Devotions for your Daily Walk With Christ
Devotion Ideas for your meeting or group.
John Quincy Adams said, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." If those actions inspire others to grow in Christ more, you are a Christian leader. I believe that in order to be effective Christian leaders, we must continually read and reflect on the word of God, and one excellent way to do that is to use a devotional, scripture based reading that causes us to consider God's word and what it means to us personally.
Each time I read scripture I am challenged to a new and deeper level in my walk with Christ. And often I'm inspired to share my revelations. The result of this inspiration is what you'll find below, for you see, I delight in finding, and helping others find, what I call "aha" moments in my walk with Christ.
In addition to the devotions I've archived here (and on a dozen more pages that you'll find linked below), I send out new devotional moments about twice a month. Sign up to get them below.
Devotions You'll Find on This Page
The Last Snowfall
Proof of God
Today's Vocabulary Lesson
You're Either Growing, Or You're Dying
Or Maybe you're Growing Like a Bad Weed
The Last Snowfall
For we are his workmanship,created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
Psalm 139:16 (NIV)
Here in Eastern Ohio, as much as you hear us complain about the snow, you'd think we've been snowed in since November. But the truth is 2018-2019 has been a relatively mild winter. Regardless, most of us look forward to next week and the first day of Spring, even though we know that doesn’t mean we won’t see more white stuff before we open the pool.
I truly love the snow. I’m just not crazy about the cold, and I don't like the dangerous driving. So like most of the northern population, I tend to complain. But perhaps instead of complaining about the last few snowfalls we’ll see this Spring, I should focus on the beauty.
Snowflakes have amazed me ever since someone told me about their uniqueness. I can’t really wrap my brain around the fact that if you study each of the gazillions of flakes that fall every winter, no two will ever be the same. It's a puzzling phenomenon. Each has only six branches. You'd think that would lower the odds of finding matching flakes. But each branch has a variety of smaller stems. So while they’re all similar, no one has ever found two that match. Not even Wilson Bentley, the farmer who collected and examined 5,000 snowflakes. The Master Designer engineered it so the process could never reproduce itself. Humans were fashioned in much the same way, and science just continues to prove it.
DNA is as mysterious as snowflakes. Prior to understanding these components that make each human special, no one really understood our complex uniqueness. Even identical twins swabbed in exactly the same location never share more than 99.99% DNA. Their fingerprints are always different, and they generally have some other identifying marker that may be so small only their mother will spot it.
We are God’s workmanship; each of us extraordinarily created. Like snowflakes, we may have small motifs that match another human, but there will never be any two who are altogether the same.
This is the reason we need so many different learning styles and various means of accomplishing the same task. What works for me may not work for you. The way I comprehend and handle a problem might seem ten times harder than it needs to be, but that’s the way my brain works. It’s how I was created.
I wonder how much better the world would be if we began to look at each other like snowflakes. (And I don’t mean that new derogatory label folks put on those they think fragile.) What if we viewed every individual as uniquely created, handcrafted, by the Master Designer? How would the world change if we remembered that even though we share similarities, we have enough differences to make even the simplest life goal difficult for someone else?
And what if we started looking at ourselves in the same way? What if I quit comparing myself to others? What if children were encouraged to embrace their uniqueness in Christ instead of trying to fit in? How much sin is fallen into every day because someone is either trying to conform or rebelling because they feel like they’ll never belong?
We may not see anymore snow until next December, but every day we have an opportunity to appreciate the unique beauty of Creation. Not just in the flowers and the trees, but in every human we meet. I pray we learn to see and treat others as Christ sees them, created in the image of the Father; just waiting to be saved by the blood of the Son and transformed into their true unique character by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Proof of God
What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
[Abraham] said to [the rich man], ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.
I just finished reading a book called, “Proof of God.” I don’t necessarily recommend it. My granddaughter got it for me for Christmas because she thought the title might be something I’d like. She was correct, the title intrigued me.
However, the further I delved into the book and realized this scientist wasn’t making any points I hadn’t already heard, the more I realized we can’t prove God exists. The author noted that many of his findings had been confirmed by Stephen Hawking, findings the author believed proved God’s existence beyond a shadow of a doubt, findings Hawking used to dismiss the same Creator.
