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.

Cast and Faith

A professional angler named Mark taught me the difference between surf fishing in the Atlantic and cane pole fishing on the banks of our small Kentucky pond.  

Mark plunged a large metal spike into the sand, cast a thick weighted line into the surf, and slid the pole into the spike. He returned to his chair and waited, eyes trained on the high, thin end of his pole.  

Day after day I watched him. Cast and wait. Cast and wait. Soon, the rhythm in my mind turned to cast and faith, cast and faith. The phrase applied to everything in my life at that season—parenting, writing, ministry. Forever casting. Forever waiting. When would I land a catch? When would I see the goodness of the Lord?

On day three, Mark’s faith was made sight. The pole bent until it nearly doubled. He catapulted from the chair and grabbed the pole. For the next fifty-five minutes, he reeled and rested. After a time, he handed the pole to me. To me!

“Here, I wantcha tah feel that.” He puffed, the strain showing in his tattooed shoulders and the tendons in his neck.

“What if I lose it?”

“Then yah lose it.”

I white-knuckled the pole, tucked it hard against my thigh, and followed his instructions. Fear and exhilaration coursed through my body—not a long stretch of time, but enough.

Right before he took the pole, he asked, “Do yah feel that?”

I nodded and thought, This is like fishing for men—like parenting, writing, ministry.

On the beach that day, we reeled in a black-tipped reef shark, snapped a few pictures, and then released it back to the ocean. In my heart, all those buckets that seemed so empty were filled with more than fish. They were filled with the promise of God’s goodness, no matter the catch.  

When you look across the waters of your ministry, consider the potential of those depths. Then, choose to cast and faith.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



What Do You Want?

Their job was to give me instructions.

My eight-year-old students crowded around a worktable loaded with ingredients for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

“Put the peanut butter on the bread,” said the first student. I plonked the unopened jar in the middle of the loaf, denting it.

“No! You have to take the peanut butter out of the jar,” several said while others giggled.

I scooped the peanut butter out of the jar and smeared it on the bread bag. “Mrs. Glover! Not like that.” They laughed.

“What do you want me to do?” I asked.

“Take the bread out of the bag and spread the peanut butter on the bread.”

I took out a piece of bread and smeared peanut butter on one side.

“Now the jelly,” one student said.  

As I reached for the jar, another said, “No, use a knife and get the jelly out of the jar.”

“We have to tell her exactly what we want her to do,” said another.

Now that they understood good directions are not general but specific, I sent them back to their desks to write out step-by-step instructions.

A pair of blind beggars heard Jesus approach and loudly called out to him: “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

The crowd told the beggars to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder. Their request was general: “Have mercy.” They may have thought that was enough instruction, but Jesus wanted more from them. When Jesus asked what they wanted, they answered, “We want our sight.” Jesus touched their eyes, and they immediately received their sight and followed Him.

The passage reveals several important elements of prayer. First, when in need, seize the opportunity to ask Jesus for help. Don’t put it off, and don’t assume things will work themselves out. Second, don’t be dissuaded by the crush of voices in your mind—discouraging and dismissive voices that say you’ve already asked and shouldn’t ask again. Third, be specific. The God who created us is asking what we want Him to do. Finally, wait with faith.

What do you want Jesus to do for you today? Croak out your prayer, ignore the naysaying voices, and tell Him what you need. He will act for your good.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Remember

And we thought the 60s were hard.

Social injustice, riots, folks burning flags (or bras), people injured or killed. These things raged in the 60s, and it’s the same today. Writer and philosopher, George Santayana, coined the phrase, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Truth, indeed.

In an ultra-sensitive society, every word we speak, every ounce of history lost, drives an offensive sliver of wood under someone’s fingernail. Yet here we are—allowing our past to be forgotten again—and we’re spiraling back into the same mistakes. The hurtful words one person screams are retaliated by the angry words of another. It would seem we face a lose-lose situation.

