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.

Word for the Year

Several years ago, a good friend introduced me to the concept of choosing a “word for the year”—a word to live by. Sometimes it is a goal, a challenge, or even a one word mantra.

The idea sounded great to me. I prayed and asked God for my word for the year, and I clearly heard him say, “jump.” That’s a fun first word. Since I am a producer, I am constantly planning, and spontaneous is an ugly word to me. I interpreted jump to be the antithesis of planning. I vowed to say yes to as many offers as I was extended that year, to experience things I had never experienced, to jump at opportunities. What followed was one of the most memorable years of my life.

The next year, I heard the word risk and fervently prayed God would change it to peace. He did not, and it was one of my most challenging years professionally and personally. Being the good Father He is, reward followed on year three. In my year of reward, I found a church home after many years of searching, as well as many other blessings.

Year four brought the word fly. I was confused as to the meaning of this and prayed for confirmation that fly was my word for the year. As I opened my eyes after the prayer, a bird flew by the window. Coincidence I thought. I continued to pray for weeks, always hearing the same word. Then a couple days into the new year, I stood in line at a craft store, and when I looked down at the counter, a little stone with the word fly on it stared back at me. I settled that fly was my word. It took almost the entire year to decipher the code, but, in the end, I realized that was a year where God brought people by my side who lifted me up and helped carry my burdens.

In each year since, some words came clearly and others more difficult, but God has always supplied a word for me, and the word has always been right.

In the next weeks, ask God for your word for the year, and watch something truly beautiful unfold.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Exhausted, But Still in Pursuit

I’m exhausted. Or, as we say in the South, worn slap out.

When life hurtles along just outside the parameters of our capacity, we can feel that way. When we try our best to prioritize life events, create an orderly schedule, and strategically organize our days—life can still be too much.

Trying to fit Christian service or ministry opportunities around full-time employment, household responsibilities, weekend chores, and expected family and social interactions can be overwhelming. Things start to slip or we become uncharacteristically cranky, and then guilt sets in as we internalize how we mismanaged our time or do not have time to serve God. Yet, we persist, wearily trying to juggle everything, hoping to find relief soon.

Gideon knows exactly how we feel. After God reduced his army from 32,000 to 300, Gideon faced the formidable task of battling an enemy numbering 125,000. Obviously, fighting with the initial army would have made things much easier—and certainly less stressful for each warrior. Yet the entire burden fell to the remaining 300.

God orchestrated the battle to deliver His promised victory. However, after an overnight raid with pitchers and torches, along with chasing the enemy from the primary battlefield just south of Nazareth all the way to the Jordan River, Gideon and his men were exhausted. And when they stopped for food, they were refused—twice. But they continued and eventually eliminated the enemy. Exhausted, but still in pursuit. Worn out, but not giving up.

When life becomes too hectic, here’s some reminders:

  • The overall battle is the Lord’s (1 Samuel 17:47).
  • Don’t give up. You will reap in due time (Galatians 6:9).
  • Be still and watch how God sovereignly orchestrates His victory (2 Chronicles 20:17).
  • Don’t run ahead or lag behind—simply follow and wait on the Lord (Psalm 27:14).
  • Take the necessary time to rest (Mark 6:31).
  • Rejoice always and pray unceasingly (Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
  • Remember, your service is for God, not for men (Romans 12:1).

This life can be tiring, nerve wracking, and frustrating. Though exhausted, stick to the fight and continue the pursuit. God’s high calling and ultimate approval await: “Well done, faithful servant. Enter into My rest.”

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Yesterday

Just yesterday, they were in the land of the living, but someone took them all away.

As the years pass and the end of our journey draws near, we recall those dreams of yesterday. If we could capture them, we would keep them forever.

We knew many people who walked this earth once, and it seems like yesterday they were here with us. Now, they’re gone—the great and the small, the kings and the poorest of people.  

Life is like a puff of smoke or a mist that vanishes quickly. We wish we could stop time, but it’s not possible, no matter how hard we try. I wish I could tell you about yesterday, but you probably wouldn’t listen. We live like we will be forever in this place, but we will cast a glance at our life and grasp it ever tightly as it slips away.

Then a day we thought was still far away comes. Someone comes for us too. And we will only be remembered until yesterday is gone—when even those with memories of us are taken away too.

God cries for us to hear His voice … to remember the path He has shown us. He wants us to seek the narrow gate and not rebel against Him. He wants to show us what is true. We don’t really pass away, but are in a moment taken away.

The day my eyes grow dim and my breathing ends, be assured that Someone came and took me away. It was the King of Kings who left His throne to suffer and die in my place, and it seems like just yesterday that He said He would come back for me.

Are you ready for God to come and take you away?

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Shark Sheets

November is National Adoption Month, and many churches celebrate Orphan Sunday. Orphan Sunday or Stand Sunday is a day to focus on foster care and adoption throughout the world.

This month has become even more important to me since adopting my son from foster care a little over three years ago. Since becoming his father, I have learned more about how my heavenly Father loves me than I ever understood before.

We who accept Jesus are all adopted sons and daughters. It is through Jesus that we become children of God.

God will go to the greatest lengths to make you His child. He is a Rescuer. He will fight the Devil for your very soul, not because of what you can do, what you look like, or how much money you have, but because you are His.

I had to fight for my son too. When I applied to be his dad, I was rejected. Boone’s last two placements before me were single men, and both adoption plans failed. My son’s social workers rejected me because they didn’t want this to happen a third time. But in my heart I knew he was mine.

I asked my social worker if I could write a letter pleading my case. Though she had never heard of that being done before, she allowed it and sent the letter by email. In the email, I explained my plans for this child’s future and how I would not allow him to grow up believing all the ugly things that had been said about him by the world. I ended with the line, “I already have his shark sheets waiting.” His profile had listed how much he loved sharks.

I was called in for an interview the next day and told, “No one has fought for this child his entire life, and you are fighting for him without even meeting him.” He arrived in our home two days later and is forever my son.

You belong to God, and He will do anything for you. Lift your eyes to Him. He already has your shark sheets waiting.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



The Gathering

The annual gathering happened two days before Thanksgiving.

Each year, the churches in the small town where I pastored gathered for a community Thanksgiving service. Different churches hosted the event, and pastors rotated preaching. A time of fellowship and food followed. But then we went home, often not seeing one another again until we had our annual community Easter celebration.

In spite of the brevity of the event—and the fact that we wouldn’t see one another for months—I eagerly awaited this gathering each year. Thanksgiving tops the list of my favorite holidays, and spending a few moments of it with people from different races, nationalities, and social levels makes it more enjoyable.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I don’t know in what season of the year Paul wrote this command, but he knew nothing about a Thanksgiving holiday. He didn’t need one. He had learned contentment … thankfulness … in all circumstances. And God’s will is for every believer to realize the same.

When I experience these community events at Thanksgiving and Easter, I imagine they mirror heaven. A place where race, nationality, wealth, mistakes, emotional states, and age will no longer separate God’s people. A day when the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., will finally come true: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

But the gathering is about more than the mixture and the breaking down of barriers. The lives of all gathered are peppered by a myriad of conditions. Regardless, we lift our voices to the God who controls our circumstances and to the One whom we believe involves Himself in all of our situations. Our voices blend as we praise Him through song. They sync as we say “Amen” to the truths heard from His Word.

The Thanksgiving season gives us the opportunity to remember God’s plan is always best—regardless of the path we must follow to realize it. God doesn’t expect us to be happy about tragedy and heartache, but we can have contentment in trying situations when we remember He’s in control, has our best interests at heart, and controls the intensity and time of our travels.

Celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering with others and thanking God collectively.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



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