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 Bobbie Brown POSTED 8/17/2017 12:00:01 AM ON Romans 8:18-19
I stand in awe at the unending beauty of God’s creation.
A towering evergreen, a tree stump, or a fluttering hummingbird, each tell their own story. As I walk the beaten paths of a state park, I see visitors with cameras in hand documenting their stay. The captured beauty will soon be pasted in a scrapbook or transform a plain wall into a colorful mosaic.
Sadly, the forest tells another story. Visitors who view a healthy tree as firewood. Campers who rush away, forgetting to extinguish the embers. Hikers who mark the trails with liter. Homeless who take shelter among the pines. These narratives are visible to the world, and the pain is felt by many.
Consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The Creation waits in eager expectations for the sons of God to be revealed. I rejoice in these words from Romans and lean into the hope that creation will be liberated from man’s disrespect. Nature will be magnified when we get to heaven, and creation will be free from the hands of our neglect and abuse—free to sing.
We have hope in the message that God will liberate us from the bondage of this earth and that we will stand in awe of a place we can’t imagine. Until God returns, let’s care for this beautiful earth. Be mindful of the discarded gum wrappers and cigarettes butts that dot the land.
Your actions can change the landscape of God’s creation.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Norma Mezoe POSTED 8/10/2017 12:00:01 AM ON Psalm 34:8 KJV
Steve, a young newsboy stopped at the home of a customer. The man asked him if he liked honey. Steve wasn’t fond of honey but to be polite told the man he would take a taste.
The customer went into another room, returned carrying a small jar of honey, and said, “That will be twenty-five cents.” The boy dug deeply into his pockets and handed over a quarter—his allowance for the week. Steve thought his customer was offering a free taste of honey, but instead he was asked to purchase something for which he had no desire.
The Scripture tells us to taste and see that the Lord is good, but at times Christians are tempted to taste things God forbids.
Perhaps a movie or something on the internet attracts their interest, but after watching and listening, they feel unclean as though their minds have been polluted with garbage. Then they realize they’ve given something of value for a thing that was worthless to them.
Or a family is torn apart because of an act of adultery. One spouse believed another person would better suit their needs and desires, so they deserted their spouse and family for a taste of forbidden fruit.
Maybe a fatal accident occurs because a drunken driver chose the taste of alcohol over sobriety. Or a young mind is damaged because of drug addiction.
These things happen because someone willingly allowed themselves to taste of the wrong things. After we have tasted what God has to offer, we may find ourselves hungering and thirsting for more of His goodness. Then temptations to sin will lose their allure.
Unlike Steve—who was asked to pay for the honey before he could taste it—God’s salvation and goodness are offered without charge to those who will accept them. Jesus said He came that we might have life and have it abundantly.
Taste the good things that will draw you closer to God.
DEVOTION BY Josh Clevenger POSTED 8/3/2017 12:00:01 AM ON Psalm 43:5 ESV
Though we walk with the Lord, we often find ourselves in despair and desperation from the cares of this life.
The place is familiar to those who believe in God, because our faith is tested to produce perseverance, character, and hope. This place can be dark and lonely. Fear surrounds us like a conquering army, and our thoughts give no comfort or hope. We lose sight of destination because the shadows of defeat dance around us in our weakest moments.
The thing that brought hope now brings despair. We retreat to find no comfort from the bombardment of dreadful thoughts echoing in our minds. The moment we think all is lost, a voice of hope calls out from the fog of hopelessness, as it did for the psalmist.
The voice comforts me and my soul. It is strong but gentle. The voice brings kindness and grace. In my weakest moments, the voice becomes a picture of my salvation in Christ. My Savior has found me amidst my loneliness and helplessness. My comfort has come from Him, and my hope is renewed in His presence.
Christ shows me His wounds to remind me He has already won the battle. He puts my hand in His side to show me He was pierced for my victory. His pain is my comfort and His sacrifice is my peace.
Christ points to the sun and tells me it lights my day, but He lights my soul. I turn to find Him, but I cannot see Him anymore. My desperate thoughts rush back, but a still small voice inside my soul reminds me He never left.
When your soul is cast down, get back up with a renewed sense of purpose. God is always with you. Let your soul be strengthened in His love as you rest in His promises. You may not always understand the path, but you can understand He is always with you.
DEVOTION BY Beverly Varnado POSTED 7/27/2017 12:00:01 AM ON 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Fear lurked around the edges of the bed I lay on, ready to pounce. Did I have a brain injury? Would it require surgery?
I had fallen and hit my head on a concrete curb and was now in the emergency room. A nurse had left me in the corridor while she went to check for an empty CAT scan room.
I scanned the area around me. Empty. Cold. I felt alone. Why was the nurse gone so long? The fear edged closer. Then I heard a sound behind me . . . someone approaching. Another patient passed beside me on a stretcher. Wait. She looked familiar.
“Bobbie,” I cried.
Bobbie—a fellow worshiper at the church my husband pastors—turned toward me, and her face expressed the same surprise I felt.
“What are you doing here?” I asked, shocked that we should meet in such a strange place.
She smiled and responded, “Might be a little problem with my heart.”
We extended our hands to each other. “I pray you’re okay,” I said.
“You too.” She squeezed my hand.
The corridor filled with warmth, and the cold drained out. Moments earlier, I felt I had no comfort to give anyone, but when Bobbie appeared, God made His presence known. I found it amazing that even in my fearfulness, God came and showed His strength. God brought us together in that moment to offer His comfort to each other.
Among Paul’s many troubles, he was imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, deprived of food, and stoned. Yet he wrote, “We can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Later, he mentions how much Titus had comforted him when he visited. Even the great apostle needed the consolation of God through His people.
Bobbie and I both received good news that day. I had no brain injury. Only a broken arm. Bobbie was also later released with a good report. We both left with a renewed sense of God’s presence.
In any time of trouble, count on God to provide comfort for you and to comfort others through you.
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Barbara Latta POSTED 7/20/2017 12:00:01 AM ON Colossians 1:21-22 NKJV
Ralphie’s greatest desire was for a Red Ryder BB gun.
In the popular holiday movie, A Christmas Story, nine-year-old Ralphie leaves hints but all he hears is, “You’ll shoot your eye out.” But that doesn’t stop him. He tries his best to be good and earn enough favor for that coveted BB gun. On one occasion, he slips up and pounds the playground bully into the snow. As expletives are flowing from his tongue, realization suddenly hits and Ralphie knows he has blown it. He sees his dream fading because he messed up. While sucking on a bar of soap as punishment for the verbal faux pas, Ralphie ponders his dilemma. How can he be good enough to get what he wants?
Anyone who remembers waiting for Santa, probably experienced the same emotions. If we wanted our Christmas desires to be met, we better be on Santa’s nice list. But when January rolled around, the struggle to be good left with the dried-up evergreen tree.
Thankfully, favor from God doesn’t come through our actions, nor does He withhold good because of wrongdoing. If He did, we would never be accepted. We would constantly be eating a bar of soap and doing penance. I find the more I try to be good, the more I mess up because I am using my own efforts and not trusting in what Christ has done.
Because of the Baby in the manger, we have been given God’s favor and acceptance. When John saw Jesus walking along the shores of the river, he declared Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away sin. John was there to prepare the way so men’s hearts would be ready to receive the Savior. John’s message was repentance. Repent, believe, and trust. That’s it.
Once you get the revelation God is not ready to throw lightning bolts at you when you sin, you can turn to the Father and not away from Him.
Run into God’s loving embrace and receive His holy favor. He waits for you.