I found myself comparing his attempt to prove an Intelligent Designer to an episode of “Big Bang Theory.” Amy Farrah Fowler wants Sheldon to attend a family wedding with her because her family didn’t believe she had a boyfriend. If you haven’t ever seen the series, it’s helpful to know Miss Farrah Fowler is a Neuro Scientist who dresses more conservative and in more layers and less colors than a Mayflower Pilgrim forced to travel on a Naval vessel. When she lived amongst her family she’d never had a date, let alone a beau, so her aunts and uncles found the idea of a boyfriend ludicrous. A photo wouldn’t even convince them. Amy’s only hope was that they meet Sheldon in person.
And that’s our only hope for our family and friends. The Bible makes it clear that God has left plenty of proof of His invisible qualities. All of nature screams, “We have a Creator.” And the authors of “Proof of God” are correct, the more science uncovers, the more evidence and probability there is that Creation didn’t just happen.
Unfortunately, all that proof isn’t enough to convince folks there is a God. It wouldn’t have mattered how many gifts, pictures or stories Amy Farrah Fowler shared with her family, they still wouldn’t have believed Sheldon existed. Just like Amy’s family needed to meet Sheldon, question him and take time to believe he really was a boyfriend, our friends and family need to meet the Savior. They need to get to know Him, experience the difference He makes and explore the possibility there really is a God who loves them enough to die for them.
The greatest proof of a God who creates and re-creates is a re-created you. For many folks the only Jesus they will ever see is you and me being the body of Christ. If we want the world, or even our little section of it to come to Christ, we must let the Holy Spirit start living in us and working through us. Then our lives will be a very convincing Proof of God.
More Devotions to Inspire You
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- Devotional Readings from the New Testament
How often do you spend time considering your relationship with Jesus Christ? How many times a week do you listen for His voice and consider His plan for you? In the hectic day to day often it's difficult. We get up, rush to work, hurry home, get a...
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Lynne Preaches from Time to Time
Today's Vocabulary Lesson
Words in the Christian Language
English teachers all over America cringe at the words "ain't" or "gonna." Dialects that include "d'jeet jet"* and "whichadija"** are just a couple of examples of ways we create vocabulary. Plus there's an entire chapter of words that many people find offensive, none of which we'll mention for obvious reasons, words that most Christians try to eliminate from their vocabulary in order to honor Paul's admonition in Ephesians 4:29 to "not let any unwholesome talk" come out of our mouths.
Despite our attempts to clean up our mouths and create a vocabulary that honors our Savior, there is still one word Christians use every day that is completely unChristlike and unscriptural. It's a simple word, a tiny contraction, a word we hear and speak frequently, most often incorrectly. The word . . . CAN'T. We don't even find a definition for it in the dictionary. We have to look up "can," which means "have the ability to." So, can not means to NOT have the ability to . . . or impossible. The New International Version of the Bible only uses the word 14 times, and even well versed theologians must have a problem understanding the usage of the word because of those 14, the translators have only used it correctly twice.
Most often when we use the word "can't," what we really mean is "don't have permission." It's not that we aren't able. Our correct response would be "may not." On other occasions when "can't" is used, the word we should use is "won't." We often willfully choose not to do one thing or another, and instead of honestly expressing our willfulness, we say, "I can't."
By now you're thinking about all the times you use the word "can't." I can't, you can't, we can't . . . Take a moment to consider those times when someone asks you to dinner but you "can't." Think about it. It's not that you don't have the ability to eat dinner with the person. The truth is we should probably say, "I'm sorry, I have a prior commitment" or "I prefer not to."
- I will not.
- I do not choose to.
- My schedule doesn't permit.
- I don't have permission.
- I may not.
It's quite easy for us to mistakenly rephrase any of those sentences to include the word, "can't." As you read earlier, there are two places in scripture where one of those statements just won't work as a substitute for the word "can't". Both are found in the dialogue of the chief priests and teachers of the law when Christ was on the cross. These learned Jews said, "He can't save himself." They were obviously wrong! However, they really believed that it was impossible for Christ to save Himself even though He saved others.
Although we truly can't save ourselves, and we generally can't do anything about a terminal illness not brought on by some unholy lifestyle, for the most part when Christians say, "I can't" we throw out at least two verses of scripture. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus says that just a bit of faith gives us the ability to do ANYTHING . . . Nothing will be impossible for you. And Luke 1:37 gives us Gabriel's message to Mary, "Nothing is impossible with God." If we truly believe these two verses, it becomes necessary for us to throw the word "can't" out of our vocabulary.
