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 Alice Murray POSTED 7/1/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Ephesians 4:25b NIV
Out of the corner of my eye, I detected movement.
In the grass near the picnic table where my family sat eating, a potato chip ambled away. I blinked, shook my head, and looked again. Sure enough, the salty snack made slow but certain progress across the lawn.
Putting down my sandwich, I alerted my husband and kids. Fascinated, we all jumped up and rushed toward this strange scene. No, I wasn't crazy. The potato chip definitely moved through the blades of grass. Entranced, my children dropped to their knees for a closer view. Aha! The potato chip did not move on its own. An army of ants transported it.
I tried to imagine what the ant that first came across the errant human snack thought. Did he believe he could move the potato chip by himself? Only Super Ant could manage that feat. But this ant connected with fellow ants and worked on a common goal. The body of ants collectively picked up a potato chip many times its size and carried away the desired food prize.
We might feel like an ant when facing daunting tasks in this world. But we do not have to tackle things on our own. As Christians, we are members of a large group—the body of Christ. Acting together with other Christians, we can accomplish things which we could never do alone.
One ant could not pick up a potato chip, but an army of them could. If a body of ants can do that, then Christ's body of believers can lift our world and move it closer to Christ.
Make it your practice to work with others as one body for Christ.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Victoria Peace Green POSTED 6/24/2020 6:00:01 AM ON John 12:35 NIV
I couldn’t sleep. I crept out of the messy bedding and grabbed my robe.
Leaving the room, my eyes adjusted to the darkness, but not enough. As I inched my way through the house toward my office, the darkness had no mercy. Bang! I ran into the side of one of the walls in our family room. Walking through the darkness wasn’t wise, but I didn’t want to turn on the lights and disturb my husband.
As I sat in my office, I thought about the many times I walk in the darkness of my own thought life and of this world’s thinking without asking God’s direction. I think or act as if everything will be fine. And for a while, my way seems to work—until it doesn’t, or until I get into trouble. All because I don’t want to disturb others or ask for help.
God spoke clearly that morning. I turned to John’s gospel and found Jesus’ words. God’s Spirit enlightened me. In the dark moments when I am stumbling about and getting hurt, I don’t need to worry about disturbing someone or try to work things out my way. God designed me to ask Him for help in those confusing, frustrating, and painful times. The darkness is meant to take me to the Light.
Sitting there, I marveled and praised God. In my discomfort of the night, He brought me out of the darkness into joy and revelation. In the darkness, I can see nothing good, but when I give up and stop fighting, God gets my attention and I receive peace, relief, and intimate closeness with Him.
I went back to bed and slept for the rest of the night. Next time I can’t sleep, I will get up and turn on the light because I know God is waiting to speak with me.
Don’t stumble around in the darkness of your own plans by excluding God. Next time you can’t sleep, turn on the light and walk in it. God will show you the way.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
DEVOTION BY Ken Ebright POSTED 6/17/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Mark 8:36 NCV
I hate my job.
Some days, processing mail for nine different charities feels tedious—like working on an assembly line. The fussy machine that opens the mail should make life easier, but it won’t take mangled envelopes. And it destroys perfect ones. When those pieces get stuck or destroyed, I may have to open fifty envelopes by hand. Doing so stresses me, takes extra time, and causes me to fall behind. I worry about meeting my quota, which means I’ll be in trouble with my supervisor. Everyone wonders why I’m in a bad mood.
Hating my job forced me to evaluate what is important in life. I once had a job that interfered with my relationship with the Lord. At the time, I thought I had the whole world. I worshipped my job, not the Lord. He took my career away to get my attention so I wouldn’t lose my soul. These days, I spend my time reading the Word and telling people about Jesus. Life is about a relationship with Jesus, not a career.
We can love our careers and have a close relationship with the Lord. Balance is the key. A successful career does not admit us to heaven, but trusting Jesus for salvation does.
Don’t lose your soul over a job.
DEVOTION BY Bob Jennerich POSTED 6/10/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Luke 2:52 NASB
Even a golf ball can’t resist drag.
Professional golfers drive their balls at speeds of 168 miles per hour on average. As the ball screams through the air and down the fairway, several external pressures slow it down. The weight of the ball and gravity push the ball down. A term used in the study of aerodynamics is “drag”—the resistance that slows an object as it moves through the air. Gravity, weight, and drag cause the ball to land. Friction with the ground, combined with these other forces, cause the ball to bounce, roll, and then stop completely. Golf ball manufacturers constantly try to invent new ways to help the golf ball resist the forces of drag and gravity.
When we first become Christians, we fly fast—like a golf ball off the face of a driver. We read our Bibles every day, tell others about our faith, and experience answered prayer. But over time, we often experience drag—in the form of trials, unanswered prayer, or scorn and mocking. These forces of resistance can slow our desire for spiritual growth.
But Jesus—God clothed in human flesh—kept increasing in wisdom and stature. He developed mentally and physically. He also devoted Himself to prayer.
If Jesus grew in wisdom, we should too. To do so, we need realistic spiritual goals such as reading our Bible through in a year, journaling our thoughts and prayers, journaling our answered prayers, and memorizing some of the well-known passages of Scripture. We can also serve, look for someone to mentor or someone to mentor us, and post notes around our house that remind us to pray and thank God for His blessings.
God always has work to complete in you. Ask Him to give you a desire to become more like Him every day.
DEVOTION BY Phyllis Freeman POSTED 6/3/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Proverbs 31:20 NASB
A pastor in Michigan didn’t judge my unsaved dad because he avoided the church services.
Thomas Grassano, Sr. and his wife shared beef tacos at Dad and Mom’s home on numerous occasions. He wanted to be Dad’s friend. Dad didn’t accept Christ under that pastor’s ministry, but the seeds of kindness eventually grew into faith and Dad accepted Christ in his mid-sixties.
When a hospital co-worker experienced a long-term illness, I saw her getting weaker. Even after visiting doctors, she had no answer for her illness. She began to miss work. One day I took her a chicken pot pie and drove her to the bank at her request. Later, I said, “Mary, I’ve talked to our emergency room director, and she said if we come to the ER she will make sure a good doctor sees you. Will you go with me?”
“Yes,” she said, “I’ll go.”
“Can I pray with you that the doctors will be able to diagnose your problem?”
She agreed and we prayed. Mary was admitted to the hospital that day, and when we had a moment alone, I said, “Mary, let’s thank God for your answer?”
Mary had recently awakened at 2:00 a.m. in pain. “I knew you were praying for me,” she told me.
How did she know? I hadn’t said anything before this. Those who are near to the kingdom know when they encounter kingdom people. They know who to call on for prayer.
After two days, the doctor told her, “Mary, you’re going to make it.”
The Word challenges us to recognize and meet the needs of others as the Proverbs 31 woman did. Quoting Scripture isn’t the only way to entice unbelievers toward salvation. People around us need someone to express God’s love to them.
Mary Crowley, founder of Home Interiors, Inc. had a motto for sales success: “Find a need and fill it.”
God’s work is similar. Perhaps your neighbor needs a friend or someone to care about their troubles.
Recognize a need and ask God for wisdom to minister to that need.