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Spirit & Soul

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.

One Community under God

Sometimes, one of my high school students would surprise me by announcing, “I’m eighteen now, an independent adult.”

“I’m not convinced that turning eighteen makes one an independent adult,” I’d respond. “I’ve come to find that I’m not independent at all. I can eat my food—compliments of farmers, delivery workers of every sort, and stores that supply the market for it. I certainly couldn’t provide my own clean water or sewage disposal. Even my shampoo. I rely on the significant work of many people. And I’m grateful for every one of them. What would you like to contribute to this wonderful community as you become an adult?”

Then we’d discuss how we also operate in the context of collective destinies. Not only do we reap what we sow individually, but we also reap what our nation sows. God calls us in the context of community, not in isolation, and we share that group’s heritage.

Baruch was not happy about that. He had faithfully served the prophet Jeremiah for years. When Baruch heard the disaster prepared for his rebellious nation, he cried out to God. He hadn’t joined in his nation’s wickedness. Why should he suffer with them?

In Jeremiah 45, God responded to Baruch. God’s judgment against Israel stood firm, but he told Baruch, “Wherever you go, I will let you escape with your life.”

Like Baruch, focusing on ourselves and our family is easy. We can forget we are part of a bigger community that God holds accountable for its choices and actions. Let’s pause regularly to pray for our nation to be a blessing to God and this world.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay and Henning_W.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Cover Up

We make coverings for just about everything. But there has never been nor ever will be a covering that can hide sin. Yet we try.

Nothing is hidden from God. He sees in our hearts and knows us better than we know ourselves. So, if we can’t cover our sin and hide it from God, why do we try to hide it from Him and others?

Achan (Joshua 7), King David (2 Samuel 11, 12), and Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) all sinned and tried to hide their sins from others, but God saw their sins and exposed them.

Whenever we sin, our immediate response should be to confess it before God. Then we should forsake the sin and receive God’s mercy and forgiveness. If we ignore, excuse it, or pretend it never happened, we’re trying to cover our sins and are not being open, honest, and sincere in our relationship with God.

As long as we put sin under a cap and cover it, God will not prosper us in His way.

Although King David tried to cover his sin, he couldn’t hide it from his conscience. He said, “My sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51: 3). Our consciences acknowledge our sins too.

Just because a sin is seemingly covered or ignored doesn’t negate sin’s power to rob us of peace and fellowship with God. Nor does it negate sin’s consequences.

The sins we often attempt to cover are pet sins that easily entangle us and hinder us from running the Christian race and winning the prize.

When we confess and forsake our sins, Jesus covers them with His blood.

What are some sins you need to uncover?  

(Photo courtesy of pixabay and pexels.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Losing My Mind

“What’s on your mind?”

This question often pops up on my computer. Some days, I must look at my mind. I may have lost it a time or two, but mostly, my head is where it should be: on my shoulders with a neck in between. Heads should be kept cool, especially when things get hot. I tried dipping mine in the pool once, and my hair turned green.

I remember Mom saying, “Don’t waste your mind.”

Mom recycled and re-used plastic containers, bottles, paper towels, and aluminum foil. Nothing got tossed before it was mended, patched, and altered. She saved fabric in the rag bag for quilting.

Waste not, want not. Mom was right. The most crucial thing one might waste is a mind. We can see the lives of many who turn to substances, seeking to ease their minds. Artificial peace is a sure way to lose a mind. Temporary relief is just that—temporary. Confusion, fear, lies, and uncertainty plague this world. Temporary relief is not enough. Who needs a pickled mind?

As Paul commanded, the best way to have a sound mind is to renew it. God’s Word is a treasure that nothing else can offer. The better question is, “What’s on God’s mind?”

I open God’s Word and find comfort, mercy, and peace. And the best part is that Scripture is an eternal source of soundness. God promises to renew our spirits, souls, and physical bodies. No substance can accomplish that.

Commit to renewing your mind daily by studying God’s Word.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay and lubovlisitsa.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Stand Firm

As I get older, I’m often tempted to give up, quit, sit in my recliner, and wait for God to call me home.

My muscles are stiff and don’t always work as they should. When I bend over to pick something off the floor, I must hold on to something to keep from falling. Everything takes longer than it once did, but I can’t give up and still claim to be a Christian. There is no retirement date for believers.

As I think of standing my ground, I remember my dad. He had little formal education but was not uneducated. He was a ferocious reader and Bible student and taught Sunday school for fifty years. He rose early each morning, started the fires in our wood stoves, and walked through the farmhouse singing songs of praise as our alarm clock went off. I know all the words to “His Name Is Wonderful,” “Jesus Paid It All,” and “Blessed Assurance” because he sang them repeatedly. His life revolved around his family, his love for the Lord, and his little country church where Christ was proclaimed. In his later years, his greatest sorrow was being unable to visit the sick, teach his Sunday school class, and help his neighbors.

Paul’s writings are full of encouragement to stand our ground. Even as he faced execution, he wrote to Timothy to stand firm and preach the Word. He told the Ephesian church to stand firm with the belt of truth buckled about their waist and their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Paul’s life of suffering demonstrates that pain and persecution often fill the life of a believer. 

It would have been easy for Paul to say, “I’ve done my part; now let the younger ones take over.” I’m tempted to do that too. But the Bible doesn’t give us a time to give up and allow others to do what God has called us to do. So, when I have done everything, I want to stand my ground.

Make up your mind to stand your ground until the Lord calls you home.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay and Pexels.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Golden Psalm

I once learned something I should have known long ago.

Many of the greatest biblical scholars—such as Luther, Spurgeon, and Matthew Henry—believed Psalm 119 was the center of Almighty God’s explanation about His inspiration in the Bible and His desired relationship with His people.

Mathew Henry understood the life-changing potential of this golden psalm. His father required each of his children to read and reflect on the Hebrew letter divisions in Psalm 119—one a day, equaling twice a year (there are twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet). Each letter division in this psalm, called an acrostic, has eight verses containing seven different words for inspiration.

His father’s insight into the importance of the longest chapter in the Bible, and what some call “The Bible’s Golden Psalm,” appear foundational to Matthew’s ministry and famous commentary.

If we wish to understand the shades of inspiration, Psalm 119 is the center of God’s explanation. He explains in eight primary words, which explain the aspects of inspiration: law, teaching, word—revealed words from God, judgment, testimony or witness, commandment or orders, statutes, precept, and word again—anything God has expressed.

Spurgeon said, “Each of the aspects of God’s inspiration should be understood by God’s people and placed in the warm personal relationship recorded in the golden pages of Psalm 119.”

Make Psalm 119 a center of your understanding of God speaking to you about inspiration and your relationship with Him.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay and blenderfan.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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