Spirit and Soul is all about eternity. Life ever after with a God who has prepared a place in advance for us. Dig into the Word. Search out your heart. Contemplate where you will spend eternity. . .then choose to offer your life to God.
DEVOTION BY Patricia Frost POSTED 8/16/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Isaiah 55:8 NIV
I didn’t want to go overseas as a single missionary, but it happened.
I had prayed for a husband, but wanted not my will but the Lord’s will to be done. By the time I was in my fifties, I was content and fulfilled as a single missionary teacher. I had a colleague who said she would get married when she retired. I wondered who would want to get married to an old man after living happily independent and free of family responsibilities. I certainly never would.
After becoming a missionary emeritus, I settled into a retirement community. The first day in exercise class I saw him. I had no idea who he was and felt no attraction. Then out of nowhere, the strangest thought popped into my mind: This is the man you are going to marry.
What a ridiculous thought! Where did that come from? I had no idea what kind of man this stranger was. At this late stage, I had no desire to marry. I pushed that unrealistic thought away and forgot it.
Not until much later, after Ted and I had spent quite a bit of time together, did I remember that crazy thought. God revealed to me how He has created the seasons of our lives and has a purpose for each of those seasons.
This fits the pattern of my life—the way God breaks through to let me know His will and plan. Faith backed up by such strong impressions because He does not want me to doubt His will. This is true for each of His children.
Having a long history of walking daily with a personal God, knowing His heart of love, and experiencing His faithfulness is special. He shows us how He can change our thoughts and bring good into all circumstances.
Through faith, experience God’s surprises each day.
(Photo courtesy of author.)
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DEVOTION BY Jennifer Gray POSTED 8/9/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Psalm 46:1-3 (AMPC)
Due to a sudden and unexpected lightning strike of a major power source, twenty hours of darkness met residents of the Big Apple.
The New York Blackout of 1977 surged with anarchy as the volume of citizens who rioted rose and spread like wildfire—those who didn’t remained indoors, paralyzed by fear and confusion. Historian David E. Nye believed civilization breaks down, rules are cast out, and orderliness tumbles in the course of an abrupt alteration like a blackout. I call it a force to adapt to, and no one likes force.
People endure mental and emotional effects defined as panic responses when they experience power outages. Studies show many lose the ability to communicate as the clock continues to wind. We imagine horror, and some get so stressed they commit horrendous acts of violence. When things go black, health and refuge become debatable.
Things are dark when the lights are suddenly turned off, but within a second or two, our eyes adjust and things don’t appear that dark after all.
We all face challenges in life that reflect power outages, such as panic responses and doubt. But the psalmist challenges us not to fear because God is our refuge and strength.
When calamity raids my home, I immediately try to fix it by turning the lights back on. There’s no time to ask questions or point fingers, although most lasting solutions come from understanding the root cause.
The question is whether we want a Band-Aid or a cure. Hurrying to fix problems often aggravates the situation—such as walking into a dark room before our eyes adjust, causing us to fall. We can’t be anxious to remedy changes, troubles, or tragedy. Neither should we be anxious for anything because the lack of sight produces regrettable moments most of us spend the rest of our lives apologizing for.
Unless divine intervention says, “Move!” be still and wait for clarity. Waiting may seem hard, but it is not impossible. Trust that it will get better, that God is in control, and that He is working all things on our behalf.
Stand still and know God created and controls all things—light included.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
DEVOTION BY Nydia DiCarali POSTED 8/2/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Mark 14:6-8 NIV
Ministry calls; it always does.
Your in-home Bible study starts in an hour. You’ve prepared all week with careful study and prayer. Throughout the week, there were meetings, family responsibilities, and a visit to a friend in the hospital.
"Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me."
This Scripture reminds us we are to take time to pour out our sincere affection on Christ because of all He’s done. Easier said than done. Our hectic schedules and to-do lists seem endless. Getting caught up in doing things—even good things—is easy.
