Inspiration for Your Devotional Time
A time set aside for Jesus may be one of the most important moments that a Christian has every day. Some prefer to spend those minutes in the morning while others take time before bed or during lunch. The time on the clock isn't nearly as vital as the quality of the time we spend.
Below you'll find a few devotional readings to jump start your quiet time. Based on Scripture, these short meditations will give you something to think about, focus on in your prayer time and take with you throughout your day. I pray each one will give you the inspiration you need.
Devotions on this Page:
- God Builds the Best Fires
- It's a Pride Thing
- The Burden of the Old Covenant
- God Wants to Give Us Good Gifts
- Are You Wrestling with God
God Builds the Best Fires
some of you want to light your own fires
and make your own light.
So, go, walk in the light of your fires,
and trust your own light to guide you.
But this is what you will receive from me:
You will lie down in a place of pain.
As I read these verses I was forced to ask myself "Do I light my own fires and brighten my own path?" If I am honest, I must say, “Yes, sometimes I do." And while I am so much better than I once was, my strong, stubborn, independent flesh prefers to take the lead and run ahead of God more often than I'd like to admit.
If you stop and think about it from a human perspective, we have to ask, “What is the problem with me lighting my own fire?” And even in Isaiah's day, they probably wondered, "how could something as simple as lighting a torch to find your way in the darkness be a bad thing?" Obviously, God wants to take care of every detail of our life.
So many times I forge ahead on my own. I seldom think to ask my heavenly Father's opinion about what to have for dinner or which route to take to get to church; I do these things every day. I don't need to bother a very busy omnipotent Creator with these mundane details. Do I?
Isaiah seems to think I do.
I don't want to get legalistic about how or when to pray, but if we want to avoid the pain and torment that comes from self-reliance, it appears as though we need a heart that is willing to submit to the Savior on the most basic level. I have enough hardship in my life. Some is caused by those around me, other comes at the hand of my enemy, and still more is the result of my sin. To think I pile more on simply because I don't trust God with the smallest detail is pure foolishness on my part.
Years ago I started praying for "holes" on the highway. That is what I call large gaps between semis. Especially when I am entering a major roadway by way of a ramp, I pray for the space to get on. And amazingly enough, it happens. I've known for a long time that God wants to take care of the smallest detail in my life.
What I didn't realize is this thing Isaiah revealed to me today. When I choose to take care of those things without consulting my Heavenly Father first, I set myself up for pain. So from this day forward I plan to give God the matches. He can take care of the fires. I want Him to light my way and make the final decision regarding the tiniest detail. Because with God in charge, when I lie down, I can truly rest!
10 More Devotions
- Short Readings to Inspire Your Walk with Christ
In order to truly grow in Christ, we must stay in His Word and consider how it applies personally. Here are a few readings to help with just that!
- Short Readings to Move You Closer to Christ
Devotions are a great way to start or end your day. For your meetings, small groups or just to grow as a Christian, devotions can help meet your goals.
It's a Pride Thing
. . . Forgive me for my secret sins. Keep me from the sins of pride; . . .
Psalm 19:12-13 (NCV)
The secret sins, the sins of pride, these are the things that plague a Christian the most I think. Let’s face it, most of us who have given our lives to Jesus Christ manage to keep the adultery, murder and stealing at bay. Even our lying generally subsides the more we get to know Jesus. We seem to be able to recognize idol worship, and using God’s name in vain makes us feel shame. Some who are reading this even return pens to banks after realizing they’re stolen and many have learned to be content in Christ enough that we don’t need to covet.
Even the most righteous, however, can generally relate to David’s struggle. It’s the “secret sins,” the sins of pride that I deal with the most. My own personal list looks something like this:
- I have to do it myself so it’s done correctly.
- I wonder what she will think about that.
- I hope I don’t make a fool of myself.
- It’s gonna be a bad hair day.
- I really want to be the best.
Your list may look similar to mine, or it could be completely different; but if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit pride is something most people deal with every day. Not getting assistance because we are confident no one can do it as well as we can and thinking less of others are sins of pride that we generally recognize with ease. It seems evident that whenever we neglect to look at someone else through the eyes of God and think more of ourselves than others, we are dealing with pride issues.
On the other hand, even though we think of it being a problem of narcissism, pride also comes in the form of low self-esteem. When we worry about what other people think or dwell on our shortcomings, we forget that God’s opinion is the only one that matters. He created us this way. If we never volunteer, but wait to be asked because we don’t want to appear too prideful, that’s generally not a sign of humility, it means we aren’t listening to God’s call, and we’re more worried about appearances than what God’s will for our lives might be. Sins of pride happen anytime we don’t look at ourselves through God’s eyes as well.
Over the last few years I’ve begun to be more aware of my sins of pride and when I read this verse in the New Century Version recently, it reminded me to take inventory of them again. Just being aware of the problem has helped me turn those thoughts above around, so often they sound more like this:
- I wonder who God is calling to help with this task.
