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.

Are You Hungry?

I was enjoying breakfast when God showed up.

Halfway through my store-brand yogurt mixed with fresh blueberries, God floated a question across my mind: Are you hungry? 

I replied, “Of course I’m hungry. That’s why I’m having breakfast.”

He then floored me with, No, are you truly hungry or are you just eating? That’s when our discussion morphed into a monologue, and I tried to keep up.

When we’re not really hungry, we approach food as optional. We develop a choosy, disinterested mindset. If we do find something to eat, we pick at it and often leave leftovers behind.

A hungry or starving person has no doubt about his hunger. He has to eat. Hunger pangs make him intentional. When he finds a food source, he devours it. He may even eat things that normally aren’t at the top of his menu selections—and eat them at places he never thought he’d go. Only food satisfies a truly hungry person. Real hunger makes us behave in strange, yet passionate and intentional ways.

Now back to my conversation with God. Jesus said those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness would be filled. But the secret is hungering for it—not picking and choosing as we aimlessly wander up and down God’s spiritual buffet. Nothing else quenches our craving. Our appetite is only for Him and His delicacies.

When I hunger for God and His righteousness, my attitude and actions change. I prioritize specific time with Him. I crave His insight, conviction, and direction. I devour those things He offers that I normally wouldn’t accept. Like David, my heart pants for Him. Like Mary, I want to sit in His presence. Like Paul, I set my affections on things above. And like Jesus, I invite others to God’ feast.

Ask God to help you never settle for the unhealthy fast food of the world and its alluring distractions.

God, give us spiritual hunger pangs that drive us to the banquet hall of Your Word. Grant us the intentional desire to feast in Your presence. Quench our insatiable hunger with only Yourself.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Love like God

Love is a verb. It requires choice and action.

The Bible tells us to love as God has loved us. God is love, love comes from God, and those who are loving and kind show they belong to God. If a person isn't loving and kind, it shows they don’t know God or belong to Him.

But it isn’t only about our love for God. It’s also about His love for us. God's love sent Jesus into this wicked world to make a way for us to have eternal life through His death, burial, and resurrection. Since God loved us that much, we ought to love each other.

God is the source of our love, not us. Those who accept Jesus have access to His love through the power of His Holy Spirit living in them.

The Spirit helps us bite our tongue and speak the truth in love instead of lashing out against others. He helps us be patient with those who irritate us, seek justice instead of our own personal glory, and see others as worthy of love and respect. He also keeps us from being jealous, boastful, proud, rude, irritable, self-seeking, mean-spirited, hateful, retaliatory, short-tempered, and plain obnoxious.

Choose to love others, and let them see God’s love through you. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Lee's New Hearts

My daughter, Cathy, and her husband, Lee, had been married for less than five years when Lee began to have serious heart problems.  

While Lee was in the hospital, I felt the Holy Spirit silently speaking and telling me to talk to him about salvation. I prayed for the right words to share. Lee seemed close to making a decision, but it was time to leave. I held his hands and prayed with him. Later, my minister visited Lee and led him to accept Christ as his Lord and Savior. 

Lee was excited to be a Christian. When he was able to leave the hospital, he and Cathy attended our church where he planned to publicly announce his decision. However, toward the end of the service, he had an attack and stopped breathing for a while. An ambulance was called and Lee was rushed to the hospital. As our family followed the ambulance, our church members prayed. It was an anxious time as we waited for a diagnosis.

Eventually, Lee was admitted to a large hospital in a distant city and put on a list for a heart transplant. Meanwhile, doctors surgically implanted a mechanical heart to keep his heart beating.

Finally, a donor heart became available. Late one night, Lee was prepared for surgery. As our family sat in the waiting room throughout the night and early morning, we prayed. After many hours of waiting, we were told the surgery was a success and Lee’s donor heart was beating normally.

Philippians 4:6 tells us to pray in everything. We had done that through the months. Now it was time to offer our thanksgiving. Our family gathered in a circle and praised God for the miracle. Not only did Lee have a new spiritual heart, he also had a new physical heart and the possibility of renewed life.

Our prayers are not always answered with yes, but even when we receive a no or a wait a while, we can still offer God our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

Learn to thank God in all circumstances. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Choosing to Love Others

I don’t want to go on the Ferris wheel of crazy with unhealthy people and patterns.   

Over the years, I’ve worked hard to become emotionally healthier and to learn what hurts cause hang ups and why I do some of the things I do. In the process of allowing God to heal me, I now desire healthy people and relationships. I used to embrace the crazy because I understood it. It felt familiar. But the down side of crazy is drama, disappointment, and hurt. So I stay away from people and situations which aren’t good for me.

Recently, God reminded me of a Scripture that caused me to rethink my avoidance policy. He showed me that by shutting certain people out, I was loving those who love me and greeting only “my own people.”  The challenge Jesus gives is to love the unlovable, the difficult, and those who challenge me personally. 

I don’t think it’s biblical to continue relationships that harm us or which are seriously unhealthy and toxic. I’m talking about relationships with those who aren’t nice, who leave me out, or who talk behind my back. Such people I avoid. To love or not to love is my choice, and God lets me choose.

One day, I chose to be loving when I didn’t feel like it, when I didn’t want to. I felt like a hypocrite. I told the Lord, “I wish this was genuine. I wish I was doing this loving thing because I actually felt loving toward this person. I wish You would change me and make me more loving.”

The Lord impressed on me that this was how I become more loving. It starts with a choice. In choosing to be loving when I don’t feel like it, He uses that to change me. It didn’t matter that my feelings didn’t match my actions. What mattered was me giving up me (avoiding the person altogether) and choosing God and His way. I felt better. As if I had made progress. 

Making the choice to love others is what transformation is all about. While the transformation may sometimes be instant, most of the time it isn’t. Usually, it’s a step-by-step process where I trade my ways for God’s ways, making each choice one day at a time.

Choose to love someone who is unlovable. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Lest We Forget

Forgetting can be a horrible thing … especially if it’s something I need to remember.

While teaching at a local Christian school, I annually chaperoned the eighth-grade trip to Washington, DC. Memorials were high on the list of things to visit since they were constructed to help future generations remember a person or event.

The Korean War Memorial fascinated me. The artist focused on the number thirty-eight. Thirty eight was the number of the parallel dividing North and South Korea and also the number of months the war dragged on. But trying to place thirty-eight life-size soldiers on a plot of land that would only accommodate nineteen was a problem.

The solution was a reflective wall. When looking at the wall, thirty-eight soldiers are seen trudging through terrain representative of Korea instead of the actual nineteen present. Problem solved. Statement made.

Memorial Day is the day when Americans remember military personnel who have died while serving their country. The holiday originated as Decoration Day and was established by a group of Union veterans. Eventually, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions were merged into one and celebrated together.

God also likes memorials and warns His people repeatedly not to forget Him or the things He has done for them. In Israel’s history, delivering them from four hundred years of Egyptian slavery needed remembering. For Christians, the big unforgettable deliverance came through Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

For years I’ve worn Christian paraphernalia—mainly crosses. Since I got in on the tail end of the hippie movement, wearing jewelry came naturally. From necklaces with crosses to watches, bracelets, key rings, and shirts with the same, I’ve worn it all.

Although jewelry and other clothing articles with Christian symbols can make good witnessing and conversation starters—as well as good memorials—my lifestyle is a better memorial to the difference Christ has made in me. Symbols mean little without actions, attitudes, and words to back them up. Just as America’s war memorials would mean nothing if we cast aside our love for freedom and our appreciation for those who bought it.

Americans remember their military dead with a holiday. Let your life be a Christian memorial that shows others what Christ has done for you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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