Short Readings to Inspire Your Walk With Christ
Something to get you thinking
I have a purpose . . . God has a plan.
He has placed in me this strong desire to help people become all they were created to be in Christ Jesus. To that end, I write . . . a lot. I feel inspired, and I just can't keep it to myself.
So, below you'll find several short devotional readings to help you focus on Christ and move you closer to becoming all you can be. If you'd like short words of inspiration like this delivered right to your inbox every couple of weeks, just send me a message and I'll get you added to the list!
Meanwhile, you'll find devotion readings below entitled:
- What Next?
- The Breath of God
- Perfect Peace
- Making Deals with God
- God is Not Slow
- More Than you Think I Am
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him,
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
What next? That’s the question ‘most everyone always asks. There are so many opinions of what God should or will do, and most are based on snippets of scripture rather than the broadness of the whole book. They are narrow questions like the one the crowd asked Jesus in Acts 1:6.
So many folks ask me about Revelation. When will it happen? Will Jesus take us before the tribulation? Others want to know what God has in store for them in the future. Where will I be in ten years? Do you think Christ wants me to be a missionary?
I think our Creator answered all of those questions in Acts. It’s not for us to know the times or dates or even the exact details. Our job is to rest in the power of the Holy Spirit, to go out in that Spirit and be witnesses to all that Jesus has done in our lives.
There will be a handful that our Heavenly Father gives a few more particulars. Ananias was told that Saul was chosen to proclaim Christ to the Gentiles, and he passed that knowledge along to the apostle. But Ananias himself didn’t get the word that he should go heal Saul until it was time to leave.
Peter didn’t know he was supposed to go talk to the centurion until the servant arrived at his doorstep. Philip wasn’t given a heads up that he would meet an Ethiopian and then be air-lifted to Azotus. However, Ananias, Peter and Philip were each prepared to be our Savior’s witnesses. All three were ready to hear the Holy Spirit and were open to let the Spirit’s power work in them.
These verses made me evaluate my own questions. Do I wonder about the “what next” more than “What do I see Christ doing in my life today that I can share with someone tomorrow”? Do I look for answers to what the future holds more than I seek the power of the Holy Spirit? I want to make sure that I am not concerned about my preconceived notions of what I think God should do. Instead I want to focus on the here and now. Like Peter and Philip, I want to pay attention to how I can show Jesus to the man at the door or the guy sitting by the lake reading a book. I want to go out in the power of the Spirit and be His witness in my home town, my nation and maybe, if He takes me . . . to the ends of the earth.
The Breath of God
All Scripture is God-breathed
and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness
2 Timothy 3:16
Last week as I was driving, I went around a turn just a bit too fast. My passenger said, “You’re gonna scare me to death.” We laughed for a second, and then I began to think about that phrase. You see, my companion was elderly with severe dementia and a heart that is visibly weaker every day. It didn’t take long for my brain to think, “Oh my goodness, I could scare you to death!” That’s obviously something one doesn’t say out loud, but it made me wonder about a lot of the phrases we say every day.
There are so many phrases that come out of our mouths that we really don’t think about. We tell children who are making a terrible face that it will get stuck like that. I’ve heard several people tell me they were starving just this week. We call people back seat drivers and we tell actors to break a leg. According to yourdictionary.com figurative is “something that is not to be taken literally.” We use idioms, figurative language and exaggerations so often it made me wonder how often we read the Bible like it’s one long figurative speech.
How would our spiritual eyes be opened if we read every word as if it was meant to be taken literally, as much of it was intended? Even the figurative language of scripture has much more literal meaning than our flippant use of the phrase, “I’m starving” when we really mean, “I need to go get something to eat.”
We read verses like Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love,” in general terms. Seldom do we take that short phrase personally. And we often quote Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God,” in the midst of our rushing around. But how often do we read that verse and simply sit for a mere five minutes allowing God to be God?
Take your favorite piece of scripture. Remember the reason it touched you. Do you still recite it with the same passion you had when it became your favorite verse?
My life verse is Romans 8:28, “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” In order for me to keep it real, I’ve paraphrased it. This single verse has given me the courage to step out on faith when I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to complete the task. It has allowed me to quit beating myself up when I don’t quite live up to my own expectations. My paraphrase is, “I cannot mess up anything so bad that God can’t make something good out of it as long as I am doing it out of love for Him and I’ve made sure He’s called me to that purpose.” I’ve memorized the complete Biblical version, but my personal paraphrase allows me to make it my own, it becomes active and powerful in my life rather than just another catchy memory verse.
