main thing is the irritant. An irritant is uncomfortable for the body and creates a painful experience. As with any irritant, it causes inflammation in the tissue around it. The secretion is a nasty substance, like puss forming around a splinter or other foreign object. There’s nothing pretty or comfortable about this painful process.

We can liken that to our spiritual lives. With each storm of life, we become a little more resistant to pain and inflammation. With each one we encounter, we form another layer of resistance to protect the vital parts on the inside. The things that once would’ve crippled our faith now become a source of strength. We can withstand a little more each time.

Our storms aren’t meant to break us but to strengthen us. We should be able to draw on our life experiences to encourage ourselves and others to keep their trust in the Lord. Just as the pearl grows inside the oyster, our hearts should continue to thrive with each battle we endure. A younger Christian should see our value and wisdom increase with each trial we encounter.

Durability determines the value of a pearl. Each pearl is a result of something once painful to the host. We should become more durable in life’s storms. What’s on the inside should develop more faith and trust in God. Spiritually, we should become a pearl of great price.

How can you let the storms of life make you a pearl of great price? 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay and Schäferle.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

 



The Handyman

I once knew a handyman.

He could do almost anything. When the pipes burst, he was there. We clogged a drain, and he arrived again. He could mix the cement, fix every piece of furniture, and anything else we needed.

This all-rounder reminded me of God. The Scripture, “Is there anything too hard for me?” popped into my head. Jesus is a handyman, and He can fix anything. At times, we limit God. Before we ask Him, we have concluded that He can’t solve our dilemma. Our prayer goes something like the following: “Oh, God, help me! I wrote virtually nothing in my exams, I don’t want to fail, and I want to ace this course.”

But can God enter our script and give us an A?

Then we pray, “God, just anything, as long as I do not fail. Even a D would suffice.”

Such thoughts bring doubt and make us forget Jesus is the handyman. When this happens, we define God by what we believe He can’t do, not what He can do. We may trust God to cure a headache because it comes and goes. This seems possible. But what about things we understand? We think we know and understand more than God.

We need absolute belief—unshaken, unwavering, and firm. We should mimic a little child’s faith. They always believe. Although answers may not come when or how we want, we must remember God’s ways are not ours.

I have a funny picture in my mind of Christ putting on a mechanic’s attire with a doctor’s lab coat over it. His belt is a tool pouch containing unimaginable instruments of miracles. In His hands are a stethoscope and a saw. This is not the picture of a madman but a handyman. Jesus.

If you doubt Jesus’ abilities, put aside every weight of unbelief and picture Him as a handyman who can do absolutely anything.

 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay and Bru-nO.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



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