This woman demonstrated love for Christ by offering an extravagant gift. Her offering made little sense to others, but that’s often the case when we linger long in His presence. Christ comes to the woman’s defense, admonishing those who criticized her actions. He reminded them that although it’s important to serve and minister to those in need, it is also important to quiet ourselves long enough to sit at His feet and worship Him.
In Luke 10, Jesus gently corrects Martha after she complained that her sister Mary was doing nothing to help with preparations for their guests. Jesus reminded Martha that Mary had chosen the better thing. Like the woman who lavished Jesus with the costly perfume, Mary sat at our Lord’s feet and gave Him her undivided attention. Both women demonstrated love by choosing to sit at His feet.
Others may think it strange, but there are times when out of genuine gratitude for all Christ has done, we’re compelled to remain at His feet. As I pondered the text, I wondered about the last time I lingered at His feet. I am more like Martha, and it has taken me years to cultivate a heart that willingly chooses to be still. I was also reminded that even good things can get in the way of doing the best things.
Before you rush headlong into the day, take a moment to sit in Jesus’ presence and lavish Him with love. In His estimation, this is a beautiful thing.
DEVOTION BY Pauline Webb POSTED 7/26/2018 12:00:01 AM ON John 15:16 NKJV
The warmth of the springtime sun awakened life in the garden, causing specks of green to shoot through the dark soil.
In a matter of weeks, healthy flowers would adorn the front garden. Sadly, the vigor of my indoor plants did not match the growth of the outdoor tulips. A Google search provided the solution: my plants needed to be repotted. I also needed to loosen the plant from its soil, scarify the roots, place the plant into fresh soil, and water it well. The repotted plant would grow new roots that could absorb the fresh supply of nutrients in the new soil and would become a healthy plant.
Repotting my indoor plant led me to think about times when God chose to repot me. Moving to a new city turns life upside-down. A firm tap dislodges soil from the once-familiar root ball. Relocation severs old roots. The whole experience feels as if I have been wounded. I turn to His word and listen for His voice—and grow.
Jesus reminds us we have been chosen to go and grow. Sometimes the go means repotting. The scarified roots of my repotted plant must continually seek out the source of water and nutrients in their new soil if the plant is to become healthy. Likewise, we must continually absorb the Word of God and allow the Spirit of God to fill us if we are to mature spiritually.
The going and growing may be uncomfortable, but it produces fruit. Our responsibility isn’t creating the fruit. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain. The context of this verse reminds us going and growing is both directed and sustained by God. Jesus chose us and will bring the fruit He desires. When we allow Him to lead us, we will bear fruit as we abide in Him.
Maybe you doubt God’s plan for your move. Be encouraged that He is in control and will sustain you as you feed on His Word. You can bloom where you are planted.
DEVOTION BY Norma Mezoe POSTED 7/19/2018 12:00:01 AM ON 1 John 3:1 NIV
“Oh no! Not again,” I muttered as I steered the dying car to the side of the road.
Dad bought the used car for me after my husband left and took our only vehicle. At that time, I was living in the church parsonage where my husband had been the minister. Ten months before, we’d left our home when he felt called to accept the ministerial position. After he left, the leaders graciously permitted me to live in the parsonage until they called a new minister.
I had never worked outside my home, but now I was being forced to seek employment. God opened the door for a secretarial position at a nonprofit organization fifty miles away. The job paid barely above minimum wage, but I was thankful for it.
I depended on the used car dad had given me so I could drive the five hundred miles each week to and from work. I was thankful for the car, but it seemed every week the car had problems—and some were expensive. I struggled to pay my bills, so I grappled with driving the used car.
Imagine my joy when Dad surprised me with a new car. Driving a car that I knew was safe and dependable was wonderful. Dad didn’t owe me a new car—he’d already helped me in so many ways. His gift was one of love, freely given.
Isn’t that how our heavenly Father provides for our needs? We don’t deserve His blessings, but His gifts are given freely and in abundance, because He loves us with a love that is above and beyond human comprehension.
Be thankful for your Father’s love and for your earthly father’s love.