A Devotion May Be Someone's Only Bible

Spirit & Heart

Where your heart is, there is where your treasure lays. Our hearts guide our emotion and decisions. Unless God is the center of the heart, things are askew. Allowing the Spirit into the matters of the heart promises the faithfulness of Jesus in our lives.

Waiting for Perfect

I'm afraid of growing old alone.

As my single friends shared their fears and dating frustrations with me, I often wondered if I would grow old alone.  

The difference was . . . I did not date. I was a bit shy but had done everything right by Christian standards. All I had to do was wait for the perfect man to walk into my life. He never did, but God had other plans.

One by one, my friends married. I became restless. God, what is wrong with me? Since I was a little girl, I had dreamed of a future with a husband and children. The fear of growing old without that haunted me more every day.

Then God asked the unthinkable: If you never married, would I be enough for you?

The question disturbed me. Not marry? Live alone? Is God really enough? After months of struggling with the answer, I knelt before God. As I prayed, a part of myself died: “Yes, God, if I never marry, you alone are enough.”

My surrender was all God needed. He wanted my deepest hopes and desires, my dreams for a future, my everything. Although I had lived according to God’s Word, I had not aligned my deepest desires with God’s heart.

The key to being a living sacrifice is to become empty—to place everything at God’s feet. Only then can He fill your life with His hope, His plans, and His future. My fear separated me from a key part of God. Once I allowed Him to take everything, I felt safe and secure. God held my future in His hands.

Within a few months, I met a man who was not perfect. A divorced father of two grown children, he was broken but determined to serve God and help others who were broken. Two years later, he became my husband.

Turn every area of your life over to God. He is waiting patiently for you to give yourself wholly and completely to Him so He can transform you from the inside out. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Hope and the Future

Life is hard, confusing, and tragic. It hurts. I often feel overwhelmed—as if I’m shoveling snow in a blizzard. As hard as I try, I can’t get a handle on it. 

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." This is my verse. The verse I cling to when life doesn’t make sense. I need this verse. I need to know God has a plan for my life—a good plan as He did for the nation of Israel. I need to know I have hope and a future. I need to know God has more for me.

When I’m in the middle of the unknown and awful, all I can do is hold on and hope for something better, something more, such as healing, restoration, hope, and a future.

Making sense of circumstances can be difficult. Knowing what to say to the mother whose three-year-old has cancer. Or the parents whose child is missing. Knowing how to comfort those who watch their children starve to death in corners of the world we rarely see. I search the horizon and I can’t see their hope or future.

Our fallen, broken world has trouble. This side of eternity there is illness, poverty, broken bridges, and death. Our hope frequently lies in the unseen—what waits beyond the horizon. Often, my faith—or lack thereof—boils down to believing God has plans for me as well as answering a simple question: “But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15).

When trouble comes and life goes sideways, I must believe God’s promises. I must trust and believe He is who He says He is. Sometimes I question and doubt. Sometimes I get mad and think God is asleep at the wheel. At other times, my doubt and unbelief leave me alone, and I wander in a painfully dry and dusty desert.

But God loves me still. When I lay down my burdens and trust Him, I get what I need—hope for my future. It’s not easy or magic. Sometimes it’s moment by painful moment.

God, your loving Father, will never leave you hopeless. His love never fails. He can restore what the locusts have eaten.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Falsely Accused

I walked into a small room filled with angry people, thinking I was there to support a friend. The next thing I knew, a finger was pointed at my face, and an accuser shouted, “Just who do you think you are?”

My hands flew up in front of me, and my response was “Whoa, whoa, whoa … what in the world are you talking about?”

From that point on, the meeting hit a downward spiral. Lies bounced around the room like rubber balls with a life of their own. At one point, my accuser tried to hit me. Thankfully, someone stepped between us as I silently begged God to come to my rescue.

Being falsely accused is no picnic. But what should we do when it happens?

Every time Jesus faced the religious firing squad, He remained silent. He didn’t get angry or emotional, try to dispute the accusations, or explain His words and actions. He had been about His Father’s business and knew He had done no wrong. When the Devil challenged Him, He replied each time with, “It is written ...”

