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.

The Book of Love

While sparkling the housework in my unit one day, I turned my music to a lively old timers’ radio show. One singer crooned, “Who wrote the book of love?” I paused and thought, That’s a good question.

I glanced at my large-print Bible. Many people wrote their pages in our book of love in life, and many wrote pages in our Bible, our central Book of Love. The Old and New Testaments prepare us for the love story Jesus has, which is still relevant today and in the future.

Jesus brings the greatest love story ever told. Jesus is our bestie Brother, and our world needs more of Jesus’s love.

We also need more prayers, more healing love, more pacifism, more defenders of the faith, and more peace in our lands. Jesus shows us His gift of love. Our Book of Love still has this message to share—to let His light shine for all.

We can keep praying that we’ll experience the love of the Lord Jesus in good and bad times. Many people can find our Christian Book of Love. Let’s all pray for more godliness as we try to create a future of Love.

How can you introduce others to the Book of Love? 

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Unexpected Attacks

Attacks can come from the most unexpected places.

I was excited to see the new Jesus Revolution movie. I’d heard a lot of praise about the film from friends and felt it would help me feel a bit of hope—something missing in my walk with the Lord. In addition, I wanted my husband to have fun too. He didn’t much like going to the movies but agreed as a birthday present to me.

We arrived early and settled into our seats. The place filled, and I was happy to see some parents and grandparents with their children and grandchildren. I prayed silently, asking God to show us all His message.

When the screen came to life twenty minutes before the scheduled start time, I was disappointed by what we were fed from the screen: loud, garish advertisements for products and other movies. Advertisers prompted us to download this app or follow certain accounts. Things I wouldn’t spend time or money on. I whispered to my husband, “I think they have the wrong audience.”

Romans 12:2 came to mind. Although I was in the theater to see a Christian movie filled with Christian sentiments, I was still subject to the world’s ways. I needed to be aware of everything I was being fed. Even when we participate in a Christian experience, the world can still attack.

As the ads and trailers continued, I prayed that no one in the audience, including me, would be swayed. I called to mind other Scriptures that warn against these kinds of attacks and focused on God’s perfect and pleasing will for me.

When the movie finally started, I had not been swayed. I had avoided the world’s attacks by focusing on God, His Word, and His faithfulness.

How can you be sure you’re ready when the world comes to attack?

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Eternal Connections

A new year dawned. In my early morning devotions I asked God, “What is your word for me for the year ahead?” It came loud and clear: eternal connections.

As the year progressed, I reconnected with my childhood best friend on Facebook and my brother and cousins at our aunt’s memorial service. My biological half-sister flew across the country to solidify our new-found relationship, conceived through a DNA test.

I submitted my DNA-connection narrative to 23andme. They wanted to learn more about how their product created my new relationships. During a Skype interview, Kelly, their story producer, asked me what I would say to someone considering 23andme. I simply replied, “Take the test!”

My daughter tried out for her school’s dance team many years ago. After four grueling afternoons of lengthy tryouts, she wasn’t chosen but was not disappointed. Libby loved to dance, learn new songs, and be with her friends. She learned how to enjoy the process. Libby experienced many new connections that are still strong today.

God calls us to connect with others, as He has connected with us. We may never know in this life what He does through our associations. He came to earth as a man to bind us together with Him and reveal how each of us is vital in His body, the church.

Connections require love—a risky, selfless sacrifice of our time and energy for the eternal benefit of others. I plan to seek out new associations today and rekindle old ones. I hope you will too.

Who are some people you need to reconnect with?  

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Choosing to Love

Choosing to love was difficult.

I had a distressing work relationship with one of my coworkers, who often poorly treated me and others in the office. My feelings became borderline hateful after he brought one of my coworkers to tears over falsehoods he spread about her. Frustrated by his behavior, I caught myself frequently wishing ill upon him. Knowing my attitude was wrong, I mustered a simple prayer and asked God to help me love him.

Although my heart didn’t undergo an immediate transformation, as I continued to seek God’s help, God softened my attitude, helping me to see my coworker in a new light. Instead of grumbling about him and pointing out his problematic behavior and treatment of others, I prayed for him. I asked God to work in his heart and mine too.

I intentionally showed my coworker grace, kindness, and care. While I had to adopt a fake-it-till-you-make-it approach at first, in time, God helped me feel genuine care and concern for my coworker—a byproduct of a changed heart, only possible through God’s help.

The world will know we are followers of Christ through our love. As we show kindness and love toward even the most challenging or frustrating people, we follow Christ’s example. He loved us so much that He gave His life for us, offering a path to forgiveness and redemption.

Loving our enemies and those who hurt us is daunting, but God will help us when we make an effort.

Who are some people you need to choose to love? 

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Listeners with No Ears

Pastor Mike entered the pulpit as the congregation finished their hymn and resumed their seats. He noticed Miss Henry sitting in the third row. Not unusual, he thought, since she was somewhat deaf. In that position, she could hear the sermon better. Or hear something she could ponder, censure, and then spread around.

As he began to preach, the pastor noticed Miss Henry had extracted something small from her purse, which she inserted into her ear. Probably her hearing aid, he thought as he continued speaking. But after a few moments, he noticed she wore a scowl that turned into a grimace.

As he continued preaching, she suddenly snatched the hearing aid from her ear, stuffed it back into her purse, and sat stiffly upright. The pastor thought it amusing as he realized the reason for her action. His topic was about avoiding judgmental gossip, and since that was her unique talent, Miss Henry didn’t like what she heard.

Jesus asked His listeners to open their ears to His message. Unfortunately, that’s something we often fail to do—especially when it’s not what we want to hear.

But what is it we don’t want to hear? Perhaps God is nudging us into a new area of service, correcting us for a fault, or asking that we change our minds about a task. Whatever it is, when we don’t listen, we often remain stalled on our spiritual journey. We become listeners with no ears.

The next time you get a divine nudge, listen carefully and follow through on it—for your benefit and God’s glory.

How can you do a better job of listening to God?

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Dared to Declare

We are often dared to declare.

A friend of mine found himself at the end of his career. An early widower, he had spent forty years working and raising his three children. Now he would have time on his hands—lots of time. Like Isaiah, he heard the Lord ask, “Whom shall I send?” and he answered the Lord, “Here am I. Send me.”

Five years later, he looked out the window, tears rolling down his face as he watched little children on a playground. These children could climb, slide, and run. Their slanted, almond-shaped eyes smiled as wide as their little mouths while they played.

His special education classroom soon filled, and he greeted them as teachers’ assistants rolled or carried them in. One of the children perched on his lap. As the little one leaned into him, my friend’s heart swelled with the joy of the Lord. He whispered, “Jesus loves you.”

As servants of the Most High God, we are called to duty. When we listen to His voice and direction, we find ourselves continually renewed, despite our earthly age or preconceived notions of what retirement should look like to be the rest we have earned. 

The Word of God offers a continual emergence, a green reawakening, and a new birth each time we read it. Regardless of where we are in our faith journey, we can let the living Word push us through the dirt of earthly trials and sorrows to sprout anew. The next generation needs to hear us declare our testimony of God’s power and mighty acts.

What are some ways you can teach the next generation? 

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Pursuit of Lesser Things

Our move was months away, and, once again, the prospect of moving to another state and leaving behind family and everything I’d ever known overcame me. Like a roller coaster, my emotions rose one moment and plummeted in the next breath. I have great memories I will always cherish, yet as I pondered those things, I realized there were some memories I had to leave behind to grow.

The apostle Paul was no stranger to adversity and pain, yet he handled these experiences gracefully. He had determined to fulfill God’s will, and doing so was the objective of his life. Paul was especially adept at doing the essential one thing. He had mastered forgetting and fixed his eyes on Christ. I, too, want to learn to leave the past in the past.

Instead, I often find myself replaying incidents that bore a wound in my heart. Rather than forget, I pursue lesser things and occupy my days with thoughts that resolve little. If only I had said this or done that instead.

God calls us to forget our past mistakes and sins. We cannot undo certain things, and although God can and does redeem all things, there are times no resolution is realized. Our challenge is to release the past and strain toward what lies ahead.

I want to emulate Paul and model my perspective after his. God has called us onward and heavenward. He has worthier pursuits for us. Let’s press on toward the prize. God is our exceedingly great reward.

How can you keep from pursuing the lesser things? 

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Dying in Peace

“Preacher, Mrs. ____ just died.”

“I’ll be right over.”

“Marty, your granddaddy wants to see you before he dies.”

“Okay, I’ll leave right now. I should be there in two hours.”

One a shut-in, the other a relative. Two of the many I’ve watched die or seen their bodies shortly after they have. Some struggle before taking the last breath. Others surrender peacefully. These two did.

The shut-in was a long-time member of the church I pastored. Her husband was still able to attend, but she wasn’t. I visited them monthly. They would never let me leave without taking some junk food home for the kids.

When I crossed the threshold of their front door on the day of the call, she sat peacefully in her favorite chair—a calm look of assurance. No struggle. No grief.

As I walked in my grandfather’s nursing home room, he smiled, raised his hands to heaven, and said, “I’m going up.” And shortly thereafter, he did. Peacefully.

For some unknown reason, God had told Simeon he wouldn’t die until he saw the Messiah. One day, the Spirit led him to the Temple. The day Mary and Joseph were presenting baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required. Simeon knew He was the Messiah. He knew deliverance for his nation and the world was on the horizon. Now, he could die peacefully. 

Death is a doorway into eternity. Life doesn’t end with our final breath—actually it just begins. Life as God planned it. At least for believers. But the only way we can die in peace—regardless of the circumstances surrounding our death—is to prepare for it while alive. Neglecting God and living for self won’t do. We may slip peacefully from this world but won’t live in eternal peace. Instead, we’ll experience eternal torment. An eternity separated from God.

Accepting Jesus as the Messiah who died for the world’s sins allows us to die in peace as it did Simeon. Whether we struggle with a disease before death or succumb to a tragic accident won’t matter. Death will be peaceful, knowing we’re slipping into our Savior’s arms.

When your time comes, will you die peacefully?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay and Linzatic.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Blessing Box

The blessing box sat near the edge of my former co-worker’s desk.

The artsy box, filled with colorful strips of paper, captured my attention one day as I entered her office. “What’s this?” I asked.

“It’s a Blessing Box with Scripture verses,” she replied. “My sister-in-law made it. Pick one!”

While I can’t remember the verse I picked that day, I remember how timely and inspirational it was. One brief verse on a folded piece of paper filled my heart so much that my co-worker had her sister-in-law make one for me. Before long, I was blessed with a beautiful Blessing Box, compliments of someone who had taken the time to type, cut, and fold many verses.

At home, I randomly selected verses from my new treasured box. When making lunch for my husband, I added a couple of verses to his lunch bag. On the day I missed adding them, he noticed.

One year, while visiting our son in his former college town, the Blessing Box traveled with us. I wanted our family to experience a Blessing Box moment together. After introducing it to my son and a friend at our hotel, we each picked a verse and read it to each other. My son’s friend was so moved that I passed the Blessing Box to her.

Back at work, I told my co-worker that the Blessing Box had gained another fan and now had a new owner. As a Christmas gift that year, my co-worker replaced the Blessing Box I had gifted and included another one for my son’s friend.

Today, I think my former co-worker would be pleased to know that I still enjoy this treasure as much as I did when I spotted hers in her office.

Currently, my Blessing Box sits on my kitchen island with a crystal water pitcher beside it. When passing by it, I pick a verse, unfold it, read it, pray it, and then drop it into the elegant pitcher. I’ve invited my family to do the same. I hope we’ll get to the bottom of the box and fill the pitcher while hydrating our hearts and minds with these tasty sips of God’s Word.

What are some ways you can bless others with God’s Word?

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Where the Water Is

Life is where the water is. Air, water, sleep, and food sustain our bodies.

We can barely survive three minutes without air. Four minutes without oxygen to the brain can cause irreversible damage and, after six minutes, possibly death. Without water, we can only last three to ten days. The effects of dehydration often begin shutting down organs much sooner.

A fit, healthy person can fast from forty-six to seventy-three days, provided they receive plenty of water. A sick or brain-injured person can last only ten to fourteen days without food. Lack of food also causes health complications, which is why the Bible speaks about forty-day fasts (goodnewsaboutgod.com).

According to healthline.com, the longest anyone has gone without sleep is 264 hours. Hallucinations begin after three to four nights. Cognitive functions, decreased reaction time, irritability, delusions, paranoia, and psychosis are also common. Twenty-four hours without sleep causes impaired decision-making, judgment, vision, hearing, memory, and other issues. This compares to a blood alcohol level of .10, the limit many states classify as impaired driving. After thirty-six hours, appetite, metabolism, mood, stress, and body temperature are affected. The immune system is affected after forty-eight hours.

We can also be thirsty spiritually and emotionally. David faced all three conditions while in the wilderness of Judah. He depended on God to sustain him. But David experienced more than the physical aspects. He needed God’s presence and comfort more than anything else.

We also need the Lord’s presence and comfort. We end in a worse condition when we go without God for even a short time. If God’s breath and daily presence were vital for Adam, what makes us think we’re different?   

Whatever your wilderness, you can’t survive without the Lord’s presence. You can withstand anything with God’s presence and comfort, whether it’s a physical, mental, or emotional struggle. He is where the water is. 

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Our Loving Father

When asked to name his favorite day, Mark said, “The day I went fishing with my dad.”

On hearing this, Mark’s father thumbed through a journal he kept. On the day his son spoke of, he had written, “Took my son fishing. Wasted the whole day.” The father’s heart was crushed, and he was convicted, thinking of that day as wasted.

I believe one of my son’s favorite memories would be the many times his dad helped him deliver newspapers on cold icy days when the snow was too deep for a bicycle to plow through. Most of those times occurred after his dad had put in a full day at work.

Our children don’t remember the big expensive things but rather those times when we showed our love through being available. Parenting isn’t an easy job, but it is rewarding when we allow God to guide us as we guide our children.

From Genesis to Revelation, we read examples of how God the Father guides and loves His children. In the Old Testament, He guided the Israelites for forty years through the wilderness before leading them into the Promised Land of milk and honey. In the New Testament, God the Father gave the greatest gift to the world: His Son.

Have you asked this loving and guiding Father to come into your life? Unlike Mark’s earthly father, He will never grow weary of spending time with you.

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Her Best Friend

She lay on her bed—her best friend beside her.

My great-grandmother lived with my paternal grandparents for as long as I can remember. I never knew my great-grandfather or why my great-grandmother came to live with my grandparents.

Since my grandmother served as my babysitter, I saw my great-grandmother almost daily. She always seemed ancient. But once, I calculated how old she would have been when I was a young boy—just a few years older than I was.

She and my grandmother loved to sit in the living room, watch game shows on television, and crochet. My great-grandmother also loved to plant and work with flowers in the yard and her bedroom. What time she wasn’t in the living room, she lay on her bed in her room.

A plain wooden chair with armrests rested at the foot of her bed—a chair that now rests in one of our bedrooms. And in that chair, I often sat—watching her crochet, listening to her stories, and watching her best friend who never left her side. Her Bible always lay just beside her on the bed or the nightstand beside her bed—another piece of furniture now beside my bed. And most proudly, I own her ragged Bible—the cover long gone, and the pages ruffled.

My great-grandmother came to mind one Christmas. I took out a small night lamp, turned it on, placed her Bible on the table in front of it, and turned the pages to Luke 2—the Christmas story.

My great-grandmother believed what the writer of Hebrews said about God’s Word. She kept it close by and always lived out its principles. I never saw or heard her violate any command of God’s Word. Her example taught me a lot.

Though aged, God’s Word is not dead. The stories still come alive when read, and the commands remain relevant. When read, God’s Word burns into our souls and becomes an instrument through which God confronts us with our spiritual needs—the most essential needs in life. But the Word doesn’t leave us hanging with no hope. It gives us the solution to our dilemmas and guidance for every life situation.

God’s Word reminds us of the most important thing: God loved us so much that He gave His Son to pay for our sins.

How can you let God’s Word become your best friend?

(photo courtesy of the author)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Word Fitly Spoken

The words did not fit my situation because a know-it-all spoke them. But then a wise man spoke, and his words stuck and changed me because he gave a word fitly spoken.

A fitting word is a suitable word with force if we receive it to comfort, encourage, and give us victory.

Job’s friends had a lot of words to say to him, but none were the right words and were not fitting or effective.

Fitting words fit the person, situation, and time. Such words are God-honoring and affect a change for good if they’re received.

Clothes fit or don’t fit. One size does not fit all. What fits one person may not fit another person. Likewise, words that are proper for one person and their situation may not be for another person.

What helps us have the fitting words for another person’s situation is recalling the words God used to help us when we were in a similar situation. We can still remember how fitting a friend’s advice was. A word fitly spoken is as appropriate as golden apples in a silver vase or ones framed in silver.

Words of flattery or blame are not fitting words. Fitting words are honest and sincere and get to the root of the problem. Words that address wrong and poor choices to get someone to repent and reconcile to God are also fitting—as are words that remind us of God’s forgiveness, love, mercy, and care.

Some people have a knack for always saying the wrong thing. Their intentions may be correct, but their words are unfitting. For them, whatever comes up comes out. But others are gifted to say the right word in every situation. God uses them to touch and change the lives of others.

How can you do a better job of saying the right thing at the right time?

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Work for the Eternal

Labor Day. I've always chuckled at a national holiday dedicated to work. When I was pregnant, I thought “labor day” was perfect, but as I reentered the workforce, labor just grew more intensive.

Our son is a computer IT guy. He's worked for years for an international company. He ensured his work ethic was great, and his willingness to learn was always upfront. This past spring, the company decided to downsize, so they laid off hundreds internationally. HUNDREDS. Now, my son struggles to find a job in his field of study.

He's not below taking a lesser job, but all those years of schooling and hard work seem wasted if he can't find something in his wheelhouse.

We live in a world where everyone is for themselves. Rather than working toward our eternal well-being, we struggle with the earthly. We need work. Obviously, we need wages to pay our bills and buy food, but things begin to get scary when we can't find a job. My son is searching for a physical way to provide—to be fed.

Jesus had just fed the five thousand, and the crowds were searching for Him the next day. When they found Him, Jesus saw through their desire. He told them they were there because He'd fed them, and they were looking for more food. Jesus told them they needed the bread of life—the food that would prevent them from ever being hungry again. He "fed" them truth and told them their focus should be on eternity. He reminded them that working for food that perished was futile when He offered them eternal life—well worth the work.

We know we must have necessities to survive on this earth, and though those things are essential, our eternal work is greater. In our humanness, we prioritize wrong. Of course, we need work, but we need Christ in eternity first. The hard thing is recognizing the eternal's place over the temporal.

Work hard on earth and earn a good wage, for the laborer deserves his wages. But focus on your eternal life and the work needed to draw you closer to God. When you get the order right, the physical tends to fall into place.

On this Labor Day, rejoice in your blessings, then work for the eternal.

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


Let’s face it. We all have favorites—foods, hairstyles, entertainment, and more serious favorites that create slanted biases. Our minds categorize in terms of favorites.

I love to study, so I pursued a career as a teacher, seeking to inspire young minds to love learning and embrace education. In my mind, every high schooler I taught was destined to complete a university degree.

One year, the Lord sent me a charming, God-fearing principal who was a former PE teacher, but a man who hated academic labors. At every possible moment, he yanked our kids out of their classrooms on exciting field trips with great interaction and outdoor activity but little or no academic purpose. As a result, it became more difficult for me to meet the requirements for each class syllabus. My resistance to my boss’s spontaneous outings spotlighted our conflicting preferences.

The heart of our conflicts is often found in opposing goals, preferences, and values—favorites. Peter had been raised in a culture of law that forbade interaction with pagans. But God.

It often comes down to that, doesn’t it? In Acts 10, God commanded Peter to reach out to Gentiles and to welcome them into the Christian faith. Peter’s well-honed favoritism, his preference for all things and people Jewish, was altered by God Himself, the author of the law that had encouraged Peter’s favoritism.

God used that principal to help me re-think my well-honed favoritism and recognize and value other disciplines beyond academics.

In what areas is God challenging some of your favorite points of focus and value so He can enlarge His kingdom and prosper your faith?  

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Unloading Our Baggage

I worked at a four-star hotel in a resort area for eight years. Every day, I watched our bellhops interact with arriving and departing guests. As cars were unloaded and loaded, I saw all types and sizes of luggage. Over time, I learned how to identify the kind of traveler we hosted by glimpsing their bell cart.

Beach toys and backpacks? Young family. Plastic bags overflowing with snack food and soft drinks? Family with teens. Bottle of champagne? Empty nester getting away. Hanging wardrobe bag and laptop briefcase? Definitely all business.

I’ve often thought about what people carry during their travels through life. We can begin the trip with exactly what we need, like a solid foundation in Scripture knowledge or happy and healthy relationships with loved ones. Or we can overpack instead of trusting that God will have the proper provision at the right time.

And then there are the stops along the way where we inadvertently pick up baggage that slows down our journeys. Like residual hurt from a broken relationship, worry over what tomorrow holds, or even guilt from our missteps and mistakes. Sometimes this new baggage is more of a control issue. We may feel desperate not to be caught off guard by whatever life throws our way, so we add buffers for those just-in-case events.  

From life issues to disappointments to a need to control, Jesus understands many things burden us. But when He calls us to follow Him, He asks us to trade our burdens and our excess baggage of hurt, worry, guilt, and control for His—an easy and light burden. But more than that, it will also be precisely what we need to carry for the journey.

What is some baggage you need to unload? 

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Jesus, the Living Water

Water is essential to life.

If we made a list of things that need water, we would be on the list. All living things need water. God uniquely made our bodies. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Our brains are seventy percent water, so when we give them water, we give them what they are made of and need. 

The prophet Daniel asked permission to drink water and eat veggies for ten days when told to eat and drink what was ungodly and unhealthy. And he looked better after the ten days than those who had eaten the king’s food.

We need water to stay fit for God’s kingdom service, and Jesus is the living water.

God’s wisdom benefits us every time. When we are fatigued, fuzzy, frazzled, and frustrated, we can grab our water bottle, head to the water cooler, and drink more water. We can even take the Daniel test by recording our water intake and increasing our daily amount if needed.

We often need water and are nearly dehydrated, yet we think we need food. Eating and overeating are not the answer. Water is what we need. Water is great for the brain, joints, skin, kidneys, digestive system, hair, nails, and every other body part. Our bodies will thank us by getting stronger and staying fit for God’s kingdom work.

What water does for our bodies, God does for our spirits with the water of His Word. He washes us clean and quenches our thirst for friendship, fellowship, significance, value, purpose, and vision.

What are some ways you can drink of God’s presence? Why not fellowship with Him by reading His Word daily? You can learn about His will and evaluate the outcome.

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Valley of Decision

Entering the tenth grade in schools in my country leads students into the valley of decision.

Each child must decide to major in science, art, or commercial classes. Their decisions determine their future professions and the subjects they will study for the following three grades. Some choose the same things as their friends, some follow the path their parents have chosen for them, and others follow their hearts.

Earth is our valley of decision, and it is also a place of reflection and contemplation. God sets before us a decision for life or death. He doesn’t coerce; He advises,

The valley of decision is beyond the physical dimension. It is a time, a place, and a lifetime. Choice is one crucial thing God gives us. We can choose to serve Him or do otherwise. But one day, we will be transported from the valley of decision to the judgment seat. Here, we can make no choices or decisions. Instead, we will hear only proclamations.

Presently, we have a window of grace and live in the valley of decision. But the clock is ticking, and no alarm will alert us to Christ’s coming. We must choose today to follow God and obey His Word.  

What decisions are you making about Christ? 

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Fruit of the Spirit

I Googled Agricultural Commodities Inspector (fruit inspector) and found they ensure only the best produce goes to consumers. To protect the public from tainted crops, they collect samples for testing, verify the sanitation of production facilities, weigh, grade, seal, and label products.

But what about the Fruit of the Spirit?

God wants us to be His fruit inspectors. His Spirit trains us to discern the good fruit from the bad, helping us avoid what cannot satisfy our needs.

Like trees in the Garden of Eden, we live in our Father’s kingdom, producing spiritual fruit at the right time for His glory. But we should often consider the quality of our fruit and whether it would pass a godly inspector’s test.

One morning, I thought of the song lyrics that say others will know us by our love. God likes to remind me of important things when my mind is fresh. Indeed, love is the most valuable Fruit of the Spirit.

We can produce the fruit of love by allowing the Spirit to cultivate our fruit, seizing opportunities to nourish others, connecting with others in worship, feasting on the varieties of spiritual fruit, and looking beneath the surface of those around us to discern what is good or bad.

I plan to stay attached to the Vine, which is Jesus, to produce holy and nourishing fruit. What can you do to accomplish the same? 

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Tear Down This Wall

On August 20, 2022, Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union, died. Thirty-five years earlier, President Ronald Reagan had stood before the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and demanded: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Two years later, the Berlin Wall, which had separated East and West Berlin since 1961, fell.

From the walls of Jericho in Bible times to the Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall, Korea’s DMZ, and Israel’s West Bank Barrier, to the recently proposed border wall between the US and Mexico, walls have created unfortunate racial, religious, political, and social barriers. But even more tragic are the walls erected in the heart.

The enmity between the Jews and the Gentiles was uppermost in Jesus’ mind when He told His disciples He had to go through Samaria. His earthly mission was to bridge the gap between God and unbelievers and break down the dividing walls of hostility between people.

Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman occurred at Jacob’s well, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob pronounced a special blessing on Joseph at his death, telling him he would be a fruitful vine climbing over a wall.

In His conversation with the woman, Jesus, the true vine, transcended religious, ethnic, gender, and cultural barriers and tore down long-standing walls of hatred that divided the Jews and Samaritans. The fruit was abundant. Many Samaritans in the city believed in Jesus after hearing the woman’s testimony.

As Christ’s disciples, we must guard our hearts to value others, regardless of our differences. Reagan’s demand to “tear down this wall” is an appropriate warning for Christians in a divisive world.

What steps should you take to tear down walls you’ve erected? 

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Lugging Luggage

As I turned the corner and squinted at the gate numbers, I knew I wasn’t finished lugging luggage.

My wife and I and another couple were on our way to Nova Scotia, Canada, for mission work. With an hour layover in Chicago, we imagined we’d have time to catch our breath before our last leg of the flight. The terminal of our arrival, however, was as far as it could possibly be from the terminal of our departure. Somehow, we missed the sign offering shuttle service.

My friend and I slung our carry-on bags over our shoulders and carried our wives’ baggage. But when we arrived at the designated terminal, our gate was at the opposite end of where we entered. I heaved a sigh of relief when I could finally put down the luggage. But no sooner had I done so than I heard, “We are now boarding for gate . . .”

Lugging luggage isn’t any fun.

Pentecost had happened. Thousands believed in Jesus as the Messiah. The disciples preached as Jesus had told them to do. Peter had healed a crippled beggar lying by one of the temple gates. A crowd gathered to marvel. Peter saw his chance to invite the people to put down their baggage—sin.

Lugging around sin isn’t enjoyable. It’s heavier than any luggage we’ll ever carry. It causes our shoulders to ache, our feet to burn, and our hands to cringe. More than that, it infects our hearts and ruins our relationship with a God who loves us very much.

All the crowd had to do to obey Peter’s directive was turn from their sins and turn to God. Repentance is the theological term. Turning from one direction and going in another.

The way to quit lugging around the luggage of sin hasn’t changed. Since God doesn’t like ugly, we have to quit being ugly. And with God’s help, we can. Jesus bore our heavy luggage on the cross. When we give it to Him and let Him carry it, we don’t have to lug it around anymore.

What are some ways you can give your luggage to Christ? He’ll be glad to carry it for you.

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Napping on God's Work

It was one of those cold, rainy days—perfect for napping. My alertness had ground to a halt, and I could no longer focus on my current task.

God made our bodies to need rest, and sometimes naps are good. But there are other times when they are not so good.

While napping may be a natural need, Paul reminded the Thessalonians that they should not nap spiritually. He warned them that the day of the Lord was coming soon. The culture around them tried to lull them into spiritual complacency by focusing on peace and safety.

While there is nothing wrong with these two ideals, Paul’s emphasis suggests that making them of primary importance equals tolerating every false idea circulating in culture.

The world told the Thessalonians to compromise and go with the flow. What could be wrong with allowing those who worship Aphrodite to go to her temple and worship? What was wrong with going with them occasionally? Surely, they were not to speak out against this. After all, her worshippers could have been good, moral citizens. Instead, Paul tells the believers to stand firm for their faith in the Lord, to speak out boldly for the gospel, and to speak against the worldly values that contradict it.

Our impetus for speaking up and out comes from recognizing that Christ’s return is imminent. Rather than accepting the status quo, we should be alert to false ideas and ready to counter them. We base our faith on the hope of a future far better than our current way of living. Therefore, we must guard against wrong thinking and not be lulled into a sense of passivity by a culture that pressures us to compromise.

Have you compromised in areas of your life? Do you need to recognize that this world and its beliefs will not last for eternity? With which family member or friend can you share this realization?

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Memorable July 4

I swung my legs, wiggling and waiting for my favorite part of a memorable July 4.

Ten-year-old me sat on a wall at the edge of a bowl-shaped valley, awaiting a stunning fireworks show. I bounced my gaze between the blackened sky and the pyrotechnician’s booth. Suddenly, a million jewels exploded in the night sky, then ceased too quickly. Suddenly, I saw a frenzy of activity at the bottom of the hill. A firework had misfired into the brush, and the resulting fire lapped hungrily at the valley floor.

The techs promptly divided their forces. Half kept the show limping along while the others fought the flames. But the desert plants were dry, not fire resistant. So even after the fire department arrived, flames jumped from bush to bush, steadily climbing the hillside toward our feet.

People watching inside their houses remained captivated by the fireworks and blind to the fire. But it had our full attention. We created a simple fire break by pulling back our flammable yard décor and using the garden hose. Then we stood guard. We were the last line of defense.

Many are distracted by the fireworks while a fire burns on the perimeter. The world’s flashy things monopolize our energy and talents. And although we know the Bible sounds the alarm and calls us to action, we struggle to engage.

Yet the truth remains. We are the last line of defense. God calls believers to wake up, intervene, and warn people of the imminent danger. Not everyone can use the hose. Not everyone needs to make a fire break. But everyone is needed. Serve. Encourage. Teach. Comfort. Pray.

What are some ways you can engage the fire of evil?

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

God Cares for the Little Bird

The little bundle caught my eye as the garage door opened. It lay about five feet away on the cold black pavement. Moving closer, I saw it was a tiny, dead bird—fully formed, yet featherless. I stared at the little body and wondered what had happened. Did a neighbor’s cat get into the nest? Or was it the blustery wind from the recent Nor’easter?

My heart filled with pity and my eyes with tears. Lately, my tears had been close to the surface. Only a few months had passed since my husband’s death, and I felt so alone and vulnerable as I thought of facing life without him. Then suddenly, I saw myself in that poor little bird. I, too, had been torn from the nest and thrown to the ground.

“Lord,” I prayed, “is this how You see us when we fall? When we are torn from the nest and are hurting? Are we like this little bird to You—helpless, naked, defenseless? Does Your heart fill with pity and sadness for us?”

Then I recalled Jesus’ words that not even one sparrow falls to the ground apart from the will of our heavenly Father. Jesus talked about birds, but He told us how much God cares.

When I think of the world’s wide varieties and number of birds, I am amazed that God knows when even one falls to the ground. Yet Jesus assured us He knows and cares. And then Jesus added, “You are worth more.”  

Are you feeling lost and alone? Do you need a reminder that God loves you? Just watch the birds and remember you are worth more. 

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

When Life Goes Awry

Life is fickle.

When I think I’ve figured it out, I experience or witness something that makes no apparent sense, such as with Ed. He was a local pastor and good friend on his way to a church member’s house. They were off for a day of visiting. When Ed pulled up in the driveway, he was overcome with a bout of dizziness. Then a violent seizure grabbed him.

Ed’s friend immediately called 911. Five more seizures followed, the last so severe it dropped his heart rate, causing doctors to place him on a ventilator. Over a week later, Ed still lingered on the ventilator because of a swollen tongue and throat.

My wife and I spent hours with his family in the waiting room. Despite not knowing the outcome, I never heard them question God’s purpose. Life had gone awry, but they didn’t go awry with it—even when Ed had to retire from preaching and draw disability.

Abraham was in a similar senseless situation. He and his wife had waited years for God to deliver on His promise of a son. As a young man, God told Abraham to journey to a nearby mountain and sacrifice that same son. Abraham didn’t question God but obeyed. Of course, God intervened just as He did in Ed’s case—although perhaps not in the way Ed might want.

I, too, have experienced quite a few life-goes-awry episodes. Like Abraham and Ed’s family, I’ve learned to be content regardless of the situation. Knowing the character of the God I serve makes this easier—although it doesn’t always take away my questions. Perhaps He’ll answer those in the future—or maybe it won’t matter once I reach heaven. For now, I trust He’s a loving God who always has my best interests at heart. He’ll never do anything to harm me or destroy my trust in Him.

We can learn many vital spiritual lessons when life goes awry. How can you better let God teach and develop you when life takes a wrong turn? 

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

External Religion

I had a Sunday morning demeanor but lived like a respectable sinner the rest of the week by hiding my major indiscretions. I had external religion only.

As a young teenager, I professed faith in Christ as we were supposed to do in my church. Yet from that time to early adulthood, this decision had minimal impact on my life. I grew up attending a church that recognized perfect attendance by giving Sunday school pins. Some proudly wore them down one lapel and up the other. My charade continued until one day, on a college campus, I came clean with God. From then on, everything changed.

I was a perfect example of one who outwardly portrayed religion but lacked a heart transformation. Or, as our scriptural reference states, “circumcised and yet uncircumcised.” Sadly, many are in the same spiritual condition. They proclaim Christianity but don’t practice it. The Bible calls it having a form of religion but denying its power.

Jesus’ greatest condemnation was for people who had an outward facade of religion but lacked an inward heart transformation. The validity of our Christian faith is always based on a radical choice—whether we will keep our life or lose it.

If we live with one foot in the church and one in the world, we will possess a divided heart. God is the supreme ruler of the universe, but He respects our right to determine our destiny. Therefore, He never takes more of our hearts than we give to Him.

You may have been a church member most of your life but feel little desire for God or His Word. You may be a lot like I was, possessing external religion. If so, give your life to God entirely. Don’t hold anything back. Then, watch what God will do. 

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Keeping Secrets

As children, many of us often played a game that entailed keeping secrets. But it seemed as if those secrets had a short lifespan. If they lasted ten minutes, they were a real secret.

When asked about her age, the renowned author and speaker Erma Bombeck always had a great comeback. “Can you keep a secret?” she would ask. “So can I.”

Being privy to a secret seems to hold a sense of self-importance, however innocuous the information might be.

The Bible addresses the topic of secrets, as Jesus notes in this verse:  For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Ananias and Saphira found out the hard way that keeping secrets from God doesn’t pay (Acts 5:1–11). Ananias sold his land and kept some of the profits for himself, even though he said he gave it all away. When Peter confronted him, Ananias died. Through their example, God taught early believers that truth is a cornerstone of the church.

We all have secrets from our past. The Holy Spirit is specific when asking us to deal with an issue that has become a roadblock in our effectiveness for Christ. He pinpoints it. It is never some vague feeling of guilt that the Enemy employs at will.

I once wrote a letter to my high school speech professor years after taking his class and confessed that I had plagiarized my final exam speech. The assignment was to speak about an influential person in my life. I copied the eulogy given at my grandfather’s recent funeral and passed it off as my speech. I didn’t drop dead upon my confession, but my pride suffered a severe blow.

Discernment and listening to the still, small voice of the Spirit are essential. God is not asking us to air our dirty laundry. However, he wants to free us from unhealthy secrets that have chained us to the past and block growth in our Christian journey.

Why not pray what King David did, “See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” 

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Loving the Boundaries

The letters lay in box—the folds showing evidence of students who had never written letters by hand.

The day was typical. During my planning period, I walked to the teacher workroom to check my mailbox. Ruffled-looking sheets of paper lay in my cubby. I removed them and saw my name hand-scribbled on them. I quickly fumbled through them and noted they came from students I taught. Not having time to read them, I refolded them and hurried back to my room.

Later in the day, I reopened the letters of appreciation. Some students expressed surprise that I had put up with them for three years, but they treasured it. One student remarked how awestruck she was that I had taught three generations of her siblings. She showed her appreciation by taking a red pen and marking out a noticeable mistake. Another said he looked forward to my class every day. Still another thanked me for not giving him lunch detention every time he deserved it. One commented on how much she had learned and grown in my class.

What I hated in school and at home—boundaries—these students respected. I’m sure they valued the boundaries their parents place on them as well—although they would never tell them. On most days, I think students hate me for being so hard and for pushing them to the limits, but they know I do so for their good.

Paul talked about the law of the boundaries with an example from agriculture. Whatever a farmer sows, he will harvest. A farmer doesn’t plant corn and harvest soybeans. 

I didn’t always appreciate the boundaries my parents erected—most of which mirrored God’s boundaries. But like my students, I knew they were beneficial. Because of my sinful nature, I would have run wild had boundaries been absent.

Just as I give much grace to my students when they cross the boundaries, so God does with us. He’s not sitting in heaven waiting for us to mess up so He can crush us. He establishes the boundaries to keep us on paths that are for our good. When we cross them, He gently guides us back inside the lines.

Boundaries teach us to trust God, determine right from wrong, grow as an individual, establish our identity, show love, and prepare for the future.

How can you learn to love God’s boundaries? 

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Cast Your Cares

It seems as if our world is falling apart. Our country is divided with apparently no solutions for unity. COVID has run rampant across the globe. We’ve had friends who were very ill with the virus and recovered, but we’ve also attended funerals for those who didn’t make it. The economy is a mess. Grocery prices rise weekly. What’s a Christian to do?

I remember driving back to work years ago after having lunch at home. I cried and asked God, “What can we do? What should we do? How are we going to make it?”

My husband had left his construction job several months before—a field in which he had worked for over twenty years but one in which he had burned out. He decided to try real estate. So, he studied, passed the exam, and took a job with a small local realty. Showings, however, were few, and sales non-existent. We were three months behind on our mortgage with foreclosure threatening.

God spoke to me quietly: “If you lose everything and everyone, you still have Me. I am all you need.”

Peace flooded my heart. Although nothing changed immediately, I knew God would take care of us. And He did. He made a way when I couldn’t see past our situation, and ultimately we lived in that house for many more years.

God has promised to meet all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ. Worry is simply a waste of our time and thoughts. It will not provide us with solutions but only reproduce more worry. But when we cast our cares on God, regardless of what they are, He will take them from us so we can live free from worry and anxiety.

Perhaps you are facing job loss, financial difficulties, or health issues. God stands waiting to help you and answer your prayers. Cast your cares on Him. Rest in Him, and know that He cares for you and your family.

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Higher Throne

On September 19, 2022, the truths of the gospel resonated through the magnificent Gothic vault of Westminster Abbey. An estimated ten million viewers watched the celebration of the life and death of Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.

Throughout her life, the queen spoke openly of her faith. In 2021, when health issues prevented her from attending the General Synod Service of the Church of England, her son, Prince Edward, relayed her message: “None of us can slow the passage of time; and while we often focus on all that has changed in the intervening years, much remains unchanged, including the gospel of Christ and His teachings.” 

The Archbishop of Canterbury eloquently expressed the hope that lay beyond the grave for the queen: “The pattern for many leaders is to be exalted in life and forgotten after death. The pattern for all who serve God—famous or obscure, respected or ignored—is that death is the door to glory.”

Like Elizabeth, who was crowned queen at a young age, Uzziah was only sixteen when he became the tenth king of the ancient nation of Judah. For most of his fifty-two-year reign, he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. But sadly, pride ultimately brought his downfall.

Isaiah, who prophesied during Uzziah’s reign, was in great distress regarding the moral decline of his nation. Undoubtedly, the long-reigning monarch’s death and shameful end exacerbated Isaiah’s anguish.

At this low point, God dramatically revealed Himself to Isaiah. In the year King Uzziah died, the prophet saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, surrounded by seraphim who sang praises to Him whose glory filled the whole earth.

Perhaps the exquisite beauty of Queen Elizabeth’s Christ-honoring funeral was a small foretaste of the glory to be revealed when the King of kings and Lord of lords ultimately establishes His kingdom. Then every eye will see, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

If the proper protocol in addressing Queen Elizabeth was to express honor to be her Majesty’s humble and obedient servant, how much greater is the call to be the humble and obedient servant of Him who sits on a higher throne, whose kingdom will never end?

Are you worshipping the one who sits on a higher throne?

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

Reunion, a Place of Healing

The numbers on my digital clock showed 3:30 a.m.

After only a few hours of sleep, I wasn’t pleased. This is me almost every time I have a special event to attend the next day. It’s a trait I’d like to throw in the trash like a poorly written novel.

One event happened to be my fiftieth high school reunion. I looked forward to seeing friends, although not all my high school memories were good ones. After fifty years, you’d think I would have thrown out those unhappy pages in my history. Instead, those entire painful chapters assaulted my mind in the wee hours. Hurtful words and unkind actions tossed and turned, and my body with it. I questioned if I should attend. Did I really want to go, and why? My answer? I desired a connection with my roots, so I went.

The following day, I turned the pages of my Bible and found Ezekiel going where the Spirit took him—although Ezekiel stewed in bitterness and turmoil. The Lord’s hold on him was strong.

I doubt my emotional distress was anywhere near what Ezekiel experienced, but I liked the declaration that the Lord’s hold on him was strong. Did the Lord have His hold on me in my sleepless quandary and would take me where I needed to go? I realized God had His hold on me in the yesteryear and yesterday.

I found affirming hugs, conversations, and laughter at the reunion. We cannot change the past, but we change and discover healing when we move forward by the Spirit’s leading.

What emotional quandary are you caught in? Will you let the Spirit lead you to a place of healing?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

God's Recycling Business

As we drove by the recycling bins, my friend said through tears, “Just throw me into one of those. Maybe they can make something better out of me.”

Her words made me think of all the times God has taken the bad in my life—at least what I considered bad—and transformed it into something good.

That’s God’s way. He works every moment for good for those who are called and chosen. The MSG puts it this way: “He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Sarah Young writes in Jesus Calling:

Nothing is wasted when you walk close to Me. Even your mistakes and sins can be recycled into something good through my transforming grace. ~Jesus

Something good. That’s God’s plan. He takes what the Enemy intends for evil, turns it around, and works it into . . . yep, something good. In God’s economy, He wastes nothing. He is in the recycling business, turning ashes into beauty and mourning into joy.

Surrender completely to Him today and watch what He’ll do in your life.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Danger of a Jealous Heart

“Jealousy calleth those things which be not as though they were.” The quote reveals the danger of a jealous heart.

Othello, one of William Shakespeare’s tragic characters, killed himself because of jealousy. He didn’t have faith in his love. His jealousy, left untamed in a fertile mind, turned assumption into reality. He lost everything, including his beloved and his life. He must have imagined his beloved with his friend, which threw out every sense of reasoning.

Envy kills, destroys, and cuts longevity off prematurely. A rotten bone becomes weak, breeds worms, and begins destruction from within. The host doesn’t notice anything at first until it is too late.

Through Solomon, God warns that envy is a rotten bone. A heart without envy is life and prosperity because it is a purpose-driven and purpose-fulfilling life

King Saul spent much of his time pursuing David. He heard people singing about how David slew ten thousand while Saul had slain only a thousand. At that moment, he forgot one crucial rule from the metaphorical compendium of kings: “The heart of the people is easily swayed by present glory.” He forgot who ordained him and assumed the people would prefer David as their king. Envy destroyed him.

We should never allow Satan to deceive us into neglecting and forgetting our creator, and we should never assume. Jealousy takes our hearts away from God and the things that matter. If Saul had forsaken envy and replaced it with introspection, he would have repented of his disobedience. We need circumcision of the heart to remove envy, which comes through prayer and repentance.

Look within at your bone, which is your heart. If jealousy fills it, let God cleanse it.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Down to Pennies

“It’s gonna be a minute,” he mumbled. After all, he was down to pennies. 

He and I and others waited in an inch-along line at a local convenience store. We had both waited patiently, but I would soon wait even longer. Finally, when his turn came, he twisted sideways, slid a Ziploc bag from his pocket, and dumped the contents on the hard counter. The coins clanged against the hard surface, and I heard them again as he scraped them two-by-two toward the cashier—all two hundred pennies and two dimes.

Seeing the line growing longer, the cashier jumped in to help. When they finished, he mumbled something about a pump number and disappeared. Only later did I realize his efforts amounted to only one measly gallon of gas.

Had I known the nature of his purchase, I would have offered to assist. Perhaps I was too preoccupied. By the time I realized what had happened, he was gone—and so was my opportunity to show kindness. God 1, me 0.

Later, while taking my afternoon walk, I asked God for another opportunity and vowed I’d be more attentive. 

Jesus looked on as the wealthy cast their excess into the temple treasury. Their gifts didn’t impress him. But the one from the widow did. In a time when little to no help availed itself for widows, she put in all she had on which to live. Jesus said she had given more than all the others combined.

I’ve been down on my luck before, but never to the point that I could only buy one gallon of gas. Nor have I had the widow’s faith and given my last penny to God when I needed it for food or bills. And some have passed me by when I faced difficulties, just as I did the guy at the gas station.

God arranges opportunities for us to demonstrate His love in tangible ways to others. Telling others about His love and inviting them to follow Him is done with more than just words. Our actions of love speak volumes, causing others to want to know why we live as we do.

Living with spiritual sensitivity toward those who are down to their pennies takes practice—and a whole lot of prayer. But, when we do, God will show us the opportunities.

Ask God for opportunities to help those who are down to pennies.

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

When the Stars Sang

I remember when the stars sang.

The fishpond behind Mama Kate’s house was the favorite hangout for us cousins during the hot South Carolina summers. While our parents rocked on the porch in the evenings, we kids stretched out in the grass and counted shooting stars. Life seemed as simple as a lullaby the teacher at our two-room school taught us. Yet even that simple melody of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” reflected our innate human desire to know more.

On December 25, 2021, NASA launched the James Webb Space Telescope, the most powerful infrared space telescope ever created. Then, on July 12, 2022, the incredible first images from outer space revealed the oldest galaxies ever seen by human eyes, including previously invisible details of the birth and death of stars.

Job wanted to know more too. Unlike NASA’s search for knowledge of galaxies millions of light-years away, Job’s quest was about the here and now, his little world. Why did he suffer so much? Why didn’t he die at birth? Why is light given to a person whom God has hedged in? What are people that You test them continually? Why not take away our iniquities? How can we be made right before God? When we die, will we live again?

God finally showed up. Instead of answers, however, He gave Job more questions about the universe’s deeper mysteries. When Job glimpsed the vastness and complexity of God’s majestic handiwork, his perspective changed completely. Ashamed and humbled, he acknowledged his error and repented.

In times of trial and confusion, we, like Job, often rail against God and falsely accuse Him of indifference. We forget the Creator, who determines the number of the stars, calls them by name, and knows our names too. They are engraved on the palm of His hands.

Like Job, we should bow the knee before our omniscient and omnipotent God, whose vast creation defies the imagination and who does all things well.

Look at the stars and let them sing of the greatness of God.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Bedraggled While Doing God's Will

My thumbs have never been green. Although the art of keeping plants alive usually escapes me, I love flowers. So when my sister-in-law gifted me a flat of purple petunias, I had to try.

She helped me transplant them into the front yard flower bed where the soil is rocky and compacted. I own no gardening tools, but with determination and some sturdy serving spoons from the kitchen, we firmly situated the plants.

The move must have been a traumatic experience for them because, by the time we had finished, those petunia petals drooped in the dirt. It looked as if our struggling and energy output would be for nothing.

Kathleen told me they just needed water and time, and they would perk up. She was right. The next day, purple blooms waved at me as if to say, “We made it.” A lovely reward for black-thumbed me.

Isaiah expressed how he felt about his hard work, which didn’t seem to pay off. The words God gave him fell on deaf ears. I have an inkling of that sense of uselessness when growing pretty flowers. Isaiah had a more significant issue as he tried to get his fellow Israelites to turn back to God. But in the next breath, he proclaimed his reliance on God, trusting the reward for his efforts would come from God.

Pursuing God’s call can weary and spiritually bedraggle us. The results of our labor don’t show up the way we want or think they should. In those moments, like Isaiah, we can talk to the Lord about how we feel and know with confidence that He will reward our efforts. With some watering of the Holy Spirit as we pray and some time resting in the rich soil of God’s Word, we will say, “We made it.”

How can you keep from getting bedraggled while doing God’s work?  

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

False Promises

False promises always appear attractive. Otherwise, they wouldn’t draw us.

My head turned when I heard thump, buzz, thump, buzz. I searched for the source of the unusual noise I heard after putting away my garden tools in the garage. Then I heard it again.

