Devotions

Author Archives: Carole Combs

Unity 

Tower of Babel • Devotion #1: Unity
Carole Combs | Women’s Ministry

Disunity with God will never produce unity with man.

The word unity is a warm fuzzy word to me. When I think of unity, I picture a perfect tranquil utopia where everyone is living in perfect harmony and where there are no disagreements or conflicts. Nowhere in this world will you find this kind of unity. However, you can have unity with God in this life, and He has also prepared this perfect place for you to live for eternity with Him and with all those who have trusted His Son as their Savior. If there is disunity in this world, how then can you and I have unity with God and man in this world? 

I believe it first begins with our unity with God. The people of Shinar (Genesis 11:1-9) seemed to be in perfect unity. They settled together, they had a plan together, they made bricks and mortar together, and they even built together. There was one problem; they did this all together without including God! They did not inquire or include the God that made them and all things into the construction of their lives or in the construction of their plans. God allowed them to continue for a time in their futility. Imagine God watching the whole process of their tower building. Imagine God watching you in the process of what you are doing in your life. God was watching them, as well as God is watching you. God is watching you and I as we make our plans, and as we build our lives. He wants to see if we include Him. Are you leaving God out of your plans? Do you find that there is disunity in your relationships? 

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” God is a holy and just God. He would not allow the people in Shinar to continue in their complete disregard of Him, nor will He allow us. We see nowhere in these verses that they inquired of God nor that He directed their paths. The decisions they made were on their own and without God. They thought they were in unity during this process, but sadly they were in disunity. God was not leading or guiding, only the “I, we, and us” were in charge. God allowed the language of the people to become completely different from one another. A father could not understand a son. A mother could not understand a daughter. God needs and wants to be placed in everything you do. Disunity with God will never produce unity with man. Fathers will be in disunity with sons, mothers will be in disunity with daughters, and husbands and wives will be in disunity. Neighbors will be in disunity with one another. The Church will be in disunity.  The whole world will continue to be in disunity when God is not placed in the center. Go where God wants you to go. Make God’s plans your plans. Build your life around His tower. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” Proverbs 18:10

Paid in Full

Confession • Devotion #4: Paid in Full
Carole Combs | Wife of Lead Pastor Jim Combs

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12

I do not like any debts at all. I do not like to borrow anything or even owe one dollar to anyone. If the Lord shared with His disciples that there was a debt and they needed to pray about this, we must sit up and learn what that debt is.

Do I have this same debt? Do you? The debt is our sin, yours, mine, and the whole world, too. There is nothing we can do to pay off our debt of sin toward God. But God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty of our debt.

There is a heart attitude that Jesus is teaching here as well. It is a heart of humility. You and I have a debt that needs to be settled. We cannot give enough money or do enough good deeds to nullify the debt. We must humbly approach an Almighty God and ask and receive the forgiveness of sins He so graciously lavishes upon those who have repented. It is like God was going through the grocery store of life. He saw you and picked you up off the shelf and placed you in His shopping cart. He went to the checkout and placed you on the conveyor belt. When the cashier scanned you, buzzers sounded and lights flashed. The cashier’s screen read, “Do not scan, already purchased.” God said, “I know. This is my child.” Are they already covered? Yes.

The debt of your sin has been paid in full by Jesus if you have put your faith and trust in God’s Son as your Lord and Redeemer! Jesus continues with His instruction to the disciples. They were to pray for forgiveness and forgive those who had wronged them. It involves forgiving those, if you may, that are in debt to them. We then are to forgive maybe someone in a broken relationship. It may be someone who has hurt you in your childhood. Is it someone who has committed crimes against you? Whatever debts they may be, people hurt people. Do you realize that if we can somewhat fathom what Jesus did for you and I on the cross, forgiveness would come much easier?

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” Colossians 3:12,13.

