A Devotion May Be Someone's Only Bible

Spirit & Trust

Trust is hard. It’s easy to say there is trust but actually taking the step – making the leap into mid-air without a visible net is the most difficult thing man can do. But with the Spirit of God our leap lands us safe in His palm.

In but Not of the World

Hoof clops invade the morning stillness.

I watch the buggy pass the house, and I fancy I live in another world. A world with the Amish who live without automobiles, electricity, running water, cell phones, and mirrors.

We live near a large Amish community where about 250 families have chosen to live in another world—a world without the conveniences most of us use and enjoy. They consider them worldliness, the chief evil of life. Isolating themselves from outside influences, they conserve their heritage.

I listen a long time, realizing with each clop growing fainter that I, too, live in two worlds. My ears strain to hear the last sound as the hard wheels rattle a determined tradition of an old-world order.

For a year, we have lived in two worlds: one near the Amish where we retired—living between cow pastures and corn fields—and the other with modern amenities where my husband works part time.

I realize I cannot be at home in both places. I am more at home where heart things surround me. Where the floors creak “welcome home” and memories murmur. Where days are secure, and where I long to return week after week.

There was a TV series long ago, I Led Three Lives, based on the true story of Herbert Philbrick. He was a citizen of the community, a Communist, and a counterspy for the FBI. Not even his family, his church, or his friends suspected his covert activities. For nine harrowing years, he cautiously stepped into each day, frightened.

As believers anticipating an eternal home, we can’t be fully at home in this physical world.  We long for the other world—the one we call home. For something more.

Our Amish community has found a way to live out Paul’s words. It may be difficult for the Amish to live simply, without conveniences, or it may not be. Perhaps the pull to the other world is stronger than the desires of the flesh.

Ask God to help you live well in both worlds.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



A Bookmark Reminder from 1958

Out of desperation, I found a bookmark my father had given me in 1958.

Talking heads on television seemed to think the way to address the turmoil of the present situation was by hatefulness and negativity. Turning away into the still quiet voice of the Spirit, I reached for the books I keep next to my easy chair and found Dad’s gift.

After a lifetime of violence and sin, my father had been saved later in life and truly became “a new creature.” During lunchtime, he sat in his car in front of the union hall where he was the hard-fisted president and listened to Vernon McGee, a famous Bible teacher from long ago.

Shortly after my father’s salvation, he said, “Son, here’s a little book that has helped me a lot. Maybe you’d like to read it.” Then he handed me Sit, Walk, Stand by Watchman Nee, the father of the indigenous Christian church in China, which grew to millions of members. Watchman died in prison in 1972 from the Chinese government’s hateful imprisonment.

After a lifetime of living—and being blessed with five children and twelve grandchildren—I reached for Watchman’s booklet, a first edition printed in London in 1958. A beautiful bookmark with a picture of Jesus tending His flock on one side and the 23rd Psalm on the other fell out.

Years before, I had stood before a congregation of people and, honoring Dad’s wishes, read the Psalm. Tears ran down my face. I missed Dad so much. I guess I still do. 

I refreshed my heart with the little book Dad had given me and discovered the following:

  • First, we should sit or rest in our relationship with Christ. The Christian life doesn’t begin with walking; it begins with sitting.
     
  • Second, we should walk in love by being pro-active and walking in the power of the Holy Spirit.  
     
  • Third, we must stand by putting on the armor of God.

Take power walks each day in the power of the Spirit, who enables you to stand up under the Devil’s intimidation.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

 



The Message Before the Sermon

The choir members stood quietly in their places.

The vibrant chords of the organ signaled the start of the Sunday morning service. I settled into the comfortable pew, moving a bit to the right past a dated felt hat blocking my vision. But wait. I saw a rocking movement working its way up the wide front steps toward the choir loft, a flowing robe with an uneven gait continuing upward to the men’s section at the top of the platform.

Having grown up as a pastor’s daughter, I knew coming in late was unacceptable, but choosing to use the platform steps instead of the side door was … well, forbidden. I shook my head. Somebody’s in big trouble.

As the man arrived at the empty place next to another choir member, a welcoming arm reached out and gave a strong side hug and a broad smile. The heartfelt hug spoke clearly, I’m so glad you’re here. You’re a part of our group. I thought you weren’t coming.

I realized then the latecomer was a member of our church’s “Special Friends” group. My stomach clenched. My hands went cold. Had I sunk so low that now I criticized a brave special needs man who was a member of our church choir?  Growing up in church, I was aware of criticism. Now, many years later, had I become a criticizer?

My face felt wet. I wiped away the tears. Lord, please forgive me. I’m so sorry. Help me reach out with kindness to people. I swallowed and continued my silent plea. Fill my heart with compassion instead of critical thoughts.

I don’t remember the sermon that Sunday, but I will never forget the message.

Instead of judging, ask God to teach you how to love, show kindness, and accept others.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Father Knows Best

From year to year, I forget that seasons are an allegory of the spirit.

Winter has passed, and spring has come, and with it new hope, new growth, and new vision. I don’t care for winter, except for the beautiful holiday time. Yet I’ve come to know it brings a painful but necessary spiritual pruning. Pain can quickly bury those memories of beautiful colored flowers, the warm sun, and the singing birds, but those memories are my rod and staff.

The carnal way of facing painful situations involves moving through the difficulty as quickly as possible, but God might not remove the trial. Our Father knows best. He’ll guide us through by helping us recall His goodness and by granting us strength for the journey. He doesn’t want us to dwell on the pain. He wants us to give thanks during and through the painful circumstances.

I often thought God’s purpose for the trials was for me to give Him glory, which is partially true. But even more is for us to know Him and His trustworthiness well enough that we can give thanksgiving while walking through the valley of the shadow of death—knowing His faithfulness will resolve the problem in His timing. God did this for Job by restoring all his riches and more.

The Father already knows what we need. He wants to prune the rocks and weeds of our soul so we will trust Him for our needs. 

Surrender to God in your trial because surrender is an act of faith that shows Him your trust.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Perfectly Placed

“When will I get accustomed to being alone?” my friend asked.

My newly-widowed friend told me she was having a hard time saying “I” when she had used “we” for forty years. I assured her she would gradually speak with singular pronouns.    

As one with seven years of widowhood on the calendar, I told her everyone’s timetable differed. The quiet and aloneness are always present, but she would slowly develop her routine and add activity to her days.

Eating alone is one of the biggest challenges singles face. Cooking for one when recipes are designed for four servings means eating leftovers for days. My friend Lucy, who never married and is now retired, finds this season of her life quiet and difficult.

God places the solitary in families, but not unless we extend the invitation and place them in our home.

When I moved to a new community, people at church invited me to their homes or out to lunch. On the first Sunday of each month, a group of widows meets for a potluck lunch in one of our homes. Our group is a family—the family of God—and God has placed us together.

My husband and I once invited singles to our home for holiday meals if they couldn’t travel to see family. They enjoyed being around our children, and our girls witnessed the value of extending hospitality to others.  

Make a list of people you know who are alone. Especially those who can’t reciprocate. Invite them to have coffee with you in the warmth of your home or host a meal for them.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



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