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.



A Smooth Transition

There will be seasons in our life that require change.

Some aspects of life will stay the same, but others may change at a point and time. As a child, I played Mario Brothers on Nintendo with my older brother. We would laugh and enjoy the fellowship of one another as we maneuvered Mario and Luigi throughout the mushroom kingdom with hopes of saving Princess Peach from her adversary, Bowser. But when I got to middle school, I ditched Mario and Luigi and began to flirt with girls. It’s just how life is. Things change and we must be willing to change and take the next step forward.  

For many of us, transitions aren’t easy. From childhood to adult life we’ve made mistakes, and some of those mistakes have tainted the way we view the future. The hardships and difficulties have taken a toll on our mind, and we’ve lost sight of God’s assurance. Instead of cherishing our victories, displeasure and discouragement have become common denominators keeping us from moving forward.

God wants us to change and grow in our lives and in our relationship with Him. Once we accept Him into our hearts, we are babes—babes in Christ that should begin to transform into stronger children of God. He has prepared us to do something wonderful for Him—guiding us to carry out something great for His people. He understands that throughout the seasons of life our flesh and heart will fail. Still, we must recognize He is the strength of our heart and our portion to overcome the heartache.

It’s not always easy to let go of the past. Sometimes people do hurtful things that are hard to forget. However, as a child chosen by God—and one willing to walk where He leads, letting go of the hurt is important. It doesn’t make it easier, but it makes us better.

Continue to let God show you who He wants you to become. His will is for all of our needs to be supplied so we can become the purposeful individuals He wants us to be as we continue to grow in Him.

Love who you’ve become in life—in spite of what has happened in the past.

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Just a Nice Little Old Lady

These guys were “outsiders” hunting deer.

A high-powered pickup towing a classy trailer loaded with two expensive all-terrain vehicles had pulled off the state highway to gas up at the only gasoline pumps in our little town. These men were not rude, just spoke little. Hunting whitetail deer was preeminent in their thoughts. Never would they have guessed the short, retired schoolteacher saw deer on a regular basis without even looking through a rifle sight. How could they have known this nondescript female could point out a meadow where she had counted fifteen deer one snowy morning?

King Solomon told of a little city that was being threatened. A wise but poor man provided a strategy to rescue the city from certain destruction. Yet no one recognized what a contribution the poor man’s astute plan had made to their entire population’s safety.

Many times, we discount wise people who God brings across our path: an elderly person with a halting voice, a middle-aged woman restricted to a wheelchair, a precious preschooler, or a battle-worn man in a soup kitchen. They may have learned greatly from their experience of following the Lord and studying His Word. Their wisdom may have been gained by initially making poor choices. The wheelchair-bound individual learned from adversity thrust into her successful life. The elderly gained wisdom by proving God’s promises through life experiences—both negative and positive. And the little child simply lived her life with the innocence Jesus said we should model.

As we go through our days, pause and listen each time God brings wisdom from an unlikely source rather than judge His use of people based on their appearance, age, societal status, or any other stereotypical categorization.

God’s wisdom comes in unlikely forms. Don’t miss it!

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Hospitals Are Great Teachers

Artificial hips come at a price.

The hip itself costs many dollars. After the surgeon’s fee, there is a list of other medical professional charges. The hospital fees themselves are several pages long, and even cleaning the bedding has a price. After replacement surgery, a person will never again have all their original parts.

After I gave away my first hip several years ago, one of my grandsons asked me, “Papa, are you are a bionic man now?”

After pausing for a moment, I said, “I guess I am.”

Lying in a hospital bed recently, I gave away my second hip. Remembering that we learn and become stronger by what we survive, I realized pain has a part in our growth.

Much like a piece of fruit that is full of juice and health-producing potential, our bodies are amazing. The complexities can take a person’s breath away. Yet when even one little part functions traumatically, the whole organism can suffer catastrophic failure.

My bladder is an example. Due to a spinal tap, my bladder went dead. After three hours, they “jump started” it and were able to drain it over a twenty-minute period. Awake during those three hours, the jagged spasms gave me a choice: rest in my Lord or lie there in fear. I chose to let everything go, look my Savior in the face, and ask Him for help. I was immediately lifted on a cloud of peace, which I didn’t expect. I could still feel the tearing spasms, but it was somewhere below where I was.  