God frequently reminded His children not to forget He’d brought them from bondage. He told them to remember His commands and what He’d done to provide for them. God reminded them because He knew how easily people could fall into making the same mistakes again. When He told His people to impress His commands on their children, to talk about them, and to bind them on their foreheads, it was an effort to help them remember not only their blessings but also their mistakes. It was an effort to prevent history from repeating itself.

Remembering the loving kindness and the discipline of God helps us step over the mistakes into new and safer pathways. God’s love never waivers, even when our selfishness takes us to places we could avoid. The prayers we raise before the Lord for protection and peace in this time of upheaval can easily be stifled in the face of controversy—lost in the failure to remember our past. We must remember the mighty power and faithfulness of the Lord our God.

In a time when things are difficult and others are easily offended…remember. Remember to show forgiveness. Give understanding. Speak love. Never forget who you are in Christ.

Remember to be the light Christ asked you to be, even during hardship.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Smelling Good

The smell took me back.

Until my wife came along, I used bar soap. She was a liquid soap user. Liquid soaps were not mass-produced for domestic use until the 1980s when Minnetonka Corporation of Minnesota released its Softsoap. 

One day, while visiting a local grocery store, I walked to the pharmacy department. Sure enough, they sat on the shelf as I remembered. Three bars of Ivory soap packaged together. I picked them up and circulated them beneath my nose. The fragrance transported me back to a time when I was a young boy taking baths. I would run the bathwater, jump in, wet the washrag, and look for the bar of soap. Ivory soap. The one with the clean smell. And best of all, I could find it in my dirty water because it floated. Remembering the good ole days, I bought the soap and began using it again. I also put bars in soap dishes in our kitchen and bathrooms.

Amazing what smells can do. For Isaac, it identified his son—or so he thought. Prior to his death, when the time came for Isaac to give his final blessing to his firstborn, he told Esau to kill some wild game, prepare it, and bring it to him. He would eat it and bless him. But Jacob, the younger brother—and a trickster—dressed as his brother, prepared game, and took it to his father. Blindness initially confused Isaac, but the smell of the outdoors convinced him it was Esau.

Smell is also important with spiritual living. Whether I smell clean because I just bathed with Ivory soap or whether I smell raunchy because I just helped give shots to hogs living in a muddy smelly pen, isn’t the issue.

My actions, words, and attitudes determine my spiritual smell—regardless of my hygiene. And when they align with God’s Word, people will smell a wonderful aroma coming from me. I may not be in style when it comes to clothes—and I might not have the latest and greatest play toys—but others will get a good smell from being around me. Not with their noses, but with their eyes and ears. They will smell Jesus. And after all, that’s what Jesus said His followers are supposed to do: smell good.

How are you smelling to others—and, more importantly, to God?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Voices

As a young child, I began comparing myself to others.

I grew up thinking I was less-than. Low self-esteem and shyness followed me. Comparisons made me feel inferior, and I dealt with the hurt the best way a child can: I pulled inward.

L. Ron Hubbard said, “We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people.” Is it any wonder I felt less-than? I allowed other people to rob me of myself. Throughout my teen years, God mystified me. I tried to be a good person but failed. Then I heard the voice of a preacher who brought the Word to life in simple words and phrases that pointed me to Christ.

I accepted Christ and resolved to follow Him. My new life was better because I realized my Creator valued me and loved me as no other. This new way of living was exciting. I discovered ancient truths. However, it was a constant battle of either reading and accepting God’s Word or indulging my childhood views. After an indepth study of God’s Word, I realized He did not create me to listen to opinions—nor did He want me putting myself down. He created me to listen to Him. His voice. The Voice.

I have learned I can retire to my closet sanctuary without any technological devices. Without the outside turmoil interrupting the connection with my best friend, my time with God is sweet. Our time includes reading His Word, worshipping as I sing, praising Him for who He is, and listening to the still, small voice of my heavenly Father who loves, revives, encourages, and guides me daily.

God is in the business of bringing new beginnings. He is the friend who will never let us down.

Do you yearn for a conversation with God? He is waiting to hear your voice.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



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