A Devotion May Be Someone's Only Bible

Spirit & Mind

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.

The Grace of Pain

I never understood Paul’s statement about a thorn in the flesh until February 26, 2014. As my family grieved over losing my granddaughter, I learned lessons about grace through the journey of pain. 

Most don’t consider pain an act of God’s grace but rather a curse. As with everything else, it is about perspective. If we are teachable, the most painful circumstances can be the grace of God at work on our behalf. Being conformed to the image of Christ involves suffering. If we want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection, we must participate in His suffering. 

Paul outlines three valuable lessons about grace and pain in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. First, pain keeps us dependent on God’s grace. Second, pain makes us aware of our weakness so God’s strength can be seen in us. Finally, pain keeps us from becoming filled with pride. 

The grace of pain comes in many forms. For some, physical pain and suffering are chronic. For others, pain is a broken marriage, a wayward child, the loss of a loved one, or the struggle with depression and anxiety.

Regardless of pain’s avenue, there should be only one destination: the foot of the cross. This is where we decide God will be glorified. With the decision to trust God, pain becomes an act of His grace.

Pain teaches us dependency, perseverance, and blind trust in God. Pain causes our roots to go deeper than before, making us stronger. It establishes our belief that God is trustworthy with His plans and callings for us. Pain makes us like a mighty oak planted by streams of living water.

As peculiar as it may seem, there is something sweet about the grace of pain. When the seasons end, we almost miss them. Maybe not the pain itself but the immeasurable grace poured out through the unfathomable love and intimacy of God.

Let your focus become God’s grace and the pain His purpose. Then arise with a quiet confidence in His strength. No person or situation can remove the grace of pain.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Cosmic Bullying

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Ask the parents of a cyberbullying victim if that’s true. No doubt you’ve seen news accounts of this troubling trend that has become commonplace among pre-teens and teenagers. What used to take place in the cafeteria and playground has now spread to the digital world as cyber bullies use the internet and smart phones to harass and humiliate their victims. Cyberbullying can be so vicious that some youngsters are driven to suicide.

As horrible as cyberbullying is, “cosmic bullying” is even more dangerous. This happens when Satan taunts and attacks God’s children. He does it through the everyday annoyances, conflicts, and temptations of life, but he and his demons seem to amplify their efforts when we step out to serve God. But we have victory through Jesus Christ.

Satan often makes it appear that people are the problem, but God’s Word tells us otherwise: For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12 NLT).

Earlier this year, a few ladies from my church and I prepared to lead a women’s Bible study. The topic was spiritual warfare and how to effectively use the armor of God. Not surprisingly, the enemy went to work. Shortly after our first planning meeting, one of the ladies was rushed to the hospital with a painful bout of kidney stones. Another had a flare-up of stomach problems. One of the others was struck with a cough, fever, and chills. So predictable.

Satan’s bullying did not catch us by surprise, nor did it catch God by surprise. The Lord enabled us to proceed with the Bible study classes. They were well received, and we were blessed with a powerful object lesson on prayer and persevering in the midst of spiritual warfare.

The Word of God tells us to be alert, because the enemy is on the prowl like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Use the weapons God has given you and claim the victory that is yours in Christ.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Warfare with Words

When thinking of warfare, guns, tanks, bombs, grenades, and missiles normally come to mind.

But David, the young shepherd, faced the giant Goliath with only a sling and five smooth stones. Nine-feet tall and clad in heavy armor, Goliath must have been a scary sight. When Goliath saw David approaching unarmed, he assumed the victory was his. What the giant didn’t know was that David had a secret weapon: the name of the Lord. Only one stone was required for David to kill Goliath with a shot to the forehead.

As the psalmist believed God trained his hands for war and his fingers for battle, so writers have powerful weapons of warfare most people don’t think of: five fingers on each hand. Ten times the one slingshot David had. And with the Lord at our side, we too can fight giant battles.

Many desperate people need to hear the salvation message of why Jesus came. But they won’t hear if we don’t tell them.

By continually filling our minds and hearts with God’s Word, we have the perfect ammunition needed for our fingers to compose a variety of powerful messages with which we can share the gospel repeatedly.

Keep your fingers in warfare mode by writing often. If just one person is touched by your words, your time has been well spent. Try some different methods this year with your God-given weapons of warfare. Submit one of your messages to a publication you have never sent to before.  Post an article or poem on Facebook or Twitter. Send a letter to the editor of a local newspaper.

Your words can make a difference.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Struggle for Acceptance

Investments in the body can only bring little profit because it is perishing every day.   

Our society struggles for acceptance. We compare ourselves to those around us and struggle to emulate the celebrities we see paraded on television as a symbol of perfection. This comparison makes us want to improve our outward appearance, but the Bible has something to say about superficial appearances.

Physical exercise only has a slight benefit, but the pursuit of the Lord profits all things in our lives. The world weighs value in the outward appearance and the pursuit of such things. The Lord weighs our value in Christ and the understanding of Him in all aspects of our life.

Our value is not weighed in how many times we go to the gym or our ability to develop a six pack. The value of who we are is rooted in the immeasurable love of the Lord. Bodily exercise can only bring temporary satisfaction, but the hunger of the soul cries for more than what the body can offer.

Our soul hungers for the understanding of the Lord and the vigorous pursuit of Him. We must build our acceptance of the value of the Lord and pursue Him before we seek anything else.  Being healthy is a righteous pursuit, but to rely on our own strength to get us through life is foolishness in God’s eyes.

The Lord sees us in the measurement of weight not stature. Goliath was a giant while David was a small young man. In the natural realm, Goliath’s strength would have been envied by those around him, but God weighed David differently. God had invested in David’s soul. Even though his outward appearance was weak compared to the giant, David was the stronger one in the battle.

The Lord uses our weaknesses for His ultimate glory. Our outward appearance has nothing to do with our destiny or our inner strength. People will judge our outward appearance, but God has already granted us righteousness in our soul. Our investment must be in the soul first because the soul is the only thing in us that will live forever.

You are righteous, holy, redeemed, qualified, satisfied, and perfectly loved by the Lord. Pursue God and find out for yourself.  

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

How to Change the World

I was half-asleep and not expecting a late-night discussion on the probabilities of life in outer space. 

My son surprised me by asking if there was life on other planets. Things do lie beyond the limits of our knowledge, and I have wondered if outer space runs out. The world is a big place, and our tiny planet in our little solar system seems insignificant when compared to the incredible vastness surrounding it.

We may sometimes feel that way about our longing to make a difference in the world. The world is a big place, and we can feel insignificant in it too. But we are God’s handiwork. 

The microcosm in which we live is our world. It consists of the places we inhabit and the people we encounter. Wherever on this planet that may be, God placed us here on purpose. Choosing to make a difference right here and now is a choice to embrace that purpose. Doing so is high-impact living.

And God has paved the road. All we need to do is step onto it and start walking. Two simple steps will help begin the journey.

First, choose a high-impact life—here and now. Fully embrace the place and season where you are. Learn to love the people God has placed around you—especially the difficult ones. God will help you do it.

Second, increase your impact by investing in missions. Giving removes the borders from our lives and allows us to touch people on the other side of the globe while we are learning to live intentionally where we are.

Once we get started, there will be no stopping us. In the words of Bilbo Baggins: “You step into the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.”

So go ahead. Be swept off your feet. God has plans for the beautiful journey of your life. They may involve struggle, pain, and cost, but they will bring joy, fulfillment, and great reward.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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