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.

Empty Places

All my life, I have struggled with my weight.

I do well for a few months, but then I always get off track. I get bored with diet restrictions or the special foods, or sometimes the stress of life causes my diet to derail. I tend to listen to my head saying, “Feed me,” rather than listening to my stomach. I find myself snacking just because, not out of hunger—feeding a need.

They call my dilemma “head hunger.” Give me a salty snack or some cookies, and I am a happy girl—at least for a little while. Shopping sometimes gives me a little mood boost as well. Retail therapy is definitely a thing. Perhaps the need is deeper than just a simple desire for a snack or a desire for some new shoes.

Just like the woman at the well tried to find satisfaction in relationships, we, too, often try to satisfy ourselves with substitutes. We try to fill our emptiness with food, shopping, relationships, alcohol, or drugs. Jesus told the woman at the well that “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.”

Jesus is the only One who can fill the empty places, so we don’t feel the emptiness of hunger. Only Jesus can truly satisfy a hungry soul. Jesus longs to fill us, so we no longer hunger and thirst for things of this world.

Are you hungry and thirsty for more than the temporary things? Let Jesus fill you with Himself, so you don’t ever need to feel empty again.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Anxiety: The Weight of Depression

Anxiety brings the weight of depression.

The anxiety in the heart of many young women—who have gone through a divorce and find themselves single mothers with the responsibility of raising their children—is overwhelming.

Depression becomes a heavy, dark oppression as anxiety wears through resolve and assets. Tears and needs are constant, and not enough time exists to get everything done. Darkened shadows beneath eyes become a part of their appearance, which happy thoughts refuse to chase away. Children’s questions such as “Why did daddy go away?” germinate in fractured hearts and grow more self-doubt and anxiety for the future. Depression’s weight robs what little self-respect and buoyancy remain.

Perhaps the most incapacitating quality of depression is that depression is like quicksand, which causes a person to sink further when a person attempts to escape. However, if someone throws a lifeline to the sinking person—and the frightened soul grabs onto and refuses to let go—they will be rescued from the mire.

A person stuck in the mire of depression will not drown if they relax and firmly grasp the Vine that is within reach. Trusting in their relationship with the Lord Jesus, they find hope, and courage begins to fill their frightened heart. It may take a period before they again stand on solid ground, and longer still to clean their muddy clothes by vigorous washing, but they have been saved from a tragic outcome and depression’s dark horizons.

Depression is a strength-robbing parasite that sucks plans and prospects from the souls of the afflicted. Also drained is strength and hope for the future. A blanket of hopelessness makes it almost impossible to hope. Cheer must be a possession before it can be shared with dull-eyed children. Then, along comes a good word from a friend or concerned neighbor, and a broken heart can find a few minutes of joy that provide a reprieve from a world of gloom and hopelessness. Without knowing it, that friend, along with Jesus, is throwing a lifesaving line that keeps a fractured soul from going down for the third time.

Look for those in need and throw lifelines to those who have no strength left.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Watch Out!

My sister once lost her black belt and could not find it, although she looked everywhere in the house.

One morning, we were all gathered around the kitchen table, waiting for mother to take the biscuits out of the old wood cookstove. My brother got up and went to the living room. Just as he passed through the doorway, something black fell from the top of the door to the floor.

“My belt,” my sister excitedly said.

That was, until it started moving around. My brother heard all the commotion and immediately came and removed the snake from the kitchen.

In Appalachia, there are many snakes: copperheads, rattlers, and blacksnakes. In the summertime, we had to watch where we walked. If we worked in the garden, the first thing we did was part the weeds and look for snakes. If we went to the barn to milk the cow, we looked around for snakes.

Christians must also look out for a spiritual enemy. One that can show up anywhere. In business deals through distrust and fraud. In relationships through disloyalty or deception that ruin friendships and marriages. This enemy waits for a chance to steer us from the life God has called us to live.

Peter warns us about this foe and tells us to prepare ourselves for the tests and trials of life. We do this by saturating our minds with the Word of God and building our faith in Christ—making us stronger and more able to resist anything the Enemy throws at us. We can be strong in the Lord.

Take a moment to thank God for His protection.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Enough

I love how God speaks to me.

One night I left my office window open, and the wind ruffled the pages of my Bible, which I’d left open after my morning devotion the previous day. A couple of pages folded in on themselves, leading me to look at the right column of the right page where I had highlighted Proverbs 3:5.

As I read a devotion on another morning, I thought about the writing style of the author of Proverbs. No fluff. No pretty words. He directs us to read a specific passage in the Bible, then proceeds to paraphrase, sometimes with a short anecdote, to clarify or magnify the meaning. He ends with a question to ponder in prayer.

It struck me that God’s Word is all we need. When I write devotions, I generally base them on my life experiences, focusing on a current event or mental attitude that has turned me to God for answers. Often, those experiences are hurtful or have colored my view of human life. Writing devotions provides a type of journaling for me.

God’s Word is so simple, honest, and beautiful. Even in the darkest times, the characters God chose to highlight show us that no matter what we go through, or no matter how far we have fallen, His love never fails.

When doubts plague me, when hope is lost, or when I feel like broken people are a hopeless cause, I realize all God has done for me, and I catch a glimpse of His deep love. It’s enough.

That deep love is yours too. Relish it. Bask in it. Find renewed hope in God’s Word. We don’t have to understand everything because God does, and that’s all that matters.

Trust God at His Word. His love is all over it.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Purge Your Conscience

Preaching in a prison is both rewarding and challenging.

One morning, I found a prisoner from Russia who wanted to be born again. With tears streaming down his face, he stood and confessed something to a group of some one hundred inmates I will never forget. He said he wanted Jesus in his heart, but he had a terrible problem. He could not keep from picturing all the people he had tortured and harmed. Some in the little congregation of long-term incarcerated felons understood what he revealed and nodded their heads.

The depth of pathos shared in the dining room that day felt surrounding and suffocating. I felt unprepared for such an experience.

Tears and broken hearts are no stranger to prison ministry, but such raw overwhelming pain and guilt was rarely seen. I paused and asked the Lord for protection and direction on what to tell this tragic soul who sought salvation.

Our consciences are either clean and clear or full of reoccurring memories that produce pain and self-hatred. Knowing that “the testimonies of our consciences” is a curse or a blessing, I told the crying mountain of a man that nothing can purge our conscience in God’s eyes except claiming the blood that Jesus shed for us on the cross.

Every time scenes of our disgusting and overwhelming past sins flood our mind, we should confess specifically our sins at the feet of Jesus and embrace His cleansing blood. By faith, through almighty God’s grace, we will be cleansed.

Whenever we start drowning in our shame and guilt, we can purge our conscience anew by not fighting the sorrow, but by placing the sorrow in God’s loving hands and leaving it there.

When your conscience is determined to drag you down, remind it that in Christ you are a new creature, washed clean by Jesus’ completely satisfying blood.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



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