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 Joanna Eccles POSTED 1/15/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Psalm 5:3 NKJV
I am not a morning person.
Caffeine is my friend. I drag myself out of bed and struggle to dress in the dark lest the light burn my eyes. I’ve gone to work with mismatched shoes because I fumble for them under my bed by touch. In grad school, my ultimate goal was to lie down again, which meant that if I could rest for sixty seconds I’d return to bed.
But I’ve discovered when I don’t start my day seeking God, the day goes downhill quickly. Once, I was in a rush and skipped my morning Bible reading. The results were disastrous. Management didn’t like the project I presented, and, instead of calmly taking the feedback, I left in a fog. Had I read Psalm 124 that morning as planned, my perspective would have differed. I would have remembered the Lord was on my side. When people rose against me, they wouldn’t swallow me whole. God would protect me.
The psalmist knew the importance of turning his heart heavenward in the morning. When I meditate on Scripture before I face the day, it provides a lens of truth through which to frame my experiences. Once I leave home, the world seeks to overwhelm my mind with information. If I have no filter to sort the onslaught, then everything becomes factual and weighs down my soul.
I have to choose to answer God’s invitation to look to Him in the morning. I try to read a psalm or a proverb each day before work. These books have enough chapters to cover six months, so I read them through twice in a year. Maybe other verses call louder, but the point is that we need to respond to God early. God will help us pull back those sheets and open His Word so we can start the day right.
With Jesus (and a little coffee) you can be ready for whatever comes your way.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Norma Mezoe POSTED 1/8/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Psalm 31:3 NIV
Gripping the steering wheel with clammy hands, I drove slowly down the busy city street.
A thick glossy sheet of ice covered the road. This was the first time I’d driven on ice, and I was stressed. My husband, to whom I had been married for twenty-seven years, had always been the designated driver. But he had left me for a younger woman several months earlier, and now I coped with many new things—driving on ice among them.
At the age of forty-five, I was on my way to the only job I had ever held. Along with learning the many facets of my new job, I was also coping with driving on ice.
Other drivers were impatient with my slow driving and wished to pass me, but couldn’t. Suddenly, my car began sliding, and it seemed I had no power to stop it. As I desperately prayed, I watched my car inch its way toward a mailbox anchored in concrete.
Thankfully, my car stopped inches from the mailbox. I hated the thought of backing the car and getting back onto the busy street, but there was no other choice. When I arrived at work, I unclasped my white knuckles from the steering wheel and whispered a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving.
We often find ourselves maneuvering on thin ice. Maybe not in a car, but in a situation. The more we struggle, the more we find ourselves sliding out of control. The psalmist reminds us God is our rock and fortress and will lead and guide us.
We can trust God to clear our paths, steady our feet, and put us on His firm foundation: the solid Rock of Jesus Christ.
Make sure you are standing on Jesus Christ, the solid Rock.
DEVOTION BY Cindy Sproles POSTED 1/1/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Revelation 22:13 NIV
Every New Year’s Day, I say Happy Do-Over Day.
I love do-overs. Opportunities to start fresh—perhaps get things right this go around. Making resolutions has never been successful for me. I start out great guns, but before three months have passed, I’m already sulking in my failure. That’s why I prefer to think of the New Year as a do-over. After all, isn’t that what God allows us to do with His amazing love and forgiveness? A second chance. Well, to be truthful, a second, third, fourth ...
God’s love is far more amazing than a new year. It’s the best of the best in do-overs. It warms my heart to know that at the beginning of everything—be it now, past, or in the future—God is the Alpha, the beginning. Even better, He is the Omega, the end. Tell me, how else you can you describe that type of love?
Oh wait—if God is the Alpha, the beginning of all things, then that means He stands at the beginning of my hardships and my bad choices as well. How can that be? Shouldn’t He prevent me from making those bad mistakes or from falling into difficulties?