This time my eyes were drawn to the garage window. A hummingbird had flown inside while the door was open and bumped the glass, attempting to escape.

I tried to catch the tiny bird, but each time I got close, the hummer discovered a new surge of energy and escaped. It flew higher, so I grabbed the ladder and waited until its wings slowed down. Finally, I cupped my hands around the miniature avian and rescued it.

The shimmery green head poked out of my finger cage. The wings continued to buzz for a moment as if the bird couldn’t decide if it was relieved to be rescued or afraid of a predator.

I sat on the ladder steps and held it until it calmed down. After I tapped on the house door to show my husband our visitor, he prepared sugar water for our little friend. The bird’s long tongue slipped out and lapped up the much-needed refreshment. After she rested, I released her.

The bird must have seen the red plastic handle on the garage door release and mistook it for a flower. The confused hummer followed a false promise. The red plastic appeared to be a food source, but upon closer inspection, it found it had been deceived.

Things can lead us astray the way the little hummer was deceived, leading us into a trap where we need help.

The hummingbird didn’t trust me to rescue it, even though I had her best interest at heart. When we fall prey to temptation’s false promises, we may resist God at first because we don’t recognize how He tries to help us.

Hands larger than the bird’s body surrounded it and brought rest. Nourishment energized the bird to fly again.

If you feel trapped by deception, submit to the Lord’s loving embrace, and let Him rescue you from temptation. You will find His hands are the safest place in which to rest.

How can you do a better job of resisting false promises?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

We Can't Mess Up God's Love

We can mess up many things, but we can’t mess up God’s love.

If we make a mistake with someone we love, we can get thrown under the bus. Unfortunately, authentic love is often lacking in this sinful world. The world’s kind of love easily recalls wrongs. If we mess up, sadly, relationships can quickly dissolve.

Sometimes, we can’t find room to fix the problems or work things out, somewhat like getting fired if we make a mistake. The problem is my sinful nature, and I am no better than anyone else.

In a sinful world, having patience is difficult. When somebody hurts us, we find it challenging to be kind.  My old self wants to justify itself and rehash the sins the other person has committed. But at the same time, I don’t want to look at my sins and admit them.

That’s not how the Lord wants us to be. Although challenging, we need to love others because Jesus tells us to. We must pray for that person and their well-being, even if we never reclaim that relationship. God calls us to love and forgive others, not to hate.

What steps can you take to avoid messing up your love relationships?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Inheritance in the Waiting

Mine wasn’t sizable, but it seemed enormous at the time, especially when I didn’t know I had an inheritance in the waiting.

I was fifteen and doing what many teens do—lying on my bed, trying to escape my parents. But when I heard the phone ring, I somehow knew why. My maternal grandfather had died. Strokes had pummeled him frequently, each one leaving him more disabled than the previous one—until he was finally bedridden. My grandmother tended to him faithfully, to her own exhaustion.

After his death, his six grandchildren received an inheritance of $1,000 each. To some, that’s a small amount—and it wouldn’t go far now—but in 1975, for a teenager, it was enormous. I eventually used it to make a down payment on a new car.

My wife and I currently have three of our four parents still living—none from which we anticipate receiving a sizable inheritance. Nor do we have any wealthy aunts or uncles to bequeath money to us. So, unless something changes, we will live until we die as we do now: modestly.

But when I die, I expect a sizable inheritance. As God’s adopted child, I own everything his Son does—and that’s everything. But I don’t possess it yet. After death, I’ll enjoy what I can only read about in his Word now. The joys of heaven are indescribable, but God’s Word hints at what I can expect.

Occasionally, a disgruntled family member will dispute a will—and the stated inheritance. As a result, the inheritance the deceased wished to leave to a relative might be diminished or even taken away. Not so with our future inheritance. It is as sure as the Word of God, which cannot be changed or overruled.

Although our salvation experience initiates when we surrender to Christ, it is not finalized until we reach heaven. God has saved us from the penalty of our sins, but how wonderful to know He’ll eventually deliver us from the presence of sin.

Do you have a spiritual inheritance in the waiting?

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Helping the Laborers

Everyone wants payment for their hard work and efforts. So, helping the laborers should come naturally . . . but sometimes doesn’t.

The season was dry. I had toiled constantly and tried hard to reap the fruits of what I had sown, but the harvest seemed delayed. I had sent submission after submission. One draft after another, with one door after another slammed in my face. I had to keep my head up, believing all I was doing was worth it.

Pursuing the publication of creative writing can often feel like a dead end. It entails a lot of delayed gratification and trusting God to provide as He sees fit. As I write devotions to honor the Lord and help people grow in their faith, I am tempted to believe my work goes unnoticed . . . that I won’t see any fruits at all.

Many people work hard to develop and nurture the body of Christ. They labor day and night in word, deed, and prayer—preaching the gospel and serving believers and non-believers. Yet, I am sure they sometimes become disheartened and believe their work is in vain.

Paul didn’t demand support for his work for the Lord, but he acknowledged that he and others had a right to receive payment for their service.

When we see someone skilled at their job or ministry—writing, preaching, singing, playing music, managing a website—we can consider supporting their efforts. We can donate to a website, share their content, follow them on social media, and comment on how much we appreciate their work. It means a lot, especially for those who labor in the Lord.

What can you do to help those who labor for the church?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

God's Instrument

Little did I know I would be God’s instrument.

The Georgia Music Educators Association’s Large Group Performance Evaluation was held the second week of March at Newton High School in Covington, Georgia. The Morgan County middle and high school choruses produced magnificent, intricate melodies on the auditorium’s stage with me at the piano.

After the last piece on a Thursday afternoon, I closed my music, stood, and slipped backstage behind the curtain—anxious to head home. An urgent voice out of the darkness whispered, “Accompanist! Accompanist!”

I turned to find an anxious gentleman with a single piece of music in his hand. He pleaded, “My accompanist backed out at the last minute. Would you please play for us? We perform in one hour.”

I glanced over the copy of “Lord, Thy Servants Praise Thee” by Mozart and replied, “Certainly. I’ll meet you in the auditorium.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t have my checkbook. May I mail you a check?”

“That’s not necessary,” I replied, “It will be my gift.”

The director later admitted he recognized I was the one to help them as he watched me accompany the Morgan County High Women’s Ensemble. God led him to me and me to him.

The piano is my instrument. God coats my mind and the piano’s stretched strings with tones to bless others and point them to Him.

Every time I look down at black and white keys, I confess, “Lord, I cannot do this. Please do it through me.” I don’t understand how He meticulously deposits harmonious vibrations into His creation. It’s a mystery, and He gets all the glory.

I will be willing and available to serve in God’s kingdom as God’s instrument. I hope you will too.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Who's Out There?

We have all wondered who’s out there.

What do Chewbacca (affectionately known as Chewie), E.T. (the Extra-Terrestrial), and Yoda have in common? They’re fictional outer space heroes who spark our imagination, kindle our affection, and make us wonder who’s out there. But what do we want from them, and what is our quest? 

For thousands of years, people have gazed at dark, starry nights and wondered who and what’s out there. Meteors blazing through the earth’s atmosphere, eerie solar eclipses, shimmering curtains of aurora borealis—we are mesmerized and humbled by atmospheric phenomena we can’t control or explain. Our thirst for understanding outer space is great. So great that taxpayers spent ten billion dollars on the James Webb Space Telescope, which captures breathtaking images of far-off stars and galaxies never before seen.

Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), asserts that the new Webb telescope will help astronomers reach their number one goal: to discover the origin of the universe. He also believes it may reveal life in other galaxies.

That’s a mighty big job for a telescope. We may wonder how photos of far-off galaxies answer questions about history or origins. Do we cherish a collective hope that Chewie, E.T., and Yoda are out there?

Genesis is the only book that gives an accurate historical account of the beginning. In Greek, Genesis aptly means “origins.” The Hebrew translates it as “in the beginning.”

God made the sun, moon, and stars and placed them in the heavens to give light to the earth and to separate light from the darkness. This seems like a simple explanation of outer space phenomena. So simple that a child can understand it. That is the point. We don’t need to be an astrophysicist to understand God’s love for us and our origin.

Our loving Creator has revealed Himself in the Bible, and unlike Chewie, E.T., and Yoda, God is real, and we can find Him. So, as you read the Bible and pray, ask for the Holy Spirit’s help. You will discover the One true hero who loves you with everlasting love.

How can you better appreciate the Creator of the universe?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Goodness of Grief

I remember it as the one time in my life when I openly experienced the goodness of grief.

I don’t come from a crying family. If we shed tears, we did so in private . . . and then only for brief episodes. But for me, grieving changed when my father died. I thought I was handling his death well as I watched him die in an Atlanta hospital. I even kept my composure when we went to the funeral home to view his body before the funeral. But during the funeral—as songs were played that my father loved—I lost my composure. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t hold back the tears or even the open weeping. This grief was different, but it was good. It helped me process my loss.

Spending seventy years serving ruthless enemies discouraged God’s people. These same enemies had also destroyed what was most precious to them: the Temple in Jerusalem. And so they cried . . . grieved. Would they ever leave captivity? Would God’s house ever be rebuilt?

There was a time when the picture of the strong, rugged American kept many from weeping openly. Crying wasn’t for boys or men, and women didn’t do much of it either. We could handle anything. We could pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.

Depending on the translation used, “Jesus wept” is the shortest verse in the Bible. He wept when He looked at Jerusalem—a city of unbelievers with a sordid history. He wept when His good friend Lazarus died prematurely. He cried while on His knees in a garden when He thought of His impending doom on the cross.

If the Son of God grieved, it must be something good about it. Mourning, in whatever form it appears, benefits us and helps us process whatever has brought our sorrow. Tears release pressure and cleanse the soul. They are for strong-minded people, not weaklings. Only when grief goes beyond a reasonable period or is processed in unhealthy ways does it stop being good and start being bad.

Let yourself experience good grief when sorrow enters your life.

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Nine-Month Lesson

I’ll never forget the time God taught me a nine-month lesson.

I wanted to make a significant move to live near relatives, but the timing was everything it seemed. I had job opportunities to consider, interviews to set up, and travel plans to make. Also included were schedules, school, babysitters, and vacation time to coordinate. And there was chicken pox. So my plan was a bit more complicated than I anticipated.

After long months of drama and delays, I couldn’t help but be disappointed and discouraged. Admittedly my faith was weak. I shed a few tears, but my cheerleader support group prayed for and encouraged me along the way.

Just after Christmas, I saw an advertisement for a promising job opportunity. I applied, was selected, and made the big move. The new position had opened because a young couple wanted to have a baby. However, after the baby’s birth, the new mommy decided to be a stay-at-home mom.

Only months later, as I reflected, did I see how God’s hand was in my waiting and disappointment over nine months. And my wait had coincided with a pregnancy and birth. God had worked behind the scenes to orchestrate the desires of two families in different states. I, however, had to wait until He worked out His plan for us all.

I learned I could have faith in God even if I don’t see evidence of His work. He knows the desires of our hearts and wants the best for us. An abiding faith and reading the Scriptures will see us through times of waiting as He does a mighty work for us.

How can you have greater faith in God, even when you don’t see things moving in your direction?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Loving My Neighbor

I have a difficult admission. I love the Lord. I am thankful for what He has done in my life, but I have not done well with loving my neighbor.

My routine entails getting groceries after work, but often I get tired and crabby. When I do, I can be unloving to the cashier who rings up my groceries or to people in line. Although there are times when I have said something unkind to a cashier, the Holy Spirit convinced me to return and apologize.
Other neighbors are my co-workers. I have not always shown concern for them. One, in particular, I didn’t get along with. Maybe I could have been kind by doing nice deeds for him. Being unkind or uncaring is not how we should act as Christians.

We need to love our neighbors as ourselves, which shows up in how we treat them. When we love and treat our neighbors well, we show them Jesus’ love. When at work, it might be doing something kind for them.

I remember one Sunday morning filling up my gas can and pausing long enough to help someone put gas in her car. Another time when I was doing my laundry, I helped an older gentleman whose wife had died. He had never done laundry before.

What are some ways you can love your neighbor?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

From Wood to Stone

I was amazed—they had turned from wood to stone.

I held the book, and my confusion formed. Castles of wood, not stone? The history book made me gawk. I read on and discovered there were multiple types of castles, exciting my inner medieval lover.

In newly conquered territory, an army would erect a castle called a motte and bailey. My head hurt trying to figure that name out. But it was simply a wooden tower atop a hill, protected at the base by a lower area called a bailey. They also dug a ditch around the castle.

Although the army could build this castle quickly, the wood caught fire easily and did not last. Hence, they began using stone. I sighed, relieved. Here came the pretty castles I knew—the strong, resilient fortresses I loved to see.

Then God taught me a lesson. I am that wooden castle—weak and flammable. But Jesus rescued me and replaced my weakness with Himself, the Cornerstone. God is our foundation, our Rock. When we trust Him, we get to trade our wooden planks of self for His power.

What area of your life can you surrender to God and gain ultimate power? He wants us to trust Him, so always give of yourself.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Check the Company

“Choose your friends wisely.” This was Dad’s way of telling me to check the company I kept.

Of course, I wasn’t interested in choosing the type of friends Dad referred to. In my teenage world, I didn’t want to be a goody-two-shoes. Perhaps he chose the wrong friends as a teenager and didn’t want me to make the same mistake—but I doubt it. According to my grandmother, he was a model boy. Maybe he could see my tendencies to lean toward the bad guys. 

I obeyed Dad’s directive until I entered high school. Then, I became the bad boy and chose bad boys to hang around with. My best friend throughout high school was one. I soon picked up his habits—smoking, drinking, and experimenting with drugs. Since the 1970s were in full force, we didn’t do anything that most others weren’t doing. My best friend wasn’t a Christian, nor were his parents.

Once I had found one friend who helped me walk the wrong path, finding others to reinforce my misbehavior proved easy. Before long, everyone I hung around with did things my dad warned me against. I had a few church friends who stayed on the straight and narrow, but I wasn’t interested in following their example. I wanted to run with the crowd.

Paul makes a simple statement that rings true every time: the people we associate with influence us.

Although Jesus interacted with some people who didn’t follow His example, He spent most of His time with people who chose to adhere to His principles and lifestyle. His periodic association with unbelievers pointed them in the right direction and away from the crowd they had chosen.

Our pull toward the bad is natural since we are born sinful. We must have more strength and wisdom than we can muster to go the opposite way. God, however, will enable us to ignore peer pressure and go His way if we trust Him. An intentional decision to surrender ourselves to God’s will and daily walk with Him in faith helps us check our company and choose friends who will aid us in our spiritual journeys.

What steps can you take to do a better job of checking your company?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Cross Is Central

In Christianity, the cross is central.

Gordon Conwell College and Seminary once sat on the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts. On the top of one of their buildings shone a large lighted cross. On one occasion, due to financial concerns, they decided to turn off the lights on the cross. After doing so, they received a call from the Boston airport asking if they would please turn the lights on again. The lighted cross had become a navigational point for planes landing at night. Aircraft were having difficulty finding the correct runway.

Without Christ, the light of the world, we walk in darkness. The cross points to that light. Christianity without the cross is like a river without water. A church without the message of the cross has no power.

How could Paul say he only knew and preached one thing: Jesus Christ and Him crucified? Didn’t his epistles address all sorts of things, such as marriage, submission, authority, and submission to government authorities?

Paul’s presupposition for all his instructions was the gospel, as in his epistle to the Romans. Exiled Jewish believers had returned to Rome and discovered that some of their beliefs differed from the Gentile believers—a hotbed for conflict. Paul skillfully explained the gospel message to address the conflict between both groups.

A church can easily stray from the cross’s centrality by preaching a human-centered gospel that begins with our problems instead of God’s solution: the cross. If the cross is no longer central, we will lose our way, like the planes that flew into the Boston airport at night without seeing the lighted cross.

How can you make sure the cross is central in your life?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Worry Is Worthless

Worry is worthless.

I’ve been called a worrywart. A negative Nellie. A glass-half-empty kind of girl. I must have come out of the womb worrying about why the doctor smacked my bottom, when they were going to put some clothes on me, and when I would get fed. It just comes naturally.

Maybe it’s because I’m a fixer. I want to get everything done and make everything okay—and I want to do it now. When it doesn’t get done, sometimes I wring my hands and . . . yep . . . worry.

The Bible asks, “Why worry?” Good question. It doesn’t accomplish a single thing. In reality, it creates anxiety, frustration, and discouragement. It can even make us physically ill. Luke records Jesus asking, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Of course not. That’s a no-brainer. But Jesus also says, “If worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?”

I’ve learned—and trust me, I’m still learning—that God doesn’t want me stressing over things I can’t control. He wants me to cast my care on Him, receive His peace, and trust Him to take care of everything that concerns me, no matter how big or small those things might be.

Worry is worthless. Refuse to entertain it.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Taking Offense

Taking offense to someone offended by us is like pouring gasoline on a fire.

In the US and many other countries, we live in difficult times. Much of our educational system has gone from educating students to indoctrinating them. Open debate is a thing of the past. Our young people are coached to be offended when people disagree with them. On college campuses, students tend to shut down dialogue they don’t like instead of exchanging ideas. Whoever can yell the loudest and longest wins the argument. Opinions don’t matter; power and control do.

How should Christians respond to such things? First, we recognize the gospel will always offend unbelievers. Why should we be so surprised when sinners sin? That is what they do. Jesus said we should expect persecution. If we’re not experiencing resistance, we’re probably not standing up for our faith.

Second, when someone treats us harshly because of our faith, we should remember that, but for the grace of God, we might be them. The difference is God’s goodness and grace. They still walk in darkness, whereas God has given us an underserved light.

We must resist evil, but never by becoming offended. Instead, we must follow Jesus’ example of not retaliating. If we have taken up an offense, we are fighting the powers of darkness with our own strength—and we’ll always lose the war, even when we win the argument.

We win our spiritual battles through forgiveness. We must forgive, as God has forgiven us—and with no limit.

Ask God to teach you how to fight your spiritual battles with His power.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Were You Born in a Barn?

Like many children, my sister and I were better at opening than closing.

Cabinet doors swung over the counter. Jars of peanut butter sat without their lids. Dresser drawers drooped with clothes spilling out. But our negligent habit that irritated our mother most was leaving the front or back door open. In the winter, heat escaped. In the summer, heat and flies rushed in. Each time we failed to shut one completely, Mom’s voice rang out, “Close the door! Were you born in a barn?”

We weren’t. In fact, we experienced the luxury of a modern hospital. Doctors and nurses assisted in our delivery. They wrapped us snuggly in diapers, booties, and blankets. Friends and family oohed and aahed at our cuteness. All those benefits and more we took for granted.

But I do know someone who was born in a barn. However that looked–in a cave, a separate stable, or an attachment to a house–Jesus was born in a shelter for animals and placed in a feeding trough. He had no hospital, no doctors or nurses, no friends or extended family nearby, and He was wrapped in strips of cloth. God’s Son left His home in heaven to offer us an entrance to that eternal home through His sacrificial birth, life, and death.

When we open the door of our lives to Jesus, the curse of sin and death escapes while the gift of love and forgiveness rushes in.

This Christmas, open the door of your life to Jesus. Accept His gift of eternal life or tell others about God’s greatest gift. At Christmas and always, thank God for the peace of divine presence made possible through Jesus’ birth in a barn.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Working from Home

I remember wanting to work from home.

I thought it would be a dream job. No commute, no one breathing down my neck all day. I could wear my pajamas. It would be awesome.

When I first started working from home, I was thrilled.

I had people give me advice they had heard or seen someone else who worked from home implement, but there is one thing no one talked about: how lonely working from home can get.

Throughout the Psalms, examples of loneliness abound as David cries out to God to help him. David only had God to rely on during his periods of loneliness.

We can have a full life and still be lonely. We can participate in Bible studies and spend time with friends and family, but those long days spent inside our homes alone can get to us.

God wants us to turn to Him. Yes, we should commune with others, but on those days when that is not possible, we can look to God to fill our loneliness. When we open our Bibles or turn to Him in prayer, we commune with God. We rely on Him to fill our void and help us not feel alone.

If you are working from home, plan outings with others and look for other ways to get out of the house. But when one day turns into two days and you still haven’t left the house, turn to God. He will help you during your times of loneliness.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Singing to the Lord

Sometimes we struggle to worship God.

I once struggled with constantly praising and thanking God because of my circumstances. It felt so easy to focus on what I saw, which was temporary, rather than on what was unseen and eternal. I finally realized God was fully in control, and I needed to press further in and trust Him.

God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end—He who was and is and is to come through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord will never abandon nor forsake us. He sustains all creation and fills the earth with good things—but things which pale in comparison to that which resides eternally. He alone is the cornerstone, the greatest gift and inheritance we could have.

As we go about our daily activities, we should thank God for His promises, which will come to pass according to His purpose and sovereignty that will stand regardless of the intent and schemes of humans. He who fills our hearts with everything and satisfies our eternal desires knows us better than we know ourselves. We have reason to thank the Ruler of all.

We should praise and thank the Lord for He is good, and His mercy endures forever.

Think of some creative ways to offer more praises to the Lord. Seek out the Word of the Lord and delight yourself in Him.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Kiss from Heaven

Weariness and disillusionment settled over my spiritual battleground like thick black-powder cannon smoke.

Contending for God’s promises, remaining focused in faith, praying, fighting for footholds of sanity, and loving regardless felt elusive—like a horrible joke. War in my soul spiraled into spiritual tension so dense it manifested into a demonic weight that pressed against my body and made coming home like entering a room imploding with a thousand swirling pieces of glass. More than once, tears watered my approach to the foot of God’s throne for mercy and comfort.

But one day, God sent a stunning answer. The scene erupted like a drive-in picture screen. A surreal, towering rainbow spread wide before me like open arms. God’s arms. I wanted to run into them.

The splendor of those brilliant colors, bowing close to the heavens surrounding my home street reminded me of God’s ultimate control and power. And God, my Abba Father, heard my prayers. Not just seconds before, but before time began, He prepared an eye-popping rainbow to comfort me. He hadn’t forgotten His promises. He knew the battle going on, how ragged and exhausted I’d become. And He reached down from heaven, wrapped me in His loving embrace, and encouraged me. That is beyond good. God is beyond good. He is glorious. And He took pleasure in answering me before I cried out.

Spiritual battles will never end on this earth. But God is sure, and His answers are already in place. He enjoys moving for us before we speak.

Have you experienced God’s touch of comfort and encouragement with a sign? If not, ask God to move in that way for you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Create in Me a Clean Heart

When traveling, I often notice neglected old homeplaces.

My first thoughts are about their history. Who lived there? Did they entertain guests, have family celebrations, or make memorable moments? With a few renovations and fresh paint, I imagine what transformations it would take to restore them to their former beauty. 

God dwells within us and guides us to make needed adjustments, whether it is something we should change or fix. Some days, it might just be a nasty old attitude. David asked God to change, renew, and transform his heart. He wanted God to search him and walk through the deepest places of his soul—to revive, renew, and restore him. David realized he could not change his own heart. God was the only source of such joy and renewal.

During summer, most of us pen our to-do list. We take inventory, pull out the paintbrushes, and check off the repairs, renovations, and restorations we need to complete. Our homes bring us joy when we observe and complete projects that need mending.

When the Holy Spirit resides in our hearts, we can conquer sin and not succumb to temptation. We can live a devoted joyful Christian life and not waver in our faith.

If you feel broken or abandoned and long for renewal and restoration, ask God to cleanse and change your heart. Doing so will bring freedom to forgive, to love and serve others, and to love ourselves. When we allow God to search our hearts, He will take what's wrong and make it right.

Why not ask God to create a clean heart in you?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Attacked by the Past

The Bible provides several “stops.”

Since we never forget anything unless we experience organic damage or age-related loss of ability, memories of abuse, betrayal, and failure can reoccur.

When our memories of painful behavior happen, we often relive that experience in our emotions and picture-book memory. This is a traumatic experience if we have confessed those sins and received Christ’s satisfying payment for our sins. Additionally, this process can produce self-doubt, anger, shame, pain, and a loss of positive self-image.

The Old Testament includes several insights about memories from the past that plague a person. In today’s example. Isaiah told them to stop pondering things from their past.

If the evil one and his minions can convince us to become lost in our traumatic past, we will become valueless servants to Christ in the present. In addition to rejecting our painful past because of Jesus’ victory on the cross, we must also believe the Father is doing something new.

Approaches that help include claiming the victory of Jesus by saying, “In the name of Jesus, get away from me spirit of failure and trauma.” We can also say, “I choose to see this positive, successful memory (a chosen memory that illustrates good choices) instead of these sinful memories from the past. I refuse to ponder the things of the past.”

Hold on to who the Father has made you and remember how Jesus’ blood has washed you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Gone with the Wind

The wind is a funny thing.

We cannot see, taste, or smell the wind. With little or no wind, the weather can be sticky or foggy, the air stale or dank, or the water motionless. With too much wind, the force destroys buildings and trees in its path, a cold day is made bitter, and people shuffle to get out of it. The laws of gravity do not bind the wind; otherwise, the air aloft would not exist. We only know about the wind when we hear it blowing, see the trees and flowers bend, watch leaves and debris circle about, or look at a weather vane. Wind can come as a refreshing breeze or a devastating tornado.

The agricultural world is very attuned to the wind since it enhances pollination and plant growth. An absence of wind often signals a drought. On the other hand, too much wind prevents farmers from doing their work or damages their crops. For fishermen, the wind can signal a storm and prevent them from arriving at their destination. That is why when Jesus talked about the wind, people listened.

Jesus noted that no one could see the wind, tell where it was going, or know from where it came. With modern-day meteorology, we predict and then observe the wind’s direction and speed, yet ultimately we cannot know where any given gust has originated. Jesus was probably talking about a soothing breeze when He compared the wind to those born again and controlled by the Holy Spirit.

In Christ, we are indistinguishable externally. The quality of our lives and its impact on others shows Jesus living in us. Those governed by God manifest the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. Our goal is to freshen up our world by spreading the gospel to those around us.

Ask God to make you a pleasant and fragrant breeze to those around you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Color of Scared

Fear has been my curse since childhood. My family was wonderful. Nothing horrible happened to me—no abuse or skeletons in the closet. All this to say, fear lives in the closet of my heart.

Whatever the reason, fear has always nipped at my heels. I have credited my faith with forging ahead through whatever scares me, but I certainly couldn’t do it alone.

I once had a friend who asked me to put a color to my fear and then said, “You don’t trust God if you are afraid.” If I were to put a realistic color to my fear, I would say blue. Not the soft blue of the sky, but the blackish-blue of deep scary water. That blackish-blue fear engulfed me. I carried it for a long time in my spiritual life, wondering if my friend was right. Did I not trust God? That scared me, too.

On numerous occasions, God reminded Joshua not to fear, telling him to be strong and courageous because He was with him. Obviously, Joshua was a little nervous about the plan God had hatched for him. Yet, even in his fear, Joshua’s faith helped him cling to the Father.

God wasn’t angry at Joshua for his fear. Instead, He reminded Joshua continuously that He was with him. That is the sign of a loving Father who offered a frightening task to His child and then promised to stand by him. As a result, Joshua threw his faith in the lead and believed God would do what He promised . . . and God did.

The closer we draw to God in our personal relationship, the easier it is to see and hear Him when He speaks. I allowed that well-meaning friend’s remark to “scare” me, so I asked God to speak to me about my fear.

My fear doesn’t drive me away from the Father; it drives me into the haven of His arms. God understands my fear and doesn’t punish me for being afraid. Instead, He takes me by the hand and helps me forge through. Do I think God wants me to be afraid? Absolutely not, but He uses my fear to draw me to Him.

When well-meaning souls try to fix you with good intentions and misguided spiritual advice, search the Scripture. You’ll see God understands and walks with us. He will never fail to keep His promise. Even when you might be a little scared.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Matter of Life and Death

A young friend direly needed a liver transplant.

Since a liver is one of only two organs that can be harvested from a living donor, I entered my vital statistics on the donor website, hoping to be a match. The sad verdict appeared: “Rejected due to age.” Other friends and family volunteered too, to no avail. The only option was a liver from a cadaver.

Although my friend was raised in a Christian home, she had made some poor decisions and reaped the brutal consequences. I prayed for her during those difficult times and even posted praying hands emojis on her Facebook page, but I never took the time to speak with her. Now, she faced not only physical death but also possibly spiritual death as well.

I was willing to lay down my physical life for my friend, but I had neglected to lay myself down for her in other ways for years. Instead of offering encouragement or accountability, I watched her struggle from a distance, assuming her spiritual well-being was someone else’s responsibility.

Jesus may not call us to give up our lives physically, but every day He wants us to die to ourselves. Laying down our life is not just an action; it’s an attitude of refusing to let fear, pride, or apathy get in the way of sharing Christ’s love.

Giving the gift of life through organ donation is a rare privilege, but every day, we have the opportunity to provide spiritual life. As Christians and friends, we must lay down our lives so others can know Jesus.

What’s stopping you from transplanting God’s love into someone’s heart? Share Christ today. It could be a matter of life and death.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Still Before God

I am sure I talk too much and listen too little.

In elementary school, I got in trouble for talking too much. Every. Year. My friends forgive me. The pastor forgives me when I answer a rhetorical question aloud in the middle of his sermon. In my family, we all interrupt each other. My husband? He is incredibly patient. God bless him.

God is patient too. Unimaginably so. I faced up to myself and recognized where to start—by listening to God. Yes. I interrupt Him all the time. I thank and praise Him for His goodness and the overwhelming beauty of the earth. Then I ask about people and things that concern me. I dart off on rabbit trails. Maybe I have ADD when I pray. When I confessed I needed help with this, guess what happened? I got quiet and still for about thirty seconds.

Ask me a question you want an answer to, I heard God whisper to my spirit.

God is a great shot. Direct hit. Right between the eyes of my heart. Do I genuinely want an answer? Do I believe He will answer? Or am I just mentally rattling off a to-do list for myself? What if He answers with something uncomfortable?

I don’t understand how this happens, but when we empty our minds of all the clutter and motion and become intentional listeners, we find God present. We don’t go to Him in prayer. We recognize His nearness. He dwells in us, and we in Him.

Yet our focus on the “now-ism” of our lives distracts us. We don’t hear God because of the noise in and around us. I am retired, and I must still set a timer to stop and be still. But God answers. It’s a little scary, but it’s good.

God makes wars cease. Sounds a lot like peace. The Lord is with us. Sounds like power. Between the promise of peace and power, God tells us to be still. Still can also be translated as return, desist, calm down, cease striving, stop fighting, or be in awe.

We are in God’s presence. Be still. Cease striving. Stand in awe. Listen. God will surprise you.

What keeps you from listening?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Early to Rise

Many of the men in my family have loved to rise early.

My maternal grandfather awakened the dawn by sitting on the wrap-around porch of his old farmhouse and watching the sun rise above the pines that surrounded the neighboring fields.

My paternal grandfather awakened the dawn too, but for a different reason. He was a delivery man—first ice, then milk, and finally ice cream. All required getting up early and getting on the road.

My son is now a delivery man also. He rises long before dawn to load his truck and head out to various stores.

My dad also loved to awaken the dawn. For an hour or more, he prayed and read his Bible. We knew better than to bother him.

I, too, have been awakening the dawn for quite some time. Even when I have no reason to get up early, I still do. I use the morning hours to write, reflect, meditate, and build my social media platform.

The psalmist rose early as well. If we take the verse literally, he must have played his musical instrument as the early morning light spread across the pastures while he watched his father’s sheep. And later, as he ran from a jealous, angry king.

Some are not morning people, so it’s not a sin to meditate, pray, and read God’s Word at other times during the day or night. But it is something special about spending time with God in the early morning hours before dawn’s first light.

The early morning gives time to reflect on the things of the previous day and to ask God to prepare us for the day ahead. We might not know what the day holds, but we do know God holds the day. We need His wisdom. And as darkness turns to light, we can remind ourselves that we worship the mighty God who makes this happen and gives us a fresh start each day.

We can awaken the dawn in many ways, but incorporating some form of worship will change our perspective on the day.

What are some ways you can include God as you awaken the dawn?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Protection in Battle

To the museum, the finely crafted Cheyenne shield displayed in a glass case was an art object. Yet to the warrior-creator it symbolized protection.

The accompanying card described its creation, telling how the warrior began with tough buffalo chest hide about eighteen inches across. After properly processing the skin, he fitted it into a frame and then tested it by shooting arrows at it.  

The craftsman painted the shield with a design that had spiritual meaning to him, giving the shield potent powers. When not using it, he covered the shield with a decorated buckskin since warriors believed the shield’s power could affect the viewer. In battle, the warrior removed the cover and rode into battle, relying on the physical and spiritual protection the shield offered.

When the psalmist called God a shield, he referred to God’s protection in battle as the soldier advanced into conflicts.

Sometimes we also face conflicts–most likely of the spiritual type–and we also can claim God’s shielding protection. God serves as our spiritual protective shield as we progress on our spiritual journeys to serve Him.

God’s protection comes in a variety of forms. It may be His ongoing encouragement amidst the doubts and worries we encounter. Or His providing our needs so we can accomplish His will.

To the Cheyenne warrior, the shield protected him so he could survive an enemy encounter. To us, God’s protective shield enables us to serve Him, providing a means of security so we can glorify Him.

How are you depending on God’s protective shield?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Insufficient Funds

To my embarrassment, the grocery-bill total was greater than what my wallet contained.

Hoping no one noticed the exchange taking place, I quietly pointed out which items to remove from my grocery order, items we could live without until my next paycheck. Although this happened a few times several decades ago, I still recall it with a twinge of embarrassment and shame.

As I thought of what Jesus Christ did for us, this decades-old grocery exchange came to mind. Having insufficient funds to pay for bread, peanut butter, and a few boxes of mac and cheese is nothing compared to our inability to pay the staggering price to redeem our souls. A price so high and a debt so great that we are left entirely helpless and hopeless.  

And yet God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.

This giving of His Son is not a pretty pastel-colored spring scene. It is a blood-spattered, spit-dripping, whisker-pulled, muscles-contracting-and-torn scene of a great exchange. On that first Good Friday, the only begotten Son of God ransomed us with His life, paying the slave price for us. He exchanged His righteousness for our sin so that we can stand before God sinless. We add nothing but a grateful heart for what He has done.

Unlike my grocery bill which only caused embarrassment, us having insufficient funds to pay for our sin debt has eternal consequences. Either we pay the debt ourselves by an eternity separated from God, or we humbly reach out and take the gift offered on our behalf.

Ask God to help you grasp even a thin thread of what He has provided for you through the ransom paid those many years ago.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Busted Down the Middle

The ceramic wall hanging, featuring colorful birds, caught my eye.

I gravitate toward songbirds. They seem happy, and their flashes of red, yellow, or blue often wow me. Sometimes even their names entertain: American goldfinch, indigo bunting, black-capped chickadee.

The uplifting lyrics from an old hymn on the wall décor clinched the deal: “This is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.” I put it up in my kitchen where it added a cheerful personal touch . . . until our roof needed replacement.

There was no mistaking the roofers had arrived early that first morning. I was still in bed when I heard kerplunk, drag, kerplunk, drag. Then pound, pound, pound. I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. The kerplunking was the worst. The workers dropped big sheaves of packaged shingles on our housetop. The house shook with each thud. As the morning wore on, we became accustomed to the noise and periodic shaking . . . until we weren't.

The new sound was a shattering, but of what? The noise came from inside the house—the kitchen. My plaque lay broken on the granite countertop. An ugly jagged crack split it diagonally into two pieces. The imaginary chirping of my vivid birds and singing of my cherished lyrics had been silenced.

As I tossed the broken pieces into the trash, the irony came to me. Can I still praise my Savior all the day long when a favorite possession is ruined? How about when a hope of mine is busted down the middle, or when a promising relationship fractures? Can my heart still whistle a happy tune?

When such things happen, God’s character has not changed, our salvation is still amazing, and God’s love is not lessened. Because of those truths, we can choose to praise Him.

Ask God to help you praise Him all the day long, in the good and the bad. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Can't Entertain God

I’ve discovered I can’t entertain God.

I suppose the first entertaining I did—other than as a child wanting attention—came at the first church I pastored. Someone concocted the idea we should have a womanless beauty contest, so a few deacons and I dressed as women, paraded before church members, and let them pick the winner. I lost. Not long after this, the school where I taught held a similar contest. Guess who was selected to enter? I lost again.

A few years later—when I wanted to grow a beard, but when doing so as a preacher wasn’t widely accepted—I portrayed the prophet Jonah in a church drama. I entertained and got to grow a beard in the process. 

I can’t remember doing any other entertainment until mid-life when I began teaching middle school. Although I didn’t do womanless beauty contests or dress as biblical characters, I entertained them with stories of “old times.” I also made sarcastic remarks—roasted them, according to their lingo—when they asked irrelevant questions or questions I’d already answered.

God’s people in Isaiah’s time tried to entertain God, but He wasn’t interested in their theatrics. They brought sacrifices, which He had commanded, but He told them He didn’t want them because they attempted to mix entertainment with hypocrisy—a mixture He didn’t find entertaining.

Our Creator wants obedience from us, but we can’t impress Him. He’s perfect; we’ll never be. No matter how hard we try, we’ll never live up to the standard of perfection He requires. Thinking we can translates into only entertainment. As hard as we may try, our efforts will always be imperfect. Our sinful nature gets in the way, which, even when transformed at salvation, still troubles us.

Grace provides the good news. By God’s grace and through His forgiveness, we can obey, not entertain, God. Also, the Father clothes us in something we can never earn: Christ’s righteousness. Our works can’t save us, but Christ can and does.

What we can do for God is obey and show our appreciation for what He has done for us by serving Him and others. Then He’ll accept our acts of worship, and we’ll experience joy as we never experienced before.

Don’t try to entertain God. Just obey and love Him.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


The Greatness of Work

The rain was relentless.

The sound drowned out any sweetness of the birds or the breeze, and its roar filled my ears like a lion protecting his territory. The thickness of the deluge appeared like early morning in the mountains when the fog covers the peaks, blurring the view of what might be in the distance.

My work stopped. As I raced to the confines of our outdoor building, I saw the seed I’d just spread catch up in a trail of water and wash who knows where. Someplace would have pretty green grass in seven days.

I sat on a bale of hay and watched the water pour by the buckets full from the sky, and I wondered for a moment how the people in Noah’s time felt to see rain fall for the first time. I imagined my seed as tiny people, banging on the ark’s door, begging to be let in before the flood carried them away.

Still, the rain brought me a time of rest. I swiped sweat from my forehead, leaned back on the hay bale, and thought of how I had labored through the week. Work and more work. From my writing to the simple upkeep of our home. Everything required manual labor. People needed more and more of my time, and it was all w-o-r-k. Yet, it seems this is what God gave to us as He sent Adam and Eve from the garden.

The psalmist found great joy in his work and the work of the Father, listing all the magnificent things that resulted from God’s creative work. He praised God for His greatness, creativity, and splendor. And to think, the psalmist recognized it was all for us.

God is great in His ways—even in the tasks He assigns us. Be they work in our home or a ministry, we discover the rewards of our work in the blessings of God. He is pleased with our efforts, and when we offer our work—regardless of what it is—to Him, I feel sure He smiles. Our Father doesn’t shun work. After all, He worked hard for six days and rested on the seventh.

When work overtakes you and weariness sets in, remember how much God loves you. Work in His name and offer it to Him as a gift. Our God loves our efforts. There is greatness in work.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

When the Bible Gets in the Way

I once left my leather-bound Bible on the back seat of our car after attending a conference.

Living near a lake, we often load beach paraphernalia, such as dripping inflatables, in and out of the car. A week went by, but I used a different Bible in the house and had not missed it. One day, my husband blurted, “Could you please take your Bible out of the back seat? It is getting in the way and causing a lot of problems.”

He was right. It's an expensive Bible and should be treated with care. As I retrieved it, his words reverberated in my ears, but in a different way than he intended.

God’s Word does get in the way sometimes. It gets in the way when I'd rather live differently than how it says I should. It causes lots of problems because it is hard-hitting. The Bible points out my sins of commission and omission. When I can't think of an overt sin, undone good deeds stare at me. It is also uncannily effective at knocking me off my high horse.

It sounds sacrilegious, but perhaps life would be easier without it. The Bible sometimes urges me to make some changes, which I don’t always enjoy. But if I avoided the Bible and its commands, I'd also miss out on its promises and wisdom. How would I get to know God better? How would I be reminded that even those commands that seem bothersome are for my good?

Happier without it? Not on your life. I want to keep God’s Word deeply entwined within me as I journey this side of heaven. It's not in my way. Rather, I treasure it. I want to consistently use it and remember the promises of liberty and blessing, not bondage and misery.

How can you let God’s Word get in the way of your life?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Greatest Verse in the Bible

In February, on the day before Valentine’s, our church celebrated Holy Communion. To cover both events, I preached on the greatest verse.

I illustrated with Castaway, the 2000 movie about a FedEx troubleshooter, Tom Hanks, who was stranded on a deserted island when his plane crashed into the Pacific. After four years of struggling to survive, he built a raft and headed for the open sea where he was rescued by a freighter.

On Communion Sunday, our people each received a handout with three handmade drawings: a cargo ship on the upper left with the words, “God gave his Son” printed on the boat; a tiny raft on the upper right with the words “shall not perish but have eternal life” printed alongside; and an anchor below the ship and attached by a chain with the words “God so loved the world.”

We began at the end of the verse and worked backward. Eternal life was God’s plan for creation. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, entered the world with a clean slate just like their Maker. Then they sinned, and their sinful nature spread to all their descendants. We are all born on the perishing list.

Eden’s garden also had the Tree of Life, but God did not allow Adam and Eve to eat its fruit because salvation was not that simple. How, then, was God to get us off the perishing list and into the Book of Life? He gave His Son. We tend to expect gifts for birthdays and Christmas, but this gift was totally unexpected.

God’s motivation for giving His Son was love. As Christians, we may love many people—whole tribes and even nations—but not the entire world. As much as we might want to, we do not have the capacity. Only God can love the entire world. Which He does, and has from the moment He made it. Every person who ever lived, every hair on our heads, every drop of blood in our veins, every breath in our nostrils, every blade of grass, every tree, and every sparrow.

God’s love is the anchor that holds everything together. Have you received it? 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Gain a Little Wisdom

I pressed my head into my palms. “Not again!”

I once decided to start a new blog site and add a .com url. It took all day, mainly because I am about as smart with blog and web design as a block of wood. Still, I was determined to get the site up and running.

The words of my computer guru son resonated. “Mom, go to YouTube and find a video to help you.”

“They have videos on YouTube to show me how to do this?” I asked.

That should be easy enough, or so I thought. For two days, I poured over videos, jotted down notes, and made the additions to the blog. When it was time to test the site, I contacted my business buddy and informed her I’d managed to get us a site running. She went to the address, and boom. Nothing.

Nothing! With the help of a good friend, we got the bugs worked out and the site performing. I leaned back in my chair and sighed. Lori will be tickled. Again, I contacted Lori, and yep–you guessed it. Nothing. It didn’t take much to tell me my knowledge and wisdom were the pits. I had no one I could depend on to help me through this mess.

The writer of Proverbs reminds us that our wisdom begins with God. Our lives fall into place when we know Him because He is the teacher and guide. Knowing Him leads us to a dependency that we can’t find anywhere else–a dependency that will not fail. Our fearing (or believing and knowing) is where it all begins.

I don’t look for the Father to reach down and give me the knowledge to put a blog site together, but He will offer me respite and peace amid my frustration. I must learn about computer programs before I know how to adjust them. It’s the same for my spiritual life. I must know God to discover how to make the necessary changes to improve my life and relationship with Him.

Spend time learning about the Savior. Gain a little wisdom and knowledge about Him.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Now Will One Day Be Forgotten

Yesterday is now gone. Today is now here. Tomorrow is now coming.

Now is a brief window in time that we choose to do something or not. We do something now or we put it off until later. But we know if we don’t do it now, we may never do it.

This now is vitally important. It is by wisely using every now that we eventually accomplish some great life-long work.

Now is represented by the increments of time that span our day through which activities flow and from which activities vary from cubicle to cubicle. Now we’re doing something, and now we’re not. Or now we’re doing something else. Now we’re eating, now we’re working, or now we’re sleeping.

Now is the present moment. I am alive now but could be dead in the next cubicle of now.

Now is when we decide our eternal destiny. Paul said that now is the time to get saved when we are under conviction of sin and the Holy Spirit is calling us.

King Solomon speaks of another now. Instead of a small window in a twenty-four-hour period, he speaks of a lifetime. A lifetime is a moment in the broad space of eternity. And this now is the only time we have to get saved and do something for God.

What we are going through now will one day be forgotten. But the life we are now living and the things we are now doing will one day be judged by God. We will have our now moment in which we find ourselves standing before Jesus Christ and giving an account of ourselves.

Now is the moment of opportunity which if we do not take advantage of today, we may tomorrow say, “Why didn’t I act then?” But then is now yesterday, and now we’re facing today with regrets.

What will you do with your now?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Job Well Done

The young boy (we’ll call him Cody) did his best to follow his mother’s instructions as he cleaned his room.

One final glance made him proud. Job done. But not well done according to his mother. “Your bedspread is crooked and wrinkled. The trashcan needs to be emptied, and I see toys sticking out from under your bed that you obviously tried to stash out of sight instead of putting them away.”

The boy’s shoulders slumped as she continued to pick his efforts apart. He was devastated.

As Cody got older, he realized he could never please her. Even the best efforts were never enough. He longed to hear the words, “Good job,” but they never came. He finally gave up.

When Cody graduated and went to work for a small engineering firm, he decided to try again. He worked hard, put in extra hours, and went above and beyond what was expected of him. Again, he felt proud of his accomplishments. But would it be enough?

After only three weeks, his boss came to him and said, “Son, you are doing well. You have a great work ethic, and I’m proud to have you on my team.” As he turned to leave, he said, “Good job. Really good job.”

We all long to hear those words. To have the approval of others. The good news is God already approves of us. He honors our best efforts and never picks us apart. When we mess up, He gives us many more chances—encouraging and applauding us as we try again.

Be obedient to God’s Word. Do everything you do as unto Him. One day you will hear those cherished words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant . . . let’s celebrate.”

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Tell-Tale Signs

My neighborhood park displays God’s glory.

Magnificent trees reach to the heavens. Their branches spread wide, providing shade. The colors of leaves change from green to yellow to orange to brown and reveal stark white branches as winter approaches. Before winter, the pastures are verdant green. The manmade pond is home to many small aquatic animals, lilies, and wading birds. The pond also allows a place for boating and for dogs to be refreshed.  

The park has room for everyone. Weddings, birthday celebrations, and picnics occur in this bit of Eden. Runners, walkers, skaters, and bicyclists frequent the park.

When I walk in the park, I experience peace. I love to meander along new paths. When I ascend to the higher altitudes of the park, I hear the wind pushing through the trees. I take pictures to capture the beauty. I often meditate on the wonders of God, on His creative power, and on how He has blessed me. Sometimes I sing and talk to God, and He speaks to me. He has dropped many ideas in my spirit to share with others.

At times, our surroundings can dishearten us. We might not live in a plush, green place, but we can find time to explore God’s creation and enjoy what God has given us. If needed, we can travel to a nearby park or botanical garden. We can view nature on television or on our devices. Wherever we see it, we should worship God the Creator.

What we see pales in comparison to God’s original creation because our actions have done much damage to the earth. However, there is still so much beauty to enjoy. Remember, God created, and He placed us in charge of creation.

Make a point to enjoy God’s creation and then let Him fill your heart with gratitude.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Tell-Tale Signs

My neighborhood park displays God’s glory.

Magnificent trees reach to the heavens. Their branches spread wide, providing shade. The colors of leaves change from green to yellow to orange to brown and reveal stark white branches as winter approaches. Before winter, the pastures are verdant green. The manmade pond is home to many small aquatic animals, lilies, and wading birds. The pond also allows a place for boating and for dogs to be refreshed.  

The park has room for everyone. Weddings, birthday celebrations, and picnics occur in this bit of Eden. Runners, walkers, skaters, and bicyclists frequent the park.

When I walk in the park, I experience peace. I love to meander along new paths. When I ascend to the higher altitudes of the park, I hear the wind pushing through the trees. I take pictures to capture the beauty. I often meditate on the wonders of God, on His creative power, and on how He has blessed me. Sometimes I sing and talk to God, and He speaks to me. He has dropped many ideas in my spirit to share with others.

At times, our surroundings can dishearten us. We might not live in a plush, green place, but we can find time to explore God’s creation and enjoy what God has given us. If needed, we can travel to a nearby park or botanical garden. We can view nature on television or on our devices. Wherever we see it, we should worship God the Creator.

What we see pales in comparison to God’s original creation because our actions have done much damage to the earth. However, there is still so much beauty to enjoy. Remember, God created, and He placed us in charge of creation.

Make a point to enjoy God’s creation and then let Him fill your heart with gratitude.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Best Book

I am a connoisseur of old books.

