Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Have You Any Room For Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
Galatians 5:22-23a – But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person's life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (ERV)
Over twenty years ago, my husband's studies in contemporary philosophy had pushed him into ceasing to believe, and the abuse of our sons by their choirmaster had convinced me that the church, which we thought we knew, didn't exist, and that we had been deluded about our faith. No longer in a church fellowship, I fell into lingering despair from which there seemed no way out. This was a dark time, yet God continued to draw us back to Himself.
Taking out two mortgages at a period of low interest rates, one day we managed to buy a house in a smaller town where prices were lower than in the big city. We had everything that we owned in a small van and all our books in a huge rented one. Since I'd completed an apprenticeship in bookselling, we decided that since our new house was in a downtown commercial district, I could open an out-of-print bookshop on the bottom floor.
I'd prayed about starting such a little business, though it wasn't likely to make much money. But it meant that I could be home with the children when they came back from school while I was employed at the same time. My husband's work as a guard in a federal penitentiary supported us well. With time on my hands between customers, I began to take a look at my life. Life is fragile. Handle with prayer, someone said. I was being drawn back to God through the shop and through many of the books waiting on my doorstep every morning when I opened the business: Tyndale's The Life Recovery Bible, Max Lucado's Grace For the Moment, anything of Eugene Peterson's or Annie Lamont's, and countless others, all of them often in well-thumbed condition.
I returned to faith and found a church home and the daily fellowship of the Spirit as books came at me just when I needed them. Gradually, through that reading, the full list of blessings from the Spirit, which today's passage from Galatians promises, came to me.
Although everything seems to be going digital, it became obvious to me that committed believers who share their faith in print will reach others for Christ over and over again. Let's make sure that we have a good supply of Christian tracts and books to spread around.
Prayer: Dear Father God, thank You for sending the light of Your Spirit into our darkness. May we not grow weary in the work of love but rather gather jewels for our crowns above. May a Christlike spirit be ours on our faith journey today, with the grace of Jesus abounding wherever we go with Your Word. In Your Son's name, we pray. Amen.