Spirit and Soul is all about eternity. Life ever after with a God who has prepared a place in advance for us. Dig into the Word. Search out your heart. Contemplate where you will spend eternity. . .then choose to offer your life to God.
DEVOTION BY Stacee Carr POSTED 1/14/2021 6:00:01 AM ON 1 Corinthians 9:24 NLT
I still remember that hot day on the track when the referee told us to get in position at the starting line.
With our feet securely in the blocks and our eyes locked on the path ahead, we waited to hear the loud sound that would permit us to move: “On your mark, get set, POW!” And like horses out the gate, we ran with tunnel vision, steadily moving toward the finish line. As sweat ran down my face and my legs tensed, I ran with determination to reach my goal.
When the end seemed far away and I felt like giving up, I could hear my coach’s voice saying what he always said to me at every practice: “You can do it. Push through it. Don’t give up!” His voice reminded me I had what it took to win. Instantly, I kicked into another gear, running with precision in every step. Two hundred meters later, I obtained the prize.
As Christians, we’re also in a race, and Paul instructs us to run to win. This race isn’t won by speed or strength, but with endurance. Everyone who completes the race will receive a prize.
Staying in the race requires training. Like an athlete, we must discipline ourselves, making sure our spirit operates as it should. With consistent study of God’s Word, prayer, fasting, and worship, we train to abstain from all appearances of evil. We train so that we won’t tire out when the race gets tough. Instead, we’ll persevere as we hear the voice of our coach telling us to endure hardness as a good soldier and to fight the good fight of faith. He’ll always be with us.
Athletes run for a prize that will fade away, but we run for the prize that is eternal in the heavens. With Jesus as our coach, we’ll obtain the prize He has waiting for us at the end. All we must do is listen to His voice.
Run to win.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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DEVOTION BY Diane Furlong POSTED 1/7/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Revelation 22:17b NKJV
Time to go. Grab my purse. Grab my keys. Grab my water bottle.
Carrying a water bottle has gone on for so long that I can’t remember when taking it with me wasn’t a part of my routine. As a health-conscious person, I understand the importance of hydration for a properly functioning body. I feel better when I am hydrated.
The Bible says the Holy Spirit gives us living water. And Jesus invites the thirsty to come and drink the water of life freely because the supply is plentiful.
Many of us meet the Lord in the morning as we read the Bible and pray. This is a great way to drink deeply of the living water. But what if I took a long drink of refreshing water in the morning but did not drink again until the next morning? Our bodies require water throughout the day.
Likewise, spiritual hydration is a continual need. On too many days, my morning quiet time has provided my only spiritual hydration. By the afternoon, I am dragging, defeated, and feeling as if God is far away. Perhaps we need to find ways to take sips of spiritual water throughout the day as I do on my water bottle.
A few methods have helped me avoid spiritual dehydration. First, I’ve found the interim between ending one activity and starting another is a good time to stop and pray. Second, I write a Bible verse on a sticky note and read it from time to time during the day. Third, I listen to Christian music. Fourth, I say Jesus’ name when life gets overwhelming.
God desires to meet us throughout the day, and He wants to give us living water. We just need to come and ask.
The next time you leave home, remember to take your water bottle. But more importantly, plan for spiritual hydration.
DEVOTION BY Patricia Doucet POSTED 12/31/2020 6:00:01 AM ON 1 Corinthians 3:7 NLT
What looked like a blade of grass became an awe-inspiring landmark.
“That will never grow,” they told Dad. “A weeping willow tree will not flourish on a high slope. “You must plant it in marshy soil if you expect it to survive.”
As one who seldom listened to others’ opinions, Dad retrieved a teaspoon from the kitchen drawer, walked to the front yard, dug a little hole, and planted the mini seedling. “I must be careful not to mow this over,” I heard him mutter as he pressed the soil around the little transplant with the toes of his shoes.” If we water it well, it will grow,” he responded when I asked how soon it would be a tree.
Dad has passed on now, and the ensuing years have revealed the fate of that little sprig. The property has changed hands several times. Each time it did, I drove up that street to see if the tree was still there. Once, after briefly telling the story to the new owner, I asked if I could take a picture.
The tree stood three times higher than the bungalow behind it. A stately, thriving weeping willow graced not only the front lawn of the home but also the entire street.
