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 Melinda Cooper POSTED 4/19/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Proverbs 4:23 NIV
It’s easy to be caught off guard by someone or a situation. It’s happened to me countless times. To the point I finally realized God was trying to tell me something about my reactions.
Even when we are going through life on our best behavior and trying to handle everything in a way that is pleasing to God, we can’t control what others say or do to us. We can only control our own reactions.
I discovered that when I was caught off guard. I reacted more out of my flesh because I was taken aback by what was said to me. I wasn’t expecting it. After I had more time to digest everything, I discovered my reaction was not what I would have liked for it to be. It was kind of like coming up with a really good come back to a smart remark three days later when it didn’t matter anymore.
The main thing I asked myself when God revealed a bad reaction (of mine) to me was "Why did I do that?" Or "Why did I say that?" Sometimes, my answer would simply be "I don't know."
And God, in all of His wisdom, showed me that my reactions were very revealing. They uncovered a bad place in my heart. An area He saw in me that displeased Him, and I was oblivious until He brought it to my attention. Everything we do flows from our heart . . . especially our reactions to others.
God is making us like Jesus. When He sees an area that needs work, He points it out. I guess I'm a bit slow—and sometimes it takes a few times for me to pick up on the problem. But we should be thankful He loves us enough to correct us and to show us the areas where we can do better.
When you’re caught off guard, depend on God to give you wisdom on how to act.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Martin Wiles POSTED 4/12/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Psalm 86:15 NLT
My warnings were numerous; they didn’t listen.
I could identify. When I was their age, I had no interest in school either. These two boys topped my antics though. I didn’t talk in class, I just daydreamed or slept. Nor did I ignore the teacher’s warnings to be quiet.
One day, my patience wore thin. I told them to see me after class. After talking with them, I informed them they’d serve Lunch-n-Learn. They had their excuses and speeches prepared. “Dad will kill me,” one said. “He’ll take everything away from me.” The other said nothing. He was already in trouble. His mom had scheduled a conference call with another teacher the same day.
The first launched into a speech I’d heard before. “Move me,” he said, “just don’t give me Lunch-n-Learn.” When I showed him the desk up front—the one isolated from everyone else in the class—he offered to sit in other desks, just not that one. “That one or detention,” I said. He took the offer and stomped out.
The psalmist knew people who tested the limits as these two boys did. At times, he was one of those people. He had fallen into various sins and watched others who had as well. Yet he had also experienced God’s patience.
Like these two scamps, I was a rebel for many years. I knew better than to do the sinful things I did. My parents raised me right—and my grandparents reinforced their rules. I rebelled anyway. Doing so seemed more fun. I tested their limits, which parroted God’s limits.
But God showed me patience. He could have punished me in numerous ways, but He let me go my own stubborn way. When I finally got around to asking forgiveness for my sins and failures, He forgave immediately. No acts of penance needed other than my acknowledgment. And He gave me many second chances along the way as I rebelled.
God’s patience and forgiveness didn’t mean the absence of consequences. Sin naturally involves those—sooner or later. I paid the piper in a variety of ways, but doing that had nothing to do with God’s forgiveness. He offered it willingly, even though I tested His limits.
Obedience to God is healthier than testing His limits, but when you fail, He’s always willing to forgive, pick you up, and give you another chance.
DEVOTION BY Karen Tyner POSTED 4/5/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Luke 10:40 NKJV
I skipped the second half of the football game to watch moonflowers open in our backyard.
I could’ve set up a video camera during half-time to capture the blooming cycle. A quick dash back to the couch for the second half whistle and a check mark would’ve marked the completion of yet another task. “Multi-task” is my middle name. Even when I watch a football game, duties distract me: laundry, cooking, paying bills, washing dishes. Juggling chores while I’m trying to relax is a badge I wear with pride.
