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 Ken Barnes POSTED 5/20/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Nehemiah 3:5 NKJV
I once led a discipleship training school for a missionary training organization.
On one occasion, we accepted a student from Nigeria who had been a spiritual leader in the church of his country. In his culture, he did not serve others; they served him. We built a two-hour work duty into our daily schedule. When we had a prayer meeting or teaching session, our Nigerian student was one of the first to arrive. But with work-duties, he was difficult to find.
One Saturday, we had a workday where I labored with the students on a dirty job. Coming back from the work detail, the student from Africa looked into my dusty face and said, “Very practical Christianity.” He finally started to get it: Christianity was more readily caught than taught.
When Nehemiah built the wall around Jerusalem, a short statement speaks volumes about the value of work: God rebuked the Tekoite nobles. Matthew Henry said, that “they would not come under the discipline of being obliged to perform this service. They thought that the dignity and liberty of their rank exempted them from getting their hands dirty and serving God.” Evidently, the Tekoites believed specific tasks had more value than others.
Our work has value because God calls us to do it, and we are a person of value doing it. Satisfaction from a job well done is a separate issue from value. We should not seek to get value from our work, but to bring value to it.
The Tekoites philosophy was that we have worth because of what we do. God does not see big or little people. He sees people and majors on why we do what we do, not what we do. Whatever task God calls us to do has great value if we do it for Him, which frees us from the bondage of the Tekoite nobles who looked to people rather than God for acceptance.
Remember, whatever you do has value when God calls you to do it.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Robert L. Segress POSTED 5/13/2020 6:00:01 AM ON 1 Corinthians 14:33 NASB
Strokes and other medical conditions are infamous for producing “Brain Fog”—a condition accurately described by its name.
The brain seemingly sees the surrounding area as being in a dense fog, making it difficult or impossible to drive. After a serious stroke and embolisms in both lungs, my doctor had to certify that my brain fog had become minimal. Unpredictable visits are still a concern.
Medical personnel asked me to describe what happened three years ago when I went over to the other side. I was just a blank body. I didn’t know when staples, six-inch needles, or anything else were inserted into my body. No anesthetic needed. I’ve addressed their requests several times in published articles. “A Divine Pardon to a Death Sentence,” as my attending physician named my journey, produced brain fog.
Recently, the Lord prompted me to describe Brain Fog when it happens to a Christian. I had no idea what to say, so I sat at my computer and prayed. My experience came out in an unexpected poetic description I entitled “Brain Fog.”
Spacious vistas surrounded me as I sought to see through a fog.
Colors were bright yet muted in my private apprehension.
Sight was full of sparks as I tried to enter a maze.
Holding on to what I believed restored my place.
Faint, yet clearly, life passed by my limited perspective,
As I wondered whether to step out boldly or sit back down.
Unsure of what surrounded, I picked up my staff, becoming three legged.
Strangely, acceptance of the fog brought a sense of being found.
Strife and competition were left behind as peaceful isolation
Became my new chosen reality, accepting a human as mere sand.
Leaving the future to a concerned and loving Shepherd,
The permanence of my brain fog was placed in other hands.
Place your confused thinking processes in the Lord’s hands. By finding the peace that waits for those who come to Him, you will be blessed.
DEVOTION BY Tonya Cotto POSTED 5/6/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Romans 8:38-39 NIV
On any given Sunday, I might sit by a millionaire or a homeless person.
On one Sunday at my church, I filled the gap between an extremely wealthy businessman and a man transitioning from prison. The worlds of separation for the two were monumental. One man’s position afforded him everything he wanted. The other man’s situation left him destitute and reliant on others to provide for his basic needs. Yet they both sat on either side of me and focused on the same things: worshipping, giving back, and expressing their gratefulness to a loving God.
I feel privileged to serve a God who lets nothing separate us from Him. No matter what our position in life—wealth, poverty, sickness, or health—we serve a loving God who anxiously awaits us with open arms. Whether we fall away, deny Him, or cling to Him in humbleness, He waits to express a fondness for His creation. The past, present, or future doesn’t change His love, which became sacrificial in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection—a sacrifice that forever ends our separation and reveals the ultimate expression of God’s love for His creation.
Life is full of different experiences and continual transitions. Some of us may find ourselves with it all while others struggle to meet their basic needs. But regardless of what life brings us, we will never be separated from a loving God.
Take a moment to thank God for His unconditional love for you.
DEVOTION BY Kelly Liberto POSTED 4/29/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Proverbs 18:20 TPT
Transition times can be trying.
Friendships change, neighbors come and go, and sometimes life can be lonely. Two of our adult daughters moved to different cities. Another daughter works night shift and plans to move into her own apartment soon. Our home is almost empty of our children for the first time in thirty-three years.
Although I’m not one to be easily discouraged, I’ve felt alone, dejected, and even depressed during this season—until a beautiful young woman showed up. Cheryl is the daughter of close friends who are more like family. They had moved to another state some time ago.
Cheryl’s mom and I spent precious years together watching our children grow. I admired the way our friends raised their precious family. Our families shared summertime trips to amusement parks, birthday celebrations, and ice cream socials at our church after Wednesday AWANA classes.
I reconnected with Cheryl through social media, and we shared our thoughts and hearts again. What I did not know was that Cheryl felt the same special bond. In fact, during this difficult time, she shared how she thought of me as her honorary aunt.
I was blown away, not only by Cheryl’s thoughtful gesture of sharing her heart, but also by God’s answer to my prayer to show me the influence I have had on others. Cheryl shared how our shopping times together shaped her into the woman she is today.
Encouragement like this helps us move through those growing times when we wonder how we can impact other’s lives for good.
Has a friend, neighbor, or teacher influenced your life for the better? Take a moment to contact them and tell them what they mean to you. You’ll be glad you did.
DEVOTION BY Mandy Lawrence POSTED 4/22/2020 6:00:01 AM ON 1 Peter 3:8 NRSV
The heart monitor indicated a normal heart rhythm, but my patient didn’t have a pulse.
I was a nurse working the night shift in a cardiac unit. While catching up on some charting, a loud solitary snore coming from an elderly woman’s room across the hall startled me. My stomach sank when I found her unresponsive and pulseless. Seeing a perfect heart rhythm dancing across the monitor above her bed, however, confused me.
EA—pulseless electrical activity—explained the contradiction in front of me. The electrical component of my patient’s heart functioned, but the mechanical component didn’t. A lack of oxygen to the cardiac tissue—likely caused by a blockage in a coronary artery—left her heart’s electrical cells firing and communicating properly along the electrical pathways of her heart. But the corresponding muscle cells, deprived of oxygen, couldn’t respond with a contraction.
I faced a harsh reality: looks can deceive. Despite my best efforts, my sweet patient didn’t survive. Since this was the first time I had lost someone under my care, her death was difficult.
Considering that things aren’t always as they seem, the smiling person we encounter may actually be crying inside. Although progress has been made, mental illness still stigmatizes our society. We all know hurting people who live behind joyful-looking masks.
As Christians, I pray we start digging deeper and getting more accurate pictures of people and their needs. Perhaps a check-up on a widowed relative. Or a compliment to or conversation with a stranger while waiting in line. Maybe we could leave a tract with a small season-themed gift for our waitress.
By following the advice of Peter—to extend sympathy and love to others—we can make a major impact in this hurting world. We who know the Prince of Peace can be beacons of His light and instruments that draw others to the Counselor and Great Physician who revives lives and gives life eternal.
What is your heartbeat leading you to do for others?