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.
DEVOTION BY Macy Johnson POSTED 11/23/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Psalm 91:11-12 NIV
While driving home from choir practice one Wednesday night, I was startled.
A large doe stood still in the middle of the deserted two-lane highway. I tried to mentally shove her off the path of my car. Bang! Into the ditch, she landed. Thankfully, my car limped home and to the shop the next day to be repaired. I wish I could say the same for the poor deer.
Sometime later, I was again driving home from choir practice one evening—from the same church, on the same highway, but headed in the opposite direction toward my new house. After driving through the densely forested area where deer usually cross, I recalled that encounter years before. They don’t come near open fields, I thought, so I brushed the silent “Deer!” alert aside.
Suddenly, I caught two eyes staring at me over my left shoulder, making a beeline for my car. I hit the brakes, hard enough to catapult my purse and all my music into the passenger-side floorboard. In what felt like slow motion, the determined deer kept coming, crossing inches from my bright headlights with a look that pleaded, “Please don’t hit me.” I thought, Keep on running and I’ll try not to. Mission accomplished. The only consequences were a frightened deer and a relieved driver.
An angel accompanied me that night, whispering in my ear to watch out and pay attention. I also believe a special connection—fortunately not a physical one—was made between me and the deer.
Will you pay close attention to your alerts and connections today?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Timothy Frudd POSTED 11/16/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
The antidote to anxiety is prayer.
Many times, we are tempted to believe that the way to rid ourselves of anxiety and stress is to clear our minds or to keep ourselves from thinking about whatever stress we are experiencing.
But that is not what Scripture says. Paul tells us to confront anxiety through prayer. But why? Avoiding anxiety does not solve the issue, nor does it improve our thoughts, emotions, or spiritual well-being. Avoiding anxiety only covers up the root of the problem—whether it is fear, stress, or one of many forms of anxiety.
On the contrary, confronting anxiety through prayer cuts to the heart of the issue. Prayer changes our heart and mind, which is exactly what we need to confront our mind’s constant battle with anxiety. Through prayer, we connect with our heavenly Father and refocus our minds on the loving embrace of the God who created us.
The same God who takes care of every living thing on earth is the same God who will be with us in our fight against anxiety. Prayer guides us into the presence of the God who can strengthen us with the ability to overcome anxiety.
Not only does prayer provide the opportunity for us to connect with our heavenly Father, but it also changes our perspective on the things we worry about. When we pray, we bring our anxieties before the Lord and see that our God is much bigger than anything we could ever worry about. Our perspective instantly changes when we bring our anxieties and lay them at the feet of Jesus.
We are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ. This does not mean our battle against anxiety will be easy, but it does mean we can have a different perspective on anxiety when we fight it with prayer.
Ask God for strength to fight your anxiety.
DEVOTION BY Sally O'Connor POSTED 11/9/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
I once had an unlikely moment in the women's restroom in a nearby mall.
As I performed the usual activity in a stall, I heard a whooping sound coming from outside. I listened as an older female voice spoke with soft frustration. When I emerged, I saw a young man about ten or eleven years old who was very thin and tall. He stood drying his hands with his mom, who was shorter. The young man was disabled—perhaps autism or something more severe—and the mom’s difficult position smote me.
I washed up and followed them into the hallway that led back to the mall. I approached the mom and prayed aloud: “God bless you. God give you every grace and the strength you need.”
I can't remember what poured out of me. At first, the mom was shocked, but then she understood. She told me she had named him in the womb, not knowing he had a disability, and that his name means “God's Helper” in Hebrew.
I realized this woman suffers for and with her son every time she steps out of the house with him. He may or may not be aware of how people view him and say things about him at any given moment, but his mom is.
I could relate in some small way, having had similar challenges with two of our daughters. But more than that, I felt she needed encouragement—to know that she, too, is seen and that how she loves him is not in vain.
Enough of that kind of personal encouragement isn’t present these days. Many struggle in one way or another like this mom. To love well and to believe in the beauty God created her son to reflect in the world.
We need to be the heart of God speaking to those who need encouragement—to build up and restore hope that God has beauty, purpose, and a plan for children like this woman’s son, even if those around can’t see it at that moment.
Think of someone you can encourage today.
DEVOTION BY Andy Hollifield POSTED 11/2/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Nehemiah 13:2 KJV
Sometimes we refuse to see the blessings of God.
For instance, when we tell others how we're doing after they ask us. We rarely start in detail with how good things are. Rather, we are quick to itemize the bad. If the person tries to change the subject, we quickly get right back on it.
I've known folks like that. I've also learned to be careful how I greet them. I'm not downplaying anyone's dire circumstances, but we should find the good blessings of God in our lives. I have a standard answer I give to avoid calling attention to the bad things in my life. When asked how I'm doing, I reply, “I can't complain. I got up this morning, my feet hit the floor under my power, and that's more than a lot of people can say.”
I have my share of issues like anyone else, but I also have an answer when someone complains about the problems of getting older. I respond, “It's a privilege denied to many.” That says it all, doesn't it? Many people didn't live to complain today. Our perspective changes when we stop and think about how good we have it instead of focusing on our difficulties.
As we think about how much we dread talking to pessimistic people who have a woe-is-me attitude, we should also try not to have one. When we complain, we’re saying we serve a God who isn't taking care of us. Rather, we should emphasize how much God has blessed us.
The word “blessed” occurs 302 times in the Bible while “cursed” occurs only 72 times. The word blessed is used more than four times as much as the word cursed. We experience far more of God's benefits than we do things to complain about.
Don't have your eyes wide shut to the blessings of God.
DEVOTION BY Nancy Alvarez POSTED 10/26/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Romans 12:21 NIV
“Would you like to teach women at the city jail?”
“Are you willing to go through a strip search?”
Screeching halt. What? No way. Yes, I wanted to teach these women about God’s love and truth, but to be stripped and searched? Lord, please don’t ask that of me! Wait. Didn’t I surrender myself to the Lord completely? With trembling knees, I said yes.
Once I entered that jail—no strip search happened—I made an immediate connection with the women. This was an opening to teach women who had nothing else to do, who were at their lowest point in life, who were lonely and eager for distraction. An opportunity to shine Jesus’ light in a dark corner. They were polite, sweet, and appreciative. Those times of singing, playing games, making jewelry, reading the Bible, praying, and giving a hug brought me such joy.
The Lord loves to surprise us with His goodness. He also loves to challenge us to see if we’ll trust Him no matter what. When we take the first step of faith, He will hold our hand and give us the courage to move forward. Everywhere we turn, we see the effects of sin. What better way to transform our world than to share God’s hope?
The Lord asks us to be bold in our faith. The word “overcome” tells us challenges lie ahead. We climb a mountain one step at a time, but the view is always worth the struggle. We often complain about all the bad news we hear, yet we rarely get out of our comfortable chair to do anything about it.
People everywhere need a helping hand, a listening ear, a word of encouragement, a simple skill, and someone to pray with them. Following Jesus is an adventure filled with risks and rewards. When we move forward, God will use us to overcome evil with good. When we allow Jesus to lead us to the good work He has for us, we won’t have regrets, only joy.
What possibility have you hesitated to grab? Maybe you need to look a little harder for the risk-taking journey God has for you. Or which wicked behavior around you makes your blood boil? Decide to be an overcomer of evil.