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.

Waiting

Traffic in my part of town is unbearable.

Unprecedented huge subdivisions have appeared almost overnight and with them road congestion and new traffic lights.

Quick trips to local stores now take most of the morning. Quiet drives to work are occasions for quick reflexes, increased pulse and blood pressure, and survival instincts. The charming borderline rural part of my world has disintegrated with the bustling suburban sprawl.

While driving to work on two consecutive days, I discovered something interesting. On the first day, instead of sitting in a long line of traffic at a busy intersection, I took a roundabout shortcut through an adjoining neighborhood. Although I circumvented one traffic signal, I found myself pressing to get through subsequent traffic lights that were yellow. Exasperation led to some ugly thoughts about the Department of Transportation planners and their lack of synchronization.

On the second morning, I stayed in the long line of traffic and waited my turn. The ensuing traffic lights were all green. The slight delay, although not enjoyable, resulted in a more coordinated and less stressful trip.

My two-day experience could have been a mere coincidence which depended on the volume of traffic on one specific day. But God used it to reiterate one of His principles found throughout Scripture: God may allow a delay today to coordinate smooth sailing tomorrow.

God’s Word overflows with verses that advocate waiting on His timing, His synchronization, and His overall plan. He asks us to trust His timing and rely on His sovereign purpose, leaving the details to Him as we walk according to His Word and follow Him obediently.

Impatience and looking for shortcuts to our desired destinations—maybe even God’s destinations—push His timing, take us ahead of His plan, and lead to a stressful journey with regrettable decisions.

Respect God’s delays. Wait for His sovereign orchestration of events and details which will lead to His blessing and fulfillment.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Changing Courses

Seven months ago, I changed courses.

After teaching for seventeen years, I decided to pursue a dream I’d had since college. I imagined all the offers for employment that would alight on my doorstep. Like the Arthur knights of old seeking grand quests, magic, mystery, and victory, I would travel the world and witness new and awe-inspiring sites. Yes, there would be battles, but I would easily win them. I would fight dragons, slaying them with one swift stroke. Cyclops? I would drown him without the aid of my shield. I would be a strong, valiant warrior on this new adventure.

I turned in my notice and began the adventure. No more would I live by the wishes of others. No more would my life be without passion . . . without purpose. Seven months later, my passions and excitement were usurped by anxiety and doubt, and obscured by reality. Nothing was on the horizon. No income. No dream job. As I sat in my stupor of disappointment on the verge of depression, God’s whisper broke the silence and reminded me what I had left behind: my relationship with Him and His plans for me.

The number one reason for my existence is a relationship with my Creator. I was created to display His glory, but to display that glory and spread the good news, I must have a relationship with Him—a relationship that seeps into every area of my life, especially the planning of a lifelong dream.

In laying out my life's new blueprint, I overlooked God and His adventure. He wanted to be the one to slay the dragon of distrust and the cyclops of doubt. His grand quest contained the magic of peace during the crossing of the tepid seas and the mystery of boundless strength while fighting a throng of disappointments. His undertaking centered on our relationship. Mine did not. I neglected to seek Him first—to lay my plans at His feet. I paraded the pathway pursuing neither His counsel nor His guidance. This adventure may have been spurred by His spirit, but the path wasn’t followed in fellowship with Him.

My circumstances haven’t changed, but my focus has. The relationship with my God is the adventure that matters. The other details and circumstances He’ll take care.

Pursue God's plans, not your own.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Spiritual Wind

Completing my first book, The Unbreakable Cord—the story of how a drunk driver and a stuffed dog strengthened my faith—was a difficult journey. Writing it meant reliving the near death of my daughter and the death of my oldest brother. I learned the only way to move through the pain was to unclench my fist and surrender my anger and grief to God.

The nudging to step out of my comfort zone grew stronger. I knew I needed to obey . . . to trust God to carry my insecurities. As I child I struggled with certain words: chicken, school bus, and fifteen. My parents thought I was tongue-tied, but the doctor confirmed it was only nerves. I would outgrow it. I did learn to say chicken, school bus, and fifteen, but some words still won’t roll off my tongue.

With God holding my hand, I stood before a women’s group and shared my testimony and my book—even though the lady who introduced me called my book The Unbreakable Lord. A few weeks earlier, I had received an email from an Amazon reader saying she was going through a tough time and that my book was an encouragement.

