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 Nate Stevens POSTED 7/21/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Psalm 119:130 NIV
All I managed to do was strip the bolts.
I was trying to change the deflated tires on my hand truck. Inflating them was pointless. They were old and well past their usefulness. A local hardware store advertised tires for a relatively low price. So, I set to work in the garage in the limited space between the two cars. It would be a quick job. Unscrew the bolts, replace the wheels, and screw the bolts back on.
Unfortunately, there was little light to see what I was doing. Regardless, in my blindness, I pinched hard with two vice grips and strained with all my might. When the vice grips kept slipping off, I got angry at whoever put the bolts on so tightly. Who would do such a thing?
When a friend rolled the dolly into the daylight and began working on it with better tools, I immediately saw the problem. What I thought were bolts were the ends of the solid axle. The wheels were held on by one-way retaining washers and push nuts, not bolts. In all my strength and effort, along with blindness and lack of understanding, I managed to scar up the ends of the axles. When we finally removed the washers, we also had to sand down the results of my misguided efforts.
The scene reminded me of how I sometimes try to fix the broken or hurting areas of life without the direct light of God’s Word and the effectual working of the Holy Spirit. No matter how sincerely or passionately I try, I only frustrate myself and create more work by the damage caused by trying to do it in my strength.
But when I have the direct light of God’s Word shining on my situation, God reveals the source, cause, and remedy of the problem. When I look into “the perfect law of liberty,” continue in it, and am not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, God will bless my attempts.
Thank God for His unchanging, enlightening Word. By allowing it to enter our hearts and minds, we are enlightened. Then the Holy Spirit can do His work without stripping our spiritual bolts.
Ask God to enlighten all your situations so that you can see all aspects clearly.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Debra Celovsky POSTED 7/14/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Psalm 119:18 NLT
Tomatoes, a puzzling metal sign, and a lack of perspective do have something in common.
Rusty was a big friendly man who lived with his dad in a small house that sat on several acres down the road from me. Every spring, Rusty planted a big patch of tomatoes and squash in front of his house between the lawn and the road. And every summer, without fail, he urged me to pick his garden-fresh tomatoes—which I love with great and enduring love—anytime I wanted. So, I did. In appreciation, I would drop off a big loaf of banana bread.
One summer, a metal sign appeared in that garden of wonderfulness. Small drilled holes spelled out the word WORG. The sign puzzled me as I power-walked past his house. But as Rusty could sometimes be a quirky character, I just smiled to myself and kept moving.
Now, I am a reasonably intelligent person, but it wasn’t until a couple of days later that I realized what the sign said. My problem was perspective. That simple word of encouragement to grow, planted by Rusty in the middle of his vegetables, would make perfect sense to anyone standing on his front porch.
Thinking about this experience, I am embarrassed, but my mind goes to that short statement in Psalm 119:18 to “open my eyes.” It is preceded by verse 15’s declaration, “I will reflect on Your ways.”
When we rush past signs God places in our spiritual field of vision—something that may take some effort to comprehend—we should stop, ponder, and pray for accurate perspective. This may take time, but it is well worth it when His wonderful truths are revealed.
Ask God for perspective so you can GROW.
DEVOTION BY Anne Hughes POSTED 7/7/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Matthew 16:24 NIV
We live in amazing times.
Technology is rapidly evolving. Almost all the information we need rests at our fingertips.
Before the internet, cell phones, and Google Maps, I kept a local Thomas Guide in the car, along with other numerous maps of places I like to visit. Sometimes, when a map was outdated and new routes hadn’t been added, we had to stop for directions.
Once, I drove nine hours across three states, guided entirely by Google GPS. I appreciate how my Google Girl finds the fastest and shortest routes, although rarely the most direct. This drive made me make many turns every ten to thirty miles. The drive was an adventure in trust, relying on Google’s navigation system to get me safely to my destination.
