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.

Anxiety

I stood there, trumpet in hand, mouth drier than the Sahara, perspiration making me look like a drowning victim.

I was certain I was going to throw up. At age fourteen, I had voluntarily agreed to participate in a music festival where a professional musician would rate my performance. Anxiety reigned supreme.

Anxiety manifests itself in many ways, and countless things can cause it. I have experienced it, seen it, and known people who struggle with it. I have dubbed it the “what-if syndrome.” From possibly flunking a test to imagining the loss of our job or spouse, the what-if we entertain can ruin a beautiful day. Our minds seem to push us forward into fearful events, and we live there instead of in the present.

Jesus' teaching in Luke's twelfth chapter is devoted to anxiety. He teaches us that God's love for us exceeds His care for birds and flowers. He teaches about what lasts and what doesn't. God's care for our souls is greater than His maintenance of creation.

Faith family worship is a step across a threshold from the temporal to a close encounter with the eternal. It is turning away from the sickening dread of what might happen to the hope and joy of what is to come. Faith family worship challenges the notion that calamity is just around the corner and reminds us our Creator is in control.

Our worship with fellow believers reminds us we are not alone in our fears and our obsession with angst. We not only learn coping skills, but we also mix with overcomers who gather at the throne of mercy to celebrate God’s unconditional love and care. The encouragement and hope shared with fellow believers moves our attention from what if to the joy of what will be.

The anxiety battle, as with any of our suffering, can be a life-long struggle. God does not always cure us of our temporary maladies or erase the consequences of living in a fallen world, but He does promise His presence and tender mercies through it all.

Let your worship exchange desperation for hope.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Sadder Day

I laughed at her sweetly spoken and crudely written words.

On an Easter Sunday morning, before breaking into small groups, the youth of our church viewed a stick-people video narrated by children. The children described events surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion on Friday. Most of their comments fit what we typically expect: Jesus’ love, ministry, and cruel death, as well as the people’s reactions. Yet one stood out from the others. A little girl called the day following the crucifixion, Sadder Day.

I doubt I’ll ever forget the little girl’s words. What an on-target description, simple yet profound. Never has our world known a sadder day. Following Friday’s events, reality hit hard. Jesus died. Joseph and Nicodemus buried him. The disciples disappeared. Jesus’ mother and all His followers mourned. Sin reigned…or so it seemed.

However, the children’s narration did not stop there. The sadness of Sadder Day did. On Sunday, the women who planned to anoint Jesus’ buried body found an empty tomb. An angel told them Jesus was not there. He had risen from the dead. Later, Jesus appeared to them and others before His ascension back into heaven. According to Jesus’ commission before leaving them, His formerly sad and fearful followers boldly proclaimed Jesus’ defeat of sin and death.

That same story and commission lives on through the lives of Jesus’ followers today. We all have sadder days. Nevertheless, if we embrace the Easter message and allow its truth to permeate our lives, we know those days will pass. Jesus’ victory and message become ours to live and to share.

With childlike enthusiasm, embrace and then declare the triumph of love over hate, peace over conflict, hope over despair, and joy over sadness.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Dumping the Fine Dust of Sin

While vacuuming one day, I noticed the vacuum container was full.

Being a dutiful husband, I took on the nasty task of emptying it. Dust specks danced freely as I dumped the contents into the trash. Thinking the job was done, I resumed my housework. Yet something was still wrong. It was not cleaning as deeply as I wanted.

Upon further inspection, I could see that fine dust still clogged the system. To consider the cleaning job complete by emptying the main contents and continuing to vacuum would be futile. I could go through the motions, yet truly clean nothing.

God’s Spirit used this setting to whisper a spiritual truth. It is easy to avoid or ask forgiveness for my large or readily recognizable sins. And yet the fine dust remains and continues clogging up a deeper spiritual life.

Fine dust represents those hidden, protected, excused, or ignored areas, actions, and mindsets. I may have grown so accustomed to or comfortable with them that I don’t readily see them. Close friends may be able to point out such blind spots. However, most often, such intimate scrutiny involves the searchlight of the Holy Spirit. The psalmist recognized this need by asking God to keep him from presumptuous and hidden (even pampered) sins.

When I humbly surrender and open myself before God, He reveals my fine dust. Then it becomes a matter of personal repentance and willingness to change. I must lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares me and allow God to dump my fine dust. Only in this way can I go deeper with Him on the path to Christlikeness. In addition to God’s ongoing searchlight and my willing submission to Him, there still remains my desire to honor Him in all I say and do.

Let the words of your mouth and the meditation of Your heart be acceptable in God’s sight.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

 



Shallow Waters

A new friend and I met at a local coffee shop.

She was an experienced writer, so I picked her brain.

“Just start writing. Take small, baby steps,” she offered. “You don’t have to publish a book or do anything grandiose. The Spirit will guide you in what He wants you to write.”

Only scratching the surface, I acclimated to the waters before I dived into the depths of God’s plans for my writing. I walked along the beach of His stories, stuck my toes in, and enjoyed the wonder of His words.

“No hurry, no rush,” echoed in my mind like rhythmic, gentle waves on the shore. Sometimes it felt as if a tidal wave had washed over me—full force, knocking me off my feet, dragging me away in the undertow.

Fifteen years ago, I accepted the call in my heart to become a Christian writer. Naïve and a little foolish at the time, I dove in and almost drowned. Like Moses taking matters into his own hands, I jumped the gun. Nothing happened. I was dead in the water—confused and frustrated. But my waiting time prepared me for what was ahead. 

I am encouraged that God doesn’t change. He lives in the shallows as well as in the deep. His plans and purposes are perfect and will always stand. I am His pen, His keyboard, His instrument, a speck of dust in His vast universe of time and space, sustained by amazing grace.

Make a commitment to spend time diving deeper into God’s love, His words, and His plans.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



A Woman of God

I read this verse in my Bible and wondered how I could become a woman of God. In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers, but temperate and trustworthy in everything. 

When I turned sixty years old, I included this wish in my bucket list. But first came the pre-Corona days. I re-joined my local church and made some new friends in my awesome community of God. I had worshipped there before, but my health conditions or simple inertia prevented me from participating as I should have.

Then, Covid-19 hit. Now, I make silent prayers and devotions. I am sure God understands that all humans struggle at times with things that hold us back, whether it is health or domestic situations.

I found one step to developing my soul as a woman of God was to offer a morning offering to God. I woke up, so I thanked God. The sun rose, and dawn took away the veil of darkness from my blinded eyes—the windows of my soul. I said, “Good morning, Jesus!”

A woman of God should be herself—calm and smiling and praying to be blessed by grace. But it is hard sometimes not to give in to the temptation of gossiping or giving others labels. Sometimes I think negative thoughts about others but carry on as normal. A woman can have a pretty face but an ugly heart. A woman of God will smile calmly and turn the other cheek, walking humbly in her devotion to Jesus.

But no one is a perfect Christian woman. I am sure God understands our temptations to gossip, feel envy, or assign negative labels. As the old saying says, “Loose lips sink ships.”

On such occasions, I find it best to maintain peace in my heart and home. Then I can go to bed at night, considering that a woman of God had a peaceful day and nothing happened. Peace pleases God. And I can say, “Good night, Jesus. Please bless me with Your grace.”

I am still working on being a woman of God. Are you?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



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