As I looked at the magnificent tree, I realized many had been responsible for its growth over the years. That little shoot needed one person to plant it, another to water it, and yet another to prune it. With time, water, a little coaxing by Dad in the early days, and continued care by successive owners, it became the impressive tree it is today. Admired by many, that tree has stood the test of time.
We are all called by God to a different life’s work, each equally important. When we are faithful with our part, God will do the rest. We may even see a weeping willow along the way as a reminder.
Make a plan to do your part in God’s kingdom work.
(Photo courtesy of author.)
DEVOTION BY Martin Wiles POSTED 12/24/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Luke 1:35 NLT
The first time I watched it, CDs weren’t on the market, so I popped it into the VCR.
After the VCR died, someone bought me the 1984 CD version of A Christmas Carol, starring George C. Scott. And I did with it what I had done every year with the VCR version: curled up in my recliner, watched every second, and cried at the end.
Ebenezer Scrooge was a moneylender whose sole goal involved amassing more money and saying “bah humbug” when anyone wished him Merry Christmas—until the spirit of his dead partner sent three spirits to reclaim Scrooge before it was too late.
Scrooge’s first two visitors made little impact on his view of the season. The third, however, commanded his attention when he ushered Scrooge into his bedroom and showed him a covered figure on the bed. But when he took Scrooge to the cemetery and showed him a grave with Scrooge’s name emblazoned on it, Scrooge was overwhelmed with grief and promised to alter his ways if allowed to live. The apparition granted Scrooge his request, and the man changed his ways.
The Christmas changes Scrooge underwent may seem farfetched, but they aren’t. I hear about them every year as the Christmas season approaches. People express their joy and appreciation in unusual but refreshing ways. Retailers lower prices, churches reach out to the needy, people show kindness and rethink priorities, families forgive, and friends reunite. For a moment, the world demonstrates the possibility that we could live together in peace.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, also encountered various Christmas changes. She went from being a young unmarried Jewish girl to an unmarried pregnant woman living in a time when such behavior was unacceptable. The angel asked her fiancé to believe this was God’s doing, not an act of unfaithfulness. Joseph was no doubt the butt of many jokes and Mary the topic of town gossip, but they accepted the angel’s words as truth.
But the most marvelous Christmas change entails the one we can experience in our hearts when we let God’s gift of forgiveness through Christ enter. He changes sinners to saints, He forgives the unforgiven, and He cleanses the dirty. Whereas our futures were as bleak as Ebenezer Scrooge’s, they can become beautiful and filled with hope when Christ enters the picture.
Let the Christ of Christmas make a change in you.
DEVOTION BY Norma Mezoe POSTED 12/17/2020 6:00:01 AM ON James 1:17 NIV
Ruth wanted to give a special gift to her father—and she believed she had the perfect one in mind.
Ruth’s dad was preparing to celebrate his retirement. Ruth knew he wanted a pocket watch, so she searched until she found an affordable one. She had to sacrifice, but her father was worth it.
Ruth wrapped the gift and, like a child waiting for Christmas, found it difficult to wait to present the watch to her father. In Ruth’s words, “In anticipation, I handed my package to him, and he opened the box. Much to my disappointment, he threw the watch to my nephew and said, ‘Here you take this, I don’t want it.’ My heart was broken.”
Ruth’s sister handed their father a congratulation card with sixty-five cents taped inside, and he exclaimed, “Now, that is a gift!”
The incident happened long ago, and Ruth thought she had forgotten it. But one night, a minister mentioned something about a watch in his message, and his words brought back the memory and the pain of her rejected gift.
Ruth’s heart ached, but God used the painful memory as a growing lesson. How many times had she refused to accept God’s good gifts? He had wrapped them in His love and tied them with ribbons of joy, yet Ruth had said, “I don’t want them.”
Ruth is now determined to accept all the gifts God wants her to have. She doesn’t want to grieve the Giver of all good and perfect gifts—as her father grieved her.
Jesus Christ suffered, died, and was resurrected to offer the gift of salvation and eternal life to a world dying in sin. People continue to reject this good and perfect gift, just as Ruth’s father rejected her offering of love.
What about you? Have you accepted God’s most special gift?