In the spare bedroom of our small patio townhome, bookshelves rest against the walls, encircling the area where bedroom furniture should reside. The square footage is small, and I want to display my treasures. I’ve put much time and energy into collecting these books—most of which boast a copyright date before 1940.

The oldest ones I wrap in cellophane paper to preserve the covers. Some of the books are in great shape, considering their age. My oldest book is two hundred years old, came from a Charleston, South Carolina, library, and has no scratches, mildew, or tears.

Many of the books have content that doesn’t interest me—but their condition and covers intrigue me because they have survived so long. The covers aren’t dull like so many modern-day books. Some have intricate designs and carvings, such as a sculptor would place on his work of art—no mass production.

I have only read a few of my old books. Most just sit on the shelf. Thumbing through the pages would probably loosen them from the spine and even separate the cover. But none mimic the book Hilkiah discovered.

One of young King Josiah’s projects, when he took over the throne, involved restoring the temple, which had fallen into disrepair. In the cleanup, Hilkiah discovered the Book of the Law. When the king read God’s Word, he repented and led the people to do the same. They had disobeyed God. Surely, punishment marched on the horizon.

We can discover tidbits of truth in many places, but only the Bible hosts complete, absolute truth that never changes. The words held truth when God first spoke them through the various writers, and they still contain truth.

When truth confronts us, it always calls for change, as it did with the king and his subjects. God’s Words leads us to repentance, confession, and sorrow. But it also leads us to joy, peace, encouragement, and abundant life. No other book can change us as God’s Word can because God’s Spirit has breathed no other book.

Make it a point to spend time in the best book. Doing so will change your life.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Thinking That Transforms

Thinking is hard work.

Thinking is one of the hardest things we’ll ever do. That’s why most of us don’t do it. It’s easier to think by default—to default to or revert automatically to preselected options already determined by those leading the herd. Having the herd mentality is easier than thinking critically and independently.

We were given intelligence unlike any of the animals God made. This is because we were made in God’s image and made to have fellowship with Him. But we fell into sin and this sinful nature took control of our intellect. And then “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

We become new creations when we believe in Christ. We receive a nature that is susceptible to holiness. This new nature must then take control of our intellect and begin transforming our minds so that we have the mind of Christ. We can’t think one way and live another.

We also receive the Spirit of Christ when we believe in Him. Then we must form the mind of Christ. Our intellect is transformed by the intellect of God, and His intellect is revealed in His Word. We become more like Christ by transforming our thought process so it conforms to the revealed mind and will of God as seen in His Word.

The Holy Spirit will not think for us, but He will guide our thoughts once we begin thinking in the right way. He will give us light and discernment and encourage us to think as God does.

The Word transforms us into the likeness of Christ by transforming our thought process so Christ becomes Lord of our thought life. We then live our lives by those thoughts. We must not just memorize Scripture; we must realize Scripture.

How can you put transformed thinking into practice?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Real Freedom Is Christ

My rights. My freedom. My, me, my!

Somewhere along the way, we have lost the meaning of freedom. From retail stores shoving out holiday decorations months before the event to the mass chaos of a nation that has fallen to the lies of the evil one: freedom means only what is important to each individual. It’s all about me and what I believe someone or something owes me.

I’m pretty sure our forefathers didn’t anticipate such greed and selfishness as they worked to outline what freedom meant for everyone. Those men and women who fought in every war—not just one, but every war—either  answered the call or volunteered to step forward to protect our “freedom.” Many died while others are forever scarred. I wonder if this is how we show our gratitude–with chaos and selfishness?

Paul reminded the Galatians of who provided their freedom. It wasn’t necessarily for personal rights, but it was the way to God–the gift to reach Him ultimately. He encouraged the people not to be bound by earthly chains. Let go of the things that weigh us to the ground and prevent our freedom in Christ. Don’t become a slave, Paul warned. Don’t let Satan hang the yoke of slavery over you. Full freedom is in Christ–freedom provided by His shed blood and sacrifice on the cross.

My heart cries when I see believers fall into the world’s rhetoric. Lives that should shout for joy at the freedom given to them through Christ participate instead in the world’s chatter and hate. They demand God wouldn’t want things the way they are rather than rejoicing in the freedom and gifts they have. Yokes hang heavily around their necks.

We live in a country where the bloodshed of thousands of men and women who believed in this nation provided freedom. They made freedom possible, but Christ brought absolute freedom. Christ cleared the path, and at the end stands the Father.

Look to the real freedom in our world and remove your yolk of slavery. There is freedom in Christ.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Cement Overshoes

My brother once hosted a guest who stayed with him for over a year.

My brother’s guest not only overstayed his welcome but also brought with him a temperamental little dog. The dog did not appreciate my brother, and the feeling was mutual.

One day, the guest, realizing he would be home late, asked my brother to walk the dog. As he and Fluffy walked along the East River in New York City, the dog accidentally wandered into a patch of fresh cement and became enmired.

My brother had a brief fantasy of re-enacting a moment out of a mobster movie where the foe’s feet are encased in cement overshoes, and he is tossed into the river to swim with the fish. Happily, he relented. He scooped the dog up in his arms, carried it home, and washed the cement off its tiny feet.

None of us are perfect. Most of us have been guilty at one time or another of being annoying, obnoxious, argumentative, and downright sinful. We are not owed mercy; it is a gracious gift from God through His Son.

God sent His Son to save us. Jesus died for our sins. He cleanses us and carries us home safely even though we deserve cement overshoes.

Are you feeling mired and weighed down by your faults? Jesus stands ready to forgive you. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Growing in the Lord

I’m a Christian. and I’ve been baptized, but now what do I do?

I remember a family that came to our church sporadically. They asked the pastor about baptizing their teen-aged son, and not long afterward, the pastor baptized him. They didn’t return to church for about six months. Many have a disconnect in their minds between becoming a Christian and growing as a Christian. 

Not only do we receive Christ Jesus as our Lord, but we also must “walk” with Him. Walk concerns how we act and speak. But the verses also talk about being rooted, built up, and established in our faith. All of these things relate to growing as a Christian.

Being rooted reminds us of the analogy in Psalm 1 of the person who delights and meditates on the law of the Lord and becomes like a tree planted by streams of water. Built up relates to growing. Established entails becoming established in our faith.

Like the person in Psalm 1, we can read, delight, and meditate on God’s Word. We can attend church, hear the Word of God, and worship with other believers. We can spend time with God in prayer. We can exercise our faith by trusting the Lord in the things we face daily.

What are some steps you can take to grow in the Lord?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Taste and See That the Lord Is Good

There are times where I feel the urge to embrace my Bible.

Once, my wife and I went to Ruth’s Chris Steak House with a gift certificate. It was not just a meal but an experience. The steak was served on a steaming plate, succulent and juicy. The sides were like meals in themselves. The desert was a culinary delight. 

If I met people in my church who had never been to Ruth’s Chris, I might describe how eating there delights the taste buds. They would believe me and could even imagine in their minds how the steak looked. They might even salivate, but if they never tried it for themselves, they would never know how good it is. Furthermore, they would get no nutrition. Such is how it is with the Word of God.

I believe in teaching and preaching; I do a little of it myself. But if we rely on our pastor or Sunday school teacher for all our spiritual food, we are on a starvation diet. No one can exist on one or two meals a week. Many people who attend church know about God, but they never really know God. They have second-hand knowledge. Good Bible teaching always makes us hungry enough to examine the Bible ourselves.

Our culture is growing increasingly hostile to the gospel. Cultures, by nature, always try to conform us to their precepts. We resist by not conforming to the pattern of this world but by transforming ourselves through renewing our minds (Romans 12:2 NIV). The Word of God is the only thing that can protect us from the spirit of this world.

The new year provides an excellent opportunity to get into God’s Word. I have read through the Bible every year that I can remember. That never made me perfect, just better than I was. Sometimes, it is all I can do to keep from hugging my Bible.

In 2022, taste and see that the Lord is good.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

His Blood Is the Cure

I once watched a 1970s movie where a man was bitten by a snake and then rushed to the hospital.

At the hospital, someone gave him a blood transfusion, and he got well. Later on, someone was talking with him about his episode, and he told them that the person’s blood contained the cure for the snake bite. The person he shared the story with responded by saying “His blood had the cure”—referring to Jesus’ blood as the cure for sin.

Jesus’ blood is the cure for our sin as the old hymn, “Rock of Ages,” states. This is why Jesus shed his blood. It is also for all other needs we have. Just one drop of that blood is enough to meet every need we have.

Jesus’ blood saves and sets captives free. His blood will save the child who has done little wrong, and it will also save the older person who has gone to the depths of sin. We can plead the blood of Jesus for our souls, minds, bodies, and spirits to help us overcome the Devil so we can be victorious and have peace. All we have to do is ask God to cover us with Jesus’ blood as a shield of protection.

If you’ve never asked Jesus into your heart—or if you’ve drifted away from Him—ask Jesus to come into your heart. His blood is the double cure for sin.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Inside's More Important

The outside looked terrible, but the inside . . .  

I looked at the text: Can you call me when you get a second? It came from my father’s only sister. When I called, she told me she had a few items that belonged to my grandmother. She thought I might want them.

A couple of weeks later, my wife and I headed for the Lowcountry of South Carolina to round up a cedar chest and a small night table. I remembered both sitting in my grandmother’s bedroom. I couldn’t wait to add them to my heirloom collection. One I hoped my children would want and pass along.

Both items had been sitting in a utility building for years. The varying temperatures had done their work. The veneer peeled off in various places on the cedar chest, but the real wood areas remained in good shape.

The surprise came when I opened the lid. The inside was in perfect condition. And it was a true cedar chest, complete with smell and label. Also on the inside were a number of crocheted items my grandmother had made.

Jesus encountered some religious folks whose outsides and insides didn’t match either. Oh, they dotted all the Is and crossed all the Ts, but Jesus said their insides were filthy. 

The ways we try to alter our outsides when we don’t enjoy how they appear are numerous—and costly and perhaps unhealthy. They also prove futile if we think altering the outside will change anything. We might temporarily feel better about ourselves—we might even gain a few so-called friends in the process—but our elation will be short-lived. In the end, unhappiness will pounce on us like a lion.

Until we let God change our insides by His grace through forgiveness—and until we realize just how much God loves us and wants us as His children—we’ll never know true satisfaction or joy. Outside stuff is temporary; inside stuff is permanent.

We often judge by outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. And when we learn to see ourselves as God does, we won’t overly concern ourselves with the outside. We’ll just want to keep the inside tidied up. 

What are some ways you can keep your inside pretty and clean?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Messy Ministry

Ministry gets messy.

Our professional lives reflect this truth. We feel God’s call to share our gifts but face repeated rejections. We discover multiple differences in employer and co-worker expectations regarding matters of faith. What works with one guarantees a closed door with others.

All too often, we also expect a life of perfection when we follow Jesus. However, our world remains filled with turmoil, conflict, disaster, and sorrow. We reach out to others in Jesus’ name but frequently get our overtures spurned in no uncertain terms. We work with fellow believers whose ideas differ from ours. Time after time, our efforts appear to fall flat, and we wonder what went wrong.

Yet Jesus never promised an easy life. In fact, He lived and taught the opposite. Jesus suffered ridicule, torture, and death from those He came to serve. His followers misunderstood and, at times, undermined His mission. Religious leaders and others in authority resented and rejected His message. Nevertheless, Jesus never stopped teaching or reaching out to everyone in love.

Our most powerful messages often occur during our worst times. Personal difficulties enable us to minister with spoken and written words to those who hurt. Because of our struggles, they listen to what we say. Setbacks challenge us to keep going and growing and to keep honing our spiritual message to make it as clear and compelling as possible. Jesus gave His best. Our service in His name deserves no less.

When we follow Jesus’ example, we rest assured of His never-failing guidance, peace, and presence. We give thanks for the mundane and the miraculous, especially when our messes become ministry moments.

Ask God to help you live as Jesus lived and love as Jesus loved, regardless of your circumstances or the responses you receive.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Children's Children

I learned to dance standing on my grandfather’s feet.

He was like Fred Astaire, handsome and talented. Grandaddy was even a member of a dance club. He was suave and debonair. I never heard Grandaddy use profanity or say an unkind word. Everyone called him “Pop.”

I modeled much of my life after him and other family members whom I admired. I was the last grandchild. All the attention had been doted on everyone who came before me, but somehow Grandaddy still had time for me. Dance recitals were a big part of my childhood. I heard how boring they were to watch, but Grandaddy always came and always complimented me.  

As a Nana now, I want to be that same cheerleader for my seven grandsons. I praise their efforts, no matter how small. As grandparents, we take them to church events and spend more time than money on them. As a historic docent, I dress them up and teach them living history.

I had an aunt who took me on historically themed trips. She had little money, so we ate picnics in hotels and visited free sites. After I grew up, I discovered a person could buy a ticket and go inside the houses at Williamsburg. I watched the marching troops and ate the warm cookies baked in a brick oven. We visited churches with frescoes and museums with no admission price.

We often forget that neighbor children, students, and family members need a hero. Our museum invites people to provide history camp scholarships. I encourage adults in our community to sponsor a child at church or school. One of my friends gave my students new school supplies every Christmas, long after theirs were well worn.  

Everybody needs someone who treats them special. A young family member or friend might benefit from our next trip. We can ask someone to attend a special event at our church. Someone might not attend a service but might join us for an outdoor concert or covered dish dinner. We may know a family we could bless with a meal.

Think of someone to whom you might give a meal, a gift card, or a night of babysitting. Bless a child…or an entire family.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


Don't Be Disheartened

Sometimes, people come into our lives and do everything they can to make our lives miserable.

I remember when I dealt with a group of frustrating people who constantly gossiped behind my back and did all they could to frustrate me. I was so vexed by them that, at times, I cried in anguish of spirit. Yet the Lord was my comforter and my healer—my refuge in time of need.

There will be occasions when we will face persecution from those we thought were our friends. The persecution becomes difficult to deal with, and we feel angry for being mistreated. Yet God’s love and mercy help us deal with such people. Just as Jesus forgave those who crucified Him and said they knew not what they were doing, so we should display mercy with difficult people.

Mercy triumphs over judgment, and the Lord is a God of justice. We are blessed when we wait upon Him. The Lord has a way of troubling those who hound and persecute us and returning on their heads what they have done to us.

We don’t have to be disheartened. We can rejoice in the Lord when we face persecutions, trials, tribulations, and tests. Testing builds endurance, and endurance builds patience. Remember, God blesses those who faithfully endure temptation, for afterward, they will receive the crown of life that God has prepared for those who love Him.

When others persecute you, be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Delight in His Word and put your trust and hope in Him above all else.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Good Name

In a way, being legally blind has been humbling and scary because I can’t see what everyone sees about me.

I’m humbled when I hear people make kind remarks about me, such as things they like about me. But it can be scary when I think that people look up to me because God still uses me even though I can’t see much. I know God uses and has used my blindness to give me a lot of influence, and I need to be careful with it.  

In God’s eyes, a good name is more than just a good reputation. A good name is the character God sees in us. Jesus’ reputation—what people thought of Him—was awful, but He had a spotless character. We can’t be perfect, but we can and should grow more and more into the image of Jesus every day.

We should consider how we think, act, and talk when no one else is around. What kinds of things do we look at when no one else is looking? God can use us and give us a good name as we live righteously before Him. He gets the glory for that and not us, although we must do our part.

Many people try to build up their ego by stomping on others to reach the top of whatever they want to do. God doesn’t want us doing that. He wants us to stay humble so He can give us a good name and so we can keep it.

Ask God to help you keep a clean heart so you can keep a good name with Him and others.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Lesson from Children's Faith

The prayers of small children are interesting.

Small children offer detailed petitions. They trust God to do what they pray for. They ask Him for things we adults perceive as funny and little. But their prayers come from a sincere heart, and they believe only God can solve their issue.

This is a non-starter to us adults. We measure God’s ability by the level of our needs and wants. In this way, we downplay the providence of God in little things.

As we age, we use logic when dealing with the things of God. We believe those small things we asked for as children will happen even without asking God. At times, they do, but sometimes, they don't. Sadly, if they don’t, we don't follow up with a kid’s prayer. Even when they do happen, we often don't acknowledge and thank God for answering them. We take it as an obvious thing.

Most adults think prayer concerns only the big things. This thinking kills our childlike faith. I have learned that praying for the small things builds our faith in the big things. I think this is why Christ said we must have childlike faith.  

Childlike faith helps us fulfill our kingdom obligations. It is the small encounters that encourage us for giant battles. We can learn from David, who told of how the Lord had delivered him from small things and then later, big things. As an adult, his faith was strong because of his childlike testimonies.

Trust God even in the smallest detail of your life, just as children trust their parents for anything. God is interested in every detail about you—your health, school, finances, relationships. and everything else.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Gone but Not Forgotten

They were gone, but not forgotten.

In our area of the United States, hummingbirds arrive in late March or early April and hang around until mid-October. A few weeks before their arrival, I hang three feeders for the scouts to find. Almost anywhere we are in the house, we can view the beautiful birds feeding.

Hummingbirds are diligent little creatures. Even with three feeders, I must refill the feeders every couple of days. And the birds, though small, are aggressive and territorial. One will sit atop the feeder or perch on the feeder stand, waiting, so they can run off any intruders. Their wings beat quickly, and their flight speed is amazing.

As the season wears on, the number of hummingbirds diminishes. Then, one day, they are gone. I miss their antics … their beauty. I miss them hanging in mid-air, watching me through the window or door. But I know if I hang feeders in the spring of the next year, they’ll return.

Jesus understood the sorrow His followers would feel after He left them. They had followed Him for three years, and now He was leaving for heaven. But He told them not to sorrow. They would see Him again when their eyes closed in death.

I mourn too when I think of all my loved ones who have gone on to heaven. As I get older, fewer of them are around, and I think of the time when I’ll no longer be here for my children and grandchildren. I miss sitting around with my grandparents and hearing their stories. I miss the cousins, aunts, and uncles whom death has captured.

Their examples keep me going in the right direction. I remember their love for God, how they taught their family about His love, how they shared their faith, and how they lived a consistent Christian example. They may be gone, but they are not forgotten.

Most of all, I have the example of Jesus, just as the early disciples did. His example, more than any other, prods me on in the faith journey. As He promised to return for His early followers, so He has promised to do the same for all His children.

Don’t let the death of friends and family rob you of the memories of their good examples. They may be gone, but you don’t have to forget them.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Every Good and Perfect Gift

Honey’s life was at stake. Would she live or die? Her fate depended on Betty.

A few years ago, a couple confronted Betty and said they needed to get rid of their dog, Honey. She was getting old and was nearly blind. Betty had compassion for Honey because she, also, was growing old.  Her heart was tender toward those animals, who, through no fault of their own, face death.

Betty adopted Honey and treated her with tender loving care as she did her other dog. When Betty held a treat in her hand and offered it to Honey, Honey cowered and would not accept it as Betty’s other dog did. When Betty threw the treat on the ground, Honey cautiously picked it up.

Eventually, Honey learned to take the treat from Betty’s hand and to accept Betty’s gifts. Now, she hovers close to Betty and trusts her.

This is what our loving Father wants in the relationship we have with Him. He desires for us to accept all His bountiful and loving gifts. He doesn’t want us cowering and afraid of what He might do to us.  

Some ministers preach more about God’s punishment of sin than they do about God’s love and forgiveness for the sinner. For sure, when Christians sin and don’t repent, God will send consequences. But when we ask God’s forgiveness, He forgives our sin and remembers it no longer.

As we grow spiritually and develop a closer relationship with our Lord, we will no longer fear Him. As Honey eventually wanted to be close to Betty, we will come into God’s presence and experience His love.

Today, spend time talking with Jesus Christ the Savior and allow His love to permeate you through and through.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Becoming All Things

I remember the time when I became homeless.

I attempted to persuade those who were also homeless to follow Christ. Although I listened to their stories and tried to understand what they were going through, I wasn’t able to bring anyone to Christ. Yet one of the things I learned was to find common ground and similarities that helped me not only to relate to others but also to let them relate to me.

Being able to empathize and put ourselves in another person's shoes so that they understand why they do what they do can inspire and encourage them to come to Christ.

We all have certain things in common with other people: struggles, traumas, activities, and topics we love discussing. Realizing this should help us as we spread the good news about the gospel. To those who don’t believe, we can help them see why they don’t believe, and then we can share the gospel with them. To those who struggle with drug addiction, we can empathize with their suffering and encourage them with the freedom that comes through Christ alone. We can become all things to all people so that we can bring some to know Christ as Lord.

We can continue to honor the Lord through both our similarities and differences, and we can bring people to Christ as Savior as we do.

Continue to seek out the Word of the Lord and act with wisdom and prudence. Consider what similarities you have with others, and how you can use that to preach the message of the gospel.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Storing Up Treasures

For three months, I spent several days a week cleaning out my parents’ home, getting it ready to sell.

During this time, I came across a lot of stuff. Over forty years of it. The stuff I emptied from the attic, basement, and the first garage went into a thirty-yard-long dumpster, which I filled to the brim. I still was not done. The stuff from the back garage filled another twenty-yard-long dumpster.

What I discovered with the contents of the dumpster was different phases of my parents’ life. When they entered these different phases, I’m sure this stuff meant a lot to them. The money invested in these various phases was well-meaning. These things kept them busy.

But now my parents have moved on in age. They could no longer live in their home. Their physical strength had waned and their interests changed. They left the remains of earlier ventures to die and collect dust. I'm sure they never thought this would be, but life happens, things change, and we move on.

On each trip to the dumpster, Jesus’ words reverberated in my mind. It forced me to ask, “Where am I storing my treasures?”

Jesus died for our sins so that one day, when our time on earth is finished, we can join Him in eternity.

On Sunday, many of us go to church to learn about Jesus, lay our sins at His feet, and accept His gift of salvation. But on Monday, our lives often don’t reflect what we’ve done. Sometimes, we invest in earthly things as if our life on earth will never end when we need to invest in heavenly things and store our treasures in heaven.

After the experience I’ve had, I am more determined to invest in my heavenly home and the things not of this earth. I hope to start my own cleaning process now that I am done with my parents and rid my life of the stuff that no longer matters.

Do you need to revisit where your treasures are stored? Make a heavenly shift.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Love Through Acts of Service

My retired parents once took both of my dogs—one very large and elderly eighty-five-pound yellow Labrador and one small but energetic Cockapoo puppy—to the groomer because my single-mom-full-time-work-and-child-uber schedule would not allow me to do so.

After my parents dropped the furry children off, they stopped by my house on their way home. My sweet father got down on his hands and knees, removed my elderly dog’s crate, took it to the backyard, hosed it down, scrubbed the floor, and laid a blanket under her crate to ensure a bit more comfort for my elderly Labrador in her golden years.

Mom sent me a picture of his selfless act because Dad would never mention this act of service. This is not uncommon for my father. He spends his days sharing homegrown produce with others, mowing elderly ladies’ yards, shuttling folks to and from appointments and church get-togethers, and researching healthcare, homecare, vacation, vehicle, and a myriad of other random options to make his family and friends’ lives easier.

My dad is a pillar of selfless love—the closest earthly representation I have ever witnessed of how I envision Jesus’ all-encompassing love.

I don’t properly convey how thankful I am for this man—not only because he has always taken utmost care of his family, but also because he daily exemplifies a legacy of love to those around him. If my sons grow up to be half the man their Pops is, I know they will touch the world with blessings.

Random acts of kindness such as this go a long way to show Christ’s love toward others. A simple word of encouragement to someone having a difficult day, a hand-written thank-you note, a homemade meal for a family going through health issues, or offering to listen while a friend vents about a stressful situation are all ways we can show Jesus’ love. Jesus says our servanthood toward others is directly linked to serving Him. 

So polish up those kindness trackers and do what God has called you to do: share His love with others one small step of kindness at a time.

(Photo courtesy of author.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Pretty Name

I once heard a Sunday school teacher share a story about sitting at a bank window.

The lady behind the window who helped him talked rudely to him. He said the Holy Spirit spoke to him and told him to be nice to her. He didn’t want to, but he started thinking about how he could obey the Spirit. As he tried to think of something nice to say. all he could think of was “You have a pretty name.”

When he said this, the lady broke down and started crying. That was exactly what she needed to hear to calm her down. The man gave the credit to the Lord, and he said that’s the way it should be. He was right. God should get the glory for everything.

Paul tells us to overcome evil with good. Although in context, he is talking about loving our enemies, his instruction can still apply to any situation where someone is not acting toward us as they should.

We can apply Paul’s words to people we know personally, whether it is a family member, other Christians who normally treat us nicely, or people we don’t even know. Of course, with God’s help, we can apply Paul’s instructions even to those who are our enemies.

Pray that God will help you show His love to everyone, no matter what happens.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Bridge with Friends

We watched as the door slowly opened.

One Tuesday afternoon while we ladies played Bridge, a police officer stepped inside and politely asked, “Do any of you ladies own the red car that is parked on the street?”

One of the ladies at my table glanced up and responded, “Yes, officer, it’s mine. Is there a problem?”

“Well, ma’am, you can’t park on the street in front of the church,” he replied. “It could be a traffic hazard.”

“Please, would you mind moving it for me?” she asked, offering him her car keys. “I am winning this hand and would rather not get up right now.”

The officer took the keys and left to move her car. The rest of us politely smiled at each other.

“This must be Mayberry!” I chuckled to myself, remembering “The Andy Griffith Show.” Only in a small town would someone feel comfortable enough to park their car on the street and then give their keys to the local authorities to move it.

Living in the country between two small towns is an adventure. Several times each year, I plan special excursions to the big city of Athens, forty-five minutes away.

Sadly, we lost one of our Bridge players this past summer. She was stung by a wasp while working in her yard. Unfortunately, our two ambulances were at other dispatched calls and could not reach her in time.

Playing Bridge or enjoying any pastime with others provides an opportunity to fellowship and celebrate life together. Group activities are like bridges that connect us to each other and God.

I will cherish every moment spent with friends and family today. I hope you will too.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

I Forgive You

In my younger years, a person hurt me repeatedly with nasty, manipulative behavior.

I became extremely resentful toward this person, constantly ruminating about the hurt and plotting my revenge. I was miserable. Something had to change. I realized I had to forgive this person…but how?

The three little words, “I forgive you,” form a simple sentence, but doing it is one of the most powerful things we can do for someone. Forgiveness is the story of the gospel. Our heavenly Father forgave us first, so we must forgive others—readily and freely. But often, we stuff-up and then need forgiveness ourselves.

Forgiving is difficult. We think if we forgive the person for what they did to us that we are excusing their behavior and letting them off the hook. This is untrue. Forgiveness means releasing that person from a debt they can never pay. They can never turn back time and change the past.

Forgiving doesn’t mean we must continue to have a relationship with the offender. If a person continually re-offends, they destroy our trust, and we may become wary of them. This is okay. We forgive, but we must ask the Lord for wisdom when it comes to giving the person another chance and mending the relationship. We may need to restrict or sever all contact.

The Bible instructs us not to remember the former things nor ponder the things of the past. Forgiveness leaves the wrong done in the past where it belongs. It no longer exists in our reality—only as a memory. When we refuse to forgive, we allow the mere memory of a painful past event to hurt us over and over again.

Do yourself a favor. Leave those painful memories behind, press forward, and remember the lessons learned.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Trudging Through Muddy Waters

Before us was a wide river; behind us were miles of unmarked territory.

Panthertown Valley in North Carolina was the most confusing place I had ever hiked. Numerous trails meandered across hundreds of acres, but none were marked. Maps didn’t seem to match the actual outlay of the areas, and several side trails veered off from the main trails, making following the map even more confusing.

On one hike, my brother, son, and I chose a route we’d not taken before. After hiking several miles, we came to a bulging river. None of us could swim, and we weren’t sure we could return the way we had come. While the water wasn’t raging, we wondered if it was deeper than it appeared. My brother decided to be the guinea pig and made it safely across. My son was short; I’d have to carry him. So, with a child on my back and a hiking staff in my hand, we traversed the cold water and luckily made it to the other side.

God’s Old Testament people had been through deep and muddy waters more than once. In their history, wave after wave of foreign invaders attacked them and, on several occasions, carried them away as captives. But each time, God delivered them.

Like the nation of Israel, I can recount an entire list of muddy water episodes: rebellious children, dying relatives, financial meltdowns, broken relationships, unemployment, low-paying jobs, abuse, cancer, and physical ailments. And if I haven’t faced the muddy waters myself, I’ve been close to someone who has.

God never gave up on the nation of Israel. He always came to their rescue. He’s done the same for me. Just as I couldn’t see the bottom of the river we crossed, so I’ve not been able to see the bottom of the muddy-water episodes I’ve encountered. But it doesn’t matter. I knew the One who allowed me to cross through the waters, and He had a reason for doing so. The lessons I’ve learned resulted in spiritual growth. And God has given me many opportunities to share my lessons with children, teens, and adults. I’ve also noticed that people traversing muddy-water episodes listen more carefully to someone who has been through the muddy waters themselves.

When God takes you through muddy waters, enjoy the journey, be open to what He’s trying to teach you, and then help someone else through their journey.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Greatest of the Three

She stood in the aisle gazing at the valentines on the shelf.

Going to her tiptoes, a little curly-haired girl stretched to reach a card. I watched as her fingers scraped and stretched for the card. She grunted in frustration.

“Need some help?” I asked as I reached over her and pointed at the card. She smiled.

“Thanks.” She opened the card, and a giant heart popped up that brought the sweetest giggle. “It’s for my Aunt Terri. She’s got Covid.”

“I’m sure she’ll love the card. It’s a sweet thought. I’m sorry she’s sick,” I said.

“Momma said she will go home tomorrow. But she cried. I told her going home from the hospital was great.”

It suddenly occurred to me that her aunt was probably on life support and that her “going home” meant her passing. I leaned over and asked if I could see the card again. The child handed it to me. “Yep, your Aunt Terri will l-o-v-e this card.” The child grinned and took the card.

Wandering through the store, gazing at all the valentines, flowers, and candies, the child remained in the forefront. That little girl didn’t understand what her mother meant, but she had faith and hope that things would be fine. To me, the love she felt for her aunt was perfect love.

Paul reminds us first what love is, then what it is not. He lets us know that without love, we are nothing, and we have nothing. Paul knew believers needed to understand the love of Christ and be charged with following suit. Love as Christ loved. Forgive as Christ forgave. Without this depth of love, they would be nothing.

Today, 1 Corinthians 13 is used as the basis for marital love, but it goes further. To love like Christ means to love without fail, love endlessly, and love with compassion. That curly-headed cutie loved with the greatest love. If only we could grasp hold of such pure love and begin to value our relationships with others. In a day when divorce rates soar over fifty percent and people strive for their own happiness—forgetting others in the process—we must wonder where “the greatest of these” three has gone?

Take value in your relationships. Love with the love of Christ, and you will experience the greatest of the three.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Messages of Love

I warmly remember a Valentine’s Day in the early fifties when I was a young teen.

I wanted to do something special for my family, so I gave each one a homemade card. The cards weren’t fancy—just writing on a sheet of lined paper decorated with lopsided hearts.

Imagine my surprise and happiness later that day when my mother gave me her own homemade Valentine card. That was seventy years ago. I have forgotten the words she wrote, but I still remember the love I felt when she handed me her specially made card. Mom had taped several quarters onto the front of the paper and then covered them with pieces of foil she saved from package wrappings.

My family was not demonstrative, and words such as “I love you” were not heard in my home. But in my heart, I knew I was loved and protected. My home was my safe place.

How sad that many children around the world are physically, verbally, and emotionally abused by their parents. Their homes are not safe zones, but battlefields of hostility and stress. Their parents treat them like unwanted baggage. Many are sexually abused and sold to the highest bidder. They have never known a home such as mine where I knew I was protected, and my needs would be provided day by day.

God, our Father, has a heart filled with love for His children of all ages. He gave each of us a unique Valentine Card and wrote on it, “I Love You,” in bright permanent letters. He then hung the card on a cross. His message of love will remain forever.

When we ask God to forgive our sins and come to Him as a little child, He welcomes us into His loving worldwide family.

If you are living in an abusive home or grew up in one, know your heavenly Father loves you. His Valentine Card is for you as well as every person on this earth. He excludes no one.

Have you accepted God’s love?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Lesson in Gratitude

As usual, we dropped my son off at his Wednesday evening flag football practice.

My finance, older son, and I then ran to the store to get fixings for dinner. When we returned to the field, the team was scrimmaging. With a slight autumn chill in the air, we sat in the warm truck, drinking coffee and watching the remainder of practice. The boys finished their tackling, running, and passing drills and then banded together for the final huddle.

Just as we heard the last of the loud grunts and zealous cries as these young kids exuded their excitement for a sport that allows them to tap into their inner warriors, we saw the huddle disband. Each child dispersed toward their waiting parent on the sidelines. Except one.

The one child who stayed behind was not asked to help pick up the neon yellow cones outlining the grassy field, yet he chose to help the coach.

Luke records the story of ten men with leprosy. After Jesus cleansed the ten, only one man returned with authentic thanksgiving, praising God for the miracle of healing he received.

The one football player who chose to stay and help the coach was simply … thankful. In his young but wise mind, he saw the sacrifice of time and teaching talent put forth by the middle-aged, hard-working, dad coach. He wanted to show his appreciation by helping him.

The child happened to be my son. I questioned him when he arrived at the truck. “That was nice of you to help the coach. Did he ask you?”

My son nonchalantly replied, “Nah. I just wanted to.”

Pride burned its way from the bottom of my heart and nearly poured from my tear ducts like an unruly waterfall. I told him his act of service was a beautiful thing to witness. Knowing he did it of his own accord without having to be asked was the icing atop my mommy-pride triple-chocolate cake.

God gives us opportunities to help when no one else wants to. We can show gratitude for the simple blessings others put forth that often go unnoticed.

I am by no means comparing my son to the recovered leper. Or perhaps I am. After all, they both had one thing in common: a grateful heart that did not go unnoticed.

Are you showing gratitude when no one else wants to?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Melody of Practice

When cleaning out my attic, I found my flute.

My flute is a Gemeinhardt, open-holed, silver-plated with a solid silver head and B foot. I had played from elementary school to early adulthood and had memorized and performed cantatas. I practiced daily and became a fairly accomplished flutist. But after my third child, I stopped playing. I always expected to resume, so I kept the flute and all my music.

When I took out my flute again, it had tarnished some, despite the case. I wiped it down carefully, assembled the three pieces, and straightened the sections. I put my fingers over the holes and blew a steady stream across the mouthpiece, rolling it back and forth under my lip to find the sweet spot. Instead of hearing a clear, deep note, fuzzy static tripped out.

I leafed through the music—stacks of Vivaldi, Chopin, Debussy, and Bach. I realized I couldn’t read or count many of the notes, and I couldn’t remember the fingerings. I had forgotten how to play.

Whenever I’m resting or awake, my mind focuses on what it wants to remember. Whatever it values, it will rehearse, repeat, and practice.

Following Jesus, like playing an instrument, requires intentionality and repetition. I can never stop being God’s child any more than I can stop being a flutist, but I can certainly fail to perform like one. I can forget how to practice my faith and why practicing matters. I can easily assume that because I believe, I must be a good Christian.

For twenty years, I never unclasped the case that held a beautiful and valuable instrument, once so familiar to me. I always intended to perform again, but now when I have an inkling to play a simple melody, I can’t remember how.

My faith is like my flute. The melody of our faith is practice. To remain effective and influential followers of Jesus, we must all rehearse our faith consistently. We must read God’s Word, pray continually, and share His gospel. If we don’t, we will forget how to do it.

What is the melody of your faith practice?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Pass It On

“Come on. Let’s read the Christmas story so we can open presents.”

Their eyes lit up and smiles creased their faces. I’m not sure whether this came because they wanted to hear my story or because they wanted to get that part of the night over so they could open their presents. Regardless, I circled my children and grandchildren before me . . . and began.

I pulled out the old Bible that had belonged to my great-grandmother—so ragged that the cover had long since disappeared—and read from Luke 2.

Year two. I took out my grandfather’s Bible. It was in a little better shape. Once again, I flipped the aged pages to Luke 2. By now, everyone knew what story I planned to read.

Year three. I removed one of my dad’s Bibles from the bookshelf, opened it to Luke 2, and once again, read the story to my family. But this year, I did something different. I told them how Jesus was a carpenter and so was my dad—their Papa and great-Papa. When I finished, I had the oldest grandson present give a gift to his mom and uncle. Inside were wooden food trays their Papa had made. Then I gave each grandchild knives and tie tacks that had belonged to the great-Papa. I passed on something of worth to them.

The psalmist planned to pass on the story of what God had done in his life and the life of his ancestors. This included a personal relationship and God’s saving actions in their history.

Although our family heritages differ—some we may not be proud of, know of, or even want to remember—we each have one. And there is something good in them that we can pass on if we look hard enough. Even negatives can become positives with the right perspective. Our children and grandchildren need to hear the stories.

More important, is the spiritual heritage. What the psalmist planned to pass on. Hopefully, we have a rich one of those as well. But even if we don’t, we can start with ourselves and pass on ours. Our children and grandchildren need to hear what God has done in our lives. Then, they will be encouraged that He wants to do the same in theirs.

What are some ways you can pass on your heritage?

(Photo courtesy of the author.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Just Say Yes

It happened during a meeting at the church I attended.

While having an informal sharing time, an elderly member expressed a need for transportation to a doctor’s office. She spoke for an extended time about her problem, but not one person, including me, volunteered to take her. This woman had a notorious reputation for being a nonstop talker, and those attending the meeting knew this.

During the time she spoke, the quiet voice of God’s Spirit nudged me to volunteer. I knew I didn’t have an excuse not to take her. I could have rearranged my schedule, but along with the others, I remained silent. We had helped this woman before by providing transportation. Yet this time, we all hesitated because of her marathon talking.

After I went home from the meeting, I continued to feel conviction. Daily, I pray that I may be a helper, a blessing, and an encourager to those in need. This day I had been given the opportunity, but failed to take advantage of it. God reminded me of my prayers.

I determined on the next day to contact the woman and offer to take her for her appointment. Upon making that decision, I felt God’s peace. I believe God wanted to see if I was willing to help others as I had asked in my prayers, or if I was simply repeating words.

Now, when I pray about helping others, I ask God to help me to be willing. God loves a cheerful giver. This not only applies to the gift of material possessions but also to the gift of our time, energies, and abilities.

Have you ever felt the probing finger of God touching your heart as He did mine and responded with a “No”? Ask Him today to help you become more willing to reach out to others and to answer “Yes” to His calling.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

God's Got the Last Word

As the doctor left the room, he took all hopes of a good outcome with him.

Tearfully coming to grips with reality, Amelia walked across the hall to a small counseling room to make the unenviable calls to family members. She told them her son had just passed away. Soon, nurses would terminate the life-support machine, and so would end a young man's life far too soon.

Wanting to comfort her, the pastor walked with her. While searching for words of comfort in his mind, the Lord spoke to the pastor's heart. “Tell her I've got the last word.”

As Amelia made the first call, God spoke to the pastor's heart again, saying, “Tell her.” As she hung up the phone, the pastor told her, “Amelia, God's got the last word.”

Back in the hospital room, Amelia, the pastor, and a couple of others watched with broken hearts as nurses turned off the machine. Surprisingly, Tommy's heart continued to beat. Those in the room tried to comfort one another as they waited for the inevitable continuous alarm. This was one Thursday morning Amelia would never forget.

Sunday morning, the church door opened, and in walked Tommy, looking as if nothing had ever been wrong with him. Defying the odds and to the amazement of his doctors, Tommy made a full recovery. What had seemed a hopeless and inevitable death on Thursday was now three days later a perfectly healthy and vibrant life.

Tommy provided living proof that with God death is swallowed up in victory. Never again would Tommy or his mom doubt that God has the last word.

The moral of the story? Never doubt God's power. Never give up on prayer, no matter how bad your situation may appear. Someone's life may depend on it.

Remember, with people, things are impossible, but with God, all things are possible. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Perfect Coordinates

As the sun rose over the horizon, I began my day by reading God’s Word.

Two overhead lights brightened the pages of the Bible as I sat in bed reading Psalms 119. I contemplated what I was reading because God’s Word is life. Every word reflects God Himself. John said, “the Word was God.”

I glanced into the dark kitchen where a small window is surrounded by a screened-in porch. Little light entered through it. Suddenly, it happened. A brilliant light emitting rays of dazzling color in every direction zapped me. I could hardly breathe as I sat there motionless, watching fireworks dancing on the head of the kitchen water faucet.

Some people call this chance. I call it providence. I’m not capable of creating one single moment filled with God. Only God has the power to do that.

I could rationalize this experience. Scientifically speaking, the sunlight was rising at just the right angle to stream into the kitchen window at just the right angle to bounce off the kitchen faucet by the small dark window to reach me as I happened to be in the right spot at the right time. If I were sitting anywhere else on this planet, this experience would never have happened.

I know differently because I was there with the perfect Word of God, sitting in the perfect spot at exactly the perfect time when perfect light came in a perfect direction to hit the perfect spot on, of all things, the tip-top of the water faucet.

As if that weren't enough to stun me, the hymn “How Great Thou Art” softly played in the background. God made His point. He is perfect in every way. I stood in awe before the God who loves me and observed the greatest light show on earth for about five minutes. Then it disappeared because the perfect coordinates were no more.

Rationalizing denies God’s reality. We cannot change the truth. The true reality is that God loves us and wants to provide the perfect coordinates to light up our lives.

Will you seek God? Are you ready to find Him?  

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

I Took Care of That

A few days before Christmas, my nephew and his family visited us.

Our family room nativity scene drew his two boys like a magnet. As they picked up each piece, we discussed that character’s role in the Christmas story.

The wise men held particular appeal because of their more elaborate dress and their camels with full packs. I reminded the boys that the Bible mentions three gifts but does not say how many wise men searched for Jesus. We also talked about how the wise men probably found Jesus when he was around two years old and living in a house. To increase their understanding, we role-played the distance the wise men traveled by taking them to the opposite side of the room.

After my nephew and his family left, I went to the bathroom where I display a smaller nativity scene. Much to my surprise and delight, that room’s wise men had been moved far from the manger. I sent a message to the family about my discovery. My nephew’s wife shared the older child’s reply, “I took care of that for you.”

I chose to leave his correction in place that year and have every year since. It reminds me of the reason Jesus came. Jesus saw the sin in our world and took care of that for us. As with the altered nativity scene, we choose whether to accept Jesus’ correction or not.

As you celebrate Christmas this year, will you accept the gift of salvation made possible through Jesus’ birth, sinless life, death, and resurrection? If you have already made that choice, tell others about the gift that awaits them if they seek Him.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Gladys and Her Father's Sacrificial Gift

Gladys lived a few houses down the street from me. But it wasn’t until she needed something that we became acquainted.

As Gladys drove across a junction, another driver ran a red light and broadsided her car. She chose to stop driving at that time, and I became her designated driver and helper in other ways.

One day, Gladys showed me an article she had written about a gift her father gave her when she was a young girl. Gladys tells her story.

“It was Christmas Eve, 1929, and the Depression was at its height. Although I knew we were very low on money, I kept hoping there would be a Christmas present for me. When I was ready to go to bed, Mom said, ‘Gladys, you are ten years old, and you know there is no Santa Claus. We don’t have any money, so don’t expect a gift this year.’

I pretended that I understood, but after I went to bed, I cried myself to sleep. Sometime in the night, I was awakened by the sound of our old truck pulling out of the driveway. I wondered where my father could be going on such a cold night.

I went back to sleep, but after a while, I was awakened by my father standing by my bed. He handed me a book and said, ‘Merry Christmas, honey.’ I knew then that he had gone into town to our small general store and bought a present for me. I was so happy that I couldn’t wait until morning to look at my book. When I glanced at the flyleaf, I saw PRICE: 25 cents.”

Gladys was blessed to have a loving father. However, some children have never known a father’s love. Perhaps their father abandoned them at birth and their mother struggled to provide a living.

Some fathers abuse their children, verbally and physically. Those children will never experience the love lavished on Gladys by her father.

There is a Father who loves us unconditionally, no matter who we are or what we have done. We need not cringe in fear or hide from him. The depth of God’s love is described in John 3:16.

Have you accepted Jesus, the Father’s sacrificial gift? 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Our Rock

Although I grew weary in the daily routine, I somehow kept smiling.

My weariness came from another load of washing or another complaint from a grumbly geriatric. But I did not need to make mountains from molehills. A thought came: Jesus is my rock. The thought seemed so clear…like an inspiration.

I considered how my rock, Jesus, enables me to keep going and keep smiling. As I sipped a coffee, I turned to my Bible for a holy message relevant for me or any Christian. It came in this verse: And drank the same drink, for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.

With this reading, I interpreted the message to mean I can build my humble life on worshipping Jesus, the rock of our Christian faith. This truth is still relevant today, even if we read it in the context of the first century.

We are saved if we trust Jesus with all our heart. Following Him can assist anyone to do tasks with a cheerful heart and to stay positive in the face of adversity. As Christians, if we remain positive each day, our faith can achieve greater things in the world.

I believe following Jesus is an excellent way for all to be daily witnesses. I can keep smiling with Jesus as my rock. As a caregiver, I can polish my imaginary halo and keep on keeping on.

Let Jesus be your rock.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Fear-Free Fishing

“When we fish for fish, we take them out of a beautiful life into death. But when we fish for men, we take them out of death into a beautiful life.”

A guest speaker at our church provided this powerful contrast and motivation for witnessing.

In light of these statements and Jesus’ call to become fishers of men, several realities become apparent:

  • All people need to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
  • Most Christians can memorize Bible verses that outline how a person becomes a Christian.
  • All Christians have a story to tell–how our lives were before we became Christians, how we came to know Jesus as our personal Savior, and how our lives have changed since that time.
  • The greatest hindrance to witnessing for many of us, despite God’s clear call to share our faith, is absolute tongue-tying terror. Opening our mouths about the greatest event in our lives makes our palms sweat, our knees knock, our stomachs knot, and our mouths go as dry as Death Valley.

The following ideas should help us overcome this paralyzing panic.

  • Pray for God’s clear leadership and courage to boldly cast our nets.
  • Print our unique stories. Add supporting Bible verses. Mark our Bibles at the beginning verse with the reference and page number for the next verse. Repeat for each verse.
  • Practice with fellow Christians until we feel comfortable and can present a clear message. Role-play various reactions and how to effectively respond.
  • Pair with a mentor. Identify individuals with experience and enthusiasm. Ask if we can accompany them during a few contacts.
  • Place the results in God’s hands. We’re commanded to go and tell—to fish. The results remain between the other person and God.
  • Prepare for both chance and scheduled encounters. When we ask God to reveal witnessing opportunities, our eyes will open to needs all around us.
  • Plan for a total life change. A witnessing lifestyle is contagious, with long-lasting effects.

In Salt from My Attic, John A. Shedd wrote, “A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships were made for.”

Don’t’ play it safe. Rather, venture from your comfort zone. Cast your net. Speak love and truth to all you meet. Show them Jesus as the only way, truth, and life.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Connected to the Power Source

Late one evening, my trashcan overflowed onto the floor.

I decided to take the bag out. For most, this is a simple task—although with my disability and confinement to a wheelchair, this small thing produces quite the challenge. I wedged the bag under my stiff legs and navigated the familiar route to the dumpsters, which meant going out my door to the ramp and then around the building.

On the way, I noticed my chair showed only two bars of charge. I made a mental note to plug it in when I returned to my apartment. As I dumped the trash and the cool night air brushed my face, I forgot about the charge and decided to ride around the housing complex.

All went well. I admired the beauty of the night sky—the stillness and peace exuding from a busy world now asleep. But on the way up the hill, nearing my building, my chair halted. I tried turning it on multiple times. Nothing.

I was stuck in the middle of the road. In the pitch black. Completely alone. With a dead wheelchair. As my nervous chuckles turned to sobs, I was reminded of a vital truth about our relationship with God.

Instead of waiting until we crash or run out of charge, we need to stay connected to our power source—God. Listening to sermons and fellowshipping with other believers helps, but we can’t solely rely on secondhand information.

Our God is intimate and longs for us to know Him through His Word and prayer. Even on days when we don’t feel like it, we must make connecting with Him our priority.

How do you need to clear your schedule and your heart to make room daily for God?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

To the Work

I grew up on a five-acre farm on the outskirts of a small Colorado community.       

I was raised in a family with nine siblings. My sisters and I shared everything from beds to clothes. And we shared the work.

One of my favorite early-morning chores was gathering eggs. Pushing open the creaky wooden chicken coop door always sent the hens into a cackling uproar. But I ignored their protest. Moving down the row of straw-filled wooden cubbyholes, I wrestled my hand under the warm breast of the chicken to gather her eggs.

Our parents expected us children from an early age to participate in daily chores and routines. While not always done with a cheerful attitude, we knew what was required of us. No amount of complaining exempted us from doing our part. We learned a good work ethic that has contributed to a productive life for all of us. Sunday was our only day of rest.

