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.

Behind Our Masks

We all possess masks. For some, masks are our identity. Makeup, hair, weight, shoe size. For others, masks are accomplishments. Job promotions, GPAs, or marriages.

Masks cause us to build walls to hide behind. Few desire to be real with others, so we build walls of protection, but walls of death by isolation. A mask placed over the eyes to protect, to conceal, to not be real. Yet those masks turn into gags and those walls into prisons.

But this should not be what the church is known for. Jesus is not a God of walls. While on earth, He saw what lay behind those masks. Walking past Matthew, He saw his heart and called him to follow. He didn't see the hatred or stigma Jews had for tax collectors. He saw Matthew’s longing for more.

Believers should play it straight, not try to be fake. We are human, works in progress, who are still struggling to live this life on earth. A life where Jesus is changing us. With God’s help, we can leap over those walls we have hidden behind for so long. “With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall” (Psalm 18:29 NIV).

Dare to be bold by being genuine and by being true about your heart.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Candle

"Don't feel bad if people only remember you when they need you. Feel privileged that you are like a candle that comes to their mind when there is darkness."

I love this quote, and it changed me. I find truth in the simple sentence.

Prior to reading the quote I had a different outlook on those kind of people. Countless times the same people would call, and I would think, "Great, wonder what they need?" Usually, they needed something when they called. Their call didn’t make me feel privileged. Most of the time I felt angry. Resentment welled up inside me. Why do they only call when they have a need or a problem? I thought. I wouldn’t mind as much if they wanted to be a part of my life on a regular basis and not just when a need arose. I hadn’t seen that by meeting their worldly needs I might have the opportunity to guide them to someone who could meet their spiritual needs.

God put the quote before me to soften my heart and change my perspective. What a gift that someone thought of me first when they needed help. Not in their moments of celebration but in their moments of need. What a compliment that they knew when tough times came, I would be there and willing to help.   

This caused me to think of someone I don't always call on when things are going well—but He is the first person I turn to when things don’t go smoothly: Jesus. He can be easily neglected when I am busy, happy, or carefree. But when I have a need or problem, He’s the first one I turn to.

Jesus never rejects us. He is always there when we call upon Him—and without judgment, waiting with open arms and thankful to be our candle.

Let Jesus be the bright candle you turn to in the good and in the bad times.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Veil of the Clouds

There is something about a drizzly, blustery day that attracts me. Not to cozy up under a blanket, but to put on my boots and start walking.

The day Eliyah Kate died was such a day. Perhaps that’s the trigger that attracts me to get up and go. When I go, I’m not driven by her memories but by the God who met me.

The books of Exodus, Joshua, and Numbers speak about a “cloud by day” and of “following the cloud.” God’s people ran to the cloud for protection and direction. When the cloud moved, they moved because God had instructed them. Moses approaching the thick darkness where God was intrigued me. He was attracted to the thick dark cloud because he had discovered this was the meeting place of God. 

I, too, find the meeting place of the Lord in my walks on dreary days. The cloud guided the Israelites, and they followed like blind sheep. They could not see where they were going, only that they were following the cloud because God said to.

Often, we have no idea where God is taking us. We wonder why we are in this unfamiliar and uncomfortable place. Even with all of His love and goodness, God sometimes doesn’t offer a response—at least not immediately.

But God loves little secrets. He loves when we seek Him out. Doing so is like a child’s game of hide and seek or blind man’s bluff. Once the discovery is made, there is great laughter and joy. 

Trials and seasons of hardship have a purpose, as does everything else in the kingdom of God. In the end, you will discover the secret God longs for you to know: a deeper revelation of Himself.

Don’t fret or be fearful if you find yourself in a dark cloud. It is the meeting place of God. Enter into it.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Put Away the Gasoline

I set fire to someone today.

Actually, I dreamed I set fire to someone. I saw the shoulders of two men who were showering in side-by-side shower stalls. The first man’s skin bore burn scars from fire. That man spit a flammable liquid from his mouth toward the second man, hitting the second man on his bare flesh. Then the first man threw a lighter toward him. I watched as his skin flamed, as he writhed in agony, and as he uttered an anguished cry.

I asked God what it meant. He said it showed the effect of our hateful words. We cannot fight fire with fire. One man acted from his fleshly nature rather than responding by the Spirit. God reminded me that wounded people wound others. Speaking hateful words is like spewing fire on another person. They burn from the caustic nature of our verbal cursing.

Reading the proverb, I considered the power of words and this dream in light of modern culture which has become a hotbed of clashing ideologies. We see light and darkness collide on the streets and transmit into our homes and telephones. It can be overwhelming.

When you see news of people who hold opposing views protesting publicly for a social cause, don’t slander them in the privacy of your home with your words or thoughts. As Christians, we know not to curse others, but it’s easy to get disgusted and think thoughts or say words we’re not proud of.

In this season when God is separating truth from lies, we must choose sides. God brings order from chaos, but we must not fight God when we enter into chaos. Rather, we should bless and not curse. God wants us to visualize others as His precious yet wounded children bearing visible scars. Then to respond not only with sympathy but also with empathetic compassion.

The lens of our eye must be clean so we can view others in the light of God’s love. Our hearts must be purified so we do not transfer our offense to them. Only with clean hands, pure hearts, calm voices, and buried flesh will our words carry weight.

Offer bandages, not gasoline, to others and overcome evil with good. 

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Letting God In

My profound need for a human relationship that is deep and completely fulfilling haunts me.

I am beginning to see that God alone can be in a deep and satisfying relationship with me. To achieve this, I have to let Him into that aching place I keep locked up so no one knows about it. The older I get, the more closed off I am to emotional vulnerability. I’ve been burned by people too many times to freely bare my soul.

Baring my soul to God is different from opening up to people. With God, I’m telling Him something He already knows. Though God knows everything about me, He waits patiently for me to tell Him. Then He waits for me to ask for guidance. He will give wisdom when I ask, but I have to do what He says: trust, be at peace, and not worry.

And I worry too much. I don’t always believe God is in control, but I try to rest on His promises and let Him into the deepest, most private part of my heart as the psalmist instructs me to do. I ache to let God in so He can work in my life. I attempt to discipline my mind to fully trust that He will continue ruling from His throne.

God fills the aching places in our hearts. We may not sense His repairing the aching spots all at once, but they may heal slowly like an empty well whose water slowly inches upward. One day we realize the hurt is gone and the One who will never leave, forsake, or betray, has filled it to overflowing.

Let God into every area of your life. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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