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 Terri Kelly POSTED 12/14/2017 12:00:01 AM ON Psalms 34:8 NKJV
How do you describe a fruitcake? Divine? Disgusting? Flawed?
Across the internet, bloggers want to change the “cake” portion of fruitcake’s name. Several websites claim fruitcake is a rock-hard, pockmarked, dense, stale glob of gunk that only ninety-year-old spinsters eat. Fruitcake is not good.
Actually, I know the secret recipe to a true-to-life, delicious fruitcake. I also know the recipe to a life that comes without feeling like a crazy, jumbled, mixed-up fruitcake all the time. There is a way to live without fear . . . to live with peace and hope. The answer for a better life is in the Bible.
Don’t be afraid of what I’m saying. Even if you’ve been taught Christians are wrong, even if you don’t believe in organized religion, or even if you’re convinced Jesus isn’t real—listen. Christians are flawed human beings like everyone else.
If you’ve watched Christians, you’ve witnessed their failures. The difference is we believe the Bible’s promises of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and hope to manage our daily lives. Christians believe God is going to relieve their weary, sorry souls from this pockmarked, mixed-up, crazy world.
In the meantime—because we know there will always be trouble on this earth—we rely on biblical promises to manage our daily lives. In spite of all this bitter fighting, God’s given us the recipe for eternal peace.
Don’t you want to know how it feels to hope again? God has a purpose for you. God is able to accomplish His purpose through flawed humanity, through you, through me, and through ninety-year-old fruitcake-loving spinsters. Taste and see—open your eyes and see—how good God is.
This Christmas, run to God, not away.
And by the way, the secret for a good fruitcake is never to add any citron. Mix in extra cherries, pineapples, and pecans and you’ll know how good an unflawed fruitcake tastes.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Leah Genuario POSTED 12/7/2017 12:00:01 AM ON Genesis 39:21 ESV
The United States Declaration of Independence lays out three rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As an American, immersed in a culture preaching the goal of personal pleasure, I feel as if the Lord’s presence should bring only blessing. But God’s ways are not my own. Joseph was stuck in a place of struggle . . . and the Lord was with him.
Although the Bible doesn’t offer specifics on Joseph’s feelings during his time of unjust imprisonment, we do know some details. His wait in a dark place lasted awhile. Pharaoh’s baker and cupbearer joined Joseph in prison. After Joseph interpreted their dreams and the cupbearer was set free, two years passed before the cupbearer remembered Joseph and set off a chain of events that led to Joseph’s release.
Joseph later interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and was promoted to a position of great authority in Egypt. But the Lord was with Joseph before the brighter days occurred. During the wait, the Lord sustained him, extending little kindnesses like allowing him to find favor with the head jailer. God gave Joseph productive work to do. Even though Joseph was likely sad and frustrated, the Lord didn’t leave him or forsake him.
When situations seem bleak and hopeless, the Lord is with you if you are His child. His promise is not isolated to a faith giant like Joseph. It extends to all believers. Hebrews 13:5 proclaims, “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”
If you are struggling with circumstances that don’t look as if they will soon change, remember the Lord is mighty to save—whether that salvation comes in this life or the next. Don’t let your heart be discouraged. Like Joseph, do your best in the situation you find yourself in, and trust the Lord in the wait. He is with you and He isn’t slow.
Praise the Lord for being sovereign over all things. His timing in your life is just right.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay)
DEVOTION BY Dale Hansen POSTED 11/30/2017 12:00:01 AM ON Psalm 139:1 NLT
Evaluations are a part of life.
Job evaluations are common. In school, we get evaluated through grades. Movies are evaluated and reviewed with ratings. Baseball players are evaluated with batting averages, runs batted in, and strikeouts. You are now evaluating this devotion. We evaluate, review, and offer opinions on others.
God also wants us to evaluate ourselves. David wanted to make sure nothing in his life was contrary to the life God wanted for him. He says God knows the details of our lives—as well as our thoughts, our plans, and what we will say next. He knows all our ways. There is nowhere we can flee from His presence. He is always with us even when we do not acknowledge His presence.
