A Devotion May Be Someone's Only Bible

Peace & Presence

The peace we find in the presence of Christ is like crawling under a warm blanket on a cold winter’s day or feeling the soft breeze on a warm spring morning. Seeking after God is a continual process that grows us into a deep and long lasting relationship with Him. Come into His presence and find peace.

The First Christmas Card

Opening the mailbox in December and finding a Christmas card from a friend or loved one brings cheer to our hearts.

Despite the present electronic versions of communication, receiving a paper greeting is more delightful. We have something we can hold and display for others to see—something to keep from year to year if we desire.

But a letter of greater importance than any sent from friends or families was broadcast on a hillside in Bethlehem to shepherds: “Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy. The Savior has been born.” What report could be better than that?

The first Christmas card was dispatched from heaven when angels left the throne of God and brought glad tidings to men watching their sheep. Shepherds depended on their sheep for their livelihood. If something happened to their flock, they had no income. Yet they left the hillside in search of the One the angels had told them about because the story was so astounding.

The lifeline from heaven brought headlines that God’s anger at sin would be reconciled through the body of a little baby. The proclamation was that the Son of Man had been born through a bloody birth and would grow up and die a sacrificial bloody death as the Son of God. The gospel was the most incredible and loving announcement ever to be proclaimed.

The extraordinary broadcast has continued throughout the centuries and is a Christmas card we can keep forever, because the news never wears out, fades, gets old, or tears. After the holiday season, we put our paper greetings and decorations away, but we can display the story from heaven all year because the living Word abides in our hearts when we make Christ our Savior.

If you haven’t accepted this card in your heart’s mailbox, open yourself up today and let the eternal message be the best Christmas present you have ever received. God’s arms are reaching out, and He has sent His gift to you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Path

I once asked the eye doctor why my husband could still see better than I even though we both wore glasses to correct our vision.

The optometrist’s answer, “Everybody’s different,” irritated me. Obviously. I wanted a more scientific answer, but the optometrist apparently thought I was too dense to understand.

Sometimes I need to be reminded with a simple answer. God treats us differently because He made us differently. He gives us our own path to walk, an individual race to run. Not the race marked for my parents, neighbors, co-workers, or friends—but a race marked out for me.

If God has set before me a 5K race, trying to run a marathon would be silly. He hasn’t put a marathon before me, and He probably hasn’t prepared me for it. Conversely, if He sets a marathon before me and I choose to run a shorter race, I’ll be frustrated that the training He put me through was for nothing—even if running the shorter race is easier.

God wants the best for us. He knows what we are capable of and where our individual strengths lie. He puts tasks and experiences before us to help us grow and then uses that growth to its fullest potential.

God has marked out a path for me, and that is the path I should follow. It may seem steep or rocky at times, but I choose to believe that either He has already trained me for it or that He is training me for something else. I will probably never know what my entire course looks like, but I want to trust the One who has set my path.

Travel the path God has marked out for you. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

When God Doesn't Explain Why

“Grandma Moore has stage four pancreatic cancer, honey.”

I’ll never forget the day Mom told me this. I sobbed. Even at age 81, Grandma was the healthiest person I knew. She golfed nine holes almost every day, and she walked the course. How could she have terminal cancer?

A specialist recommended experimental surgery. He’d remove her entire pancreas, and she’d manage the resulting diabetes with insulin and a low-carb diet. I begged her to opt for palliative care instead and let the Lord take her home in His timing. I’d worked in doctors’ offices and saw how challenging diabetes was to manage. And Grandma had never needed to monitor her carb intake before. I knew she had no idea what she was in for, but she thought surgery was her only choice.

After surgery, Grandma suffered terrible pain. She was also overwhelmed by the task of learning how to manage her blood sugar. Watching her suffer made me angry. But the irrational part was that I was angry at her—frustrated that she’d rejected my advice.