My speedy turn made me want to examine how I look at every verse of scripture, not just my favorite verse. I want to be sure I’m not skimming over or making assumptions about any Word my Father has spoken. I pray as we read His love letter we’ll remember that every line was inspired by the Creator and Master of the Universe. Every “dot and tittle” deserves our full attention because it is the very breath of God.
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
At the beginning of 2015 I sensed God asking me to read His Word all the way through twice in this calendar year. I’ve read it from front to back almost every year since 1988, but for some reason this year I felt as though I should up my schedule to read it through twice. I got off to a pretty good start, but in March, life happened. My mother-in-law moved in and required a bit of care. Despite my change in schedule, I was still on pace to reach my reading goal.
But at the end of April, everything changed. Mom fell and I was spending nights in the hospital awake so she didn’t pull out any tubes. With about 8-10 hours of sleep every 48, my Bible reading plan went out the window. I tried reading while sitting in the hospital, but by the end of the first week I was lucky if my brain could focus on playing Angry Birds to keep me awake. I managed to read something every day, but I knew I would be pushing it to even get through the entire book in a year.
After a few weeks of beating myself up for not being able to reach my goal, I realized I was being pretty Pharisaical with my plan. The truth is God cares more about my relationship with Him than whether or not I turn the pages in a book for the sake of counting the pages. So, I abandoned my goal, covenanted to read my Savior’s Word every day regardless of how tired I was and absorb as much of God’s truth as possible so I can grow in my relationship with Him. I felt so blessed and loved as I reached that decision.
Finally, in June we made it home. After getting settled in, I kept feeling this nudge that I needed to resume my Bible reading plan. I was just barely through the Old Testament and couldn’t see how I could possibly get back on track to read the entire book through twice in one year. But after some prayer, I was pretty sure it was God’s idea, so I got back at it. I made a commitment to God to do my best, and Jesus opened up time for me to read His Word and I’m on track to finish the entire Bible through by the end of November.
The reason I’m sharing this story is because it’s been a life saver for me. I am not a natural care-giver. Plus, I have really gotten used to my quiet house with time to write and study uninterrupted. All of that changed in March, and even more drastically when we came home from the hospital in June. My schedule is not my own, but all of the change and living outside of my element that would normally have caused me to be anxious and extremely depressed have not been able to get to me.
I believe that because God gave me this passion to read His Word more, He has also used that same Word to keep my mind “steadfast” and give me peace beyond understanding. So I write today to encourage you to read the Word of God as much as possible. Christ might not call you to read it through twice in a year, or even once! I heard a speaker say once he had read the entire Book all the way through once every three months since it’s really not any longer than a couple of large novels. Whatever your scripture reading habits, if you are looking for more peace, I encourage you to look in those pages so that the “peace of God which goes beyond all understanding can guard your mind and heart.”
Making Deals with God
When Jephthah returned home . . . his daughter came out to meet him dancing . . . When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried . . . “because I have made a vow to the Lord that I cannot break.”
For many years I struggled with this story from the Bible. How could the God that I know and serve, that I love with all of my heart, ask a man to sacrifice his daughter as payment for helping him defeat his enemies? Why would God accept such a deal? Sometimes as I read that part of Judges on my way through the Bible, I almost ignored chapter 11 because I’d rather those difficult verses didn’t exist.
If you’ve never read (or paid attention to) the story of Jephthah the judge, I encourage you to take some time to read this short chapter. It’s difficult to hear about the young teen/pre-teen who runs out of the house excited to greet her successful warrior father. So many questions run through my mind including, “Why would you make such a promise to God when you only have one daughter?”
And that is the question that finally helped me with my struggle. Why do we try to make deals with God? You see, God did not ask Jephthah to give up his only daughter in exchange for winning the war. I’m guessing it was always God’s intention for the nation of Israel to win that battle. To change that plan even to avoid the death of Jephthah’s daughter would not have played into God’s bigger picture. By the time we get that far into Judges, we discover that the nation was on a downhill spiral. Every judge was just a little further away from truly following God, and Jephthah is near the end of the succession.
Jephthah’s promise reminded me of all the noble promises people make every day with their Creator. “If you will ____________, I will do this for you.” But God doesn’t make deals. He only has one “deal,” and He repeats it throughout scripture in a variety of ways. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” “If you will follow me with all your heart as David did, I will bless you.” “If my people . . . will . . . pray . . . I will hear from heaven.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) God doesn’t want our hollow sacrifices, He wants our love and obedience. Since the Garden of Eden, the only thing our Maker has ever wanted from anyone was authentic, obedient relationship. He doesn’t need us to come up with our own deals. If we simply take the one He’s already made, that will be enough.
I admire Jephthah’s willingness to keep his vow to Jehovah even when his heart was breaking. If we’re going to make promises to the Almighty, we’d better be prepared to back them up. However, I hope I can just walk in His will, be His friend and trust that He will always do what’s best for me deal or no deal.
God is Not Slow
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.
He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9
Today my internet is just barely working. Because I work from my living room and live out in the country, I have a hotspot rather than a traditional broadband connection. Generally it works quite adequately (although I wouldn’t mind having enough bandwidth and usage to get Netflix), but today I’m feeling frustrated because I have to reload pages several times before they finally come up (and one particular page I’ve refreshed numerous times and still can’t get to my destination page.) I’ve even restarted my computer and hotspot! As I sit here become more and more irked, I’m reminded of the patience of our heavenly Father.
Peter reminds us that God is patient. And His patience is so much greater than ours that Peter says, “God isn’t slow as some of you might think, he’s just patient.” We want things to happen now, and a lot of the stuff we think should occur immediately has no Kingdom value. God, on the other hand, only worries about that which has Kingdom value, and His only concern is that it happens before the end. As Christians, God’s concerns should be our concerns. So, if God’s primary concern is that none should perish, then that should be our primary concern.
So as I sit here, looking up scripture in my Bible instead of online (the luxury of which I’ve come to truly enjoy), I have to wonder if my priorities are the same as God’s priorities. I quickly become impatient when I can’t request my prescription refills online so they’ll be ready for me to pick up because I don’t want to wait on them when I get there.
All my waiting this morning made me think about what my life would be like if God didn’t wait on me. What if He hadn’t given me more than one chance to come to Him when He called? How would my life be different if He hadn’t been patient when I was slow to grow or understand His Word? On more than one occasion I’ve had an “aha” moment and realized that the lesson I’d learned was one that God had been speaking to me over and over again.
So I have to ask myself, “Do I show others the same patience that my Heavenly Father has shown me?” Am I more concerned about the things of the Kingdom of God than I am about the speed of my internet connection? Christ isn’t slow in keeping His promises. He has shown me an abundance of love, kindness and patience. I pray I can pass on His goodness to others so they too can know the beautiful patience of the one who loves us more than we can imagine.
More Than You Think I Am
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
I don’t know about you, but God speaks to me a lot through songs. I will find myself with this song stuck in my head, sometimes for weeks! And when that happens, I generally find that God is attempting to use that song to send me a message.
The most recent tune I’ve found myself humming even when the radio is off, is by Danny Gokey. For days it has been rattling around in my brain. And it seems as though every time I do turn the radio on, it’s these lyrics I hear. The song is called, “More Than You Think I Am.” Here’s the chorus:
I'm more than you dream More than you understand
Good days and good times, We're destined for our dance
I catch all your tears, Burn your name on my arm
Be still and trust my plan. I'm more than you think I am
Now, you might wonder why that song spoke to me so much this week. In fact, when it first was stuck in my head, those two verses I mentioned at the top immediately came to mind. I KNOW that God is bigger, higher, stronger, kinder, more loving, more merciful, more everything! I believe that with my Sovereign Father nothing is impossible. I’ve seen folks put God in a box, and I don’t ever want to be one of those people who try to make the Omnipotent fit my own little perspective.
Yet, in the midst of my view of a limitless and omniscient Creator, I found myself becoming excited to realize that God is even more than I think He is.
As Christians who walk with Christ and are trying to grow in Him, I believe it’s vital that we never close our mind to the magnificence of the Holy Trinity. Even the knowledge that God is ultimately in control and everything is subject to His timing and His plan can become a “comfort zone,” a place with walls that are made up of our understanding. How many, like me, become so confident in the Almighty and his limitlessness, that we forget there is more to Him.
As much as I’ve seen God create, work and do . . . there is more.
As much as I’ve felt the saving love, mercy and grace of Jesus Christ . . . there is more.
As much as I have experienced the beauty and majesty of the gift of the Holy Spirit . . . there is more.
God took the time to remind me this week that no matter how close I get to Him, no matter how wide I open the doors of my belief to allow His greatness to enter my life, there will always be more. And until that day when I sit at Jesus’ feet in Heaven singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” with all the saints, finally able to look at the face of Abba, this truth will remain. My Savior and my King will continually be able to tell me, “You think this is great! You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I’m More Than You Think I Am.”
More Devotional Readings
- More Readings to Inspire Your Day
Devotions are an important part of every Christian's day! They can help us stay focused on Christ and keep us on the path that we know leads to success!
- More Devotional Readings from the Old Testament
The Old Testament offers so many rich lessons. Here are five to get you started.
© 2015 Lynne Modranski