Devotions

Author Archives: Jayson Combs

John 3:36

Hell and Heaven | Devotion #3: John 3:36
Jayson Combs| Family Pastor

Are we there yet?

When you hear the words “eternal life,” what immediately comes to your mind?   John, the disciple, speaks of eternal life or everlasting life more than anyone else in the Bible. He uses it 18 times in the Gospel of John and six more times in the Epistle 1 John.  

John states in John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” We see here as in other verses that eternal life is through no one else other than Jesus Christ.  In John 6:68, Peter answers Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (KJV).  Jesus tells us in John 10:28, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish neither shall any one pluck them out of my hand” (KJV). Jesus is the way, the only way to eternal life.

I do believe there is some confusion though among believers when it comes to eternal life. In Daniel 12:2 it says, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Life is everlasting no matter who you are. For some, it will be spent with the King of kings, for others under the wrath of God.  

The other problematic view I see with many when it comes to eternal life is the focus on the destination. Yes, it is wonderful to know that Heaven is our home. It is exciting to think about Jesus who has gone and who is preparing a place for us. However, John tells us that eternal life is not just about the destination, it is about the trip. He writes in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Eternal life is about a wonderful walk with Jesus that starts here on earth.

Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?  When I was a child, our family vacation was always to Myrtle Beach. I can remember jumping into our great Pontiac 6000 and heading south. Flying was not an option, we drove.  I can remember thinking how much I could not wait to get there so our vacation could begin. Thinking back on those amazing times makes me pause. I look back and think that vacation did not begin when we got there, it began when we left. I fondly remember those times in the car, the places that we stopped, and the adventures that we had. Now having a family of my own, we often have chosen to drive instead of flying.  

Remember eternal life is not just the destination of Heaven.  It is about the amazing walk with Jesus Christ.  

2 Peter 3:10-18

The Return of Christ | Devotion #3: 2 Peter 3:10-18
Jayson Combs | Family Pastor 

My 7-year old son and I have a little game we like to play. The game could be called “I will hide from you and at the perfect moment, I will jump out to make you terrified.” It is a wonderful game, and if I do say so myself, I have gotten to be pretty good at our little game. When I arrive home, I strategically look through the mirrors in our home, knowing where my son likes to hide. Instead of him scaring me, I usually scare him. Again, it is a wonderful game!

In 1 Thessalonians 5:2 (NIV), Paul gives us a glimpse into the return of Christ. He says in verse 10, “The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” Peter then provides more details of Jesus’ coming and follows up in with a challenge for the church. 

“Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace” (2 Peter 3:14).

Peter’s challenge is clear. Because we know the return of Christ is coming, we ought to live holy and godly lives. He urges those of us in the church to reflect on what kind of person we are going to be. It is interesting to consider the word “diligent,” used by Peter in the passage above. As Warren Wiersbe suggests, “we are to have an ‘expectant attitude’ that will make a difference in our conduct.” Paul also encourages Titus, in Titus 2:13 to wait “for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” If we lose sight of that blessed hope, we are in grave danger of losing our walk with Him. 

In Mark chapter 13, Jesus speaks specifically about his return (I encourage you to take time to read the entire chapter). Jesus uses the phrase “guard yourself” multiple times. The KJV translates it as “take heed.” Over and over, Jesus warns the people to take heed (verses 5, 9, 23, and 33).  Verse 33 specifically says, “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.” In other words, be alert and be ready. This is not because we know the specific day and the specific time, but because we have a specific call on our lives as followers of Christ. This call is to live diligently, intentionally, holy, and godly every minute of every day. We are to be “making every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.”

I remember coming home one day, forgetting about the little game I played with my son. He slipped behind a wall without me knowing. As I walked around the corner, he jumped out and scared me really good. He was so thrilled that he finally got his dad. I hope that we do not become so focused on the things of this world that we forget about the Lord’s return.

Luke 24:5-7

Jesus Physically Rose Again & Ascension | Devotion #3: Luke 24:5-7
Jayson Combs | Family Pastor

Is it all a scam? Did Jesus die and rise from the dead?  This question and its implications are vital for us to consider as believers. For without a literal raising from the dead, all of Christianity is in vain. As Paul states in one of his letters to the early church, our faith is “useless” if Jesus did not rise.

There are many skeptics. Some will say it was an illusion organized by His followers. Others say Jesus did not die on the cross, and therefore He never had to rise from the dead (although Mark chapter 15 tells us Pilate carefully made sure He was dead). Some critics say that Jesus did die, but the disciples kidnapped His body (even though Matthew chapter 27 tells us the tomb was guarded by Roman Soldiers).  Here are a couple of points I think are very helpful when considering Christ’s resurrection.   