Man is chastened with pain upon his bed to give him the choice of putting whatever it is in the hands of Jesus and admitting we need His help or trying to tough it out and start screaming until they sedate us.

We can choose to go through the pain with or without Jesus. We can also choose go through the pain with or without the peace Jesus promised when He said, Come to Me you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

Let those in pain share their reality with you. Then, as someone who understands, tell them about Jesus’ love in a gentle caring way. 

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Broken Vessel

Allowing oneself to be a broken vessel is hard for the human mind to comprehend. 

Two messages revealed by the cross of Christ help us grasp the concept. Namely, life follows death, and joy comes after mourning.

When Jesus hung on the cross, He cried, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46b NASB). Because Jesus took our sins, God the Father turned away from His beloved Son.

Spiritual brokenness happens when we find ourselves alone and seemingly abandoned—even by God. Brokenness is never brought about by something we do, but by what God does. No amount of self-degradation can affect this spiritual condition. No extent of pain or self-sacrifice we inflict on ourselves can bring about a broken spirit. We would just be proud of our humility.

Someone once said, “Humility without grace is just pride in disguise.” It reeks of the ugliness of self-righteousness. Jesus, in His humanness, was honestly overwhelmed by the broken fellowship with His Heavenly Father. If you find yourself enjoying your pain, you may not be on the path to brokenness.

We can’t just hang out and expect God to produce spiritual brokenness in us, but we can be obedient. We can run or remain where God has called us when He brings circumstances or people into our lives who test us beyond our ability to endure. Often our human abilities are overcome by life’s perplexities; a spiritual death transpires and a vessel is broken. Only then are God’s grace and strength fully released. 

Writing on this topic is difficult since I understand how unbroken I am. But that may be how it works. You are probably not broken if you think you are. Only those who understand their need can ever achieve it.

Those in the midst of devastating circumstances may feel as if becoming a broken vessel is a bitter pill to swallow. Remember that spiritually speaking, life always follows death—and joy always comes after mourning.

Do whatever it takes to let God make you a broken vessel. 

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(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Beauty for Ashes

Some of the most serene islands were formed by volcanic eruptions.

The Hawaiian Islands have beautiful landscapes—rich, fertile soil, bountiful fruit, and breath-taking flowers. Once, they were uninhabited—burnt and scarred from the flow of molten rocks and overcome by the blazing heat of an eruption so forceful nothing could stand in its path. Now, they are a place of bounty, showing little signs of their past experiences. They even use the eruptions to their advantage by creating a rich soil where only beauty prevails.

Volcanic eruptions are usually unexpected. Although people who live in their shadow may have heard of them and felt the tremor of their muted rumblings, the explosions usually come with shock and fury. Lava spews into the air and then falls to the ground at great speed in a shower of white, black, and red smoke, dust, and fire.

Some incidents in our lives are just as explosive. Unexpected and devastating, they leave emptiness where once there was joy. Events such as a loved one’s death, heartbreak, chronic illness, terror attacks, or natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes. These change the landscape of our lives, erase the greenery (contentment and success), and leave charred surfaces and ash (a dull ache and a grey cloud over our days). We must come to terms with the devastation, attempt to redefine ourselves, and adjust our perspectives.

The story of the islands does not end with the eruption; it is a continuous creative process. After the burns and scars, after the dust settles, and after the rain comes, a new layer is created and the islands grow—higher and wider, richer for the experience, and ready to be covered in fresh life.

Disruptions in our lives are never meant to destroy us. While we may suffer loss and pain, there is also renewal–an expansion of our previously defined limits and strength which could never have been uncovered otherwise. The result is the creation of a soul so rich that only bounty will come from it in due time. A bounty grounded in the discovery of our Creator and a trust developed only through experience. An abundance of peace, joy, and love that allows us to have compassion for others as they experience eruptions.

Be encouraged. In place of the ashes, Yahweh gives beauty.

(In memory of Keno and Kirk)

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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