No matter where we go, God’s hand is there to guide us and hold us fast. He created us and wants to be a part of our lives. His thoughts about us are precious and numerous. If we could count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. God knows and searches our hearts and anxious thoughts.
As we evaluate our lives, God lets us know if anything is in the way of knowing Him better. Sometimes, the evaluation is daily and involves purifying our hearts though confession. At other times, it is ensuring our influence is godly and that we have no idols. Hobbies, friends, relationships, careers, social media, and tech devices can easily steal our focus.
Since God knows us in detail, checking our thoughts is important. So is checking for offensive ways. Choose one area in your life that needs adjusting or changing today.
DEVOTION BY Cindy Sproles POSTED 11/23/2017 12:00:01 AM ON Ephesians 5:20 NIV
“You’re too thankful!” I wanted to think that was a compliment, but I couldn’t be sure. My friend piled the pieces of the broken dishes in her hands.
“I’m just thankful we weren’t in the way when they fell. We could have been really hurt.”
“There’s nothing to be thankful for. These antique plates are gone.” She slammed the shards into the trash.
I been called a lot of things in my lifetime, but being too thankful was never one. In fact, I wasn’t really sure what my friend meant.
Who hasn’t had rough times? I learned years ago, amid a divorce and being a single parent, I had a lot to be thankful for–despite the hardships. I had my children, breath in my body, a family that loved me. By all due rights, I had plenty to be thankful for.
Paul told of his own hardships–shipwrecked, imprisoned, starved, and fearing for his life. Still he was grateful and thankful for all he did have. He realized the many ways God provided for him as he traveled and ministered. When he was hungry and in prison, folks fed him. When he was shipwrecked, he was saved and safe. There was never a question from where his care came.
I’m pleased to be “too” thankful. Throughout my personal hardships, God has carried me, provided for me, and cared for me. There were times I should have sank to the bottom, but didn’t. Why was that? I’m sure there are lots of reasons, but I’d like to think it’s because I’d prayed faithfully, believed wholeheartedly, and thanked Him for whatever the outcome. After all, God can take anything from weak to strong.
Sometimes being thankful is the hardest thing we can ever attempt to do, but it’s part of the honing process. It’s learning to submit, not to failure, but to a God who is in control. It’s seeing the fruit that comes from the pruning and then being humbled at how God knew our needs and provided.
On this Thanksgiving Day, make thankfulness the first words you speak to the Father who provides you, not with everything you want, but with everything you need. When you seek thankfulness, great strength will come. It’s not an insult to be too thankful. It’s very pleasing to the God who cares for you daily.
DEVOTION BY Sherry Sharp POSTED 11/16/2017 12:00:01 AM ON 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NIV
We walked through waist-high grass and a variety of bushes.
The hike through the Alaskan wilderness lived up to its description of “bush-whacking.” In spite of signs of bear activity, our group of twelve set out on a trail that had never experienced the footsteps of human traffic.
I was glad I wore long pants and knee-high boots. Several times, vine-like foliage tangled my legs, threatening to knock me off balance. On one occasion, I deviated from the group and walked to a beautiful, gentle stream. Being distracted by its sight and sound, I failed to see the wet mossy rock. When my rubber boot touched it, I fell to the wet ground—incurring pain to my ego.
As I walk through this world, I often feel as if I’m “bush-whacking” through both personal and corporate hazards and strongholds. I stumble over thorny and carelessly spoken words—mine and others—that wound and leave scars. It’s difficult to see my way because of the thick forest of the worldview and hardened opinions that demand I follow their path—which often leads even deeper into the darkness of deception. Lovely, inviting distractions try to draw me from the path where God has placed me. Staying focused isn’t easy.
In Alaska, our guide carried bear spray. As we traverse the wilds of this world, our greatest weapon to tear down strongholds is God’s Word. It is not only a “light for our path” but also a compass for our going out and our coming in.
Depend on God and His Word to help you tear down the strongholds you face.