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.

Blessed to Bless

A young man in our church was healed when he was a baby. He wasn't supposed to live, but God performed a miracle. Now, he's growing up to be a fine Christian young man.

One way God uses him in our church is through his working with a group of children in a drama team. And he loves it. 

One performance was so good that the pastor asked the group to perform the next week. That second week, all the children told the young man in front of everyone how much they appreciated his work with them. Several—including the young man’s own brother—told him God used him to bring them closer to God.

To hear the young man’s brother say that brought tears to my eyes, because everyone knew the young man shouldn't have been alive. This young teenage boy was blessed to be a blessing, and he is. 

God told Abraham if he obeyed Him he would be a blessing to others. When God blesses us, it's for His glory most of all, and it's also to bless others. It's not all about us, but it's all about blessing others for God.

When God blesses us, we should use those blessings to bless others in a way that glorifies God. That is why God blessed Abraham, and that is why God blesses us.

God may or may not make our name great in this life, but we can still be a blessing to others, even if it's as simple as giving a smile  God can use each of us to make a difference in someone's life. If we use our abilities for His glory, when we stand before Him, our reward will be great and so will our name.

Ask God to make you a blessing.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Develop a Grateful Heart

“But I don’t have anything to be grateful for,” the woman said. “Look at my life. It’s a mess.”

No amount of talking could convince her otherwise.

When the weight of the universe is heavy on our shoulders, it’s hard to see the good in our life. It’s unnatural. It goes against our carnal nature. But developing a heart that is thankful is a discipline we can learn—if we’re willing.

This is what pastor and author Bob Gass says about a grateful heart.

  • It sees each day as a gift.
     
  • It’s like a magnet sweeping over your day, collecting reasons to be grateful.
  • It thanks God for the miracle of muscles that enable your eyes to read these words and your brain to process them.
     
  • It thanks God for lungs that inhale and exhale eleven thousand liters of air every day.
     
  • It thanks God for a heart that will beat about three billion times in your lifetime and for a brain that’s a veritable electric generator and super computer of power.
     
  • It thanks God for jam on your toast and milk on your cereal. For the blanket that warms you and the joke that delights you. For the thousands of planes that didn’t crash today. For the men who didn’t cheat on their wives and the women who didn’t turn on their men. And the kids who, in spite of unspeakable pressure to dishonor their parents, decided not to.

Gass goes on to say that “rejoicing over the good stuff is what gets you through the hard stuff. Gratitude is an attitude you choose, not a reaction to your circumstances.”

In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. When we develop a grateful heart, we see things from a different perspective. We become joyful, less focused on our circumstances, and more able to reach out to others.

Start today. Turn your negatives into positives. Look for the good stuff. It’s there. As the song says, “Count your many blessings.” I’ll bet if you do, there will be too many to name.

Are you up for the challenge?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



The Art of Discernment

What will I eat? What career will I pursue? What church will I attend?

An enormity of decisions confront us each day. According to researchers at Cornell University, we make approximately 220 decisions each day about food alone (Wansink and Sobal, 2007). The question is whether our decisions are good ones.

The psalmist prayed that he might increase in knowledge and make better decisions.

A key aspect of knowledge is discernment or insight. Discernment is the ability to make perceptions and sharp distinctions where others might not see any at all. Believing in the commandments of Scripture is not enough. By obedience, we let the Scriptures help us make good decisions. And by making good decisions, we gain knowledge.

Discernment is a skill acquired and honed over the course of time. If I reflect on the decisions I made in my twenties and compare them to the decisions I made in my thirties, I can see incremental improvements.

The more time we spend walking with God, the better we will become at demonstrating discernment.

Ask God to teach you good discernment so that you can increase in knowledge and obey Him.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Striving for Stillness

Listening to my favorite podcast, I pumped my arms and powered down the country road.

Scanning the cornfields that flanked my path, I took in budding oaks that stood sentry over the pastoral scene. I was the queen of multitasking, and this was no exception. Exercising my body on a long walk, I stretched my mind with the day’s topic. Suddenly, I sensed a prompting to remove my ear buds, stop racking my brain, and bask in the sun on my face and the gravel under my feet.

With ear buds stowed in my pocket, a stillness settled over me. A red-winged blackbird flew from a nearby tree and soared overhead, keeping pace with my steps. I felt a loosening in my chest as God spoke to my soul: You don't have to figure everything out. Stop striving. I love you just as you are.

I tasted the salty tears that trailed down my cheeks. This message was a revelation. Even if I never listen to another podcast, read another book, follow another fitness plan, or make another resolution, the Lord loves me. Not because of my intellect or my ability to check items off of my to-do list, but because God created me. My mere existence, like the rolling hills and swath of indigo sky, glorifies my Creator.

We often seek God’s approval in doing and thinking the "right" things, but the truth of Christ’s unconditional affection feels like rain pouring down on a parched spirit. Our busyness can blind us to our soul’s yearning for a quiet place to deeply experience God’s love.

Today, my walks are filled with peace as I silence my own thoughts and, instead, listen for God’s grace in the stillness.

Find a quiet place where you can experience God.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Unexpected Blessings

I spent several days each week staying with Lee.

My son-in-law suffered four strokes before undergoing a heart transplant. The strokes caused brain damage and other problems. He became an invalid and needed a caregiver while my daughter, Cathy, worked.

At times, staying with Lee frustrated me. He lost his temper and said things such as, “Go home, I don’t like you, and leave me alone!” I realized that wasn’t the real Lee speaking. He would never have said those things if not for the damage to his brain.

One day Lee surprised me by asking, “Do you like me?”

“Yes, Lee, I like you. Do you like me?” I asked.

“Yes, I like you. You’re good to me.”

Our conversation was an unexpected blessing, and I was thankful for the gift of encouragement.

It takes little time and effort to give encouragement to others, and Paul encourages us to do so. A comment to tired cashiers about their speed in scanning or their pleasant attitude can lift weary spirits. We are all capable of giving smiles to those we meet. Smiles are a great encouragement and highly contagious.

One day as I stood in line at a fast food restaurant, a cashier in training waited on me. She was slow and made mistakes. I noticed the responses from the customers waiting in line. “That’s okay,” I heard one man say. “Everyone has to start from the beginning.”

I picked up my food tray and sat at a booth near where the cashier stood. Several times she apologized for mistakes, and each time the customers encouraged her with their replies. By the time I left, the employee had learned to relax and even laugh as she worked. How different her first day on the job would have been if customers had not been understanding.

God will guide us to those who need an unexpected blessing, and He will also give us the words and actions to bring it about.

Make it a point to encourage someone today.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



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