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.

Hunting Ghosts

Finding ghost crabs on the beach at night requires a powerful flashlight.

By day, North Carolina’s sandy shores are filled with people enjoying the sunshine and the ocean’s waves. At night, everything’s dark and quiet. The true beach-dwellers slip out of their holes and scuttle toward the water. Hit with a powerful light, the ghost crabs flee—either toward the surf or back into their burrows. On most nights, you see only a few, but our Creator sees each one. Just as He sees each one of us.

In Genesis 16, an Egyptian slave named Hagar fled from her mistress. Pregnant and friendless, she walked through a wilderness filled with pain. Grieving for her lost comfortable life, Hagar felt isolated and unloved—until God called her by name.

Even a slave girl’s tears matter to the Lord. Encountering the angel changed Hagar forever. He spoke words of life and hope into her aching heart. I love the name Hagar gives to the Almighty: “You are the God who sees me.”

God is the One who cares. He is the One who loves me when I feel defeated, crushed, and broken. He is the One who walks with me in my darkest hours.

We live in a society where people aren’t highly valued. Old folks languish in nursing homes—lonely and unloved and with few visitors. Unwanted babies are aborted. Spouses are kicked to the curb and replaced with someone new. Rampant cyber-bullying makes teenagers feel despised by their peers. Even pre-teens battle depression and suicidal thoughts.

Life in the world has gotten incredibly tough lately. But let me give you a word of encouragement. Jesus our Redeemer sees you and He knows you by name. You may be an “insignificant little crab” to anyone else, but not to Him.

Like Hagar, rejoice and be comforted because you serve the One who sees you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Watch and Pray

The house has quieted after a busy day, and you’ve finally set aside time to pray. Suddenly, the phone rings, disrupting the quiet. You find yourself back in your car and out the door again. It seems every time you purpose to pray, a need arises. Duty calls.

Then He said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." In this account, we see the humanity of Christ on full display. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane praying to the Father in His hour of greatest need. He was deeply sorrowful—to the point of death, and rightfully so. He was preparing to bear the iniquity of us all.

Jesus asks His disciples to keep watch with Him. It seems like a relatively simple request, yet they could not. Upon returning, He discovers them fast asleep.

It’s stunning that Christ—the perfect Lamb of God without sin to confess—would sense His need for communion with the Father. If there were anyone who might be able to discharge His duty without prayer, surely it would have been Jesus. Yet He prayed.

Our own lives are often overtaken with other matters. Prayer is neglected because we’re prone to fill our days with lesser things—neglecting the one thing our Lord emphasized the most: our need to commune with the Father. The reasons for our neglect are often legitimate. Our days are rife with activity from sunrise to sundown.

But we need to give careful consideration to Jesus’ words. God hasn’t changed. He is still looking for those who will watch and pray. Christ instructed us to ask, seek, and knock. Not to watch us perform some exercise in futility but because He fully intends to answer.

Quiet yourself and carve out time to pray. When you do, you’ll experience oneness with the Father.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Impossible

Your back is against the wall. Every possible solution has been calculated, and there seems to be no way out. Then, like a candle in the darkness, God’s light illuminates the path. It was there all along. The human effort had blocked the brilliance through which the light could shine.

A close friend once asked me to do something publicly that I knew would conflict with my Christian values. By refusing, I knew there was the danger of appearing sanctimonious to those who do not share the same values. I tried everything I could—including stalling—but my friend kept pressing.

Crawling into bed late one night, I asked the Lord to show me how He would resolve the dilemma. Opening my eyes the next morning, I knew the answer as if were written on the wall of my mind. Nothing had ever been so clear. God not only supplied what I needed, but He also provided a way for my friend to feel completely affirmed. As Jesus promised, God gave me the words to say and the wisdom to respond.

Watching God in action is nothing short of a miracle. This is not to say everything on our wish list will be granted in the process, but our heavenly Father loves knocking our proverbial socks off when it comes to doing what we perceive as the impossible. We recognize His handiwork when nothing else makes sense.

If you find yourself in the valley of no-way-out, stop struggling and start praying. Our Father knows all of the exits, and, for His glory, He will show them to you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

God's Chosen Servants

God uses ordinary people with hearts inclined toward Him.

One Sunday, I was asked to speak at a small church near my home in Virginia. I was greeted by a man who let me into the building. In small churches, you often have a pastor who does the preaching and the teaching and then an elder or deacon who does everything else. As I sat at the back of the church reviewing my sermon notes, the man went about making the coffee and setting out the snacks. Then he took a small broom and a dustpan and swept between the chairs.

As I watched this man, I wondered who was more valuable, him or me. The answer was neither. We had equal value, just a different function. Then I asked the Lord who was most pleasing to Him. The answer to the second question came quicker than the first. The one who does their part of the service with the greatest amount of love in their heart for God.  

We all want to be significant, and we’re all important in our Creator’s eyes. The problem is that we often seek our worth through man’s eyes. Sometimes we confuse value and function. We do not get value from what we do; we bring value to our work. Each individual has intrinsic value before God. 

Billy Graham and Pat Roberson have a greater function in the body of Christ than I do. In some areas, they have greater privilege. Jesus gave Peter, James, and John greater access to Himself, not because He valued them more but because they would have a more significant role in the Kingdom of God. He loved all His disciples equally. Our love for Christ is what impresses the Father.

The next time you walk past someone setting up chairs in your church, take notice. You may have missed an opportunity to interact with one of God’s chosen servants.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Standing Out

Social media has proven that having a public platform is popular for the vast majority of people.

Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram keep even those in the most remote places in touch. Sometimes the exposure is invasive and undesired. For many, however, being front and center in the public arena is not only desirable but sought after. Addiction is not an overstatement when expressing how some view the importance of staying connected. It would also appear that brazenness has replaced good manners, and speaking aloud every thought has replaced good judgment, respect, and civility.

In writing to Timothy, Paul instructs his young protégé to be courageous when speaking to and teaching other Christians—regardless of age, theirs or his. Like the social media of his day, Paul lists the various opportunities where Timothy can make an impact on those around him. He instructs him to “set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.”

We set an example for those around us. We may not participate in the current media choices, but we still have a platform. Unless I am a hermit, wherever I go and whatever I do, others watch and listen.

But do not confuse brazenness with courage. The first is to be careless while the second is to be bold when speaking truth. As a wise person once told me, “Don’t do or say anything you would regret reading on the front page of the morning newspaper.” Let’s take it a step further. Say and do nothing except what is pleasing and edifying to God. He is present with us always.

Let your faith cause you to stand out in the crowd. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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