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.

Awaken Your Hunger

As I tossed and turned underneath the covers, I couldn’t silence my stomach screaming for nourishment.

But as days turned to weeks, my intense hunger dissipated. Initially, I was perplexed at such an outcome, considering my need for food had not been met. Eventually, I realized my stomach and body had compensated for the lack, cueing the internal alert for hunger to cease. 

I believe our walk with Christ can parallel the above. When I was baptized as a young girl, I remember the pure excitement and fervor I carried for weeks afterward. Toting around my purple backpack Bible with a cross around my neck, I made sure everyone knew I was a Christian. In time, the zeal faded. Rather than standing up for Jesus, I hid and acted as though I had never met Him.

In our world today, my pattern is not uncommon. We often become complacent and chained to routine. Religion becomes just a box to check off so we feel good about ourselves. Or we become reluctant to gain more knowledge or grow in intimacy with God.

In Scripture, we find the Lord commanding the opposite. The word “seek” is found over two hundred times in Scripture. In this context, the Hebrew word, baqash, means to pursue, search, or devote fully to something or someone. As a verb, the word requires action with no limitations or age requirements.

In a practical sense, seeking the Lord is diving into His Word and studying to find examples and answers to model our lives after. It is prayer. We can talk to God like we would a friend—anywhere or anytime. It is also plugging into and regularly fellowshipping with a community of believers.

This list is not exclusive, but regardless of our approach, we must view pursuing Christ as a priority, not a half-hearted effort. Once we awaken our hunger, it cannot be silenced or ignored.

Pray that your hunger pains will continue to grow for the Lord and His Word.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Greatest Treasure

“Come see what I found.”

My cousin possessed a great imagination. He had to. He lived in the country in a time before technological advances had produced games and other things that now keep children indoors for hours on end. He had already discovered rolls of player piano music stuffed in boxes in my grandmother’s dusty attic—a place we rarely traversed because of the rickety stairway leading up to it.

Now, he wanted me to see something else he’d discovered. As our grandmother busied herself with cooking, we sneaked to the “front room,” a room she really didn’t like us to visit. We were mischievous boys always looking for devilment—and she knew it.

Quietly, my cousin lifted the top of the old, converted player piano and showed me a quart-sized Mason jar resting on top of the piano guts. I asked what it was. Instead of telling me, he carefully removed the jar, unscrewed the top, and removed the handkerchief my grandmother had stuffed inside.

As he gently unrolled the handkerchief, my eyes bulged, and my heart pounded. Inside were twenties, tens, and fives. Money, we later discovered, our grandmother had saved from selling fish to the neighbors.

My grandmother possessed a treasure only she knew about—or so she thought. Jesus also told a story about a treasure—one a man discovered hidden in a field. Keeping his find a secret, he sold everything he had and bought the field.

Jesus compares the treasure to the kingdom of heaven—the treasure we inherit when we recognize our sinfulness and run to the Savior.

But God doesn’t want us to keep His treasure to ourselves. The man who purchased the field did. My grandmother did. My cousin and I did. God wants us to share our wealth. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was enough to forgive the sins of humanity, and God wants everyone to enjoy His treasure.

Jesus said we should be willing to give up everything for this precious treasure He offers. Whatever keeps us from enjoying it isn’t worth our time and effort.

Have you discovered life’s greatest treasure? If so, tell someone about it.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Inescapable War

Lunch was almost ready in Wilmer McLean’s Virginia home in 1861 when a shell from the nearby battle of Bull Run suddenly dropped into the kitchen chimney, splattering the family meal.

Hours later, the house was shelled into destruction. Seeking peace away from any future battles, McLean moved his family to the distant Virginia community of Appomattox.

Four years later, in April 1865, a pair of soldiers appeared at the McLean house, seeking a place where Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Union General Ulysses S. Grant could sign the imminent surrender documents.  

McLean reluctantly agreed, and the generals soon arrived, each with an entourage, to finalize the war in the front parlor. When the signatories were gone, so was the furniture—confiscated by visitors as souvenirs. Each of the two tables used to sign the documents ended up in museums.

Wilmer McLean couldn’t seem to escape an inescapable war. Although I’m not trying to avoid a war, sometimes I have ongoing, troublesome problems that seem as inescapable. And that’s because I’ve failed to let God show me His plans for the situation, making possible solutions seem ethereal.

My problem might be any number of things, but whatever it is, if I don’t get God’s input, then I end up being worried, anxious, and fearful. Subsequently, as I continue to ignore the Lord, forgetting everything and succumbing to my misery becomes tempting.

Paul tells his readers to press on and to pursue the prize, which is knowing Christ. If I’m to do that, then I must turn back to God, learn, and follow His plans for me. If sin is involved, then He’ll forgive me, guide me, and provide for me so I can resume my spiritual journey to recommence my work for Him.

What steps do you need to take to escape your war?

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Harden Not Your Hearts

Like an old ’57 Chevy, one of my valves was shot.

Some years ago, I had heart surgery. For a year or so, I tired more than a person should. It took a while for my doctor to get me to the right specialist who diagnosed the problem. In addition to the valve, I also had some clogged arteries, which he fixed at the same time.

Since this surgery, I now find the phrase “harden not your hearts” a moving meditation phrase. The concept of not hardening our hearts shows up as many as fifteen times in Scripture. A heart is a soft vibrating organ. But if it hardens, it cannot function.

We can harden our hearts in many ways. During my lifetime, I have found at times a hardening of my heart toward meditative prayer. I found myself making it through the day on a couple of recitations of the Lord’s Prayer and one or two other prayers. I didn’t want to turn my heart toward God. I needed to exercise my spiritual heart to get it vibrating and back in the spirit of meditation.

We can also spend less time in spiritual relationships. Perhaps we have hastened the hardening process by negative thoughts about a person. Before we are aware of it, we are not spending time on our relationship with God. Our heart has petrified in this area.

Fortunately, God gives us the ability to reverse this process. I believe we can feel that hardening of the heart when it takes place. We realize we are not the loving person we should be. We have become blah, selfish, or lazy.

Hardening is a gradual process, but one day, we find we have hardened our hearts—and it is our fault.

God made your heart to love. Exercise it so your prayer arteries won’t clog.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Does Anyone Love Me?

We all want to be accepted and loved, but sometimes we don’t receive it.

In grade school, I was often picked on, leaving me feeling rejected, unloved, and even hated. Hoping I had left all of this pain behind in grade school, I discovered I was wrong. I remember one job I held where I experienced the same type of rejection from co-workers as I did in school. 

When I was fourteen years old, my mom got into the car one day and committed suicide. My dad re-married. Seventeen years later, he left my home state after he divorced my stepmom. Other than stepfamily, I don’t have family on my mom's side or my dad's side to rely on. I am in my mid-fifties, but haven’t found a woman to love me and be my wife. 

All these incidents have shaken my world and made me feel unloved. Sadly, in this fallen world, selfishness and other sins often get in the way of love and relationships. Sin, rejection, and conflict can turn our love cold and dull, but not Jesus' love.

When Jesus died, He was betrayed, whipped, and nailed to the cross with something similar to heavy spikes. He knows how it feels to be rejected, unloved, and hated.

Nevertheless, out of love for us, Jesus took on immense hatred from others and died for our sins. Now, we can spend eternity with Him if we simply accept Him into our hearts. When we go to heaven, we will live in a world where sin won’t get in the way of love.

If you haven’t, accept Jesus’ love and ask Him into your heart.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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