Staff Devotions

 

December 8

December 8 – December 14
 
Scripture Passage:  “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.”  I John 1: 5-7
 
Dear Friends,
 
     The holidays are a time of immense joy and fellowship.  They are also a time of deep depression and isolation for others.  I have two very good friends that are going through this right now and my heart breaks and goes out to them.  They are both believers in Christ, but have hit a roadblock in their walk with the Lord because of medical and family issues.  Often friend’s question why someone goes through this, and even claim God is punishing them for sins they have committed.  Sometimes this is true, but most times it is just a part of an emotional roller-coaster ride or chemical imbalance in the brain.  Both are situations beyond the person’s control. The point I want to stress is that light is associated with good, while darkness is associated with evil.  God would never put the darkness of depression upon someone, so it has to come from the evil one.  So why does God even allow one of his children to go through this awful condition?  There are a few reasons that I have found that come from my own personal experiences.  I hope they will help you if you are struggling with depression right now.
 

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December 1

December 1 – December 7
 
Scripture Passage:  “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about:  and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and lo, they were very dry.  And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live?  And I answered, O Lord God, you know.”  Ezekiel 37:1-3
 
Dear Friends,
 
     The story of the valley of dry bones ranks right up there with David and Goliath in the ability to keep a child’s attention. Our Sunday school lesson a couple of weeks ago was on this very topic.  It was refreshing and exciting to go back in time (as well as Scripture) and be reminded we serve a sovereign God who is able to do the impossible.  Ezekiel was a prophet of God that was dealing with a hard headed and rebellious nation.  They had been provided abundant blessings from God, but took those blessings and exchanged them for the frivolous dainties of the world.  Ezekiel received several visions from God that were encouraging.  He also received visions that were disconcerting because the blessings were dependent upon the nation’s willingness to repent and follow God.   The question never was, “Can God do something?”  It was more “Will He do it?”  God’s love is always unconditional, but his deliverance and blessings are often preceded by the conjunction IF.
 

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Pastor’s Desk November 25th

Scripture Passage:  “The word of the Lord came unto me again, saying, What mean you, that you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?  As I live, says the Lord God, you shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.  Behold all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it shall die.”  Ezekiel 18: 1-4
 
Dear Friends,
 
     How did we ever get in the mess we are in?  Common responses of school age children are:  “It is not my fault,” and “I didn’t do anything.”  Teenage responses are more like, “Everybody is doing it,” and “There’s nothing wrong with it,” or “It’s not that bad.”  Adult responses follow whatever logic is acceptable for the day.  “It’s my parents fault because of the way they raised me,” or “I am a product of my environment.”  “The public school system has failed to prepare me to make wise and acceptable decisions,” or my personal favorite, “It is the Republican/Democrats fault.” Whoever is in office at the time is attributed with the responsibility for generations of stupidity.  God spoke with Ezekiel concerning this logic and proclaimed, “Everyone is accountable for themselves and guilty because of the sins they have committed.”
 

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Pastor’s Desk November 18th

Scripture Passage:  “Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou may live long on the earth.”  Ephesians 6:2-3
 
Dear Friends,
 
     The day of this writing is a day of broken records.  We have the record snowfall, the record cold temperature, and my sister turned sixty.  Whoops.  How did that get in there?  The snow is lingering and makes post card perfect scenery.  It is very cold, but the sun is shining and has the potential to be a beautiful day.  My sister, who was my childhood playmate, has reached the big 6-0 and her little brother is not far behind.  Judy is a beautiful lady who has lived long enough to retire.  She has a heart of gold and takes very good care of our mom and dad.  She has been a successful business women, but she has also had her fair share of bumps in the road of life.  In my opinion she has faced those challenges well and passed the test with flying colors.  I wish her many more happy, peaceful years filled with joy and good health.  I introduce her as my older sister, and she introduces me as her older brother.  This is true because I am seven years older than our baby brother Bobby, but I will never be as old as she is.

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Pastor’s Desk November 11th

Scripture Passage:  “So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.”  Nehemiah 4:6
 
Dear Friends,
 
     There are some Scriptures that seem to appear in my devotionals more often than others.  That is because they speak directly to my heart and the situations I am presently dealing with.  I love to preach through the book of Nehemiah because it is a practical guide and manual on rebuilding a church.  The same steps Nehemiah incorporated in rebuilding the wall are the same steps churches use when rebuilding.  The same obstacles Nehemiah faced and adversities he had to overcome are the same one’s the modern church faces on a day to day basis.  They may look a little different on the surface and may be identified in a different manner, but they consist of the same traits.  Even when a church is strong and void of major splits, there is wall work that needs to be done to keep the foundation strong and the perimeter wall intact.  If repairs are not made and foundations strengthened, it is just a matter of time until the whole structure collapses.   Sometimes it is good to remodel what is in existence to keep it fresh and attractive.  A church is just like a home.  There is always something that needs to be done and projects to be completed.
 

