A Devotion May Be Someone's Only Bible

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.

Take Time to Rest

During my training for a one-hundred-mile ultramarathon, I learned the value of rest.

Previously, when I prepared for marathons or triathlons, I worked out six to seven days a week and ran myself into the ground.

I hired a coach for the one-hundred-miler. He didn’t want me working out more than five days a week. If I didn’t get enough rest, my muscles wouldn’t complete the planned workouts. I admit, I panicked.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. This verse highlights the importance of rest. Even God rested on the seventh day, so why do I think I can run full throttle for seven days a week? I can’t, and God is teaching me the importance of personal restoration.

Other than the seventh day, when else should we make it a point to rest? Here are a few areas when added rejuvenation is needed.

1. After a big effort

This was the big one for me last year. After tackling workout after workout while training for a one-hundred-mile ultramarathon, I didn’t feel like pushing through anything (not even grocery shopping). I took a break from running and any exercise which forced me to “dig deep.” I pursued some other goals, but relaxed dramatically on my exercise goals.

2. Stress in other areas of life

Sometimes, we have to cool our jets in one area of life to make room for added stress in another. Work life can affect our physical activity, training can take time away from spiritual pursuits, and sickness can limit our professional time. Focusing on one area of life when it demands the extra attention for the short term is okay. Long-term imbalance, however, can cause wear and tear beyond repair.

3. Attending to the needs of family and friends

Sickness or interpersonal problems of those we love can also require rest as we tend to their needs. Shelving a project or goal temporarily to assist a friend or family member allows us to do what needs to be done. We can always come back to our goals once the situation is resolved.

Building rest into our schedule is important. Rest provides necessary healing and generates new ideas and new perspectives. When we take time to rest, we allow momentum to build as the healing process completes.

Check your schedule to see if it includes rest.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Chase

A shout pealed through the quiet morning air.

Deer hunting in the South. The Deep South, that is. Where the swamps rule, and the snakes and alligators grow big. There’s just nothing quite like it.

Dad wouldn’t let me have a 12-guage shotgun until I was fifteen. Prior to that, he gave me a 410-guage—not suitable for shooting deer. When I visited my cousins and grandparents who lived in Vance, South Carolina, I joined them and a host of other men on the Saturday deer hunts.

The men loaded us in the back of the pickup trucks and dropped us off along the roadside or stationed us along the edges of a field. They dropped the dogs off at another point to flush the deer toward us. How they knew the dogs would run the deer our way, I never understood. They just knew the land.

As I stood there on those cold, crisp autumn mornings, I waited to hear the voices of the men and dogs. Chills peppered my spine, and my hands sweated against the cold steel of the gun barrel as I waited, hoping to see a buck and get a shot.

Although I never killed a deer, I enjoyed the chase. My grandfather enjoyed the chase so much that he rarely left his truck. He just sat and listened.

Jesus told about a heavenly chase. One carried out by Him through the person of the Holy Spirit. The chase that occurs because we need chasing. Unlike the deer, we head in the wrong direction every time. Sin pulls us that way, just as instinct takes the deer away from the dogs. Left to ourselves, we’ll keep going the wrong way throughout life and into eternity. Sin causes us to run in the first place and keeps us running thereafter.

God wants to turn us toward Him. Love prompts Him to chase us. Through His Spirit, He convicts and draws—chases—hoping we’ll turn to Him for forgiveness and a better life. He wants no one to perish but all to experience salvation. He wants us to enjoy life as He originally intended. And since I’m a little hard-headed, I’m glad God enjoys a chase too.

Stop running and turn to Him. He’s chasing after you. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

A Hug Sent from God

Depression tried to set up squatter’s rights in my mind.

When I entered the hospital for surgery, I expected only an overnight stay. Following surgery, however, I developed a large blood clot. Then, my heart went out of rhythm and my lower lungs collapsed. My planned overnight stay became a week. The stress on my mind and body took its toll.

When my daughter, Jean, visited me, the floodgate opened, and the tears rolled down my cheeks. She wrapped me in her loving arms and encouraged me, “Get it out.”

After telling my cousin, Janet, what Jean had done, she exclaimed, “Oh, that’s just what I prayed for. I asked God to reach down and give you a big hug.” God used Jean to answer Janet’s prayer.

The first line in a poem by Annie Johnson Flint reads, “Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today.” Sometimes, we are not willing to be God’s comforting hands because we think we don’t have time.

Colleen was one of those people. She was busy when an inner voice said, “Go visit Bertha.” The experience was so real that she answered, “I will not!” But when the voice nudged her once again, she realized God’s Spirit was speaking, and she obeyed.

Bertha was a lonely older woman who didn’t think anyone cared for her. Colleen was able to assure her this wasn’t true. The following week, Bertha was seriously injured and spent the remainder of her life in a nursing home, unable to communicate because of a brain injury. Colleen was thankful she had obeyed that inner voice and responded by being the hands of Christ.

God wants to use us, but we must be willing to follow His leading. It may be something as simple as giving a smile to a tired cashier or driving a senior citizen to the doctor. Perhaps, like my daughter, God will send us to give encouraging words and a loving hug.

As God comforts you, pass along His love and comfort to others.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Little Gifts and Blessings

“You gave me these just to hurt me,” cried my five-year-old daughter from the back seat of the car.

My daughter loved for me to bring her little gifts when I picked her up after school. A friend at work often brought me her children’s outgrown clothing or toys, and my daughter came to expect these gifts.

Before I left work one afternoon, I looked for something to take to her—something special from her mama. I found a small bag of potato chips in the vending machine. Although this was not the healthiest of snacks, I knew she liked chips. I didn’t realize she had chapped lips, and the salt made them burn. I hoped to please her with my gift, but she accused me of hurting her.

Sometimes, we act this way with God. He gives us gifts every day, but we overlook them. We forget to thank Him. We get upset with Him for not answering our prayers the way we think He should. But He might be at work designing a gift that may bring us a bigger blessing than we ever imagined. The Lord knows what lies ahead. We need to be thankful and trust He has our best interests at heart.

Many of God’s little blessings are often overlooked. A colorful sunrise or sunset. An invitation from a friend to meet for lunch. A family member who helps us with inside chores or outdoor yard work. A smile from a neighbor. Kind words spoken to our troubled heart.

Little gifts and blessings can impact us in big ways. They’re even better when we share them with others.

Just as I wanted to do something special for my daughter, God desires to bless us because we are His children. We need to remember the little gifts He gives us every day. These blessings remind us of His presence and His love.

Make a list of things you are thankful for.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Loving Through Suicide

I found the note in the kitchen when I came home from playing.

In the note, my mom said she wanted to commit suicide at the Bloomington Ferry Bridge. Weeks later when my mom didn’t come home, my dad and I rushed to the bridge where we found her car. While sitting in the car waiting for the police to arrive, I heard my dad scream, “Liz, I loved you.” 

At the time, I was fourteen and mad at my mom for disciplining me. She was a recovering alcoholic and had been trying to be a better mother. But my mom was estranged from my dad, and, because of my mom’s drinking, my parents always fought. 

My dad’s actions toward my mother—and mine—were not very loving. My dad could have done more to be a good husband, and I was immature and ungrateful. The ending wasn’t happy. We both failed and will never be able to change that we did not show how much we loved her. 

John says we should love one another, but sometimes we let our anger toward our family get in the way of our love for them. John also says love comes from God. Jesus loved us so much that He took the punishment we deserved when He died on the cross.

I’m sure our disobedience angers Jesus, but He didn’t let His anger over our sin stop Him from dying on the cross.

Don’t let the anger you may feel toward a family member stop you from saying, “I love you.”

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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