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.

Hope for the Future

I’ve experienced times when hope was gone. Times when I feared the future, lost my faith, questioned God, and struggled over which way to go or what to do. I needed direction, but none came. 

I was raised in the Catholic Church but hadn’t been to church for years. I decided to give Mass another try. Little did I know my life would be forever changed that Sunday morning.

God had positioned a couple two rows ahead of me. Everyone else at Mass had their heads down and silently prayed. Not this couple. They radiated joy. So much so that I approached them after the service and asked them what was so funny. The woman loudly said, “Praise the Lord.”

I wanted to run, thinking I had hit on some weirdos. But she turned out to be so kind, and she answered all my questions. She went on and on about Jesus and how much He loves us … how there was a new life waiting. Jesus waited for us to ask Him to come into our life.

I still left there with many unanswered questions, but I knew in my heart I didn’t have what she had: peace and joy.

Does all this work? Yes. I was alone and in deep distress, as was the psalmist. But the Lord showered me with His mercy as soon as I turned to Him.

Sometimes, we’re lonely, afraid, and confused and can’t see that the best is just around the corner. Our circumstances are dark. We want to give up. God wants us to keep moving forward, one step at a time.

No matter what your circumstances are, keep moving. God is with you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



The Transforming Power of Forgiveness

We’re often not openhanded with forgiveness.

Several years ago, lies were told about me, and the pain was deep. The individual eventually sought my forgiveness. Although I told them I forgave them, inwardly I struggled to walk in obedience to God’s Word. I knew what I should do, but carrying it out was difficult.  

Months passed before I saw them again. Instantly, I tensed. I clung to the offense like a comfortable robe. Only I didn’t know it was dirty. As I considered my conduct, I realized I was behaving like a child who had been caught mistreating their sibling. I knew what my Father expected, but I hadn’t yet forgiven them in my heart.

Peter thought himself charitable, but Jesus demonstrated that true forgiveness, like His love, has no limit.

Having read the narrative hundreds of times, I reasoned that if I were repeatedly wronged, the severing of the relationship would soon follow. But when we’re earnestly pursuing God, He will show us when we’re in error.

During my season of struggling to forgive, God taught me that the temptation to relive the pain would resurface. When it did, I had to choose to forgive every time. God isn’t satisfied with mere words; He probes our heart and engineers our circumstances until we finally release the offense.

We are prone to withhold forgiveness until we feel ready—or the offender shows remorse. We say, “I’m praying and asking God to help me forgive.” That sounds correct, but it isn’t theologically accurate. The truth is, forgiving someone is an act of obedience, not a feeling.

We’ve all been wounded. Through these experiences, God transforms us, making us a clearer reflection of Himself. The process isn’t painless, but the rewards of obeying and doing things His way far outweigh the unwelcome cycle of pain.

When we recall all God has forgiven, we’ll be less inclined to keep a record of injustices. His forgiveness should cause us to be more charitable with our own.

I’ve since offered forgiveness in keeping with God’s Word. But it is a daily decision.

Strive to extend forgiveness, and allow God to remove the sting of the offense committed against you. When you do, you’ll walk unencumbered by the sin that easily entangles.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Doorstops

The doorman stood in my way.

He would not allow any more people in. Some tried to rush him, but his actions held them back. He was hired for this job and knew how many people the elevator could carry.

Waiting for the next ride up gave me a few moments to reflect on the number of times God had placed a doorstop before me. I had to learn I could not force my way through a crack in the door. Sometimes, I had to let go of burdens I was carrying. Perhaps it was a toxic relationship I needed to tell goodbye or a habitual sin the Holy Spirit kept talking to me about.

God has used many methods to place a doorstop in my way. I have learned the Word of God provides many dos and don’ts, especially in the book of Proverbs. The words of Jesus in the gospels have provided wisdom. The writings of Paul in his letters to believers have produced warnings. The Holy Spirit has nudged me to stop as He brings a no-go zone to my attention. Wise counsel has alerted me to facts I was not aware of. Close friends have reminded me of what happened the last time I tried to force a door open.

Learning to respect God's doorstops in my life means acknowledging the sovereignty of God—sometimes painful, but it has grown my faith.  A doorstop, like an elevator operator, has purpose. Waiting in patience for the door before us to open can reap huge benefits. Jesus will let us know when it is a safe time to enter through His open door, as He told the apostle John.

When Father God opens a door, He will never cause us to compromise or contradict His Word. We can trust Him as we respond to His call to come, to go through, or to come up higher.

Ask God for the faith to walk through the open doors He provides for you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

 



No Deposit, No Return

They lay alongside the roadside, waiting for someone to pick them up and return them.

Before manufactures of soda packaged their product in aluminum or plastic, they placed it glass. And on the bottle, they stamped the words, “Return for Deposit.” Retailers, and then customers, who bought the product paid a small deposit—three to five cents. If customers returned the bottle to any retailer, the retailer would return the deposit to them.

My cousin, who lived in the country, always looked for ways to make money. When I spent time with him during the summers, I joined in his escapades. One involved picking up bottles. From his house to the nearest small town was one mile. He took one side of the road, and I took the other. By the time, we reached town, both of us had found a few bottles. We took them to Bert’s farm store, and he gave us five cents per bottle.

For various reasons, bottle production almost faded away, and aluminum and plastic took over. Some manufacturers later returned to putting a limited amount of their product in bottles, but the “Return for Deposit” was missing. Now, the bottles say “No Deposit No Return.” The best I can do is recycle them.

Manufacturing companies stamped their names on their products so the bottle got back to the right place. According to Paul, God does the same. When we trust Christ as our Savior, God places an identifying mark in us: the Holy Spirit. He’s a person and a part of the Holy Trinity, along with the Father and the Son.

The good news is that God won’t take back what He’s deposited, such as retailers and manufacturers once did. In the Old Testament, God gave His Spirit intermittently, when He had a special job for someone to do. But after Pentecost and the birth of the Church, God gave the Spirit permanently to His children.

Great advantages come with having God’s Spirit: perfect guidance for all circumstances, perfect wisdom for every decision, strength for any mission God sends us on, perfect peace—regardless of the pain or dire straits we encounter—and life as we could never experience if we didn’t have the Spirit.

Don’t waste the value of what God has deposited in you. Let the power of God’s Spirit lead you to the life He has planned for you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



National Repentance Is Divine

Many years ago, I did not understand the difference between going to church and being born again.

But then I heard the undiluted message of Pastor Paul Rika of the Holiness Revival Movement. The Lord convicted me, and I surrendered my life to Christ. Genuine repentance became my lot.

God says if we call on Him in repentance, not go back to our sinful ways, and humble ourselves before Him in prayer, He will hear us and make our lands good so we can enjoy their benefits. This involves total repentance and living in holiness, righteousness, and pursuit of peace with all people.

God wants all nations to repent and follow Him. He is a holy and a righteous Father who wants us to live in the same way. Sin angers Him, and He does not want us involved in sinful living. When we fall into sin, He wants us to call on Him for help and plead for His mercy.

The only way for God to hear nations and allow them to enjoy the good of the land is for them to put an end to murder, fraudulent engagement, kidnapping, sexual imperialism, terrorism, and idolatry. We must hand over our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the soon coming King.

Remember that genuine repentance averts disaster and produces healing that leads to rest.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



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