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 Robert L. Segress POSTED 9/23/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Job 6: 14 NKJV
My wife was angry at God because her friend just couldn’t get a break.
Another medical disaster had overwhelmed my wife’s friend. A reaction to medication had turned her foot into a dark lifeless-looking appendage. My first thought was that doctors might have to amputate her foot.
I am proud to have a wife with a tender heart instead of one with a self-righteous attitude, such as that of Job’s friends. If a person suffered, Job’s friends were quick to assume that person wasn’t righteous enough. Job called them out about their hard-hearted attitude.
But our friend is a godly handmaiden of the Lord and had not forsaken the fear of the Almighty. Yet, after a lifetime of medical issues, she had this scary reaction—a situation that led my wife to worry and to show brief anger toward God.
God wants us to be honest with our negative feelings and not bury them. But He also wants us to show our belief that He knows best by later confessing our sorrow. When we do, deep trusting prayer for healing takes over, and the peace that passes understanding through Christ our Lord results. God’s prescription for anxiety is given for overwhelming times that we often just cannot cope with—as we witnessed with COVID-19.
Ask God for opportunities to show kindness to your friends who are afflicted.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Rusty Lang POSTED 9/16/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Judges 21:25 NIV
“What I think is right for me and my family is ethical,” my employer asserted.
At the time, I was a manager and a buyer for a retail outlet. Sometimes, my employer would ask me to do something dishonest. Since it was against the Word of God, I firmly but politely refused. Each time, the employer asked me why. This gave me an opportunity to speak about God’s integrity without accusing my employer of being dishonest.
One day during a staff meeting, my employer brought up the subject of ethics for discussion—although he made it more of a time to mock my stance. I sat silently and allowed the laughter to proceed as we left the gathering.
Later, a fellow employee approached me. She was a struggling believer. She thanked me for standing by the Word of God and, during our break time, allowed me to pray for courage for her to renew her faith in God. She is now back in fellowship with God and growing in her spiritual walk.
The book of Judges records how God appointed three main judges: Deborah, Gideon, and Samson. God hoped the judges would stem the tide of His people’s frequent falling away from truth and would also deliver His people from the hands of those who plundered them.
Deborah was also a prophetess and a courageous warrior. During her rule, the Israelites had great victories. Gideon, at God’s instruction, destroyed the idols of Baal and also had great victories. Samson, although he had great potential, did not reach that potential because of sin and disobedience.
We can choose to be people of integrity like Deborah and Gideon, or we can choose to compromise as Samson did. Our response may affect others more than we realize.
Make up your mind to be a person of integrity.
DEVOTION BY Anne Hughes POSTED 9/9/2020 6:00:01 AM ON 2 Corinthians 13:11 NIV
When I’m going through a difficult time—whether the loss of a loved one, a pandemic, a relationship break-up, or the loss of a job—I want only two things: prayer and empathy.
What I usually get—and sometimes give—are patronizing platitudes. Such as, “It'll be okay.” Are you serious? I don't feel like it's going to be okay. I feel like manure in the rain. Or, “Just trust God. It'll all work out. God's got this.” Easy to say when the person isn’t wearing my shoes. I know God has my best interests at heart—unless I'm an unrepentant axe murderer—and I do trust Him. Speaking to someone as if they don’t isn’t helpful.
Another favorite is “When one door closes, another one opens.” If I'm standing in front of a row of locked doors and don't have a doggone key, that doesn’t comfort me. Nor does, “They're in a better place.” How do we know? Not everyone is going to a better place when they check out of Hotel Terra, so this saying may only be a cup of sweetened vinegar.
“Are you okay?” is another common platitude. If I just got dumped or fired or lost my best friend or my dog died, then I am not the least bit okay. I'm feeling overwhelmed and anxious. It's a fresh wound.
And here’s one more. “It's all part of God's plan. He's got something better for you.” That may be true, but when we’re in quicksand and our faces are going under, we don’t feel that way.
Some better ways to come alongside our friends when they’re under the bus are to ask how we can pray for them, to ask if there is anything we can do for them, and to tell them we are there if they need to talk. And if they want to talk, be quiet and listen.
Provide a feast of empathetic encouragement to others while holding back the patronizing platitudes.
DEVOTION BY Andrea Merrell POSTED 9/2/2020 6:00:01 AM ON 1 Corinthians 6:20 NKJV
So many times when I meet people, the first question they ask after finding out my name is “what do you do?”
My typical response? “I’m a writer and editor.” But there are so many other answers I could give. Teacher. Speaker. Reader. Hallmark junkie. The list could go on and on.
Maybe a better question would be “who are you?” I could say “wife, mother, grandmother, friend.” But rather than finding my identity in my titles, accomplishments, and even passions, I can sum up the answer in one short phrase: I am a beloved daughter of God.
You might be a woman who is a doctor, lawyer, pharmacist, or artist. Maybe you’re a man who is an engineer, architect, or surgeon. You may have a master’s degree or PhD. You may have won numerous awards and received high accolades for your achievements. But the bottom line is this: if we have received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are a son or a daughter of the Most High God. Creator of heaven and earth. The Almighty, Everlasting Father. The Great I Am.
God knows our name. In fact, He has written it in the Lamb’s Book of Life and engraved it on the palm of His hand. He even knows the number of hairs on our head. He has redeemed our life from death and destruction and clothed us with His very own robe of righteousness. He has adopted us into his family and calls us His child.
We should never get caught up in our titles and accomplishments. After all, they won’t mean anything in heaven. Our life is not about what we do but who we are—especially whom we belong to. We are not our own. We have been bought with a price. We are His.
So, who are you? You are a beloved child of God.
DEVOTION BY Anne Hughes POSTED 8/26/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Luke 9:23 NIV
Winters where I live often trespass into spring.
One year, we had unusually cold weather, along with heavy spring snow in April. At night, temperatures dropped into the teens, and the highs hovered in the lower thirties. Extended freezing temperatures can upset the botanical balance.
Besides an extended winter, the 2020 COVID-19 season had me feeling like a dusty coat hidden in a dark corner of the closet. So, I took advantage of a day when the sun finally lifted the temperatures. As I walked around my neighborhood, I marveled at the beauty around me in contrast with a young friend who had an oppressive incurable condition. He was overwhelmed with hopeless emotions that seemed to be stuck in a never-ending winter.
There, poking out amid dormant brown shrubs, stood a garden of bright yellow and white daffodils, surrounded by a field of blue hyacinth. I was surprised and delighted to see they had survived the recent freezes. It seemed like a small miracle.
We suffer at varying degrees—some more than others. At times, we trudge through winter seasons that continue beyond tolerance. When we come out the other side of those difficult times, the joy we feel is like seeing a miraculous spring blossom.
Jesus tells us to be willing to take up our cross daily. He is not asking us to carry a feather. A crucifix is a heavy object, and I imagine the beams He was hung upon were roughhewn wood full of splinters. Picture yourself dragging that up the side of the hill at Golgotha. But the news is not all bad. Jesus didn’t ask us to be crucified on our crosses—simply to carry them.
As I think of and pray for my young friend, I’m encouraged that winter doesn’t last forever and, when we reach the top of our Golgotha, the price of our sin has already been paid. We will arise when Jesus comes again in glory.
In a long season of winter, remember the cross points the way to a future of eternal spring.