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 Lauri Thompson POSTED 9/20/2023 6:00:01 AM ON Psalm 119:13–16 TLB
During my twenties, I developed a taste for hot tea.
I quickly learned I should soak the tea bag or leaves for at least three minutes, or it wouldn’t be worth drinking. If I rushed the steeping, it was disappointingly flavorless. The peppermint, peach, or chai taste I wanted was missing.
Any health benefits were also in absentia. Many teas contain antioxidants, nutrients, and bioactive substances. And if I wanted an energy boost, cutting short the steeping time resulted in minimal caffeine.
I once attended a church-sponsored breakfast for women who worked outside the home. One of the speakers gave us a homemade bookmark. The bookmark incorporated the threads and paper labels from actual tea bags. Her point? We were busy and might be tempted to rush the time we spent with God to rush to work or a meeting. When we did, it was like drinking weak tea.
Several of these bookmarks still populate my home, meaning I am frequently reminded of the speaker’s lesson that morning.
Weak tea is slang for something which is particularly underwhelming. So, instead of a powerful message from the Lord that stirs my spirit to deep thought or makes my heart sing, I hurry off, immediately leaving behind what I just read.
Instead of getting strength or guidance, I receive something pale and unfulfilling. If I don’t hear God, if the Bible lacks oomph, if others express excitement about their Christian walk and I don’t feel much zeal, it could be my failing to steep that teabag.
A friend once told me, “I found out that grabbing my phone and reading one Bible verse doesn’t really cut it.” While I don’t always accomplish this, my goal in setting aside quiet time is to allow enough time for God to speak to me, for me to talk to Him, and for His Word to soak in.
If you are rushing your time with Jesus, add five minutes to your quiet time this week and then ten the next. Then go for a refreshing, healthy cup of tea and savor it.
(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Penelope White POSTED 9/13/2023 6:00:01 AM ON Hebrews 12:2 NIV
Recently, I cheerfully and willingly volunteered to donate a precious gift—my blood—to someone I will likely never know.
As I watched that rich, red, life-sustaining substance flow, I thought of an object lesson. The blood reminded me of what flowed from Emmanuel’s veins.
Fully aware of the process before me, a harmless prick punctured me—not a nail, thorns, or spear as happened to my Lord. After being welcomed and thanked for my donation, I lay comfortably and relaxed as the nurse treated me with care and dignity.
Our Lord Jesus, however, was neither welcomed nor thanked for His blood. Yet He fulfilled the reason why He was born. He was fully aware of what was ahead of Him. He knew from the beginning the perfect plan of His Father God: that He would shed His innocent blood for the sins of the entire world.
God miraculously answered Jesus’ call for help when He raised Jesus from the dead. But not before Jesus’ gruesome encounter. God laid that enormous burden of sin upon Him. What love. What sacrifice.
Jesus was not pampered for His task. No one offered Him a cold drink of water or juice. Instead, Jesus met His volunteer task with physical, emotional, and spiritual agony. He had experienced the traumatic—hunger, thirst, betrayal, loneliness, beatings, mocking, disrespect, and humiliation. Nevertheless, because of His love, He endured the cross. His unfailing love for us bore all the above and then death by the most tortuous means—typically reserved for criminals.
Thoughts of Jesus’ blood moved me to thanksgiving, praise, and passionate prayer for those desperately needing a Savior. A high price has been paid. All that is required now is acknowledging and admitting our need, believing, and receiving God’s gift.
Have you received Jesus’ life-giving blood?
DEVOTION BY Robert L. Segress POSTED 9/6/2023 6:00:01 AM ON 1 Corinthians 15:1 NIV
For years I was confused about defining the gospel.
I once spoke to someone I thought knew more about the Bible than I did. He said “gospel” meant “good news,” not how to be saved. This definition confused me. As a young Christian trying to understand God’s opinions, I had heard I was to preach the gospel, meaning lead people to salvation.
I did not receive much help clearing things up when I started studying Greek and learned that the word for gospel was euaggelion, which meant “good news.” The active forms of this word mean “to preach the good news.”
This understanding still did not answer my question since I knew of at least two usages of the word: the gospel of salvation and the good news about a believer’s relationship with Jesus.
Finally, I came across a clear passage declaring the gospel of salvation. Through Paul’s words, I knew what the Spirit preached through the apostles: that people are saved through the gospel of salvation.
This understanding freed my heart to study what the other good news was. The good news about Jesus is that He is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus Himself is everything we need to have a relationship with God.
The gospel of salvation we must believe entails acknowledging the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, who is the complete and satisfying payment for our sins.
After accepting the good news, we enter a personal relationship with the One who became God incarnate, our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, without whom we can do nothing.
Accept Jesus, the divine best friend of all who receive His payment for their sin.
DEVOTION BY Ann Anaebere-Aneke POSTED 8/30/2023 6:00:01 AM ON Ephesians 4:16 NIV
Early one morning as I cooked, I flipped through the television, looking for something to watch.
As I did, I landed on a documentary about the life of bees. By this time, I had tired of flipping through each station, so I left the documentary on and re-focused on preparing my meal.
The narrator described how a hive of honeybees consists of thousands of bees. He then told how each honeybee had a job contributing to the hive’s success. From cleaning the hive to building the honeycomb, pollen packing, attending to the queen bee, and more, each bee in this dynamic relationship bond contributed, sacrificed, and offered its best to the hive’s success.
I could not help but think about how the bees’ activities can apply to human relationships. Whether with family, friends, or work peers, we must provide our God-given best to support the growth and progress of those we bond with. As members of Christ’s body, with Christ as our head, we are equally called to edify each person and give them the loving, constructive feedback necessary to fulfill their God-given role.
Many of us have witnessed dynamics that fall short of healthy relational bonds, but we all must ensure that the body of Christ can function in unity to fulfill God’s purpose.
What are some things you can do to maintain healthy bonds that support unity, growth, and the progress of those you connect with?
DEVOTION BY Hunter Whittle POSTED 8/23/2023 6:00:01 AM ON 1 John 4:19 NIV
For many years, I struggled with feeling loved by God.
Instead of seeing God as the loving Father He is, I saw Him as angry and condemning, especially when I messed up or sinned. I remember many nights when I lay in my room—exhausted from school, trying to keep up with my prayers and Bible reading, and feeling alone and empty. I wanted to talk to God but felt ashamed because I hadn’t read my Bible and I had sinned. I simply could not fathom that God would want anything to do with me.
Because of this, I struggled to have a relationship with God, to love others, and to love myself. But these feelings of loneliness and condemnation changed when God reminded me of His love. His love overcame me and my shame and reminded me of who I am in Christ—a child of God. And having been loved, I can show people the love God shows me.
Ultimately, we love others and God because He loved us first. Even before we put our faith in Him, He showed us love. The greatest example of God’s love for us was when Jesus laid down His life for us on the cross so that our old life of sin and shame could be removed forever. He gives us new life in Christ.
Because God loves us, we should love other people. God is love. All that He does is loving. As His children, we should love as He loved us first. Loving others can look like many different things: being patient, forgiving, and humble.
How has God shown you His love, and how can you show this love to all people?