Devotions

Author Archives: Isaiah Combs

Hakuna Matata   

Remember It | Devotion #1: Hakuna Matata
Isaiah Combs | Worship Leader

Here is a crazy fact that will make some of you feel old. The Disney movie, “The Lion King,” was released into theaters in 1994. That was 24 years ago. I have always loved The Lion King, and now that I have my own kids, I force them to watch it with me. That was until my 5-year-old daughter began to get nightmares because of the scene that Mufasa dies. It is pretty intense. I would have to agree.

But there is a song in the movie that is really catchy. The song is “Hakuna Matata,” and it means “no worries.” The meaning of the song and the phrase “Hakuna Matata” is that the past does not matter because it is in the past. Once we accept it is in the past, it is gone, and you should forget about it. The song also talks about a warthog, named Pumbaa, who had a stink problem when he was a young warthog and forgetting the past helped him move on into his future. It is a problem-free philosophy. But I do not agree. Remembering your past can help you appreciate where and why you are in your walk right now.

The Bible is very clear about what happens to my sins and my past. Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” We also read in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I am very thankful for the forgiveness of my past, and I am thankful I am not that person anymore. It is good to remember what God saved us from. He will not use it against us, nor should we.

Our past is important. Although I am not proud of my past, I get to use my past all the time to help people going through the same or similar situation and trials in their life. I like to call my past, my testimony. It is my testimony on what God has done and has continued to do in my life. It is nothing that I have done. but it is everything that Jesus has done in and through me. 

I still like the song “Hakuna Matata,” and I still will let my kids watch the movie. I will remain thankful for my past because it is my testimony. So remember your past and use it for the glory of God. There is someone out there right now struggling, and they need to hear your testimony of what God has done.

Light Switch

Define It | Devotion #2: Light Switch
Isaiah Combs | Worship Leader

I like to say, “My life was the church and the church was my life when I was a kid.” If the doors of the church building were open, my family and I were there. I even lived across the street from the church for a few years. I believe wholeheartedly that I was saved when I was five years old in that church. My Dad lead me to Jesus in his office which has since been ripped out to make room for nursery improvements. Most of my good and bad memories as a kid happened at that church. I would go through the motions and get involved because it was the only thing I knew. 

However, it does not matter how you grow up or how great your parents are. You still have to have your own personal relationship with Jesus. I call this finding your own Jesus.

Through my teen years, like most kids, I was rebellious, and when I finally got my chance, I ran from God. At 18 years old, I joined the Air Force and went to figure life out on my own. Even though I knew I was saved, I still was not living the life that God had for me. 

It took eight years for me to finally see the light. I was 26 years old when I finally gave in to God and stopped running. I call it my Jonah moment. I was in the belly of the great fish on my knees finally giving myself fully to God and what He had for me. I found my own Jesus. I found out what His love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy meant to me.

 The great fish spit me up on the shore, and I ran to my Nineveh. I have not looked back since. I promised God that I would go back home and do anything I could to serve Him and to be used by Him.

 Finding my own Jesus was a very important part of my life. It was my “Light Switch” moment when I realized it was not my parents, brothers, grandparents, or anybody else’s relationship with Jesus. It was mine.

Work Out Your Salvation

Vision | Devotion #3: Work Out Your Salvation
Isaiah Combs | Worship Leader

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”James 2:14-17

I attended a secular college Bible class that used the Bible as literature and not as the living Word of God. It was one of the most eye-opening semesters of my life. It taught me a few things about myself. First, I do not know enough about the Bible, and I needed to study more. Second, the world has a skewed view of the Word of God and will stop at nothing to disprove it.

One of the discussions we had in the class was about James 2:14-17 and Ephesians 2:8-9,“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

The professor believed that James and the writer of Ephesians (Paul) were contradicting each other. James was saying you needed works to prove your faith and Paul was saying we only need faith and it is not the result of the works we do.

I believe 100% that the Bible is the perfect written Word of God. Everything was put in the Word on purpose for a purpose. I am telling you it is both. James is telling us that if we have been saved by faith and God’s amazing grace, we cannot help but do works for others. It is the proof that we have been changed. It is also us showing and giving people love by serving them.

