Inspiration for your Christian Walk
Inspired by Scripture
As I read scripture, I'm often inspired. I hear, or perhaps sense is the better word, God telling me things . . . things about myself, things that encourage me to become the best ME I can be!
And most times, I really feel like sharing my thoughts with the world. I'm really blessed at the response I get! I love hearing from those who read. So, feel free to leave your thoughts below or send me a message or a tweet (@RLModranski).
These are the most recent devotions, but look around because there are more than a dozen more pages with readings like this. I pray you are inspired in your walk with Christ!
Below you'll find these devotion readings:
- A New Definition of Wicked
- Buzzards, Blue Jay, Bullies and Bad Guys
- I am Weak, but He is Strong
- A Lesson From the Kings
- A New Year - A New You
A New Definition of Wicked
23 Search me, O God,
and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24 (KJV)
There are more than a few hymns and choruses written around these two short verses. Most of us know them by heart, we even know they’re found in the Psalms even if we aren’t sure the exact reference. But sometimes I wonder if Christians read this verse too passively.
I like to pray the Psalms, I often reword them as I read to make them personal. This one needs very little transcribing, “Search me, Lord, You know my heart; test me, Father, You know my thoughts; Look deep within and see if there is any wickedness in me, and lead me according to Your way, the way that leads to eternal life.”
But as I looked at these verses this morning, I wondered, “Do I really want my Creator to test me?”
I’ve read about those tests, and I’m afraid I’d fail! Job’s test . . . Peter’s test . . . Paul’s test. None of those seem like much fun. Have you heard the old saying, “Be careful what you pray for.”?
And verse twenty four brings it all together, “see if there be any wicked way in me.” Most of us who’ve been good rule followers all of our lives, don’t really relate to the “wicked” part of that verse. We’ve been taught about wicked. We’ve been avoiding wicked since we were old enough to understand what it means.
But if Isaiah is right, and I always assume he is, and all of my righteousness looks like dirty rags to God, then perhaps I need to take a new look at wickedness. The NIV translates that word offensive, and the NASB says hurtful. The Hebrew lexicon describes the word the KJV uses for wicked as something that causes pain.
No matter which definition we use, most of us work hard at not being offensive or hurtful. We truly try to live in such a way we don’t cause anyone pain. So again, it becomes easy to pray these words and move on.
But as we get closer to Good Friday, it might do us well to ask if we’ve caused our Heavenly Father any pain. Have I been offensive to the One who gave me life? Compared to humans, I’m definitely not wicked, but compared to the perfection of Christ . . .
Yeah . . . me too . . .
I’ve discovered I cannot appreciate the sacrifice Christ made on my behalf until I realize I wasn’t worth dying for. God didn’t show me this to make me feel shame or beat myself up. He knew It’s only when I begin to see the “wicked way in me” the blood of Jesus can truly make me clean and set me free! It’s only through the discovery of what’s wicked that we can turn from it and set our feet firmly on the path of Christ, the path of everlasting life.
Buzzards, Blue Jays, Bullies and Bad Guys
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
2 For in the same way you judge others,
you will be judged, and with the measure you use,
it will be measured to you.”
I am often amazed at the way God teaches me about myself. For instance a few weeks ago I was driving and saw a red-tailed hawk on top of a pole. I wished it was flying; they’re so majestic! It wasn’t even two miles later when I saw another large bird hanging in the wind. Straining to see, I wondered, “Could it be another hawk . . . maybe an eagle?” I hoped it was an eagle! These great American icons have been spotted in our area, but I have yet to see one soaring.
As I got closer, I realized it was a buzzard, and I felt my heart sink just a little as I thought, “Just a buzzard.” Almost immediately this conversation began in my mind:
“How can you think just a buzzard? It’s a creation of God. You thought it was cool hanging there on the breeze until you found out it was a buzzard.”
“I’m not sure why buzzards disappoint me. Maybe because I see them every day. Maybe it’s their small heads compared to their body. It could be because their feathers are always so scraggly or because I always see them sitting by the road scarfing dead carcasses.”
I started thinking about which birds I “respect” and which I don’t. I know what you’re thinking, “They’re just birds!” But truth be told, I love to see humming birds, eagles, hawks and small song birds. Canadian geese I think of as dirty, and Blue Jays are bullies. I’m thrilled when I see Pileated Red-Headed Woodpeckers outside my house, but I find myself so much less intrigued by the brown variety I can’t even tell you what kind he is. And as I write this, I cannot wait to see a Robin!
But all these revelations made me wonder, “Do I categorize people like I do buzzards . . . ?”
Don’t get me wrong, I have no biases about age, race, handicap or gender. But if I’m honest I judge people like I judge birds. I think less of people who look “scraggly.” What’s scraggly you ask . . . You know, dirt that was not acquired through a hard day’s work, but instead through lack of a bar of soap, with clothes that look like they haven’t had a bath recently either. Hopefully I don’t treat them badly, I try to still smile and speak, but I know my opinion of them is like the buzzard. It’s not that I dislike a buzzard, but it’s just not appealing to me, I want to see an eagle or a hawk.
The same thing happens when I see a bully or someone I deem perfectly healthy begging. I have to remind myself these people are created by and in the image of my heavenly Father. When I forget that simple truth, I find myself judging.