I was also angry with myself. I felt guilty because I couldn’t help her. She’d shown me unconditional love and support my entire life, but I had two demanding toddlers to care for. But I was the angriest with God. Why would He let a devoted servant suffer like this? She’d spent her whole life serving Him.

Grandma’s pain mounted as time passed. Managing diabetes took over her life. She went into remission a couple of times, but cancer eventually spread to her lungs. After battling cancer almost two years, she went to be with the Lord.

I never surrendered my anger to God until after Grandma died. Once I knew she wasn’t suffering anymore, I finally let go. Getting angry at Grandma, myself, and God served no purpose.

Watching Grandma die slowly taught me that serving God doesn’t guarantee we won’t suffer. Acknowledging that doesn’t bring me any comfort. God allowed Job to suffer, and he did nothing to bring on his disaster and pain. Grandma didn’t do anything to cause her pain and suffering either.

God neither explains His purposes nor needs to. He is omnipotent; I’m not. Believe that suffering has a beautiful purpose, even if you can’t perceive it.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Double Vision

“God, I trust you with the results of my Lasik surgery. I will praise you no matter the outcome.”

I knew there were risks, but I didn’t think anything would go wrong. I didn’t know anyone who had problems after having Lasik surgery. At the time, it was an easy prayer.

The morning after my surgery, I got in the shower and couldn’t read the words on my shampoo bottle. Nor could I read the words on my lotion bottle or soap dispenser. My cell phone was blurry. I didn’t understand what had happened.

Then one evening I was stopped at a traffic light and realized I saw two red lights stacked on top of each other. While driving home, I saw four headlights coming at me instead of two. I was seeing double.

After consulting three eye specialists, the last one explained the puzzle of my double vision. At the time of my surgery, my lenses had already become partially rigid. When the Lasik surgery changed my vision from nearsightedness to farsightedness, my lenses couldn’t adjust properly between the two extremes. When I read anything up close for long periods of time and then tried to focus on something far away, I experienced double vision.

Paul says thanking God in all circumstances is God’s will for us. I had promised God I would praise Him regardless of the outcome. That isn’t always easy. Blurry vision is annoying, but when I complain, God reminds me of my promise.

Thanking God despite my irritating circumstances starts when I remember my vision won’t always be blurry. Someday it will be perfect. And then I remember God is sovereign and must have a purpose for my double vision. Perhaps to teach me contentment in all circumstances. When I focus on all Christ has done for me on the cross and what I can look forward to, my circumstances pale in comparison. I can never forget the gospel and the grace extended to me daily. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I can redirect my thoughts to reasons for thankfulness rather than complaints.

When circumstances don’t go the way you want them, thank God instead of grumbling and complaining. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

I Wish I Were More Like You

When I see Facebook photos of you with your friends and families, I envy you. You don’t seem worried about how you look in the pictures. You’re smiling and enjoying the camaraderie of those who enjoy spending time with you.

I wish I were more like you, because I often avoid having my picture taken. I’m afraid my physical flaws will freeze forever in that snapshot, so I miss out on many Kodak moments. 

But no longer. I want to develop a different perspective.

Instead of being preoccupied with how unphotogenic I am, I now ask God to help me see myself the way He and others see me—especially the ones who want me in pictures with them. I will begin by not focusing on myself so much, especially my outward appearance.

The apostle Paul has something to say to those of us who struggle in this way. If I were to believe I have been chosen and that I am dearly loved by God Himself, it would change the way I see myself. And it would change the way you see yourself. Eventually, the truth of this status could equip and motivate us to become more compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient.

As we continue to change, our character would become so attractive that it would radiate in our countenance, reflecting the One whose character we desire to emulate. As we become less focused on ourselves—including how we look—we might become more relaxed and enjoy being a part of other people’s lives.

Though I still might not run to have my picture taken, I’ll stop running away from the chance to be included in someone’s photo album or Facebook post—and finally update my Facebook cover photo.

Don’t be preoccupied with your physical appearance. Make positive changes that will help you better reflect God’s opinion of you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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