A Devotion May Be Someone's Only Bible

Spirit & Trust

Trust is hard. It’s easy to say there is trust but actually taking the step – making the leap into mid-air without a visible net is the most difficult thing man can do. But with the Spirit of God our leap lands us safe in His palm.

Bring Your Longing to Jesus

The sun sets palely over flat water while fireflies dance at dusk’s invitation.

I stare at the horizon with a heavy heart, a dozen longings pounding against my chest. I recognize the familiar longing for deep friendship, the longing for success in my career, the longing for God to relocate us to a home on a quiet lake somewhere, and the longing to feel heard and appreciated in the ministries in which I serve. Amidst all these longings, I identify something deeper—a longing to fulfill something that feels empty and lacking in the deepest part of my soul.

I flip my Bible open to the book of Isaiah, and God’s Word comes alive in the fading daylight. My deep longing feels something like thirst, and I know this is the answer to my plight. Jesus is calling me to come to the living water of His refreshing presence. He is calling me to bring all my longings to Him … to let Him speak truth into every part of my life. 

I imagine myself lifting my longings before the Lord, gazing into the pale sunset and thinking of His holy throne. As I surrender my longings, I sense a subtle shift. I’m content to wait for the fulfillment of my longings and to lay them at the feet of Jesus and wait. I sense the freedom to cease from striving. I am left with only one longing: the longing to draw close to His heart. 

Jesus calls us to bring our longings to Him so He can transform the desires that do not match His, reveal the deepest longings of our hearts, and fill us with His living water. He invites us to find a quiet place and seek His face so He can fill us with living water.

Think of the areas in your life in which you are striving. Surrender them to Jesus and let Him fill you. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

An Alternative to Complaining

Oh, how we love to complain. It’s our default setting whenever something doesn’t go our way. And we’re not alone.

I’ve been reading through the book of Exodus in my quest to read the Bible in a year. Almost without fail, every time the children of Israel had a need, they complained about it. They fretted. They whined. They lamented that God had abandoned them and grumbled about how much better things were back in Egypt.

Frightening circumstances and overwhelming odds? The Israelites complained against their leader, Moses. Bitter water to drink? The Israelites complained against Moses. No food to eat? The Israelites complained against Moses.

James bluntly states the obvious: “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” Moses got it. So should we. Absent in each of these wilderness crises is what should have been their default response—prayer. It never occurred to the Israelites—with the exception of Moses—to take their needs to God.

Most of us probably aren’t wishing we were back in Egypt, but we often wish for “the good ole days.” We complain, fret, and whine. I, too, often walk in the Israelites’ fretful sandals. But I can learn a valuable lesson from my shortsighted compatriots and from their leader.

Moses saw their complaining, fretting, and whining for what it was—not a statement against their circumstances but a complaint against God. “The Lord hears your complaints which you make against Him,” he said. “And what are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord” (Exodus 16:8).

Yikes. Every complaint I make isn’t really against my circumstances, but against the Lord. My grumbling goes straight to His ears.

In contrast, Moses had a different type of conversation with God. “So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him” (Exodus 15:24). Every time Moses saw a need, he asked God to meet it. And God did. Gladly and generously.

Whatever situation is making you whine and complain, take it to the Lord and see what He will do.

(Photo courtesy pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

No Dead End Here

We must know—before, during, and after a tragedy—that what follows is not a dead end. 

The dead end, the end of the line, the peace she once knew. All were gone forever. At least, that’s how Naomi felt when her life changed. She would take the broken pieces of what was left and return home.

Naomi had been blessed with a husband and two sons. Together, they left Bethlehem to live in Moab. Her husband died there. Both sons married women from Moab. Later, both sons died. Ruth had married Naomi’s oldest son and insisted on remaining with Naomi after her own husband died. Naomi returned to Bethlehem—miserable, broken, and nearly alone.

She would learn that she brought with her God’s answer to the healing of her soul: Ruth. If Ruth had not accompanied her, we would not have the book of Ruth and the wonderful story of a kinsman redeemer. Naomi would never have held and nursed the child that would be an ancestor of Jesus Christ. Nor would she have had it said of her, “He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him” (Ruth 4:15).

Naomi was blessed more through Ruth than she was through her own family. Because of Ruth, Naomi has a special place in history. We, too, can have a special place in history if we allow God to work His eternal purpose in our lives—to redeem our lives.

God never stops working in us and for our good. He is sovereign and He is good. The Word of God gives us a picture of God and the work He is doing on earth. We need to steep our souls in the Word.

No tragedy is welcome, but there is a God-ordained purpose for everything that occurs in our lives. And we can trust Him wherever life leads us. He will get the glory from us, and we will enjoy the blessing of knowing our lives will count for time and for eternity. No dead end here.

Let God lead you beyond what appears to be dead ends. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

The Sum of All Happiness

Though they searched frantically, no one found what they were looking for.

A group of fifty people was attending a party. The organizer decided to do a group activity. He gave each person a balloon and asked them to write their name on it using a marker pen. Then all the balloons were collected and put in another room.

The participants were let in the room and given three minutes to find the balloon with their name on it. In a state of frenzy, everyone sought for their balloon with their name—colliding with each other and pushing others around. There was absolute chaos. At the end of the time limit, no one was able to find their own balloon.

In another round, each person was asked to collect a balloon from the room and give it to the person whose name was written on it. Within minutes, everyone had their own balloon. The speaker explained how this happens in our lives. Everyone is frantically looking for happiness all around, not knowing where it is.

For true and eternal joy, Jesus is the source, and He gives it to those who make it to heaven.

Much as this story gives a viable way of securing happiness, getting it that way is only temporary. Happiness gotten this way fades with time. Our happiness lies in the gladness of other people. Give them theirs, and you will get your own.

To have true happiness, make heaven a priority.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Forgiving Eve

In a single bite, she threw it all away. And for what? An apple.

As a woman, I have a complicated relationship with Eve. When I was younger, it was easy to judge her … to vilify her. She had everything. Literally. A God-appointed, perfect soul mate, the ability to commune with all creatures, the ultimate utopian backyard, and a body so taut and tiny (if illustrations are to be believed) that she could manage to cover it using precisely three fig leaves as pasties and a bikini.

Then she threw it all away. She condemned all of womankind to severe childbearing pains, perpetual body shame, and earthly mortality. As far as I can tell, the instrument of our ultimate demise wasn't even a caramel-covered apple.

Eve believed the hype. She succumbed to the world's first sales pitch and dismissed everything she had for a plain apple that offered the allure of more. It was almost too much for my young mind to comprehend.

As I've gotten older, my view of Eve has evolved. I recognize that I live in a country of privilege. I understand that much of the world perceives us—based merely on our birthright—as having everything.

On my best days, I count my blessings and praise God with humility. Yet if I'm honest, there are times when, like Eve, I find myself caught up in the ancient trappings of more. More success, more money, more stuff.  During these moments, I stop judging Eve and start empathizing with her. I understand how it's possible for anyone to be tempted to trade our entire kingdoms for a single taste of shiny fruit.

Gratitude is a powerful weapon against comparison and discontentment. Adopt an attitude of gratitude by acknowledging God's goodness in your life.

Pray for eyes to see and appreciate your blessings.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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