Paul is clear; if we don't work, we shouldn’t eat. He addresses those who are lazy and undisciplined. Instead of working, they spend time being busybodies. According to Paul, idle time leads to unhealthy habits, so he urges his readers to settle down and work to earn a living.

Paul also tells them never to tire of doing good. It may be comfortable to sit back and consider that we have done our share when we’re no longer in the workforce. But we can find a neighbor, friend, or stranger who may need a helping hand, a smile, or an encouraging word. We should never tire of doing good.

Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Look for opportunities to engage in productive activity.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Our Forever Friend

“I’m innocent,” John wrote from prison. “I was framed and accused of child abuse, but I’m not guilty.”

John read an article I wrote for a national Christian magazine. Since I live in a small town of fewer than four hundred people, learning my address was not difficult.

John claimed to be a Christian, and he included pages of Scripture in his letters to impress me with his knowledge of the Bible. However, I was aware he had merely copied the Scripture from a Bible.

He longed for someone to visit him in prison. I was able to contact a caring older man who volunteered to visit John. George was a true Christian friend who went the extra mile of appearing with John for a hearing.

One day when George visited John in prison, he discovered John was in the infirmary, suffering from an overdose of drugs. All the time George had been trying to help John, John had been using drugs. How sad that he had taken advantage of someone who was an encouraging friend.

Sometimes, we’re guilty of doing the same with our forever Friend. Jesus loved us enough to die on a cross so we might have salvation. He willingly suffered the extreme pain of beatings and the humiliation of being ridiculed and spat upon. In his time of greatest need, His closest friends turned from Him. Peter denied three times that he knew Him.

Our lives should reflect Christ’s presence within us. Our Bibles should not gather dust where they lie upon a shelf. We should spend much time communicating with our Lord, and our prayers should include words of praise and honor to God, not merely a long list of requests.

Our forever Friend wants to have a personal relationship with His children. What changes can you make to help bring that about?

Take time each day to communicate with Jesus Christ.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Those Who Are Broken

“I’m such a mess,” the young woman said. “I have too many issues, and I can’t ever do anything right.”

Isn’t it funny how our human nature dictates the need to be perfect, even though perfection is something we can never attain? It might be hard to admit, but we’re all broken in one way or another. Some brokenness is more obvious than others, but the pain and the struggle remain. We all deal with fears, weaknesses, insecurities, and bad habits. Once we get a handle on one thing, another pops up to discourage us.

The truth is God created us that way. The Bible calls us earthen vessels. Simple clay pots that are cracked. Chipped. Imperfect. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need a Savior.

Brokenness comes in many forms—homes, hearts, dreams, bodies, relationships, marriages, and lives. The problem comes when we get so caught up in our issues that we are blinded to the plight of those around us. Those of us who claim to follow Christ should always be ready to offer help and hope to those who are hurting. Bob Gass writes, “God uses us to minister to one another, love one another, honor one another, and carry one another’s burdens.”

So, how do we deal with brokenness? We receive and walk in God’s grace. Gass also says, “Grace restores the heart and resolves the troubles of a tormented spirit. It is lovingkindness and forgiveness. It is the favor of God.”

As we grow in grace, we learn to see and accept ourselves for who we are. We embrace the good and surrender all those broken places to the Lord. Then we’re able to reach out and extend that same grace to others.

Remember, we’re all cracked pots, but that’s only so God’s light can shine through us.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Losing the Blessing

Being a caregiver to Gene stressed me.

Dementia crowded out reality in Gene’s mind, and it seemed he had lost the ability to reason and make the right decisions. When things didn’t go as he believed they should, he lost his temper and exploded verbally at me, saying I was eviler than the alcoholic stepfather who beat him when he was a child.

As I sat alone waiting for an appointment with my doctor, I watched a gray-haired mother pushing a wheelchair with her middle-aged son in it. She headed to the receptionist’s desk to make an appointment. The son’s hands flailed in the air. Guttural sounds poured from his mouth. He depended upon his mother. But the mother had a glowing smile that seemed to reflect inner peace. Her smile never wavered.

I thought about the work of caring for Gene who was incontinent, walked unsteadily with a walker, and took his frustration with life out on me—yet I felt the older mother’s burden was far worse than mine.

As I watched the mother, I felt the urge to tell her how her smile of grace blessed me. But I remained in my seat. Soon, the mother and son left the building. My good intentions accomplished nothing because I didn’t follow through on them.

Perhaps we’ve all been guilty of doing as I did. We may feel God’s Holy Spirit whispering to us to speak a kind word, visit a shut-in, offer a ride to church, or do some other act of kindness, but we fail to carry through.

Be willing to obey those nudges the Lord gives you and to follow through on the kindnesses He bids you do. Don’t be guilty of losing the blessing you may be to others.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(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?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(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.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(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.)


Call Ruth and see how she is doing.

The thought kept going through my mind. I sensed the Lord’s prompting to call an elderly woman from my church. So, I wrote her name on my to-do list. On the bottom of my to-do list. Yes, I would call Ruth, but I needed to do other things first. Eventually, evening arrived. I was tired and decided it was too late to call her. I would do it tomorrow.

When the Lord prompts me to do something, I seldom say “No.” Quite often, however, I say “Later.” But many times, later never comes.

In the gospels, Jesus called Peter and Andrew to leave their homes and their livelihood and follow Him. They did not wait until they caught a few more fish or until they said goodbye to the neighbors. They didn’t tell Jesus they would follow Him later. The Scriptures say they immediately stood up, left their nets, and followed Him.

How often I think of procrastination as a trivial thing. But the Lord who deserves our obedience also deserves immediate obedience. 

Why is it that I so often procrastinate in obeying the Lord? Often, I want to be in control of my time and priorities. I am a list maker, and I don’t like my well-orchestrated plans interrupted. I forget my time is in His hands, and that He has the right to reorder my priorities.  My response should be “Yes, Lord,” followed by immediate obedience.

Ask God to give you a surrendered will that obeys immediately.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

He Is Joyful in Your Labor

Our phone rang not thirty minutes after two of our teenage sons loaded into the truck to run a few errands.

“I was following the boys across the river bridge, and a cigarette flew out the window and landed on my car. I thought you’d like to know.”

Very few rush to tell us good things about our children, rather it’s the opposite. If there is an issue, folks race to inform us of their misgivings forcing us to wonder if our children do anything other than rabble-rousing. Was our parenting labor in vain? A worthless effort that has only managed to produce unruly children? Of course not, but the negativity of man leans first to what is wrong rather than what is right. Perhaps this is a foothold of the evil one—a way he can instill chaos and frustration into our hearts.

John, in this letter to Gaius—a traveling companion, a fellow believer, and a respected teacher—immediately offered a compliment. He shared that he had no greater joy than to hear his children were walking in the truth. What a compliment, both for John and Gaius, to know that those they labored and invested their time into remained staunch in their beliefs in Christ.

When we labor hard on a project or even in our families, it’s nice to know others see the good. Especially when it comes to our children. The time we invest in them is valuable. The validation from others brings us joy. God is equally pleased when His children remain strong in their relationships with Him. He delights in our efforts to be the children He longs for us to be.

We knew and still know, our children are far from perfect, but it doesn’t mean they are bad men. Still, it would have been nice to have heard our friend say, “Your son is a good driver” instead. We addressed the issue, but praising them would have been so much sweeter.

When others try to stifle the joy we have in Christ by pointing out those minute failures, do not dismay. Hold strong to the purity of Christ. Remain in His Word and pray for His guidance in your understanding.

The Father is joyful at your faithful labor.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Our Provider

When I was a little girl, my parents weren’t well-off.

I never went without, but I didn’t grow up in the lap of luxury either. One thing my mother taught me was not to worry because the Lord would provide. And He always did. No matter how tight the finances were, we always had enough.

The shepherds of David’s time cared for every need of their sheep. They provided lush pastures, cool streams of water, and protection from danger.

The heavenly Father is our Shepherd who provides for all our needs. God will liberally supply our every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Thank goodness He doesn’t do it according to our bank balance. In case we’re feeling a bit doubtful, God assures us that if we rely on Him, we will not be disappointed. He will not let us down. No matter what the need, He will provide.

We should not set our hopes on the uncertainty of possessions, but rather on God who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Our Father wants to provide for our needs and give us things purely for enjoyment. Isn’t that just like a true father?

Our Father knows what we need before we ask Him. We have no reason to worry or be anxious about food, clothing, or any other needs we may have. Instead, we should seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all those other things will be given to us.

I have carried my childhood lessons with me throughout my life, tackling the challenges of almost twenty years of marriage and raising three children on one average wage. The Lord, my Shepherd, has supported me just as He promised. I can still say, “I have all that I need.”

Are you trusting God to provide all you need?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


For many, old stuff is just junk. Things nobody wants. But to a collector, junk is potential.

A collector stops at nearly every thrift store, rummage sale, or auction looking for just the right item to advance his collection. Perhaps he collects paintings, or jewelry, or priceless glassware. Scanning the shelves, alert for the item he seeks, his pulse quickens with excitement when he sees it. Examining the treasure, he overlooks the cracks, stains, or dust. He knows how to clean, polish, and restore. Hugging the special find, he gladly pays the purchase price, for he grasps the true value of the item.

Jesus is a collector of people. He finds us in the dust and ruts of our sin. His eyes sparkle with delight as He heals our brokenness and claims us as one of His own. Having paid the extravagant price, He redeems us with His blood. He washes us in the waters of baptism and records our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life. He sands the rough edges, removes our stains with His righteousness, and uses our scars to remind us where we’ve been and who He is to us.

Although the collector may display his priceless find in a frame, behind a glass window, or on a shelf, Jesus chooses to give us new purpose. He blesses us with gifts and talents, then surrounds us with people who need our help. In our daily devotions, He whispers an idea, the plan He has for us. He equips us for ministries large or small and sends us out into the world to share His love with others.

You are a treasure—a special delight to God. Have you heard His whisper in your heart? How will He use you today? Let Him use your feeble efforts to further His kingdom and honor Him.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

You Are Valuable

The young woman swiped her eyes, smearing mascara across her cheeks.

“You have worth. Your life is valuable.” A kind man stretched out his hand to help her stand. He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and gently placed it in her hand. “Things seem hard, but the Father knows your needs. Let me help you inside the shelter.”

With that, he guided the woman into the shelter and the presence of a minister. Two women joined the pastor and welcomed the young girl.

“Let’s get you cleaned up and get some food in you. Then we can figure out how best to help you.”

The young girl smiled as the man who’d freely helped her waved goodbye. “Remember, you are valuable in God’s eyes.”

The evil one seeks to tear us down mentally. We look for the physical attacks, almost expect them, but for one reason or another, our eyes are blinded to the mental attacks that rain down on us. Satan works, not from a standpoint of our strengths, for he cannot compare to them, but from our weaknesses where he needles his way into our minds. Attacking our self-confidence is easy because as humans, our mental well-being is vulnerable. We become easy targets when we question our self-worth to our Father and our friends.

Jesus seemed burdened by the worry of those He preached to in this passage. He recognized their fear. It was a tumultuous time for believers. His reassurance to the people was not a promise that things would be easy but rather a reminder of whom the people should fear, and whom they should depend upon.

Picture the gentleness of the Savior as He walked among the people. Take in His desire to calm the fear, and grasp hold of the reassurance He gave that day. What good is it to fear one who can simply take our life but do nothing else? Fear the one who can cast us into hell. Don’t worry. God knows every part of us. If He finds value in the sparrows, imagine how much more value He finds in us.

The Father loves His children, and, although we know this as believers, we tend to lose sight of how He cares for us. He doesn’t want to lose one soul. God allows us the freedom to choose to love Him. His love for us is strong and our value in His eyes is beyond our understanding.

Never question your value in God’s eyes.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Under Chicken Wings

When I was a little boy, my parents told me the true story of a farmer whose farm burned down.

The farmer looked at what had happened. He saw something lying on the ground, but he didn’t know what it was. He kicked it, and, when he did, a bunch of hens ran from under the mother hen’s wings.

Jesus told the Jews something similar in this verse: How often would I have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings but ye would not. He wanted them to receive Him as their Messiah and Savior, not only as a political ruler. Yet He died for the whole world to protect us from the fires of eternal punishment.

Jesus wept over Jerusalem when He said the words above. He weeps over lost souls today who reject Him. He not only wants to protect us from the eternal consequences of sin in the life to come but also to shield us from bad things that happen when we choose to live a life of sin in the present.

Even if we’ve strayed from Him and gotten ourselves into a life of sin by doing things that have caused us pain and heartache, He weeps for us and wants to bring us back to Himself. As He was patient and longsuffering with the nation of Israel, He is patient with us because He wants none to be lost.

If you need to repent of something, ask God to forgive you and to help you refrain from doing it again in the future.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Big Turn Off

Some have been accused of having selective hearing.

Many husbands have been diagnosed with this condition. The pant of a buck at one hundred yards is loud and clear, while a call for assistance from the kitchen finds many men deaf. What’s at work here is not an intermittent physical malady but a listening filter.

Our minds and hearts tune in or ignore sounds. These noises might not always be measured in decibels but can harden our hearts. We allow the drumbeat of our world to drown out God’s message.

It seems bizarre yet amazing that Samuel heard God calling him. We often say God has spoken to us through the Bible, an inspired song, or an insightful sermon, but rarely have we asserted that God spoke audibly. Some have probably asked God, politely, of course, to speak out loud, but history and experience tell us aural messages from our Maker are a rare occurrence.

Oh, that we could step into the quiet and filter out the cacophony of clatter that fills our world. It seems our efforts toward quiet are characterized more by baffling noise with more noise.

Congregational worship is not sound-dependent. We need to bring back quiet moments to our congregational worship. Faith-family worship is when we gather before God with humble hearts, and the world switch is turned to the off position.

We don’t have to seek the Samuel-event, just the Samuel-condition. Too often, we approach worship with the frivolous clamor of this world still echoing in our minds and hearts. Congregational worship is not an attempt to drown out the world as much as it is pointing to the one speaking. God is speaking to each one of us. Our task is to stop and listen.

Worship is the family of God sitting at His table and turning the things of this world off while we dine.

Ask God to help you turn off the unnecessary so you can worship Him.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Love in a New Dimension

We respond to new things differently.

How we respond depends on what we’re responding to. A new season of our favorite TV show. A new book by our favorite author. A new college course to teach. A new restaurant nearby. A new company policy. New eyeglasses. A new commute to work.

How about a new commandment?  

Alone with His disciples, Jesus had much to tell them before He returned to heaven. “My children, I will be with you only a little longer … where I am going, you cannot come. In my place, my Father will give you another comforter to be with you forever. I will not leave you as orphans.”

He also said, “I’m about to give you a new command.”

Say what, Jesus? Another commandment? Don’t we have enough already?

“Here it is, fellas. You are to love each other.”

No offense, Jesus, but love isn’t exactly new. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself” is as old as Moses.

“Okay, fellas, here’s what’s new. You are to love each other the same way I have loved you. In fact, from now on, the sign that you belong to Me will be My love in you for each other.”

Jesus provided Himself as the embodiment and the standard of divine love. He prepared His followers for love in a new dimension—namely, Christian love. His disciples were to love each other, not merely as Jewish neighbors, but as Christians.

Old Testament scholar, Christopher Wright, spells out what this love entails: “When we love one another as Christians, it crosses all our differences and barriers. It’s more than sentimental feelings of being nice. It shows itself in practical, down-to-earth caring, providing, helping, encouraging, and supporting one another, even when it costs a lot or hurts a lot to do so. This love brings people together who would otherwise hate, hurt, and even kill one another.”

No one can see God as He is, yet everyone can see Him in the new dimension of Christian love. Same love, new dimension. Down-to-earth and strikingly visible.

Ask God to help you make love in a new dimension happen.

(Christopher Wright, Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit: Growing in Christlikeness (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2017), 24.)

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


I clipped unmercifully at the evergreen plants in the pot sitting on the patio.

The plants were overgrown and needed major pruning. They resented it. For weeks, they continued to drop brown needles onto the tile floor and look as though they were dead and didn't intend to flourish again.

Weeks passed before I saw new budding. Still sparsely clad in the brown of mourning, they offered me hope with a slither of green. I was relieved. I thought they may not live, but now they brought forth new life. The pruning worked.

I've been pruned before—so much that I didn't want to revive my life. In retrospect, I realize I was overgrown with the desires and wants of this life. The brown, dead needles that stunted any spiritual growth had embedded into the branches of my life, zapping all nourishment necessary for growth.

A major pruning was the only alternative. God did that. I didn't like it, and I appeared dead for a long time. I felt stripped and barren of all I had known in my life.

Eventually, without realizing it, signs of new life sprouted. My life took on a green color. The Word of God became my nourishment as God watered and fed me with His promises.

I didn't prune or water myself. I didn't want to. But the Pruner saw the need and rid me of the dead life that existed. What a joyous event when my branches sprung forth with exuberant life. The buds became full foliage, and the beauty of my soul belonged to Him.

How could I have possibly survived without His pruning?  

If the Pruner sees the need, let Him prune you.  

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Confess Don't Bury

She can’t help it. Burying is in her nature.

Our small chihuahua-terrier mix is a house dog, but she still wants to do what an outside dog does when given a bone. We occasionally buy her bones she can chew on for a while—bones that will clean her teeth. After giving her the bone, she stands in the middle of the floor and whines. Without me asking, I know what she is saying: “Let me outside so I can bury my bone. Don’t you know that’s what dogs do?”

When I don’t acknowledge her request, she resorts to other measures. She hides the bone inside. Perhaps between the couch cushions or under the blankets in her kennel. Maybe behind a piece of furniture. Some place she knows but I don’t. Days later, she may appear with the bone in her mouth. They last a long time—but only because she hides them.

Burying is also typical human behavior. God’s people in the Old Testament did it. I’ve done it. And many other people have too. We don’t generally air our dirty laundry, especially if it’s something that happened long ago or something that might keep us from getting a job, getting a promotion, entering a relationship, or…getting closer to God.

The trouble with burying sin—in whatever form we try—is that it messes up life. If I bury unforgiveness, anger, selfishness, guilt, or sexual immorality, they have a way of uncovering themselves in ugly psychological, social, or emotional episodes. Not only do they mess up my life, they also mess up my relationship with others—especially with God.

Confession means to have the same mind. So whatever God thinks about sin or my decisions, I should think the same thing. When I confess, I recognize my need for help—and from Someone who has the power to give it. I’m not perfect. I need a Savior. Everyone does.

And when I confess daily, it keeps the lines of communication open between me and God, which is important for healthy living. Confession keeps things above board while burying keeps them…well…buried.

Don’t take on animal behavior by burying what needs to come out in the open. God knows anyway. Let Him know you know by daily confessing your sins and failures to Him.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


Great to Be a Christian

While I worshipped online at home one morning, I realized the little birds in the garden were chirping.

So was I. Because it’s great to be a Christian, I was chirpy as usual. I can follow Jesus. It is not always easy to be a Christian, but it is a challenge with benefits. People threw a lot of rocks at Jesus, and still do, yet He shines for His followers.

Believers can face each day with optimism. I believe God exists, the Word of God is true, and that following Jesus is the way for each of us. As I read my Bible, I turn often to this verse, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” This is Jesus’ message to all of us. In the Bible, I can find wisdom. Jesus’ wisdom helps me make better decisions and guides me through each day.

Following Jesus gives me direction, adding to my resilience to manage daily routines. God wants us to follow in the steps of Jesus in our humble, human way. Doing so may not be easy, but if we keep going, the blessings of our Lord will keep flowing.

Are you waking up chirpy because you are glad to be a Christian?  

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


At six in the morning, the stars shone brightly in the cloudless sky.

An older woman put on her robe, stepped onto her porch, and looked up at the stars. She heard the sound of traffic a few blocks away as workers began their morning commute. Many miles away, a farmer stepped outside his barn and paused to look at the magnificence of the starry night. He heard the sound of a rooster crowing. Further away, a young woman in the mountains stepped into her backyard, beheld the beauty of the morning sky, and heard the gentle sound of a nearby stream.

God’s handiwork is evident to all: city dwellers, rural dwellers, and mountain dwellers alike. People in North America, Africa, and any other continent can see it. It is a gift of beauty, available to rich and poor alike.

The psalmist states that the heavens, including the stars, declare God’s glory. It is hard to imagine anyone gazing at a starry sky and not feeling a sense of awe. The beauty is evident to all. It speaks of a Creator whose masterpiece leaves us speechless.

The psalmist also says the heavens are God’s handiwork. When I think of handiwork, I picture a woman knitting. Her fingers move deftly while she carries on a conversation or watches television. For an experienced knitter, the handiwork is effortless. The psalmist gives us an image of God placing the stars in the sky as effortlessly as a knitter completes a row of stitches.

Perhaps God hung stars because He wanted to remind us of His presence. To give the early riser a reason to pause before rushing into the day. To see a magnificent image and to stand in awe of a Creator who effortlessly placed the stars in the sky.

Take time to pause and praise our magnificent Creator.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

God Sees You

I woke up today, and I felt small and insignificant.

My mood happened when I fell into the trap of comparing myself to others. I doubt I am the only one who does this. Others might also feel small, insignificant, and maybe even invisible sometimes. I have felt all of those at one time or another.

But I reminded myself that the Bible tells me otherwise. I have read how God worked in the lives of insignificant and invisible people in a mighty way. I could easily think of five whom God moved from a place of insignificance to a position of great ranking.

David was invisible, but God handpicked him while a young shepherd and anointed him as the king of Israel.

Joseph was invisible while falsely imprisoned—until his appointed time when God promoted him to second in command to Pharoah in Egypt. God used him to save the people from famine.

Moses was invisible, feeling defeated and finished on the backside of the desert, until God burned a holy bush and called him to free His people.

Nehemiah was invisible during his captivity as a cupbearer for King Artaxerxes, but God enabled him to lead in the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.

Gideon was invisible as he hid—threshing wheat in a wine press. Yet the angel of the Lord appeared and called him a mighty warrior. God gave him an unconventional victory in battle with only three hundred men.

Recalling the accounts of these men assured me God sees us. We are not invisible to Him. But if we feel that way, we can remind ourselves about David, Joseph, Moses, Nehemiah, and Gideon. Let their stories tell you what they told me. We are not insignificant, and we are not invisible.

God sees you, and He has amazing plans He wants to work in your life.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Sea of Stagnant Waters

When I was ten, I drank stagnant water.

For a couple of years, our family lived in a farmhouse with a cistern on the back porch. A tanker truck from town filled it with water when the level was low. The truck driver removed the big concrete lid, and my little brother and I peered down into the deep round shaft. Once, we saw a dead rat floating in the tank. This was the water we consumed.

I became ill. The doctor gave my mom instructions after several visits to his office: “Get your water tested.” The analysis revealed our water was unfit for human consumption.

I have also been through periods of stagnant spiritual living. My Bible readings were dull, my prayers listless, and my meditation and worship monotonous. God was patient and loving with me and said, “Get your water tested.” I realized my consumption of stagnant water robbed me of the joy of my salvation.

I confessed my boredom and lack of enthusiasm for Christ. He put an end to my apathetic condition by pointing me to a new Bible study, prayer group, book, music, art, and mission. Suddenly, I gained a new understanding of Scriptures I had read many times before. Or He opened a different door for His work. In God’s green pastures, my stagnant soul was renewed by His water of mercy, grace, and love.

The difference between fresh water and stagnant water is monumental. Once our family started drinking fresh water at the farmhouse, my health improved. When I allow God to change my perspective, I drink from His clear-flowing fountain. My spiritual health improves, and my joy is complete.

If you feel somewhat stagnant spiritually, get your water tested.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Living in Faith

As I parked at the grocery store, a young mother, father, and their three little ones stood on the corner with a cardboard sign that read, “Out of work. Please help.”

While I shopped, I purchased extra food and treats to give to the family. But as I drove past the corner, they were gone. I drove around looking for them for a few minutes but never saw them again.

I asked God why He would put it on my heart to help those people but then not provide the opportunity. I realized it was my will, not His. God doesn’t expect us to assist every homeless person we see or every needy beggar on the street corner. Yet we should always be willing and ready.

We live in different times than when the Bible was written. Sadly, in our world, scammers who wear ragged clothing and ask for money get into their cars and drive to nice homes at the end of the day. They’re nothing more than con artists. Why anyone would choose that difficult and humiliating way of life over honest hard work is beyond me. But they detract from the truly needy, the injured war veteran, and the mentally disabled who cannot find work and are forced to beg to survive.

When we’re living in faith, the Holy Spirit moves us to do what is right and just and to care for those in need. When we keep our side of the street clean and our hearts in tune with God’s desires, we desire what He desires. He prompts; we act.

The next time you see someone in need, ask God for guidance. If you are living in faith, you will hear and obey.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

When I first met the Lord as a teenager, many fears plagued me.

I struggled with feelings of inferiority and low self-esteem. But once I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, a new dynamic entered my life. I experienced the love of the Father. The Holy Spirit ministered to me through His Word, His Presence, and His people. The fears that once shaped me lost their power over me.

As I grew in my relationship with God, I also grew in faith and confidence. Today, I am still tempted, at times, to fear when circumstances arise, but I have learned to offer my troubles to God and allow Him to shower me with His love. His love makes me strong, and His love will make anyone strong.

God's love is perfect, and His perfect love drives away fear. Fear is a spirit. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. This promise is for us. We don't have to live with fear.

Fear debilitates and destroys. But with the Lord in our lives, we can win the victory over timidity. We can allow His love to set us free. It may take time. It did for me. I found it helpful to meditate on Scriptures that speak about God's love. Our Lord's truth brings deliverance and freedom.

If you struggle with fear of any kind, invite the Lord into your situation. As you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. Meditate on Scriptures that speak of the love of God. His perfect love will surely drive away your fears.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Priming the Pump

Priming a pump is important.

I grew up in a rural community in South Carolina. One of my favorite parts of the week was visiting my paternal grandfather after church. Mom and I would leave church on a hot Sunday afternoon after hours of Sunday school and worship and drive down a long dirt road toward my granddad’s house.

My grandfather often sat on his porch, sometimes entertaining other men from the neighborhood. In my Sunday best, consisting of some sort of frilly dress, lace socks, and shiny patent leather shoes, I’d sit with my grandad and chat about my week.

Every so often, I’d venture out back to his old pump. My dad had taught me how to prime the pump if I ever wanted water. The key was that the previous person who got water had to leave some water in the cup. That way, the next person could pour a little water in to get more water out.

Finding an empty cup meant going inside Grandad’s house to locate some water for priming. We knew water was in the well—ample water. We knew we could get what was available, but we had to put something in to get something out.  

During prolonged periods of anxiety, uncertainty, grief, and expectation, I wonder how frequently we find an empty cup. How often do we run on empty, only to show up for others with nothing to prime our pump. Nothing for our worship time, our family, our friends, or the believers and seekers we walk alongside.

Sometimes, we are faced with challenging seasons and no concept of when these seasons will end. As my days run long and my hours few, I am reminded that to replenish myself or anyone else, I must have something in my cup. So, I anchor my days in prayer. I engage in healthy and heart-fueled community. I meditate on God’s words day and night so that when He presents me with an opportunity, I am equipped and replenished … ready and available to prime the pump.

Make it your prayer that the water that comes from your well nourishes those you serve, fills them to overflowing with the light of Christ, and fuels their desire to grow closer to God.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Cherish the Time

The alert lit up my phone like fireworks on a dark night.

Seconds later, I heard the announcement: “Faculty and students, we are now under a severe weather alert.”

Quickly, we teachers herded our students into the hallways and into their learned positions: kneeling and heads covered with a book.

Keeping students quiet always proves a task. At their age, they think they’re invincible and that a tornado could never hit our school. What they didn’t know, but discovered later, was that one touched down near our location.

Time dragged. We rotated between the hunched-down position and the sitting-on-our-rears position. Wave after wave of severe storms rolled through. At one point, we stopped releasing students. Those picking up students either had to remain in their vehicles or come inside.

One grandparent decided to shelter inside with his granddaughter, one of my seventh-grade students. When the administrative assistant told him we were not releasing students, he said, “I know. I just wanted to be with her.”

As I monitored my students, I watched this older gentleman call his granddaughter from her tribe of students. They moved to a different spot and sat on the floor. As we waited out the storms, he looked at her graded papers and congratulated her on her good grades. Who knew? That might have been the final conversation they would have.

Looking on, I realized this grandpa wasn’t much older than me. And had any of my grandchildren been present, I would have done the same thing.

Life has a way of getting busy, and we have a way of getting bogged down in selfish pursuits with little value. Temporary pleasures. Momentary enjoyments. No lasting value. James says life is like a vapor or morning fog. Life dissipates quickly … often too quickly.

God gives us just enough time to value the most important things: loving Him, loving our family, and loving others. Anything else becomes icing on the cake or a distraction that removes our focus from more important things.

Cherish your time by loving God, your family, and others.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The All-Consuming Fire of Jealousy

Imagine a band of aspiring adventurers seeking to overcome a terrible evil in a cave with a dungeon inside.

A dangerous dragon lurks, guarding hordes of treasure, and the princess waits to swoon over her knight in shining armor. “Oh, my champion has arrived!” You know, the usual.

But two different races resided within the fellowship. One, a noble-born elf, and the other, a proud prince of a dwarven king. Many a battle, they fought. Many glorious songs were sung about this adventurous duo. The goblins and orcs were but mere foot soldiers compared to their might and deadly skill in the art of war.

When the time came to divvy the treasure and divide the plunder, the elf and the dwarf bickered and complained over who should receive the favor of the human princess. The elf craved the appraisal from the princess for his elegance and beauty, while the dwarf desired to honor his father by bringing gratitude to the king. Through long and sustained bitter quarreling, the dwarf tackled the elf and knocked him off his feet.

Envy and jealousy are terrible things. Envy is a bitter root and malicious poison that suffers no rivals. However, jealousy is an unyielding thing.

Our heavenly Father loves and cares for us deeply. He suffers no rivals when it comes to our attention. Nor will He tolerate adversaries for His bride, the church. This can cause us to stumble at times in more ways than we can think of.

It’s an amazing thing how much our heavenly Father loves us, and how His jealousy reflects certain things that come up in our lives.

Regardless of whether we’re going on an adventure, staying home with a good book, enjoying warm food near a fire, or just cozying up, we can discern types of jealousy in our lives and how to understand not being knocked over—or knocking someone else over in the process.

Don’t let jealousy knock you out of God’s plan.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


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.)

Through God’s Eyes

I watch in silent horror as the glass slips through my greasy fingers and plummets to the tile floor.

All awareness ceases for a second, although the crashing awakens me. Not only my mother’s glass dish, carrying the recipe and expensive ingredients I perfected for weeks, but also my failure. Shards of glass and meatloaf sprawl all over the floor, the refrigerator, the trashcan, me, and somehow even my hair.

Why is it I can’t seem to do anything, right? I am ugly. I am dumb. I am a failure.

Whether this scene is familiar or not, we all have days (sometimes weeks or months) where our shortcomings seem magnified. Maybe we compare ourselves to the neighbor with a fancy car or sleek figure. Maybe we try to appease our parents or the world. Or maybe we are our own worst enemy, as it is with me. Regardless of the motive, we all have scripts in our mind. But we can change the narrative.

Samuel went to the house of Jesse to figure out who the anointed king would be but learned an important lesson about looking at people through God’s eyes.

Rather than an outcast, God says I am chosen. I am not too dirty or unworthy. God says I am holy. I am loved—but not contingent upon any standards. The world says I am ugly, but God says I am beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made. Science and people say I am an accident, but God has a purpose for me. I am not too broken. I am God’s masterpiece.

Rather than a shifting foundation based on the dollar amount in the bank or numbers on the scale—or even people who mean well, yet are still sinners—God is the same. Yesterday, today, and forever.

Life would be different if we thought and saw ourselves and the world the way God sees. It won’t happen overnight, although it's time to silence the Enemy and open the first page of the story He’s writing. The story of our lives.

Let God help you see yourself through His eyes.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

On Guard

My spirits soared as I cruised down the interstate on a long-anticipated weekend trip.

The year 2020 had been difficult, and I needed a break. Singing along to a CD of my favorite hymns, I relaxed and let my mind wander as I drove.

Life was good—at least until I glanced in my rearview mirror. My heart sank as blue lights flashed atop a patrol car, rapidly approaching from behind. Pulling over, I realized I was now a lawbreaker…a speeder. I had not intentionally broken the law; I was simply daydreaming and not paying attention while driving. Intentional or not, the result was the same: a hefty ticket.

Traveling the road of the Christian life often brings similar results. While there are no posted speed limits, the Bible does give expected standards for behavior. Distracted by our daily lives, we sometimes fail to pay attention to God’s laws. We do not set out to sin, but somehow we do. Inattention causes our downfall. Sin is sin whether inadvertent or intentional.

Paul instructed the Corinthian believers to be on their guard. Christians today would do well to heed his directions also. But when should we be on guard? Paul did not limit his instruction to a specific time or activity.

We must carefully observe God’s standards all the time. Without paying constant attention, we run the risk of committing sin. And the consequences of sin are far worse than receiving a speeding ticket.

Ask God to help you stay on guard.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Singing from the Highest Branch

I love taking early morning walks as an extension of my quiet time with God.

I especially enjoy watching and photographing the different birds as they begin their day. Some stand by the pond fishing while others peck at the ground, searching for their breakfast. Although Florida is famous for its flamingos, cranes, and pelicans, our state bird is the mockingbird. They are plentiful, boisterous, and vocal.

One day as I neared home, I spotted a mockingbird standing on the highest twig of a little tree in my neighbor’s yard. He belted his song with all his might. I often see this particular bird near my house, but regardless of the weather, he never quits singing.

As I listened to his chorus, I remembered I had sometimes sung a different tune. Complaining had too often dulled the melody I shared. Sometimes, harsh notes of selfishness caused others to cover their ears because of the shrill notes that poured from my lips.

The little mockingbird reminded me that if I start the day with praise, then God will fill my song with peace and joy. And I, too, will want to find the highest branch to sing my song for God.

Ask God to forgive you for the days when you cheeped and tweeted only about yourself. Then thank Him for sending music teachers with wings to teach you how to sing God’s praises again.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Millie's Plastic Bags

Millie has a habit.

Millie stuffs plastic grocery bags into other grocery bags and then places those bags into more plastic bags until she acquires bundles of bags within bags. These bundles hang in the kitchen, in the laundry room, in the linen closet, in the garage, and under every sink in the house.

One day I confronted Millie about her obsession. She gave an endless list of reasons why they must stay within easy reach. The luxury of grabbing a bag at a moment’s notice must bring comfort to Millie. It’s a security thing, I guess. Why worry about running out of bags when you don’t need to? After removing all but one bundle of bags in the house and suffering repercussions from it for days, I decided never to bring up the subject again.

Millie’s picturesque manner of storing bags gave me reason to notice an identical pattern I display with my need for God’s Word—and why I must hide so many Scripture verses in my heart because of their practical uses. I like to keep them within easy reach, just in case the moment warrants attention from God’s Word.

Some verses find their way into specific compartments of my life, and I will often add another verse to the existing supply. This practice of adding verses gives me immediate access to the truths I need to fill my heart. It’s a security thing I guess, needing the assurance that God’s Word is within easy reach.

Arm yourself with truth from God’s Word so you can move forward through every trauma you face.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Goodbye, Holy Kiss

The legacy of the pandemic of 2020 remains to be seen.

The deepest wounds from this worldwide blight are lost lives, but the post-pandemic societal stains may arrive later. Just as wars and trauma afflict us with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this catastrophic event left its mark. The new buzz word, social distancing, may have long-lasting effects on how we relate to one another. Before the pandemic, we didn't know our neighbors. During the pandemic, we took an additional step away from each other.

Churches were challenged with balancing the loving community of God's family and the safety of social distancing. I cannot remember a time when I did not greet a friend or stranger with a firm, warm handshake. Many of us are huggers. We share a warm embrace in times of joy, sorrow, or special recognition.

Some still practice the holy kiss Paul speaks about. Before the pandemic isolation, a good friend kissed my cheek. I will never forget it. In that moment, time stopped, and I could feel a blessing ripple through my soul. I experienced thanksgiving, love, care, and unconditional acceptance all at once. Every time I am in the presence of this godly man, I recall when he gently cradled my head in his hands and kissed my forehead. The memory always brings humble tears.

Some question whether we will heal from this pandemic or whether the fear of suffering will keep us apart for a generation. The church has always had an opportunity to show the world Christ's love, and we still have that opportunity.

I am not suggesting we be reckless and unsafe but rather find ways to take the lead in healing a world that has been wounded by a pandemic. The God who is within us can lead us in overcoming this tragedy.

We may lose the holy kiss, but our love from God can still overflow to those we serve. Why not let yours?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Clothing Connection

Strolling down the beach early one evening, I spied groups of people clustered near the water’s edge and along the sand dunes.

No one would have considered them typical beachgoers. They were not clad in bathing suits, toting sand pails, or carrying beach towels. Instead, these immaculately groomed individuals wore fashionable casual attire and were dressed alike in similar colors and styles of clothing.      

As the sun began to set, the light dawned on me. These atypical beachgoers had gathered on the sand to take family photos. Family units were easily discerned with a single glance because their clothing screamed their family connection.

Christians are members of God’s family. We may not physically resemble one another, but, like the families on the beach, we should be clothed alike. Although we do not have color-coordinated outfits, we all have put on Jesus.

Paul emphasized that a Christian’s choice of what to do is not discretionary. He commanded, not suggested, that God’s family members wear Jesus. 

While Jesus is not a piece of clothing, we symbolically wear Him by living as He would. Jesus was the physical embodiment of God’s love, and He acted in a loving manner when He cared for the sick, the hurting, and the socially outcast. We resemble Him when we assist those in physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual need.

Conform yourself to God’s image so others will have no doubt You belong to His family.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

What Can You Do?

“And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” - John F. Kennedy

On January 20, 1961, a United States Supreme Court clerk held a large Fitzgerald family Bible and swore in John Fitzgerald Kennedy as the 35th President of the United States of America. Deep snow, along with sunshine, provided an awe-inspiring background for the speech, which Kennedy delivered from the east front of the Capitol. Challenges of the Cold War no doubt contributed to the attendance of more than 20,000 people who braved 20-degree temperatures to hear the speech.

The audience was national and international. Kennedy not only wanted to inspire the nation but also to express his hope for peace in a world marching toward the escalation of nuclear weapons and possible nuclear warfare.

Within his speech came the quote he is still remembered for. One we need to hear again in our age where we have raised a generation who thinks life entitles them to the best, regardless of their efforts.

The writer of Hebrews never says we deserve the rewards or blessings God promises to give us for our service to Him; he merely says God will not forget what we do for others. And serving others is exactly what Kennedy challenged Americans and the world to do.

God measures greatness not by how many serve us—the world’s measuring stick—but by how many we serve. The opportunities to achieve this greatness through acts of kindness abound. And we don’t have to have pleasant circumstances to decide whether we’ll serve. During trying times—a pandemic and a fledgling economy among them—we can do things to relieve the hurt of others and to promote peaceful relationships in our family, community, country, and world.

Whether or not others repay our kindness is immaterial. We serve because God has served us most mercifully by allowing His Son to pay our sin debt. Having been released from condemnation, God frees us to be the serving hands and feet He created us to be.

Ask God to show you what you can do for others. He’ll be glad to oblige.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Ready Ear

Back when office fax machines were common, my desk once sat across from such a device.

Occasionally, the fax machine interrupted my concentration. Since fax machines incorporated telephones, the process began when the phone rang to indicate an incoming document. This was followed by clicking, whirring, and beeping as our machine connected with the machine on the other end. A grinding sound followed as the machine produced the incoming piece of paper.

But sometimes, when the phone rang, it wasn’t another machine but an actual person who had mistakenly called the fax number. “Hello? Hello?” the caller would say. When only a mechanical noise responded, the caller realized it was a mistake and hung up. 

One time, this didn’t work because it wasn’t a person on the other end but a telemarketing robot. I heard, “Hello, my name is Lisa,” and the fax machine responded with “Beep! Beep!”

“I’m calling from the XYZ Insurance Company,” Lisa continued. Since there was no connection from another machine, the fax machine continued to seek the signal with “Beep! Beep! Beep!” 

Lisa continued, “We can save you money on your coverage.”

“Beep! Beep!”

In short, one machine tried to communicate with another. Modern electronics have made personal communication easier, but if no ready ear hears or no one responds, all we have is noise.

This is the opposite of what happens when we pray. When praying, we are in direct contact with God’s ready ear. He also has a perfect response waiting. And of course, no noise exists.

Personal difficulties can make us anxious, but we can seek answers, encouragement, and hope from God. Our connection with Him is direct—no interference as with a fax machine. We also have an added advantage. When we pray, God is there to hear and respond. We’ll never encounter voicemail.

Do you have a ready ear?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

On the Winning Team

Yes, my football team won!

Of course, COVID required social distancing, so there was no crowd at the game—only at home. I was thrilled. Smiles all around as folks headed off to bed. Good win. Great team effort. I pondered in my room. We won. For me, it was like cheering for Jesus.

But what did I win? Faith. Faith helps me overcome setbacks, keeps me strong, and pushes me to play on. It encourages me in my daily Christian living as I cheer for Team Jesus. Just like my football team, I win against the odds.

Faith in Team Jesus helps me achieve my dreams and other terrific things. If I practice my faith and focus on the Divine, I will not miss out on true love. I am loyal to Team Jesus, just as I am to my football team, which I have supported most of my adult life.

My faith leads me home and saves my soul—and will do the same for anyone. Faith is a gift from a loving God who never gives up on anyone. In the past, I have sometimes turned away from God’s team, but I have always returned, believing Team Jesus would bless me with grace.

Faith that leads to salvation is a blessing. We receive faith through humble worship of an awesome God who is head coach of Team Jesus. This makes us winners like my football team. The fans and coach were all happy.

Team Jesus is always evolving with different game plans. Currently, for many believers, the game plan is online or mass media worship at home. But I believe miracles can happen. Our flag is in the bag. Those on Team Jesus will win by spreading the good news of true love. 

Are you on the winning team?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Buddy System

On a Saturday, my contractor tore into me.

I was the unsuspecting target of his tumultuous tirade—yelling, demanding answers he had already been given on the detailed design, accusing me of falsehoods, manipulating, turning the tables, pouting, shaming, bullying. He finished by giving me the silent treatment and more, all within the span of five minutes. His attack left me reeling and bewildered.

Thankfully, I had a friend over at the time. Her presence bolstered my shaky soul, keeping me from melting in fear or bawling like a baby. Borrowing courage from her easy demeanor and gathering strength from her “no-dog-in-the-hunt” position stabilized me. Whether she knew it or not, she helped me carry my burden.

I calmly engaged my contractor and attempted to work out the dicey situation. After a few minutes, we talked through the tangle. Things were tense, but his decibel level returned to a near normal range. Still, the edge on his words and terse delivery were weighty. My friend interjected, valuing his craftsmanship while gently offering another perspective. She moderated with grace and honored him as an individual.

My friend was present again when the contractor arrived on Monday morning. His humble acknowledgment of being out of control and responding with old behaviors cleared the air. His admission brought instant reconciliation, evaporating the residual tension in my heart. When he said he recognized how much he needed God, tears brimmed in my eyes. Most guys hate to see women cry, so I forced the faucet tightly and let out a hearty, “Hallelujah!” instead.

I thanked the contractor for his apology, then added how blessed I was by the declaration of his need for God. A need, I assured him, I required as well. Daily.

Doing life together is a profound blessing. Having my friend present during the mess … and then the miraculous …made the entire incident holy. Her willingness to engage was like someone dashing in to help carry a one hundred pound suitcase. By grabbing a part of the burden, she lifted the weight that threatened to crush me.

Now I watch for opportunities to lighten someone else’s load. Whether it is a word of encouragement, a listening ear, or a hand with their struggle, I want to do for others what my friend did for me.

Will you join me and purpose to lighten someone’s load this week?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Gift

We received more than we gave.

The season of giving had arrived. My wife and I had experienced a better year financially than we had in quite some time. Meaning we had a little left over.

As the time approached when our church would issue my annual Christmas bonus, my wife asked, “Could we take one hundred of your bonus check and give it to the worship leader?”

Our worship leader was a good friend. He and his wife had faithfully led our music program for almost a year. Our church had a small congregation with no extra to pay any other staff, so our friend had served for free.

“Sure,” I said. A quick call to our treasurer lessened my bonus by one hundred dollars. My wife and I agreed to keep our plan a secret. We wanted to see the surprise on his face when he received the check from the church.

Meanwhile, the last week of school before Christmas break arrived. Teachers who had joined the Secret Santa group busily revealed our identity. As I checked the teacher’s lounge one last time for my gift and to see whom my Secret Santa had been, I found a small card tucked inside my mailbox. On the inside was a handwritten Bible verse, reminding me that God takes care of those who serve him. No name, but I was sure it came from my Secret Santa.

But that wasn’t all. Folded over was a crisp one-hundred-dollar bill. I smiled. And teared up as I took a photo and sent it to my wife. “Is that a real one-hundred-dollar bill?” she asked.

The following Sunday, the church treasurer handed out salary checks and Christmas bonuses. My wife and I waited patiently to see our friend’s surprise. We smiled as he smiled. But we smiled even bigger when I opened my bonus check and discovered two hundred more dollars than I expected.

Once again, I learned what my parents, my grandparents, and other believers had told me: “You can’t outgive God.” Which is exactly what Jesus teaches. Enough said.

When God prompts you to give, give. He will always return as much or more than you have given. And you’ll never be able to trump the feeling you’ll get.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


A tourist strolled with friends through a charming village in France.

As she walked, she glimpsed a chubby baby in his mother’s arms. What a cute little one, she thought. She gave him a friendly smile and received a big toothless grin in return. There they were. She was black and American; he was white and French. Yet they experienced a warm and wonderful connection that superseded race and nationality.

The shocking killings of several African Americans in the spring of 2020 sparked renewed calls for racial equality, equity, and justice in the United States and around the globe. Many efforts are underway in government, businesses, education, and elsewhere to generate a deeper understanding of racism—along with ways to eradicate it. Ultimately, enduring change requires a spiritual solution.

All of humanity descends from one person, and everyone is created in the image and likeness of God. Hating and mistreating someone because of their race dishonors God.

Christians can play a pivotal role in the journey to justice, equality, and mutual respect when we model the unity and love Jesus instructed us to display. The night before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed for His disciples, as well as for all who would believe in Him through their word. Sadly, the church still has a way to go before we see oneness flourishing.

What would happen if every Christian tried to build bridges? Learning about both the historical context and present-day realities of racism would be a good place to start. Additionally, connecting with coworkers, neighbors, and fellow believers from different races can demystify differences and generate meaningful dialogue. Doing so will require getting out of our comfort zones. But any momentary discomfort will honor the One who made us from one and to be one.

Honor God by loving all people.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Sighing in Worship

A sigh. The cleansing breath that comes along from time to time and sometimes accompanies a time of stress or exasperation.

Researchers have identified sighing as a deep breath roughly twice the size of our regular breathing pattern. A sigh can be brought on by stress, anxiety, fear, or frustration. Sighing is a reset for our breathing pattern that puts us back into a healthier breathing rhythm.

Psalm 51 is a sighing psalm. David struggles to regain his spiritual respiratory equilibrium. A serious lapse in his commitment to God had damaged his pursuit of God’s heart. He couldn’t get the mistake out of his head. He had been a screw-up all his life. He knew better than to do what he had done. He wanted to experience gladness and joy again. He didn’t want God to give up on him. But David realized he could do nothing to regain his footing.

We can all identify with David. We have reached the end of ourselves and our home remedies, and we sigh.  Our salves aren’t healing us, and we release what sounds like our last breath. Frustrations and exhaustion have slowed us, and we possess no ready answer but to let out a wordless breath of air. We are signaling God that we are out of strength.

Part of corporate worship is sighing—going beyond the traditional view of confession. Spiritual sighing, just like the physical respiratory act, is a collective reset. In the final verses of the psalm, David turns his attention to the congregation of Israel. His journey from despair has taken him from a lone view of his sin to a healing unity of his people.

Go ahead and let out a sigh in your worship—whether you’re alone or with other believers.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The After-Christmas Blues

I feel like a balloon losing air and slowly wilting away.

The decorations have been put away. The tree has been recycled. No more presents await opening. The fun and laughter of sharing with family and friends is over, and all is back to normal. But what is normal?

Take a minute to reflect on why we celebrated. Remember the Babe we welcomed once again into our hearts—Jesus, the Son of God, born of a virgin, fulfilling prophecies. He does not fade into the background, only to be brought to mind again at Easter.

No Christmas blues should exist for the child of God—only excitement and anticipation of the future and of knowing the Lord more intimately. Our Christmas celebration may be over, but a New Year of adventure, walking with the Prince of Peace, lies ahead.

