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 Terrance McCoy POSTED 2/15/2018 12:00:01 AM ON 1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV
We all run a journey race.
In high school I ran on the track team, but I wasn’t the best runner. I never received a reward for my effort. My brother, on the other hand, had a knack for the sport. In almost every event he competed in, he mounted the winner’s podium at the end of the race.
The victories my brother achieved came at a cost. He endured countless hours of practice on the track and even more time in the weight room honing his talent. To obtain the prize and be a top athlete, he had to have a superior work ethic.
We don’t know all of the twists and turns that will come our way, but we have to prepare our hearts and minds for them. The apostle Paul reminded the church at Corinth they needed to “run in such a way as to get the prize.”
We need to work hard at running the race God has ordained for us. King Solomon wrote, “For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words” (Ecclesiastes 5:3). To obtain the success we desire in life, we must work hard and develop discipline for the journey. This comes through reading God’s word, applying it to life, and sharing it with His people.
Looking back, I understand my effort on the track was weak. I didn’t have the tenacity to push through the adversity and do my best. Although I didn’t win many races on the track, the most important race is the one leading to eternal life.
God rewards those who walk faithfully with Him. Put forth your best effort in your work for God.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
DEVOTION BY Emmanuella Ellis POSTED 2/8/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Obadiah 1:11 NASB
If God is allowing evil things to happen to people, then it means they deserve it.
This assertion is usually made because the person making the statement has seen a couple of people engaging in ungodly acts over a long period of time and then seeing them go through bad situations. But those who see it aren’t ready to offer a helping hand.
Reaching the same conclusion is easy. We often move away from people, ignore them, make fun of them, or boast about how great our lives are. Obadiah’s vision about Edom tells us what God expects from us in such situations. God wasn’t pleased when Edom stood and watched as Israel went through a hard time at the hands of foreigners.
While God allows people to go through difficult times, He is wise and knows the exact reason why they need it. As we see them pass through such times, we are also being tested by this same God on how we would react to a similar situation. We sin when we act in an unloving and ungodly manner toward those who need our help.
Instead of focusing on the whys of troubling situations, we should focus on the whats. It’s not our place to determine why certain things happen to people but rather to decide what we can do to show love and care to the people going through tough times—no matter what they have done in the past. God expects us to send an encouraging word, show affection, offer a listening ear, and give a helping hand to all. This is what Jesus did.
Don’t focus on the whys of a person’s circumstances. Focus on how you can help them.
DEVOTION BY Angela Jamison POSTED 2/1/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV
When our first foster son was eight months old, his biological father showed up and sent my household into a tailspin of worry. What could this mean? Why has he arrived now? How could anyone think this was a good idea?
My mind went a mile a minute as I tried to sort through the new information and possibilities. I was sick with dread and questioned the system set in place to keep my son safe. I also questioned the God who sent me on this journey.
I couldn't understand why God orchestrated this reunion. I didn’t stop to take solace in His words that His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His ways our ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His thoughts and ways higher than ours. I garner hope through these verses.
At each difficult—sometimes inconceivable—moment, we should hold strong to the promise in these verses. God gives a gentle reminder that though we can’t understand the moment we’re in, we should trust that His thoughts and ways are well beyond our own and best for us.
Often we think—and believe—we get it more than God. And how often we’re wrong. Satan allows us to wallow in the belief that we know more, but all that does is frustrate us.
Throw frustration aside and instead wallow in the knowledge that God knows more than you could ever imagine.
DEVOTION BY Savannah Chevalier POSTED 1/25/2018 12:00:01 AM ON Isaiah 58:11 NIV
Recently, I bumbled through the Wal-Mart in my new, Bible-belt town in an effort to acquire a few odds and ends.
As I paced the front of the store where the women’s clothes are displayed, a bright t-shirt caught my eye. The front of it read, “Where God guides, He provides.”
My brain searched for a Bible verse that would support this textile’s claim. That verse was Isaiah 58:11: “The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
When we step into new and unfamiliar seasons, focusing on the sun-scorched aspects of our circumstances is easy. Feelings of worry, loneliness, or failure dry up our well—making us feel as if our efforts to connect or minister are in vain. Our frames become weak and vulnerable.
Remembering these negative feelings can only gain a foothold in our lives when we forget where our living water comes from is important. When we fail to spend time with God, we fail to spend time being watered and end up in a dry and desolate spiritual climate. Failing to remember who waters our garden leaves us trying to self-water, which is akin to watering a garden with an eyedropper.
Though our current surroundings may be sun-scorched, we have a promise from God that He will provide us with the life giving water our souls need. By spending time remembering and meditating on this promise, God permits living waters to spring up in our lives.
Remember, wherever God guides, He provides.
DEVOTION BY Beth Fortune POSTED 1/18/2018 12:00:01 AM ON John 14:6 ESV
The two college students who sat in my dorm room that spring semester night of my junior year of college seemed harmless.
They had no idea that with nine words they’d shot a hole through my wall of false thinking. I was quick to say yes; however, the question they asked would stay with me over the next several days: “If you died tonight, would you go to heaven?” I pondered those nine words, “If I died tonight, would I go to heaven?”
Having spent my childhood going to Sunday School, sitting on the family pew during services, and attending VBS, Youth Group, and most church events, I thought I was okay. But was I? None of those things could get me into heaven on their own merit. The only thing that would allow me to say I was heaven bound was if I’d accepted Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It didn’t matter if I was a good person and was brought up going to church. What mattered was if I had a relationship with Jesus. I knew who He was, but I wondered if He knew me?
Jesus loves you so much that He died in your place so that your sins could be forgiven and you could stand before a holy God. I have accepted His gift of salvation—His saving me from my sins. I believe He died and rose again, and that He is in heaven standing up for me when my enemy Satan accuses me. I spend time with Him by reading His words in Scripture, spending time talking to Him in prayer, and listening to His still small voice.
How would those nine words affect you if you were asked, “If you died tonight, would you go to heaven?”