How is your soul YouVersion Devotional

What Does My Soul Hold on To?

Recently I had an experience during a flight that left a deep impact on me. I was on a plane from Seattle to LA. A few minutes before we landed, we hit the worst turbulence I’ve ever experienced. It was terrifying. I’ve been on some crazy flights, but this turbulence was next level. The plane dropped probably a hundred feet instantly, then started bouncing all over the place. Drinks were spilling, people were screaming, and even the flight attendants were panicking.

The guy next to me was clearly a high-powered executive. He had the suit, the laptop, and the attitude. Before we had even taken off, he was already typing furiously, and the way he looked at me made it clear he wasn’t impressed with my ripped jeans and hoodie.

But in a matter of seconds, that executive went from being in control and aloof to whimpering like a frightened poodle. I could see his knuckles turning white around his armrests. His cries got louder with each jolt and drop.

I can’t criticize him: we were all scared. But someone told me once that no plane has ever gone down due to turbulence, and I guess I believed him. Plus, the turbulence hit while I was studying for a message, and I was really getting a lot out of my study session. I was having a genuine moment with God. So for maybe the only time in my life, I was the emotionally stable person in the situation. Eventually we landed safely, and the passengers broke into spontaneous applause.

I thought about that experience for days afterward. There is nothing like absolute helplessness to make you evaluate what your soul holds on to and where you get your sense of security.

The logical way to find security is to be more in control. It’s to plan for every contingency and provide for every possibility. But that logic leads us astray. Work or plans aren’t bad, of course, but self-based security is ultimately an illusion.

Why was I at peace on that flight? What helped my soul trust and relax even when the circumstances around me were terrifying? Simply this: I knew that God was in control of my soul. I knew my life was in his hands. My soul could hold fast to him no matter what external turbulence or craziness I was facing.

In the ancient writings of Isaiah, God told Israel: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15 NLT).

Our souls find help not in control, but in turning to God; not in outward guarantees, but in inward trust. Our hope is in God. We access true rest, salvation, and strength by allowing our souls to hold on to him.

That doesn’t mean our thoughts and emotions will never fluctuate. They will. I may never be the emotionally stable person in the situation again. But despite outward turbulence, our souls can be secure. Our souls find help and strength in God.

Respond

How do you feel or react when you are out of control in an area of your life?

How easy is it for you to trust God? Are there some areas that are harder than others?

Why does trusting that God is in control ultimately bring more peace to your soul than trying to be in control yourself?

That Proverbs 31 Woman…

new dev 4 couples

“A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

Are you ever intimidated by the “Proverbs 31 woman”? Sometimes I am. How can we compete? Here’s a woman who brings her husband “good, not harm, all the days of her life”; gets up before the morning light; feeds her family; shows good judgment in her purchases; works “vigorously”; helps the poor; has time to make bed coverings for her household and garments for sale; has enough faith to “laugh at the days to come”; “speaks with wisdom”; has no use for idleness; and earns blessing and praise from her husband and children!

Let’s be honest, we can’t compete… but maybe we don’t have to. I’m not convinced, for example, that the woman described in Proverbs 31 is one literal person. Or, if she is, that she achieved all her accomplishments during the same period of life. Rather, I think that through the writings of Solomon, the Lord has provided us women with specific examples of the behavior to which we should continually aspire—just as all Christians aspire to be like Jesus, even though we’ll never actually reach His level of perfection.

I believe that the key to understanding Proverbs 31 is found in verse 30, the next to last passage in Proverbs: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” According to this verse, a “woman who fears the Lord,”—who seeks His will for her as wife, mother, and follower of Jesus—is the Proverbs 31 woman, no matter how a particular day or season of her life is going.

My encouragement to you as a wife is to seek God and submit to His direction—and add a dash of love in the process. I promise you that you’ll please your Maker, bring honor to your husband and family, and find a personal contentedness that will never be matched.

– Shirley M Dobson

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

How is your soul

Why Does My Soul Have Hope?

Have you ever wondered why we put candles on birthday cakes and then blow them out? In all the meal-related moments in our lives and cultures, there is no other setting where we encourage another person to blow across our food. I don’t go to a steakhouse and tell the waiter, “I’d like my steak medium well. And could you exhale on it, please? Medium well with a dash of saliva.”

Yet this is an essential element of birthday parties. There is something fundamentally wrong with that. I have watched grown adults eating from cakes that their four-year-old blew on. Think about that. If you’ve ever seen a small child blow out candles, you know it’s not just air wafting across that pastry.

There is another tradition associated with birthday parties that is just as confusing as blowing out candles: making wishes. Have we really thought this through? I remember my thirteenth birthday. I was in seventh grade, and Chelsea, who is now my wife, was at my party. I blew out the candles, and Mom leaned over and said, “Did you make a wish, buddy?”

I did make a wish—I wished that Chelsea would kiss me. I didn’t tell Mom that, though. All I said was, “Yes, Mom.” But I was wishing and wanting and hoping for a kiss from my crush.

It didn’t happen. Well it did, actually—when we got married she definitely kissed me, and more besides. But I was hoping for a kiss more like in my seventh grade year.

I have never met a person who cites the power of a birthday wish as the reason their dreams came true. If we aren’t careful, though, we can end up treating the all-important element of hope a bit like birthday wishes.

We all believe in hope, value hope, and promote hope. There’s nothing wrong with that—of all people, Jesus followers should be people of hope. But let’s be honest. How is hope going to help? Why is hope any better than a birthday wish? In and of itself, hope can’t conquer discouragement. Hope can’t change our circumstances. Has hope ever grown arms and legs and saved us? Ultimately, hope in hope is no hope at all.

Hope is essential for the human soul, but we must make sure our hope is based on something greater than wishful thinking. Hope is only as powerful as that to which is connected.

That’s what makes our hope in Jesus such a safe, secure place for our souls. The book of Hebrews says: We who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us (Hebrews 6:18–20 NLT).

As Jesus followers, our hope is unique among all other hopes on the planet. It is not attached to our emotions, plans, relationships, or finances, but to Jesus. Our souls have a sure, steadfast, immovable anchor that we can turn to. His name is Jesus, and our hope in him is never misplaced.

Respond

What are some things you’ve wished for that haven’t come true?

Have you ever felt hopeless? How does that affect your soul, especially if you are without hope for an extended period of time?

Why is Jesus the best source of hope for our souls?