Focusing our minds on Christ. . .studying His word, drawing tight into a relationship that is unbreakable. This is when His Spirit lives in our minds helping us keep our eyes focused only on Him.
DEVOTION BY Phyllis Freeman POSTED 8/15/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Luke 24:36 KJV
Being together brought joy.
Our brother’s family was home from Germany, where Thomas served in ministry to the military. Dorthy was home from her teaching job at a Christian college in California, and Mom was still with us.
Two things were prominent in the Qualls family. One was that we played table games. Mom was the most competitive. She grabbed the green marbles first when we played the homemade game of Dirty Board (like Aggravation). She thought those were her lucky marbles. She would often roll the dice before the previous person had a chance to move their marbles, and we accused her of cheating.
The second was that our family conversations centered mainly on the Lord. What a joy to share with each other what the Lord was doing in each of our families. When we were all together, we often sensed His presence among us. We wanted our children to know the Lord held a vital place in our family.
Two men walked with Jesus on the Emmaus Road, sharing the recent happenings in Jerusalem. As they talked, Jesus joined them and made Himself known to them. Later, they met with several of Jesus’ disciples and followers in Jerusalem. These two recounted for the others their encounter with the Lord. While they were still talking, Jesus appeared in their midst.
In times when we feel alone—times of sorrow when we cannot see Jesus—we can know when two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20). He is there in the middle.
Sharing our God experiences with other members of our family brings God close. As we speak about Jesus or pray in His name, His presence is present. Share your own testimony of God’s favor and blessings with your family and with others. There will be a time when they remember, and that memory may be just what they need to encourage or strengthen their faith.
Even though Jesus left this earth two thousand years ago, His Word promises He will show up when we come together in His name.
Be ready to feel God’s presence when you gather in His name.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Bobbie Brown POSTED 8/8/2018 12:00:01 AM ON 1 Peter 5:8 NIV
“Do not let the enemy silence you because you’re not perfect.”
I have let the enemy do more than silence me. He has blinded me from seeing a gift from the Holy Spirit. I have struggled with a speech problem since childhood, stumbling over simple words such as chicken and school. I still recall the fear of turning fifteen because I couldn’t say fifteen. I have fallen into the enemy’s trap of believing I couldn’t speak for God. Now I know that isn’t true.
When deleting old computer notes, I ran across the results of a spiritual gift assessment I once took. I scored high in intercessory prayer and faith. At the time of the test, I dismissed the result by believing the results were wrong. My self-talk confirmed I wasn’t qualified. I convinced myself the words I stumbled over as a child still controlled me. So I questioned the minister. He agreed intercessory prayer was my gift. Again, I denied the assessment’s accuracy. I avoided praying aloud.
Sixteen years later, I am a prayer warrior, waking in the middle of the early morning and praying over concerns of strangers, friends, and family. I have prayed in silence for others since I was a child. If I heard an ambulance, I prayed.
The enemy no longer devours me. I take my stand against the devil who prowls around telling me lies that I am not worthy to be called by God. The devil may prowl around, but I focus on the writer in Deuteronomy’s description: “the Lord your God is the one who goes ahead of you like a devouring fire.”
Stay alert and keep your focus on God. The devil roams, but God goes ahead of you and devours.
DEVOTION BY Nate Stevens POSTED 8/1/2018 12:00:01 AM ON 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT
Seeing clearly gives a different perspective.
I have enjoyed perfect eyesight my entire life. As a child, when on long trips, my family played a game to see who could read the farthest traffic sign—which I most often won. Around my fortieth birthday, I started squinting when reading. Things looked fuzzy up close, so I held them farther away. I could still see clearly miles down the road—but up close and personal, not so much. For an avid reader, this was problematic.
Having super-sensitive eyes, I opted for a cheap pair of reading glasses instead of contacts or Lasik surgery (God forbid!). For whatever reason, even talking about tears made my eyes water. I even struggle with putting drops in my eyes. I bought several pair of reading glasses to strategically position throughout the house. When I forgot where I placed the pair I had been wearing, another was quickly available.
Recently, I reached for the nearest pair of glasses during my quiet time. Oh my. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The words jumped off the page. I had not seen this clearly since I was a child reading my dad’s large print edition of the Bible. Little did I know, one of the pairs of “similar” reading glasses had some sort of weird magnifiers. I do not wear them all the time, but they come in handy with small print.
Paul assures us there is coming a day when the imperfect, puzzling, cloudy, fuzzy things of life will come into perfect focus. Darkness will flee from the dawning of that bright and glorious day. Negative circumstances, trials, and adversity will reveal their transforming power. Confusing situations and questions will be answered—seemingly conflicting dogma resolved. What caused us to stumble in this life will not exist in the next.
Until that glorious day, we stumble around on earth. However, as Jesus told the disciples at the well with the Samaritan women, we lift up our eyes. Get a different perspective. See things with His spiritual insight. We might be amazed at what we see.
Ask God to help you see the world through His eyes.
DEVOTION BY Ken Ebright POSTED 7/25/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Psalm 28:1 NCV
“Lord, what are You doing? Do You care about me?”
Frustrated, I screamed the question one day as I drove from my work as a courier to my Belleville, Illinois, home. I did not move from Minnesota to drive around the St Louis area like a chicken with my head cut off. My career job didn’t work out, and I felt as if the Lord took away my ability.
When I got home, a storm rolled in. I watched the weather on television and sprinted to the door to see what was happening outside. At one point, it was so windy I thought a hurricane had struck.
An hour later, a neighbor came home and said, “Look what happened!” He pointed to the missing roof of an apartment building. Remembering my rant a few hours earlier, I felt as if the Lord reminded me that but for His grace that could have been my house.
King Saul chased David, and David probably felt as if God didn’t care about him. Just as I thought God didn‘t care about me. But it wasn’t true in either case.
I discovered later that a tornado had struck the apartment building. I thought the Lord went deaf, but I guess He protected me, remaining faithful even when my faith was weak.
Trust in Jesus no matter what happens. He’ll keep you safe.
DEVOTION BY Diana Derringer POSTED 7/18/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Mark 3:35 NIV
Who is my family?
If I consider biology alone, my family consists of my mother, father, and sister. When I include legal relationships, I add my adopted brother and my husband. Reflecting on emotional ties, my family embraces international students who’ve stayed in our home, plus tried and true friends. Anytime I need extra support in a difficult situation, I immediately turn to my church family. I also recall my Christian brothers and sisters who served as co-laborers on mission trips in various parts of the world.
Many individuals, if honest, admit they have stronger emotional ties with fellow Christians or faithful friends than with their biological family. Birth into the same household does not guarantee mutual love and support. Those blessed with strong, positive relationships on all fronts bask in those multiple ongoing benefits.
A surface reading of Jesus’ statements about His mother and brothers sounds harsh and uncaring. Digging deeper reveals a more profound truth. When Jesus said, “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother,” He wasn’t renouncing His biological family. Rather, He was declaring the greater connection available to all who become a part of His faith-based family. Discipleship surpasses, but does not necessarily replace, kinship.
In addition, if family seeks to lead us away from God’s service, we must give God priority. Granted, that can be difficult. Yet by demonstrating unconditional love and respect for these individuals, even if we reject their behavior, we may eventually love them into God’s growing family. Then how sweet our relationship will grow.
When we accept and act on God’s will, we become a part of His family and share joy with this kaleidoscope of kin.
Thank God for the privilege of being His child.