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.

Blowing Bubbles with Jesus

Bubbles. That’s just what we need here.

I was on a tight schedule. A friend’s husband and daughter were over to pick up our dining room set before another family delivered the set they were giving us. They were expected; three-year-old Alianna was not. When she was introduced to me, she pirouetted, revealing the flair of both her skirt and her personality—definitely a bubbles kind of girl.

I retrieved two bottles of bubbles from our front closet. While her mom and grandfather wrestled the furniture into their van, my new friend and I blew bubbles, laughing as they danced on a soft breeze and popped on the grass, bushes, and our outstretched hands.

But one didn’t pop. “Look, Alianna,” I exclaimed, “that bubble is going to Jesus.”

As Alianna tracked the rising bubble with widening eyes, she made a joyful little bounce and rose up on her tippy-toes as if she might float to heaven with it. “Goin’ ta Jesus!” she echoed. Together, we watched that bubble float out of sight.

Jesus loves children, so He must love bubbles, I thought. Then I got an image of Jesus blowing bubbles down on us from His throne above—with His own pink, plastic wand. Seeing Jesus’ smile and bright eyes, I felt in my heart His delight in joining our fun.  

One day, Jesus’ disciples asked Him to identify who was the greatest in His kingdom. Jesus drew a little child into their midst to teach them that greatness in the kingdom of God is more about delight than achievement. When Jesus unexpectedly placed little Alianna into my day, my spirit rose along with the bubbles … and our laughter above my worries and agenda.

Let Jesus interrupt your agenda and exchange importance for delight. Have some fun together. Maybe even blow bubbles. Let the child He draws into His arms be you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Ruby

Ruby lived on a hill, tended her flowers, and was my grandmother. She couldn’t drive a car, and she never wrote a poem, but the pages of her Bible were worn thin from constant use.

I was barely a month from my sixteenth birthday, and Mamaw and I had plans to burn rubber. I think we both had waited for years for the freedom to go and do as we would like, together. Then on December 7, the doctors pronounced that her life would end in six months. Cancer.

I wallowed in the stages of grief for the first few months. Then one day after school, I sat at her kitchen table and screamed, “You’re going to die, and you’re acting like nothing is wrong!”

Mamaw clicked the stove button, led me into the living room, and reclined on the couch. The smell of dinner carried through her little home as she told me why I had never seen her cry about her death sentence. I thought in all our years together I knew every story about this woman, but she was saving the best for last.

Almost forty years ago, a different set of doctors told a young mother of four that pancreatic cancer would take her life in less than a year. And I’m pretty sure she didn’t cry back then either. She marched home and looked up the story of Hezekiah. This simple woman pointed to the then firm pages of 2 Kings and asked for the same gift as Hezekiah had. King Hezekiah was mortally ill, but he petitioned the Lord for more time. And the Lord granted him fifteen more years.

Ruby asked the Lord to prolong her life until her children were old enough to take care of themselves. And like Hezekiah, God heard her prayer. Not only did she get another fifteen years, she also got decades more until she met her grandchildren. And as my bitter tears blurred the sight of her, my grandmother said, “How could I cry a single tear when He has given me more than I asked for?”

As you mourn your loved one, concentrate on the parts of them that live on in you. Don’t allow the wisdom of their life to be robbed by the temporary grave. Hold tightly to their stories of bravery, love, and obedience, and know they are still with you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Shatter Point

The week was tough, and the night found me clinging to a big ottoman in my living room floor, sobbing. 

I was having one of those days where the past rears its ugly head and reminds you how thin the time is between yesterday and today. Bronchitis, a sinus infection, a new career. Stress about finances and friends not showing up when you need them. Not being the father I strive to be and having a hard time comparing myself to the Father I have in Jesus. I was breaking down.

I felt God’s Almighty hands twist and ring me to the point of damp dry. I pictured Him molding the clay with more pressure than I have ever felt. I saw broken shards of glass splinter in new formation. That’s when I understood. With a new dimension of the refiner’s fire and more water smoothing the rough stones, I was being pressed on every side. Almost breaking.

God knows my shatter point, and He takes me to the exact degree before I break. The place where I become something new. And He specializes in all things new.

God uses our rough times to sharpen us, define us, and make us who He longs for us to be. Only a Master’s hands know my breaking point and understand where my submission is imminent. Through my re-Creator’s expertise, I become a new creation.

And when God has reworked me for a time, thanksgiving rolls over me like the warm winds of a summer storm right before the rain. He washes over me, and I hear His whispers. “This is what I have been working on. If you want to dream new dreams and fly to heights, you must let Me turn that coal into a diamond.”

I’m stronger now—better than I was. The wounds miraculously healed, but God had to knead the dough. He had to take me to the point right before I gave up. He took me to the place where I gave in. But further down the road. Closer to the prize. I arose from my sobbing, prostrate position and breathed fresh air.

God knows the road He asks us to walk. He never promised it would be easy, but He promised He would always be there. And He is. Again and again. Welcome His artistry.

Let God make you new.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



The Cross

Some sing about it, others tattoo it on their bodies, and still others wear it as a fashion statement. Our graveyards are adorned with them, as are mountains, hilltops, churches, and homes. Our culture has a fascination with displaying them in all their forms.  

The Cross. During Roman rule, it served as a symbol of derision and guilt—a form of capital punishment where the guilty met their fate. How ironic that the very thing the enemy used to instill fear in the hearts of everyone now stands as a symbol of hope for a hurting world.

From the perspective of those who followed Christ to the cross, that moment must have seemed like an unmitigated disaster. Any hope they had for a restored kingdom vanished. They didn’t know Christ’s death would make them righteous and whole. They didn’t understand that the events unfolding before them were God’s doing. That Christ’s death would ensure His message of hope, and everlasting life would reach Judaea, the entire Roman Empire, and ultimately, the world.

Christ purchased eternal life for us. He bore the weight of our sin so we wouldn’t have to. As I reflect on all the cross represents, I am overwhelmed and humbled. Because He suffered in our stead, we have healing and peace. Our hearts, once stained with sin, have been washed of guilt and shame. We serve a wonderful Savior, a mighty God.

What the enemy intended for evil, God uses for good. I am thankful to God for the gift of salvation and for redeeming us from the curse of the law. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV).

The next time you see a cross, remember that the peace and salvation you now experience came at a great price. Then, humbly worship Christ.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Experience God’s Peace

We are embarking on another journey.

After closing our home to foster care after our fourth adoption, we decided to reopen our home once again to foster children, offering them a safe place of love during the tumultuous time in their lives. We have agreed to welcome children from infancy to two years old and are excited about where God will take us.

But I’m nervous too. I worry about the logistics of adding a fifth child to our already rambunctious crew. I worry about the logistics of scheduling, work, and appointments—the things I can’t prepare for beforehand … the things I have to trust will work out when the time comes.

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. Paul’s words remind me not to worry … about anything. Instead, I need to pray about everything, telling God what I need and thanking Him for all He has done. Then I’ll experience His peace.

In theory, the verses seem to say we’re to tell God what we need and then not worry. But theory doesn’t always translate well into reality. We tend to tell God what we need, but then hold on to it, clinging with worry instead of releasing it with faith.

When we allow God to take on our worries, we experience His peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. The feeling of knowing we’re taken care of, and the thoughts that come with believing everything will be okay, is just a portion of the peace we receive through God.

God listens to our pleas and praises and aches to fill us with His peace. When your heart turns to worry, turn your mind to God.

Lift up your worries, and let them go as you tell God what you need, reveling in the perfect peace that comes with His promise to take care of you.

(Photo courtesy of morguefile.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



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