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Thin Choices - Week of 7.16.17


Ever wanted God’s word to feel living and practical as if God was still speaking and had a word of hope to you in this time and place? If so, this is the devotional for you.


abide was designed to get people into the Bible and exploring God’s Word in ways that are relatively simple, easily digestible, inviting of conversation, and deeply practical. The title is both an acronym and an apt description for this process of reading the Bible. The goal is to get individuals to encounter the God who dwells with us through reading the scriptures, praying, and doing God’s work. It’s based on the idea that all relationships require effort to remain healthy and vibrant. In order to have a healthy relationship with God, we need to remain rooted in God’s word. We abide in the scriptures to strengthen this relationship and recognize where God is walking with us each day. The goal is to abide with God, not dwell in shame.


Each devotion will take roughly 15 minutes to complete and is best done early in the morning so you can practice throughout the day and carry the scriptures with you wherever you go.

To experience God’s word as living, get a Bible you are willing to enhance with your own reflections. As you read through each devotion, freely take notes on the pages. Underline what jumps out at you and, if you can, write a brief explanation as to why that may have jumped out. Write down your insights and any wisdom gained. Keep track of the day and the things you have noticed. Writing in the Bible gives you immediate access to your prior reflections when you revisit a passage.

The devotion is based on the acronym

a: approach begin each devotion with a brief meditation/centering exercise

b: bible open your bible to read the text, underline passages or words that seem important, and take any notes you desire

i: imbibe feast on the richness of the text and explore some of its intricacies by reflecting on some questions

d: discern pray and listen for guidance from God

e: explore apply the wisdom of the text to the way you live your life


While the content of each devotion will differ, the process will remain the same. Thank you for taking the time to abide with God and join in on this devotional journey.



Psalm 119:105-112


Notice at least five sources of light in the place where you are.


Read Psalm 119:105-112


How often have you made a promise to change something and then quickly found that you have failed to make the change? This happens to everyone. Before committing to follow God’s laws, the psalmist writes, “Your word is a lamp before my feet

   and a light for my journey.”

True, the word of God is a light that leads us forward, and yes, we seek to follow God’s commands, but the reality is that even in the light, we can still stumble.


Imagine you are traveling along a forest trail at night, guided along by a lantern. Will you be able to notice every spider web that crosses the path or every tree root that could entwine your feet? Probably not. Even with the light to guide you, you’ll still get covered in webbing and tripped up by roots. Yet when these setbacks occur, do you give up? Just because you skinned your knee the last time you fell, you are not going to abandon the entire journey, are you? No, you’ll keep following the light until you get to where it is leading you, probably back to a warm camp fire with an abundant supply of smores where everyone is glad to have you return. Have grace with yourself and others, for God’s grace is abundant with you. The light of God leads us and we seek to follow.



Pray for strength to move in a direction of change that you wish to be led. In your prayer commit to following God to the best of your ability and ask for daily reminders of God’s grace as you work toward this change.


Move toward your goal of change today. If you stumble, get up and begin moving again. Instead of imagining a God who judges you, imagine God who carries the light and illuminates the path. Surely, this God would stop upon hearing you stumble and turn around to lift you up and help you start walking again. Walk led by a loving light.


Romans 8:1-6


Offer a prayer for one significant person who helped teach you about God?


Read Romans 8:1-6


One of the greatest challenges that Christ faced was trying to set people free from judgment. Throughout the scriptures, we are told not to judge others, not to boast, and to avoid acting as though we know the difference between what God wants and what we want. Living under the law makes us think we can be judges; it is a way to die, not a way to live. However, living under Christ frees us from all judgment by freeing us from sin and death.


When we live under the Spirit as Paul describes, the world becomes a thin place; a place where the separation between God’s kingdom in heaven and on earth is imperceptible. Who wouldn’t want to live such a life where peace abounds and all not only survive but thrive? Such a life isn’t about being right, it’s about being free and living in love with allies and enemies. In Christ, there is no condemnation, only freedom, only love.


When was the last time you experienced such a loving and free life? Close your eyes and try to remember. Imagine a world where freedom comes out of love and where your freedom has already been won by Christ who sacrificed so that all may live. When you open your eyes, see that the work has already been done. Live as a loving blessing so that others may come to believe they are free as well.



Lord Jesus Christ, your light shines within me. Let its blaze banish the darkness that shackles and binds. By the Spirit’s fire, incinerate the veil before me so I may see myself freed by your loving sacrifice and live in such a way that your love through me frees others, for there is no condemnation and no judgment. There is only love in you, O, Christ, Amen.


Practice living without condemnation of others today. Notice when you find yourself judging another and then shift your focus to notice at least three positive things about that which you just condemned. Train yourself to practice gratitude beyond condemnation.



Romans 8:7-11


Observe a cloud or a plume of smoke for a few minutes. What how the vapor is shifted by the whimsy of the wind, continually surprising with the shape and form it assumes.  


Read Roman 8:7-11


It would be a mistake to believe that we are spiritual beings living in earthly bodies, but that is often the way that people thinks the Bible is speaking. There is no tension or paradox between what is flesh and what is spirit. The body is only dead if we live for the self. However, if we live for God, that is if we live with the Spirit of God within us, then there is no death, only transition from one realm of life to the next.

Life is lived when it is lived in the Spirit. In the Spirit, we live because we are free and loved. However, so much of our world seems set on convincing us that we are bound and dying. It’s true that living in Christ won’t prevent the death of the physical body. It’s also true that living apart from Christ will make this journey through life deadly. In Christ we are called, we are loved, we are blessed, and we are all these things that we may also be them to others. Called to call others; loved to love others; and blessed to bless others. To live in the Spirit is freedom because it brings heaven to life on earth.



Who needs your prayer because they are the victim of your hatred? Who needs your blessing because you bear a grudge against them? Who needs your love because you don’t love them? Pray for these persons with sincerity and ask God for help as needed.


Love others as you are loved by God today, with hope, compassion, mercy, and peace.