Staff Devotions

 

Pastor’s Desk March 11th

Scripture Passage:  “And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite.  And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentils: and the people fled from the Philistines.  But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the Lord wrought a great victory.”  II Samuel 23:11-12
 
Dear Friends,
 
     The greatest king of Israel, David, experienced great success because of two things:  1. His love and heart for God 2.  The people he surrounded himself with.  God said of David, “He is a man after my own heart.”  David sinned just like you and I do and sometimes even worse.  He was a man with a temper and sex drive.  He was a leader and a numbers guy.  He was a planner and sometimes his plans got ahead of God’s plans.  He was a musician and worshipper and his style was often unorthodox.  He could go from being exuberant to depressed with the drop of a hat, but he could also be rock steady and unshakable when he needed to be.  When David sinned he often tried to cover it up or pretend that nothing happened.  When Nathan the prophet confronted him on several occasions, he confessed and repented with godly sorrow.  David knew who he was, but God knew him even better.  David’s love for God never waned and even when he messed up his true heart eventually showed back up.
 

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Pastor’s Desk March 4th

Scripture Passage:  “And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.”      Genesis 4:2
 
  Dear Friends,
 
     Two boys.  Same father and same mother.  Same home and same teaching, but different as night and day.  Both had honorable occupations and both jobs were absolutely necessary.  Sheep provided necessary meat and wool for clothing.  Tilling the soil provided the vegetables and crops necessary for sustenance.  Both boys knew of God and the necessity of worship and thankfulness for what He had provided.  Cain brought from the fruit of the ground, while Abel brought an offering of the firstlings of his flock.  Since the Levitical system of offering had not been established yet, Abel’s offering was not accepted simply because it was a blood offering.  Cain’s offering was not rejected simply because it was a grain offering.  Both were legitimate offerings in the Levitical system.  The reason goes much deeper than the type of sacrifice that was offered.  It centers on the condition of the heart.

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Pastor’s Desk February 25th

Scripture Passage:  “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”     Psalms 61:2
 
Dear Friends,
 
     I love a good song.  I love the rhythm and melody, but mostly I love the words.  Words are powerful.  They have the ability to lift up the spirit and encourage the heart.  They also have the ability to make you cry.  Often times a song speaks to the heart in its time of need and elicits a cascading stream of emotions.   Other times it puts a smile on the face and a melodic tune in the head.  The Psalms I have used in our devotion today is a song David composed during one of the dark and tormented times of his life.  It is an example that the best songs are written from hearts that have visited the valley of despair.
   

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Pastor’s Desk February 18th

Scripture Passage:  “And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.  But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.  And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.”   Job 2:4-6
 

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Pastor’s Desk February 11th

Scripture Passage:  “Verily, verily, I say unto you,  The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.  If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.”    John 13: 16-17
 
Dear Friends,
 
     Many people are searching for the key to happiness.  It is often said that happiness is dependent upon circumstances while joy is based upon relationships.  Jesus says we can find happiness in our service to others.  He had just girded himself with a towel and washed his disciple’s feet.  This was the menial task a slave performed for his master when he entered a personal dwelling.  Jesus had humbled himself and taken on the form of a servant.  Jesus said he had given us an example to live by, and if we would follow the example shown us, we would be happy.  I have thought a lot about this and want to share the story of one of the giants of our faith named George Mueller.
 

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Pastor’s Desk February 4th

Scripture Passage:  “Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.”   Daniel 5:12
 
Dear Friends,
 
      What kind of spirit are you known for?    Are you known for having an even temperament  and cool head under pressure or for being a hot head?  Would you be called a kind and generous soul or one who is bitter and tight fisted?  Are you known as a peacemaker or one who stirs up trouble and contention?  Are you the kind of friend a friend would like to have or a self-centered control freak who has to have everything their way?  I believe these are good questions because everyone is known for something.  The better question, however, would be what does God know you for?  When the spotlight fades, the curtain closes, and the crowd disperses who are you in the dark?  Some are very good at putting up a false façade and being a “snake in the grass” working covertly behind the scenes, but God knows the real you.  So do those closest to you.
 

