Short Devotional for Women:
Why do I need so much encouragement to become the Christian I aspire to be?
This question plagues me often. It seems like I can never do enough to keep myself on track with Bible study, prayer, Christian alms-giving and service; I’m easily distracted from my lofty goals by the minutiae of everyday life. Then, when I read a particularly inspiring book about faith or hear the story of someone’s amazingly committed and fruitful discipleship, I feel even more of a failure as a Christian! Why can’t I just ‘get’ there?
Maybe, as I’ve recently grown to appreciate, my short-comings as a Christian aren’t so much a failure, as a thorn to remind me that ‘Christian’ isn’t the name of an accomplishment. It’s the name of the Way to God. That means it’s a day-in, day-out, walk; a continual appraisal and revision of priorities; an ongoing developmental journey deeper into the reality of what it means to follow Jesus Christ in the world today. And perhaps most notably, it’s not a Way that’s intended to be walked alone. Christ gives us companions to share the journey, and one of the most important duties of companions is to offer encouragement. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing,” reads 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
Did you catch the second part of that verse? We’re SUPPOSED to be encouraging each other, which means that Christ knew that his people would often fall short and feel inadequate to walking the Christian journey. After reading that, I feel better already! From now on, I’m happily taking all the encouragement I can get, and I’m praising God for giving me books to read, companions for sharing, audios for listening, videos to watch, and stories to hear. Needing Christian encouragement isn’t a failing – it’s a gift!
Jan Dunlap is the author of the new suspense novel Heaven’s Gate: Archangels Book I, the bestselling memoir Saved by Gracie: How a Rough-and-tumble Rescue Dog Dragged Me Back to Health, Happiness and God (Authentic Publishing) and the acclaimed Birder Murder Mystery series (North Star Press, Inc.). She holds MA degrees in Theology and English Studies and lives in the Hill Country of Texas where she spends every clear night marveling at the stars and the brilliance of God’s creation. She is a frequent contributor to FaithHappenings.com and welcomes visitors at www.jandunlap.com and on Facebook at her two author pages BirderMurderMama and Archangels.
More of Jan Dunlap: http://www.jandunlap.com/
Short Devotional for Men:
A DESERT ROSE -
In Lessons on Living
The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the excellency of our God. - Isaiah 35:1-2
Boulder Dam was built in order to bring water to areas that had been desert. During the building of this dam, several workmen lost their lives. After its completion, a plaque was placed on the dam with the names of those who had been killed, with the following inscription: "These died that the desert might rejoice and blossom as the rose."
God revealed to Isaiah that Israel also would one day be restored. The land that had been devastated and destroyed until it was nothing more than a desert would be revived and become a place of beauty and fruitfulness.
To a certain degree, this prophecy has been realized. With the aid of technology and significant irrigation, Israel has restored many areas of the land to fruitfulness. Ultimately, however, Isaiah's prophecy will find fulfillment during the millennial reign of the Messiah. Then, not only will the nations beat their spears into pruning hooks (2:4) and the lion eat straw like the ox (11:7), but Israel will become an agricultural paradise. God promised it, so you can believe it.
Yet in a spiritual sense, this fulfillment can take place now. If your life has been a spiritual desert, Jesus can make it blossom. When you receive Him as your Savior, you become spiritually alive (Eph. 2:1). With the cultivation of the Holy Spirit, you will produce spiritual fruit a hundred times over (Matt. 13:23). Don't put that day off to some future time; do it now. Your life can blossom in the grace and mercy of God.
A surrendered heart is always a fruitful field.
- See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/a-desert-rose#sthash.zll2bs3M.dpuf
Dr. Woodrow Kroll served as President and Senior Bible Teacher at Back to the Bible from 1990-2013. Author of more than 50 books, Dr. Kroll's passion is to increase Bible literacy in America by engaging people in the Bible and connecting them with the Author. His clear, incisive teaching of the Word keeps him in demand as a speaker all over the world. - See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/authors/woodrow-kroll#sthash.7Yrcap6W.dpuf
More of Dr. Woodrow Kroll: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions