Friday, August 16, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Grounded in God's Love, a lesson about lightning

A devotional by Victoria Bylin

One morning, I woke up to a lightning flash—a literal one. The bedroom lit up for a single blink. Two seconds later, lightning flashed again in a staccato pattern. Like I did as a child, I counted until the thunder rumbled and shook. The counting tells us how far away the lightning is. Five seconds equals roughly one mile, and this storm was about a mile away.

I couldn’t help but wonder: Where does all that electricity go? The power of it is daunting, even deadly—until it hits the ground.

Grounded. Thanks to that lightning storm, I found myself pondering what it means for a Christian to be grounded. Is it a word that should describe the Christian life? How do we become grounded so that all the passion and commitment of loving and serving God is put to good use and well directed?

One meaning of “to ground” is to give something a firm foundation. As a Christian, I want and need to be firmly grounded in the Word. My husband and I consider it a privilege to have belonged to a strong teaching church very early in our Christian walk. To this day (and it’s been 39 years) we refer back to what the pastor called “spiritual bootcamp.”

The teaching focused on the basics: We are sinners saved by grace. Jesus paid the price for our sin. As fleshly human beings, we can’t live up to the standards of perfection set by the law, but Christ did it for us. He loves and died for our sins. In moments of struggle and spiritual seeking, I look at a trio of verses that keep me grounded in that knowledge.

At the top of the list is Hebrews 11:1 (NIV): “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Are you in the middle of a hard time? A muddle? Perhaps it is something far-reaching and even disastrous, like a serious illness or bankruptcy? This verse reminds us to keep our eyes on God and not on the circumstances. Our prayers may not be answered the way we want, but the Lord sees us through the storms.

I’m back to that lightning but from a different angle. Storms pass through our lives. Suffering sends bolts of fear and worry through our bodies and minds. But when those emotions hit the spiritual ground of faith in Christ, fear and worry lose their power over us. Being human, we might feel the emotions, but our knowledge of God and His ways prevails.

Genesis 13:14-15 (NIV) is another one of my “grounding” verses. It reads, “The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.”

This is a promise to Abram (later to become Abraham, the father of our faith) and it’s specific to his circumstances. But it’s also a reminder to Christians that God knows exactly where we are in life and what fears we are facing. He knows what we need and promises to provide—maybe not in a way we would choose, but in the way that’s best. When we keep our eyes on Him, we’re grounded in his love.

Being a Christian is both a joy and a challenge. There are times when we have to stand our ground—both against Satan’s wiles and for our principles. Ephesians 6:13 (NIV) tells us how to do it: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

That lightning strike was full of power and beauty. So is our God. Here’s to living each day in His strength and for his glory!

Author Bio:
Victoria Bylin is the author of 18 traditionally published romances. Known for tackling difficult subjects with great compassion, she delights in stories that shine the spotlight of God’s love on ordinary men and women facing realistic challenges.

Writing has always been a part of Victoria’s life. As a child, she wrote hundreds of letters and scribbled in journals. As an adult, she worked as a freelance journalist and editor before taking on the challenge of fiction.

She had one goal when she started her first novel: to finish a book-length manuscript, good or bad. That first effort will never see the light of day, but it led to a second manuscript and a sale to Harlequin Historical. Since then, she has written westerns and contemporary romances for both mainstream and Christian publishers, with Together With You winning the 2016 Inspirational Readers Choice Award for Best Contemporary.

Writing is a joy and a challenge for Victoria, but faith, friends and family matter to her far more. She’s a wife, mom, proud grandmother, and a dog-mom to a wacky Jack Russell Terrier. Originally from California, she and her husband currently make their home in Lexington, Kentucky. 

When she’s not writing, Victoria enjoys long walks, travel, and dark chocolate.

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