First, take time to read Luke chapter 24. You will read about a few ladies traveling to Jesus’ grave on the first day of the week to finish preparing His body for burial.  When the women arrive at the tomb, they find the stone rolled away and the body of Jesus gone. Instead of being excited, they were perplexed and afraid. Immediately, the women left to tell the disciples what they had found. But rather than believing Jesus rose from the dead (as Jesus had claimed He would), the disciples themselves believed the women to be lying. It was not until later when Jesus appeared to the disciples in the Upper Room that they finally believed.

Luke 24:10-11 says, “Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.”

Next, the Bible teaches that Jesus spent 40 days on Earth after His resurrection. Acts chapter 1 gives an account of the final interaction between Jesus and His disciples before He ascends to Heaven. Jesus gives the disciples instructions on how to live after He is gone. After the ascension, Scripture reveals the determination and passion of the disciples to live out the call given by Jesus. But the disciples were met with much opposition. In Acts 12:1-3, we read, “Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also.” In this passage, we learn that James, the brother of John (the disciple) was killed for his belief in Christ. Other accounts reveal many were beaten and killed because of their faith in Christ and the resurrection.

Therefore, knowing the disciples were under severe persecution and even martyred for their faith in Christ, there is another question I must ask myself regarding the disciples and the resurrection of Jesus, “Why would the disciples be willing to die for their faith in Jesus if it was just a hoax and He did not really rise from the dead?” In other words, why would the disciples put their lives on the line for something they knew to be a lie? It does not make sense.

Rather, the accounts of the disciples provide compelling evidence that Jesus did rise from the grave, appeared to the disciples, and inspired the disciples to give their lives so that many would come to know Jesus as Messiah.

Personally, you must also consider the questions, “Did Jesus rise?” and “Why would the disciples give their lives for the Christ?” If you believe He rose from the dead, then Jesus is God; and if He is God, He deserves all of our worship and praise. How will you live out your life to glorify and praise Him as our resurrected Messiah? 

Colossians 2:13-14

Jesus Died for Our Sins | Devotion #3: Colossians 2:13-14
Jayson Combs | Family Pastor

What is a sin? Have you sinned before? These are the questions that I often ask when speaking to children in regards to salvation. This question must be answered for us to move on in regards to salvation.  Colossians 2:13 says, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses.” The word trespasses can also be translated as sin. It is a pretty straightforward statement – because of sin, we are dead.  

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the country of Israel. While we were there, we made a stop at the Dead Sea. Driving along the sea was amazing. The blue water with the mountains reflecting off the water is breathtaking. As you get closer, you realize why they call it the Dead Sea. There is no life in and around the Dead Sea. It is just desert, sand, salt, and rocks. It is hard for me to imagine this huge body of water having zero life in it – no fish, no plants, nothing. It is pretty, but it is dead.

This is the picture of our lives without Jesus. We can have a pretty outside, but without the saving grace of Jesus, we are dead. I am so happy that verse 13 does not stop there. The rest of this passage goes on to say, “God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

If you grew up in church, and especially in a youth group, you most likely had a service where you nailed a piece of paper to a cross. Usually, what happens is the speaker at the end of his lesson tells the students that they can take their piece of paper and write any sins on the paper. Then they are invited to come up to a cross and nail that paper to it. That symbolic event comes from this passage of Scripture.   It is the picture of what Jesus does for us on the cross. The debt of sin that all of us carry can only be forgiven when they are taken to the cross. Jesus came so our sins could be forgiven. We no longer live in death when we confess Him as Lord and Savior, but in life and eternity.

1 John 3:5

Jesus was Sinless and the Virgin Birth | Devotion #4: 1 John 3:5
Jayson Combs | Family Pastor

The Blemish

When I was in the eleventh grade, I did something that forever marked my life.   It is something I carried around with me every day since. It took place in my sixth-hour class. I accidentally stabbed myself in the arm with a number 2 pencil. It is not like it hurt that bad, but now I have this blemish on my arm that for 20 years is still going strong. It is this little lead dot on my arm (I know it is not lead). If you are my age or older there is a good chance that you have one of these blemishes (if you are younger, you may not know what a pencil is).

In 1 John 3:2-6 it says, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.”

It says that we who hope in Him are purified because He (Jesus) is pure. The word pure means to be “free from contamination,” to be free from blemish. Verse five goes on to say that Jesus came to “take away sins, and in Him there is no sin.”     The Bible defines sin many different ways: “Whosoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23 KJV), “The thought of foolishness is sin” (Proverbs 24:9 KJV), “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not to him it is sin” (James 4:17), “All unrighteousness is sin” (1 John 5:17 KJV), and the “practice of sinning also practices lawlessness” (1 John 3:2).

The Word of God points out our sin. That is precisely what the Law of the Old Testament was to do. It was to show us all that we all fall short; we are all blemished. Without one who is perfect, we are all lost and condemned. There is only one who has no blemish. He is the one, and the only one, that could set us free from sin. Jesus, my Lord and Savior, is pure without blemish, in Him, there is no contamination. In Him, I have freedom and the forgiveness of sin.   



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