A Devotion May Be Someone's Only Bible

Spirit & Body

We have two bodies as such. The physical body and our spiritual body. The Spirit is an important part of both. Giving our hearts to Christ brings that spiritual body into balance and therefore, helps us understand the ups and downs of the physical body – even accept them when others cannot.

A Fishy Tale

The fish disappeared again.

My husband’s youngest son and wife are raising three young boys and a baby daughter. To supplement their income, Kevin nurtures a vegetable garden. He has also developed a hydroponic system of fish tanks which produce run-off water for fertilizer.

One morning, he checked on the fish and found them on the bottom of their tank—bloated, dead, and useless. Discovering a reason for the mishap took a while. His sons, wanting to help their Dad, had taken some bread and fed the fish.

Hearing this part of the fishy tale, I reflected on how often I have tried to help Father God with His business, only to bring trouble upon myself and others. Then I remembered the Israelites as they came out of Egypt and wandered in the desert for forty years. God rained down manna for them to eat, but they were not satisfied. They wanted more—just like the greedy fish.

But the story has a sequel. One morning, Kevin saw only two of the large number of fish he had purchased to replace the lost ones. He knew the boys weren’t at fault. He had explained the habits of fish to overeat so the previous disaster wouldn’t repeat itself.

Not knowing the mystery of the disappearing fish, he purchased more to supplement the second loss. Later, as he cleaned out the overflow tanks, he discovered the second lot of fish alive. They had squeezed through the connecting pipes and escaped.

Once again, I thought of the Israelites. They wanted to return to Egypt and complained about the way Moses was leading them—just like the fish that escaped the confines of their tank. They crawled through narrow pipes to another world where they could have died without the proper food.

The fishy tale and the Israelites behaviour mirror our own lives. Learning not to complain and accepting what God provides is a lifetime lesson. God knows what He is doing, and He has the best in store for us when we trust and wait upon Him.

Trust God to give you what you need. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Staying Afloat

I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did, I could mark off one item: my first hot air balloon ride.

My previous plans to ride a hot air balloon fell through due to stormy weather, but taking the ride was worth the wait. Not only did I experience the thrill, I also helped hold the balloon in place while the burner filled the envelope with hot air. I also assisted in folding the envelope and placing it in the basket once the ride was over.

Although most of us identify hot air balloons by their colorful fabric envelopes and baskets, the balloon won’t work without the burner—the force behind the hot air. As we soared over trees, fields, and people, the balloon owner fired the burner from time to time—keeping us airborne and stable.

The ride, combined with the activities before and after, reinforced the truth of Jesus’ lesson on love in Matthew 22:34-40. In contrast to the Pharisees’ focus on appearances, legal wrangling (sometimes to their own advantage), and status quo, Jesus directed their attention to love. Everything we do as Jesus’ followers revolves around the force of love.

Like the Pharisees, we can be in the right place and project the right look, but we get nowhere without love. Love for God and one another fires our spiritual lives, gets us going, and keeps us going. It unfolds God’s power and directs our attitudes, speech, and actions. After our life’s ride ends, the love that filled us continues to soar through the lives we touched on our journey.

Allow God to fill you with the power of His love today and every day. Only then can you know and share true love—a love that keeps you afloat on picture-perfect days and in the worst of storms.

(Originally appeared in Reflections (volume 24, 2014), Smyth and Helwys Publishing.)

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

In This Moment

I say, “We are in this moment,” numerous times each day.

As a planner, I appreciate my daughter’s desire to know what’s going to happen next, but her incessant questioning depletes my reservoir of patience. From the moment her eyes open, she desires to know the reasons for our every move and proceeds to repeat and verify them throughout the day.

I imagine I had similar tendencies as a child, allowing my worry to dictate my thoughts.But as a parent, it’s my goal to ease the anxieties by encouraging focus on the current moment. More importantly, it is my desire to instill the knowledge that God will care for us and provide all we need.

Jesus tells us to examine the birds of the sky and the grass of the field. Our heavenly Father cares for them. Aren’t we more valuable? His Word reminds us our Father knows our needs. If we seek His kingdom and righteousness first, He will give these things to us.

Each day brings enough trouble of its own, so don’t worry about tomorrow. Satan endorses your worries and capitalizes on your doubt, distracting you from the beauty and blessings surrounding you.

When your mind wanders towards worry, remind yourself to live in the moment and let tomorrow worry about itself. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Steady On!

“The truck came in hot, hit the gravel, and jack-knifed to a stop.” 

Those were the words of a professional truck driver describing his use of a runaway truck ramp. Like big rigs rolling fast on long, steep hills—managing the pressure of loads so heavy their brakes glow red in the night—we can feel equally pressured managing life’s demands. Add the unpredicted pressures of job loss, health issues, children in trouble, or a week—like the one I had—with a string of household appliances and technical equipment going out one after the other, and  you can end up longing for a runaway truck ramp.

According to James, every good thing God wants to infuse into our lives comes through growing our ability to remain steadfast under pressure. But the greater the pressure, the more I long for a way out from under it. I want to run . . . to quit . . . to throw in the towel and bail. Feeling that way is normal. We’re allowed to scream and cry, but we are rarely allowed to give up.

It’s been said the worst decisions you’ll ever make in life are quitter decisions. God has given us the ability to remain, as my British friends say, steady on through really tough times and growing through them. Our best decisions will be the ones God enables us to make—the ones where we stay bolted in place when the trials are pressing down the hardest but we refuse to walk away.

Nothing is ever out of control when God is in control. Keep trusting Him and quit longing for runaway truck ramps. Nothing can jack-knife you to a stop. Steady on!

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

In the Shadow of The Cross

“There should be no super heroes in the pulpit, but each one should stand behind the cross,” the pastor said.

In anything we do in the Lord’s name, we should stand in the shadow of the cross. To rise up in our own beauty, talent, or knowledge takes honor from our Lord.

When we sing, preach, play music, or do anything else in a church service, it should enhance God’s kingdom, bring souls to Him, and encourage our listeners. We give our best, but it isn’t a performance; it’s done to lead the congregation to honor and worship Him. The attention belongs to Christ alone.

When we do everything according to biblical standards—in the work place, on the athletic field, or in our homes—the Scripture says to do it in Christ’s name. We can do everything on our jobs to get the next promotion, but getting ahead shouldn’t be more important than revealing Christ to our co-workers.

It feels good when others notice and applaud our upright deeds or achievements for God. But when I take their praise unto myself and into my heart, I choose to stand in the limelight instead of standing in the shadow of Jesus and all He has done.

Allowing our deeds to draw people closer to God shines the glory on Him. Others will know love comes from God through us to them. We are not the source of the gospel’s light. We reflect the light of Christ. We are not setting ourselves up on a pedestal in spirituality, goodness, or ability. Christ is the One who paid the price for the salvation of all. Any honor should be His alone.

When I hear someone sing a solo or preach a message, I want to see Jesus. I desire to feel His Spirit flowing through them to me.

Jesus is worthy to be lifted up by leaders and followers alike. Stand in the shadow of the cross.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devoitons, visit Christian Devotions.)

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