I had also told a good friend how her blog post made me think of the old song, “The Solid Rock.” She replied, “Reminds me that everything has already been written, and we just switch words around.”

With God, nothing is new under the sun. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” We have the promise of God’s presence and protection as we walk through the valley of death. Believers have the promise that Jesus will never leave or forsake us—whether the word is cord or Lord. As Christ followers, we must continue our voyage of sharing our stories.

When doors open, be brave. Walk through them, and share what Jesus has done for you. You never know who might need a second spiritual wind.

(Photo courtesy of Pexel.)

(For more devotions, visit Christan Devotions.)



What Are You Missing?

“Mason! Look out the window!”

While running errands with my daughter and her three-year-old son, I spotted a stretch limo. “On my side.” I pointed, knowing it would soon be out of view.

Unfortunately, we passed the intersection and the limo was behind us. I turned to the backseat. “I’m sorry. We passed it. Maybe another time.”

Mason wasn’t concerned. He continued looking at traffic, trees, and whatever else was in his view.

I chuckled and told my daughter, “He’s fine. He doesn’t know what he missed.”

I wonder how much we miss that we don’t know about. After all, if you don’t know, you’re not disappointed. That might work for a three-year-old and a white stretch limo, but when it comes to more important life experiences, there are consequences.

If I don’t read instructions on medication, there could be harmful results. If I don’t follow a cake recipe, omitting ingredients could yield a tasteless dessert. If I don’t read instructions when assembling a product, I’m frustrated when I have to disassemble and start over. And if I don’t read the Bible, I miss words of wisdom, direction, and hope.

God’s Word is a lamp for the step I’m on—giving just enough light to know what to do next. Maybe there are principles helping me decide if I should make a particular purchase. Guidelines that prompt me to write a note or make a call to encourage someone, resolve a conflict, or meet a need. Or a passage about communication might affect my interaction later that day.

The Bible also offers light for my path—the longer stretch with bigger decisions such as changing jobs or entering a relationship. Decisions with long-term effects. Telling me to do something specific—like buying a new car—isn’t found in Scripture, but God’s Word gives light for discernment as well as principles to live wisely.

Missing the sight of a stretch limo didn’t have consequences, but ignoring regular reading of wise words in Scripture will. Don’t miss out. Read it daily. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



Can You Hear Your Alarm?

I awoke unusually refreshed, and the daylight seemed brighter than normal. I stretched comfortably, enjoying my sheet’s softness and warmth. Then panic set in as I realized I had overslept—on a workday.

Snatching my phone—that also serves as my alarm—I wondered if the battery had died or if I had forgotten to set the alarm. But the battery was fine, and the alarm reflected properly. Why didn’t I hear it? Then I remembered turning my phone’s volume down the day before while watching a video online. Although the alarm was working, I couldn’t hear it because the low volume wasn’t enough to awaken me.

As I rushed through an abbreviated morning routine, God reminded me how I similarly treat His Spirit’s conviction. His alarm works just fine. Unfortunately, the sound gets diminished as I desensitize myself to His call. His influence remains constantly available, but my daily choices, activities, and lifestyle often numb me to His purifying and renewing work.

Some ways of quenching the Spirit’s convicting influence include:

  • Reading trendy magazines with provocative, suggestive articles or ads
  • Listening to popular songs containing raunchy, illicit lyrics
  • Watching movies with immoral plots that promote promiscuity or today's degenerate culture
  • Excusing when people use the Lord's name in vain
  • Joke-flirting with a coworker as just "harmless fun"
  • Sidestepping the opportunity to witness to a friend in need
  • Misusing God-given talents and gifts

Although it’s easy to minimize or justify each of the above, slow erosion still occurs. Step by step, the condoning, excusing, and avoiding turns down the volume knob of the Spirit's voice and quenches His influence to purify, edify, equip, and mature.

God still speaks, but the self-serving and noisy environments created by our choices make Him difficult to hear. Then panic sets in when we spiritually oversleep and find ourselves in our self-made moral quagmires.

But what a sweet sound when tuned in to the Spirit’s call. He guides our direction, aligns our hearts with the Father, protects us from what hinders or harms, comforts and renews us when we’re distressed or discouraged, teaches us His unchanging truth, and promotes our spiritual growth.

Tune in and turn up the volume.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)



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