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Pastor’s Desk November 4th

Scripture Passage:  “For Ezra had prepared in his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statues and judgments.”   Ezra 7:10
 
Dear Friends,
 
     I believe God always has men and women in place to lead his people back to Him.  In the dark time of Babylonian captivity Ezra and Nehemiah found favor with the King of Persia, Artaxerxes. The king gave Nehemiah permission to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the city walls.  He even funded the project.  Ezra was commissioned by the king to return to Jerusalem and restore order among the people of the new community.  The king gave Ezra civil as well as religious authority.  He also provided the funds to furnish the temple, which had been rebuilt by the returned captives.  Ezra was a talented scribe and priest who was an expert in the first five books of the Bible. Most scholars believe he probably had a photogenic mind and had the entire Pentateuch memorized. Ezra had prepared himself and purposed in his heart to accomplish three directives as he lived out his daily life.  1.  To seek, know, and understand the Law of God.  2.  To be obedient to the law and each of its precepts.  In our language he wanted to be a doer of the law and not just a hearer.  3.  He wanted to be a good steward of the talent God had given him and teach others in Israel God’s statues and judgments.  All this he committed to perform “according to the good hand of his God upon him.”  Ezra 7:9    Let us look at these three directives and see how they should be our goals as well.

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Pastor’s Desk October 28th

Scripture Passage:  “Not that I speak in respect of want:  for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am; therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”      Philippians 4:11-13
 
Dear Friends,
“In your patience possess ye your souls.”  Luke 21:19   Truer words have never been spoken.
 

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Pastor’s Desk October 21st

Scripture Passage:  “I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works; and that my soul knows right well.  My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Your eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in your book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.  How precious also are your thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them.”   Psalms 139:14-17
 
Dear Friends,
 
     There are many people that I come in contact with that question the value and importance of their lives.  They are self- depreciating with low self- esteem and an overwhelming sense of unworthiness.  They live in a constant state of depression fueled by feelings of inferiority.  The question is: “Who told you that you were not worth anything?”  “Who told you that you should never have been born?”  Was it a parent, sibling, or teacher?  Was it a bully on the playground or a spoiled diva who thinks more of themselves than they ought to?  The only one who has the right to make that call is your creator and He would never say such a thing.  He made you in His image and created you with a purpose in mind.  You are not like everyone else because God made you unique and beautiful in your own right.  Our value and worth come from God and it is time we stopped listening to the lies of the devil and started listening to the praise of our creator.  You are somebody because God does not make junk.
 

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Pastor’s Desk October 14th

Scripture Passage:  “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32
 
Dear Friends,
 
     Having had a whirlwind of activity the past few weeks, it is good to be sitting at my desk catching up on unfinished task and looking forward to new adventures. The princess is married, her mother got her trip to the beach, and I got some much needed rest.  It seems that Patty and I live in a constant state of activity and the church migrates from one big event to the other.  As I look at my week’s calendar I realize I have something every night this week including a wedding on Saturday. I do not intentionally plan things this way it just seems to happen on a consistent basis.  We have our associational meeting next week and Judgment Day Drama the following week for three nights.  It is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of activity that we miss the main focus – lifting up Jesus.  If we fail to do that, all that we have accomplished only amounts to busy work and a lot of noise.  If we lift Jesus up in all we do, then men, women, boys and girls, are drawn to the saving grace of Christ and the church grows in numbers and strength.  The church vision statement is simple.  We lift up Jesus that sinners might be saved and saints might be made disciples.
 

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Pastor’s Desk September 30th

Scripture Passage:  “The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.”  Psalms 18:46
 
Dear Friends,
 
     Every day that I live produces new opportunities and challenges.  Some are filled with mundane task that are part of everyday life and ministry, while others are exhilarating and filled with emotional highs and lows.  Some days I feel up to the task.  Other days take a concerted effort to put one foot in front of the other.  There are days that my study time is like mining gems in a tropical setting.  The thoughts and nuggets of truth just keep coming to the surface.  Yesterday was like dredging a dry river bed.  I sifted through a ton of Scripture (it was all good) but I could only find minute traces of the treasure I was looking for.  This morning I went back to examine what I found yesterday and discovered it was part of the “mother lode.”  Let us put this gem under the microscope and see what we have.
 

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