Because we have been forgiven, we must forgive. I had a wonderful woman ask me to pray for her struggling heart. She went on to give me the details of her struggle. The next day she would be at the trial of the man who had killed her sister. She told me that she knew that she had been forgiven by God and that her debt had been paid in full. She wanted to forgive this man who had stolen her sister’s life. I wish we all could be like this woman who had the realization of God’s forgiveness in her life and she wanted forgiveness to transcend to those that had a debt against her. Jesus is our best example of forgiveness as He hung innocently on the cross for you and I. Jesus even said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). I still do not like to be in any debt, but I am thankful beyond words that I am not in debt to God! My debt has been paid in full! Are you in debt to God?

Expect His Presence

Immanuel | Devotion #2: Expect His Presence
Carole Combs | Wife of Lead Pastor Jim Combs

I am guessing that you must not be like me; everything that you plan and work towards happens just as you have planned. You never have any unexpected happenings, right? What an absurd thought! All of us often, if not daily, get curve balls thrown at us on a regular basis. How are you doing with those unexpected happenings? What has been your thoughts or responses? If unexpected things happen each day to all of us, should our responses to the unexpected be different as a follower of Christ than those who do not know Christ? 

It was a wonderful day. Mary was engaged to be married to the most wonderful man named Joseph. He was a very handsome and talented carpenter. Mary was anticipating their special day together that she had dreamt of since she was a little girl. Her wedding dress had been sewn together with love. The detailed plans of the wedding were falling into place. Then the unexpected happened. While Mary was doing her daily chores, an angel named Gabriel appeared to Mary. As he spoke to her, he said, “Greetings O favored one, the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). We see the human response of Mary (1:29) which is helpful to you and I. Mary was troubled. How often do you have an angel appear to you and engage you in a conversation? The angel told Mary not to be afraid (1:30). 

Often our first response to the unexpected can be fear. Fear can blind you and paralyze you from seeing and hearing what God has for you in the unexpected. 

Luke 1:31-33 continues the story, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

For Mary, it was decision time to trust God in the unexpected or not trust Him. Mary responds to the shocking, unexpected news with, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Not too far away, Joseph, the groom, experienced the unexpected. Joseph was sleeping after a very long day of work. It had been quite an emotional day as he pondered how he would send his beloved pregnant Mary away privately. The child was not his. How could this have happened? An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, “Do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us)” (Matthew 1:20-23). Joseph woke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him to do. The unexpected events that changed Joseph and Mary’s day were God’s plans and purposes for their lives. God carefully handpicked this young couple. It was a series of unexpected events; however, they were events that had been prophesied 700 years earlier. This was the King that they both had learned about and were expecting. This was the King that was to come to earth to save the people. It went from the most unexpected day to the expected best day ever! God desires to be with you, and He has a purpose designed just for you. He sent his Son Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of you, me, and the whole world. He came in the most unexpected way, but He was expected! What better gift could you expect at Christmas? We have His love! If you miss love, you have missed everything!

Gomer

Lesson Ten | Devotion #3: Gomer
Carole Combs | Wife of Lead Pastor Jim Combs

I Choose you!

Red Rover, Red Rover, send Gomer right over! I would have to say that the game Red Rover was my least favorite childhood game to play. If you were called out by name by the opposing team, you had to run full speed and break through the arms that had formed human chains. If you did not break through, your enemy would keep you on their side.

Gomer was a woman who was chosen by God to be on His team. She became the wife of Hosea. Many scholars have differing opinions about the book of Hosea. Some suggest that the entire book of Hosea is allegorical and others suggest it is written literally. Whatever opinion you choose to take, one underlying theme I would like to highlight is that Gomer was chosen. God picked her on purpose and with a purpose. You might be thinking, “Gomer must have been an extremely godly and holy woman for God to have chosen her.” On the contrary, Hosea 3:1 describes her as an adulteress. Satan, our enemy, has a weapon against you. He speaks to your mind and convinces you that you are not good enough, you do not know enough, and your past negates you from serving or being with God. These are all lies from your enemy. We do not have any righteousness, but if you and I have trusted Christ as our Savior, we are clothed in His righteous robes.