We should want to be found watching at God’s gates, celebrating our new life in Him, and listening for Him to speak through His Word. We should treasure every opportunity He gives to draw Him closer to our hearts.

During this New Year, let’s allow our new normal to become “watching at His gates” every day. Let’s take time to worship and to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by feeding on the manna from heaven, the Word of God.

Thank God that you can celebrate His love, goodness, and mercy all year long.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Miraculous Christmas Package

From Mary’s earthly perspective, her question appeared reasonable.

Gabriel, the angel God sent to Mary, gave her God’s message. Mary’s first reply to the angel was one sentence. It’s no wonder Mary would have had a question for the angel who gave her such an impossible message. And with her question, she went straight to the heart of the matter.

Many times, looking into the face of the impossible, we question God in circumstances where we feel out of control. I wonder if God ever becomes amused at us when we talk to Him from our human frailty? We want to be in control of our daily comings and goings.

But God knows the beginning and the ending of our lives. He has a plan for us, and we’re foolish to try to develop a Plan B. Plan B will bring us trouble and heartache if it is not in the will of God.

God had a plan for bringing His Son to earth. He favored Mary and chose her to give birth to Jesus. Gabriel further explained God’s planned miracle to Mary and concluded by telling her, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

When we believe God’s Word, we will celebrate the miracle of Christmas with reverence. We will rejoice in awe over the birth of God’s Son—a beautiful miraculous Christmas package sent to earth by our heavenly Father.

Take the opportunity this Christmas season to believe God’s Word. Celebrate the miracle of Christmas: the birth of Jesus.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

My Hard Job

My pastor talks about believers having to do hard things.

His words make me think about how I have had to do a lot of hard things in life. But I am no one special. Everyone has to do hard things. At my first job, we had bad equipment, which made it difficult for me to work. The company did not want to spend money on getting new equipment. In my current job, I do something no one wants to do. Prior to my employment, they had trouble keeping the position filled.

Then I started doing street evangelism, which is something few Christians want to do. Preaching on the street can be tough. When I mention Jesus, people tend to move away from me. Seeing people reject Jesus saddens me because I want to make a difference. Jesus also became sad when people rejected Him to His face and when He died on the cross.

We all must do difficult things in life, whether on the job or witnessing on the streets. I’ve experienced times when I did not know how I would make it. I get discouraged when things get hard, but I try to remember that God’s grace is sufficient. He gives me the strength to do the rough things in life. If I ask, He will give me the power to cope with the hard job. He can take my weak body and give me physical, emotional, and spiritual strength to do what He wants.

Rely on God’s power to help you do the hard jobs in life.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Light in the Window

“It’s a great painting,” Joe told his artist friend, Mike, “but it seems so dark and dismal. Can you make it more cheerful?”

The two friends were examining Mike’s latest painting in his country cottage series. While Joe liked the painting, he felt something was missing. Mike’s cottages were usually banked with colorful flowers, but this was a winter scene. Snow packed around the walls, icicles clung to the eaves, and dark angular forms of trees—their branches draped with show—roamed in the background. The cottage windows were dark and shadowy. The only sign someone might live in the cottage was the thin plume of smoke wafting from the stone chimney. 

“Something cheerful?” Mike asked. 

Joe was honest. “Yes, it seems too gloomy.”  

Mike nodded slowly, cocked his head, picked up his palette and brush, and applied a yellowish gold hue to the windows of the house. Now, it seemed lamplight reflected from the windows and shone on the snow, changing a dismal dreary scene filled with murky shadows into welcoming cordiality. The added light changed the painting entirely.

Such is what happened when Christ arrived in the world. With the light of His presence, He came into a depressing and dreary world laden with evil and misery. As He did, He displaced the darkness and replaced it with His personal luminosity. Now, His light shines into every aspect of our lives and then out to a suffering world.

 Let the light of Christ in you dispel the darkness around you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Stepping Stone

My sister Judy and I were at a membership-only warehouse club when the doors opened.

We moved quickly through the aisles, checking items off the list. The cart was nearly full by the time we got to the checkout. Judy hurriedly unloaded the groceries onto the counter. She was almost finished when the clerk said, “This register is closing, would you please move over there to that one?”

I wondered why she didn’t say that before we had the cart almost empty. Most of us would have lost patience, but this day was particularly trying for Judy. Kevin, her young husband, was at the end-of-life stage, and his sister was staying with him. Judy had bottled up her fears and emotions to make the trip to the store, knowing it had to be done. But it would take little to break open the bottle.

Her face flooded with emotion as she tried to suppress the outburst lying close to the surface. She grabbed items, threw them back into the cart, proceeded to the next counter, and roughly unloaded them. Her anger was palpable. I wanted to explain her reaction to the clerk, who was anxious to get us checked out. She can’t know what Judy is going through, I thought.

That was a telling day for me. I want to view everyone I meet as someone who needs understanding, no matter their reaction to things. I can’t know what they’re going through, but many wounded and fearful souls surround us.

I want to be a stepping stone, not a stumbling block. I plan to remember that whomever I come in contact with, I am a living, breathing expression of Christ. I am made in His image, and I will live as such.

Look for opportunities today to reflect the love of Jesus to a hurting soul.  

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

What's on the Inside?

The massive oak tree lay strewn across the lawn of the stately house. 

The night before, a vicious windstorm brought down what looked like a healthy tree. However, the inside told another story. For years, the stricken and wounded tree had kept its deadly secret hidden from human eyes. Internally, it was rotting away, eaten by disease or some other slow-moving virulent insect force. Now, its inner secret was exposed for all to see. The tree seemed to interrogate me, so I stopped to take pictures.

I wondered if my life was like that tree. I may look strong on the outside, but on the inside I could be hollow and eaten away. What eats away at my insides? Have I let bitterness over a small slight get to me? Am I carrying around childhood memories of school or home that I have never confronted? Sure, I’ve been blessed with a great family, friends, and a wonderful career, yet here I am. Have I truly forgiven, or do tentacles of unforgiveness still decay on the inside, burrowed deeply within my emotional core?

I must check to make sure my insides are not rotting away. If someone sent a camera to my emotional core, I don’t want them to be shocked at what is happening there.

God wants our heart, emotions, and mind to be free of the decay of any form of bitterness or malice.

Ask God to help you to be as healthy internally as you appear on the outside.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Cup

"Just throw it away," my daughter said after I discovered my grandson’s sippy cup of milk in one of his buckets.

Theo hadn't been to our house for a few days, so that cup had plenty of time to create a science project. You can imagine what was inside. I considered my daughter's suggestion and was tempted to throw the cup away and pull out another one. But then I thought, This is a good cup. It just happened to be the victim of negligence. I had raised four kids, so this was not a first for me.  

Before opening the cup, I held my head far away so I wouldn’t smell the aroma it was sure to bring. With hot water running and tools in hand, I tackled the mess.

As I worked, I thought of how that cup symbolized life and how we often get lost in the chaos. We become stuck in our own little bucket, ignoring or forgetting about our problems—problems that have no option but to sit and sour.

For those who have dealt with sippy cups, we know all the holes and spaces in which liquids can seep. Likewise, our lives have holes and spaces, and, if allowed, our mess will seep into each one.

I once had a pretty big mess inside me. Feeling alone and rejected, I came to a point where Christ was my only hope. As I reached up to Him, He pulled me out of my bucket and washed me clean. He can do the same for everyone who asks. No matter how difficult a mess we create, God will never toss us away. He will go to the dirtiest and most difficult places to make us clean. 

If you’re in a mess, reach out to Christ. The blood of Jesus will make you clean.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Jesus, I Trust in You

As a caregiver for a geriatric, I sometimes have tough days.

But that attitude is no good. I hop in bed and turn it over to Jesus, thinking, Jesus, I trust in you. Jesus can assist me through anything. At the end of any day, bad or good, I can say I made it because of Him.

I am a witness that Jesus can make things better. He always knows exactly what I am going through. All I must do is pray, ask for His help, and turn to a page in my Bible to find comfort. No one needs to be alone.

Jesus can bring us peace. I have learned peace is found in prayer…calm peace from Jesus…long after my time in prayer ends. He is the Prince of Peace.

When we turn our day over to Jesus—our guide on the side—each day will be calmer and clearer. We will be more inspired to follow the path and example set by our Lord and Savior. 

Take time each day to pause and pray for inner peace and calm. Thank Jesus for always being there for you. Say each day, “Jesus, I trust in you.”

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Hurdler

The long-legged child with a stumpy, almost pudgy body dreamed of being a hurdler.

She lay in bed at night and imagined jumping over each hurdle with one swift fling into the air. She also envisioned pumping as she ran hard and free to the next hurdle.

As the years passed and the young girl grew into a tall, lanky but awkward teenager, the dream of becoming a hurdler faded into oblivion when it became clear she was not athletic.

Fast forward several decades. With another birthday in only a few days, the woman pondered over the life hurdle she had just surmounted—thanking God for another victory and another fruitful ending to a challenging situation.

Suddenly, a childhood memory flashed into her aging brain. She remembered her young childhood daydream and realized the Holy Spirit was cheering her on through a life race one hurdle after another. She was fulfilling her dream.

Never lose sight of a God-given dream or goal. God will make it happen in His time and in His way.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

How to Extend Your Life

“Is it possible to extend your life?”

People ask this question over and over in different forms each day. Some try to extend their lives by eating certain foods. Others follow an extreme exercise program. Still others accept self-help courses and books. Misguided faith can also give false assurance of longevity.

I knew of a church that believed God’s children would live to 150 if they had enough faith, which several of our friends claimed to have. Pointing out to them that God’s promises do not include such an expectation proved futile. Mentioning great Christians—who had excellent faith, such as Billy Graham, but who did not live to that age—only caused them to firmly claim their faith made them sure they’d live that long. My old carpenter father would have called this “blind faith.”

In contrast, these verses objectively reveal a child of God can add to their life by an obedient heart. Let your heart keep my commandments: For length of days and years of life, and peace they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck.

Kindness and truth, when on display in our lives and written on our hearts, are reflections of wisdom, which enables a long life and prosperity. However, prosperity comes in different forms since our heavenly Father knows what is best for each of us. Spiritual prosperity is eternal; material prosperity is temporal.

Obeying God Almighty is never a dry intellectual exercise of religious duty when there’s heart involvement. Jesus said the first and greatest commandment is  to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.

Learn how to extend your life by claiming God’s promises as you open your heart to the Spirit of God. Then, ask God to help you never think your mind is more important than your heart of love.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


I enjoy woodworking, especially using hand tools.

The way a hand tool does its job is incredibly satisfying. To achieve this result requires a sharp blade. A hand plane’s iron will cleave through a thin ribbon of wood, leaving a finish smooth enough to shine.  

The process of honing an iron starts with coarse stones and progresses to finer grits. No matter the grit or method, the applied angle friction must remain identical. Doing it incorrectly dulls the blade even more, making it more useless than before. When this happens, it takes longer to bring the iron back into working condition.

Sometimes tools are neglected for months, years, or decades. Restoring them can take hours, but those tools are almost never without hope of restoration.

People are similar. We need others to hone us. Sometimes, that involves a progression of people who can smooth our rough edges. At other times, we may stray far from God, and the road back is long.

Hope abounds for each of us if we are willing to submit to correction and guidance with a humble spirit. Belonging to a community is essential. Mentors are a vital part of our walk with Christ.  

If honed enough, planed iron will reflect like a mirror. And when we become polished, we’ll reflect Jesus Christ. As we grow sharper in Christ, we’ll receive opportunities to mentor others—guiding them with the same care, love, and wisdom a master carpenter uses. The sharper we become—individually and as a community—the more effective we will perform the tasks God lays before us.

Let God sharpen you so you can spread the gospel of Jesus Christ by being a shining light on a hill.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

When We Trust

“I know it’s tough. We just have to trust.”

The sweet little checkout gal was trying hard to make the best of an awkward situation.

“Trust in what?” the customer snapped. “A crazy president?” she asked and tossed a popular “fake-news” magazine on the counter.

The customer was two ahead of me in the checkout, and reaching her to comment was impossible, short of crawling over two buggies. The clerk smiled, avoiding any further comment.

That’s when it really hit me just how lost our world is. Those who believe are far outnumbered by those who don’t, but this lady’s comment really drove home the lost and hopelessness of the world.

Isaiah tried diligently to remind the people not to lose hope. He established the praise of God’s coming kingdom. Trust, he said. Trust for God is your eternal hope—your rock. He worked hard to tell a waning people their trust in the Lord was vital. Isaiah knew God never let His people down, nor did His love ever falter for them. If he could only make that clear, they would see hope.

We live in a scary time, but honestly, every “time” has its issues that grab at us and encourage us to doubt. Trust is hard. Hard because we’re a stubborn people who think we have control over every situation—like cancer, heart attacks, or COVID. When our trust is laid firmly in mankind, we are surely set up to fail, for people are imperfect. The only place our trust is secure is in the hands of God.

Begin your day on your knees. Pray for the healing of a lost world. Live out your trust in a God who does not fail. Let the world see through you that trust in God sustains. He is without a doubt, our rock and redeemer. Through your actions, others will see the peace you are afforded through your trust in Christ, and when the worlds sees, they will wonder and want. Then and only then, when they want, will they receive.

Be the servant who trusts, waits, and believes, for God is faithful when we trust.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Lean on Me

I grew up on a farm where hard work was the norm.

The summer sun drew sweat, and the sweat drew bees. Muscles cramped, and chores seemed endless. When we needed a break, we often leaned against the closest fence. It propped us up while we drank cold water, wiped our faces, and wondered how much longer until quitting time. We didn’t always have a fence for propping, but it surely did help when we did.

Just like those fences, good friends support us during trying times. We can depend on them to always be there–firm, steadfast, secure.

That’s what Aaron and Hur did for Moses. When Moses grew weary, they held up his hands so he “remained steady till sunset.” They stayed with him, never wavering, until he completed his task of making sure the Israelites were victorious.

Examples like these—along with other men and women of the Bible—prompt me to ask if I allow others to lean on me when they’re weak. As God’s family, we can offer a place for people to catch their breath before they move on, provide a moment of respite when they think their task will never end, and resolve to prop one another up when life gets tough.

As Aaron and Hur did for Moses, and as the Holy Spirit does for all who place their faith in Jesus, let’s be there to prop one another up when life gets tough.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Candles in the Dark

Her idea was great.

My friend Laura wanted to host a neighborhood social and have a craft project for her neighbors. I volunteered to teach candle making since I had the supplies. All we lacked was heat to melt the wax and power to plug in the glue gun.

The day arrived and we were excited—until I received an early morning call from Laura. “We have no power.”

Storms had affected the power lines in Laura’s area. We decided to proceed anyway, hoping for a quick repair. Thankfully, her stove was gas, but with no power, we had to work in the dark.

I commented, “This is a good lesson for why we need candles—to shine light in the darkness.”

As I looked at the candles around the room, I witnessed a soft glow of light in a dark place. To see what we were doing, we had to get near the light.

As believers, we must be that glowing light of Christ wherever we go. We have the promise from Jesus that we will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. We may have to enter dark places in our schools, places of employment, communities, governments, or even family events, but our light will shine in those places. We can be that light because Jesus is our power source.

Extending love and kindness to those around us, no matter where we are, lets Jesus shine life-giving light into the lives of others.

If you are in a dark time, know there is light for you. His name is Jesus—the Light of the world—and He will light your path.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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.)


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.)


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.)

A New Routine

Covid-19 interrupted our daily routines.

Full-time employees became stay-at-home parents. Some waited for unemployment benefits. Many waited for the next batch of frozen chicken at the grocery store. But all of us waited for the pandemic to pass so we could return to our previous monotonous, yet desirable, old routines of normalcy.

As a healthcare worker, I had to spend two weeks saying goodnight to my daughter via FaceTime because of quarantine restrictions and a Covid-19 exposure. Bedtime used to be a battle of the wills, but it turned into a battle of heartache as I longed for another goodnight kiss.

While a sense of panic and uncertainly loomed over my household, I remembered how the routines of the twelve disciples were interrupted. A tax collector stopped collecting, fishermen stopped fishing, and a Pharisee stopped hunting Christians. They were suddenly called to stop their normal routines and begin new ones.

And their new routines changed the world. Once they followed Jesus, they never looked back. They didn’t wish they could start collecting taxes again, they didn’t long to go fishing, and Paul certainly never wished he could return to persecuting Christians. They had faith their lives had been changed for good—and for a purpose. They fully relied on Jesus.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, God still had a plan—a plan to change the world. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last. He was here at the beginning of creation, and He will be here after the pandemic passes.

Why not thank God for your new routine instead of praying for the return of the old one? Maybe these new routines will change how you perceive life—and perhaps even change the world.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Under Attack

I didn’t expect problems, but suddenly I was under attack.

As I pulled weeds around my tree, angry yellow jackets surrounded me and stung me eight times. I had entered their territory, and they didn’t like the invasion. I determined the weeds would have to stay. I didn’t care to face that enemy again.

Christians face another kind of enemy: Satan. At times, he acts as yellow jackets do. We are not aware of his presence until he springs on us. That’s why Peter warns us to be alert for his prowling. He compares Satan to a lion who stalks its prey quietly because it wants to catch the victim unaware. Not until the beast is ready to pounce does it roar. Then, it is too late for the prey. They have no escape from the power of the destroyer.

We are offered effective ways to prevent Satan’s attack. We can read the Bible and attain the knowledge we need. When temptation comes, we can do as Jesus Christ did during His forty days and nights of temptation by Satan in the wilderness: quote Scripture.

Just as I plan to avoid the tree until the yellow jackets are gone, so we can take a giant step in resisting Satan’s attacks by avoiding places and things we know are contrary to God’s plans for our lives. We can also ask for help in resisting temptations and for the strength to stand firm in Jesus Christ.

Get prepared to fight the sudden attacks of Satan.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The God Who Provides

God’s supply always meets our reasonable demands.

Covid-19 was upon us, and stores everywhere had empty shelves. People sought wipes and disinfectant sprays as if they were precious jewels. The problem was not about supply, but demand.

My daughter and son-in-law live in New York City. During the pandemic, my son-in-law went to Costco to get a few things—toilet paper among them. He left his cart with his toilet paper in it for a few moments. When he returned, the toilet paper had disappeared. Whoever took it must have believed the demand would exceed the supply. Because of the panic over the Coronavirus, the stealer was probably right.

Moses told the Israelites not to keep any of the manna God sent until morning. Some did anyway, but maggots infested it, it had a terrible smell, and it was no good. Moses was angry. We can learn a lot from the Bible about how God taught His people to deal with supply and demand.

The people’s disobedience came from two sources. First, they did not believe God. They had to take more than they needed just in case God couldn’t or wouldn’t provide daily. Second, they were self-centered. They believed they deserved more than their fair share, which always breeds resentment.

In times of national distress, people stockpile, bringing about an imbalance between supply and demand. Some have too much while others have too little. God has a better plan: trusting Him. As Christians, we should have called our actions what they were. Panic mentality is unbelief in the faithfulness of God.

Make a choice to believe that Jehovah-Jireh, the God who provides, will always supply your reasonable demands.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Good China

Many have something elegant they keep on reserve for a special occasion.

For some, it’s a particular piece of clothing or jewelry. For me, it was the good china. My husband and I disagreed about this constantly. He wondered what the point was of having such dishes if we never used them. My logical response was that it was for a special occasion. But I have come to realize that life itself is the special occasion. Every moment we experience is cause for celebration.

Jesus put it all on the line for us, even laying down His own life. He did not do this so we would live within margins. He did this so we could live life in abundance and to the fullest. If we are always waiting for the special occasion to arrive, we miss out on the gift of today. The Enemy is aware of this and tries to steal our joy by creating chaos and confusion in our life. But our joy should not be stored up, only to be used on special occasions. Joy and gratitude should be the dish we serve daily.

Today is a gift. We can live each day to the fullest as Jesus desires, starting each day with a grateful heart and making the choice to choose joy, regardless of the circumstances. We can use the good china because we are alive in Jesus Christ.

Choose joy today through Jesus Christ, and live life to the fullest.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

How's My Driving?

Four lanes of highway, but that wasn’t enough.

The semi-truck came alarmingly close to me as we both navigated a curve. Then, he crossed into my lane and veered onto the rumble strip on the right-hand shoulder. He seemed determined to stay in front of me, so I let off the gas to give him some room. As he pulled ahead, I saw a sticker on the back of his rig that read, How’s my driving? The sticker also had an 800 number to report unsafe drivers to the corporate headquarters. The trucker represented the company whose logo was painted on the side of the trailer. The corporation’s name and reputation were on the line far more than the man in the driver’s seat.

Early in Jesus’ ministry, people noticed He was different. He spoke with authority and knowledge, making it clear His authority came from His Father who sent Him. Jesus involved Himself in the lives of people and pointed out He was only doing what His Father did. Jesus was more concerned with relieving suffering than following conventional practices. He healed on the Sabbath, revealed lies with truth, and challenged authority. When the Jewish leaders questioned Him, He said the works He did bore witness to whom He was and to the Father who sent Him.

As Christians, we represent Christ by all we do and say. The world is watching how we navigate the curves to see whether we veer off course or whether we graciously correct when we hit the rumble strips.

The Christian life isn’t about getting to a final destination. It’s about how we travel the road along the way. We must always remember we aren’t alone on the road. People see how we drive and know whose name we claim to represent.

How’s your driving?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Silver Cross

Christmas 1995 had come and gone. Tax season was in full swing in the little CPA firm in Birmingham, Alabama, where I worked.

New tax preparation software stole family time. I continued to lead a weekly Bible study at my church that I had led for three years. A handful of women faithfully attended the class, usually with small children underfoot. My own offspring played with their school assignments in the back of the classroom. But interest dwindled. Why should I continue to lead this study? I thought. 

That Christmas I had wanted a silver cross on a long, silver chain. Everyone I saw wore one–friends at church, co-workers, strangers on the street. But every time I had the urge to buy one, I sensed God telling me to hold back. 

One morning while at work, I received a phone call. A woman in the Bible study wanted to meet. We did, and in my office, she poured out her heart, her pain, her struggles, and her confessions. We cried, prayed, and laughed together.

As she stood to leave, she reached into her purse, drew out a small gray pouch, and said, “God told me this morning to give this to you. I’m not sure why. I bought it in Mexico last summer while traveling with my husband, put it in my dresser drawer when we got home, and forgot about it. This morning God put it on my mind to give it to you.”

She placed the small gift in my hands, and I heard my heavenly Father whisper, “I love you. I am all you need.” I pulled out the most beautiful silver cross I had ever seen … simple and perfect. Tears streamed down my face.

We often try to satisfy our desires on our own, only to miss the perfect gift God has for us—Himself. God puts the desires in our heart so He can fill them and amaze us with His personal, powerful love. 

I thought obedience would bring blessings but missed the most precious jewel: a closer relationship with God. We are instruments of blessings, designed to bless in ways we’ll never understand.

Follow Jesus on this exciting “blessing” adventure.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Be a Blessing

In hope of saving a few dollars on doors and windows, a friend took me bargain shopping in her hometown.

I purposely wore my Celebrate Recovery shirt, hoping I would connect with a curious conversationalist. The phrase on the back of the shirt read, Where I am going is more important than where I have been.

With little success finding bargains, we began the trek home—by way of Chick-fil-A. As we stood to the side and waited on our food, one of the employees commented on my shirt. She shared about her church and her favorite purple shirt that contained a Scripture about being blessed. As we talked, she got emotional and explained that since her stroke she cries at the drop of a hat.

Her tears were beautiful, not superficial or from a place of sadness. Those tears were droplets of praise and blessing. Thanksgiving and joy leaked from the corners of her eyes with every word. She shared about her faith in God and a recent mission trip. She talked about Lydia, the seller of purple fabric in the Bible and how they had the same name. Purple had become her favorite color as a result of learning about Lydia.

As we wrapped up the conversation, she told us her job was an opportunity to be a blessing to her customers every single day. Be a blessing. Every. Single. Day. She could have become a recluse after her stroke and bottled insecure thoughts. She could have simply done her job and restocked items and refilled drinks. But in the chaos of her responsibility, she chose to see the people she serves, connect with them—even when many of them were disconnected—and bless them without expectation.

What a powerful reminder. No matter our age, health, occupation, or background, we can magnify the name of Jesus everywhere we go. We can be a blessing to those we encounter. Such a simple goal that can change someone else’s life.

Be a blessing. Every. Single. Day.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Jesus Prays for Us

I was broken.

My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. My husband didn’t know how to help me, and neither did I. I couldn’t imagine ever feeling happy again. Even prayer seemed too hard. Little did I know my best Friend prayed for me.

Soldiers bound Jesus and took Him to stand trial. Peter was terrified. What would he do next? When a girl shouted, “He was with Him!” Peter denied it. Two others said, “You are one of them!” Still, he denied knowing Jesus.

Suddenly, a rooster crowed. Bound and accused, Jesus looked into Peter’s eyes. Jesus’ earlier words flooded Peter’s memory. Peter was overwhelmed with sorrow, repented, turned back to Jesus, and became a great evangelist for the Lord.

Jesus knew Peter would deny Him, yet He prayed for him. We are no different or less loved than Peter. Jesus prays for us too. Jesus is omniscient. How can the One who knows all be disappointed in us? We would have to surprise Him for that to happen.

Christ knows what we will do before we do it and yet still prays for us. When we undergo trials or storms in life, Jesus prays for our faith to hold fast. If we struggle to believe His promises, He prays for us to stand firm. When grief and sadness overcome us, Jesus lifts us up in prayer.

Take comfort—even if you have denied Jesus, He prays for you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


In my mind’s eye I can see her running toward third base—her chubby three-year-old legs pushing her little body forward, her arms reaching upward and outward, her smile beaming.

Why? Her Mama was the third base coach. With laughter, they met at the base—Mama kissing her as the three-year-old was swept into her arms. Precious memory. Irreplaceable

I am grateful for memories. God created our minds to remember the wonderful things He has given us.

God has provided memory gifts during my lifetime: holding my three beautiful newborns; watching a full moon on the ocean; seeing waves crash at my feet like neon lights; and visiting Bar Harbor, Maine, while two of our granddaughters were there on internships. I never want to lose the memories from my past.

More importantly is our ability to create new memories in the time allotted to us on earth. Making new memories is a gift. So is being with people we love, having fun, sharing grief, laughing, crying, sharing our talents, hugging, smiling, or writing a note that lets someone know they are an important part of our life.

God has things in store for us, our friends, and our family. He wants us to step out of our comfort zones, reach out to someone, and make a memory for us and them.

Think of a few things you can share with others to build memories. Then, give thanks to the Lord as you remember His works.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

From Senseless to Sane

I did it … went from sane to senseless and back to sane again.

As a young boy, I never questioned the rules my parents, grandparents, or other authority figures dished out. If they said, “Don’t lie,” I didn’t lie. If they said, “Don’t steal,” I didn’t steal. But when preadolescence hit, things changed. I questioned what authority figures said. No longer did I accept the dos and don’ts at face value. Rather, I critically evaluated the rules, wondering whether they were right or not. Something inside me rose, making me want to disobey many of the rules I had previously obeyed.

Then something strange happened when I became a young adult. My sanity returned. Suddenly, the rules made sense again, and I wanted to obey them … at least, most of them. Some of my parents’ rules I discarded. They were legalistic and didn’t align with my interpretation of God’s rules. But most I kept because they did align. I pulled a “Nebbie.”

Nebuchadnezzar was ruler of the great kingdom of Babylon, but pride got the best of him. He went from sane to senseless because he imagined he had built his kingdom. For a period, God let him live like an animal to show him differently. When Nebbie came to his senses, God restored the kingdom to him.

I made some of the same mistakes old Nebbie did. When I chose to rebel and go my own way, I did so because I forgot to whom I was responsible. Nebbie thought he was in charge. God showed him otherwise. Even though Nebbie wasn’t a God worshiper, God still controlled his rule over Babylon. After all, God is omnipotent and sovereign.

Nebbie also forgot his sole purpose in life was to obey what God had planned, not what he wanted to do. I forgot that for eight years too. When I remembered life entailed obeying God with my entire being, my sanity returned like ole Nebbie’s.

Leaving God out—or relegating Him to a position other than number one—is insanity. Giving Him first place makes sense.

Examine your priorities. If you’ve gone from sane to senseless, God can bring you back to your senses.  

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Visitor, Resident, or Master

We frequently invite people over for dinner.

We love their company and enjoy hearing their life adventures. After three or four hours, they leave. On special occasions, such as family birthdays or Thanksgiving, they usually stay longer—sometimes all day—but they eventually leave by nightfall.

When our son was a senior in high school, he had a buddy who at eighteen had to leave home because his parents were divorced, and there was turmoil in the home. We invited this young man to live with us so he could at least graduate from high school before going out on his own. He became a resident in our home. We offered him a room of his own and meals. He lived in the atmosphere of our home. He had to abide by our rules and lifestyle—no alcohol, drugs, or obscene language—and he had to attend school regularly.

As God was with the children of Israel, so my husband and I are the masters of our home. We decide on the furnishings, what color to paint the rooms, and when, who, or what can come in. As masters over the house, we are also responsible for repairs, cleaning, and activities.

When we only invite Jesus into our lives as a visitor, He becomes a guest for us to enjoy for a limited time. Then, He leaves at our bidding. When Jesus is a resident, He lives in us, but is still under our lifestyle choice. He can participate with us, but we hold the keys. When we make Him Master of our lives, we give Him authority to make changes as we cooperate. He can rearrange the furniture, decide what needs to be removed, keep things clean, and even decide who or what can come in. This requires a leap of trust.

Make Jesus the Master of your life, and give Him permission to make changes in you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Astounding Forgiveness

As the truck driver maneuvered his truck into the turning lane, he glanced at traffic around him.

A young girl steered her car into the lane beside him. Watching her, he could see she didn’t know what lane she needed. She bobbed her head left, then right. She was in the wrong lane. Quickly, she pressed the car’s accelerator, slid in front of his semi, and then hit her brakes.

With no place to go, the truck driver knew he’d have to jackknife his truck if he didn’t want to kill the girl and her friends. A split second passed as he skidded toward the ditch, feeling the truck breaking and rolling. He awakened to a hospital bed and multiple injuries, some serious.

As he lay in a bed, the door opened. The young girl from the car entered. Hesitantly, she stepped forward. “I’m sorry … I’m so sorry. Can you ever forgive me?” Her tear-filled eyes begged for forgiveness.

“Honey, I forgave you as soon as you pulled in front of me. God knew I didn’t want to hurt you, so He gave me wisdom to jackknife my truck. I am glad you are alive.”

“I’m glad you’re alive too.” Stepping to the bed, she hugged him.

With serious injuries, the truck driver gave up a life he enjoyed for a young girl he didn’t know.

Jesus knows each of us by name. He loves so much that He willingly gave His life for us. But Jesus is more than just a good man. He is God and offers forgiveness for our sins. Whatever we need forgiveness for, He will forgive if we ask sincerely.

Do you need to give or to receive forgiveness?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Honor Them

At seventeen, and too young, Dad lied to join the Army.

Within months he’d found himself a gunnery sergeant leading men through hand-to-hand combat with the Japanese. Blown off a hill by a mortar and then later shot through the neck by a sniper, Dad knew his decision to serve could take his life. Still he chose to serve.

My brother, a Naval veteran, rubbed his fingers around the rough wool collar of Dad’s uniform as he began to recount what few choice memories Dad shared of his time in the Pacific Theatre. Neither of us expected such a wave of emotion. The decision to move Mom into assisted living brought the task of emptying her house contents into storage. When I reached into the far corner of the closet and pulled out Dad’s Army greens, we were taken back. Dad had survived WWII, but he couldn’t outlive cancer.

Jesus knew full well that those who chose to follow Him would also be in danger. He clearly expressed that to His disciples many times. Even in His warnings, He offered the encouragement of the promises of God. Their service…their being a servant…would not go unnoticed by the Father. God would honor them. Any one of Jesus’ inner circle could have walked away at any time, yet they chose to follow. Chose to serve. Chose a life that could easily be snuffed out because of their faith.

In a time when the service of our military men and women seems so unappreciated, these faithful servants choose to stand guard over a selfish people. Like the disciples who walked with Jesus, they understand their lives are in danger and that their service could take the life they cherish.

Choosing to follow Christ is a decision placed before us all. Our lives may not be in danger in this country due to our faith, but there are lives elsewhere who suffer the ultimate price to be His servant.

On this Memorial Day weekend, be intentional to recognize our men and women of the military. Remember also, those individuals who fight an equally hard battle to be God’s servants. Remind them their sacrifice is not wasted. Honor them for God will surely do the same.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Finding Healing and Completeness

Some people are like broken dolls who need returning to the toy factory—so brokenhearted from their mess-ups that their spirits are crushed.

For most of my life, I battled eating disorders and major depression, which made me feel like a broken doll. So broken that the toy factory probably would have tossed me aside, believing I wasn’t worth their time. Thankfully, I found healing and completeness in Christ’s mercy.

The Amplified Bible version of Psalm 34:18 uses the phrase “contrite in heart, truly sorry for their sin” to define “crushed in spirit.” When we’re truly sorry for how we’ve grieved our heavenly Father, we can experience peace—knowing He’ll do whatever it takes to make us right with Him. God understands our crushing discouragement and shame. No matter what else we’re dealing with, life is more crushing when shame and turmoil join the mix.

We can ask God to show us how He sees our sin … how He can hate our sin but still love us. We can ask Him to help us despise our sin as much as He despises it and accept His love and mercy as freely as He gives it. Rather than dwelling on the mess we’ve made, we will feel less broken if we ask God to help us make things right with those we’ve hurt with our sinful choices. And more healing will come if we pray for those who are also brokenhearted because of our choices.

Life can be hard, especially if we try to live without supportive people and without God. I can relate to the shame that comes from living in ways that dishonor God. I know how the Enemy uses shame to keep us from those we need to be around—especially those at church. Each of us has our own set of circumstances and face painful or embarrassing consequences for the choices we have made.

Regardless of how broken your situation is, go to God. Express sorrow for your sins and receive healing through His gentle and powerful nearness.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Do You Want to Be Well?

Some people project a cloud of negativity like Pigpen’s cloud of filth in the Charlie Brown cartoon.

I watched Winnie the Pooh as a kid. Whenever Winnie or any of the other characters met Eeyore, the sad-sack donkey, the donkey always complained. When anyone said “Good morning,” Eeyore responded, “If it is a good morning, which I doubt.” When he got a new tail, he said, “Sure is a cheerful color. Guess I’ll have to get used to it.”

When Jesus asked the paralytic if he wanted to be well, the man responded, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” You would think his answer would have been “YES, I want to be made well!” Instead, he made excuses for his condition, which he had suffered for thirty-eight years. His condition had become a part of his identity. He depended on it to beg alms, and I’m not sure he wanted Jesus to cure him.

We’ve all known people who are difficult to be around because they complain about their health, finances, job, family, or any number of other things. The human experience is difficult. We do suffer physical and emotional pain. Falling into self-pity and complaining is easy.

I recently read Corrie ten Boom’s classic book, The Hiding Place. The Nazis sent Corrie and her sister Betsie to a concentration camp in Ravensbruck, Germany. They lived in cramped bunks shared by up to five women. Fleas infested the barracks. The guards wouldn’t even come in. The sisters’ existence was miserable, but rather than complain, they thanked God for the fleas. The guards wouldn’t find their smuggled Bibles, and many other women heard the Bible because the women lived in such confined quarters. Tragically, Betsie died in that camp, but she died thankful.

We have a choice. We can grumble or give thanks in all circumstances. If we look for God’s grace, we will find it. The ten Boom sisters found it in a concentration camp and in the fleas that drove out the guards.

Complaining doesn’t change anything. Ask God for a grateful heart so He can use you.  

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Watch the Bubbles

As my car crawled along the automated car wash track, my thoughts drifted to the past.

My husband and I often took our children through the car wash for the express purpose of playing, “Watch the Bubbles.”

“Daddy, my bubble is racing yours,” our son would say.

“Mine is turning swishy circles,” our daughter would say.

I stroked my silver-steaked hair and prayed, “God, my children are grown, so why do I still want to watch bubbles?”  

For God’s pleasure, and for ours, He creates. He invents the science behind what makes car wash bubbles fascinating to watch, but He doesn’t stop there. He creates snails with stripes and bushes with glitter dots. He makes a dove’s feathers sing as she takes flight. He fashions the honeybee’s wings to interlock like a zipper during flight. God is a masterful creator, and He wants us to enjoy His creation the way He does. But there’s more …

Father God loves His people so much He gave them the innate ability to create. He made us in His image. Only after God created humans did He say, “It is very good” (Genesis 1:31b KJV). Paul records the works we are created to accomplish with God’s empowerment, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 KJV). The Heavenly Father loves us so much He sings over us. Zechariah said, “The LORD thy God, in the midst of thee, is mighty … he will joy over thee with singing” (3:11).

If we are loved by our Creator so much that He sings over us, then we should enjoy the world He has created and praise Him for the ability He places within us to accomplish the works He has ordained us to do.

Take some time to praise God for being your heavenly Daddy who has uniquely created you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Kindergarten Science

Kindergarten Science is often a beautiful lesson in God’s love.

My kindergarteners and I discussed how, within temperature variations, substances undergo reversible changes—such as with water freezing and then thawing. But with other substances, irreversible modifications occur—like our experiment on little pumpkins.

Prior to cooking, the small pumpkins were hard and could not be molded by my kindergarteners’ hands. Yet after heating them from the inside out, they became easy to squash—an irreversible change. They would never be raw pumpkins again. We squished the pumpkins into pieces, then chatted about our actions and words.

Our actions and words cannot be taken back—somewhat like the love of Christ. When Christ sheds His love into our hearts, He makes a permanent mark on our souls. We are His forever. Nothing can alter the Father’s unchanging love.

If we consider how God’s passion molds us, then we can see that the tests and trials of life—the heating up process—change us for the better. Many times, the Potter puts us into the fire to help us become more squishable and usable for His glory. And while this may not always be welcomed by our hard-shelled, inflexible, decorative-only selves, the trials are necessary if we want to become more like Jesus. Once He alters us with the warmth of His ardor and grace, we are never the same.

God loves us with an everlasting love. If we believe the powerful truth about His unchanging hand of grace and devotion, then it will make a difference in our lives. What began as a lesson for my kindergarteners ended as a lesson for their teacher.

Thank God for His fixed love for you—and for His willingness to leave you unchanged.  

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Yes, God Will

As I reflect on the challenges of the previous year, I am grateful God sustained me and I have peace.

I am also painfully aware that across town my cousin received the heart-wrenching news his twenty-eight-year-old son had overdosed. The weight of that revelation breaks my heart. I know my cousin isn’t alone in his pain. The widower bumps into himself in the home he once shared with his wife, and people battle cancer constantly. Suffering is inevitable—a part of living … the part I wish I could eradicate with the wave of a wand. But that’s not how it works.

Suffering has purpose. It enlarges the capacity of our hearts, making us human and giving us the ability to comfort others in their affliction. And when we view our pain and loss through the lens of Scripture, we gain a clearer perspective of this transitory life. Death is not the end.

This Scripture reminds us a glorious day will come when God—not an angel or one of the prophets—will wipe away every tear we have shed. Death will lose its sting, and we will no longer experience grief or anguish. This promise fills my tired heart with great hope and expectancy.

In God’s presence, we gain strength for life’s journey and are filled with a sense of hope. God will sustain us. Yes, He will.

When times of pain come, look to God, the only true Source of comfort.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

I May Be Homeless

Because of my learning disabilities and financial mistakes, one of my greatest fears is becoming homeless.

This fear gripped me one night as I drove down a street and saw a man sleeping in sub-zero temperatures on a metal grate. Another time, I saw a homeless mom and dad with their two small children, spending the night at a twenty-four-hour laundromat. What frightens me more is remembering what my dad told me as a child: “If you don’t get better grades, you will be a dishwasher for the rest of your life.

Despite my difficulties, I found the Lord as a child. Yet some people with large incomes don’t see their need for the Lord. They don’t realize their material wealth won't get them into heaven. Meanwhile, I may lose the roof over my head, but I know I have a home in heaven.

The angels will throw them into the blazing furnace, where the people will cry and grind their teeth with pain. Then the good people will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let those with ears use them and listen. This verse tells about the punishment for those who reject Jesus as their Savior. I would rather be homeless on earth than be rejected from heaven. On earth, fixing the homeless problem is possible, but if we die without Jesus in our heart, we’re out of luck and headed for a lake of fire. Once eternity begins, we can’t remedy the situation or change our location.

If you haven’t asked Jesus into your heart, do it today. You never know when death might call.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Like a Turtle

The little box turtle crept across the four-lane highway, attempting to reach the other side.

I watched him crawl across the second lane and believe he reached the grassy median. But I have no idea whether he completed his journey. That turtle faced the oncoming traffic to fight his way across what must have looked like a vast expanse to him.

Too many times in my life I've faced four-lane highways. I've either had to summon courage or chicken out. So did God's servant Joshua. As the predecessor of Moses, God called Joshua to fill some big shoes. Moses had groomed him and encouraged him, yet Joshua didn't always get it right.

Despite Joshua’s failed attempts at going for the win on his own, God continued to call him to be strong and courageous. When he obeyed, miracles happened. As Joshua chose to listen to God and put on his courage and strength, he led the Israelites into the Promised Land and the walls of Jericho fell. With courage and strength given by God, Joshua moved his people forward.

God gave Joshua three directives: be strong and courageous, be obedient to God, and continually read and study the Bible, God's formula for success. Maybe not the world's way, but God's way. Our Father wants us to be brave, pray, listen, and study His Word. Then we can tap into the courage and strength He offers. God is with us as we journey the vast expanse called life. He will not leave us—if we embrace Him.

Make it a habit to seek God’s courage and strength every day.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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.)

Rescuing Chelsea

Sunday afternoon is my favorite time of the week.

After playing the piano for the weekly worship service, I relax and read. While on our dock with a library book one day, I sensed my husband’s footsteps rapidly approaching. He handed me his heavy binoculars and inquired, “What do you see out there?”

One hundred yards from shore, a dog swam in circles, struggling to keep its head above water and fighting for its life. Jeff ran for the keys to his fishing boat while I lowered the boat-lift. I stood at the end of the dock and watched through the binoculars as his boat slowly approached the drowning dog.

Jeff leaned over, lifted the exhausted animal to freedom, and gently placed it into his boat. Our neighbor’s blind dog, Chelsea, had escaped from the pen several hours before, wandered down to the dock, and fell into the water. 

I am thankful Jeff spotted the helpless dog in trouble and was able to rescue her in the nick of time. And that he did what God told His people of old to do. A command that still applies. A few days later, he received a thank-you note. Chelsea had recovered and was doing well.

How often do we wander from our pen and fall into the water—blind and unable to escape? Like Chelsea, we are at the mercy of our heavenly Father who always comes to our rescue, oftentimes in the form of neighbors, friends, or family.

I thank my heavenly Father for the many times He has rescued me. I hope you will too.  

(Photo courtesy of author.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Moment Jesus Changed Everything

I have a secret: I’ve spent my entire life trying to make people like me.

I want others to think I’m brilliant, kind, funny, and wise. I spend hours overthinking a joke I told. I try to agree with the people I talk with. And honestly, sometimes I even attempt to say things that will make my friends have conversations with other people about how great I am.

Why? Because I’m constantly fighting a voice inside of me that says, “You’re not enough.” I use approval from others as a way to argue with that voice. But anytime I don’t measure up, the voice comes back even stronger. “See? Told you.” That’s why I find the way Jesus loved the “unlovable” profound.

Zacchaeus was a tax collector—someone everyone hated because he stole money from people. People hated him so much that when Jesus came to town no one would even let Zacchaeus get by them so he could see Jesus. Since Zacchaeus was short, he had to climb a tree to see Jesus.

This was the guy Jesus chose to spend time with. He loved Zacchaeus even when no one else did. He chose to stay at Zacchaeus’s house over all the “better” people’s houses.

And what happened? Zacchaeus said, “Here and now, I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

The free love of Jesus touched Zacchaeus’ heart powerfully and instantly. Jesus’s actions were so powerful for him—and for us—because we’re not used to free love. Jesus offered Zacchaeus acceptance, and without him having to perform to get it. He was wanted, regardless of how short he was, how hated he was, or how dishonest he was.

I have a hard time grasping the concept of free love too. But the way Jesus loves me unconditionally is releasing me of my need to perform—no matter how often I don’t measure up. And that makes me want to be a better person. Not out of fear, but out of the realization that I am enough. Simply because I am His.

Move through this week knowing you are enough.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Spritual Inhaler

As I prepared to return from a missionary trip to Malaysia, I watched a beautiful young high school girl die in her parent’s arms. She had lost her asthma inhaler.

Shame and guilt can also be life threatening if not treated properly.

Because we cannot forget anything unless there is organic damage, we are often at odds with the way God treats our sin. The memory of past sins, especially the more gross ones, can return and produce bad symptoms in our lives. These often pictorial memories resemble reliving bad choices. 

When painful—and sometimes disgusting—memories plague our heart and vision, we must open our emotions to what God Almighty has revealed about His treatment of our sin’s condition.

“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow … if you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land.” Breathing in the emotional content of the Word—such as this verse in Isaiah—mimics breathing in heavens’ clean air and is like using a spiritual inhaler.

Carrying the following verses, which also represent God’s instruction on how He handles sin, gives us a spiritual emergency inhaler to use when guilt chokes us:

“I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud, and your sins like a heavy mist. Your sins have been wiped away as the morning mist” (Isaiah 44:22).

“Be of a good cheer son, your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2).

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

“In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:30).

Carry your emergency spiritual inhaler to use against sin and its reoccurrence so you can experience the abundant life Jesus came to give.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Defining Hell

I once watched a YouTube video about co-housing. I watched to find out what co-housing was. During the video, someone said co-housing wasn't for everybody. He also mentioned that for some people, decision making with a group might be their definition of hell.

If only hell were a hardship of decision making. Our world today loves to sugarcoat the reality of belief. In a time when everything must gently give us what we want without stepping on toes, the reality of hell is too hurtful. After all, who wants to end up there? Or worse, some believe it’s just a story in the Bible.

The rich man discovered the truth of what hell was and pleaded for a touch of water to cool his agony. It was a sad awakening and one that, once given the sentence, is irrevocable. Worse than the torment is the eternal separation from God. No longer is there a lifeline to hope.

Heaven and hell are opposites, both yielding eternality. God has made a place for us—a place where we can bask in the glory of God. The pathway is clear as to how we reach for this reward: repentance, accepting Christ, and living a life as best we can of fruitfulness in the Word. It’s about faithfulness, belief, and love—even when love hurts—and knowing we have the assurance of God’s forgiveness.

God doesn’t long to lose any of His children. He waits for us to bond with Him through a relationship that can’t be matched by earthly pleasure. Spend time in His Word. Study to understand the great joys found in Christ, but do not be deceived that there is no punishment for sin. Instead, seek the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Feed your soul by reading the Bible, finding a Bible-believing church, giving back to God, and praying daily.  

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Lesson in Love

My first day as a volunteer tutor at an after-school program didn’t go as I expected.

I expected children playfully running down the street, bursting through the door, and releasing energy pent up from a full day at school. I expected to help with reading and math and play games like Sorry and Uno.

I did not expect a petite girl in a wheelchair who spoke only a few words. She wasn’t there for the homework help I was prepared to provide. She wanted my constant attention, but I didn’t know how to interact with her. I felt disappointed, inadequate, and guilty. I called my daughter, a special education teacher. She assured me I was just overwhelmed with an unexpected and unfamiliar situation. Her advice: “Ask Jesus to help you see her and appreciate her the way He does.”

The next week, the little girl and I sat on the floor and rolled a ball back and forth. The ball went wild and took wacky bounces. She laughed as we retrieved it from around corners and under furnishings. Her laugh was infectious, and, as I laughed with her, I fell in love with her. We had weeks of fun together until it was time for me to say goodbye.

When God sent Samuel to anoint a new king, He instructed Samuel not to choose according to physical appearances but by what was in a man’s heart. As I spent time getting to know this spunky girl with a spark in her eyes, I saw her joyful spirit. Everything we did together was fresh and fun and made her laugh.

I volunteered because God put helping children on my heart, but He hadn’t put me there to tutor. I was there to love one little girl. And she was there to give me a lesson in love.

Don’t judge the people you meet today by their appearances. Get to know them through their hearts.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Always Hungry

Even too much of a good thing can turn bad…and my hunger did.

Once I lost my baby fat, I slimmed down, became as skinny as a rail, and stayed that way throughout school and into my young adult years. A good thing because my appetite raged.

In those years, my eating was more unhealthy than healthy. I loved junk food. Around forty, things changed—but not my appetite. No longer could I eat as much as I wanted, or what I wanted, without it affecting the scales and my waistline.

My two oldest grandsons are just as I was. Throughout the day, we hear, “Meme (or Pop), I’m hungry.” We feed them. Thirty minutes later, we hear their request again. At this point, both remain as skinny as I once was, and their mother still is. Yet, the day will probably come when too much of a good thing will be bad for them, too.

