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.

Advice That Edifies

I received way too much “friendly advice” from other shoppers on how to handle my children.

I dreaded grocery shopping when my children were young. If my kids cried, women told me how to quiet them. If my daughter chewed on a piece of bagel, unwelcomed advisers pointed out the dangers of choking or the dangers of a high-carbohydrate diet. If my son had a runny nose, grandmothers lectured me on hygiene and germs. Eventually, I started shopping at a different store at low-traffic times just to avoid the avalanche of advice.

The English word advice comes from an old French phrase that means “it seems to me.” Apparently, many people have an it-seems-to-me button that’s permanently stuck in the on position. Another problem is that most of us don’t want to listen to advice. We just want to illuminate other darkened minds with our own seems-to-me brilliance. And thanks to the worldwide web, too much seems-to-me counsel is based on misquoted, fallacious, and even harmful information.

However, God’s advice is never empty, which means never “without effect.” God’s Word is the only counsel I can trust to be totally accurate and beneficial. Following God’s counsel will always bring about good in my life.

How much of the advice that I dispense to friends and family, maybe even a few strangers, is without effect?  Probably more than I think. But if I speak God’s words in a loving, encouraging manner and refrain from adding my own it-seems-to-me commentary, the effectiveness of my counsel increases.

When we speak to others, our goal should be directing their attention to God’s wisdom, not our own.

Find someone whom you can encourage with the powerful promises and timeless truths of God’s Word.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

One Size Fits All

Shopping with a granddaughter, going through racks and racks of sized clothing, we came to a section marked one-size-fits-all. We broke out in laughter. She is petite. I am not. (I would appreciate it if we just left it at that.)

Later though, I thought of a line that read “sin doesn’t come in sizes.” I did a double take then, as I do now, thinking sin is sin, one as bad as the other. Human nature makes us think our sin is worse than someone else’s—no matter what the sin is. Yet sin separates us from God the Father, so sin is sin.

Nor does the gift of God come in different sizes but is a one-size-fits-all. “Lord, forgive me” is all it takes to be forgiven and to be put into the good graces of our Lord. He looks at our hearts, not our sin. His forgiveness is as big as His heart: HUGE And huge love equals huge forgiveness.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean we don’t pay consequences for our sin. Sometimes there are legal consequences, family or relationship consequences, or health consequences. But on God’s end, when we ask for forgiveness, we are forgiven and His forgiveness is perfect. He is ready to work with and for us.

As Christians, we can focus too much on the sin and not the forgiveness—possibly even wallowing in our sin, which might be easier than changing our ways. Lord, I am so terrible. Lord, I have failed you. Lord, I am a rotten piece of humanity. We forget we are created in His image, and that He really wants us to say, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.”

God’s forgiveness reaches to each of us, no matter the sin. He loves us; He forgives us.

The next time you shop with someone you love, remember Jesus’ love is truly a one-size-fits-all.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Mental Cleansing

JoAnn Carlson said, “The minds of people are so cluttered up with everyday living these days that they don’t, or won’t, take time out for a little prayer—for mental cleansing, just as they take a bath for physical outer cleansing. Both are necessary.” (Forbes Book of Business Quotations, ©1997; pg. 676-677)

Praying parents leave a permanent imprint on their children. I remember a scene from childhood of my father praying. He was a tenant farmer who had dairy herds and fields of grain to care for. He worked from before dawn until well after sunset and made little money. After working eighteen hours or more, he asked God to take his burdens so he could rest. His nightly prayer was comforting when I chanced to hear it and is a treasured memory.

Prayer is easy. God knows all about me. It is my responsibility to tell Him my concerns every day for mental cleansing. He tells me in His Word how to set up my prayer time for success—to prepare a secluded place that is just mine and to close the door to interferences.

Prayer is hard because it requires discipline for me to carve out time and to set boundaries. If I have done my part in preparation, He and I will be able to communicate. He yearns to hear concerns from my heart and my lips each day.

I have found when I am going through a storm, I am drawn to reading the Psalms in the Message translation. I like the wide margins where I can write my anxieties to my heavenly Father. Over time, this way of praying has proven to be a sweet reminder of how He answered prayer and led me through bad days in the past.  

Having a written account of our prayers helps us see how our heavenly Father answers them. Dealing with hindrances that keep us from our cleansing closets is also important.

God craves to hear from you. Make time for Him.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Your Way or Yahweh

Harvey was fourteen and an orphan.

I recently watched a movie about Harvey. He was on a ship and thought he could do as he pleased. He soon discovered he wasn't going to have his way on this ship.

At the beginning of the movie, he played a prank by pretending to push a man named Incan overboard. He made most of the men on the ship think it was true. They soon discovered it was a joke. The captain warned Harvey that if he did it again, he'd be locked in his cabin. The captain's son tried befriending him but found it was hard to do. The captain's son told Harvey he'd have no friends if he didn't change. Harvey only cared about himself.

Harvey once found himself in a pleasure room where he got high from secondhand smoke. He choked and jumped into the ocean. He was forced to swim to a small boat which the crew used to rescue him.

After being in the school of hard knocks, Harvey learned the value of hard work and how to respect and obey authority, even saying “Yes, Sir” and “No, Sir” and “Yes, Ma'am” and “No, Ma'am.”

Once he had proved to the captain that he was trustworthy and respectful, Harvey was called by name by the captain and trusted with his own boat. Not long after, a storm arose. Harvey's boat capsized. His new friend, along with others, rescued him, but his friend died in the process.

Jesus died so God could be our Father and Jesus could live in us to teach us not to want our own way all the time, but to die daily. At times, we all want our way, but we need to do as Paul said: die daily. We can either have our way or Yahweh’s. Not both.

Choose to make Jesus Lord of your life every day. Not your way, but Yahweh.  

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Morning with the Father

The urge to leave my desk and go outside into the beautiful Arizona morning overpowered me.

I felt compelled to take Andrew Murray’s, With Christ, with me. Sitting down, I realized a large white dove sat a few feet away under our fountain. He remained still until I finished finding what the Spirit had for me. Then he flew away.

Comments by Murray fit into my recent desire to learn more about God’s Fatherhood. Putting them into my own words, I wrote them down so that I wouldn’t forget.

The words, “Our Father,” mean His children are bound in the most tender relationship known to people. Our heavenly Father is a King and has a Kingdom. His children are royalty, but walk in another king’s kingdom which is surrounded by minions of the dark side.

The King is a loving Father to His children. Fathers judge their children by their efforts, whereas masters judge by results. A father weighs while others only measure. Our clumsy and poor beginnings mean a great deal to Him, even if they mean little to others.

Opening up to my heavenly Father’s Fatherhood helped me realize what type of parent and grandparent I desire to be. I want to be tenderhearted, remembering they are little and only human. I want to be watchful and a good teacher, loving at the core of my relationships. I desire to be a good model of parenthood so they might have a positive view of fatherhood that won’t hinder their relationship with their heavenly Father.

Pray every day for the wisdom to model to your little ones that God is a Father who is loving, tender, and concerned for their well-being.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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