I learn something new every day. With that said, I am never going to know enough about everything. God only wants you and me to trust Him and follow where He leads. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. I want the wisdom of God, what about you? Gomer had a past. This did not stop God from choosing her to become Hosea’s wife. God loved her, and so did Hosea. Together, Gomer and Hosea had two sons and one daughter. This story could have had a happy ending. They could have lived happily ever after in their little house with their little family and their little dog. God chose Gomer, but also God gives you, me, and Gomer as well, a free will. Gomer chose not to follow God. She was not faithful to God and her family. Gomer chose to return to her sinful lifestyle. It was the sinful lifestyle that God had rescued her from and given her the victory to break through its clutching arms.

Many of you can relate to Gomer’s story. God has chosen you and called you out of your painful and broken sinful lifestyle. He has called you to His plan and purposes. Turn a deaf ear to your enemy calling you to return to destruction. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). You do not have to return to the old. Sadly, Gomer returned to her old ways. Hosea (a wonderful picture of the love and grace of God) went to the pits to rescue Gomer. She had sunk so low into sin that Hosea had to pay the price to get his wife back. God is calling you to return home. You have not sunk so low that God cannot rescue you. Maybe you have never trusted Christ as your Savior. God sent His Son Jesus to pay the price for your sin and mine. God is calling you to accept His Son Jesus as your Savior. God is calling you to live in His fulfilling purposes and plans He has for your life. It is a life that is abundant and satisfying! God chooses you!

Rahab the Harlot

Lesson Three | Devotion #6: Rahab the Harlot
Carole Combs | Wife of Lead Pastor Jim Combs

Grace Erases

Have there ever been decisions and or actions that you have made that you wish you could just erase? There are products on the market to virtually get every stain imaginable out of fabrics, carpets, and anywhere else there seems to be a spot that does not belong. What if I told you there is someone who could erase all the stains that have tarnished your life?

Rahab experienced personally the stains of life erased by the grace of God. Rahab was a woman who lived in Jericho. Her home was built into the wall of the walled city. Every one of the city knew the location of Rahab’s house. Even those who traveled to Jericho for business knew where Rahab lived. Rahab was a prostitute. However, her life changed the day when she had two male visitors that did not come seeking for what she had to offer. God had promised the children of Israel the land beyond the Jordan. Jericho would be one of those cities within that region that God had promised to His people. God had instructed them to conquer and destroy all of its inhabitants. Joshua, the leader, had sent the two spies to Jericho that day.

In our day and age, we have the capabilities to have news travel in moments across the globe. It may not have been moments, but the news of the Israelites coming to conquer the lands beyond the Jordan was front page news. There was a fear in the people of the lands. They had heard how this God of the Israelites had stopped the waters for the people to cross on dry ground. They heard how this God had provided food for them on their travels. They heard how He protected and drove their enemies away and to destruction. They heard that this God promised the very homes in which they were living. Rahab was no stranger to this news. She had heard it for years from the traveling businessmen about this God of the Israelites. The people of Jericho were living in fear of what they had heard. Now Rahab was faced with a decision as to what to do with these Israelites who had lodged at her bed and breakfast. The King of Jericho heard that these men had stayed at Rahab’s place and commanded that these men be brought to him.

Rahab chose to put her life on the line for the God of theses Israelites. She hid the men on her roof under stalks of flax. She told their pursuers that they had already fled the city. Rahab believed the stories she had heard about the God of the Israelites. She believed that this Almighty God who took care of His people could take care of her as well. She declared that the Lord their God, He was the God in the Heavens above and the God on the Earth. Rahab feared the King of the Universe more than the king of Jericho. As soon as the spies’ pursuers were a distance from Jericho, the spies climbed out a window from Rahab’s home by a red cord. The spies promised Rahab that when they saw the red cord in her window, her life and all her family that came within the walls of her home would be saved from destruction. They were thankful for her courage and sacrifice to them.

Rahab’s faith in the Jehovah God saved her and her family. When the people of the city saw no beauty in Rahab, God saw her beauty. When the people of the city saw only a harlot, God saw a heroine. Only men came to her home to use and to abuse, but God came to her home that day with mercy and grace. Rahab had an opportunity to choose the lifestyle she was living or choosing to trust in the Jehovah God that she had only heard stories about what He did. She found out that day that they were not just stories, but God was real! Grace erased her past. Grace can erase your past as well. Make the choice and accept the hand that holds the biggest eraser in the world. That eraser is called GRACE!



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