- I wonder what God thinks about this.
- I’m having fun in Christ today.
- I’m glad God doesn’t care what my hair looks like.
- I really want to do my best for Christ.
You’ll notice some of the statements didn’t even change that drastically. That’s because sins of pride just need refocused. That’s why they are some of the “secret sins,” because usually they are so innocent that we don’t even see the problem ourselves. But I don’t want anything coming between me and Jesus. So as Christ reveals to me my “secret sins,” and my sins of pride, I try to ask Him how they need adjusted so I can look at myself through the eyes of God instead of the eyes of humanity . . . even my own.
Because as David reminds us, when we are free of the secret sins, then we are pure and innocent. We are blameless and free from even the greatest transgressions when we are free from the sins of pride.
The Burden of the Old Covenant
1 Chronicles 15:15
15 And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders,
as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.
I highlighted this verse in my Bible today. As I read it I imagined four men carrying a 4.5 x 2 x 2 foot wooden box covered with gold. According to a paper I found by Elihu Schatz, it’s estimated that this Holy box with two angels on the lid weighed more than 180 pounds.
Here in Chronicles, the four Levites are simply carrying the Ark a relatively short distance to the tent King David had put up for the Ark in Jerusalem. But this verse reminded me that this same tribe carried this heavy box around on their shoulders for nearly 40 years. That’s a lot of weight to carry.
My immediate thought was, “The Old Covenant has always been a burden.” The Ark was the symbol of God’s covenant with His chosen people. They stored Aaron’s rod and the tablets with the Ten Commandments in there. The Ark represented God’s presence, and the people of Israel revered it. But just like the covenant it represented, the 180 pound box was a burden to those Levites in charge of protecting and transporting it to the next location.
The Old Covenant was based on rules. Obedience was the key to salvation, and although God made it clear on more than one occasion that He was more concerned with the condition of the heart than the worth of the sacrifice, few of the people of Israel seemed to be able to live up to either.
The weight of the Ark of the Covenant is in deep contrast to the freedom that Christ promised. Romans 8:21 says that we were “liberated from sin’s bondage and brought into the freedom and glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 tells us that “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” In Galatians Paul says that we are children of the free woman instead of the slave. And John tells us that the “truth will set us free” and if the “Son sets us free, we are free indeed.”
The Ten Commandments and the Old Covenant never promised freedom, but Christ did. His death on the cross and His resurrection unleashed the Holy Spirit. He removed the burden of the Old Covenant. He lifted the weight of the Ark of the Covenant.
Because of these great promises, I am really saddened when I hear folks talk about what they “have” to do. Some people who feel like they “have” to go to church because it’s the right thing to do. Others “have” to be nice or do the right thing. These people have the poles of the Ark on their shoulders. They live under the weight of the rules instead of the freedom of the relationship.
Unfortunately, most of us pick up the Ark from time to time. Every now and then each of us worries more about what others want us to do than what God does. There are things we are confident we are “supposed” to do, and these obligations keep us from the openness and beauty of living in the freedom of Christ. “Supposed to” and “have to” become the Ark, the weight that hangs around a Christian’s neck.
It’s time to drop the Ark of the Old Covenant and pick up the Promise of the New Covenant. Jesus said that His yoke was easy and His burden was light. Let’s not allow the burden of the rules weigh us down.
Lynne Preaches from Time to Time Too!
God Wants to Give Us Good Gifts
2 Samuel 11 & 12
Last week I once again read the telling of King David's most heinous crime. 2 Samuel 11 and 12 tell the story of the king taking Uriah's wife and then his life, followed by Nathan calling him out on it. In every study and sermon I've heard on this passage, we've talked about David not being where he needed to be as well as his repentant heart. This time as I read it, the end of chapter 12 verse 8 stuck out at me. And to drive the point home, the verse was a key point in a book I'm reading now, Getting Up by Ashley Jensen.
Nathan shares God's message with David, " . . . I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more." God was willing to give David even more. The great king already had a palace and many wives. He was already the sovereign ruler of two kingdoms and had the respect of the entire nation. But God was willing to give him more. It sounds like all David would have had to do is ask.
I am not into prosperity preaching. I don't believe that the Almighty is a larger than life Santa just waiting to grant the wishes of His favorite children. However, I do think this verse combined with a few other pieces scripture give us a clue to God pouring out His blessing.
"If all of this had been too little" . . . Seriously, what more could David had wanted? He had everything! But much like humans in the 21st Century, the more he had, the more the great king wanted. With more wives and concubines than any one man needs (even during Old Testament times), David doesn't seem a likely candidate for taking someone else's wife, but he did.
And we're like that . . . we have plenty of food, but we want more. We have a nice house, but we want a bigger or better one. We have a car that runs, but we'd like something newer. David's problem wasn't that he had too little, it was that his priorities had gotten hijacked. Psalm 37:4 says "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of you heart." (NIV) Between Nathan's words to David (I would have given you even more) and this verse written by the King himself, it's no wonder we get confused about God's "giving" techniques.