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Pastor’s Desk January 28th

Scripture Passage:  “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  Proverbs 3:5 “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or,  What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.”   Matthew 6:31-32

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Pastor’s Desk January 21st

Dear Friends,
 
     The following are quotes I have heard down through the years that appropriately fit the Scripture Passage for the day:  “If life is like a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?”  Erma Bombeck   “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get?”  (Made famous by Forrest Gump’s momma.)  “Life is like a game of chess.  To win you have to make a move. Knowing which move to make comes with insight and knowledge, and by learning the lessons that are accumulated along the way.  We become each and every piece within the game called life.”   Allan Rufus   “The game of life is a lot like football.  You have to tackle your problems, block your fears, and score your points when you get the opportunity.”  Lewis Grizzard   “Life is like a smooth running engine, all it takes is one little mistake to bring everything to a screeching halt.”  Johnny Carr
 
     Some friends and I were discussing the other day mistakes we had made in life.  Some of those mistakes for me were the result of foolish pride and egotism.  Others were just sheer stupidity.  Some were honest mistakes with no premeditation behind them.  Some were spur of the moment decisions that I later regretted, but at the time I thought I was doing the right thing.  The one that looms the largest in my memory however are those mistakes I made that could have been averted if I had just handled them differently.  My mind reverted back to every facet of my life – ministry, school teaching, farming, relationships, and family – where if I could go back I would do things differently.  I can’t, so I have tried to learn something from it and move on with my life.  I live with regret, and in some cases shame, that I allowed outside influences to affect my judgment instead of godly discernment.  I can only pray that my life lessons have been well learned.
 
     The question, “What is a man’s life?” has been heavy on my mind since that conversation.  My life has been full of successes and failures.  I have had many ups and downs that have formulated who and I am and the way I perceive and view life.  I have made many mistakes, but along the way I have gotten a few things right.  I am both loved and hated, respected and detested, admired and loathed.  Some things I brought upon myself while other factors I had nothing to do with.  I have been lifted up and honored and I have been turned on and brought low by individuals I thought were my friends, but such is the course of life and the fickleness of human relationships.
 
     So what did James mean when he asked the question, “What is a man’s life?”  I believe he meant that we should learn from our mistakes of the past, forgive and not hold grudges, covet to do better by the grace of God, and move on with our lives.  I believe he would say as Richard Carlson, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  Life is too short to be mad and upset all the time.  “Don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill.”  Think your way through a problem before you react and handle everything with the Word as your example.  (By the way, nothing can be settled on Facebook.  Take care of things face to face and stay off your phones and computers.)  Very soon, today will be tomorrow, and if you live, you will reap either rewards or consequences for what you have done today.  Finally, one day you will wake up and realize you are old.  Yesterday will be just past memories, today will be full of present challenges, and tomorrow will be just a vapor you are looking through.  Make today count.
 
In Christ,
Pastor Johnny


Pastor’s Desk January 14th

Scripture Passage:  “He waters the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your works. He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and the herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine makes glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengthens man’s heart.”  Psalms 104:14-15
 
Dear Friends,
 
     God does all things well.  We often forget there is a fine line in the ecosystem of the world between feast and famine.  Of all things, water is one of the most precious commodities we have.  We have been blessed with an over- abundance of rain recently, so we often fail to appreciate what it means to have a continuing source of water.  Two years ago, we were in Israel at this time.  It rained almost every day and we began to grumble a little when we had to put on rain coats and open umbrellas.  Our guide reminded us that every drop of water has to be stored so that in the dry season they will have water available.   From that point on, we ceased to grumble and gave God thanks for his special blessing.  I know for my farmer and rancher friends muddy fields present a unique challenge.  It is hard to catch ground dry enough for soil preparation and feeding cattle becomes more of a trek through the mud bog rather than the barn yard.  The same water that is making things muddy now, will be the same water that makes everything green in the spring.  Thank you Lord for our water.

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Pastor’s Desk January 7th

Scripture Passage:  And he removed from thence, and dug another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, “For now the Lord hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”  Genesis 26:22

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