A Devotion May Be Someone's Only Bible

Spirit & Mind

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.

Lying in Wait and on the Prowl

I dumped clothes from the laundry basket onto the bed and began sorting.

A minute later, I jumped back with a yelp, pain stinging my toes. Our cat had been sleeping in his spot under our bed. When my bare foot got too close for his liking, he swiped at me. His claws left a scratch but didn’t draw blood. The swipe was a warning, his way of protecting himself without causing me too much harm.

I know he enjoys snoozing in that spot. If I had thought to check under the bed before beginning my work, I would have seen him and been more careful. But I didn’t pay attention and paid a price.

The Enemy does the same thing to us, although he doesn’t issue warnings. Every move he makes is calculated and intended to harm us. He knows our weaknesses and habits, which can make us easy targets for his attacks. Sometimes, his attempts to thwart us are obvious, such as through physical harm or with people who stand against us. At other times, his tactics are more subtle but no less dangerous—like gossip we’re tempted to share or negative thoughts that settle in our minds.

Peter says our Enemy is on the prowl for opportunities for destruction. He is “seeking someone to devour.”

Our primary mode of defense is to remember he could attack us at any time and in any way. Just as I could have avoided getting scratched by thinking to check my cat’s whereabouts, being conscious of Satan’s tactics can help us avoid harm.

We can ask God to show us areas in our lives that might make us easy targets. Then we can ask Him to help us be wary of potential threats and to protect us from potential attacks. Just because the Enemy takes a swipe at us doesn’t mean he has to win.

What are some ways you can be proactive against Satan’s attacks?

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Realistic Faith

A common fallacy views faith and science as diametrically opposite.

Hands-on experience has led some open-minded medical students at Cal Berkley, such as the person I worked with during my graduate studies in the San Francisco Bay area, on a journey of discovery. One night, the student said, “When I was studying for my bachelor of arts degree, I was an atheist. When I was in my master's study, I was an agnostic. But now that I am finishing my doctor’s degree, I am convinced there is a personal God.”

His statement reminded me of what many of the greatest scientists have said. Isaac Newton mentioned that studying science long and deep enough will force a person to believe in God. Albert Einstein stated that the more he studied science, the more he believed in God.

Faith is viewed by many as subjective and emotional, while science is usually viewed as objective and intellectually verifiable. Scientific psychology depends upon statistics and observation. In contrast, realistic faith is personal and grows from proposed truths, ancient manuscripts, archeology, and historical evidence, but does not find its validity in those.

Another fallacy attempts to find intellectual facts that convince the mind and heart to form faith. Faith consents to the possibility that intellectual or materialistic evidence contains mere bits of understanding about creation. Faith includes the mind and will. Realistic faith is a confident belief based upon both observation of surrounding reality and emotional acceptance of the Divine.

Above all, Christian faith is a personal belief in Jesus and His payment for each person’s sins and shortcomings on Calvary because of the Father’s love for this fallen and sorrowful world.

Pray for a realistic faith that grows by your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and your study of the Bible. 

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



The Case of the Missing Bible

Unpacking after a business conference, I discovered an important item was missing. My Bible.

It was irreplaceable. I could deal with losing my bathrobe, but not my Bible. This Bible had occupied a special place by my bed for years. Its pages contained handwritten notes and underlining from personal study, sermons, and Sunday school lessons.          

Unwilling to accept that my Bible was gone forever, I searched. I called the hotel’s housekeeping department to see if they had found it while cleaning my room. Surely my voice conveyed heartbreak and the item’s value. They didn’t have it. Perhaps I had dropped it somewhere between the room and my car. But lost and found didn’t have it either. Next, I called the hotel’s conference coordinator to plead for help finding my missing valuable. Still, no Bible.            

Why God? Why would You allow this precious possession to go MIA? Time spent with God cleared my confusion about this loss. He helped me realize my Bible was His Word. He knew best where it should be. And that place wasn’t in my possession. Someone else needed to receive His Word—be it my Bible or my expressions of faith.                        

