A Devotion May Be Someone's Only Bible

Spirit & Soul

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.

God Appointment

I never thought there'd come a time when I would think about never going to church again.

When I was in my early twenties, I went to a school for the blind and other disabled people. To begin with, it was a lot of fun. But I had too much excitement, wanting to learn too much too fast. Soon, I wasn't doing very well. Then, some other bad things happened to me that I wasn't used to. It was supposed to be a two-year training school, but I stayed only a year and a half.

A few months before I quit, I was so discouraged that for the first time in my life I thought about not going to church—ever again. I told God if I didn't hear from Him that morning, that's exactly what I would do.

Thankfully, I did go to church and did hear from God … twice. The first time made me feel a lot better, but the second time was more special.

During the altar service, a teenage boy whom I barely knew prayed for me. After this, he hugged me and told me I was more of a blessing to him than I would ever know. I was almost in tears. From that day until I left, he was my dearest friend in that church.

As Paul reminds us, all believers belong to one body. And in that body, God gives us many opportunities to influence and serve others.

Don't let anything cause you to miss your God appointments.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Awestruck at the Falls

We stood in the mist on a wooden walkway, facing the Devil’s Throat at Iguazu Falls, straddling Argentina and Brazil.

“Mucho agua,” I shouted above the thundering cascade to a young stranger in my tour group. (Much water was all the Spanish I could come up with.)

He laughed. “Si, señorita. Mucho agua!”

My words were inadequate to describe Iguazu Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world, where raging waters drop hundreds of feet and shoot mist high into the sky, creating rainbows above the jungle.

My classmate, Marta, and I—on summer break from college in Buenos Aires—had wandered through the park on the Argentine side the day before. My breath was snatched away by the surprising sight of butterflies in neon-blues and  unimaginable combinations of patterns and colors. We spotted bright, noisy parrots in the branches above us. Iguanas stuck out their red tongues. Toucans flew from tree to tree. Spiders wove intricate webs that withstood winds and spray. Amazing views greeted us as we hiked the curving catwalk along the falls.

The next day, Marta was not feeling well and urged me to cross the border to the Brazilian side without her. On the tour bus, I discovered no one else spoke English. That’s why my amazement was reduced to only two words: mucho agua.

The roar of the waters. The heat of the January day. The nearness of the wildlife. And in the midst of it all—wonder. My limited Spanish vocabulary matched the insufficiency of my words to praise the Creator, but my heart was singing joyfully, O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder…

The Bible is packed with references to the beauty of our natural surroundings. The six days of creation described in the first chapter of Genesis. Job. Psalms. Jesus’ teaching referring to birds and flowers. The water of life and the tree of life in the last chapter of Revelation. Our Creator made it all. He is great. And He is over all His creation.

Ever find yourself speechless at a sunset, the delicate design of flowers, bugs, trees, mountains, waterfalls, or people? Ask God to open your eyes and ears to His beauty. Then let your lips worship the Maker.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Thinking the Right Thoughts

I faced a terminal diagnosis for my infant daughter.

When facing this crisis, I knew I had to be vocal and share what God was doing through it all.

I kept an online journal throughout my pregnancy and beyond to keep friends and family updated on her story. As more and more people followed the journal, I realized God had given me a platform to share about His love. I made it a point to include some truth God highlighted for me in each post. It was my way of giving my baby girl a legacy.

Since that time, I've realized even more the impact this had on me and on my grief during the worst of that storm. Looking back, I realize I established healthy thinking habits. I processed what was in front of me while challenging the temptation to give in to fear, anxiety, defeat, and depression.

When we face painful life circumstances, such as grieving the death of a loved one, we are more susceptible to our spiritual enemy. Making a conscious effort to focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy may not come naturally at first, but incredible value comes when we train ourselves to do so. As a therapist, I've shared this verse with clients as we work to correct unhealthy thinking habits. The negative, fearful, discouraging thoughts will come, but we can choose where our thoughts dwell. Whatever thinking patterns we indulge will be strengthened.

Think about your own struggles, and take a few moments to write down thoughts that leave you fearful or defeated. Then, seek scriptural truths to combat each of those thoughts. Think about what will help you grow from where you are now. You can choose what line of thinking you will indulge.

Be sure your thinking points you back to the peace and love your heavenly Father has for you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Grateful for Grace

Time to skirt to the back of the line.

That was always my response when teachers asked, “What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?”

I’m thankful. Probably more than the “average bear,” but I hated being put on the spot. The things I seemed grateful for were little … insignificant … unimportant to most. When classmates were wielding family, meals, and personal possessions, the things I held dear to my heart were different.

While my family has always been a priority, it was also a given I was thankful for them. But when you sneak to the back of the line, and the fifteen people ahead of you have already said the same thing, your teacher starts to roll her eyes at the lack of thought her students put into being thankful.

There was never a doubt I was grateful for a good home and parents who loved and provided for me. I never knew we had so little. Our family always rejoiced at what we had. It never occurred to me to be anything less.

When my teacher finally worked her way to me, I was forced to answer the question.

“What about you, Cindy?” Mrs. Jackson asked.

“I’m thankful for….”

“Yes, go ahead.”

“I’m thankful for being able to open my eyes today.”

The other children laughed, and I wanted to crawl under the desk. I’m not sure if the courage to continue came from their laughter or from my teacher gently patting my back, but I went on. “I’m thankful for hope. For safety. But more than anything, I’m thankful for grace. It’s the most important.”

My teacher knelt in front of me. “Wow. Those are valuable things. And grace is the most important.” She took my hand and kissed my knuckles. “I’ve just found a new thing to be thankful for.”

Paul was always grateful even in his hardest times, and he never failed to share that. He reminded his friends how they enriched his life through Christ. That genuine joy in grace kept him thankful and happy.

This Thanksgiving, look around at the things that have enriched your life through Christ. I guarantee it will be different than the pat answer you normally give. Me … well, I’m still grateful for His grace. Guess I always will be.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Attitudes Grow

I have learned wonderful lessons by watching nature.

Before I began paying more attention to nature, I often forgot that God Almighty, in nature, gave another revelation in addition to the Bible.

In Psalm 19, God’s Spirit mentions the revelation in nature before He mentions the revelation in the written Word of God. That shouldn’t be a surprise, because in Romans 1:20 we are told, For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and His divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood by what is made, so they are without excuse. Attitudes grow.

Among the lessons Jesus and the Spirit teach from nature is that a root of bitterness can grow and bother our life in general (Hebrews 12:15). It is easy to understand how bitter seeds can grow and destroy, but what is not commonly understood is that other attitudes can also grow.

A forgiving spirit is not an all-or-nothing thing; it grows or withers. A repentant heart can grow in strength of resolve. Lustful thoughts and feelings can be controlled or rejected more consistently. Thankfulness can be forgotten or embraced more often. Love can intensify or diminish.

Understanding that attitudes can grow causes me to think of an old children’s song that includes the question, “Mary, Mary, how does your garden grow?” Life is a garden, and what seeds we allow to grow in the fertile soils of our hearts determines the quality of the life we will live as well as the fruit we will bear.

We can’t grow attitudes that please God without divine help. We must pray the prayer of a supplicant’s heart: Dear Lord, please help us to be good gardeners as we go through life. Help us to have clean hearts and clean hands so that Your Holy Spirit can grow healing fruit through our lives. Amen.

Let your attitude grow into one that pleases your heavenly Father.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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