But when it comes to righteousness, or right living, too much of it can never be unhealthy. Jesus said those who hunger after right things will be happy. Living right satisfies, but it’s not the norm. Since we’re born with a sinful nature, we naturally hunger after unhealthy things—and not food, although we could throw that in the mix.

When we accept the offer of Christ’s forgiveness for our sins, He makes us right in position—but that doesn’t mean we’ll always act right in practice. And we often don’t, despite our best efforts. Hungering for right living, however, focuses us in the right direction.

Staying close to God through prayer, Bible study, meditation, fellowship with other believers, and reading good books keep us hungry for the right things. By hearing and seeing God’s instructions in print and through example, we’ll be challenged to hunger after God things, not worldly things.

Not developing an appetite for sinful things also proves beneficial, as does staying away from people and things we know are weaknesses for us and will tempt us. Good friends hold us accountable.

A healthy fear of God helps, too—not fearing He will zap us every time we mess up, but reverencing Him for who He is, for the power He possesses, and for the love He has shown to purchase our salvation.

Develop a good hunger…but for the right things.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Is Your Forgiveness Conditional?

“I’ll forgive her when she apologizes … and not before!”

A statement like that is usually born out of the heat of the moment or a long, festering period of anger and resentment. Even though it’s totally understandable, it’s not healthy or scriptural.

If Jesus had waited on all those who persecuted, tormented, and crucified Him to come and confess their wrongdoing, there would be no forgiveness. Jesus responded in love and in accordance to His Father’s Word.

The truth is, people need love and forgiveness the most when they deserve it the least—even you and me. When Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” He was teaching us that the ability to pardon the sins of others is an act of faith and sheer obedience. It’s not conditional or based on the response of the offender. In fact, it’s not for their benefit … it’s for ours.

God tells us to forgive so He will forgive us. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins (Mark 11:25 MSG).

If your forgive-o-meter shows you are putting conditions and unrealistic expectations on others, or if you’re having trouble getting past a painful or frustrating situation, think about all God has done for you. Think about the sacrifice Jesus made so all your sins could be washed away by His shed blood. Remember the things God has forgiven you for.

God shows each of us love and forgiveness the most when we deserve it the least, and He expects us to do the same.

Are you willing?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Price Is Right

Do you remember Bob Barker—and originally Johnny Olson—calling contestants by name and telling them to come on down because they were the next contestants on The Price is Right? 

When I was young, I remember the Christmas showcase for the viewers at home. Although I wasn't old enough to be a contestant, I wanted to win all those prizes—except the trip to France. Momma helped me, and I bid in Dad's name.

Several weeks before Christmas—while I was staying with a great aunt—I watched the show to see if I had won. I didn't, and I was so disappointed. My parents had gone to a contest where the host said they had won something. But to get it, they had to buy a condo or some kind of vacation spot.

The prize my parents had won was either a car or a grill. I hoped for the car. We didn’t get it. We got the grill. Daddy said we had gotten what we needed.

Sometimes, God does give us the desires of our heart—like the used motor home we bought many years later. But mostly, He supplies our needs. He blessed us with not only one but also two used motor homes—both of which were very nice.

We need to know the difference between our needs and wants. If a child gets everything they want, they will become a spoiled-rotten brat.

Pray and ask God to help you be content, even when He doesn't give you what you want or when you want it.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Harassment or Opportunity?

By 11:00 a.m., four invasions from dubious, uninvited sources had occurred.

What was it I was just praying about? My patience was already strained as I listened to the message from the most recent invader: “Return this call immediately. If you do not, we will suspend your Social Security number.”

Righteous indignation sparked. Okay, you want me to phone right back? I will gladly call and tell you exactly what I think.

When the fake Social Security man answered, my rant began. “How dare you … terrifying innocent people … scammers and liars … abusing the elderly …”

Just as feistily, he retorted, “Why did you call if you thought it was a scam, and who told you to call?”

“God did!” I spat back.

Two thoughts in succession flashed in my mind. God is probably not backing up this call and—wait a minute—this is a God-call! 

My heart instantly softened, and compassion flowed. “Don’t you know Jesus has a better plan for your life? He made you for a purpose. He’s given you special gifts and has a job suited just for you? One where you won’t have to lie. One you can be proud of.”

As I continued speaking, he mumbled at regular intervals. “Yes, ma’am … You’re right … I know … Thank you …”

Sensing his hunger, I spoke on about Jesus’ mercy and love and then somehow found the boldness to ask if he wanted to invite Jesus into his life. When he said “Yes,” I don’t know who was more amazed. I had the privilege of leading him to Christ.

What started as a frustrating day turned into a glorious one once I discerned the heart of God and what He was doing. I wondered how many moments like this I had missed. Is that ringing phone harassment or opportunity for me to proclaim the gospel? Is the grocery stop just a mundane duty for me, or does God have someone He wants me to reach?

Ask God to help you see moments of harassment as opportunities.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

When You Have Nothing Else to Give

The adage “shop ’til you drop” takes on a whole new meaning during the holiday season.

The Christmas season begins well before Thanksgiving when we’re busy putting up our fall decorations, baking pumpkin pies, and picking out the perfect turkey with all the trimmings. Then we put away the pumpkins and scarecrows and pull out the good ol’ red and green. We plan our Christmas dinner, put our cards in the mail, and stress over the perfect gift for everyone on our list. It can be utterly exhausting.

We spend, spend, spend—time, money, and effort—until we have nothing else to give. We feel completely bankrupt when we should be full of the Christmas spirit, letting it spill out on everyone around us.

A few years ago—on a bright, sunny December day—I stood in amazement as a man loudly berated a salesclerk in a local drugstore because the store did not have what he was looking for. He was rude, obnoxious, and completely out of line. The clerk took it like a trouper. She remained calm and never argued with the man, but I could read the hurt and embarrassment on her face.

When the man stormed away in a huff, muttering under his breath, I patted the clerk on her shoulder and apologized for the man’s behavior. I gave her my best smile and assured her she had done nothing wrong. The hurt vanished from her eyes, and she returned my smile.

A smile is an amazing gift. It’s universal, easily accessible, and understandable even to an infant. It can break through the hardest or most wounded heart. A sign in a large department store reads, Smile! Spoil the day for some grouch! (I wish I had smiled at the man in the drugstore.)

With all Job went through, he said, I will forget my complaint. I will put off my sad face and wear a smile. When the holiday rush has taken its toll … when you’ve gone the proverbial last mile and feel as if you have nothing else to give … do as Job did and offer the best gift of all: a smile. It will brighten someone’s day, and it just might make you feel a bit better too.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Are You Ready?

Many signs await us.

Some signs catch our attention while others escape us. We pay attention to approaching clouds, announcing a sudden rainstorm. When driving, we watch for someone in front of us turning unexpectedly or pulling off a side street. When a ball rolls into the street, we look for the child chasing it. And think of how vigilant we become when a child faces illness. Just as the people of Noah's time did not look for signs to explain why he was building an ark, we might miss sudden brake lights in front of us.  

With Christmas approaching, we often hear "Are you ready?" and we know the question pertains to our Christmas preparations. We make cookies, breads, pies, and candies. Our refrigerators and pantries nearly explode with food. For Christmas dinner, we time the cooking of each dish, ensuring we serve them at the right temperature and appropriate time. We clean our homes, anticipating family visits. We clothe guest beds with crisp sheets and stock guest bathrooms with dryer-fresh towels and washcloths. We trim the Christmas tree and decorate our homes. We clear snow from driveways and sidewalks, making the paths to our homes safe.

Carving out time for Netflix, binging to understand the highly advertised season finale of a favorite TV show, and reading about the latest scandal on Facebook seem easy. All the while, the Word which tells of Jesus’ return quietly sits on our bedside table or bookshelf. Often, we don’t open, investigate, analyze, and explore the signs it gives of Jesus’ return.

Matthew warns us to prepare for the return of the "Son of Man." This entails considering the signs, making preparations, studying the Word, and changing our daily focus.

Be as diligent in watching for the signs of Jesus’ return as you are in preparing for the Christmas celebration.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

When God's Not Looking

When we’re looking, she’s a perfect little angel, but when we’re not…

Our six-month-old Chihuahua mix was kennel trained when we got her, so when we left the house—and at night—we put her in what she was accustomed to. She didn’t yelp, and we didn’t have to worry about her getting into trouble.

But I hate putting a dog in a kennel or on a chain, so after she reached nine months of age—and had shown herself capable of behaving when we were gone—my wife and I began leaving her out while we went on various outings. She did well. Until she turned one year old. Suddenly, her well-behaved nature while we absent from the house changed.

Her favorite misbehavior involved digging through the trash can. We put it up. Then she chewed up my wife’s box of Milk Duds. That almost equaled a federal offense. Finally, she pulled my basket full of pens and highlighters from the table beside my chair. In doing so, she broke the final straw. Back in the kennel when we left the house.

Soft heart that I am, I gave her one final chance after punishing her. We left for a short trip to Mom’s. When we returned, she had pulled trash from our large garbage can. She had exhausted her chances. She had to learn to behave whether we were looking or not.

Jonah must have thought as our dog did. When God told him to preach to people he hated, he ran, thinking God wouldn’t see his act of disobedience once he left the land of Israel. He discovered his error when God sent a large fish to swallow him. 

Our dog waits until we’re not looking to misbehave, but God is always looking. Jonah discovered leaving his homeland didn’t leave God. God is everywhere. Though the Bible doesn’t use the word, it does evidence the concept of omnipresence.

Although God always sees our behavior, He’s not sitting in heaven waiting for us to misbehave so He can squash us. He has principles, commands, and expectations, but His nature is love. He disciplines when we go astray, but that is exactly why He disciplines. His love demands He keep us on the right track so we can enjoy the best life He has to offer.

Remember, God watches over you constantly—because He loves you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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.)


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.)

A Light Shining in the Darkness

The troubled girl sat across the desk from me in my law office.

She was in a dark place: homeless, without transportation, in a toxic relationship with her mother, and separated from her young daughter whom the state had removed from her care. Now she was unexpectedly pregnant.

We discussed her life and current situation at length. She wanted to provide her baby with a stable and loving home—something she had never experienced. Therefore, she planned an adoptive placement.

“Miss Alice,” she asked, “would you come to the hospital to do the adoption paperwork with me?” Then she made a heart-breaking statement. “Other than my grandmother, you are the only person who has ever been nice to me in my life.”

I had never met this girl before. What could I possibly have in common with her grandmother? Then I remembered the girl telling me her grandmother had taken her to church when she was young. That was it. The grandmother and I were both Christians.

The tabernacle’s lamps shone brightly. Years later, Jesus said His followers were the light of the world.

As Christians, neither the girl’s grandmother nor I can light up the entire world. But in caring about this girl, we lit up the area in front of us where she was. She recognized God’s light in her place of darkness and was drawn to it.

Like the tabernacle’s lampstand, each of us is placed in a specific location for a specific purpose and should shine the light of God’s love into the darkness around us.

Ask God to put people in your path who need to see His light. Then, light up their darkness.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Giving a Monkey a Light Bulb

If there were an organization called Rascally Monkeys Anonymous, Mimi would be its poster child.

Mimi, a pet ring-tail capuchin, ruled my friend’s home throughout the 1950s. This energetic monkey was the strong-willed, creative, hyperactive problem-child in this family of eight—the one whose inherent naughtiness could not be blamed on either side of the family.

Her antics included flooding the bathroom and living room carpet with cascading water, swinging from chandeliers while cradling raw eggs, tossing bright-colored packages into the grocery cart, and shaming the next door bully-dog with her screeching and stick flailing. Her repertoire could fill volumes.

But Mimi, being half-smart, taught me one lesson I’ll never forget. She knew the light bulb in her outdoor cage was the source of warmth on chilly nights. Smart. So every night, she unscrewed the warm bulb, wrapped it in her blanket, and held it closely. The warmth lasted about as long as you could say, “Not smart.”

Mimi herself cut off the source of her comfort. The family had to put a cage around the bulb so it could stay plugged in and keep her warm.

If we’re honest, we may find we’re a bit like Mimi at times—those times when we acknowledge that the Lord is our Source, yet remove ourselves from Him and try to go it alone. The times when we walk by our Bible on our way to look for self-help books, or when we forego prayer time and instead pour our problems out to a friend with a willing ear.

Books and friends are important, but when trials hit, we don’t want to be half-smart, embracing something that’s been removed from the source. We want to be plugged in to the ultimate Source of wisdom, truth, and strength.

Whenever you find your life in a power-shortage, think of Mimi and turn to the Source.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Power of Kindness

One Monday morning, I faced a co-worker under stress.

She could choose anyone as a target to hit with her anger, but since she and I shared an office, she chose me. I sat paralyzed as words of frustration came out of her mouth. I offered help several times and talked to her about her attitude, but nothing seemed to stop her rude behavior.

This Monday, however, differed. The first thing I thought about was this verse and a sermon on kindness I had heard the day before. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. I felt compassion for her as I remembered the sermon.

During that day and the following ones, I showed kindness toward my co-worker—even though she was still under pressure and acting rudely toward others. Showing kindness requires daily prayer—which is a spiritual exercise—and engaging in spiritual warfare. But it’s worth it.

What’s interesting is that having compassion and acting in kindness toward someone else changes us. Peace takes over when we give space for the Holy Spirit to guide us. It also makes us look more like Jesus.

Make up your mind to show compassion to someone who needs to feel it.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Living Open-Handedly

One after another they came.

The men knocked on our door and asked for a drink of water. Nothing more. Just a drink of water. Dad would settle them under the shade tree and bring them a drink, a plate of food, and a few dollars.

Our home was in a modest strip of houses across the street from the railroad yard. The travelers never approached any of the other houses on our street. They came so frequently to ours that we believed our home had somehow been marked as a safe place to rest and refresh.

When railroad security tightened, the men did not stop coming. The weary travelers showed up in old trucks and asked if there was work instead of water. It was a different kind of sameness. A continuing theme.

As with the other travelers, Daddy gave these a drink, leftovers, and a few dollars, too. While they ate, he pointed them to where they might find an odd job. This strange activity continued even after he retired—and with my mom two states away. Man after man found Daddy. Helping travelers was Daddy’s gift, and that was how he used his generosity to refresh others.

My father lived a consistent lifestyle of intentional, open-handed generosity. He wanted to bless and to be blessed by his Creator. I watched Daddy fill his mornings with Bible study and his afternoons with naps for the long, hard evening's work ahead. He never went a day without opening God's Word or using his hands to repair something. He had learned to be content in whatever circumstance he found himself. Moreover, he wished the same for others.

I have spent a lifetime watching consistent Christian kindness, but it took me years to understand that Daddy’s was an existence of great contentment based on this strong biblical truth.

Why not release your grip and live open-handedly? Then watch what God will do.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Search Me

My daughter appeared and disappeared in a blink of an eye.

As a toddler, my daughter walked around the house wearing sunglasses and a hat. She thought if she covered her face and head, I could not see her. When she did not come after I called, I usually found her wearing her sunglasses and hat and playing with her dolls.

“Sweet Pea, why didn’t you answer me?” I asked.

“You no see me. I no see you,” was her reply.

Or if she did something wrong, on went the sunglasses and hat, thinking I could not see her holding the empty cup as milk spilled from the counter. When she needed some cuddles and love though, off went the magical accessories and into my lap she snuggled.

Just as I searched for my daughter and knew what she was up to, God searches for us and knows our heart. It’s a scary thought to have someone, let alone God, search us and know all of our ugly, so we hide out of shame and guilt.

People yearn for others to see them—to give witness to their story, joy, and pain. Yet the fear of intimacy and the fear of people knowing the real us keeps us from making connections … keeps us from taking off the sunglasses and hat so people can see the real us. So we go about our days with our walls up and masks on trying to be invisible.

The God of the universe knows us because we are made in His image. He knows our innermost thoughts, and He still offers grace. God designed us to be in authentic community with Him and others. He created us to be seen, but sin and lies tell us the opposite. They tell us if God searched us, He would not like what He saw. Or if He knew the real us, the one behind the glasses and hat, He would run the other way, taking His gifts of grace and forgiveness with Him. God knows our flaws and imperfections and still wants to be with us for eternity.

Let God search you so you can better know Him. Take off the sunglasses and hat so He can see the face of His child—flaws and all.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Another Blunder

The supervisor kept a record.

Early in my career, my supervisor required all trainees to follow a strict set of standards. During the review of our work, he jagged his finger at our errors and highlighted them with his red marking pen. Even with nothing said, I still heard a snarl amid the strokes of his red pen.

It seemed he documented our mistakes in a special log book for posterity. The blunder log—as we employees called it—added to the pressure we already carried. The prevention of any slip-ups was more important to our supervisor than our personal growth and success. We focused on staying clear of mistakes at the expense of our personal development.   

Unlike the supervisor, God does not tally our mistakes in a special log book or ensnare us with guilt and shame. Instead, He gives us a special measure of encouragement, offers us a new beginning, and promises to remember our sins no more. He also takes a personal interest in the vocation He calls us to fulfill.   

God is our example for caring with forgiveness and compassion—an example we ought not to ignore. He wants us to display a similar level of consideration that He has demonstrated to us. One where we boost each other and serve as a source of encouragement. To continue the good work God portions out, we all need reassurance … and for someone to pick us up after we fall.

We can thank God for not keeping a special log book of our mistakes—and also for the safe place in Him that permits us to learn from our mishaps without fear. His ongoing support gives us self-confidence to push on, especially when we find it difficult to do so on our own.

Bless those around you by not keeping a log of their blunders.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


Let's Get Down

I regarded my friend’s comment about her sister contemplating to marry a man who did not believe in Jesus.

Apparently, all efforts to talk her out of it were futile. After the conversation, however, it didn’t seem right to do nothing, so I decided to take it to the Lord.

A great deal of information comes to us through the people we meet and the conversations we have. Ignoring the information and doing nothing with it is easy, but great intercession can be born and great miracles seen if we take note of the things we hear and see.

When God told Abraham about His plan to see if the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah was true, Abraham could have just considered it as information. Instead, he talked to God about saving some of those people. When we go before God and present our petitions, things change.

God’s reaction to Abraham’s petition also shows that God desires for us to intercede. He is ready to listen, to grant our heart’s desires, and to grant our petitions, but we must see the urgency of the situations around us. Abraham couldn’t live with the thought of people being destroyed.

We have a God who is great and powerful and able to redeem lives if we will take the time to get down on our knees for their sake, with the confident hope in what Jesus has done for the world.

Ask God to grant you a yearning to intercede for others.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

God's Goodness

I’ve been grappling with God’s goodness lately.

Not the “let me massage your feet” variety—dinner with friends, an encouraging email, an answered prayer—blessings I immediately recognize and embrace. No. I’ve been wrestling with the “looks like I’ll have to amputate” goodness. The kind that pierces my spirit—a friend’s betrayal, the loss of a job, an emphatic “no” to a prayer request. Wounds that disable me and send me scurrying for shelter.

God’s definition of goodness is so different than mine that I often don’t recognize it. In my dictionary, goodness generates smiles, laughter, and relaxation. Goodness prompts me to say, “Wow! I’m so glad to be God’s child. He’s so good to me.”

But God’s goodness is much more complex than that. His goodness is always focused on eternity—preparing me for heaven, purifying me so that I look just like Jesus when I walk through heaven’s gates. That’s the reason His goodness looks like badness sometimes.

Think of a surgeon’s relationship to a patient. If the patient’s foot is so infected that it cannot be healed, the surgeon’s brand of goodness requires amputation—pain, loss, excruciating therapy, and a new normal.

That’s what God’s goodness mandates for us sometimes—amputating infectious passions, habits, and philosophies that threaten our spiritual wellbeing. Allowing God to cut out my prideful actions, my judgmental attitudes, and my self-centered habits is essential. But extremely painful.

Paul told the Romans that despising God’s goodness was indicative of a hardened, rebellious heart. To despise something is to scorn it, to trample it underfoot, to consider it worthless. How do I respond when God says to me, “Looks like we’ll have to amputate”? Do I trust Him, confident that He’s doing what’s best for me? Or do I scorn His diagnosis and refuse to let Him operate?

One of the clearest indications that my relationship with God is healthy is my response to His goodness. Both varieties. Foot massages and amputations.

What does God’s goodness look like in your life? How are you responding to it?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Hard Labor

I’m a DIYer. Was one long before the official DIY became a thing.

My parents raised me to be innovative, trainable, and determined. If I needed to do a project, it was a given to simply learn how to accomplish the task. To say I’m grateful for that training would be an understatement. Thanks to my parents, I’ve been able to take on projects with an “I can do this attitude.”

We needed a wooden patio over our sidewalk, so I figured out how to make this happen. As the Labor Day weekend began, my husband and I offered to help our friend, Dave, dismantle his deck. We needed some wood to build a small patio and he needed help removing his deck , so it worked out for both of us. He had help and we got wood. Tim showed up early ready to roll. What was so wonderful was that two additional friends showed up to help. It was hot. Miserably hot. But the guys dismantled the deck while I moved the wood out of the way.

We labored. We served. It was hard work, but it was wonderful to spend time as a servant. There was laughter, sweat, and a few grunts along the way. As tired as we were, by the end of the day, the joy of being a servant blessed us.

Jesus served. His labor was not always physical work, but it certainly was a labor. Hard labor. His purpose for coming to this sinful world was to serve. Jesus changed the face of the law by teaching the gentle way of service and love. On the cross, He labored the hardest that any man could labor. He carried the sin of the world. Who of us can be that type of servant?

As we celebrate Labor Day, remember the greatest labor of love given to you. Take time to become a servant. It doesn’t have to be hard work. It can simply be gentle kindness. After all, Jesus did the work, long before we were born.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


We are all familiar with penalties in sports—but we tend to forget about them in other facets of life.

I watched a lot of soccer games as my sons grew up. Both of them liked to play midfield or offense, so they usually ran up and down the field. Hearing the referee call them out for a penalty, such as being offsides, was normal. They were unhappy when called for a foul but learned there were consequences for breaking the rules.

The talk one year was about the “no-call” penalty in the NFC title game between New Orleans and Los Angeles. We heard endless stories about how the Los Angeles team won on a technicality when the referees did not call a penalty for pass interference. As with any penalty, people pick sides.

One of the most significant outcomes of people sinning was the penalty attached to it: death, physical and spiritual. Yet we still hope for the best and rationalize that if we are good enough we will escape the results of our sin. All the while, we regret our actions and thoughts and wonder if God can use us.

Try as we might, we cannot overcome the outcome God has assessed. It is impossible by ourselves to become right with God. That is why we celebrate how God satisfied our punishment by sending His Son to pay it, even though there was a righteous penalty attached to our disobedience.

Salvation becomes ours when we confess our sins. We no longer need to fear the penalty accompanying our breaking of God’s commandments. Christ’s death removed the consequences of our sin forever.

Rejoice that you can get back in the game without regret, knowing you have been sent there by the Coach.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Hands and Feet

Homeless people wander the streets of the greater Houston, Texas, area.

Many carry signs that read, Will work for food, Hungry, Need help, and Will work for beer. Others don’t carry signs, but stand at intersections near the freeways that snake through and around town or walk up and down concrete medians asking for handouts. Their clothes are dirty, ill-fitting, and inadequate for bad weather. Their hair is unkempt and their skin darkened by the grit the city produces.

I’ve never given money, but I have driven to the closest fast food place, bought something, and taken it to the person asking for help. I’ve only had a few people start to turn me down, but when I said, “If you don’t want it …” they accepted it.

As a hospice nurse, I never had time to stop for a meal. I packed easily-managed snacks and sliced fruit in a small insulated cooler so I could grab something as I drove between patients’ houses.

One evening on my way home, I saw an elderly man on a street corner by the interstate. I rolled down my window. He hurried over. I handed him the only thing I had left: a granola bar. He gave me a wide smile that showed no teeth. I said, “Oh, no! I’m sorry.”

He shook his head. “That’s okay. I’ll suck on it until it’s soft. Thank you.”

As Christ-followers, we ask God when He’s going to take care of poverty, illness, homelessness, and violence. “Somebody needs to do something” is our cry. My sister asks, “How can you tell someone to pull themselves up by their boot straps when they don’t have any boots?”

We can’t do everything, but we can do something. I’m not in a position to purchase meals as I once did. But I do know a small thing—a smile, a compliment—can change someone’s day. It costs nothing to be nice.

We are the answer to who and when. Me and you. Right now. Think of one way you can be Jesus’ hands and feet.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


I discovered I exhibit certain behavior when discussing finances.

I feel hurt inside and get teary-eyed. Since there was no cause for the tears, my behavior was unusual. I knew something on the subconscious level was happening. Eventually, I stopped and asked, “What is causing this?” A memory came.

When I was a young girl, I learned that I may not have been wanted because I was “another mouth to feed” and money was scarce. Thank heavens, the thought of my non-existence was opposed by one of my birth parents. So, here I am.

Just as Eve faced consequences for disobeying God, so the consequences of my knowledge have impacted me negatively my entire life—even though I wasn’t fully aware of it. I knew I experienced anxiety around the topic of finances, even when it involved another person. The lack of funds or the inability to give or contribute financially to others was equal to being unworthy or being a failure. And there is the root of it: unworthy in the eyes of those who matter.

The bad news is that I am now fifty years old, and the deeply hidden, false feeling of unworthiness has had many years to intertwine itself around my heart like a briar patch in a neglected lot. The good news is that I am much wiser about handling misguided, deeply-rooted negative thoughts. Now, my goal is to uproot this thorny invasion and cultivate a healthy, true mindset about my worth as it relates to money.

We may have bad memories in the deep, dark recesses of our mind that we are not aware of—except  for their manifestation in particular behavioral patterns. When these behavior patterns emerge, we must ask, “What is causing this?” Getting to the roots of these thorny memories helps us weed out the bad lies and cultivate the beautiful, colorful truth in its place.

Don’t let bad memories ruin your good thoughts.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Space Camp and the Judgment Seat

I watched the movie, which was based on a true story about special needs children.

The movie starred a man who had worked for years in a school for such children and wanted to treat them normally. He thought about different ways he might put dreams in their minds—dreams of fitting into society instead of being thrown away. These children had behavioral problems too. When necessary, he used disciplinary actions so the children couldn’t do as they pleased.

One day, he thought about the Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. After many setbacks, he was able to take the students there. At the end of the camp, several ordinary schools, along with two special needs schools, held a competition for awards. The Space Camp school placed third.

A surprise award was given to the person who had “the stuff." One boy—who had thought he couldn't lead—won this award based on his attitude in leadership. After officials presented him the certificate, he cut it up and gave a piece to each of his classmates.

I was reminded of the Judgment Seat of Christ. As Christians, we will stand before Christ to be rewarded or not rewarded for what we did in our Christian walk—such as serving each other in love as this boy did. One thing Christ will base our rewards on will be our attitude—whether or not our service was done for the Lord or for us. 

Ask God to prepare you to appear before the Judgment Seat by helping you to serve Him with unselfish motives.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Is Somebody Knocking?

I pressed the doorbell and waited. I hit it again. No response. I knocked. Three times—with a wait in between.

I needed to tell my friend something important. I was in the neighborhood, so I thought I'd stop by and tell her face-to-face instead of calling. Through the window, I saw the lights on, so I knocked again—louder this time. Still, no answer. The door wasn't locked, but I didn’t want to enter without an invitation. Why didn’t she come to the door? If she heard me, why didn't she answer? I tired of waiting and left. Later, she told me she was home but unaware I was at the door.

Jesus stands at the door of our hearts, waiting for us to answer. He won’t enter without our permission. Like my friend, some people just don’t realize He is there. Others hear the knock and choose not to answer. But Jesus doesn’t give up and go away as I did. He continues to knock and wait for as long as it takes to get our attention—until we invite Him in.

Perhaps you know someone who has heard the knock but not answered. Or someone who has not heard Him knocking. God wants us to reach out and encourage them to open the door so they can have the "peace which surpasses all understanding" (Philippians 4:7).

If you haven’t opened the door for Jesus, why not do it now?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Hope Box

It was one of those days. A humdinger of a day.

All three of my kids caused me angst, and, as a single mom, I had nowhere to turn. I went into my bedroom and closed the door, but that was no escape from the turmoil I felt. I was overwhelmed. Tears flowed as I slumped to the floor.

I can’t do this, I thought. It’s too hard to do alone. I have failed them as a mom. My kids are lacking the strong arm of a father, and I am weary. I’m not tough enough to finish the journey. I want to give up. Let them do whatever they want because I am tired of fighting for right choices.

I sighed and looked at the bookshelf. One of my trinket boxes had the word Hope written on the side. I knew that’s what I had lost. As I stared at the box, I realized I would never have seen hope if I hadn’t sat on the floor where it was eye-level. The Lord knew exactly what I needed and led me to it.

“You’re right, Lord. I have lost my hope.” I dried my tears and opened my Bible to Isaiah 41:10. The words were a balm to my soul. I had forgotten that He is God and controls everything. I had allowed myself to focus on my circumstances, and it brought me down to a place of despair. Yet He was quick to come to my aid. He pointed me to hope, knowing the ultimate source was is in Jesus.

The Lord always strengthens me when I have nothing left. I can trust Him to give me what I need every moment of my day. And when I forget, He puts a hope box in plain sight to remind me.

When life becomes overwhelming, take a step back and see where you are looking—at your circumstances or to the Lord.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

No Fear

We romped and stomped with no fear.

Danger lurks on a farm, but my cousin and I ignored it when we were young. We played often in my grandfather’s barns. Barns where he kept farm implements, crops, and tools. Barns where snakes and wasps hid. We threw clods of dirt at wasp nests and watched as the angry insects swirled about seeking their enemy.

We mulled around in the hog pens, making spears from chinaberry trees and throwing them at the hogs. If not spears, we picked up large dirt clods and used them. Any of these hogs could have mauled us with little effort.

Occasionally, our grandfather would allow us to drive his small red tractor across the fields. I sat on the wheelbarrow while my cousin drove. I could have easily fallen off and had one of the large tires crush me. Death surely would have waited.

And we loved guns and hunting. We spent long hours in the woods by ourselves with no adult supervision. We could have accidentally shot ourselves or each other. My cousin and I enjoyed our escapades around the farm and never worried about danger. We were invincible.

Paul had no fear either, though he had reason to. Those who disagreed with his “salvation by faith alone” message hounded his steps. He was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, jailed, and bitten by a poisonous snake. Yet he didn’t fear.

Fear is a natural reaction to dangerous situations. God created the fight-or-flight mechanism in us. He expects us to use our heads and avoid known dangerous situations and people. But some danger is imperceptible and unavoidable.

God doesn’t want us living in a permanent state of fear. If we do, we’ll never go anywhere, do anything, or take any risks. Our world is a scary place, especially since numerous terrorists now circulate about. The only way to avoid crowds is to stay at home.

Just as we trust God to keep our salvation secure, we must also believe He will keep us safe. Nothing enters our lives without first passing through His perfect or permissive will. Either way, He is in control. And He promises to bring good from it all, though the good may be further down the road—and often is.

God is sovereign. Trust your life into His hands so you can live without fear.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Purpose People

“I buried one today,” the message read. A blunt statement, accompanied by an image of the burial.

The email came from a Kenyan pastor and brought the sad news that one of his HIV sufferers, a new believer in Jesus Christ, had died. Thanks to his work and the work of his church people, this woman has moved on into heaven. But there are still so many more who pass on without having the assurance of eternity in heaven.

From such a distance in Australia, I can do little, other than pray and encourage this pastor. Perhaps a word from the Lord may lift his spirits to keep on serving the Lord according to his calling.

I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. This psalm provides one of the keys for understanding God’s purpose. Our days on earth are numbered, and God wants to fulfill every purpose He has for us.

Everyone who believes in Jesus has a purpose to fulfil on this earth. It may not be as devastating as this pastor’s role, but whatever our purpose, we must discover it and let our choices and actions reflect it.

God is ever willing to hear our cry for understanding of our purpose if we are willing to respond in obedient faith to serve Him wherever and whenever He calls us.

If you already know what God is calling you to do, step into your purpose today.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Going the Wrong Way

Thinking matters.

Thinking is the ability to objectively weigh information and make reasonable judgments. According to Alison Doyle, “Employers want job candidates who can evaluate a situation using logical thought to come up with the best solution. Someone with critical thinking skills can be trusted to make decisions on his or her own and does not need constant handholding.” No wonder virtually all industries consider thinking acumen as one of the top skills for potential employees.

Modern culture and the church place a great deal of emphasis on passion and zeal. According to our passage, passions which are not filtered through careful reflection and thought cause us to take the wrong paths in life.

Some levels of life are complex and warrant careful analysis. Whom should I marry? Should I go to college? If so, where? Why? What are my natural skills and abilities? 

Growing disciples develop their thinking capacity so they can “destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God and …take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NIV).

Thinking about the great truths of God and considering how they impact the daily decisions of our life and our family are essential. Cultivating our minds and passions is also important.

Be a “thinking” Christian as well as a “feeling” Christian so that you might go the right way. Ask God to help you use your mind and emotions to serve Him and others better.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A God-Full Day

Occasionally, my to-do lists backfire.

I tend to crank out to-do lists in the morning when I feel fresh, inspired, and ambitious. They litter my desk. To-Do Today, Mentoring Prep, Writing Projects, Trip Prep, and so on. I thrive on productivity. When I finish something, it feels good to cross it off a list.

But our strengths can also be weaknesses. Because I’m driven to go, do, and accomplish, lists can overwhelm me. I feel pulled in too many directions—my mind scattered like the lists on my desk. It’s difficult to focus. So, I open my Bible and pray, “Calm me, Lord. Quiet my noisy thoughts so I can hear your heart.”

When I read Paul’s words to Timothy, God’s Spirit opened my understanding. I was placing importance on unimportant things. Getting stuff done should take a back seat to a more important work: heart work.

Until our hearts are right, our actions are simply noisy godless chatter. But when we draw near to God’s heart, our hearts transform as we begin thinking His thoughts. Our spirits still in His peace. Priorities change. Everything looks different.

The voice which says Unless you accomplish, you’re worthless is silenced. I feel loved, accepted, and embraced by a God who cares for my heart. I no longer need to conquer a list to feel good about myself. Everything I do—even vacuuming—becomes holy work. Jesus is with me. 

This noisy world distracts. Apart from Christ, our days devolve into godless chatter. We drift further from our God. 

Paul E. Miller wrote, “If you try to seize the day, the day will eventually break you. Seize the corner of his garment and don't let go until he blesses you. He will reshape the day.”

When you’re pulled in many directions, stretched thin, and overwhelmed, remember heart before action. Draw near to Jesus. Avoid godless chatter. Make it a God-full day.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Modern Man’s Road

I call my wife Jane Jetson when I see her talk to the watch on her wrist.

Our electronics have advanced quicker than a nanosecond. Yoda would say, “Progressive we have become.” We want the new. What about mankind, or the man or woman who holds those savvy devices? Are we more modern? Has human nature improved?

Oprah says, “When you know better, you do better.” James, the brother of Jesus said, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins” (James 4:17). C.S. Lewis was an atheist before God changed him. Most know him through the movie series, Chronicles of Narnia.

In the 1952 classic, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis wrote: "We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”

Lewis’ wisdom still speaks from the grave. Instead of a taking a quicker route through our issues or junk, maybe we need to stop and turn around. The word repent is an ancient word. In modern lingo, it means to make a 180-degree turn. That’s how we progress spiritually.

The prophet Jeremiah, known for his moodiness, offers decisive advice: “This is what the Lord says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.” 

January shouldn’t be the only month we take a hard look at ourselves to see where our soul lives. Sometimes, we avoid going where we see. We attend church and put on our church face, but afterward return to our old selves. We never bridge the truth we have heard into our personal lives.

Make up your mind to listen to the right voice and act on it. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


Oh, dear Jesus,

My life has been shattered into a million pieces. I am emotionally defeated. I feel as if I’m fading into nothingness, drifting into the abyss. Help me, Jesus. I can barely hold on. I need to know You still love me. Do You still care?

My child,

Nothing you can ever say or do will diminish My love for you. You are My special child. Never doubt My love. Imagine your life as a mosaic, uniquely fashioned by broken pieces of glass. These broken pieces were once beautiful. But when they were broken, they were deemed useless. Presumed to have no purpose, they were thrown into the trash and forgotten.

You may think this describes you. There have been many hard, painful circumstances—like the broken pieces or the shattered glass—that have made up your life. But I say to you, be at peace, My child. I, the Master Artist, quietly bend down to pick up the broken pieces. I place them perfectly into the art I am creating to make you an original piece of art.

Don’t ask Me what I am making or tell Me how to create. Don’t say that My mosaic is too jagged over here or that there should be more color over there. Only I have the master plan.  Your job is to stay yielded in My hands and remember the great love I have for you. The kind of love that never fails. Today is the day we will begin again.

Allow God to love and restore you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Rough Waters

A branch violently whipped in and out of a screaming stream, bursting with flood waters.

The storm the night before was relentless. The branch, still attached to the tree, survived the night. It’s curious how those leaves didn’t get stripped off and carried away … lost forever.

I am a rape survivor. One day, I found myself in a mental storm that lasted for years. The raging torrents of life almost stripped me clean of my sanity and carried me away into the dark deluge. But I planted myself beside the Living Water and grew deep roots.

The one who trusts in the Lord has deep roots. It takes faith and courage to trust in a God we cannot see with our eyes or touch with our hands. Streams of water aren’t always calm. We experience rough waters. Sometimes, they last for a night; sometimes they last for years. However long they last, God will see us through them.

Life can be like that branch. We get caught up in the turmoil of life, get battered and bruised, and hang on for dear life. But if we are planted firmly with deep roots, we can hang on, endure, and not wither.

You may be a single parent working a full-time job and furthering your education for a better future for you and your kids. Your rough waters may be struggling through your studies. You may be an artist, frustrated that you can’t transfer the vision in your head onto the canvas. Or perhaps you’re an athlete just shy of your personal goals. Trust in the Lord and keep studying, honing the craft, and practicing while giving it your all. In due season, the fruits of your labor will come.

In whatever form the success comes, don’t give up even when the streams get rough. Plant yourself near the stream of Living Water and you will not wither.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Remember Me

A hush washed over the crowd like a gentle ocean wave.

We leaned through the people, toward the oncoming parade to see what caused the sudden quiet. A color guard marched past. We were amazed that it consisted of two WWII vets and even a Marine from the Korean War, but what changed us in a moment was an Army vet slowly lumbering a step behind, dragging his rifle, eyes fixed on the ground. He wore his fatigues and a leather jacket that harbored red embroidered words, VIET NAM. Beneath the letters, boots and a helmet lying at the foot of a white cross.

Actions are louder than words, and his spoke with great clarity. Broken and sad, the vet marched in memory of his forgotten, fallen friends, reminding everyone of a group of men who’d given their all and yet were shunned.

Christ knew what awaited Him as His days wound down. He understood what it was like to be shunned, to feel a lack of appreciation. Jesus wanted to set a memorial in place that exemplified His Father’s love. He broke the bread and told them, “Do this to remember me.”

That was the important thing … remembrance of Christ, His sacrifice, and the gift that came from it. The ministry of Christ wouldn’t be forgotten. He willingly stepped into the throngs of torture and death to save us. That brought us salvation, redemption, and the promise of eternity.

I can’t watch a veteran pass without tears rising to the surface. It takes my breath to think that without hesitation these men and women stand in the gap to protect me. I rarely let a vet pass without thanking them for all they have done, be it at the airport or the grocery store. For those who have given it all—it’s right and fair we remember their sacrifice, just as we remember the ultimate sacrifice made by God’s only Son.

This Memorial Day, remember the soldiers who willingly sacrificed all they had so we might be free. Then go to your knees and give thanks for the ultimate sacrifice that brings us eternal life.

“Do this in remembrance of me.” ~ Jesus Christ

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Fret Not

James Naismith was almost thirty years old when he left an athletic director position at McGill University in Montreal.

Naismith was responsible for teaching physical education at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was assigned the task of creating an athletic re-direction for his young athletes during the cold and harsh winters of New England, but he rallied to the task and created a game called basketball.

Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. This psalm is well-known and contrasts the way of the righteous with the way of the wicked. Three times in the first eight verses we read “fret not,” which is the Hebraic word charah and denotes a burning and kindling.

Charah in this context can be translated worry. The passage indicates that the righteous behave differently than the wicked—who are consumed with worries and anxieties. Instead of worrying, the righteous trust in the Lord, delight in Him, commit their lives to Him, and rest in Him.  

Our lives can be less stressful when we practice what the Scriptures teach. Our diversions will not lead to creating a game like basketball, as Dr. Naismith did, but they will make life more meaningful. What a welcome re-direction to worry.

Ask God to help you trust, delight, commit, and rest in Him.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Penned for a Purpose

He had all the room he needed, but it wasn’t enough.

I lounged on my grandparents’ wraparound porch in Vance, SC, enjoying a summer afternoon and looking out over the open fields and forests that surrounded their home. In his earlier years, my grandfather had raised cows, but now he kept hogs. His hog pens encompassed acres of land. Enough that any pig should have been satisfied.

As I relaxed, I noticed one swine saunter to the fence, insert his long snout under the bottom, raise it up, and slither underneath. I hollered for my grandfather, who quickly corralled the wayward animal. But I wondered why the hog wanted to get out. He had more than enough space. What made him want to enter a field much smaller than the one in which he was penned.

My grandfather put his hogs in a pen for a reason. Had he not, they would have wandered into fields where he had crops planted or run into a nearby highway and risked death. But they didn’t appreciate his efforts. They wanted what they shouldn’t have.

Paul had a similar problem. He didn’t say humans have an animal nature, but we do share at least one common characteristic: we want what God says we can’t have. Paul didn’t understand himself, just as I didn’t understand the hog’s actions.

I admit I’ve experienced Paul’s dilemma. God says, “Don’t do _____,” and that’s exactly what I want to do. The pen restricted, but the hog wanted the restriction removed.

God’s boundaries have purpose. He doesn’t give the “Thou shalt not’s” to make our lives miserable. Just as parents and teachers have a purpose in setting boundaries for children—and just as Pappy had a purpose in erecting a fence—so God has reasons for restricting our behavior. Love is always His purpose for whatever pens He pens us in.

God knows danger lurks beyond the fences He erects. For the hog, it could have been death. For me, it might be sins that would ruin my testimony and my effectiveness in God’s service, habits that would eat away at my health, or unwise decisions that would take me down a path God doesn’t want me to walk.

God pens us for a purpose. Respect the boundaries and know He builds them out of love.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Wrong Voice

I was confused. I had missed the turn, but I kept following the blue truck.

The signs indicated I was not where I should be, but I kept going for several miles. The dark blue truck looked like my husband’s. When it turned into a business center. I turned too.

Then I squealed. I braked. Moaning, I hung up the phone. I had followed the wrong truck. I could not believe I had done such a thing. I would never intentionally forsake my husband for someone else.

My husband and I often leave one vehicle with a daughter fifty miles away for her use when she needs a second set of wheels. My phone rang near the appropriate turn, so I didn’t notice my husband taking the correct turn. I kept pursuing a similar truck—same color, same model—leading me where I wasn’t meant to go.

Tearfully, I called my husband. I heard his compassion and concern: “Stay where you are. I’ll be right there.”

A simple diversion derailed me. How many times have I found myself in the wrong place at the wrong time because I heard another voice, followed another opinion, turned my eyes and heart away even though I knew the signs were not quite right.

But when I cry out, “Oh, my Lord, I have gone in the wrong direction,” He whispers, “Wait, I am coming.”

God knows and loves you. Listen for His whisper when you listen to the wrong voice.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

No 1 Relationship

My senior friend settled into the dementia ward well.

I stopped at her room door and asked if I could come in. She recognized me, called me by name, and with a slight smile said, “Yes.”

Our years of friendship didn’t require much talking. Her hearing is gone, and her memory is fading. I read promises of God from the Word to her and we prayed. Somehow, she always knows when to say, “Amen.” Then we just sit, and I stroke her arm as she snoozes.

My mind drifts to the times when we were so excited to share what the Lord was doing in our lives. We encouraged each other through trials. She counselled me when I needed it. Her favourite comment was, “Trust Jesus. He knows the way.” Now just being together is enough.

Jesus waits for us to visit with Him too. Sometimes just being together is enough. At other times, He has so much He wants to tell us. He knows our future. He wants to know how we are, how we are feeling, and what we are doing. He knows who we are and wants to recognize us, call us by name, and welcome us into His presence. Often, we are too busy or tired to spend time with Him. We may even doubt He values us.

In Luke’s story, Jesus confirms a woman’s right to be a disciple. He chats with Martha as she serves Him in her home. He speaks to Mary, Martha’s sister, who is sitting at His feet listening to His words.

Jesus teaches us all a lesson through this encounter. Serving Him is not as important as visiting with Him and listening to His words.

Allow God’s Spirit to woo you into His presence. Your relationship with Jesus is the most important relationship you will ever have.  

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


Few things are as nerve wracking as deciding if my presence is desired whenever I enter a new environment.

Whether it’s visiting a new Sunday school class or a neighbor, I want to please people with my presence. I’m not saying they have to throw me a party or bake a cake, but a warm smile—along with sincere and friendly greetings—goes a long way on the welcome wagon.

When I travel, one of the things that determines how much I enjoy that place and will want to visit again is how friendly the people are and how welcomed I feel.

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. I love the ESV’s translation of this verse because it uses welcome where other translations use receive or accept. Jesus didn’t just accept or receive me. He welcomed me. I picture Him throwing the door open wide and grabbing me up in a hug of pure joy, as if I were making a long overdue visit.

This verse instructs about our relationships with others. Jews should welcome Gentiles, and Gentiles the Jews. The strong should welcome the weak, and the weak the strong. The coffee lovers should welcome the tea drinkers, and the tea drinkers the coffee lovers. The contemporary worship music lovers should welcome the singers of old hymns, and the singers of old hymns the contemporary music lovers.

Sadly, some don’t feel welcomed at church. Not knowing whether we’re in place where we are wanted is nerve wracking. And a steeple on the roof or a cross on the wall doesn’t communicate welcome. Their presence may testify that everyone should be welcomed, but they lack the ability to generate the feeling of being welcomed.

The word welcome makes me feel wanted, not just tolerated. It tells me someone is delighted to see me and that my presence brings joy. And that someone is Christ. God doesn’t receive us begrudgingly into His kingdom; He welcomes us.

Let Jesus fling open wide the doors of your heart so you can welcome newcomers into your church, your neighborhood, your communities, and everywhere else.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Girdle

As I mull over the times I have had to put on a girdle to decrease my flamboyant figure, I laugh.

Why do I laugh? Maybe because I have never enjoyed wearing one. I normally buy a size too big because I hate any form of bondage. Clothing is not exempt. I also laugh because I normally deceive no one. With or without the girdle, I cannot hide the fact that the girdle does not seem to change my appearance.

When God told Jeremiah to hide the girdle he wore against his body, Jeremiah did not question God, but obeyed. Jeremiah hid the girdle in the cleft of the Euphrates River. The children of Israel had not obeyed God’s authority, and God used the girdle as an example of what would become of them.

Later, God instructed Jeremiah to recover the garment. It was soiled and filthy, just like the Israelites. Their sin and disobedience had brought bondage. Jeremiah, taking the girdle to a far-off place, represented the Israelites being taken into bondage by Babylon.

Our sin does not deceive anyone, just as my girdle does not really hide anything. The bondage from the girdle makes me uncomfortable. Unfortunately, the Israelites were in for a big surprise: seventy years in captivity.

Sometimes, a sin holds us captive. A girdle stored away in some drawer that needs to be thrown out because it is worn out and no longer fits. God’s Spirit is the one who tells us to get rid of the girdle, which does us no good. The girdle … the sin … is uncomfortable and serves no purpose for God.

Why not retire the girdle altogether and walk daily with God? Let God free you from the heavy weight of sin’s bondage.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


Shelters can be a welcome sight.

The Appalachian Trail—which extends from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, Maine—is a two-thousand-mile trail sprinkled with shelters. Some who thru-hike the trail don’t even carry a tent but depend on the shelters to protect them from the elements and provide a place to sleep, relax, read, wash clothes, and do other necessary things.

While their construction styles vary, all shelters have at least three sides. But the missing side allows snow and rain to blow in during storms, predators—such as bears and raccoons—to enter at will, and cold and heat to penetrate. Still, sleeping in a shelter is better than lying on the ground during the cold months or during inclement weather.

I’ve slept in a few of the shelters. One thing they’re not is comfortable. They provide what is necessary, but no creature comforts. While better than nothing, they don’t compare with a plush home. After all, those who stay there are backpacking and want to rough it in the wild.

The psalmist knew a thing or two about shelters. He didn’t find his shelter in a three-sided structure, but in the Lord. As a lad, he was an outside person who tended sheep. Later, as a young man, he lived in the wilderness in caves while running from a jealous king.

