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.

Crossing Bridges

Nothing compares to a first mission trip. Life changes and memories last forever.

Hispanic ministry in upstate New York with a team of four adults and three youth introduced me to this incomparable joy. We stayed with and served under the guidance of a career missionary couple. Four of us knew a smattering of Spanish, so together we managed when we had no interpreter. However, we relied primarily on the local Hispanic pastor and a summer missionary to help bridge communication gaps.

Our daily schedule included the basics of any backyard Bible school (repeated three times): songs, crafts, Bible stories, and games. We used puppets, drama, and group interaction to deliver the story. A crown of thorns—the real thing—received the most attention. Because children are children, and curiosity reigns, we had to caution them to look but not touch.

I used the thorns during my role as a friend of Jesus. We wanted the children to learn how Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection bridged the gap between them and God. The emotion of the drama, combined with sorrow in leaving the children that final day, threatened to drown us with tears as we boarded the van.

At night we helped with outdoor revival services. We loved trying to translate introductory Spanish comments, especially the funny ones about us. A few harmless jokes at our expense broke the ice for everyone. With the salvation of a teenage girl from the morning Bible school, all the fatigue from a week of maximum activity and minimum sleep melted away.

We made a one-day side trip to Niagara Falls, where Rainbow Bridge connects the United States and Canada. Early mornings frequently find the bridge shrouded by a heavy mist that feels like rain.

In much the same way, our efforts at bridging relationships can become bogged down by human imperfections. However, when we travel the bridge Jesus supplied through the cross and invite others to journey with us, we discover genuine, lasting peace.

Dare to cross bridges to introduce others to Jesus.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Keeping Watch

The tiny barn finch searched for the perfect place to build her nest. The same day, my husband hung his car-washing mitt on the clothesline to air out.

A week later when my husband approached the clothesline, a small brown bird chattered and darted, showing its displeasure. A quick glance in the mitt showed a bundle of sticks, branches, leaves, and grass. Backing away, my husband watched as the tiny bird flew deftly into the glove.

Days later, as I hung a few items on the clothesline. I was met by the same chattering, swooping barn finch. I spoke soothingly to the critter, but it didn’t listen. It sat on the garden fence, fussing and complaining.

Later, I paused to reflect. If I were as diligent at keeping watch as that small bird, life would change. It did when the watchmen of Jerusalem did their job.

Keeping watch, I could discourage family or friends from making the wrong choices. I could keep my family close, assuring them I have their good in my heart. If I were as careful for other’s lives as that finch was for its babies, I would speak to the lost and help them find the way to true happiness. If I were more diligent, I would spend less time complaining and chattering.

After the finch moved out, we checked the mitt. Stuffed with twigs, leaves, and bird debris, the mitt needed to be tossed. As a Christian, if I do not show others the way to God, they too will be tossed into the eternal fire that has no end.

Ask God to help you be diligent and caring. Rather than chattering and complaining, let God prompt you to care for those who are lost and lead them carefully to Him.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Obey the Rules

Few things are more daunting than flashing blue lights … and I’m not talking about K-Mart’s blue-light specials.

I was in pain, in a hurry, and headed to my chiropractor’s office when I blew through a stop sign. It was a small intersection with nothing around, but that was no excuse. I looked up and saw two cars parked in an abandoned parking lot. Instantly, one of the cars zoomed out of the lot. A siren split the air. Blue lights flashed behind me, demanding me to pull over.

Almost in tears, I apologized. Told the officer I was in pain and on my way to an appointment, My assurance that I was a good driver and would never let this happen again seemed to have no effect.

The officer was extremely courteous. Said he understood about pain and chiropractors, and he was glad I was a “good driver.” But his reprimand was to the point: “It doesn’t matter. You still have to obey the rules.”

The incident made me wonder how many times I’ve gotten in a hurry and blew through the spiritual stop signs God has placed in my path. Those times I’ve ignored the rules He has set forth in His Word, going my own way and doing my own thing.

The truth is—whether in the natural or spiritual world—stop means stop. And in both realms, consequences follow. Obeying the laws of the land is not a separate issue from obeying God’s laws, because everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God (Romans 13:1 NLT).

Like it or not, God expects us to follow the rules and be obedient. Period. Not because He’s a hard taskmaster, but for our benefit. Listening to His voice and following Holy Spirit’s lead keeps us out of a passel of trouble.

Thankfully, the officer had mercy and only gave me a warning. Trust me, I won’t be blowing through any more stop signs.

Be alert. Listen for God’s voice. And always follow the rules.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and fantasista.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

When a Perfectly Planned Day Goes Terribly Wrong

Everything was planned. The hotel was booked. Our bags were packed.

All my daughter and I had to do was hop in the car and drive the 212 miles to our destination. In exactly three and one half hours, we would experience a fun-filled day at our favorite theme park.

When we arrived, everything was perfect—at least until high winds blew everything around. Debris was everywhere, on the ground and in the air. The wind blew so hard it felt as if tiny needles pricked our skin. Because of the inclement weather, the park shut down some of the rides. We rode a total of three before they chose to close the park altogether.

What happened to my perfectly planned day?

At first, I wasn’t sure I could keep it together. After a hectic week, my patience was paper thin. I hoped our trip would be an escape from all the craziness.

As I thought about our situation, I realized I was at a crossroads: I could lose control and go down an angry road, or I could ask God to fill me with the patience to handle our situation gracefully.

Letting my temper get the best of me would lead to misery—and that wouldn’t change our circumstances or make our trip better, only worse. If I asked God to give me a patient heart, we could salvage our trip, and my daughter and I could still enjoy our time together. The wiser choice was to seek God’s help.

Solomon reminds us it isn't wise to allow our tempers to dictate our reactions to things. When our plans get ruined, it is frustrating, but with God’s help, we can have a better attitude.

The next time your temper threatens to lead you in the wrong direction, pause and ask God for directions. He will always guide you to a better route.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Hidden Treasures

With the details of our vacation planned from the starting time to the rest stops along the way, I was anxious and ready to head out. But we slowed down and read our morning devotion from Isaiah 45:3.

I hadn’t planned for the traffic jam created by a visiting politician, which changed our timeline. Suddenly, threatening dark clouds formed to the left of us—not part of my planning—but our path remained clear, dotted with puffs of clouds and a splash of blue. I wanted to focus on the darkness. My husband and I decided to look at the clouds, searching to see what animal or shape the wind had formed. We found God’s hidden treasures among the overcast sky. The dark threatening clouds didn’t go away, but our anxiety did.

I once believed the Old Testament was boring and irrelevant. However, I now see it filled with treasures of wisdom and facts that pull me into the history of our precious Lord. God’s personality and character are written on all the pages. Within the details of the Old Testament, I discover new insights about God’s love and promises that strengthen me.

Details matter in our life—our clothes, our language, our travels, our budget, our thoughts. When I took my eyes off the darkness, I found the treasure God had placed within the threatening storm.

Our duty is to read the Bible. God has riches for each of us in it. Either we can focus on the darkness and let our feelings take over or we can focus on knowledge and trust God’s personality and character.

This life will have trials, but search for the treasures God has stored for your discovery.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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