This loss allowed me to exhibit my faith when talking with hotel employees. Whoever found my Bible would notice it had been well used by its owner. And the notes and markings on its pages evidenced a desire to learn from those words. Would it spark the finder’s curiosity to read it?                     

The missing Bible remains missing. But I’ve solved the Whodunnit. God. He orchestrated my loss to allow His Word to be disseminated. Perhaps my Bible went to someone needing to learn about Him or a believer who needed encouragement from the notes therein. God can use me or even my possessions to get His Word out to bear fruit. I concluded I was willing to let go of my beloved Bible for that purpose.

What are some ways you can get God’s Word out?

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Imagination

The imagination is a mental power used to embrace the truth or create a lie.

Imagination is defined as “the picturing process of the mind.” Imagination reconstructs our past experiences for us to remember them.

The word is used in the book of Jeremiah more than any other book of the Bible to refer to an evil heart. The wrong use of the imagination by Israel, like those in Noah’s day, led them into sin and brought God’s judgment.

Imagination is a power of the mind given by God. There’s nothing wrong with having an imagination, but how we use it is what matters. We can use it to better ourselves and others, or we can use it for evil and bring our demise.

Things are first created in the imagination before they’re created with the hands. Whether modern inventions or the ancient idols of Israel, they were all first imagined in the mind before they were formed with the hands.

Alternate realities are created with the imagination. We perceive reality through our senses, but when reality does not satisfy us, we visualize the utopia we prefer and live there while denying reality. Creation is the reality created by God—the one great spiritual reality. When we construct a fairyland with grotesque, absurd, and extravagant characteristics which cannot co-exist with the law and order of the universe, we enter the region of fantasy.

Heaven and hell are real places and a reality for untold numbers. With the aid of Scripture, they can be imagined now, but one or the other will become a reality for us one day, based on what we’ve done with Jesus Christ.

For our imagination to serve us well, it must be set apart for godly purposes. The imagination visualizes all that’s said in the Scriptures so that by faith we can embrace it. When we read Scripture and enter into a scene portrayed by a writer, we imagine in our mind the meaning and then realize it spiritually.

Where is your imagination taking you?

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



When God Forgets

Things began slipping away . . . things I didn’t want to lose.

Memory. An interesting thing. When I was young, I had no trouble memorizing—anything, or a lot of things. Even in my twenties, I sailed through one college class that required tons of memorizing, earning an A with ease.

Then it happened. In my late thirties, people’s names started to escape me. Then other things. My wife became my memory board. Now, as I age, I exercise my mind, hoping my memory will hang around a little longer.

I also discovered that age isn’t the only thing that affects memory. While attending a training conference for teachers, I took a class on technology, since I teach middle schoolers. I discovered why they couldn’t seem to retain anything. The rapid advance of technology, which makes knowledge available at our fingertips, has shortened the short-term capabilities of our younger generation. They struggle to memorize—or don’t even try—because they don’t have to. If they want to know something, they Google it.

While most things I don’t want to forget, some things I do want God to forget—my sins, in particular. And according to Jeremiah, He will when I ask Him to forgive me.

How God can forget when the Bible pictures Him as omniscient (all-knowing), I don’t understand, nor can I explain. The best I can say is He chooses to forget. For me, age takes care of forgetting. For others, it might be busyness or brain damage. For still others, doing so is a choice.

God wiping our sin slate clean bears importance. If He didn’t, He would still hold us accountable. That would bring His punishment—presently and eternally. But because of what His Son accomplished on Calvary’s cross, God can clothe us in Christ’s righteousness when we come to Him for forgiveness. This involves His forgetting our sins. If He didn’t choose to forget, He couldn’t clothe us this way.

We no longer fear God’s condemnation when we stand in this wonderful position. Instead, he loves us and has accepted us into His family, with all the fringe benefits. His forgetting our sins should prompt us to love others and to do good for them as God has done for us. It should also lead us to stand in daily appreciation to our loving heavenly Father.

Has God forgotten your sins?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

 



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