Tag Archives: Devotional

The Importance Of Roots

Until you see a tree blown over, you typically don’t think much about its roots. Most roots go down deep into soil and provide nutrients for the tree as well as stability. The healthier the roots, the stronger the tree. Studies are starting to show that roots also secrete compounds in the soil that protect it from disease. It’s amazing what all they do, yet we mainly think about the result of their work. We enjoy the fruit that the tree produces and marvel at the changing of the leaves, but rarely consider it’s all as a result of being connected to the root.

Jesus told His disciples that He is the vine and we are the branches. What He was saying is that we should be getting our nourishment from Him, and that apart from Him, we have no life. We have to remember that we don’t support the root, but that the root supports us. It’s important to stay connected to Him through daily prayer and Bible reading. That’s how our soul is nourished and protected from disease. Like roots, we can’t really see Him, but everything we are is a result of being connected to Him.

Here are some verses about roots in the Bible.

1. Blessed [with spiritual security] is the man who believes and trusts in and relies on the LORD And whose hope and confident expectation is the LORD. “For he will be [nourished] like a tree planted by the waters, That spreads out its roots by the river; And will not fear the heat when it comes; But its leaves will be green and moist. And it will not be anxious and concerned in a year of drought Nor stop bearing fruit.


2. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

Ephesians 3:16-17 NLT

3. Keep your roots deep in him, build your lives on him, and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:7 GNT

4. I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.

Revelation 22:16 NASB

5. What the wicked construct finally falls into ruin, while the roots of the righteous give life, and more life.

Proverbs 12:12 MSG

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Victory In The Valley

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

When reading the story of David and Goliath recently, I noticed something I had read over. I Samuel 17:3 says, “So the Philistines and Israelites faced each other on opposite hills, with the valley between them” (NLT). I had never picked up that there was a valley between the two sides. Then verse 40 says, “He (David) picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.” David had to go into the valley to win the victory.

You won’t win victory standing where you are. You are going to have to make the first move. For 40 days, the Israelites were paralyzed by fear. Each day Goliath invited them to fight him, but they stayed put. When David heard Goliath’s taunts, he didn’t get fearful, he got a righteous anger. He knew that this was a spiritual battle that had to be handled in the physical as well. To win the spiritual battle, he’d have to enter the valley and trust God.

Fast forward 14 generations, Jesus was fighting a spiritual battle that required Him to enter a valley as well. John 18:1 says, “After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees.” The battle He was fighting was to have the courage to do what God wanted while facing the fear of dying a torturous death on a cross. He could have stayed where He was, but He entered the valley to pray that God’s will be done.

Both David and Jesus recognized that the battle was the Lord’s. They both knew who was fighting on their behalf. That gave them the courage to walk into what seemed like certain death in order to obtain the victory. You and I have to have the same tenacity in prayer and desire to go into the valley if we are going to win our spiritual battles. We are going to have to let go of fear and embrace what God wants to do, enter the valley in front of us, and fight on our knees for victory.

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What God Wants

I’m doing a 40 day prayer challenge with a friend as we lead up to Easter. We both made visual lists of the things we want to pray over daily. As we were discussing them, he mentioned that he wants to pray God’s will into his life. I thought it was a great idea, and I added a blank page to my visual. I pray over the things that are near and dear to my heart, but then I pray, “God, these are the things I desire for my life. What do you desire to do in me? What do you want to write into my life? I give you permission to do what you want.”

I’ll be honest, that’s a dangerous prayer, but I believe it’s a necessary one. We all have our own ideas about what’s important to us, and we have things we pray over. At the same time, there are things God is trying to do, and we need to submit to His will. I feel that many times the things we pray for are more our will than His. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus taught us how to pray in these instances. In Matthew 26:39 Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me! Yet not what I want, but what you want” (GNT).

We can ask God for the things we want, but I believe it’s import to turn around and give God permission to do what He wants. It’s not so much about giving Him permission as it is that we are submitting to His will. God answers the prayers we pray that are in accordance with His will. He also has great plans for your life, but we have to learn to submit to them instead of insisting we get help accomplishing our own. Prayer shouldn’t be just about what we want. It needs to be about what God wants too.

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Heartfelt Worship

I was twenty years old before I attended my first liturgical style church service. I was raised in a church at the opposite end of the spectrum. The songs seemed to be all from before the 1700’s, and we had to do responsive readings throughout the service. I remember thinking, “This is crazy! How can anyone get into this?” It was then that God directed my gaze to a woman across the church. I could tell she was enjoying it and was worshipping God through the service. God was saying, “There’s more than one way to worship me because worship comes from the heart.”

In Matthew 26, Jesus was close to the end of His ministry. He was having dinner with a man he had healed when a woman came in with a perfume worth a year’s salary. She broke it open and poured it on Jesus. The disciples flipped out and called it a waste because they could have sold the perfume and given the money away. But Jesus responded in verse 13, “I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed” (NLT).

