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 Ken Barnes POSTED 1/19/2021 6:00:01 AM ON 1 Samuel 27:1-2 NLT
Seeing imperfections in our heroes confirms that God is our only true hero.
I once joined a meeting with some seasoned Christian leaders. I was a young leader and stood in awe of them. But when a divisive issue arose, fire and fury flew back and forth. Looking back, this experience benefited me. I learned even good leaders were a lot like me: not so perfect all the time.
David was a man after God’s own heart, yet he once went over to the enemy. Subsequently, he feigned insanity to stay alive. In the end, the evil king Achish that David joined forsook him. Unbelief always leads to disappointment.
David’s experience is not an isolated story in the Bible. Elijah, after his great victory over Baal on Mount Carmel, ran in fear from Queen Jezebel. After saying he would die for the Lord, Peter denied Him three times. At times, the history of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—along with their descendants—reads like a trashy novel. The Bible records that even the best of us have clay feet.
We don’t like to hear things like this about our heroes, but God has a message for us. He uses imperfect people to accomplish His perfect will. We should never place our security in mere flesh. Although God is concerned with bad behavior, if He waited to use us until all our ducks were in a row, He would delay a long time.
Unflattering stories about our Bible heroes can encourage us. They remind us the true hero in all our stories is the Lord Jesus. If God can use the fallible characters described in the Bible, He can show His glory through flawed people like us.
Don’t let past failures keep you from being a hero for God.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Charles Peraino POSTED 1/12/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Galatians 5:22 NIV
It stood in all its glory.
Sporting crusty brown leaves and broken branches, hanging by threads of green protoplasm and limp leaves, and teetering because of its top-heavy configuration, my cherry tomato plant had to be bolstered by a plastic framework and a stick. I bought the plant at the beginning of summer and placed it on my deck. Nothing else could fit in the garden. Zucchini leaves and rhubarb would either overshadow or smother it.
Much to my chagrin, the plant’s location was perilous. The wind blew the helpless vegetable off the deck enumerable times. The plant then toppled two feet to the ground below, landing on its side and expelling soil from its plastic pot.
I tried to protect the plant by leaning it against our barbeque, but I was often unaware of the wind’s velocity. When I checked on it, I found I was too late. It had already become a victim.
Every morning, I water my various plants to keep them viable. While watering the tomato plant one day, I was amazed that this wounded entity still produced vast quantities of tomatoes. As I gazed at it, I realized the tomato plant was me.
I am almost eighty and a past victim of lymphoma, aches and pains in my hips and knees, and a sleeping disorder. Like the plant, I’m broken in many ways but can still produce fruit—the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. Although infirmed and damaged, I can also nurture others with God’s fruit.
So, there you have it. The tomato plant and I are kindred spirits. Damaged, yet still struggling to fulfill the task given to me by the Creator. I love that plant, and God loves us both.
What fruit are you still producing for God?
DEVOTION BY Dave Holland POSTED 1/5/2021 6:00:01 AM ON Luke 9:35-36 NIV
My wife loves her clunky, old-fashioned radio with its round dial that tunes in AM stations.
To listen to a program without static, she extends the antennae with her left hand, then stands on one foot while stretching her arm in the air—as if she were an antennae extension. Carefully, she turns the knob with her right hand until she reaches a station with clarity.
Like that radio, listening to God’s voice requires tuning in. We must dial in our hearts with sensitivity to hear God’s voice speaking to our soul.
Three disciples accompanied Jesus up the mountain for His time of prayer when the unimaginable happened. Jesus’ face and clothing transformed with glory, and Moses and Elijah appeared and talked with Him. While the stunned disciples decided what to do, a cloud enveloped them, and God told them what to do.
In my words, God said, “Don’t do anything, just listen!” How often are we talking or busying ourselves when God’s manifest presence passes by? God speaks to us all the time, but too often, distractions, self-focus, and the self-talk in our minds render us deaf to His voice. We miss the loving affirmations of the Father because we don’t slow down long enough to hear Him.