That lonely buzzard taught me a lot about myself. I want to see everyone as a creation of the Almighty, appreciate even the “buzzards” of the world as beautiful images of my Savior. I’ve been taught social graces, so I can be polite no matter what I think, but I want my thoughts to line up with my actions. When I am kind, I want my thoughts to be kind too. Truthfully, I wish I could get to the point where I don’t even notice idiosyncrasies, but I know it will only be through the Holy Spirit molding me that will happen. And until then, I’ll still try to always be kind . . . and I’ll never look at buzzards the same way again.
I am Weak, but He is Strong
3 For what the law was powerless to do
because it was weakened by the flesh,
by sending his own Son
in the likeness of sinful flesh
to be a sin offering.
I’m reading devotions from sermons written by John Wesley this year. He pointed out once again no one can be saved by following the law. The law, even the New Testament, no matter how closely we adhere to it, will not make a place for us in the Kingdom of Heaven. For many that’s a truth that’s hard to swallow.
But Mr. Wesley’s words reminded me of another truth. Like the law, I cannot save anyone. Like the law I am powerless. No matter how closely someone follows me, I cannot guarantee them a home with my Heavenly Father.
Sometimes I need reminded of that little truth. Too often I invest a lot of time and energy into a person. I build a relationship, study scripture with them, pray with and for them, and then I find myself disappointed when they either don’t accept Christ or grow as quickly as I think they should. It’s that feeling of disappointment that reminds me I am not a savior.
Paul said the law showed him what sin is, but it could not provide deliverance. Preachers, teachers and every other human are exactly the same. We can reveal sin and bestow knowledge of sin, but only the Trinity can give deliverance from sin. When we cling to a human, assuming he or she will get us in good with the Father, it’s as if we’re holding on to the law for salvation.
The law is powerless, and I am too. Remembering that tidbit as I try to help others accept Christ as their sin offering is not only refreshing, it’s freeing. Like the law, I am weak, but that’s OK, because as the old familiar song says, “He is strong.”
A Book with 40 More Devotions
This book includes more than forty devotions to help inspire your day. I love how God uses everyday circumstances to teach me lessons. This book includes many of those life lessons that will help us as we grow in Christ.
A Lesson from The Kings
[King Rehoboam] did evil
because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.
2 Chronicles 12:14
The Israelites were subdued on that occasion,
and the people of Judah were victorious
because they relied on the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
2 Chronicles 13:18
Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. . . .
and the kingdom was at peace under him.
2 Chronicles 14:2-5
I think the kings of Judah did a good job answering the question, “How important is it to have your life centered on God?” I’m amazed at how obvious it seems. How could those “evil” kings have strayed so far when the consequences were so clear? It makes me wonder if the need for the Creator was as evident as they were living through it.
I love the quote from Edmund Burke, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” Those Judean kings prove he was right. Plus they give us a lot of life lessons if we are willing to learn from their history.
Rehoboam’s main problem was he didn’t have his heart set on seeking the Lord. When you read his story, you’ll discover that wasn’t his only problem, just the root. But his story begs the question, “Is my heart set on seeking the Lord?” Abijah, the king from 2 Chronicles 13 and Asa, should inspire us to reflect, “Do I rely on the Lord? Am I doing what is good and right in the eyes of the King of kings?”
So often I encounter folks who don’t understand why life is dealing them such a lousy hand. Yes, there are times, like the better kings of Judah, we will follow Jesus, truly rely on Him and still life doesn’t go right; however, too often the answer to our problems is found in the history of the Judean monarchy.
We cannot expect the blessings of our heavenly Father to be poured out on us when we aren’t living a life worthy of a Savior who gave His life for us. Hebrews explains this tactic is kin to crucifying Christ all over again.
Let’s take a lesson from Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa and their descendants. Two of my favorites are Josiah and Joash (2 Chronicles 35 and 18 respectively). Go ahead, check them out! These kings can help us discover the secret to subduing our enemies and finding real peace. We find the truth in the words of Moses, “Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
A New Year - A New You
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:
The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
Recently when I was praying, thinking about these verses, I wondered “Am I in the market for a rebuild or a remodel?” Let’s face it, when we’re thinking about giving our home a new look, it’s much easier to slap on a coat of paint and replace the carpet than tear the thing down and start over. From the world’s standpoint it doesn’t make much sense to rebuild when the structure appears to be just fine.
But when it comes to the human condition, Jesus says He wants a rebuild. Take it all down and put up something new. And the truth is that right there is a scary thought!
Even if we don’t like all we’ve become, there are often parts we’d like to hold on to. We try to convince Jesus we just need a new wing, not a whole new building. The electrical system is fine, let’s just put in new cabinets and flooring. But Jesus is the contractor who does all or nothing.
That’s not to say He sometimes doesn’t use the old to form the new. Churches often take the stained glass windows from century old buildings when they put up something more modern. Likewise, Jesus might choose to save the most beautiful parts of us when His Spirit molds us. Our dilemma arises when we discover if we want the rebuild, we don’t get a say in which parts are remade and which are discarded.
As we begin the New Year many of us will be making resolutions. “A New Year, a New You” is a popular theme. We’re sure we’re going to do it better this time! I’m wondering how often we forget to ask the Master Carpenter what His blueprints look like in this time of renewal.
Remember, Jesus isn’t looking for the new, improved you. He doesn’t need the recently remodeled, updated version. Our Savior is waiting for the willing you, the broken, but eager to be rebuilt, humbled you. And as He begins making everything new, you’ll begin to know the peace that comes from not doing it yourself. Let’s give up the do-it-yourself resolutions and let Christ make us new creations this year.