I’ve been like the disciples and have complained about other styles of worship. Because God gave us different personality styles, we express our worship differently. God is looking for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth with our lives, not just at a church service. The woman in this story worshipped with all she had and we are still talking about it two thousand years later. Imagine what the Church could do if we quit worrying about how each other worship God and focused on our own worship. Remember God is looking at our heart, not our outward expression.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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Purpose In Problems

It’s easy to believe that God is working things in your favor when things in your life are going right. When things aren’t going according to your plan, it becomes more difficult to believe that. We often see problems and road blocks in our lives as hindrances to God’s plan, but I believe God uses all of them to grow us and to put us on the right path so His plan for our life can be accomplished. God’s plan for our lives rarely takes the path of least resistance.

In the hardest times of my life, I couldn’t see God’s hand working. I was so focused on the pain and the problems that I questioned if God even knew what was going on. I cried out constantly for Him to make it all go away, but He knew what He was doing. He created a raw dependence on Him which led to a deeper, more fulfilling relationship with Him. He understands that hard times bring us closer to Him and make us stronger. In fact, some of His greatest work in our lives happen when we see His hand the least.

Romana 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (NLT). He doesn’t just cause some things to work together. He causes everything in our lives to work together for our good. There is a purpose in problems. There is hope in uncertainty. God is behind the scenes working on your behalf even when we’re blinded by our situation. His plan for our lives will come to pass, and it will be to our benefit. We just have to trust even when we can’t see what He’s doing.

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When I was younger, I was a part of a scouting program through the church. Our motto was, “Ready. Ready for anything. Ready to work, play, serve, worship, live and obey God’s Word.” Each Wednesday night, we would repeat that along with the pledges. We would have discussions about what it meant to be ready. We learned that once an opportunity arose, it was too late to get ready (see the Parable of the 10 Virgins with oil in their lamps).

The Bible is full of reminders to us to be ready. We never know when a door will open, when God will prompt us to do something or when Jesus will return. The motto I learned as a kid wasn’t just a good thing for a teenager to learn, it should be our motto as the Church. I believe there is so much God wants to do through us, but we aren’t ready when the opportunity arises. Today, let’s make sure we are ready for whatever God wants to do.

Here are some Bible verses on being ready.

1. Be ready for whatever comes, dressed for action and with your lamps lit, like servants who are waiting for their master to come back from a wedding feast. When he comes and knocks, they will open the door for him at once.

Luke 12:35-36 GNT

2. But in your hearts set Christ apart [as holy–acknowledging Him, giving Him first place in your lives] as Lord. Always be ready to give a [logical] defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance [elicited by faith] that is within you, yet [do it] with gentleness and respect.

1 PETER 3:15 AMP

3. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

Romans 12:13 NLT

4. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

2 Timothy 4:1-2 NASB

5. So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you.

Ephesians 6:14-17 GNT

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The Last Word

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

A few years ago, my in-laws were on their way to Mexico to visit family. A few hours or so after leaving home, their check engine light came on. They stopped to get it checked out. A sensor had gone out and needed to be replaced. As soon as the repair was finished, they got on the road. An hour later, the check engine light came on again. They stopped to have the same problem repaired. When they arrived at the border, the light came on again so they had it checked out. The mechanic said the same sensor had gone out a third time. They were frustrated, but they replaced it again so they could continue.

An hour or so after they crossed the border into Mexico, the light came on again. Six times they had this sensor replaced within several hours. When it came on again, they decided to pull over and talk about their options. If they kept going and the truck broke down, the chances were high that they would be far from help without cell service. They wanted to deliver goods to their family who needed them and to visit family like they had planned, but they turned the truck around. As soon as they did, the light went off and never came back on.

When they arrived back at the border, they decided to get some food at the usual places. While there, my mother in law remembered she had gone to the doctor several months prior and never heard back. After eating, they went to the doctor, and he told her he had been trying to get ahold of her, but couldn’t. He was glad she came in because her test results showed she had cancer. She needed immediate surgery to remove it, which they did that day. They also needed a blood relative there with her in case of complications. Her sister happened to go with them on that trip. God changed their plans and they had the wherewithal to accept it.

Proverbs 16:1 says, “We may make our plans, but God has the last word” (GNT). Many of us are so fixated on our plans that we fail to hear what God is trying to tell us. We press on despite his attempts to turn us around. In some cases, it’s for our benefit, and other times, it’s for someone else. We need to pay attention to what God is trying to say to us throughout our days. It’s ok to make plans and to want to accomplish them, but not at the expense of ignoring what God is trying to get us to do. We need to give Him the right to have the last word in our lives.

Photo by Sam Headland on Unsplash

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