Martha was an intense hostess—so much to do and no one to help her. She probably also worried about her normal household obligations that were going unattended with a guest in the house. She complained to Jesus about Mary’s failure to help out. How could Mary think it appropriate to sit and listen to Jesus when there was food to prepare?
Jesus chastised Martha for juggling tasks rather than listening to Him. Then He praised Mary for realizing that the one necessity in life was to sit at His feet and receive His Word into her heart. Spending time with Jesus was more important than cooking a meal for the Savior. Mary made a wise choice but Martha did not.
That football Saturday, I chose Jesus. I stood still and watched the moonflowers open. With over ten feet of vine stretched across the fence, my eyes feasted on multiple blossoms. Before moonflowers bloom, they are a twisted spiral of green foliage shielding white petals. At dusk, the petals uncurl, reaching east and west like an eagle spreading its wings.
At first I treated my small adventure as an item on my bucket list. But my senses of sight and smell came alive as each flower opened, revealing the silky white center. Standing there surrounded by beauty and a delicious fragrance, Bible verses popped into my head and reminded me of God’s creation, His love, and His promises.
In times of solitude and stillness, God can speak to our hearts, reminding us that spending time with Him goes beyond our quiet time. Being too busy as Martha was causes us to miss out on time with our Savior.
Choose to be kissed by God’s splendor and recharge your relationship with Him.
DEVOTION BY Theresa Fessler POSTED 3/29/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Psalm 19:14 NKJV
I made a phone call on the way home from work, pressed the voice command button on the steering wheel, and listened as a computerized voice instructed, “Say a command.” Within seconds, I spoke with my friend.
I find it amazing how we can make phone calls by just using our voices. This reminds me of God’s powerful voice. Then God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light (Genesis 1:3). He spoke the world and us into being. Jesus Himself is referred to as the Word. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John1:1, 14).
Our words are powerful. Proverbs 21:23 says, Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles. Perhaps someone has said something to you that felt hurtful. Maybe you’ve heard gossip and repeated it. But then there were those words of encouragement you needed to start a new project, to calm your mind when you were upset, or to let you know someone cared. We cannot erase things already spoken, but we can choose to make our thoughts and words acceptable to God.
I heard a young mother tell her crying four-year-old, “use your words.” We can also use our words. The study of psychology reveals that words powerfully influence our minds. Words originate physically as thoughts—electrical impulses in the brain—or as sound waves detected by the ears. Our words are the tangible precursors of what we make of our lives, how we view ourselves, and how we affect others. In prayer, they are physical signals that are audible to our Creator.
Let your words edify, not hurt … build up, not destroy … and encourage peace, not bring strife. The world has much negativity and darkness in it, yet we have the power to pierce that darkness with the light of our words. We can hold our tongues when we feel like speaking negatively, voicing our concerns instead to God with praise and thankfulness.
Use your words as a strong force for God’s purposes.
DEVOTION BY Melinda Cooper POSTED 3/22/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Romans 5:8 NIV
I remember many summers as a young girl picking daisies along the roadside. As I walked, I pulled the petals from the flower and said, "he loves me, he loves me not," with great hope that when I got to the last petal it would be on “he loves me.”
I'm not sure if this was a popular thing to do all over the world, but it definitely was where I grew up in Shirley, Missouri—if you wanted to find out if someone special might love you.
Looking back, it seems silly because if the last petal ended on “he loves me not,” I’d just grab another daisy and continue pulling petals until I got the answer I wanted: "He loves me." Then I would be happy and content, believing the flower confirmed the love I hoped for from my crush at the time.
As I've gone through life a ways, I have thought several people loved me. I'm sure some truly did, and I'm sure some did not. But how do I really know? Many said, "I love you," and I believed their words, but later realized their actions didn’t line up with what they said.
I do, however, know Someone who loves me, and He proved it with His words and actions. “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NIV).
God loves us when we’re at our best, but He also loves us when we’re at our worst. You can trust His words and His actions. This kind of love is like no other.
Believe God and know He loves you.