Dan Smithers, a missionary to Durban, South Africa, put it best. If starving kids come to him and all he does is tell them about Jesus and sends them away, they will never be changed. But if he gives them PB and J and then tells them about the Bread of Life (Jesus), they now can see what Jesus is like. People need something they can touch and feel, and we are the only Bible they are going to read and the only Jesus they will see.

Paul is not arguing with James in Ephesians but is adding to it. The message is consistent; you do not need the works to be saved. It is nothing we can or have done but it is everything that Jesus has done for us, and we are saved only by grace through faith.

Serving and works are a very important part of our faith, and without the proof of works, your faith is dead. The Bible is clear. Take a good look at your life and works and find out why you are serving or why not.

Delivered

Gather | Devotion #1: Delivered
Isaiah Combs | Worship Leader

I love a good story. I think that is true of most people. Hearing a great storyteller tell a detailed and fun story is up there with the best things ever. I am not partial to books or movies. Just give me a good story.

As a staff, we wrote a song about the greatest story ever told.  I think good songs also tell good stories. Just like a good book, you become attached to the characters, and it becomes personal.

Verse 1: Broken for broken beaten for me
put on the cross called Calvary 

Jesus died for our brokenness. This story is personal. It is our story. It is the story of our Savior being beaten and dying for our sins. In 1 Peter 2:24it says,“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”

Verse 2:All hope was shattered placed in the ground
your body lay broken my savior cast down
The stone rolled away you rose from the grave
you are alive and now I will proclaim

For three long days, Jesus laid in the grave, but He rose again just as He said. He defeated death, Hell, and the grave. Matthew 12:40says, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”Luke 24:2 adds,“And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.”

Chorus:From my wandering from
my sin and shame
you delivered me out of the grave
Now, I’m found in you
You’re my hiding place
I will praise you for all of my days

Before Jesus, we were all lost and wandering. We were chained to death by our sin.
The cost of our sins was too great. But we are no longer lost but found in Jesus. Romans 6:23says,“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This is the greatest story ever. It is a story of redemption, love, and grace. This story is personal. It is the story of our staff. It is my story.


Matthew 18:21-35 

Joseph Forgives Brothers • Devotion #3: Matthew 18:21-35
Isaiah Combs | Worship Leader

The story of Joseph in the Bible is one of the best examples of forgiveness. 

If you would like to read the story, it is found in Genesis chapters 37-50. However, here is a shortened version.

Joseph seemed to brag a lot about the dreams God gave him and it is obvious that Joseph is his father, Jacob’s favorite. The ten older brothers do not like the bragging and favoritism. They become bitter as their hatred grows. So they sell their brother into slavery, and they tell Jacob that Joseph was eaten by a wild animal. Joseph spends the next ten to fifteen years as a slave and then in prison. 

The Pharaoh (AKA King of Egypt) has a dream that only Joseph is able to interpret. Pharaoh is pleased with Joseph and made him second in charge over all of Egypt.

The dream Joseph interpreted was that there was going to be a famine for seven years after the present seven years of abundance. So Joseph sets up Egypt to make it through the famine and have so much food that people would travel from all over to get food from Egypt.

 Josephs brothers were some of the people that needed food. So when they came to Egypt to get food, Joseph recognized them. Instead of killing or making slaves out of the brothers, he forgives them. Genesis 50:20 is a very powerful verse, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Joseph chose forgiveness before he even saw his brothers. He knew that God had forgiven him for the things he had done. He knew God was guiding his path the whole time. 

Jesus gives a parable in Mathew 18:21-35 after Peter asks Him a question about forgiveness. The parable speaks of a servant (servant 1) who owed a lot to the king. He had no way that he could pay for it. The king had every right to make servant 1 and his family slaves until the debt was paid. Instead, the rich man showed pity on servant 1 and forgave him his debt.

Servant 1 then went out and to find servant 2 that owned him a little money. Servant 2 asked for mercy, but the other servant refused and ordered him to be thrown into jail until he could pay him back. When the king found out that servant 1 did not forgive servant 2, he had servant 1 thrown in jail until he can pay him back.

This is what Jesus requires us to do. We are servant 1 who has been forgiven for an amount that is unpayable. We have been forgiven for everything we have ever done. So, Jesus requires us to forgive others for the large and small things they do to us. Forgiveness is hard. But since we have been forgiven for so much, we should forgive others, too.



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