One Summer God sent me to Psalm 37:4 every day. Each morning during my prayer time I felt called to meditate on these few simple words. I prayed them and considered them. I weighed each word and pondered every scenario. By the end of the Summer, I realized that if I have honestly delighted myself in the Lord, He will place in my heart the desires that will truly make me happiest and then He will fulfill those desires because they are exactly what He wants to give me.
King David's problem was that He was delighting himself in the scenery from his roof. Many years previous, before he was king, the young David delighted in the Lord. When he was out in the field watching his father's sheep with nothing but his harp and a slingshot, this young man had a heart for God, a heart that delighted in his Creator. And this delightment led to a kingship, which he obviously allowed to go to his head for a short time.
God wants to give me good things. Over and over the Bible tells me this. Matthew 7:11 reminds me that He wants to give me good gifts even more than my earthly father. 1 John says to ask for anything and James says that I don't have because I don't ask. But James goes on to say that I don't have because my motives in my asking are wrong. In other words, I've not delighted myself in the Lord.
Maybe David asked God for Bathsheba. Maybe after he got her he thought God had answered his prayer. How often do we do that? We ask God for something and then work it out so we can get it for ourselves. We put something on a credit card or borrow more money than we can afford and then justify it by saying God wanted us to have it. It's such an easy trap to fall into. It's one I've learned over the years to avoid (not always, but much more often than when I was younger).
The truth is we humans can all relate to King David. Hopefully we haven't killed anyone to get our own way, but I'm pretty sure those last three Oreos I just ate qualify as taking something I didn't need just to satisfy my own human desires. Yep, I'm positive they weren't a gift from my heavenly Father.
I don't always get it right, but I think that the prose I composed on Sunday during my worship time just about cover the attitude Christ wants us to have so that we can be in a place to receive any blessing He might be thinking about pouring out on us. I invite you to visit my blog at the link below to read that poem.
Are You Wrestling With God?
24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak . . . 29 then he blessed Jacob there.
I’ve noticed that there are a lot of folks inside and outside of the church who are under the impression they can’t question God or ask Him “why?” Many think that God won’t love them if they don’t just accept Him without reservation. It’s especially difficult for them when they see people who have grown strong in the faith, people who seem to take God at face value. Little do they know that most people who appear to have the strongest faith have, in fact, “wrestled” with God on more than one occasion.
As I read Genesis again this week, I considered the story of Jacob. Here’s a man that had left home more than 20 years before this particular point in his life. He’d promised God when he left that if God took care of him and brought Him home safely, then the God of his fathers would be “his God.” In this spot of Genesis 32, we find Jacob ready to cross the river to return home. He’s only a day away from being once again at that spot where he’d made his “deal” with God. The two things I love about this story are what I can learn about making deals with God and how God feels about my wrestling with Him.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate of making rash deals with God. In fact when I read the story of Jephthah in Judges 11, I’m pretty sure that most deals aren’t really God’s idea. However, there is obviously one deal that God truly wants us to make with Him. I call it Jacob’s deal. God doesn’t expect us to follow Him blindly. I really think when we say to God, “God, I’d really like to know you really are who you say you are before I follow you with all that I have,” God is okay with it. He’d rather us believe Him because He’s proven to be true than to follow blindly anything that the neighbor calls a god. After all, just believing what the guy next door believed got the Israelites into a lot of trouble over the years.
And it’s good for folks to know that sometimes, and maybe more than sometimes, learning to trust God whole heartedly is a struggle. Moses struggled and David struggled. Thomas and Paul struggled. Jacob’s story of struggle is such a beautiful example of how each of us comes to know God. Oh, we might each discover the truth of God’s word by different means, but the bottom line is, that to truly follow our Creator, we’ve all struggled a bit. Each of us have to come to that place next to the river. We’re about to cross over to something that scares us a bit, but it’s a place we know we have to go, and we struggle. Everyone who is really seriously in love with Christ has wrestled just a bit with giving up our own ideas and strength to follow God’s bigger and better plan. And most of us, like Jacob, come away a little broken, but tremendously blessed; so blessed indeed that we don’t even notice the brokenness.
If you’ve never wrestled or struggled with the Sovereign Lord, those of us who have want you to know it’s alright. Go ahead and tell God what you think, give yourself permission to touch the Living God and see His face like Jacob did. And if you have indeed wrestled with your Heavenly Father, please be sure to tell the world. Show them your broken places and tell them how you’ve been blessed. Help others to enjoy the pleasure of wrestling with God.
More Devotion Readings
- Devotions Inspired by the Book of Jonah
Jonah's story is one of the most well known books of the Bible. Here you'll find some short readings inspired by Jonah's adventure.
- Devotional Readings from the New Testament
The Bible provides an unlimited number of lessons. These devotional readings use New Testament passages to inspire us.
How do you use Devotion Readings?
With a group, personal use or something else?
© 2015 Lynne Modranski