Too often, we think we know where we’re going and don’t need help. Before we know it, we’re lost without a compass, map, or GPS. We run out of gas and find ourselves in the middle of nowhere, feeling hopeless. That’s when we cry out to God to get us back on track.
The Bible is our road map for life, and we can plug into the Holy Spirit’s GPS at any time. Life takes us on a series of twists and turns where we often don’t see what’s ahead. Through prayer, we can ask for new directions, clarification, and updates. If we’re following the Lord’s route for us, the way will be unobstructed.
When we deviate from the provided route, we may be distracted by the enemy’s diversions. Satan aims to convince us we’ve got it all figured out and don’t need to pray or read the Bible—leading us to frustration, anxiety, and uncertainty. If we seek the Lord and listen for His guiding voice, He’ll take us on an exciting journey with solid directions.
Plug into the heart of God through Scripture. Although you cannot see the road ahead, He’s already been there and mapped it out.
DEVOTION BY Mary Anne Quinn POSTED 6/30/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Psalm 131:2 MSG
I settled down to pray in my room at a retreat center.
I replayed in my mind the lyrics I had sung during my one-hour drive. I felt frustrated and confused. Why did so many songs describe the tenderness and comfort of being held by God? I sang the words, but I didn’t share the experience. Were they just nice-sounding words or did people know God’s embrace as more than just a lyrical metaphor?
I worried that maybe Jesus didn’t want to hold me. I took a risk and prayed, “Jesus, I want this to be real for me, but I have no idea how. If I can’t physically see, hear, or touch You, how can I know what it feels like for You to hold me?”
Then I imagined a mother sea otter nestling her pup. I sensed Jesus inviting me to imagine myself in the place of that little pup. I felt the mother otter’s paws wrap snugly around me. The steady rhythm of her heartbeat and the gently rocking waves soothed my ruffled emotions. I heard her soft cooing close to my ears and the noisy calls of seagulls overhead. I tasted the tangy saltiness of the breeze. I felt sheltered—that I belonged. Was this furry embrace the answer to my prayer?
“Jesus, is this how it feels to be held by You?”
“It’s one way, my child.”
“It’s a good way, Jesus. I like it. Thank You for this gift.”
God engaged my imagination to open a door to a tangible experience of His love, holding me close to His heart. I felt His tenderness toward me. God has painted pictures of His faithful love for us throughout His creation: the stars, the mountains, the seas, and even mama otters.
Open your eyes and your heart and receive God’s loving embrace in whatever form He has for you today.
DEVOTION BY Barbara Latta POSTED 6/23/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Romans 5:8 NKJV
After ordering our fast food through a microphone, we crept up the line inch by inch.
I complained about how slow the fast food was and about how the order probably wouldn’t be right anyway. I rehearsed how many times I had looked into those paper bags after driving away to find something was missing or not what I had ordered.
Our turn finally arrived, and the food attendant stuck her arm through the fold-out window with bags and condensation-covered drinks. My husband produced money, but the attendant said, “It’s already paid for. The person in the car in front of you paid your bill.”
I felt like a heel. After all the grumbling I had done, someone’s generosity blessed me.
The Bible warns us about grumbling. The Israelites paid a heavy price for it. But despite my complaining, I was blessed because of a person’s generous heart.
While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He was in line before us with a purpose: to pay the debt we owed with the currency of His blood. While we complained, sinned, and murmured against Him, He paid the ticket.
The person who paid for our food was a stranger, yet they paid our bill to the restaurant. If they had known us, they could have refused to pay for our meal because of my complaints. But Jesus knows us. He knows our heart and the sin that needs removal. And He still pays the bill.
We may grumble and complain about life. We sin and get in trouble. We feel like we don’t get what we want when we want it, as I did in the slow fast-food line. We could have refused the food that was already paid for. But it would be unbelievable to refuse a freely given gift.
Redemption was paid in the body of Jesus. Our part is to reach out and receive it from the hands of the Father. Our meal tasted even better because of the blessing that accompanied it.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Your bill has already been paid.