Staff Devotions

 

November 11

November 11 – November 17
 
  Scripture Passage:  “And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord.”  II Kings 19:14
 
Dear Friends,
 
     Abraham Lincoln once said, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”  This past week was one of those weeks.  I found myself totally inadequate and unable to handle the situation I found myself in.  The unexpected death of a 15 year old young man in our church left everyone asking why? And there was no answer.  I looked for and prayed about what words to say to the family, but there were none.  I found myself trying to work but totally consumed in my thoughts about the family and the fact I had been asked to do his funeral service.  If I could not find the words to say to his family in private, what would I say to everyone in a public service?  I did not want to say anything that would add to the family’s grief, but there is no way to conduct a funeral service without talking about death.  I always say my job is to honor God and honor the person we are remembering.  I want to comfort the family yet challenge those present to consider their mortality.  My heart was completely crushed, my emotions in shambles, and my mind completely unable to focus on the task at hand.  As the service time drew near, I found myself totally at God’s mercy and unprepared to preach.  As I prayed, I begged God to help me and give me the words to say.  I kept saying over and over, “Lord, I can’t do this without you.  You have to help me.” “The family is depending upon me and the crowd is curious as to what I am going to say.”  “There will be some that will agree with my theology and others that will question it.”  “I must be true to Scripture but at the same time be honest with the family and comfort them in the hope we have in Christ Jesus.”   This was a deadline I had to meet whether I was ready or not.  Hezekiah came to mind. I found comfort and help in the way he approached a very difficult situation and the method he used to handle it.  Unless you have experienced being “at wits end” you will not understand fully this devotional.  If you have, it will cause you to remember the faithfulness of God and how he delivered you against all odd.  If you are there now, this is for you. 

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Pastor’s Desk October 29th

Scripture Passage:  “Good understanding gives favor: but the way of transgressors is hard.”   Proverbs 13:15
 
Dear Friends,
 
     If the way of a transgressor is hard, then why do wonderful, godly people suffer?  Why do some saints of God seem to suffer more than the wicked?  Is suffering directly related to personal transgressions or man’s inherited fallen state?  If God is good, why does He not just let wicked people get cancer and good people live healthy, prosperous lives as a testimony and reward for living right?  Is there a tangible benefit to living a Christian life in a secular materialistic world?  Finally, is there any earthly reason for going to church so much if church people still get sick and have financial difficulties?  They seem to have as many problems as those living carnal, worldly lifestyles.  This list of questions is not exhaustive, they are just the ones I am dealing with today.  (literally) 

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Pastor’s Desk October 22nd

Scripture Passage:  “And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul,  that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.  And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house.  Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.  And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.”  I Samuel 18: 1-4

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Pastor’s Desk October 15th

Scripture Passage: “These six things does the Lord hate: yes, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brothers.”  Proverbs 6: 16-19
 
Dear Friends,
 
     Number four is a heart that devises wicked imaginations.  In the innocence of childhood our imaginations are filled with kindness and wonderment.  We often devise plans for good things that ultimately help others.  Through the process of aging and dealing with the consequences of sin by us, or against us, we begin to devise plans to hurt others or get even.  Most times these imaginations benefit us in some way and have the sinister effect of evil against others.  This is an evil use of our God given gift of imagination.  Jesus described wicked imaginations perfectly in Mark 7: 20-23.  “That which comes out of the man,  that defiles the man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, and evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these things come from within, and defile the man.”

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Pastor’s Desk October 8th

Scripture Passage: “These six things does the Lord hate: yes, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brothers.”  Proverbs 6: 16-19
 
Dear Friends,
 
God hates all sin, but there are some that are especially hateful to him because they demonstrate our treatment of each other.  In the seven sins listed I find it interesting that they all deal with the last six commandments.  Coming in at number one is the sin of pride.  Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  Every sin known to man traces back in some way to our pride.  We are even told it was because of Satan’s pride and desire to be like God that he was evicted from Heaven. (Isaiah 14:12-14)  When we overvalue ourselves and undervalue those around us it reveals the condition of our heart. To esteem ourselves and hold others in contempt goes against all Christ teaching on servant-leadership.  Pride is closely related to arrogance and is fleshed out in the way we treat others.

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Pastor’s Desk September 24th

Scripture Passage:  “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things he possesses.”  Luke 12:15      “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”  Colossians 3:2
 
Dear Friends, Much is said in our culture about a person’s value or worth.  Most of the time that value is measured in some way based upon money and possessions.  The more money they have access to, the more valuable they are to family, community, and even church.  Their success in life is evaluated according to the things they possess.  A person driving a Lexus is considered more successful than a person driving a Focus.  A person living in a three story house is seen as a person of means, while a person living in a double-wide is viewed as a person just getting by. The more stuff in the garage and adult toys in the yard are visible evidence of a person who is “going and blowing.”  The truth is most of the time these are signs of a person deeply in debt.  Loss of job, income, or health expose and reveal a person’s true worth compared to the things they possess.  To a materialistic person, once their stuff is gone, so is their value or worth.  To a person whose life is built on the “Rock,” it simply reinforces where their priorities lie.

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Pastor’s Desk October 1st

Scripture Passage:  “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.  But he knows not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depth of hell.”              Proverbs 9:17-18
 
Dear Friends,
 
     “Forbidden fruit creates many jams,” is from a church billboard sign I saw many years ago.  I know that it speaks to me every time I see it because of my human nature to be drawn to things forbidden.  J.P.my grandson, was at Granny Charlotte’s house the other day and was particularly drawn to a door on an antique cook stove.  His mother told him “No” and moved him to another part of the room and gave him a toy to play with.  In just a few minutes he had made his way back over to the stove again and was opening and slamming the door shut while looking directly at his mother.  (He gets that from his Paw.)  He wanted to do the one thing he was told not to.  The next time he was taken away, he went kicking and screaming.  (You can guess what happened then?)

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Pastor’s Desk September 17th

Scripture Passage:  “They that go down to the sea in ships,  that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.”  Psalms 107:23-24
 
Dear Friends,
 
There is nothing so calming to me, or frightful, as the waters of the ocean.  One minute you are lying on the beach with your toes in the sand, the next you are overcome by the rising tide and scampering to get out of the way of the crashing billows.  Water and wind are two of the most destructive natural forces known to man.  The same thing that cools you off and rocks you to sleep has the ability to drown and blow you away.  I like to visit the beach on vacation and go on cruises aboard the large ships, but there is no way I would want to live there all the time. I will choose the mountains every time.  We may be susceptible to a tornado, but it would be near impossible for us to be hit by a hurricane.  The climate and topography that attracts one person, repels another.  That is one of the things that make us unique as one of God’s creations. 

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Pastor’s Desk September 10th

Scripture Passage:  “And he spoke a parable unto them, saying,  The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?  And he said,  This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou has much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night your soul shall be required of you: then whose shall those things be, which you have provided? So is he that lays not up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”   Luke 12:16-21
 

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Pastor’s Desk September 3rd

Scripture Passage: “And the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”   Genesis 2:15      “In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return unto the ground; for out of it were you taken; for dust you are, and unto dust shall you return.”  Genesis 3:19

Dear Friends,

     Happy Labor Day week.  Labor Day is a national holiday held on the first Monday in September to commemorate the working class.  It honors the American labor movement and the contributions the workers have made toward the prosperity of the nation.  The first unofficial celebration took place in New York City in 1882.  It became an official federal holiday in 1894 and is considered the unofficial end of summer.  Labor Day is a reminder that without the working class of people any nation can be brought to its knees. 


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