As a shelter, God protects us from sin and its dangers. When we ask, He forgives our sin and restores us to a right relationship with Him. Forgiveness shelters us from the eternal consequences of rejecting Him. God also promises not to let temptations get so intense that we can’t walk away from them with His help.

God shelters us through life’s disappointments—and they are many. He won’t take them all away—they may have a place in His plan for us—but He’ll shield us from the damaging emotional effects if we turn to Him instead of other things.

God also shelters us through periods of brokenness. When we’ve lost a job, a child, a spouse, our reputation, our peace, our friends. He gives a peace that surpasses our understanding.

Unlike the Appalachian Trail shelters, God’s shelter is fully enclosed, warm, peaceful, and always available. Run there often.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


Divine Descent

At last! There it was!

My eyes widened with delight as I grabbed the small package in my mailbox. Its diminutive size belied the wealth of information it held the key to unlock. I carried the package inside and opened it. The instructions said I was to give a saliva sample to be returned for DNA testing. While spit is not thrilling, the thought of learning the details about my heritage and finding relatives I did not know was exhilarating. Since I have a fair complexion, red hair, and freckles, I thought I was of Irish descent. But I wanted to know for sure about my roots.

Roots were important to the ancient Jews as well. They did not have the scientific ability to do DNA testing, but they kept detailed records of who begat whom. Luke 3 traces Jesus’ lineage through many generations, starting with Joseph and going back to the beginning—Father God, our Creator.

Jesus’ lineage was important because His descent confirmed Old Testament prophesies about the Messiah who was to be of royal David’s line and from the tribe of Judah. Jesus’ lineage showed His dual descent. He was born of man—to Joseph’s wife, Mary. He was also the son of the Most High God, born to a virgin whom the Holy Spirit had come over. Jesus was divine, yet He was fully human.

Physical and behavioral similarities, as well as our DNA, confirm our relationship with our ancestors. Jesus looked like His Father, God. He told His disciples that by seeing Him they had seen the Father. Jesus reflected the essence and character of God. His actions, including His miracles, proved the Father-Son connection and His divine descent.

God is also our heavenly Father. We need to honor our relationship with Him by evidencing our family connection on a daily basis through our words and deeds. If our lives are rooted in God, no DNA test will be required to establish we are His descendants.

Make it a point to reflect God’s image in you daily.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Listen to the Spirit

I had an ache inside my chest. It was hunger.

While my wife attended a class on, “How to Know When the Holy Spirit Is Speaking to You,” she suddenly left the hiking group when she heard the Spirit whisper, “Go home and check on Bob.” When she walked into the house, she watched me have a life-ending stroke. If she had not hungered for the Spirit more than the pleasure of her hiking in our beautiful Arizona morning, I wouldn’t be here today. I know, because several of my attending physicians have told me.

My wife taught me to pay attention when the Spirit of God moves in whispers and touches hearts. When I feel the ache that feels like a hunger, I go to the Word for manna from my Lord’s hand.

Several passages have helped me walk closer to Jesus—among them, the present one. I learned Jesus is several things to each child of God. Following are the lessons I learned.  

  • Abide in Jesus as our wisdom, for the Father made Him our wisdom. He is the revelation of all God is and has for His children. When I need wisdom, I go to Jesus.
  • Abide in Jesus as our righteousness. If I want better character, I must yield to the Spirit of God to reproduce what is in Jesus. I can’t do it on my own.
  • Abide in Jesus as our sanctification. We can experience His power to make us holy in spirit, soul, and body. We can’t become more holy without Jesus.
  • Abide in Jesus as our redemption. We must live as people who are heirs of heaven’s eternal riches. We are rich kids born into wealth.

Our relationship with Jesus contains everything I need to live today and to live eternally when I graduate from life’s struggles. In heaven’s rent-free eternal retirement community, we’ll find a completeness that is presently only seen dimly.

Ask God to help you listen to His Spirit.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Go Deep

She was a cutter.

Little scars laced her arms and torso. A tapestry of pain hewn with every slice and nick. The most difficult case I had experienced. Years of abuse and negative self-talk programmed her for pain.

“When I cut, it takes my focus off the pain inside me,” she said. I couldn’t comprehend.

Emma had endured forty-plus years of abuse. She was desperate to change and to heal, and she believed it could happen. I knew the power of God could do just that, but we had a lot of work to do.

What happened to Emma was a horrible series of conditioning since childhood. Everything lovely and innocent was taken from her. The abuser ritually repeated words designed to emotionally enslave, and she believed those words. Eventually, she felt “hopeless and unlovable.”  

Today, Emma thrives, living life to the fullest and enjoying the love of a husband, children, and grandchildren. She’s no longer plagued by the horrors of her past. It wasn’t an easy journey, but bit by bit she clawed her way out of her excruciating agony.

God’s Word cuts deep with glorious cleansing and renewing action. His Word cuts through the enemy’s lies. His Word heals, renews, and rebuilds.

We all have pain from our past. We all handle it differently: pills, alcohol, drugs, sex, theft, manipulation, deception, lies, over-shopping, over-working. The degree of pain runs the whole spectrum, as does the coping mechanisms we choose. Our pain may not be the same as Emma’s, but pain is pain. It hurts. It’s relevant.

If you are hurting or plagued by memories that send you into your own personal abyss leaving you feeling alone, hopeless, or unlovable, change is possible. God’s Word is alive and powerful and can dig deeply into your troubles and rescue you.

Go deep into God’s Word, and experience the healing you search for.

Name changed to protect privacy.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Witness of a Coin

Witnessing for Christ does not always involve fiery, passionate pleas for conversion.

A friend of mine maintains a supply of gospel coins embossed with a decorative cross on one side and Mark 10:27 imprinted on the other. For years, he has given them to people he meets. A waitress at the local restaurant, a bagger at the grocery store, or a forlorn stranger sitting on a park bench. However God leads, he shares these coins. Quite often, his kind gesture opens opportunities to engage in discussion about spiritual matters or an offer to pray for each individual.

Jesus encouraged His followers to let His light shine through them as they interacted with people. Far from implying we should put on a spiritual show or constantly “be on our game,” doing this means demonstrating Christlikeness. We will never live perfectly on this earth, but we can live each day surrendered to His influence.

As children of God, we bear the family resemblance. We shine His light. We exhibit His love. We carry His cross. Light needs no discussion to shine. Love needs no proclamation to be seen or shared. Christ’s cross needs no burdensome obligation because His yoke is easy and His burden is light. As earthly children do not have to expend energy to look like their parents, believers shouldn’t have to make extra effort to resemble their heavenly Father.

Instead of complicating our witness or avoiding the sharing of our faith, we are wise to live each day under the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit, the expectancy of Christ’s return, and the overflow of God’s love in our hearts. To do so unleashes the energy of heaven as we become the hands and feet of Jesus.

There is no pressure to save the lost world—just the call to hear and heed our Shepherd’s voice. Scripture tells us to go and lift up Jesus. That also includes the simple act of passing out gospel coins with a message of hope.

Shine your light to others.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Sustaining Love

My mom knows me best.

One thing I love about Mom is that she can read my thoughts simply by a facial expression. When I get home and I am too tired to hang out, she doesn’t press for details but lets me get my rest. She never holds my grumpiness against me. Even when she or I do something upsetting, she is willing to rectify it and move on. I know when I am ready to talk that she will listen with ears and arms open wide because her love for me runs deeply.

Our heavenly Father is the same. Jesus knows our heart better than anyone and still loves us. Every mistake, He forgives, and every tear, He catches in the palm of His hand. He has seen us at our worst and still reaches His arms out to guide us in every season of life.  He is the best listener we could ask for, and He knows us more intimately than we realize. No one will ever love us the same way. His love is forgiving, redeeming, thankful, unearned, powerful, and merciful—even though we are nothing but sinners.  

We need to love others the same way. Even when they are brutal, we can respond in love, just as Jesus did. Our heavenly Father longs for us to be like Him: forgiving, peaceful, and encouraging. Be a light to a dark world in the various relationships you nurture in your life. Ministry can be born in relationship.

God’s love is enough to sustain you. Rest in it.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Good News from the Dead

One spring day when our boys were small, I brought home a turtle I had found on the road.

They excitedly helped as we made up a box with a water dish, grass, and stones. But our turtle wanted nothing to do with his new home. He never drank the water, nor ate a single piece of bread. Each day he grew weaker, until by the end of the week he lay motionless. We felt the best thing was to return him to the swamp where he could spend his final days in peace.

Though we explained that Mr. Turtle was sick and needed to be set free, our boys were sad over his leaving. I parked the car and carefully took him out of his box. I walked a few paces into the woods and placed Mr. Turtle onto the mossy ground. At first He remained motionless, but then slowly he eased his feet out of the shell until his claws touched the ground. He poked out his head, stood up, and clambered down the hill as fast as his turtle legs could carry him. We burst out in relieved laughter.

Two thousand years ago when Jesus walked up Calvary's hill destined for death, His disciples felt just as we do. When they saw a huge stone rolled over the entrance to His tomb, they gave up hope and went into a room, locking the door behind them. But when things seemed darkest, on the morning of the third day, Jesus sat up, put one foot and then the other on the ground, and walked into the day so that all of us who believe in Him could follow. 

All of us have sometimes felt imprisoned by fear, bitterness, or pain—just like Mr. Turtle in his box. It seems as if it would be much easier to pull back into our shell and give up, but because Jesus got up, we can put one foot in front of the other.

Don’t let fear, bitterness, or pain keep you imprisoned. With God’s help, you can come out of your shell.  

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Love God, Love People

The hashtag #LGLP is everywhere these days. It’s catchy and cool, and many Christians are using it on social media. But does it really do justice to the text it is supposed to represent?

Saying we love God and people is easy. But love is such a generic word. Without some qualifiers, the saying could mean I love God as much as I love my dog, apple pie, or a Starbucks latte on a crisp autumn morning. But the truth is, I do not love my dog or those other things the way Jesus says I am to love God.

And people? Well, I mostly love people, except the guy who cut me off on the freeway and the teenager who drives through my neighborhood with his music turned up loud. I definitely don’t love them like I love myself.

If Jesus meant the above kind of love, He would have said just that. But three of the gospels record Him saying much more. Jesus spells out the quality of love we should have for God and for people. We are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. With every fiber of our being, every thought that crosses our mind, and every ounce of our strength, we should love the Lord. That’s a deep, all-encompassing love.

Jesus says I am to love my neighbor as much as I love myself. I once had a woman say to me, “Well, that’s not hard. I hate myself.” Ouch. That’s not a quality kind of love for either herself or her neighbor.

The reality for all of us is that we do love ourselves, and we prove it every time someone says something that offends us. We will defend ourselves, we’ll see our point of view as the right one, and we’ll often go on the attack. But we rarely love those close to us as much as we love ourselves, much less our neighbor.

Examine the quality of your own love for the Lord and others. Then commit to learning to love the way Jesus commands.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Eye of the Storm

During Hurricane Florence, the news reports dominated the television.

In one news clip, the reporter could hardly remain upright because of the wind. Within thirty minutes, the same reporter stood in relative calm with the sun breaking through the clouds. The news correspondent was in the eye of the storm.

This is similar to walking with God. Everything seems to fall apart around us. We experience emotional turmoil, yet deep down, we have a sense of calm or well-being. We should not feel this way, but we do. We experience what the Bible calls “God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.”

Sometimes, disappointments, discouragement, financial issues, or relationship problems surround us. God has a way of giving us peace that we cannot understand in the midst of the storm.

But why do we sometimes feel this peace and at other times do not? Part of the answer comes in the previous verse (v.6). Paul says we are to pray with thanksgiving.

Praying with thanksgiving shows we believe God is the same in good times and in difficult ones. It reveals that we know He is still in control. He can alter the situation, change us in it, or do some of both. We can pray and fret at the same time. God does not cause all our circumstances, but He does allow them.

When we are in trying times, we should remember the lyrics of Ryan Stevenson's song, "Eye of the Storm." In the storm and in the war, God remained in control and guarded his soul. God was his anchor, and God’s love surrounded him.

Accept God’s sovereign will, and you will have peace in the eye of the storm.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Heed the Warnings

Late frosts weren’t unusual in my warm southern climate.

This particular spring, however, had been unusually pleasant. All the green thumbs couldn’t wait to put aside winter’s dullness and enjoy the beauty of bright blossoms.                                            

On this balmy March day, temperatures danced into the 70s and 80s. Breezes hummed through trees as buds swelled, ready to burst into bloom. Eager gardeners scurried to set out early tomato plants. Flower beds blossomed with colorful flowers taken from greenhouses and nurseries.

Then I heard the weather forecaster warn, “Expect freezing temperatures before morning.” Two cold fronts approached and would plummet temperatures into the 40s with bitter cold sweeping in during the night.

Some ambitious gardeners heard the forecast and prepared their tender seedlings. They dashed about, covering sensitive vegetation and bracing themselves and their new plants for one last winter hurrah. Many gardeners did not. By morning, snow blanketed the ground—the only snow that winter. Tomato plants of the unprepared succumbed to the drastic shock. Delicate flowering plants peeked frozen heads through their unwanted cover of snow.

I thought how these weather predictions reflect the warning God’s Word reveals about the return of Christ. Many hear, yet fail to believe biblical prophecy. Jesus’ disciples asked Him what to expect before His second coming. He warned of false claims and many events to occur. Today, as more and more clues appear, few heed the signs.

Although temperatures plummeted that March night as forecasted, Christ’s arrival will come unexpectedly. No one knows the day or hour, but when He returns, He will judge the world with fairness. Prepared believers will rejoice, but the unprepared will have no second chance.

God wants everyone prepared for Christ’s return. Be willing to warn others to be ready.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Rewards of Obedience

After praying for a year for the chance to write professionally, God led me to write a column for my local weekly newspaper.

One morning I received an email from my sister-in-law’s mother who alerted me to this opportunity. I have now been writing for Community News for ten years. I had no idea God would give me the opportunity to write Christian material in a secular newspaper. It’s been a gift to encourage both friends and strangers through my column. When people tell me they enjoy and look forward to my column, I’m encouraged and humbled.

Another surprising bit of guidance resulted from a conversation with my therapist. She suggested I seek work cleaning houses. I’d been praying for months for a way to earn more money. Within a few weeks of our conversation, I started cleaning a neighbor’s house. It’s not glamourous, but it’s honest work, and I thank God for the extra income.

Leading music during Vacation Bible School, teaching children’s Sunday school classes, and playing my trumpet in my church’s praise ensemble are other ways I serve God. I never expected to receive these responsibilities, but I’ve been blessed by each one. When I run into a child I haven’t seen since last year’s VBS and her eyes light up, that’s my reward. The shock on a Sunday school student’s face when he, the son of dairy farmers, understands Jesus lay in a feeding trough and was found by shepherds warms my heart. Seeing smiles on the faces of my church family after playing my trumpet during offertory also encourages me.

God directs us toward His purposes. And sometimes His will surprises us. We never know where we will find joy in God’s service, but He gives us a sense of satisfaction when we serve Him, because we are obedient. And obedience is a reward in itself.

Obey God, and see what He gives you to do.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

You’re Fired!

“What are you doing here? I understand you've been fired.”

My heart skipped a few beats, and my mind raced. What?

About the time I realized a real termination wouldn't have been handled in such a manner, my boss continued. "You’re not, of course, but that was the rumor going around.”

It took a few conversations, but I was able to trace the full story, which was not meant as anything mean-spirited. When a co-worker grew annoyed with an intern’s nosiness during a private conversation he was having with someone else, he said the first thing that popped into his head: I’d been let go the day before. He then recanted, admitting the joke.

His confession fell on deaf ears. On Monday morning, the intern asked other co-workers if they'd heard the news. That set off a firestorm, leading to a check of my Facebook status to see if I had mentioned the incident, a glance into my office looking for signs of a quick exit, and a consultation with my boss. A few moments later, I arrived at work, and my boss entered my office with the above-mentioned pronouncement.

Guarding our tongues is something we all struggle with. The choices are not always as obvious as whether to speak angry words, wallow in prideful boasting, or spread rumors. Sometimes it appears as innocent as a shared prayer request. When done without permission, gossip results. Thank God I wasn't fired ... but the power of the tongue to wreak havoc was clear.

We’ve all uttered words we wish we could take back. Once they’re spoken, the damage is done. It’s then necessary to make amends and seek forgiveness. The tongue has the power to build up or destroy.

Choose words daily that help and heal.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

When Life Gives You Frizz

I awoke for church one morning, flipped on the bathroom light, looked in the mirror, and beheld—the great cloud of witnesses perched atop my head.

Ordinarily, my hair tends to share my rather straight-laced if unpolished personality. But that morning, every kink and curl had taken on a life of its own, witnessing to the infinite creativity of God’s colorful character. But then I thought, When life gives you frizz, embrace it.

We spend so much time and energy trying to tame our circumstances, sculpting them to conform to our vision. We operate out of an innate need to maintain control, because when life plays out the way we expect it to, we feel secure. But God, as Isaiah said, is doing something new.

In truth, if our faith cannot see the fullness of God’s kingdom already manifested in the world today, then we need God to do the unexpected in our lives. In our limited vision, the desert probably does not have a river running through it. Yet we need that river in the midst of life’s dry seasons. And who would not appreciate a road in the wilderness when the trials overcome us and we cannot see the way out?

If we want God’s best, we must embrace the new in life by putting away the sculpting gel and hairspray, taking what God gives us and finding our personal expression in it.

So, what became of my Sunday morning frizz?  I curled the rest of my hair to match it and went on to have a gloriously quirky day with God. You can do the same.

Ask God to help you trust and surrender to Him and to embrace the new things in life even when they do not fit your vision.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

No Insignificant People

During our beach vacation in Hilton Head, South Carolina, my husband became ill.

I took him to the ER. They performed diagnostic tests and then ordered an ambulance to transport him to MUSC in Charleston. We arrived at three in the morning. Surgery was scheduled for noon to repair a hiatal hernia that bulged to dangerous proportions.

By seven that evening, I looked as if I had come off a windy beach, had a middle-of-the-night ride to keep up with an ambulance, and had been awake for about forty-five hours.

A kind nurse told me I could shower on the third floor and that I should see the concierge. When I arrived, no one was at the desk. I walked the empty halls looking for someone. A petite woman came through the door pushing two full trash cans.  

“What do you need, honey?” she asked, coming toward me.

Fighting tears, I said, “I need a shower, and I’m looking for the concierge.”

She touched my shoulder and turned me around. “She’s gone for the day, but let’s get you some towels. We’re gonna take care of you.” With her arm wrapped around my shoulder, we walked to a linen closet. “What else do you need?”

I didn’t even think of saying soap, shampoo, a toothbrush. All I could think of was my dirty, windswept hair. “I need a comb.”

“We’ll get you a comb, but here’s the thing. We still need to see a concierge. There’s one on the fourth floor.”

She could have pointed me to the elevator. Instead, she stayed with me, leaving her abandoned trash cans. Upstairs, we found the concierge, who opened a bag with small travel sizes of everything I needed. My cleaning lady friend walked me back downstairs and to the guest showers. She did what Jesus instructed all of His children to do.  

I’m fine now, and so is my husband. And life is back to normal.

The cleaning lady wasn’t a doctor or nurse. She wasn’t a social worker or administrative assistant. She wasn’t even the concierge. She was an ordinary cleaning lady who went the extra mile to serve. But to me, she was much more.

God has a history of using seemingly insignificant people to help others. Tell Him you’ll be one.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Baby for Christmas

Rarely did Santa bring Mom what she wanted for Christmas, but this particular Christmas he did.

Mom and her sister grew up daughters of a dirt-poor farmer who attempted to eke out a living from the sandy soil near Vance, South Carolina. My granddaddy repeatedly reminded Mom and her sister how lean times were. But one Christmas was different.

Every Christmas, Mom’s family gathered with other families from the community and converged on Gerizim United Methodist Church to await Santa’s arrival. All the children sat on Santa’s bulging lap and told him what they wanted for Christmas.

Year after year, Mom’s Christmas wish was the same: a baby doll. All her friends had at least one. She couldn’t understand why her father couldn’t scrape together enough money to get her one too. 

“What’s your name little girl,” Santa whispered.


“And what would you like Santa to bring you for Christmas?” 

“I want a baby doll.”

“Have you been a good little girl?” Santa queried.

“Oh yes.”

Surely this would be the year Santa would grant the wish she had made so many times before. When the first rays of Christmas morning peeked through her bedroom window on Christmas morning, little Elsie jumped up and made her way to the Christmas tree. There it was. A box that seemed the right size for a baby doll, wrapped in paper a poor farmer’s wife would use.

She tore into the paper and could hardly believe what she saw. Santa had granted her wish. A beautiful small baby doll lay in the box. It was all she had ever wanted but never received. She couldn’t wait to play with it. Why not turn the box into a stroller, she imagined. And she did. After carefully cutting two holes in the box, she inserted a cord and instantly had a stroller. It was the only year Mom received a doll baby.

Just as one doll baby made a tremendous difference in my mother’s life, so did a real child who was born to Mary and Joseph. He brought joy to shepherds living in the fields, to wise men living afar, and to people worldwide.

Jesus’ birth has changed the lives of millions of people and continues to do so. He was God’s ultimate Christmas present to the world.

Never underestimate the potential of even the smallest of gifts. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Prince of Peace

Among other beautiful names the prophets gave Jesus was Prince of Peace.

Throughout the Bible, the words perfect and perfection are used to refer to God and Jesus Christ: God is perfect, His work is perfect, His way is perfect, and God’s law is perfect. Living in a world of imperfection, why wouldn’t we trust in a God of perfection?

After Jesus was crucified and before He ascended into heaven, He promised to leave the people a peace that surpassed all understanding. Further in the Scripture, Isaiah says God will keep us in perfect peace if we trust Him and if our mind stays on Him.

Some call the Bible God’s rule book. If so, we can be assured the things He sets out in His Word are for our good. Scripture says God will give us peace if we believe in Him and obey Him.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines peace as “a quiet and calm state of mind; harmony in personal relations; freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions; a state of tranquility or quiet.” The dictionary gives the following words as synonyms and ones related to peace: calmness, heartsease, peacefulness, placidity, sereneness, serenity, content, contentment, ease, comfort, consolation, relief, solace, quietude, and repose.

My favorite is heartsease—peace of mind. We use the term heartbroken and say our heart is heavy and troubled. To have burdens lifted from our heart and gain peace of mind is no small miracle. Peace can be ours if we trust in God.

This season, when we commemorate Jesus’ birth, is an appropriate time to affirm or reaffirm our trust in God and claim His perfect peace.

Thank God for the perfect peace that comes from trusting in Him.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Word for the Year

Several years ago, a good friend introduced me to the concept of choosing a “word for the year”—a word to live by. Sometimes it is a goal, a challenge, or even a one word mantra.

The idea sounded great to me. I prayed and asked God for my word for the year, and I clearly heard him say, “jump.” That’s a fun first word. Since I am a producer, I am constantly planning, and spontaneous is an ugly word to me. I interpreted jump to be the antithesis of planning. I vowed to say yes to as many offers as I was extended that year, to experience things I had never experienced, to jump at opportunities. What followed was one of the most memorable years of my life.

The next year, I heard the word risk and fervently prayed God would change it to peace. He did not, and it was one of my most challenging years professionally and personally. Being the good Father He is, reward followed on year three. In my year of reward, I found a church home after many years of searching, as well as many other blessings.

Year four brought the word fly. I was confused as to the meaning of this and prayed for confirmation that fly was my word for the year. As I opened my eyes after the prayer, a bird flew by the window. Coincidence I thought. I continued to pray for weeks, always hearing the same word. Then a couple days into the new year, I stood in line at a craft store, and when I looked down at the counter, a little stone with the word fly on it stared back at me. I settled that fly was my word. It took almost the entire year to decipher the code, but, in the end, I realized that was a year where God brought people by my side who lifted me up and helped carry my burdens.

In each year since, some words came clearly and others more difficult, but God has always supplied a word for me, and the word has always been right.

In the next weeks, ask God for your word for the year, and watch something truly beautiful unfold.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Exhausted, But Still in Pursuit

I’m exhausted. Or, as we say in the South, worn slap out.

When life hurtles along just outside the parameters of our capacity, we can feel that way. When we try our best to prioritize life events, create an orderly schedule, and strategically organize our days—life can still be too much.

Trying to fit Christian service or ministry opportunities around full-time employment, household responsibilities, weekend chores, and expected family and social interactions can be overwhelming. Things start to slip or we become uncharacteristically cranky, and then guilt sets in as we internalize how we mismanaged our time or do not have time to serve God. Yet, we persist, wearily trying to juggle everything, hoping to find relief soon.

Gideon knows exactly how we feel. After God reduced his army from 32,000 to 300, Gideon faced the formidable task of battling an enemy numbering 125,000. Obviously, fighting with the initial army would have made things much easier—and certainly less stressful for each warrior. Yet the entire burden fell to the remaining 300.

God orchestrated the battle to deliver His promised victory. However, after an overnight raid with pitchers and torches, along with chasing the enemy from the primary battlefield just south of Nazareth all the way to the Jordan River, Gideon and his men were exhausted. And when they stopped for food, they were refused—twice. But they continued and eventually eliminated the enemy. Exhausted, but still in pursuit. Worn out, but not giving up.

When life becomes too hectic, here’s some reminders:

  • The overall battle is the Lord’s (1 Samuel 17:47).
  • Don’t give up. You will reap in due time (Galatians 6:9).
  • Be still and watch how God sovereignly orchestrates His victory (2 Chronicles 20:17).
  • Don’t run ahead or lag behind—simply follow and wait on the Lord (Psalm 27:14).
  • Take the necessary time to rest (Mark 6:31).
  • Rejoice always and pray unceasingly (Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
  • Remember, your service is for God, not for men (Romans 12:1).

This life can be tiring, nerve wracking, and frustrating. Though exhausted, stick to the fight and continue the pursuit. God’s high calling and ultimate approval await: “Well done, faithful servant. Enter into My rest.”

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


Just yesterday, they were in the land of the living, but someone took them all away.

As the years pass and the end of our journey draws near, we recall those dreams of yesterday. If we could capture them, we would keep them forever.

We knew many people who walked this earth once, and it seems like yesterday they were here with us. Now, they’re gone—the great and the small, the kings and the poorest of people.  

Life is like a puff of smoke or a mist that vanishes quickly. We wish we could stop time, but it’s not possible, no matter how hard we try. I wish I could tell you about yesterday, but you probably wouldn’t listen. We live like we will be forever in this place, but we will cast a glance at our life and grasp it ever tightly as it slips away.

Then a day we thought was still far away comes. Someone comes for us too. And we will only be remembered until yesterday is gone—when even those with memories of us are taken away too.

God cries for us to hear His voice … to remember the path He has shown us. He wants us to seek the narrow gate and not rebel against Him. He wants to show us what is true. We don’t really pass away, but are in a moment taken away.

The day my eyes grow dim and my breathing ends, be assured that Someone came and took me away. It was the King of Kings who left His throne to suffer and die in my place, and it seems like just yesterday that He said He would come back for me.

Are you ready for God to come and take you away?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Shark Sheets

November is National Adoption Month, and many churches celebrate Orphan Sunday. Orphan Sunday or Stand Sunday is a day to focus on foster care and adoption throughout the world.

This month has become even more important to me since adopting my son from foster care a little over three years ago. Since becoming his father, I have learned more about how my heavenly Father loves me than I ever understood before.

We who accept Jesus are all adopted sons and daughters. It is through Jesus that we become children of God.

God will go to the greatest lengths to make you His child. He is a Rescuer. He will fight the Devil for your very soul, not because of what you can do, what you look like, or how much money you have, but because you are His.

I had to fight for my son too. When I applied to be his dad, I was rejected. Boone’s last two placements before me were single men, and both adoption plans failed. My son’s social workers rejected me because they didn’t want this to happen a third time. But in my heart I knew he was mine.

I asked my social worker if I could write a letter pleading my case. Though she had never heard of that being done before, she allowed it and sent the letter by email. In the email, I explained my plans for this child’s future and how I would not allow him to grow up believing all the ugly things that had been said about him by the world. I ended with the line, “I already have his shark sheets waiting.” His profile had listed how much he loved sharks.

I was called in for an interview the next day and told, “No one has fought for this child his entire life, and you are fighting for him without even meeting him.” He arrived in our home two days later and is forever my son.

You belong to God, and He will do anything for you. Lift your eyes to Him. He already has your shark sheets waiting.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Gathering

The annual gathering happened two days before Thanksgiving.

Each year, the churches in the small town where I pastored gathered for a community Thanksgiving service. Different churches hosted the event, and pastors rotated preaching. A time of fellowship and food followed. But then we went home, often not seeing one another again until we had our annual community Easter celebration.

In spite of the brevity of the event—and the fact that we wouldn’t see one another for months—I eagerly awaited this gathering each year. Thanksgiving tops the list of my favorite holidays, and spending a few moments of it with people from different races, nationalities, and social levels makes it more enjoyable.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I don’t know in what season of the year Paul wrote this command, but he knew nothing about a Thanksgiving holiday. He didn’t need one. He had learned contentment … thankfulness … in all circumstances. And God’s will is for every believer to realize the same.

When I experience these community events at Thanksgiving and Easter, I imagine they mirror heaven. A place where race, nationality, wealth, mistakes, emotional states, and age will no longer separate God’s people. A day when the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., will finally come true: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

But the gathering is about more than the mixture and the breaking down of barriers. The lives of all gathered are peppered by a myriad of conditions. Regardless, we lift our voices to the God who controls our circumstances and to the One whom we believe involves Himself in all of our situations. Our voices blend as we praise Him through song. They sync as we say “Amen” to the truths heard from His Word.

The Thanksgiving season gives us the opportunity to remember God’s plan is always best—regardless of the path we must follow to realize it. God doesn’t expect us to be happy about tragedy and heartache, but we can have contentment in trying situations when we remember He’s in control, has our best interests at heart, and controls the intensity and time of our travels.

Celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering with others and thanking God collectively.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

When reading these verses, some may flash to an old-time monster movie where the mummy lunges forward with their arms held out and their gait awkward because of the wrappings.

Like a mummy, we often stumble after God has set us free—from eternal death, from sin, from old habits, from mistakes. But sometimes we let the trappings of the old still wrap around us when we have been made new.

Our second, third, or sixtieth chance fails because we don’t take off the bindings of our sin. We feel fresh in our hearts, our eyes are bright, and we trod off like a toddler just learning to walk.

Jesus unbinds us, but when we return to the pigpen, we get dirty again. We tire of battling the same sinful behavior we have carried for years—or maybe decades. Jesus wants this done once and for all. His death made it possible; now we just have to give it over.

Examine what leads to sin in your life: people, places, things, the past. Excise them before you step into your new and improved future.

Getting rid of a sin can be like unwrapping a healed wound. It takes more than one step. Make a list of your sins. Call upon the blood of Jesus to cleanse you as you pray them aloud, blow them away, and breathe in new life.

One by one, hand your sins to Christ and break what binds you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

God's Purpose Prevails

“If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.” - Winnie the Pooh. 

Children have no idea how profound these words are, yet I inscribed them in a goodbye letter to a little boy who forever changed my heart. I adopted my first son from foster care, and when a second little boy arrived 18 months later, I knew I would adopt him too. Because of his situation, I didn’t have to worry about him returning to his birth parents, and I had promised God a child would never enter my home that I didn’t commit to for the rest of my life. Yet, I didn’t know I would only be his daddy for 14 months.

The year he was with us was brutal. Such unbelievable trauma to work through. So many layers of every kind of abuse. I aged, and every day I tried to teach him everything he had missed. Then at the same time his adoption papers were being readied, he walked over to my chair and said, “Daddy, I don’t want you to cry, but I think I am supposed to have a mommy and a daddy.” Those words revealed the Creator’s grander plan.

We often harbor the unknown until a flash makes it crystal clear. I prayed for a larger confirmation than I had ever prayed for in my life—a dream, writing on the wall, a burning bush. That night, I dreamed my little boy went to live with someone else, and peace claimed my heart.

If we knew what tomorrow held, I don’t think any of us could handle it. God blesses us with breadcrumbs that lead the way until our eyes adjust to the light of His path.

Had I known the outcome, I would have lived those 14 months differently. God knew that child needed me to treat him as if he would be my son forever. I could not have done so with future knowledge. Even as I wailed, clinging to my prayer bench, I knew this had always been the perfect plan.

As you mourn and wish things could be different, believe each moment is exactly as the Lord requires.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Blowing Bubbles with Jesus

Bubbles. That’s just what we need here.

I was on a tight schedule. A friend’s husband and daughter were over to pick up our dining room set before another family delivered the set they were giving us. They were expected; three-year-old Alianna was not. When she was introduced to me, she pirouetted, revealing the flair of both her skirt and her personality—definitely a bubbles kind of girl.

I retrieved two bottles of bubbles from our front closet. While her mom and grandfather wrestled the furniture into their van, my new friend and I blew bubbles, laughing as they danced on a soft breeze and popped on the grass, bushes, and our outstretched hands.

But one didn’t pop. “Look, Alianna,” I exclaimed, “that bubble is going to Jesus.”

As Alianna tracked the rising bubble with widening eyes, she made a joyful little bounce and rose up on her tippy-toes as if she might float to heaven with it. “Goin’ ta Jesus!” she echoed. Together, we watched that bubble float out of sight.

Jesus loves children, so He must love bubbles, I thought. Then I got an image of Jesus blowing bubbles down on us from His throne above—with His own pink, plastic wand. Seeing Jesus’ smile and bright eyes, I felt in my heart His delight in joining our fun.  

One day, Jesus’ disciples asked Him to identify who was the greatest in His kingdom. Jesus drew a little child into their midst to teach them that greatness in the kingdom of God is more about delight than achievement. When Jesus unexpectedly placed little Alianna into my day, my spirit rose along with the bubbles … and our laughter above my worries and agenda.

Let Jesus interrupt your agenda and exchange importance for delight. Have some fun together. Maybe even blow bubbles. Let the child He draws into His arms be you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


Ruby lived on a hill, tended her flowers, and was my grandmother. She couldn’t drive a car, and she never wrote a poem, but the pages of her Bible were worn thin from constant use.

I was barely a month from my sixteenth birthday, and Mamaw and I had plans to burn rubber. I think we both had waited for years for the freedom to go and do as we would like, together. Then on December 7, the doctors pronounced that her life would end in six months. Cancer.

I wallowed in the stages of grief for the first few months. Then one day after school, I sat at her kitchen table and screamed, “You’re going to die, and you’re acting like nothing is wrong!”

Mamaw clicked the stove button, led me into the living room, and reclined on the couch. The smell of dinner carried through her little home as she told me why I had never seen her cry about her death sentence. I thought in all our years together I knew every story about this woman, but she was saving the best for last.

Almost forty years ago, a different set of doctors told a young mother of four that pancreatic cancer would take her life in less than a year. And I’m pretty sure she didn’t cry back then either. She marched home and looked up the story of Hezekiah. This simple woman pointed to the then firm pages of 2 Kings and asked for the same gift as Hezekiah had. King Hezekiah was mortally ill, but he petitioned the Lord for more time. And the Lord granted him fifteen more years.

Ruby asked the Lord to prolong her life until her children were old enough to take care of themselves. And like Hezekiah, God heard her prayer. Not only did she get another fifteen years, she also got decades more until she met her grandchildren. And as my bitter tears blurred the sight of her, my grandmother said, “How could I cry a single tear when He has given me more than I asked for?”

As you mourn your loved one, concentrate on the parts of them that live on in you. Don’t allow the wisdom of their life to be robbed by the temporary grave. Hold tightly to their stories of bravery, love, and obedience, and know they are still with you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Shatter Point

The week was tough, and the night found me clinging to a big ottoman in my living room floor, sobbing. 

I was having one of those days where the past rears its ugly head and reminds you how thin the time is between yesterday and today. Bronchitis, a sinus infection, a new career. Stress about finances and friends not showing up when you need them. Not being the father I strive to be and having a hard time comparing myself to the Father I have in Jesus. I was breaking down.

I felt God’s Almighty hands twist and ring me to the point of damp dry. I pictured Him molding the clay with more pressure than I have ever felt. I saw broken shards of glass splinter in new formation. That’s when I understood. With a new dimension of the refiner’s fire and more water smoothing the rough stones, I was being pressed on every side. Almost breaking.

God knows my shatter point, and He takes me to the exact degree before I break. The place where I become something new. And He specializes in all things new.

God uses our rough times to sharpen us, define us, and make us who He longs for us to be. Only a Master’s hands know my breaking point and understand where my submission is imminent. Through my re-Creator’s expertise, I become a new creation.

And when God has reworked me for a time, thanksgiving rolls over me like the warm winds of a summer storm right before the rain. He washes over me, and I hear His whispers. “This is what I have been working on. If you want to dream new dreams and fly to heights, you must let Me turn that coal into a diamond.”

I’m stronger now—better than I was. The wounds miraculously healed, but God had to knead the dough. He had to take me to the point right before I gave up. He took me to the place where I gave in. But further down the road. Closer to the prize. I arose from my sobbing, prostrate position and breathed fresh air.

God knows the road He asks us to walk. He never promised it would be easy, but He promised He would always be there. And He is. Again and again. Welcome His artistry.

Let God make you new.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Cross

Some sing about it, others tattoo it on their bodies, and still others wear it as a fashion statement. Our graveyards are adorned with them, as are mountains, hilltops, churches, and homes. Our culture has a fascination with displaying them in all their forms.  

The Cross. During Roman rule, it served as a symbol of derision and guilt—a form of capital punishment where the guilty met their fate. How ironic that the very thing the enemy used to instill fear in the hearts of everyone now stands as a symbol of hope for a hurting world.

From the perspective of those who followed Christ to the cross, that moment must have seemed like an unmitigated disaster. Any hope they had for a restored kingdom vanished. They didn’t know Christ’s death would make them righteous and whole. They didn’t understand that the events unfolding before them were God’s doing. That Christ’s death would ensure His message of hope, and everlasting life would reach Judaea, the entire Roman Empire, and ultimately, the world.

Christ purchased eternal life for us. He bore the weight of our sin so we wouldn’t have to. As I reflect on all the cross represents, I am overwhelmed and humbled. Because He suffered in our stead, we have healing and peace. Our hearts, once stained with sin, have been washed of guilt and shame. We serve a wonderful Savior, a mighty God.

What the enemy intended for evil, God uses for good. I am thankful to God for the gift of salvation and for redeeming us from the curse of the law. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV).

The next time you see a cross, remember that the peace and salvation you now experience came at a great price. Then, humbly worship Christ.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Experience God’s Peace

We are embarking on another journey.

After closing our home to foster care after our fourth adoption, we decided to reopen our home once again to foster children, offering them a safe place of love during the tumultuous time in their lives. We have agreed to welcome children from infancy to two years old and are excited about where God will take us.

But I’m nervous too. I worry about the logistics of adding a fifth child to our already rambunctious crew. I worry about the logistics of scheduling, work, and appointments—the things I can’t prepare for beforehand … the things I have to trust will work out when the time comes.

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. Paul’s words remind me not to worry … about anything. Instead, I need to pray about everything, telling God what I need and thanking Him for all He has done. Then I’ll experience His peace.

In theory, the verses seem to say we’re to tell God what we need and then not worry. But theory doesn’t always translate well into reality. We tend to tell God what we need, but then hold on to it, clinging with worry instead of releasing it with faith.

When we allow God to take on our worries, we experience His peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. The feeling of knowing we’re taken care of, and the thoughts that come with believing everything will be okay, is just a portion of the peace we receive through God.

God listens to our pleas and praises and aches to fill us with His peace. When your heart turns to worry, turn your mind to God.

Lift up your worries, and let them go as you tell God what you need, reveling in the perfect peace that comes with His promise to take care of you.

(Photo courtesy of morguefile.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Weighing Motives

Giving with our hand but not our heart is possible.

We can feel pretty good about the things we do, but we often do not understand why we do what we do. 

In my job, we often share workloads. When one person’s caseload is down, others are often asked to share their cases to keep that person working. Once, I was asked and gave away several cases. I did not want to lose them, but for the good of the project, I knew this was what I should do.

Once, I had medical bills and extra financial expenses that wiped out the funds I had put away for a rainy day. At the same time, the bottom dropped out of my workload. I was told there were some cases available for me to work, but then they were given to someone else.

I felt sorry for myself. I had given up my cases, but when I had a need, nothing was there for me.  If I had not given up my cases, I might not have been in this dilemma. I was on a downward spiral.

Until one morning when this verse hit me between the eyes. All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the Lord weighs the motives. God weighed my motives and found them wanting. What I had given with my hand, I now took back in my heart.

The universe does not revolve around me. God’s sovereign choices include my needs, but are not exclusive to them. Someone may have needed the cases more than me. Or God in His infinite wisdom assigned the work without regard to my need.

God has the right to choose as He pleases. God forgave me, but I thought and concluded before I saw it from His perspective. Purity of motive may only come when we first have the humility to admit we do not have it.

Develop a habit of weighing your motives.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


Where did they come from? Did someone get up in the night? I wondered.

Whew! With the kitchen finally clean—I don't like waking up to a dirty kitchen—I flopped into bed, tired from a busy day of working outside.

Waking up the next morning to the aroma of coffee wafting into my room, I got up, walked to the kitchen, headed to the coffee pot, and glanced at the kitchen counter. Imagine my surprise when a stream of sunshine, beaming across my kitchen counter, revealed several smudges and finger prints on the counter.

Grumbling under my breath as I poured coffee into my favorite mug, I wondered how many times I thought I had cleaned up  the messes of my life, only to discover I didn't do such a good job. I left smudges and fingerprints on my heart that only the Holy Spirit's light could illuminate.

The psalmist asked God to create a clean heart in him. We, too, may act as if everything is okay on the outside, but God looks on the heart. When He nudges me about something—forgiving someone, revealing the truth, or apologizing to a spouse, roommate, or child—I need to do as He says, not as I think. When I don't, the smudges remain.

Such as the time when I said something harsh to my husband and the Lord convicted me. I apologized to the Lord during my prayer time but did not apologize to my husband. One day, the Lord nudged me to forgive my husband. By obeying, I erased the smudge on my heart.

Every time I see sunlight shining on my counters, I remember the fingerprint lesson and the importance of keeping my heart clean.

When God shines His light on the fingerprints or smudges in your life, ask Him to do what the psalmist did: Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Who is Your Moral Support?

“Sometimes I feel like my prayers stop at the ceiling, but that’s enough about my situation. What about you?”

The ache in my friend’s words dug deeply into my heart. We pray together, and I wanted to be her support system. Still, God held the reins tightly and forced her to wait on His timing. Waiting is sometimes as gruesome as fighting the battle.

Despite our love for Christ, we often find ourselves feeling God is not in tune with us. Prayer after prayer rises from the depths of our hearts, and it seems to no avail. Does He even hear our pleas? It’s easy to blame God or accuse Him of turning His back on us when the truth is He never does. If we were truly honest, we’d admit when God doesn’t answer within the time frame we deem fit, then it’s easier to accuse Him of ignoring us. This just gives Satan the toehold he needs to instill discouragement and frustration, even hurt and anger. Yet, God is faithful despite our weaknesses and worry.

Nehemiah stepped into the unknown when he asked the king to allow him to rebuild the city of his ancestors. It was enough to approach the king, but trusting God’s faithfulness was difficult as well. With the king’s blessing, Nehemiah began the daunting task of rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls. They met their share of conflict, so his men divided. Half worked while the remainder stood guard with weapons strapped on their sides. For Nehemiah’s workers, those who stood guard were the support system. The prayers. The protectors.

I certainly don’t have all the answers for my friend as she wades through the daily muck searching for needed guidance and answers, but I can be the half who stands guard over her, faithfully praying, offering encouragement, and supporting her. My faithfulness as her support gives her hope and encouragement. It strengthens her. Everyone needs that unwavering support from God and our friends.

Seek after those who need your prayer support. Tell those people you’ll be faithful to guard over them. You may very well be rebuilding a broken wall. When you prayerfully defend those who struggle, you too will feel the joys of God’s answers as well.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Father Knows Best

Rarely have I valued the hard times more than the enjoyable times.

It was somewhat of a shock when I learned about the potential of the Father’s chastening (or child training) during the last year while going through what my attending physician described as “a reprieve to a death sentence.” Then he told me to enjoy it. I must confess, this is a commentary on my lack of spiritual maturity.

Many Christians can testify that the best times in their lives have not been the most pleasurable times, but rather the times they walked one painful step at a time holding Jesus’ loving hand. In His presence, they found more than they imagined possible.

Difficult times are proof that believers are loved: “The Lord chastens those that He loves” (Hebrews 12:6).

Contrary to human reasoning, Spirit-controlled believers often feel blessed and thankful for the refining pain of earthly tragedies. They have learned their Lord’s love and presence are often easier to experience when the things of this world grow dim. Knowing it is because of His love that they are being taught, they cling to Jesus.

I have learned the hard way that our Father knows best. Our faith must be tested, our pain is partially in our hands, and our peace comes from our relationship with Jesus.

Don’t shy away from the sorrow and pain of the hard times of life. Put your trust and love in Jesus, and you will be blessed.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Heart of It

My parents always sliced a watermelon when I was young. 

We kids would grab a slice, sit on the porch together, and begin a seed-spitting competition. Definitely a happy childhood memory. At some point, when I became an adult and paid for my own watermelons, I decided scooping watermelon into a dish was my preferred way to eat it. Slices were too messy.

Once, while we were staying with my in-laws, I bought a watermelon and helped myself to some in my usual way. Later that evening, my father-in-law took the foil off the partially eaten watermelon sitting in the fridge and with great shock asked, "Who took the heart right out of the watermelon?"

I said, "Umm … me." I realized too late he was old-school and thought scooping the heart out of a watermelon was the wrong way to eat it. He might be right.

The heart—the pure heart—is the best part. When it's gone, the rest of the watermelon is not quite the same. It's still good, but it gets more distasteful the further you get from the heart and the closer you get to the bitter rind. What's left gets thrown out.

Sometimes, we do the same in life. We take the best part and leave the rest. I guess it's human nature. We give of ourselves until we have nothing left—taking care of our homes, families, spouses, and jobs. Then we walk around feeling empty because the heart is gone. That's a tough place to be. Empty, numb, and sometimes bitter.

When we get so far from the heart of things, we just want to get the sweetness of life back—to get back to the heart of it all. If asked, God will create a new spirit in us. He gives the best part instead of taking it.

When we have nothing left, and it seems all the good parts have been scooped out, God fills us up again—to overflowing.

God never fails. Trust Him.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Where True Beauty Lies

“I was just trying to get pretty for you.”

My wife is a beautiful brunette, but for the past several years she has been highlighting her brunette hair with blonde streaks. The last time she had her hair colored, something happened. Since we didn’t have the funds for her to get her hair colored and highlighted, she chose to have it colored … blonde.  

As the beautician applied the chemical, my wife felt a burning sensation. When she got home, she looked in the mirror and saw that her scalp in the back was red. Things got worse. She developed headaches, then a tender scalp, and finally puss pockets.  

A week after the coloring, she took a picture and sent it to our daughter-in-law, who’s a nurse. The verdict? Infection. So my wife paid a visit to the local urgent care center where the doctor prescribed an antibiotic.

When my wife called to tell me the verdict, I said, “The next time you want to get pretty for me, just stay the way you are.”

Peter told first-century women not to go overboard with outward beauty, but to care for their inner beauty. Still good advice—for men too.

I’m glad folks don’t face the world looking as they do when they first get out of bed—myself included. We wouldn’t look as we normally do, nor would we smell the same—at least not our breath. Outward grooming and good hygiene are important, but they are just that, outward.

What we do to dress up our outsides might impress others for a while—the boss, the boyfriend, the girlfriend, the wife or husband, the best friend—but it won’t last. Eventually, those we try to impress with our outward looks will see the inside through our actions and attitudes.

I’ve known some people who were gorgeous or handsome on the outside, but ugly on the inside. Their words or actions made them that way. We can’t hide forever what’s on the inside. It will color our lifestyle.

While tending to the outside is important, caring for the inside is more so. When we are in a right relationship with God, our inner beauty will shine through, and this is the light God wants others to see more than our outward appearance.

Make sure your inner beauty is the true beauty others see.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

He Will Not Let You Slip

The steps were skinny. Skinny as in . . . not even the length of your foot. I can’t tell you the times I’ve fallen because the steps were so thin. Even the dog’s feet flew out from under him. If it weren’t so bad, I’d say it was funny. That is, until . . . my son, Cameron, took a horrible fall.

It was terrible. My husband was at the top of the stairs, grabbing at him and missing. I was at the bottom, trying to catch him. Yet nothing we did could prevent his socked feet from sailing waist high into the air, his flipping twice, or his temple slamming against the banister before he hit the floor.

My heart stopped as I looked at my ten-year-old son, lying lifeless at my feet. I dialed the doctor, who immediately told me swelling could be internal. “Rouse him and get to the hospital now.”

