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.

By Our Love

I invited her to Starbucks so I could apologize.

The lady had shown up unexpectedly at a Christmas party for a ministry in which she wasn’t involved. I only spoke a few words to her, mostly talking with other people. Later, while reading my Bible, God convicted me of my bad attitude, so I decided to make amends.

Apparently, she had not noticed my rudeness until I said something. Instead of forgiving me, she laid out a long list of complaints. The coffee acid burned my stomach. My efforts to reconcile had backfired.

The next day at work, I couldn’t focus. Words swam on my computer as I saw her accusations replay on the movie screen in my mind. Why couldn’t I be nicer? I felt abysmal. A colleague noticed tears cruising down my cheeks and asked what had happened. I told her how I had asked for forgiveness from someone and received a tongue-lashing instead. She tried to console me, telling me I wasn’t a monster. In time, God healed my wound.

Months later, the same woman needed help with moving, so I volunteered. When I told my coworker, she was shocked. Why would I help someone who had been so nasty to me? It made no sense. I told her I would want people to help me move, so I needed to serve others. My associate couldn’t understand. Why show love to your enemies? She recommended I ignore the request and hope someone else would assist.

I remembered Jesus’ words that His followers should show love. Doing so helped my coworker see something different in me than she saw in the world. She recognized my love for others. I told her God had forgiven me of much worse. I could forgive someone who had hurt me. I could share God’s love when I had none of my own to give.

The world cries out for vengeance. When we choose to love—when we would rather hate—God gets the glory. Giving undeserved love seems illogical and separates us from nonbelievers, but they will know we are Christians by our love.

Let your life display Christ’s love to everyone, even when it’s difficult.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Can We Do It Alone?

My friend’s young daughter wanted to do it by herself.

I left the bathroom after all my efforts to help her proved futile. When I came back, I found her out of the tub, clinging to her towel and watching the tub fill up with hot steaming water. She had quickly stepped out when hot water gushed out. She did it herself all right, but in the process almost messed up the bathroom, hurt herself, and failed to do what she wanted to do by herself. She stood there, too embarrassed to ask me for help.

Thinking about this episode during the day, I couldn’t help but laugh. She was much like me. I leave God out of most things, claiming I can do it by myself and end up ruining things.

The kind of relationship between the Father and the Son is the type we should have with God as His children. Jesus is God, but He did not do anything apart from God.

We need to acknowledge we can do nothing without God. We need His counsel and help—and not only when we run out of options, but more importantly, when we think we know what is best. We need to make His Word our rule for life because only in our obedience to His Word can we find strength to do what He expects.

The Son does only what He sees the Father doing, and we should too. The Word of God is the way to see what the Father expects. One sure way to know we are not leaving God out is to do what His Word says.

Don’t try to do life alone. Include God.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Burden Bearer

“You need a baby ring sling,” I said.

My neighbor runs a daycare. She has a sweet baby to tend, but often Zoey is quite fussy and wants to be held. My friend holds her, but doing so ties her hands. One day when I visited Amy, she said, “I can’t fold laundry, I can’t do dishes, and I can’t mop.”

That weekend I made her a baby sling and delivered it Monday morning. We worked at putting it on correctly. I did a trial run while she held Zoey, and then Amy slipped it on, and I helped her put Zoey into the sling and get her comfortably secure.

Suddenly, two grown women danced around the kitchen with jubilation. Amy threw her hands in the air and sang, “I’m free!” Zoey rested against Amy’s chest and fell asleep shortly thereafter. Not only were Amy’s hands free, but the sling also distributed the child’s weight and made Amy’s back less stressed.

I reflected on that happy event during my devotions the next morning, thinking about how my Shepherd King wraps His loving arms around me and carries my burdens. He is my sling.

I read a story once about a man who trudged along a country road with a heavy burden on his back. A farmer came by with a horse and wagon, slowed, and asked the man if he would like a ride to town. The tired fellow gladly accepted and hoisted himself onto the back of the wagon.

After a while, the farmer glanced back and noticed the man still had the burden on his back. He shouted, “Why don’t you take off your pack and rest?”

His passenger replied, “Oh, no, sir. You’ve been so kind to give me a lift. I wouldn’t think of asking you to carry my backpack too.”

Kind of silly, but sometimes we do the same. The Lord promises to carry our burdens, but we often hang on to them. Peter tells us to cast all our cares on Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). By faith, I plan to let God be my burden bearer.

How can you do a better job of letting God carry your burdens?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Martha, Martha

Am I a Mary or a Martha? I would say I'm both.

These sisters intrigue me. Sometimes, I'm a Martha, serving others—especially during family events or holidays. Then during the wintry days of January, all I want to do is sit at Jesus' feet and be a Mary.

Since the Bible teaches balance, what’s the balance between these two sisters’ actions? Why did Jesus rebuke the sister who served him fish on a platter with figs? And why did He refuse to tell her sister to help?

Luke gives us a glimpse into this family who loved Jesus and supported His ministry. They hosted many gatherings in their home for Jesus and His followers. On this occasion, Jesus is brought into a family squabble when one sister gets upset with the other.

My imagination sees Martha clanging pottery in the kitchen, trying to get Mary’s attention. Or giving her looks behind the Lord’s back that could kill. Finally, Martha, with her hand on her hip, tells Jesus to tell her sister, who’s sitting at His feet, to help her.

I’ve been there. Hosting a party or holiday dinner, getting in over my head, and then expecting my husband to help me get it done before our guests arrived. He sat without a care in the world, watching television and oblivious to the cloth napkins that needed to be ironed and the ring in the guest bathroom toilet.

But I finally learned: I created my own work. I’m not saying husbands or children shouldn’t help; I’m just saying they don’t have to rescue us from ourselves. That’s why Jesus scolded Martha. He lovingly tells her she is fussing and fuming to get everything perfect and exhausting herself over matters that will pass away. Jesus loved them both, but Mary chose the good part: yearning to cultivate a relationship with Jesus.

We don’t have to be a Mary or a Martha. We can be both at the same time by serving others with love and joy that result from the peace in our heart that passes all understanding.

Why not serve like Martha and love like Mary?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Glass Completely Full

The warning light on the dashboard glared at me like a red-eyed monster.

“Check charging system,” it ordered. What? I’d had my car serviced the week before in preparation for my road trip. Being hundreds of miles from home with bad weather threatening was not the time for car trouble.

Fortunately, I was at a gas station when the ominous warning appeared and not barreling down the interstate. I could give full attention to my predicament. And it was a predicament. I would have to get back on the interstate and drive forty-five minutes to the nearest dealer.

Less than an hour later and with a sigh of relief, I pulled into the dealer’s service center. The technician said my alternator was dead. I had barely escaped having to be towed. Whew! A replacement part was in stock and could be installed immediately. I was back on the road in no time.

Jesus warned about the inevitable dangers and troubles in this world. But He also made clear He had overcome the world.

When Jesus is in our life, our glass is full. He’s with us before, during, and after trouble. He’s better than roadside assistance. Isn’t that the kind of coverage we all need? Me? I’m a believer. I see the glass as completely full.

A glass half-empty person or a non-believer would see the negative in my experience. They’d say, “You asked God for safe travel, and you were on the verge of breaking down on the interstate.” A glass half-full person would note a silver lining in the situation. They’d say, “Well, God didn’t save you from trouble, but He did keep it from being as bad as it could have been.”

Ask God to help you see your trials as a glass half full, not half empty.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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