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.

The Ring

I once lost a cherished ring my husband had given me.

Every day afterward, I grieved over losing it and even purchased another one. But nothing could replace my ring.

My brother-in-law, Rick, was born on October 24. For years, I confused the date of his birthday, thinking it was on the 23rd. Every year when I called him on the day before, he would say, “You know, my birthday is tomorrow?” Then, we would laugh. One year, I was determined to get it right. On the morning of the 24th, I called his phone and was surprised when my sister answered.

“Hey! Where’s Rick?” I asked, thinking I finally had it right.

In a soft, pain-filled voice, she said, “Rick passed away this morning.”

I tried to process her words as they passed slowly through my mind. Am I really hearing what she just said? I can’t be hearing this. Today is his birthday.

Rick was a big brother to me—kind, funny, childlike. When my sister said he was gone, I broke in more ways than I could ever imagine. For the next few days, as I awaited the news of his home going service, I felt bottomless grief. Although I knew he was with the Lord, I kept asking, “Why?”

As the days lingered, I had trouble focusing on everyday life. One day, while I was getting dressed and wading through a river of tears, I dug past the clutter in my makeup drawer and noticed a shiny round object. My ring. Something treasured that I thought I had lost.

God’s Spirit impressed upon me that the things I lose are never really lost. I knew He was talking about Rick.

Sometimes, God allows us to lose precious things, like my ring, to teach us spiritual truths. I look forward to the day when I will see Rick again. Jesus’ resurrection guarantees it.

Thank God that with Him nothing is ever lost.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Dusting Yourself Off

“I cannot believe you just did that!” Ronnie groaned, while putting his hands on top of his head as if in pain.

Sometimes, we work continually at something, only to watch it crash and burn. Such was the case for me in 2009 at the NC Truck Driving Championship. After several years of choking under pressure, I'd finally redeemed myself. I'd just out-driven every driver in my class except one. All the hours of staying after work, practicing on Saturdays, and even practicing in the rain had paid off.

With a sigh of relief, I released my seatbelt, opened the door, took one step on the fuel tank, and then back onto the ground. I didn't realize it immediately, but I'd exited the truck without using a three-point exit. A 25-point penalty resulted. Second place disappeared and I fell to fourth place.

I slowly walked back to our team tent in disgust, knowing I'd let everyone down. I've never been so sick to my stomach. For two years, I lived with the anguish of knowing I'd cost myself a trip to the nationals in Houston, Texas. A week in Houston getting VIP treatment, gifts, and a free vacation. All gone because of one momentary lack of concentration.

I lived with that until 2011, occasionally being reminded of it by coworkers, but I didn't quit competing. I doubled down, worked harder, and won third place a week before surgery ended my career.

When we’re in distress and things are bad, we sometimes have to encourage ourselves, just as David did. We cannot let our past defeat us and make us afraid of the present. David went on to win battles. He encouraged his men and became a great king. He didn't allow past mistakes and failures to define him.

We can never lead others to God's forgiveness until we learn to forgive and encourage ourselves. Sometimes, we just have to get up and dust ourselves off.

Don’t let life’s dust keep you down.  

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Unexpected Guests for Church

My church, like so many others during the season of COVID, did not meet in person. All our services were online.

Going to church for me meant taking my iPad to the backyard patio, which is nestled under a canopy of trees, and sliding into a wicker chair in my sanctuary. Usually, the only ones attending were me, my little dog Charlie, a few birds, and a few squirrels. But one Sunday, we had unexpected company.

About ten minutes before church, a pair of seventy-pound black lab-mix dogs bounded in as the garage door opened. The boys were so sweet—and so lost. They had collars, but no clear identification. They were eager to go wherever I went, so I led them to the sanctuary, hoping to reunite them with their owner after the service. It wasn’t exactly on my agenda to have two large dogs attend church with me that day, but I got them some water and food, and we all settled down as the pipe organ began to play.

The writer of Hebrews reminds us not to forget to show hospitality to strangers, for sometimes we might entertain angels without realizing it. I’m not saying these dogs were angels, although they did mysteriously appear and were lovable. But as I set out to take the dogs home, I had a dozen opportunities to offer hospitality to strangers—people in the online pet-finder community, various vet techs, and others. All divine appointments I didn’t know I would have that day.

Thanks to microchipping, we discovered the dogs’ owner, who was a neighbor up the street I had been praying for. Entertaining her dogs was an avenue for future connection.

Missing the subtle ways God works is easy. We can be too focused on our own agenda. Divine opportunities can seem like interruptions or inconveniences. Today, let’s ask God for eyes to see Him in action and hearts that practice hospitality and kindness.

Be prepared. You never know whom you may entertain.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Don't Lean on Your Own Understanding

“I don’t understand … I just don’t understand,” my friend said.

It would be impossible to count the number of times those words have come out of my own mouth. When life happens and events don’t go according to my plan, my brain shifts into overdrive, trying to figure out what’s going on. I dissect the situation, overanalyze it, and look at it from every possible angle, searching for peace. Yet I still don’t get it.

But maybe I’m not supposed to.

Sarah Young writes in Jesus Calling:

Understanding will never bring you peace. That’s why I have instructed you to trust in me, not in your understanding. Human beings have a voracious appetite for trying to figure things out in order to gain a sense of mastery over their lives. But the world presents you with an endless series of problems. As soon as you master one set, another pops up to challenge you. ~Jesus

What I’m learning is that I don’t have to understand anything. All I have to do is trust the One who knows and understands everything.

Proverbs 3:5-6 have become my life verses. When I trust the Lord with my whole heart—instead of what my head tells me—and allow Him to be involved with everything that concerns me, He promises to direct my path. I love the way the Message puts it: “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.”

Stop trying to figure everything out. Trust the Lord. Listen for His voice. That’s when you’ll find true and lasting peace.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Suffering Is a Good Thing

No one will get out of this life without tragedy and suffering.

The subject of suffering has preoccupied my mind lately because so many face overwhelming straits. As I prayed about how hard and desperate situations fit into God’s plan, several thoughts came to me.

Our problems are put into perspective when we see a young person who is crippled and cannot move or a blind person. And many who look rich and free are full of pain and pressure.

Suffering is individual, so no one can carry another person’s suffering. After all, what is a cold and rainy day compared to a day in prison? Branches that are bent and have grown in the wrong way must be pruned. And if a heart is unhealthy because of sin, it must be cleaned less it kill the potential of a healthy future.

After these thoughts came, I asked God for insight from His Word. God reminded me that people have always suffered. The prophets were an example of suffering and patience, yet God’s Word says God will call His children to glory after they have suffered for a while. A Christian with the correct attitude exults in tribulations, which provide us the opportunity to grow in our faith and in our relationship with the Lord.

Life does not come on a silver platter. Even the rich find their silver tarnishes easily. Almighty God teaches us the world does not owe us a living. We gain self-respect by faith’s perseverance and through living a life that believes our Father knows best in all things—including the trials He allows us to face.

When our minds and hearts believe pain is not bad, but good, we lessen the experience of pain and its results. Let God show you that suffering can be a good thing.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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