Although we use the word "can't" arbitrarily; sadly, we often believe it. It's not necessarily using the word that's terrible, but it's the confidence we place in it. For instance, I often say, "I can't cook," and at first glance, most would say it's true. But the more appropriate description would be, "I don't LIKE to cook. I'm not good at it, and I've never chosen to devote the time it takes to learn to do it well."
Although that seems pretty harmless, there is a more destructive use of the word "can't." This comes when we feel a call from God. It's then that we hear logical, but false, reasoning. For instance . . .
- I can't go to Africa because . . .
- I can't teach a Sunday School class . . .
- I can't host a small group.
- I can't read scripture every day.
- I can't pray in front of people.
- I can't give my testimony.
Why can't we? Because we don't believe scripture, and we don't trust God to keep His promises. We don't really believe that "nothing is impossible with God." We believe the lie of "can't," and sometimes we perpetuate the lie by passing along the sentiment to others around us, including our children. In America our conversation is generally more casual, we almost never articulate our thoughts in full. We use the easiest verbiage possible. So there will be many times we get lazy. Not a big deal. But it's important we are aware of the words we are using. As Christians we have the power to defeat the "can't" attitude. By our encouragement, our prayers and our faith we can strengthen the body of Christ and rid the family of the word "can't"
(*)Pittsburgh's version of "did you eat yet?"
(**)Foxworthy's redneck dictionary says you would use it in a sentence like this, "You didn't bring it 'with you, did you'?"
Available in a Book or for Your Kindle
The first 40 devotions that were added to these archives are available in this 128 page book. This book includes short readings to encourage you as you walk and grow in Christ Jesus.
Devotions are an important part of our development. They can be as vital to our spiritual health as breakfast is to our physical being.
This book is available in Kindle and Paperback at Amazon, you can also get an e-book if you visit my store or e-mail me for more info!
If You're Not Growing, You're Dying
Today I heard someone speak about their surprise about planning for growth in ministry. They were shocked that we would think ahead and prepare for a time when we outgrow our present facility. My response was that no one ever birthed a baby without hoping and preparing that the child would one day turn 18 and be on his own. Have you ever heard of anyone watch their daughter graduate without praying that she would continue to learn and develop into a mature responsible adult. Every ministry must prepare, plan and grow or it might as well prepare and plan to die.
Likewise, every mind must continually be growing. I so enjoy watching my grandson learn new things everyday. He's growing so fast. Not just in height and weight, but in his mind. He learns new words constantly and the world is an exciting place for him. Even a dandelion blowing in the wind will bring a "WOW!"
However, I enjoy talking with older saints who are still growing just as much as I enjoy my grandson. Oh, their body may have shut down years before, but they never stop asking questions, reading scripture and studying. There are some 70 year olds who are beginning to learn the computer or have begun to read things that they've never taken time to study before. Their minds are sharp because they are still growing. On the other hand, some who are the same age don't want to even attempt anything new. They have a difficult time grasping new concepts (and I don't mean Altzhymer patients). After I talk to them for just a short while the truth always comes out, "I just don't need to learn any of that new stuff."
This principle not only applies to our physical bodies, it also applies to our spiritual life. Just as you feed and nurture a baby, so you must constantly feed and nurture your spirit. Jesus didn't call God's Word, "The Bread of Life" and "Spring of Living Water" for nothing. The scripture contains delicious morsels that are essential for sustaining real life.
As I sadly consider some elder church folk I've met, I wonder when they stopped growing. Just like those who "don't need to learn the new stuff," these people believe they've already heard every sermon and read every word of the Bible at some time or another, so they quit. They completely stop the growth process. And as any farmer will tell you, when the seed ceases to grow, it begins to die.
We each have a choice to make. We can choose to grow until we pass from earth into heaven or we can choose to begin to die until our heart ceases to beat. I'm not sure why anyone would choose the latter, but day after day I meet people who've chosen to begin to die. Not physically, but spiritually.
I can give you examples of those who've chosen to die, but I believe it would be better to give you examples of some who've chosen growth over death.