Cultivating the inner awareness of God’s Word and the Spirit is central to the Christian life. Living tuned in to God’s voice gives our life depth, clarity, and authority. One way to hear God’s prompting is to commit to read His Word. As we do, we can pause and listen for a phrase, word, or feeling that stirs our heart. When we hear it, we can linger there for several minutes—emptying our minds and discovering God’s voice.
Imagine what Jesus could do in our lives by the authority of His Spirit and His Word. What He could heal. What He might rebuke. Or what He would command to go. Negativity, addiction, doubt, lust, murmuring, pride.
God has wired us with senses to hear His inspiration. We can listen for His song, watch for His glory, and see that He is good. He created us to know His voice. And we can when we turn our dial to His station.
Tune out the noise, listen, and sit quietly. God will speak subtle words.
DEVOTION BY Patricia Van Gorder POSTED 12/29/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Luke 13:9 NIV
I followed her down the wooden steps that led to the basement.
At ninety-one, Mom moves cautiously, holding on to the railing as she descends the steep, narrow stairs. In one small room, mounds of large black plastic bags hold used, donated children’s clothing. The other room has a table for sorting. Shelves are lined with clear plastic tubs—each labeled with sizes, infants to five years old. After laundering, the unsoiled clothes are lovingly folded and put into tubs. When ready, they are taken upstairs to give away.
My mother volunteers eight hours a week, tucked away in the basement of an old brick house converted into a pregnancy center. She could sit back and enjoy these last years of her life—having raised ten children, retired from the Women’s Correctional Institution, and given most of her life to volunteerism. But she serves in the basement—not with fanfare or accolades, but in a quiet setting away from the public eye.
Service is not an option. Jesus calls us to lead productive lives, serving others and sharing our faith. In Luke 13, He told the parable of a man who planted a fig tree. When, after three years, it had produced no fruit, he ordered the useless tree cut down, asking why it even used up space. Jesus was warning that God would not tolerate a lack of productivity.
Genuine faith means serving others. A tree might look good when dressed in an array of leaves, but what good is it if it bears no fruit? We, too, can dress up and look like Christians but produce no fruit. Following Jesus means acting on what He says. We may not receive a call asking for our help, but we can make the call. We have been created in Christ to do good works—to share our faith. Even in a basement, we can impact our community with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Seek out those who need your time or talent.
DEVOTION BY Andrea Merrell POSTED 12/22/2020 6:00:01 AM ON Romans 14:17 NLT
Peace. Joy. Love. Words that permeate the holiday season.
I love Christmas. Everything about it—the lights, the music, the decorations, Hallmark movies, and especially the birth of our Savior. Most of the time, my tree goes up before Thanksgiving—sometimes way before.
Christmas softens even the hardest heart. People are more considerate. They go out of their way to be kind and to do things for others they wouldn’t normally do. Good will abounds. It’s a magical time of year, filled with excitement and expectancy. Even children are on their best behavior because “Santa is watching.”
Joy and anticipation surround the entire holiday season, but what happens on December 26? For many, the lights go out, the music stops, the tree comes down, and the decorations are packed away for another year. Joy is replaced by grumbling about the upcoming year. Peace and good will fall by the wayside.
For weeks, we experience everything that comes with this blessed time of year. Then, like a flash, those things are packed away with the decorations. Back to business as usual. It’s anticlimactic. And to me, the saddest day of the year.
Christmas is meant to be a celebration of Jesus’ birth. A time to remember. To love. To give. But it shouldn’t happen for only a few days during the year. That feeling should dwell in our heart every day.
The song says, “We need a little Christmas all year long.” To that I say, “Amen!” As God’s children, we should be the most joyful people on earth. People who are filled with His peace and who spread His love to the world—not just during the holidays, but each day of the year.
After all … peace, joy, and love are not just meant for Christmas, right?