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 Anne Adams POSTED 5/5/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Matthew 6:20-21 KJV
In 1947, when New York City authorities received a call about a death in a neighborhood home, they knew the location well.
The address was the home of the eccentric, reclusive bachelor brothers, Homer and Langley Collyer. The pair had lived there since the 1920s and were known to have collected massive stacks of various items, especially newspapers.
At the house, police found the door blocked by stacks of junk. When they finally gained access to remove the accumulation, they found the body of the disabled Homer but saw no sign of Langley.
As they cleared the house, they discovered Langley’s body under piles of junk that had fallen on him. Authorities reasoned that this accident had left Homer alone to die, uncared for. Eventually, 140 tons of junk were removed from the house, the house was demolished, and the site converted into a small park named for the Collyer brothers.
We might call the Collyers “compulsive hoarders.” Many professionals feel this is a mental health issue that describes people who continually accumulate what they consider valuable. This is exactly what we do as spiritual hoarders when we stockpile our thoughts and devices with no thought of God.
For compulsive hoarders, the remedy might entail counseling, but if we’re spiritual hoarders, the solution is for us to release our designs and devises to God and let Him handle our lives. After all, He’s waiting for us to completely trust Him and His purposes as we embrace His promises to sustain us. When we do this, we can store up our treasured thoughts with God, where our true heart will be. And with that done and with God in control, we’re hoarders no more.
What are some steps you can take to avoid hurtful hoarding?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Anita Estes POSTED 4/28/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Isaiah 25:4 NIV
As I sat on my sunporch on a grey autumn day, I watched the birds flit around our yard.
One could easily mistake our yard for a bird sanctuary. The finches swooped in, showing off their graceful technique as they dived into the window feeder. The chickadees bobbed their heads and watched for predators as they pecked for food. The nuthatches noisily broke open sunflower seeds. The sparrows splashed in the water fountain, and the red cardinals bathed in the pond. All their needs were provided for as they flocked to the haven of our backyard.
So, too, it is with our God. He abundantly provides. He gives us the earth and all it contains to take care of us—not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. God is our refuge and shelter from the storm if we choose to believe. Under His protection, we can enjoy peace, love, and joy.
God provided the birds as solace for me as I watched them during my recovery from a painful shoulder surgery and the long-term effects of the COVID pandemic. Although I’ve suffered from a sense of uselessness, loss of purpose, and physical pain during this time, I found comfort when I rested in God, observed the birds, prayed, and enjoyed what God provided. Experiencing pain daily caused me to press further into God, to take refuge in His presence, His creation, and His peace. His small gifts, like the birds, offered a time for relaxation and meditation on Him and His Word.
With all the turmoil and unrest in our world, we should stop and take shelter under God’s wing. God provided His Son, Jesus Christ, so we can rest in Him. We can engage with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit while feeding from His hand. Contemplating God’s wonderous works can bring us the peace and joy we long for and the pause we need.
Why not stop and listen to a bird’s song or gaze at a beautiful sunset. Let God’s presence surround you. He is everything you need and your true sanctuary.
DEVOTION BY Manling Chen POSTED 4/21/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Proverbs 11:11 NIV
I didn’t know it, but my words held power.
My prayer buddy, Kim, once told me her son-in-law, Zack, worked in the same chiropractor clinic to which my son went for treatment. I told her I had met Zack and that he was a nice person. Her reply stunned me. "Now I know you will become a blessing to Zack."
Why did Kim say that? My first thought was that she was a humble person who always thanked God for what she received, including compliments. Kim was also compassionate and loved to encourage people.
Her words became a driving force that motivated my heart to feel grateful to God. God worked through the Christian staff at this clinic to help my son recover from his back pain. I felt joyful and gave cards written with my prayers of blessing to show my appreciation to the workers at the clinic—plus a little gift.
Solomon said a city is exalted through the blessing of the upright. If one person’s good word can influence and pass blessings to another person, then imagine how a joyful blessing could spread more powerfully to a whole city.
Jesus came to bless us with His good news of forgiveness and freedom that can reach everyone. Through one person at a time, the whole world can catch His fire of blessing.
The words of our mouths have power. We can choose to speak the truth of blessing in love to lift ourselves, family members, friends, neighbors, strangers, and even enemies.
Why not ask God to sanctify your lips with His truth so that you will speak blessings in love to those who need to come out of the darkness and to Jesus Christ.
DEVOTION BY Linda Shoaf POSTED 4/14/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Job 23:10 NLT
I peeped into my jewelry box and noticed that several previously beautiful pieces had lost their shimmering glow.
The pins and necklaces, decorative pieces I once wore to accent an outfit, lay tarnished and unsightly. I would never want to wear them again. Initially, my gold-plated jewelry glistened and looked like substances of value, but their luster had faded. The stress of use wore down the coating to reveal unsightly dull and listless metal below. Even replated, they would never become valued objects.
The book of Job relates his story as a person with integrity and deep commitment to God who fell on hard times through no fault of his own. During a series of events that would break the faithfulness of most, Job never wavered in expressing his innocence. Fair-weather friends challenged him to repent because some hidden sins surely had caused his calamity. Job professed his blamelessness before God who knew his conduct, regardless of accusations against him. When tested, Job resembled pure gold.
How many of us could declare our innocence and describe ourselves as pure as gold? Sometimes we may resemble gold-plated jewelry. We glisten outwardly, but if rubbed a little by earthly temptations, the dull core of human nature and sinful foundation surfaces. Unfortunately, we hear of many prominent church leaders who proclaimed allegiance to God while willingly living a secret life of debauchery.
What is our response when scratched and scuffed by a secular environment? Our witness to a lost and dying world dims when we are only dipped in Christianity like a thin veneer of gold coating. Authenticity starts from the inside, infused layer by layer with Christ Himself. Each tier exhibits Christ’s teachings.
Although we become tarnished with sin, unlike my worn jewelry, we are and will remain persons of value. God wants to restore us to fellowship with Him. While we are all subject to sin, we abide in God’s Word and are empowered by the Holy Spirit to remain as pure within as we appear without.
How are you measuring up to your true identity?
DEVOTION BY Alice Murray POSTED 4/7/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Proverbs 8:33 KJV
Proceeding down the long path to the beach, I strained for my first glimpse of the water.
Before the seashore came into view, my eyes spotted a flagpole at the end of the walkway. A red flag fluttered in the breeze atop it. As a coastal resident, I understood flags are flown to apprise beachgoers of surf conditions. A red flag signifies it’s unsafe to be in the water. Yet as I stepped onto the sand, I observed numerous individuals frolicking in the enticing emerald green waters, despite the flag’s clear warning.
Warnings are helpful, but they are ineffective unless heeded. Those swimmers could not have missed the red flag on the pole towering over the beach. However, they chose to ignore the instructions of those responsible for public safety and to put themselves in harm’s way.
The beach is not the only place where people fail to heed warnings. Wherever we find ourselves—at work, at home, or at a social gathering—we can turn a blind eye to wise words meant to protect us from sinful harm.
God’s instructions are found in the Bible—His instructional manual for our lives. But just like the beachgoers who saw the red flag but ignored it, we can place ourselves at unnecessary risk by ignoring God’s guidance.
Refusing instruction—whether on the beach or at other places—is foolhardy. And doing so is especially unwise when it comes from our loving heavenly Father.
Commit to adhering to God’s instruction and stay clear of peril.