Remaining calm and confident when fingers are pointed in your face and hateful words are hurled at you from every direction—especially from people you thought were your friends—is difficult. Our flesh demands reaction while our spirit whispers peace. Our carnal nature cries out for us to stand our ground and fight back, while the Holy Spirit within us says, “I’ve got this.”

My experience—which I affectionately refer to as “the bashing”—happened many years ago, and the memories fade a little more with each passing decade. God was with me that day, just as He’s been with me since—and always will be. He fought the battle for me, and like the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace, I came out without even the smell of smoke.

I learned a lot from that experience—especially about forgiveness, trust, self-control, and preserving my integrity in the midst of an angry mob.

When people come against you, call on the Lord. He will give you the words to speak and fill you with His peace.

(Photo courtesy of Free Digital Photos.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Culling Cuckaburrows

Pulling cuckaburrows was a new experience for me in farm life.

Visiting my maternal grandparents on the farm was always enjoyable. Every day was a new adventure, doing things I never experienced in the city. Along with my cousin, we’d pile into my grandfather’s blue Chevy truck and head to the farm.

As my grandfather rode down the dirt roads dividing the fields of cotton, he pointed out cuckaburrows. Like many other words my grandparents used, this one isn’t in the dictionary. These invaders were thorny weeds that often grew alongside the cotton. They were easy to spot as they matured. And when my grandfather did, he’d send my grandmother, my cousin, and me into the fields to pull them up. 

“Be careful not to pull up the cotton,” he’d caution. Sometimes this was precarious because they grew so closely together.

Jesus once said something similar when asked if weeds should be pulled from the wheat field. Unlike my grandfather, He said to leave them until the harvest time. Then they would be separated into their respective places.

Like the tares of Jesus’ day, these weeds represented things that shouldn’t be in the cotton field. If left alone, they would take over, preventing the cotton plant from growing and producing as my grandfather intended.

My cuckaburrows represent things that shouldn’t be in my life. Left there, they will stunt my spiritual growth or even keep me from Christ initially. Sinful choices and sinful relationships invite thorns into my life. Some aren’t sinful; they merely interfere with my service to Christ. Like my grandfather, Christ tells me to pull them up.

Ridding my life of prickly invaders takes intentional effort. I could have looked at them in the cotton field all day long, but they would never have gone away. I had to leave the truck, walk into the field, and remove them. Cuckaburrows interfere with my being the salt and light Jesus wants me to be in this world. Spiritual disciplines spread poison on them.

Ask God to show you your cuckaburrows. Then pull them up so you can be successful in your work for Him.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Fear-of-God Living

Forest Gump’s mama said, “Life is like a box of chocolates.”

I tend to think of life as like a trophy case. A trophy case in which I place all the important things: family, career, hobbies, and God. I love my family and do what I must to provide for them. I’ve worked hard at various jobs. When I have free time, hobbies restore my physical and mental health. And then there’s God who gets the first-fruits of my time and energy.

Up before my family and making their breakfast, my day as a stay-at-home dad starts early. Struggling with the kids at bedtime, my day ends late. In between breakfast and bedtime, I spend three to four hours in the parade of minivans and SUVs picking up and dropping off my son at school, caring for my three-year-old daughter, and trying to accomplish some of the never-ending duties: washing dishes, doing laundry, and picking up toys. Things that make it difficult to focus on the eternal picture rather than the minutia of daily life.

Proverb 31 defines the characteristics of a good wife. The proverb is filled with enculturated, gendered statements such as “She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places.” But a set of virtues sits behind the proverb. Virtues like trustworthiness, generosity, organization, beauty, and charm. All of which apply equally to men and women.

The writer touts the traits as desirable, yet shows the fleeting nature of beauty and charm in opposition to the more desirable virtue: living in the fear of God. Beauty and charm, which are representative of the entire list of human traits—including those not listed—are placed in their proper relative position as supportive roles.

Fear-of-God living entails honoring God. Our behaviors can either honor God or be exercised in our own vanities. Thoughtfully navigating our days is important. In the moment, when we are disciplining kids or having a disagreement with loved ones, we need to focus on doing all we do in ways that honor our Savior. We need to ensure all our trophies point to the one that reads “1st Place Servant of Christ.”

Make fear-of-God living your daily goal. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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