God is the Alpha and Omega. And yes, He is at the beginning of everything, be it good or bad. But that’s just the thing. He gives us the freedom to choose, to make good choices over bad. Because time has no boundary on Him, He can step into the future and see how a choice will affect us. When it comes to illness or hardship, He’s at the beginning of that too, knowing His plan fully encompasses what is best for us—even if we don’t see the good in the difficulty.
God is always the Alpha and Omega in everything we do. The hard part is submitting to what God wants for us or asking for His forgiveness when we know we’ve made rash or questionable decisions.
It’s really not so bad having the Alpha and Omega on our side. God promises never to turn away from us … to always wait for us. He stands ready to love us unconditionally and to walk with us through a do-over.
Welcome in the New Year with a new attitude. Let God guide you. Let Him afford you a do-over. He will walk with you through every beginning and stand with you in every end.
Happy Do-Over Year.
DEVOTION BY Cindy Sproles POSTED 12/25/2019 6:00:01 AM ON Matthew 21:5 NIV
“I don’t know if I’m comin or goin.”
That was something my grandmother frequently said. Usually when she was in a rush. We’d try to interrupt. She’d wave a hand, brush us out of her way, and move on to her next task.
Lately, I’ve found myself repeating those same words. Life has been more than hectic. We’ve hit snags we didn’t anticipate and hardships that make more than an inconvenience. In a time when I am normally very organized, well…I don’t know if I’m coming or going. In the hustle and bustle of gift buying, dinners, and parties, I think I’ve lost site…lost focus. That bothers me more than the upheaval.
This year, I purchased a rotating Christmas tree stand. Not only did it make decorating easy, but once completed, the gentle rotation allowed me to enjoy my entire tree. In the slow turn of the tree, baby Jesus—bundled in swaddling clothes—passed by. Mary and Joseph inched past, Joseph sweetly balancing his pregnant wife on a donkey. And then with another spin, a donkey and a cross turned the other direction. I wondered if Jesus ever pondered whether He was coming or going. His life was surely hectic.
Our king donned a donkey more than once in His lifetime. From the trip to Bethlehem as He neared birth, to exile after birth, and then again at His triumphant entry as King. The Son of God came without hesitation into a world that refused to accept Him. He never waivered in His love, in His goal, or in His affirmation that He was sent for a purpose. Nothing swayed Him. His full attention was in the reassurance we would be saved.
Getting my head around the amazing gift God gave is hard. In Jesus’ birth, there was peace. In His death and resurrection, hope. Now we wait for His return. Jesus always knew the direction He headed, and He never lost sight…despite.
When life keeps you in a tizzy—not knowing if you are coming or going—and when you lose focus of the real reason for Christmas, remember the One who came in your behalf. He came without hesitation. He went without regret. He will come again.
DEVOTION BY Diana Derringer POSTED 12/18/2019 6:00:01 AM ON Matthew 1:20-21 NIV
Looking forward to his long-awaited marriage, he busied himself, preparing for their life together. He wanted everything perfect for his young bride.
Then came the news. His fiancé was pregnant. He might have expected such behavior from other young women, but never from Mary. Not his Mary. How could she? Didn’t she realize what this could do to their reputations? The village leaders could stone her if they heard. Yet no one would hear such news from him. Instead of disgracing her, he decided to secretly divorce her.
Little did this disappointed groom realize the role God was about to grant him. An angel told Joseph not to fear or doubt, but to trust God. God had everything under control. Joseph was to marry his beloved. She would bear a Son who would save the world. Joseph accepted the divine challenge.
When difficult circumstances arise in our lives, instead of panicking or making our own independent plans, we should listen for God’s divine direction. When people disappoint us, we should treat them with respect in spite of their frailties, rather than choose to withdraw from those relationships. God wants us to seek His guidance in the smallest detail of every decision.
God’s message speaks to us through Jesus’ miraculous conception and birth. Don’t be afraid. Don’t doubt. He has everything under control. Trust Him. Accept the Savior He sent for you. Let go of your shame. Claim the honor Jesus came to bestow. God wants you as His beloved child.
Live in the light of the amazing truth that God's plan and message include you.