Devotions

Author Archives: Donna Fox

Humbly Serving

Vision | Devotion #4: Humbly Serving
Donna Fox | Assistant to the Growth Pastor

You have likely heard the stories of Jesus serving. Whether you have been around church your whole life, or you are new to the church, you have heard the stories. Jesus healed the sick, He fed the hungry, He washed the disciples’ feet, and ultimately He died for our sins on the cross.

Consider 1 Samuel 12:24: “Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” Did you catch that? “What great things he has done for you.” He served you and me by dying on the cross for our sins and making a way for our salvation! “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

As Christians, we are to be Christ-like, to look to the examples of Christ serving in the Bible and be like Him. If we are to be “Christ-like,” then we, too, are to serve. What does that look like?  

I think our church body does a pretty good job of being servants. We have greeters at the door, welcoming with a smile. We have wonderful volunteers in the nursery taking care of our precious babies. The list is without end.

We also have wonderful ministries that provide clothing and food for the community, visit those in the hospital or homebound, provide meals for those recently hospitalized, and have a prayer chain for those in need of prayer. The list can include everyone.

But why do we do it? Why do we volunteer, sign up, and commit to giving our time and resources to help others? We do it to follow Jesus’ example, to be “Christ-like.”  Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Serving others, humbly, was modeled by Jesus. Matthew 20:28 shows Jesus’ purpose, “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  

Jesus’ life can be summarized in two words: humbly serving. Galatians 5:13 (NIV) says, “Serve one another humbly in love.”

It is by Jesus’ example that we humbly serve one another. Look around you today and in the days ahead and see where you can help someone out with a meal, babysitting, or an encouraging word. There are so many ways to humble ourselves and serve another, but we need to keep our eyes open and be aware. Opportunities are all around every day!

John 13:15 summarizes it beautifully: “For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”

Don’t Look Back

Lot’s Life • Devotion #6: Don’t Look Back
Donna Fox | Assistant to the Growth Pastor

“Flee for your lives!  Don’t look back…

But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:17, 26 (NIV)

The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had become evil. Terrible, unspeakable things were happening there, and God was going to destroy them and all the people there. An angel appeared to tell Lot to take his family and flee immediately. Lot, his wife, and daughters hesitated, so the angel had to grab their hands and force them to flee. Once out, Lot’s wife turned and looked back. She looked back at what she left behind. She fondly looked back at where her heart was. She disobeyed.  She died because of it.

Worldly things ensnare us. They tempt us day and night. If we give in to temptation, we sin. Sodom and Gomorrah had become very sinful cities. God had sent two angels to warn of destroying the cities and the evil people. But He chose to save Lot and his family. The angels said, “Go now, don’t look back.”

Lot’s wife disobeyed. She showed where her heart truly was, in the sinful city. She did not want to leave that behind. First, she had to be forced to leave, taken by the hand and forcefully removed. Then she turned around to look back in direct disobedience. She lost her life that day because of her disobedience.

I remember another story in Genesis 2:16-17, the story that started it all – sin, disobedience, and death. Adam and Eve were in the Garden. Everything was perfect. God had said, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Enter Satan in the form of a serpent, to tempt them. Eve, and Adam, disobeyed. The consequence was death. Their demise was not immediate as was Lot’s wife, but nonetheless, it led to death which had not existed before.

God desires our obedience and will not tolerate any less. There are consequences for our behavior, for our disobedience.  Sin cannot be hidden and will lead to repercussions, if not in this lifetime then we will have to answer for them on the Judgment Day.

If you do not guard your heart now, each day, and flee from worldly, evil things, your heart becomes harder and harder, and obedience becomes harder and harder.

How can you guard your heart? Have a relationship with Jesus that is every minute of every day, not just Sunday morning for an hour. Be in the Word. Fellowship with other believers. Grow in the Word in a Growth Community. Pray. Immerse yourself in the love of Jesus, and He will help you flee from temptation and sin. Of course, you will still sin, no one is perfect but Jesus. But when you do sin, repent, ask Him for forgiveness, and the sin will be forgiven.  It is when your heart stays in Sodom that you will run into trouble!

God Exists

Creation • Devotion #1: God Exists
Donna Fox | Assistant to the Growth Pastor

“In the beginning, God…” Genesis 1:1a

The Bible begins with God (Genesis chapter 1) and ends with God (Revelation chapter 22). He was there at the beginning and will be there at the end. He is omnipresent (all-present), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omniscient (all-knowing).  He has no timeline; He just has always been.

God exists. Period. If you profess to be a Christian, you have a relationship with the Son, you have faith, and you just know He exists. What about those who do not yet have that relationship? How can they know God exists?

Creation and nature were my first clue. Before salvation, I would look at the earth, the trees and flowers, the human body, the eyeball, and birth of a baby, and just know that there had to be a God that existed and created such intricate, beautiful things. How could the planets not crash into each other? How could a baby grow into a child, then an adult, from some “Big Bang?” I knew that could not be true. The Holy Spirit was pursuing me, it was very evident to me, and that was another clue. I resisted for a long time, but I kept feeling that tug on my heartstrings wanting to have a relationship. Of course, God existed, He wanted to have a relationship with ME!