The writer of the Psalms reminds us God is faithful. As a shepherd, he needed sure footing to prevent slips and tumbles as he cared for his sheep. Deeper yet, David understood how the Father never spiritually let him slip. Rather, He watched over him–never sleeping.

And that, friends, is comforting. Just knowing God has us. He’s always there to catch us. His presence doesn’t prevent life from happening, but it does mean, despite the trials, God never lets us slip away from Him.

No matter how my husband and I tried, we couldn’t keep Cameron’s feet from slipping. The fear we faced as he lay in the hospital was terrifying. After hours at the ER and tons of prayer, we were finally able to take our son home. He had a nasty headache, but he came out fine. We began the search for someone who could rebuild our staircase so no one else would fall–a task in and of itself.

Sometimes we can’t prevent a fall, but when we face those slip ups, it’s nice to know our Savior stands firmly beneath us to break our fall. When you feel your feet sliding, dig your heels into trust and know God is with you. He will not let you fall.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


As a second-grade teacher, I teach about the four seasons. My students discuss the seasonal activities and the characteristics of each, such as warmer weather, snow, or changing leaf color. In each one, transformations occur.

In biblical terms, season is an appointed time. Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes that to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (3:1). The seasons may change, but God's promises to us do not.

Sometimes we may be discouraged or in a dry season. However, the seasons of our life will change every time we use our faith. Galatians 6:9 says, Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Seasons involve a shift, and each time there's a shift in the atmosphere, we have to activate our faith.

I thought of an acronym for season: S.H.I.F.T., which stands for Surrender to Him in Faith Today.  We can surrender to God because our times and life affairs are in His hands. In our verse, the word times means seasons, causes, affairs, and events of our life.

God of my life is one of the names for God that focuses on His relationships with His people. He is the God of our life. We can be at peace and know He controls our future. All we have to do is activate our faith and surrender to Him in faith. 

Make the following confession: My times and my future are in God’s hands. He is the God of my life. I choose to surrender to Him in faith today. The seasons may change, but God’s promises to me will not.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

New Glasses

The eye doctor clicked the machine. “Better or worse?” Another click, another line of blurry letters. “Better or worse?” We agreed on the best option, and he wrote a prescription.

When my new glasses arrived, I looked like a bobble-head doll as I adapted to progressive bifocals. The lenses darkened outdoors—another new feature. They helped on bright days, but indoor rooms took on a dim and somber note until the glasses readjusted.

These new bells and whistles are useful, but my vision still isn't perfect. Spiritually speaking, it's often poor. I squint to understand a friend's situation, but it's clear to God's 20/20 vision. My soul's myopia blurs perspective in my own life, but God sees the complete picture.

As a child, I imagined what Father God looked like. My mental picture didn't show Him wearing glasses, but my adult imagination added them. Of course, His vision is perfect with or without glasses. The lenses are clear, not darkened. They have one feature: they're tinted red at great cost.

Paul says we see dimly now, but the moment we accept Christ's gift of salvation, our heavenly Father sees us through rose-colored glasses. That idiom for a positive viewpoint reminds me our Father is eternally optimistic about us—our future, no matter how dimly we see it, and our past, no matter how flecked with dirt. All because we said yes to Jesus who said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” John 8:12 (ESV).

Our eyes may need corrective lenses and our spiritual vision might squint at darkened glass, but when you can't see life clearly, focus on the good news proclaimed throughout Scripture. We're seen through the lens of everlasting love. Our future's so bright we need shades.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

God Is Patient

While struggling with infertility, I was anything but patient.

I wanted a baby. I did not understand why it was not happening—or why God placed such a desire in my heart yet wasn’t making my dream come true. I was frustrated and embedded in my selfish ambitions. My eyes were not turned to God, and I did not listen to His quiet voice trying to guide me. He simply wasn’t moving quickly enough.

Peter reminds us the Lord is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.

God was not moving too slowly for me; He was waiting for me to listen to His calling and set my selfish desires aside. And He would have continued to wait for me.

We are often derailed by the need for instant gratification and by Satan probing us to immediate response. We dwell in our selfish ambitions and allow Satan to nurture our discontent when we really need to pull the weeds, clean the garden, and prepare our hearts for our waiting Father.

God will continue to wait as we find our way because He is a patient Father. His desires for us are beyond our imagination, and we are the ones who lose when we leave Him waiting. When impatience pierces our heart and we feel as if God is moving too slowly, we should remember He is not slow in keeping His promises, but is patiently waiting for us.    

If you find yourself thinking God is too slow, take a step back and examine your heart, your desires, and your path. As you are waiting on Him, He is waiting for you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Mending the Bond

In a favorite movie, the princess hates the things her mother tells her she must do to become a real princess.

Her mother insists she act, eat, behave, and listen as a princess. But the princess wants to go her own way and do her own thing. She wishes her mother would listen. Finally, a witch casts a spell on her mom that the princess hopes will allow her freedom. After feeding her mother the cake with the spell, her mother becomes a bear.

Never is any of this the princess’s fault, but the witch’s. Wanting her mother to return to herself, the princess and her mother consult the witch. The witch informs the princess she must mend the bond between herself and her mother or her mother will become a real bear inside and out.

Desperately trying to save her mother, the princess finally admits, “This is all my fault. I’m so sorry. I love you.”  Her tearful confession saves her mother.

God wants to mend the bond between Him and me. He doesn’t ask me to walk my own way or do my own thing. Some of what I could do would not be good for me. He knows that sometimes I want my own way even if it leads in the wrong direction. Like the princess’s mother, God wants the best for me and wants me to act like His child and follow His lead.

God asks me to listen, read His word, and tell others about His wondrous love. He asks me to help others find a place for Jesus in their hearts. Then like the princess—who saw the error of her ways, mended the bond with her mother, asked for forgiveness, and lived happily ever after—we can live cheerfully forever with our God.

There is no time like the present to mend the bond between you and God.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Loving the Enemy

She was a nursing home resident who was only visited by loved ones on the first and fifteenth of each month.

Her niece came at noon and her grandson at three in the afternoon. They’d speak to her—one of the sweetest people you’d ever meet—with hateful aggression, which made her cry more times than not. After every visit, she’d give them a tight hug, whisper “I love you,” and place money in their back pockets. I don’t remember her name, but their actions angered me. Such a giving person emptying unmerited kindness without being refilled. I saw the resident as a victim. I was wrong.

We all know people who only come around when they need a favor. The ones you hear from when their car is low on gas or they need a babysitter on Friday night. The ones who stop by when they need a shoulder to cry on or who want words of encouragement because their marriage is being tested.

Luke says God gives generously without regret or in spite of our failures and inability to repay. He commands us to do the same.  

We are created in God’s image and are servants, not victims. To say, “I don’t want to be needed,” equals to, “I don’t want to serve.” God’s purpose is for us to lean on each other. He wants us to rethink what it means to be used and try to look at servanthood from His perspective. In His eyes, we are more than conquerors.

Worrying about someone taking advantage of our kindness isn’t important. Our Father makes sure ill-willed intentions are revealed in due season. Our talents, gifts, achievements, and strengths were not given exclusively to us but for us to get them to the people who need them. The same goes for our weaknesses and failures. He made us so we would need each other.

Rejoice when others are doing well, but help them when they’re not—regardless of who they are.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Remembering Vicky

“You’re the last person the customer will see before they leave the store. You need to make a good impression,” the grocery store manager said. His words rang true twenty years later.

I met Vicky on a train. She was a sixty-year-old Philippine woman with a lot of stress, both at work and at home. Her husband had dementia. What started the conversation were questions I had asked about a book she was reading. At first, my conversation wasn’t spiritual, but I later brought Jesus into our discussion.

I gave Vicky a few tracts that pertained to her situation and one which contained the Gospel of John. Every day I got on the train, she was reading the tracts. In August, a friend of hers told me Vicky had lost her job. Several months later, I asked her how Vicky was doing. She told me she had passed away.

The day I found out she was fired, the Christian radio station played two salvation-themed songs in a row. I felt as if the Lord told me, “Good job, Ken.” I may have been the last person to share the gospel with Vicky.

Talking about Jesus can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Because Jesus wants other followers, we need to do what this verse says: So go and make followers of all people in the world.  I can only hope because of my chat with Vicky that she asked Jesus into her heart, that she became a Christian, and that I’ll see her in heaven.

Don’t be afraid to tell others about Jesus. You could be the last person to share with them before they die.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Speak Up

She allowed the boys to go play with the sendoff, “Let’s just play nicely together!”

A friend’s six-year-old daughter was at an indoor play park when she came across a little girl who was upset. In comforting her, she learned some boys had called her the “dummy girl.” Not one to leave a situation unresolved, she called the boys over and asked them to have a seat. She then told them their actions hurt, and, since she was the oldest in the situation, they must listen to her,

My friend’s daughter has embraced a valuable lesson detailed in Proverbs 31: speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, as well as for the rights of the destitute. Also, to speak up and judge fairly and to defend the rights of the poor and needy. Although the other child at the park was not poor and needy, she was in need.

As Christians, our responsibility is to stand up for others who are unable to speak for themselves and to embrace those in need, cloaking them in the love and grace Jesus gives us.

My friend’s daughter did not resort to anger or fists, which is the first line of defense we often use. Instead, she spoke calmly and judged fairly. She provided grace, love, and forgiveness and was a beacon of God’s love and design for relationships.

As we traverse life, we will encounter many situations that need our voice. Situations of people in need where we may be the single person who speaks up on their behalf.

Speak up, judge fairly, and be a living example of God’s grace.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


Have you ever been so tired you yelled for everyone to be quiet?

Maybe you’ve banged on the wall and bellowed for the party animal next door to keep it down or hollered at noisy roommates so you could study. If you’re a parent, and you’re honest, you’ve probably raised your voice a time or two, calling for quiet. 

Yelling at people is not a good idea, but when we’re tired, Jesus gets it. In His human nature, He needed silence—and rest—just like we do. Once He fell asleep in a boat, and when a storm came up that scared His friends into thinking they were about to die, He woke up and yelled at the wind and waves to knock it off.  

Jesus wasn’t afraid of the wind and waves. He created them and had authority over them. In this particular instance, He calmed a storm. At other times, He calms us during the storm. He knows our fears, cares about us, and has the power to calm the anxious thoughts of our heart and mind.

If you’re going through a rough time, look up. Ask the One who calmed the sea to intervene on your behalf and say “Quiet! Be still!” to the raging circumstances surrounding your life. He’s right there with you in the rocky boat. He’s not asleep, and He won’t let you sink.

Ask God to give you the physical, mental, and emotional peace you need during difficult times.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Updated Privacy Policy

ChristianDevotions.us has updated its Privacy Policy, effective May 31, 2018. These changes were made because of the EU’s new data privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

We encourage you to take the time to review our revised Privacy Policy. By continuing to remain on our newsletter or email list, you acknowledge our updated Privacy Policy. If you would like your data removed or modified, please contact us at christiandevotionsministries@gmail.com.

We will continue to focus on strengthening and improving our privacy practices and tools for the benefit of our partners, contacts, and website visitors.

We encourage all our clients to research the GDPR. Let us know if you would like us to implement any changes to your website or mailing lists by emailing us at christiandevotionsministries@gmail.com.

Visit our privacy policy page at http://www.christiandevotions.us/privacypolicy.

Kind Regards,

Martin Wiles
Managing Editor

Cindy Sproles
Executive Editor

Trusting in Desperate Times

On May 11, 2014, a mother jumped three stories from a burning building to save her infant son.

The mother was bold, uncompromising. She had no consciousness of height, depth, or self. She didn’t care how her clothes and hair looked, or who was watching. On a normal day, fire is hot and consuming. The jump alone could have killed them. However, this fire and height were just obstacles separating this mother and child from life.

Jesus encountered a desperate woman. One who had tried everything, but nothing worked. So she went to Jesus.

What is it about desperation? We ride high on Monday but low on Tuesday. When riding high, there are things we wouldn’t say or do. People who aren’t desperate are sophisticated, safe, and self-satisfied. Yet in desperate times when we are riding low, we go the distance. We will ask for anything or go anywhere. Who has time to be classy when the building is burning?

In desperation, we empty our bank accounts, seek advice from everyone, and get worse. When we’re desperate, we’ll do anything to alleviate extreme need. Desperation kills foolish pride, cockiness, and shame. In times of desperation, no one cares about gossip. Rather, we find a sense of urgency and look for any small reason to hope. We find the characteristics God intended for us to have in the first place: the willingness to cry out and trust Him. Maybe these moments sprout up to birth such urgency.

We should always expect and be ready for affliction. Whether we are distressed or in peace, we need to live with a desperate attitude. Desperation will defy isolation, consequences, complacency, and self-centeredness. It transforms hardened hearts.

Neither should we wait for desperate times before we display a heart hungry for the Lord. Be desperate for God’s love regardless of whether you ride high or low. Seek daily and desperately the everlasting grace of the Lord.

Live every day persevering to be filled with God’s calmness, courage, and confidence.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

When God's Not Looking

When we’re looking, she’s a perfect little angel, but when we’re not…

Our six-month-old Chihuahua mix was kennel trained when we got her, so when we left the house—and at night—we put her in what she was accustomed to. She didn’t yelp, and we didn’t have to worry about her getting into trouble.

But I hate putting a dog in a kennel or on a chain, so after she reached nine months of age—and had shown herself capable of behaving when we were gone—my wife and I began leaving her out while we went on various outings. She did well. Until she turned one year old. Suddenly, her well-behaved nature while we absent from the house changed.

Her favorite misbehavior involved digging through the trash can. We put it up. Then she chewed up my wife’s box of Milk Duds. That almost equaled a federal offense. Finally, she pulled my basketful of pens and highlighters from the table beside my chair. In doing so, she broke the final straw. Back in the kennel when we left the house.

Soft heart that I am, I gave her one final chance after punishing her. We left for a short trip to Mom’s. When we returned, she had pulled trash from our large garbage can. She had exhausted her chances. She had to learn to behave whether we were looking or not.

Jonah must have thought as our dog did. When God told him to preach to people he hated, he ran, thinking God wouldn’t see his act of disobedience once he left the land of Israel. He discovered his error when God sent a large fish to swallow him. 

Our dog waits until we’re not looking to misbehave, but God is always looking. Jonah discovered leaving his homeland didn’t leave God. God is everywhere. Though the Bible doesn’t use the word, it does evidence the concept of omnipresence.

Although God always sees our behavior, He’s not sitting in heaven waiting for us to misbehave so He can squash us. He has principles, commands, and expectations, but His nature is love. He disciplines when we go astray, but that is exactly why He disciplines. His love demands He keep us on the right track so we can enjoy the best life He has to offer.

Remember, God watches over you constantly—because He loves you.

(Photo courtesy of author.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Running to Win

My failure was on display for everyone to see.

When I was in elementary school, we had to run in physical education class. I always hated those days, because I was so slow and because we had to run in front of the class.

When we moved to Florida and I changed schools, it was even worse. We didn’t have a gym, so P.E. was outside—which meant running was there too. If you’ve never lived in Florida, I will tell you why this was bad. Sand. Running on a wooden floor was hard enough, but running in sand was more difficult.

I’ve never considered myself a runner, so when Paul mentions running in a race, I cringe a little. He says only one receives the prize. I’m thinking that wouldn’t be me. But Paul says to run in such a way that we may obtain it.

Life and our walk with God is like a race. If we plan to obtain the prize, we must run in such a way that we win. Paul knows we’re not all athletes, so he’s not telling us to run a literal race. What he is saying is that we need to live our lives in such a way that we can obtain the prize at the end.

Although our salvation isn’t based on works, we do have a responsibility to live according to the Word’s principles. The race of life may be a one-hundred-meter dash for some and a marathon for others. Regardless of which one it is, we should want to live in such a way that God will say to us in the end, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Lay aside the sin that weighs you down and run hard after God. A part of the prize is walking with Him and being close to Him. Nothing can take that from you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Power of the Word

A number of years ago in Palo Alto, California, this verse was put to the test when Pastor Ray Stedman used it to change his community.

The zoning board held a hearing on a proposal to add a liquor store to a strip mall located between a church and a high school. Citizens expressed their outrage, citing the need to protect the city’s youth from such a store’s temptation. The owner of the store testified that if the students wanted alcohol they would get it, even if his store was located further away.   

Pastor Stedman remained quiet during the testimony, but the crowd wanted to know his opinion. He walked up to address the zoning board and opened his Bible to Luke 17:1-2.

As he read the words aloud, a hush fell over the crowd. “He said to His disciples, ‘It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.’”

Without comment, Pastor Stedman walked back to his seat. After a few moments of silence, the liquor store owner stood up and withdrew his application.

On that day, the Word was living, active, and sharper than the arguments of man. It was powerful enough to strike at the heart of those at the meeting.

All too often we forget to look at the Word of God as more than just a Good Book. It is a sword in the hands of the righteous.

The next time you are faced with a conflict, pray and ask God to equip you with the raw power of His Word.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(Visit Christian Devotions for more devotions.)

Help My Unbelief

When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, I believed God could and would heal me from stage four Lymphoma.

The cancer eventually spread to my brain and thyroid. Even if God didn’t heal me, I knew I belonged to Him and that He was my Savior and Lord. After thyroid surgery, I spent months taking strong chemo and enduring weeks of whole brain radiation.

Often I thought of the father who brought his son to Jesus for healing. An evil spirit possessed the boy. The man had asked the disciples to heal him, but they couldn’t. When the evil spirit seized the boy again, the father asked Jesus for help. Jesus told him anything was possible if he believed. That’s when he told Jesus he believed, but needed help with unbelief.

Like the boy’s father, I’ve said, “Lord, I’m like that little boy’s dad. I believe You have all power, and I believe You can heal me. If there is any unbelief in me, please help my unbelief.”

In November 2013, my doctor said, “You have no cancer in your body.” God has healed me—not because of anything I have or have not done—but because He chose to bring healing. I am now committed to telling others what God has done.

One day I will breathe my last breath and be ushered into the presence of God, because Jesus is my Savior and Lord. That will be my ultimate healing. I will spend eternity with Jesus in my heavenly home.

We can have abundant joy even during difficult days if we depend on God. The things we try to avoid and fight against—tribulation, sickness, and suffering—are the very things that produce abundant joy in us. During these times, we must depend on the Lord more than usual.

Ask Jesus to help you with your unbelief.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Miss Fix-It

It’s always been an issue. Maybe it comes from being a recovering perfectionist.

As soon as a problem arises, my brain goes into fix-it mode. My tendency is to turn the situation upside down and inside out, then analyze it from every possible angle and play out every conceivable scenario. I mentally go down the checklist of what ifs. My grandmother used to say, “You’re worrying that problem to death. Leave it alone.”

It’s exhausting. But the worst part is—most of the time—I’m unable to fix anything.

One day during my morning devotions, I read these words in Jesus Calling by Sarah Young: “Problems are part of life. They are inescapable, woven into the very fabric of this fallen world. You tend to go into problem-solving mode all too readily, acting as if you have the capacity to fix everything. This is a habitual response, so automatic that it bypasses your conscious thinking. Not only does this habit frustrate you, it also distances you from Me.” ~Jesus

Ouch! If you’re like me, the last thing you want is distance between you and the Lord. For us fixers, the answer lies in realizing our limitations and not allowing ourselves to get weighed down with situations and circumstances we’re not responsible for and not equipped to handle.

God is the ultimate fixer—the great problem solver. He knows the end from the beginning and everything in between. He sees the bigger picture, is aware of and concerned about whatever concerns us, and is always working all things together for our good. In other words, He can handle it.

Got a problem? Give it to Him.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Ask and You Shall Receive

I often find myself confronting a red-faced child, wondering what in the world I did to cause such upset. Their outburst concludes with a desperate plea for something I had no idea they wanted. Wasted time and energy spent being upset because they never asked.

Whether it be fear, trepidation, or pride, we have all found ourselves in a situation where we hesitated to ask for what we want or need. Being told no is often harder on our egos than not knowing at all. We are our own worst enemies, and we effectively place roadblocks in the path of God’s blessings.

Jesus reminds us of how we sell God short when we don’t ask for what we want and need. If we ask, it will be given to us. If we seek, we will find. And if we knock, the door will be opened. Our heavenly Father will give even better gifts than a parent.

Just as a parent takes joy in giving to their children, our heavenly Father does the same. We need simply to ask. The Devil fills our head and hearts with lies as he manipulates our waiting time to feel like wasted time. Satan encourages our doubts in asking and exacerbates our disappointment when we don’t receive exactly what we asked for.

Satan enjoys building roadblocks. Send him on a detour! Remind yourself God’s Word promises good gifts. If that gift is not what you’re expecting, know God has something far better in store than what you could possibly imagine.

The next time you are hesitant to ask God to fulfill a need or want, fall to your knees and do so with confidence. God promises to deliver good gifts. Be a gracious receiver clothed in trust and faithfulness. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Semi's Low Tire

Reuniting with a former student brightened my day.

A semi-tractor trailer stopped as I returned from feeding cattle. The driver had been in my classroom during his third-grade year. He provided an update on his family and his tight schedule of hauling soybeans harvested from our rural area. We chatted about one low tire on the trailer. No big deal—even though it was fully loaded. He told me he knew the other tires could carry the load.

That semi-tractor trailer bore a strong comparison with the church. Frequently, I have heard a person tell how her friends lifted her family up in prayer during a difficult time. Another person related how food was brought to their family’s home by fellow church members during a time of need. Several individuals expressed how a note of encouragement arrived exactly on the day it was most needed.

Scripture refers to the church as a body. When a body part suffers injury, the rest of the body seems to respond to ensure the body’s functions continue as normal as possible. A body remains sturdy and stalwart only as each individual part is strong and supports the other weaker body parts.

With compassionate actions, Christians should support those in their flock who are hurting. When we sense a sister or brother in Christ is struggling, they should know we are praying for them. Fellow believers should be uplifted by our sharing of Scripture and words of hope. Those who are mourning must feel the comfort of the Lord flowing from His heart through us.

Ask God to use you to raise up those who feel flattened by the circumstances of life. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Poor Stewardship

People come in two categories in the mountains of New York: those who embrace the cold and snow and those who don’t. Those who don’t tend to stay inside.

Negative numbers on the outside thermometer encourage people to turn the inside thermostat up. When they turn the dial, the heating oil company loves them more. At the same time, some people can’t afford a median-priced home, let alone a fuel bill.

Facts printed indicate ninety percent of all goods created in the world end up in the hands of Americans, who make up ten per cent of the world population. Things like skis, snowshoes, snowmobiles, and high-tech winter clothing make up a significant part of those statistics around New York. But some children still wear sneakers and a light jacket in the cold weather. Plenty of poor people still remain in the United States.

One church in New York runs a clothing giveaway and another deals with groceries. Whether it’s within our borders or anywhere around the world, Americans give—if they’re able to.

Jesus tells us we will always have the poor with us. It is up to us to determine when and how to assist them. Perhaps the American’s Christian foundation supplies the grace for us not only to know who the poor are but also to show them mercy. On the other hand, God’s grace may be missing in this age.

When the occasion arises, fill the need rather than perusing the checkbook first. Jesus says, “…whenever you wish…” but if your funds aren’t in order, wishing won’t get it done.

Place your assets under better stewardship so you can have the ability to help “whenever you wish.”

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

From His Hand

My husband and I drove to a buffet restaurant in town. Our two children in tow, we were led to our table where the waitress informed us we could “help ourselves.” As parents, we did our best to teach our children manners, but since restaurants were not a usual part of our family meal experiences, we were not prepared for our children’s actions once they realized they could take a plate and “help themselves.”

They ran greedily past the salad bar, past the servings of vegetables, past the meat-carving station, and straight to the dessert buffet. Before I could reach them, their little hands had touched dozens of cookies, cakes, and cream puffs. Their plates were piled high before I could intervene. My little daughter looked up at me with wide eyes and offered her explanation, “But I was hungry!”

I don’t remember all I told her, but I do know we helped ourselves to another plate of nourishing food before touching those desserts. I struggled to explain why things that might not always taste as delightful as a cream puff could be good for them. My children longed only for the sugary goodness meant to be partaken of sparingly only after ingesting the nutrition their growing bodies desperately needed.

Like my children with desserts, I have yearned for good from God—but not trouble. I have run toward comfort, not holiness. I would bypass the hard days that would make me strong and grow me up in the Lord. I gripe and complain at the slightest hint of a trial, questioning God when faced with pain or adversity.

God has already proven He will care for us. All that touches our lives is carefully measured and poured out from His sovereign but loving hand. We don’t have to doubt Him when the spoonful we swallow tastes strange or bitter on our tongue. His purpose and will for our lives is perfect. And at the end of our faithfully-run journey, a spread of sweet blessing awaits us.

Gladly receive whatever God sends your way. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Broken and Repurposed

We don’t have to look far to see people’s brokenness, often in our own homes.   

I had an antique stained-glass window broken during flood cleanup. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it out, so I put it away until I was ready to deal with it. At this moment, someone has cut off the sharp edges, it has been mounted on a board to protect from further damage, and an artist is writing the names of my grandchildren on it for display in the same spot it hung as a decorative window.

If you have ever cleaned up broken glass, you understand it is a hazardous task. In most cases, a person would carefully discard it, but not all shattered glass is meant to be thrown out.

Some broken things are precious to us, just as broken and shattered people are precious to God—as He showed to Jeremiah through his visit to the potter’s house.

Most broken people know they are broken—and often believe they have been so spoiled that they are of no use to God. What’s the point of even trying? We don’t have to throw them away. Condemnation has already done that and keeps them from rising up and trying again (Proverbs 24:16).

But God sees usefulness in each of us, and the gifts and purposes He gives are irrevocable. Broken or not, He will repurpose us for His glory.

An unbroken glass is beautiful and reflects light clearly, but one that is broken and repurposed reflects light in entirely different ways. The cracks and edges divert light into dissimilar places just as rocks in a stream deter water.

Perhaps you know a broken soul. Maybe it’s you. God is not finished with you. In fact, now that you are in pieces, you can become that vessel for His special purpose.

Don’t let brokenness spoil your work for God. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

In Prayer

Sometimes we simply need to seek peace.

It has been one year since my first brain surgery. One year ago, when I couldn’t walk a straight line or hear over the internal sounds of my heartbeat, blood pumping, and footsteps. My world was so noisy, and I longed for peace and quiet.

Drilling into my head wasn’t the answer I sought. After all, God can just snap His fingers and fix things, but that wasn’t His plan. He needed me to walk a different path. He wanted to groom me for something that, well . . . is truly yet to be seen.

My prayer became pleas for protection, healing, and … peace. I wanted quiet. And if God needed me to hear that still small voice, it was impossible through all the noise.

Jesus secluded Himself at times. He felt and longed for quiet. In the thick of His ministry, thousands swamped Him, pleading for a touch of His healing. Physically and mentally, He grew weary and retreated alone to spend time in prayer with His Father. We don’t know the prayers Jesus offered up during those times. Perhaps for His compassion to remain intact, for physical strength, or for peace and quiet. But we know He needed to renew and recharge from the cries of the afflicted.

When Jesus took time to teach us prayer, the simplicity of His words were etched in our hearts. His prayer became our prayer–the one we go to when we cannot find the words. I’ve spoken that prayer hundreds of times, but this time I brought a healing and weary body to the feet of Christ. He’d protected, healed much—not all, but much—and as I sought out the peace and quiet I longed for, my prayer was,

Give me this day, Lord, my portion of bread. Please, in your mercy, forgive my sins and guide me to forgive others–even when it’s hard. Protect me from Satan and the things he entices me toward. For You, O mighty God . . . You are holy. May I be teachable and acceptant of your will in my life, especially when I do not understand the path You have me on. For, Lord God, this is YOUR kingdom from now into eternity. Amen. And Amen. (Reworded)

Take time to re-read the prayer Jesus taught, and then rewrite it to fit the cry of your own heart. He will hear and answer.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


Talk to Me

On a beautiful, sun-filled Arizona morning, I walked into my backyard, which was surrounded by palm trees. My peace of mind over their safety had been robbed.

I read that morning how voracious beetles were eating the famous palm trees of Pasadena California. I feared they might be planning a trip over the mountains to the northern Phoenix valley in Arizona. If they determined to make the trip, I knew the farms and agriculture surrounding our house would not stop their invasion.

Strangely, I heard, “Talk to Me.” Since I have had three life-threatening medical experiences during the last year—including a massive stroke—I wondered if I had more damage than I was aware of. I remembered these verses, Whatsoever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it, and realized what I was hearing might be the Lord trying to get my attention.

These verses set me free by saying “whatsoever,” so I talked to Jesus about the palm trees. Feeling much better, I realized I often don’t talk to my Lord Jesus about everyday life as I would to a good friend. I was afraid to bother Him with small things. He is so important and deals with such significant things. I didn’t want to impose.

Then I realized He loves me and wants to hear what is bothering me in everyday life, even if it is only beetles. Talking to Jesus about life’s small things, instead of going first to my own thoughts and solutions, turns my life into a Psalm 23 life.

I learned if God’s children will freely and spontaneously talk to Jesus as to a good friend—and leave with Him what tightens them up—they will learn what prayer really is. “Stop talking to yourself so much and talk to Jesus about everyday life” came to mind. If you follow that simple prescription, you will find a recipe for satisfaction.

Talk to the Lord as to a loving friend. He wants to hear your needs and what’s going on in your life.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Acting as Diotrephes

Gabbie was in a tough situation.

Della asked Gabbie not to entertain, speak, or act kindly to Ryan. He had hurt her by ignoring her and using harsh words when she confronted him. Gabbie was not only asked to act rude to show her disapproval for what Ryan had done to Della but also not to forgive him. Gabbie wasn’t happy about how Ryan had acted, but she wasn’t ready to react in an ungodly way. Torn between pleasing her best friend and God, she decided not to imitate Della—even though it might threaten their friendship.

Diotrephes was a man who did not always agree with John’s words and did his best to stand against him. He wasn’t enthused about receiving other Christians who travelled across different countries to share the gospel. Nor did he keep this view to himself. He ensured other people treated them likewise.

We often act similarly. Acting out of frustration or anger, as Della did, or imitating her actions if we are in Gabbie’s shoes is easy. Either way, we should consider our actions and ensure they are in accordance with God’s expectations.

Our reactions towards unpleasant situations shouldn’t involve encouraging others to disobey God. Instead of getting others to act in ungodly ways, we should act out of love. We should also be careful to please God by imitating Jesus, not the ungodly actions of people around us—even if doing so is more convenient.

Imitate Christ, and encourage others to do so as well. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Climb Without a View

It was the fourth hour of the hike that did me in.

The final quarter-mile to the summit stretched upward, paved with skewed boulders on an endless incline. Sides cramping, heels tingling with the continuous scrape of broken skin, I trudged up the mountainside.

My heart thudded as I climbed the final steps toward the looming fire tower. The treetops thinned and the air cooled. Panting for breath, I turned to take in the infamous view that boasted a vantage of four states. Nothing was there but chalky clouds.

Scaling the tower steps, I peered through the open windows. Gauzy tendrils of clouds flitted past me. I couldn’t see anything. I stomped down the stairs and surveyed the descent before me. What was the point of all that work and all that pain to see nothing but haze? Even worse, it wasn’t over. Six miles down the mountain awaited me.

James urges us in James 1:4, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I certainly wasn’t being mature as I pouted my way down the mountainside, but when I reached the bottom, something happened.

I looked back and saw the mountain I had climbed. My legs were stiff and burning, an aching reminder of the labor my body had just performed.  No, I hadn’t been rewarded for my efforts, but muscles had ripped so they could grow. I was strengthened by the exercise as I persevered.

I now see how much this resembles life. We travel rocky terrain at different points, and it can be difficult to understand the purpose without a tangible resolution.

When God lets us face trials in life, He is doing something inside us that is mostly invisible. We are being changed—strengthened through adversity. We are being built up in Him so we can be better tools for His kingdom work. The tangible evidence comes with time as we face new challenges and are better able to persevere.

Trust God in the adversity. When He is done with you, you will lack nothing. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Suffering's Lessons

Never had I been sick for so long.

Sickness stuck to me this winter. Sinusitis hit the day after school dismissed for Christmas vacation. I persevered through the holidays, feeling horrible. When nothing worked, I made a doctor’s appointment. He gave the antibiotic, and I was better within one week.

Two weeks later, the same sickness returned. Between sick people at church and sick kids at school, I stood no change. Lysol, hand sanitizer, and Clorox wipes seemed unable to kill the monster.

Thinking my doctor might give me a second round of antibiotics since I had recently been ill, I returned. No such luck. “You probably had the flu,” he remarked, “but you’re past the seventy-two-hour window where medicine will help. Tough it out.”

Fortunately, my wife discovered a round of steroids the doctor had previously prescribed for her back. “Take these,” said Dr. Michelle. I did, and within two days, I felt better. (Men should always listen to their wives.)

Spring can’t come quickly enough. Suffering has worn me down—in body and in spirit. Paul had something to say about physical suffering, the kind that comes from standing up for Christ. It produces patience, character, and hope.

Physical suffering, whether from illness or from my stand for Christ, helps me identify with others. Because I have been sick so much this winter, I sympathize with others I know who have dealt with seasonal illnesses.  

Suffering grows faith and trust. Doctors prescribe medicines, which hopefully will heal. But trusting in the ultimate healer gives me peace and comfort. If He wants, He can do instantly what medicine takes days or weeks to accomplish. As I wait on Him, my faith and trust increase.

Times of suffering also help us appreciate the times of health and peace. The times when our bodies are well and no one is persecuting us for our faith, whether physically or emotionally.

Paul and many first-century Christians suffered for the just cause: their faith in Christ. Still they rejoiced. When we suffer for a similar reason, we should rejoice too. Jesus said we should.

When you suffer in your body, either from physical illnesses or because you stand for Christ, don’t waste the opportunity to learn from it.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Right-Lane Driving

Knuckles white, veins throbbing in my forehead, tension headache mounting, I merge onto the highway.

Driving in Dallas—or any metro area—offers constant challenges. Drivers rarely give the courtesy of a turn signal or allow others room to change lanes. So, who could blame me for taking every advantage of the HOV lane?

The High Occupancy Vehicle (or carpool) lane permits vehicles with two or more occupants to travel separated from the rest of the highway’s traffic. While many use the lane to drive faster—due to less congestion—the lane offers me the solace of not dealing with other drivers. Since I’m a stay-at-home dad and constantly have my three-year-old with me, I’m allowed to use this lane for all my highway driving. But too quickly I came to believe I was special because I could use this lane. My sin was privilege (pride).

Driving in the HOV lane might not be your source of pride, but we all suffer from this sin in some way. For some, it’s pride over material wealth, intelligence, attractiveness, or humility. For others, it’s pride in traits we believe make us better than the rest of humanity—or at least the people we know.

In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul addresses the sin of pride, reminding us that while we might think more of ourselves than we think of others, we all share the same identity in Christ. He encourages his readers to look to him, as they do to Christ, for their role model of behavior. Although he specifically addressed rivalries within the church, we can apply this same truth in our dealings with other people.

I’ve taken to driving only in the most frustrating lane: the right lane. This is my attempt at growing in Christ’s sanctification of me and dealing with pride. Through this, God teaches me patience, perseverance, and love for my fellow person.

Think of some steps you can take to deal with pride.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Holding on--until You Can’t

I kept my eyes glued on Jake as his dad retrieved him from the water. 

As my daughter and son-in-law started the pontoon to take my ten-year-old grandson, Jake, tubing, I leaned back in the seat, soaking up the warm sunshine. Matt drove, Hayley watched for other boats, and I watched Jake. We started from a calm inlet. Jake was on his knees and not holding on. When we entered the larger lake section, the waves picked up, causing Jake to grab the handles.

Soon, waves from several boats caused the tube to bump hard. Jake laid on his stomach. The next wave hit so hard that his feet flew higher than his head. Still, he hung on tightly, laughing as the bumpy ride sprayed him with water.

We all cheered. Then Matt turned the boat, and a large wave caused the tube to go air born. Jake was tossed into the lake. 

As I watched, Hayley asked, ‘Is he okay?” 

“He’s great.”  I answered. 

Jake bobbed in the lake—not anxious but relaxed in his life jacket and waiting for his father to rescue him.

Like Jake, the psalmist knew he could rely on God, his heavenly Father, to watch out for him. If things got bumpy, He would spot what was going on. And if real trouble came, He would rescue him.

Life carries us through bumpy waters—sometimes knocking us off our feet. But we have a spotter who watches and comes to our aid.

When uncertainties come or difficult decisions have to be made, hanging on to our faith is difficult. We want to grab hold of worry and fear, but doing so isn’t what God wants. He wants us to approach Him in prayer and rest in comfort as He comes to our aid.

Hold on to God for your safety and protection.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Lesson from Carl Lee

Some people would describe me as an animal lover. I live in the country, and, through the years, people have abandoned dogs and cats in front of my house. Several of those animals became permanent residents. All have been given loving care, but a few became special. They have not only been my four-legged friends, but they have also been my teachers.

Twice a day I give my dogs treats, which they look forward to with eagerness. One day as I handed them the treats, I wanted Carl Lee—one of my favorites—to look at me as I talked to him.

“Carl Lee, would you please look at me? Look at my face, not what’s in my hand.”

But his thoughts were focused only on the treats and his anticipation in receiving them. 

That’s how I am with God at times. He blesses me with so many good things, and often that’s where my focus lies. Like Carl Lee, my eyes are on God’s hands and what He’s holding out to give me. I don’t place my attention on God Himself and praise Him for who He is.

I love Carl Lee and wish he would show more love to me because of who I am, not because of the gifts I give. Even though that may never happen, I’ll continue giving him loving care—just as God will continue loving me even when I look to what He holds in His hands instead of what He offers from his heart.

God gives gifts willingly and freely because He loves us. Don’t be like Carl Lee, looking to see what He holds. Rather, look into His face and see His eyes of love.

(As told to Normal Mezoe by Ruth Q.)

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Unshakable Shepherd Boy

Giants aren’t prone to surrender, they are not typically passive, and they often seem impossible to defeat. 

But one giant met his match. Many of us remember the account of David and Goliath. The young boy defeated Goliath, and the enemies of Israel fled. Against all odds, the little shepherd slew a battle-hardened warrior. David had faith God would give him victory over the Philistine who mocked the armies of Israel. We read this account and marvel at David’s amazing faith. He trusted the Lord so much that a miracle followed. 

David’s faith was more potent than we have figured. Israel’s outlook was bleak. Goliath had taunted Israel for over a month. None of Saul’s men would face him down. Their hopes rested on the shoulders of a ruddy shepherd boy.

The Philistines laughed when David began to march toward them. Goliath, in all his pride, was insulted. David received no respect from his enemy. But the armies of Israel did not believe in David either. He had no moral support from his own people. King Saul told him he could never win. Goliath had been killing longer than David had been living. But David ran toward him anyway. David trusted God, even though the enemy ridiculed him. He trusted God, even when his own people doubted him.

David had the kind of mountain-moving, giant-slaying faith we should walk in daily—the kind of faith that sees us through any storm. We must trust and obey God in the face of adversity. And we must trust and obey Him even when our own people don’t believe in us.

Ask God to give you unshakable faith.    

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.

The Big Switch

He soared to the top of music recording charts, but one incident changed his life.

Tony Fontane was a popular American recording artist during the 1940’s and 1950’s. Born in Michigan, he was the son of a railroad worker who had converted to Christianity and moved his family to North Dakota where he operated a mission and lived in poverty. Living in poverty to do God’s work led Tony to hate religion. But he loved singing. Eventually, his passion for music led to him flourishing in the business. He even celebrated his notoriety by appearing on several television shows.

Life for Fontane changed on September 3, 1957. After finishing a television rehearsal, he headed for his California home, but never made it. Another driver ran a red light and plowed into his sports car. Rescue workers labored for several hours to extricate him. They rushed him to a hospital where he remained in a coma for thirty days.

Fontane later wrote that it was while he was in this coma that God appeared to him in a vision and gave him one more chance. And he took it. He made a big switch by turning from his atheism to Christianity and beginning a career in gospel music—refusing to sing anything else. Because William Morris Agency brought a lawsuit against him for breach of contract, Fontane lost everything. But he actually gained it all when he made the switch.

Anyone who chooses Christ gains everything as well—at least spiritually. My old things passed away at nine years of age—not totally in practice, but completely in God’s sight when He clothed me with His Son’s righteousness. He gave me a new nature with fresh wants, desires, and ambitions. Although I still face trials and temptations, I am no longer after what the world offers: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. I simply hunger to be obedient to Him . . . completely . . . even if it costs me everything.

A healthy relationship with Jesus Christ is the best way to begin a New Year. One where we love Him with our entire heart and show it through our actions, attitudes, and words. One where we involve Him in every detail of our life’s journey.

If you haven’t made the big switch, now is the best time.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Jesus in a Coffee Shop

Stilted parts of their conversations drifted my way: Guess what? Really? She didn’t! I can only pray for you.

I was sitting in a coffee shop sipping my favorite Chai brew. While waiting on a friend to join me, I observed couples and small groups seated on high stools, conversing in happy, friendly voices.

But wait. I just heard someone offering to pray for another person. And in a coffee shop. As I glanced their way, I saw a man talking unabashedly to another. I wasn’t privy to the rest of their conversation, and I didn’t know why the one needed prayer. I only knew a child of God was praying over coffee with someone else. Knowing I had just become a guest, I watched as they bowed their heads. Then I let my silent prayer join in.

God wants us to pray for one another because we are all His children. When we do, it binds us together in a supernatural way. It also invites Jesus to join us, to guide us, and to heal us. Prayer keeps us humble. Confessing our sins to each other reminds us of our humanity and imperfections. 

I love family reunions because they are a break from the stress of life. A time to hug on, laugh with, listen to, and lift up each other. Prayer is a family reunion with other Christian believers. Through it, we rejoice in the good, feel compassion in the not-so-good, and are cleansed from our sins by the forgiving power of Christ.

Prayer doesn’t require anything special besides a concern for one another. No appointment is needed. No costly bill for you to pay. No bad-tasting medicine to force down. Just a willing heart. 

As you travel through your day, be alert and keep your eyes open. Someone needs your prayers—at work, at a ball game, at home, or even in a coffee shop.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

All Things New

It was only yesterday when I strained to keep my eyes open just to watch that ball drop in New York City. Now here I am, 11:55 p.m.–waiting for the same thing again.

When I was a child, time dragged. January 1 came and the count down for Christmas began with carefully scoping out the newest toys. Things like Slinkys, bicycles, and Easy Bake Ovens. It seemed like time went into slow motion as we scoured the Sears catalog.

Time slowed a lot as a kid. Like when my feet were cold and I longed for spring. Or when the end of the school year was only a month away. Even when the sun took its time warming the creek so we could bear diving our fingers into the icy waters in search of crawdads. Then it grew slower when November rolled around and Christmas approached.

It sped up after I passed fifty, when the harsh realization my children are really grown happened. Now January comes, and, by Christmas day, I’m still feeling like it was months prior.

I suppose it’s the season of life I’m in. Maybe it was season of life Paul was in as well. From Saul to Paul, he realized just what it meant to have life in Christ. After all, no one had made a bigger change in their life than Paul. He understood what it meant to have the “old” taken and the “new” arrive. Paul went from murderer to holy peace maker.

Being new in Christ comes slowly for us humans. We like to hang on to the past and dwell there, never loosening our grip on what once was. The truth is, when we take on a Christian life, “new” washes over us like a tidal wave, and, if we are faithful, it continues to wash over us daily–hard, fast, and fresh.

In Christ the new has arrived and the old . . . well . . . it’s history. And this is how it should be.

When you enter into the New Year, don’t let time drag you down. Grasp hold of the new Christ has given you and say goodbye to the old. Look forward to each new day, each new opportunity, each new breath. This is how it should be.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

He Never Fails

Utter chaos. That was all I saw on television.

My stomach twisted as the special news report spit out images of screaming people, gunfire, and destruction. Yet another terrorist attack on innocent people.

I pulled a blanket tightly around my face and peered over the edge. I just wanted this to all stop. My eyes shifted to our newly erected Christmas tree. The lights twinkled as the tree rotated, bringing into view precious ornaments—each with a story. Each with a memory. Why can’t things be like they used to be? No one should have to suffer at Christmas.

Mary must have thought the same as her life shifted with the news of a pregnancy that could get her killed. Her forthcoming marriage now in danger … and what about Joseph? What if he said no, rejected her? She’d been chosen by the Almighty as the vessel to bring the Savior into the world. Who in their right mind would believe that?

The angel who delivered this miraculous news to young Mary reassured her even the impossible would be possible. She need not be afraid. So Mary gave up her fear and turned her trust to the Father. She sang His praises, even though she knew her life would be shear chaos. Mary found peace in the promise from the angel … unfailing words.

Imagine the joy and the fear Mary must have felt. Chosen by God to bring His son into the world. The long awaited Messiah being born to a peasant. Even in her limited knowledge, this was certainly not what Israel expected. A simple birth to a simpler servant.

Mary never seemed to find rest as she reared the Son of God. Threats on His life, the oddity of His childhood faithfulness, the determination to teach in a world that refused to believe. His sacrifice. Yet in the promise that God’s Word would never fail, Christ came, died, and rose again.

The chaos the world faces today isn’t much different than when Jesus walked the dusty paths of Judea. Sin still wreaks havoc. Death and destruction still take front and center. Yet, in the wake of it all, God’s words never fail. His hand still covers us. God still cares for His people. He is the unchanging, unmovable, unstoppable King.

As you enjoy Christmas today, don’t think of the mess in the world. Be like Mary. Redirect your faith to the One who promises His Word will never fail. There is where you will find peace on earth.

From the staff and writers of ChristianDevotions.us and Christian Devotions Ministries,

may God shower you with His love, gift you with His faithfulness,

and cover you with His peace. Merry Christmas.

Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles, cofounders of Christian Devotions Ministries

Martin Wiles, editor, and Andrea Merrell, associate editor

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Bleating Sheep

God uses various ways to communicate.

He’ll use a still, small voice, dreams, an angel, or a prophet to speak in our language. Many times we ignore His message, but He continues to love us. He’d like us to listen and obey, and He is pleased when we respond. 

In the American Patriot Bible, the word bleating shows up one time. Samuel went to King Saul to deliver a message from God: “You’re fired!”

Within the context, Saul states he has done as the Lord directed in destroying the Amalekites—but he brings back their king. He makes excuses for why his followers gathered the best sheep and goats and oxen from a battle where they were commanded to destroy an entire people, their goods, and their chattel. Samuel wasn’t impressed. The bleating sheep told a tale of guilt.

God expected Saul to do everything as commanded. Samuel spoke clearly to Saul. Regardless of the intent, the bleating sheep made the rebellious act clear.

In the course of life, we receive many messages and a few telegrams detailing God’s plans. If our ears are not attuned—or if our fingers plug our ears or denial stops the spiritual communication—the will of God will lie dormant around us.

Our part may be small, so God gives us other opportunities to show our sensitivity to Him. Sometimes we give the appearance of doing His will, but the baggage we bring back tells a different tale. We not only miss the blessing but also stand in danger of losing our position in the kingdom.

When we fail to do what God commands, the evidence drowns out the voice of God. Israel would have seen great wonders if Saul had listened.

Listen to God for specific direction, not the bleating-sheep-speaking guilt. Refocus your mind on God. He’ll bless you far beyond what the sheep represent.

(Photo courtesy of pixaby.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Three Digs Ya'll

“Three digs, y’all! Big water ahead!”   

Our family of seven positioned ourselves in the yellow inflatable raft, paddles in hand. Listening to our guide, Mitch, we practiced paddling in the calm waters near the landing. I was confident we’d spend a beautiful day on the Upper Pigeon River. 

But as we approached the first rapids, I wasn’t so sure. The twists and turns around the protruding rocks created doubt about our family bonding experience. I prayed for safety and still waters.

Perched in the back, Mitch’s voice carried above the raging waves. He spoke boldly and without hesitation. He knew the lay of the land and could read the conditions of the rapids and make choices to steer our craft safely. My confidence in his ability grew, as did my trust.  

Four more obstacles loomed in the big water ahead. The swirls of white water rushed across the treacherous rocks. We held our breath and paddled “three hard digs” upon Mitch’s command. Again and again, he shouted instructions on when and how to paddle. We knew his voice from our practice.

We laughed as we glided safely past the last rock. By trusting Mitch’s knowledge and acting upon his commands, we lifted our paddles together in an overhead “high-five” to celebrate.  

In life, rising tides and crashing waves interrupt our calm seas. Seeking God in the still moments equips us to hear Him during life’s obstacles. Even when God’s voice seems muffled, He communicates through His Word. Our all-knowing Guide always provides direction. We paddle by listening to His voice, obeying His commands, and lifting our high-fives of praise.

God knows what lies ahead and how to navigate your situation. With the Holy Spirit as your Guide, “Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left.”   

Whether you’re facing still or stormy waters, tune in to God’s voice.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)