Focusing our minds on Christ. . .studying His word, drawing tight into a relationship that is unbreakable. This is when His Spirit lives in our minds helping us keep our eyes focused only on Him.
DEVOTION BY Macy Johnson POSTED 2/21/2024 6:00:01 AM ON Psalm 104:24 NIV
One Sunday morning, Beverly and I played a captivating piano-organ duet of the well-loved hymn, “Count Your Blessings.”
The stanzas rolled around in my brain in the following days, nudging me to pay attention to all the wonderful ways God continually pours Himself through me.
One, two, three. My feeble brain counts everything, including footsteps. I reset thermostat controls from odd to even numbers. I write dates in the margins of my Bible when I read a section or verse. Why did God create us to count?
Numbers matter to God. In fact, there is an entire book of the Bible entitled Numbers. Here, God directs His people, His work of genius, to be accounted for in an orderly fashion. He gave us numbering systems to help classify the chaos surrounding us.
The Bible is divided into neatly numbered chapters and verses. Its sixty-six books were initially written differently. Translators created the segments and divisions, organizing God’s Word so readers could understand and count them more easily.
As an accountant, I spent my professional hours documenting the existence and depreciation of my company’s assets (blessings). As a musician, I count the beats in a measure, the measures in a score, and the pages of a piece—all musical blessings.
You are blessed to be a blessing. Count your gifts and give them back to God. You can never thank Him enough for His provisions.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay and marybettiniblank.)
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DEVOTION BY Lisa Holley POSTED 2/14/2024 6:00:01 AM ON 1 John 4:19 NCV
February 14 brings out many feelings in people.
Valentine’s Day is a day to express love and affection to that special person. We give everything from heart-shaped cards and chocolate candy to flowers and romantic dinners. Some even give marriage proposals.
For me, it evokes memories from childhood. Growing up, my dad always bought Mom flowers, a large heart-shaped box of Whitman sampler chocolates, and a beautiful card. My sister and I always got a smaller heart-shaped box of chocolates with Charlie Brown on the cover. I still remember how special I felt because we got a box of chocolates.
Dad’s example of a father’s love was even more beautiful since he grew up without his father. While my grandmother was pregnant with my daddy, her husband died. However, my grandmother, who was a true believer in God and a born-again Christian, raised my daddy to love Jesus. She read to him from the Bible and told him stories of Noah and the flood and Adam and Eve and taught him what it was like to be truly loved—just as God loves His children.
John was part of Jesus’ inner circle and often called the “apostle of love.” He knew firsthand how it felt to be loved by Jesus.
When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we become a part of God’s kingdom and one of His children. God loved us first, and John was passionate about that truth. He referred to himself as “the one whom Jesus loved.”
Regardless of whether we grew up with a loving father, we can still experience true love from God our Savior. When we do, we open our hearts to a love that lasts for eternity.
Would you consider becoming a part of God’s family? If you already are, what do you enjoy about being in His family?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay and JillWellington.)
DEVOTION BY Bill Branks POSTED 2/7/2024 6:00:01 AM ON Psalm 27:1 ESV
Sometimes we feel we’re not king of the world material.
We have strengths and weaknesses. We can become fearful regardless of how hard we try. We feel lost, hopeless, and incapable of handling life’s toughest challenges alone.
In 2 Kings, King Nebuchadnezzar’s dominion was nearly global. He was the closest in human history to being king of the world. He thought himself to be a god and worthy of worship. He believed he was unbeatable, yet the Lord brought him to a humiliating realization (Daniel 4:25–35). He was no match for the power of God.
The psalmist reminds us of our three weapons to fight against fear and despair: light, salvation, and a stronghold.
First, salvation means victory is secure. When we despair, we can remind ourselves that God is at our side in the battle. He is our already victor. We will win because he is our salvation. Although we must fight the battle, victory is secure in Christ. This is a great comfort when we fear.
Second, God is our light. Truths unseen by an unbelieving world are manifested to us through our redemption. God gives us the light to know and discern the truth about our Savior. Because of new life in Christ, we know, understand, and believe His promises, particularly that we have nothing to fear. What a great truth to defeat fear.
Third, our stronghold is a divine shield that surrounds us. A spiritual fortress protects us. It does not prevent our participation in the battle but protects us from destruction. When we feel consumed by hardship, defeated, and utterly powerless, remember that as a redeemed child of God, we remain within the strongest hold of God. We have nothing to fear.
“Lord of hosts” appears 261 times in Scripture. The title means the Lord has the entire angelic force at His command. This is the stronghold.
God equips us to defeat fear when we feel the heat of battle, regardless of what it is. He is our salvation, light, and stronghold.
How can you live a fearless life?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay and SnapwireSnaps.)
DEVOTION BY Felicia Dawson POSTED 1/31/2024 6:00:01 AM ON 2 Corinthian 5:7 NKJV
During the winter, I traveled two hours away with friends to an event. We decided not to stay overnight because of the ominous weather forecast. As we started our return trip home, the snow started sooner than expected and soon obstructed our view of the road.
My friend’s husband not only had to drive at night but also had to maneuver blizzard-like conditions. I am sure he stressed about driving, keeping his riders safe, and dealing with an anxious wife—who helped him navigate the snow-covered road and defrosted the windows. He was familiar with the route but still found it difficult to see the road. Thankfully, we made it home safely and felt relieved.
Periodically, navigating life can be difficult, and life does not always make sense. We face unforeseen situations. We make plans about the future—plans that are often voided or altered. It appears as if everything has moved beyond what our eyes can see.
We benefitted because our driver was familiar with the road, which enabled him to drive through the snowstorm. We can also be thankful we have Jesus Christ, who teaches us to walk by faith, not sight. We can trust Him to direct our paths so that we can keep moving even when we cannot see what is ahead. Our confidence should be in Him, the author of our lives, who knows the beginning and the end and only wants what is best for us. What a blessing.
We do not have to be discouraged or feel anxious when making decisions or deciding on which path to take. A relationship with Jesus Christ teaches us to trust and believe in His Word and promises. We can pray and experience an open and intimate dialogue with Him. We also have the gift of the Holy Spirit. We are well-equipped and never alone. Jesus always walks with us.
Trust God to help you walk by faith, not sight.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay and janeb13.)
DEVOTION BY Ken Ebright POSTED 1/24/2024 6:00:01 AM ON Matthew 25:10 NCV
I experienced a situation similar to the foolish bridesmaids.
My church hosted a wild game dinner. I had never attended one and struggled over whether to attend because it cost twenty-five dollars. I called the week of the event but couldn’t get in. I was like the foolish bridesmaids. I had the chance to attend, but I blew it.
I thought about the five foolish bridesmaids. We will not enter heaven if we don’t know Jesus when we die. The truth is, if they have a wild game dinner next year, I could make up for my mistake. But when we die, no second chances come. Instead, we spend eternity in the lake of fire called hell.
Today is the day of salvation. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, many people walked into the Twin Towers in New York City, thinking it would be a typical day. They did not know it would be their last day.
Turn to Jesus today. Don’t be like the foolish bridesmaids.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay and PixxlTeufel.)