The existence of Jesus was, of course, the most compelling! It has been proven time and time again that Jesus did, in fact, live on this Earth. As you study the Bible, learn the stories, hear of the miracles, and compare it to other historical events, it becomes more and more evident that the Bible is the truth. God did exist, does exist, and always will exist.

If you have not researched it for yourself, if you have not read the Bible, if you have not seen the proof and developed the faith, you need to start that journey NOW!  Open your Bible. “In the beginning, God…”  That says it all right there. Keep reading, and as the stories unfold, you cannot help but fall in love with God over and over again!

Prayer Changes Things

Requests • Devotion #2: Prayer Changes Things
Donna Fox | Assistant to the Growth Pastor

My daughter gave me a plaque years ago that said “Prayer Changes Things.” It does, it changes you! It is all about a relationship with Jesus. Prayer is a conversation between the two of you that deepens your relationship with Him. You tell Him your heart, you are hurting, you need a job, you want a baby, and He speaks to you through His written Word, and through the Holy Spirit. As you dig deeper into His Word and listen to the Holy Spirit, you begin to realize He has a plan for your life. He knows what tomorrow will bring, and it may be bigger and better than what you are hoping. If we pray for His will, our minds and attitudes are the ones that change, and we begin to look for what is going to happen next that God has planned for us instead of our worldly desires.

Prayer is not trying to change God’s mind about His plan for our lives. It is about changing our mind to align with His will so that we open our eyes to see His plan.

Prayer changes me! It gets my mind focused on His will, not my will. I ask for things “if it be Your will” and if I do not have my prayer answered, I understand it is either not His will, or not in His timing. When I ask for what He wants me to have (peace, joy, love), He answers because I know He wants me to have these things. This does not mean that life will be wonderful, always. There will be trials, but even in the midst of the trial, I am at peace knowing He is by my side. He is hearing my prayer of sorrow asking for the pain to go away. But I know during this time, He has a plan, and He has a purpose for this trial. I ask “what do you want me to learn from this trial?” I thank Him for it and rejoice that He was with me the entire time and did not abandon me. He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

In Jesus’ example of prayer, The Lord’s Prayer, He says, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Here He is talking about our physical needs. Bread was a staple in the Jewish diet, a symbol of God’s provision in the Old Testament.  His audience would understand “our daily bread” as meeting their day-to-day needs. When we come humbly in prayer and ask Him to meet our day-to-day needs, we know that He will provide. Jesus did not say, “Ask for lots of money or a better job.” Instead, He said, “ask for your daily needs to be met, and I will meet them.” He knows what we need, and want, before we even ask. But by asking, through prayer, we are the ones who change – our hearts, our minds, our attitudes – about what is important and what God wants for us each day. That is, to be humble, to be still, and to watch and listen for God’s leading in our lives.

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15

“Remember that prayer doesn’t depend on how you pray. The power of prayer depends on the One who hears the prayer.”  Max Lucado

El Gibbor

Mighty God | Devotion #3: El Gibbor
Donna Fox | Assistant to the Growth Pastor

It seems everyone is searching for something (or someone) to fill a void in their life. Until we find Jesus, we are empty. This was me as a child and young adult. My father was an alcoholic. Life was not pleasant a lot of the time. I would lie in bed at night, listening to the fighting and commotion, thinking that there has got to be something out there I am missing in my life. I longed for peace.  God offers peace, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

I used to watch Superman on TV. Lois Lane would get herself into a predicament, and mild-mannered Clark Kent would transform into her superhero and rescue her. One time she was falling off the roof of a building several stories high, and of course, at the last moment, Superman swooped down and caught her. I was searching for that hero, someone to rescue me.

I needed a warrior, a strong, powerful Savior to enter my life and rescue me. My father did not fill that role. My brothers did not either. Not even my husband, as wonderful as he was (and is) could fit the role. He was not that “superhero” I needed to rescue me. I wanted a mighty warrior. In Hebrew, Mighty God is translated “El Gibbor,” the ultimate power over all. I longed for an “El Gibbor” in my life.  I finally found him on April 24, 1995!

When I was introduced to Jesus and began a relationship with Him, I was rescued!  A Mighty God had come into my life, and I knew He would fill the void. This was what I was searching for all my life. I was finally fulfilled and at peace. This was the superhero I needed in my life. One that would always be there to protect me, comfort me, and love me. In Hebrews 13:5, He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I spent years expecting someone to “save” me, a Savior. The Jews did as well. As prophesied in Isaiah and throughout the Old Testament, the Jews were expecting the Messiah to come and rescue them. When He did come, some recognized Jesus was the expected one; some did not. When your Savior calls out for you, do you recognize it is the Mighty God?

You are falling off the rooftop. You are almost to the first floor and then the ground. A Mighty God is reaching out to catch you and rescue you from certain death. Will you accept Him into your life? He is just waiting for you to believe and start a relationship with Him. Then the void in your life will be filled with His peace and love!



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