Monday, August 17, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Offering God the best of you, not the rest of you


Distracted
A devotional by Malinda Fugate


Key Scripture:
1 Samuel 16:7b, James 4:8, Deuteronomy 4:29, Matthew 6:33,
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

I sit overlooking a cliffside ocean view, constantly distracted. I have one goal: to hear from God and write this post. Yet, what I hear isn’t God. It’s my own discomfort in the heat of the sun. I attempt to lower my mask when there are no other people, but even this far end of the trail is regularly visited by casual hikers. So, the mask remains in place as I try to focus on the Lord instead of the sweat that’s beginning to form. 


The Ocean Cliff in California (Photo Credit: Malinda Fugate)
His beautiful creation is admirable, but I am more mindful of my dog, who has parked herself in the shade under my bench. I regret not carrying water for her – I underestimated the sun’s rays. With the sound of every approaching footstep, I look ahead for other dogs in an effort to restrain her barks. My attention is divided, neglecting what was supposed to be the Lord’s time.

Giving up, I return to my car and give water to my panting pup. Parked in the shade with windows down, I think for sure I can spend some time with the Lord before my afternoon appointment. I pull up my Bible app to be inspired by the verse of the day. “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b). 


This reminder from the story of David’s anointing caused me to examine my own heart. Surely, God knew my intention is to be with Him and share His message with dear readers. Other Scriptures came to mind: “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8) and “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29). Was I double-minded in my scatterbrained distraction? Was I seeking Him with my entire heart and soul?

I was trying to fit God into my established schedule. Making time between car repair and errands, I genuinely attempted to balance everything and make it all work. Deadlines urged me to put inspiration into a desired word count that’s easily and quickly readable. But God can’t be confined to mere paragraphs. Almighty God isn’t another piece of the schedule puzzle. He looks at our hearts, and if my heart is divided among a task list, it’s not all His.

Of course, I’m not called to a life of total study and prayer (though those who are called that way are incredibly blessed), but I’m designed for a life of holy priorities. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). God knows the necessary elements of my day, and He will provide for them. But He must remain the centerpiece, the cornerstone, the heart of my whole life.

Tomorrow is a fresh start. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is [his] faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV). 

I will continue to call out to Him and allow Him to construct my day. The Lord who cares for sparrows knows the details that need attention and responsibilities clamoring for my time and energy.

When I offer Him the best of me, I can trust He’ll care for the rest of me.

~*~
Author Bio:


Malinda Fugate writes from the heart.


Though she serves full time as the Children’s Education Director at a church in Southern California, she is also a crafter of words published in books.

Her writing includes children's faith resources, commercial copywriting, and various faith-based stage and screenplays.

Malinda invites you to explore the various 3:16s in the Bible with her new book, The Other Three Sixteens (published by Ambassador International in May 2020).

She also invites you to read her previously published books: Bible Time for Active Kids, which is an activities-based devotional that is available for purchase on Amazon.com, and The Pen and the Sword: Connecting With the Word of God, which is an interactive creative writing journal.

Malinda earned a communications degree with a theatre emphasis from Azusa Pacific University, and then worked behind the scenes at the Los Angeles Salem radio stations, including The Fish and KKLA.

When she's not writing or working at church, Malinda might be creating art, reading, or exploring the many adventures to be found in the Los Angeles area. She lives by the beach with her pup, Yoshi.

Visit Malinda online via https://www.malindafugate.com.

2 comments:

  1. So glad that you posted this was so uplifting peggy clayton

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thankful that God blessed you, Peggy!

    ReplyDelete