Let me tell you about my Aunt Ethel. She passed away in 2007, but more than 10 years before that the doctors gave her six months to live. Many would have had her go to bed and preserve the weak heart they were sure would give out at any moment. Instead, she continued her daily routine as much as her heart would allow. Yes, she slowed her pace some and even grew weaker and thinner; however, during this time (and in her 70's) she learned how to use e-mail and still had stimulating conversation with anyone who would visit. At one of my last visits with her, she was gravely concerned with her sister's temporary ill health and talked as if her own malady were just a cut or scrape in comparison. Right up until the day she died, she was still growing. The time finally arrived when her body gave out; however, her mind and spirit had spent her final days living life by choosing to grow.
I hope if you've ever driven through Southeastern Ohio, you may have had an opportunity to meet Helen. I believe she's gone now; but at age 94, she was still managing the general store that her father had started in the late 1800's. She sat in the front row of the church so she could hear the pastor because "hearing aids were for old folks." Yes, she'd probably get one when she got "old." Some may have thought her stubborn for not wearing a hearing aid; but she believed it was a sign of not growing. I don't know how many quilts she made each year, but I'm assuming there was one in the frame on the day that her body quit working the way her mind told it to. Although her body showed her advancing years, her mind never stopped working, turning and growing.
Finally, let me tell you about Betty. Somehow, I think everyone thought Betty would never die. Perhaps it was because she never quit asking questions, questioning the answers and growing in her spirit. At age 70 she probably brought more questions to the Bible Study discussion table than anyone in the room. She contemplated every answer and held it up against scripture. When they called to tell me Betty had gone to be with Jesus, I was speechless. It had never really occurred to me that Betty could possibly die. Even with white hair and a frail body, she never seemed old enough to die. Her joking was full of love, her fun was youthful and her passion for life and learning were childlike.
So, now, today, I want to ask you, are you growing or are you dying? Yes, those are your only two options. Consider this carefully, it might be the most important question you'll answer this week. I'm assuming since you're reading something other than the daily paper, you're choosing to grow.
Collossians chapter one says this:
10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (NIV)
Never stop "Growing in the knowledge of God," for everything that is growing bears fruit, and everything that is not growing is dying.
Or Maybe It's Growing Like a Bad Weed
2 Thessalonians 1:3
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters,[a] and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.
We've been gone for a week. The bad news is no rain fell the entire time we were gone. Everything is so dry, the grass is starting to turn brown. The good news is no rain fell the entire time we were gone, the grass shouldn't need mowed.
And as we pull into the drive we realize we were correct, the grass does not need cut; however, the weeds are more than a foot high. I'm not sure how this phenomenon actually materializes. How can it be that the grass does not grow at all, but the weeds look awful? I suppose if we'd spent more money on better grass seed, the lawn wouldn't look so bad. As it is we (OK, my husband) must spend all afternoon cutting grass that doesn't really need cut in order to cut down the weeds so the yard will look decent.
It caused me to consider the old saying "You're growing like a bad weed." I understand where it came from now, but I also realize I'll never use that phrase to describe anyone I care for. You see I decided that bad weeds grow in spite of having any nurturing or feeding. They grow without water and without care. They grow fast and furious. And unfortunately, they grow wild and ugly.
How easy this is to compare to children. Children who are nurtured and cared for are often more naÃ¯ve and innocent. They will generally be younger looking and kinder to others. However, children left to themselves, made to survive alone in this world, tend to grow up quickly. They become street smart and world wise. They tend to look older than their years and generally develop bad habits quite young. Just like good grass and domesticated animals, children need years of tender loving care. They need to be well nourished physically, mentally and spiritually. Just like grass in the middle of summer, a child who isn't well cared for and fed will either wither and die or become a weed.
A similar phenomenon is true of our spiritual lives. Without regular prayer, study and devotion our spirits will either wither and die or turn into a weed. As a weed, we might grow, but we'll grow fast and furious. As the Bible says, we'll become puffed up with our knowledge (or lack of it) and be obnoxious Christians. Just like those weeds in our yard that are much bigger and tougher than the grass, we'll think we're better than our well fed friends (especially when they're going through a dry spell). Unfortunately, the Bible says if we allow ourselves to be weeds, we'll only be good for stubble for the fire.
It's imperative that we grow, but it's even more important that we grow properly. If you aren't growing, you're probably dying. Unless you're growing like a bad weed!
How Often Do You Lead Devotions for Your Group or Meeting?
© 2009 Lynne Modranski