Devotions

Author Archives: Jen Combs

Clueless

Forgive | Devotion #3: Clueless
Jen Combs | Women’s Ministry

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

I remember a few years ago when I was dealing with forgiveness. I had someone in my life cause hurt in years past that I still harbored some angst against (Ever have that issue?). Reading this verse came alive to me for the very first time, “For they know not what they do, for they know not what they do, for they know not what they do.” I muttered that verse over and over. Could it be that this person did not even know that they hurt me? Gasp. Was that even possible? This was such a defining moment in my life; there was just no way it could be true. It is like the Lord was telling me, “When are you going to give this up? It is done; they do not even know what they did; it is time to forgive.” 

Jesus was hanging on the cross dying the most awful death possible. He was taking on the sin of all mankind. Yet here He was asking His Father to forgive those that crucified Him, mocked Him, derided Him, beat Him, and spit on Him. He was saying they do not even understand what they are doing, but asked the Father to please forgive them. Wow. That is quite a challenge. There is nothing I have or will experience that is even comparable to what Jesus experienced. That does not minimize our pain, but it sure does give me comfort.  

Now if I were Jesus, I could probably forgive and be done, but I am not. I am Jen Combs, and I am rather resentful (Things you just have to know about yourself). So, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do?” God exposed something I could not hide any longer. I had been rug sweeping, burying, and angry about until I finally exploded (There was not a rug big enough to cover it up!). I decided I was going to go to the person. I talked about it through tears and anger. Sure enough, they had no idea the hurt they caused. The Lord was right after all. The Lord was right again! 

Is there a person in your life that you need to forgive? Let me encourage you to do it sooner rather than later. I do not know what forgiveness looks like for you. I think it is different for us all. Sometimes it is daily forgiveness; sometimes you need to talk to the person face to face. Whatever it is, please forgive. If Jesus can forgive the mobs of people that crucified Him, surely we can forgive those that have caused pain in our lives.

All Sales Final

The Gift of Family | Devotion #6: All Sales Final
Jen Combs | Women’s Ministry

It is the week before Christmas. So, you are probably stressed, broke, and tired of trying to figure out gifts for people who do not need a darn thing. Gifts, I am approaching my late thirties, and I still cannot decide how I feel about them. Are you the person that gets super excited to give and receive gifts? Are you the person who is a terrible gift giver? Are you a terrible gift receiver? As I said, I am a conflicted gift person. I do not like giving obligatory gifts (like Christmas), but if I find something that I know would be perfect for someone, I cannot wait to give it to them. I usually do not wait. I do not wrap it. I just race it right over to whoever I bought it for and give it to them. I know, I am a mess. 

Did you know that Scripture says that family is a gift? All over it talks about wives being a gift from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22; 19:14), grandchildren are a gift (Proverbs 17:6), and children are a gift (Psalm 127:3). As I said, you are probably stressed and not feeling like any of these things are a gift. After all, it is the time of year where you spend an inordinate amount of family time together, racing from place to place trying to appease all of those “gifts” that God has given you.  

So, this is your friendly reminder that during this season, the family is, in fact, a gift from the Lord; Scripture says the family is a gift. Now, I could feel some of your eye rolls from here. You are probably thinking, “You do not know the hurt, the abuse, the manipulation, or the dysfunction that I have been through in my family.” Or, you ask, “What if I do not have children, grandchildren, or a spouse? Does that mean I am without gifts from the Lord?” Absolutely not! That is why the Church body is so important. Josh and I have people in our lives that the Lord has given to us that are just as close as family. The key phrase is “the Lord has given to us.” He sees holes in our lives that need to be filled, and He fills them with His gifts. I cannot encourage you enough this Christmas season if you are lacking, to hold fast to your Church family and pray that the Lord will fill your gaps. Hold fast to the family the Lord has given you, whatever that family looks like to you. After all, they are gifts from the Lord, despite the way we may feel. 

Mind your Mind

Forget It | Devotion #5: Mind your Mind
Jen Combs | Women’s Ministry

Do you have any skeletons in the closet? Are they the things you do not want other people to know about you? We all do to some extent. Fast forward some years, and you have come to the point in life where you now know the Lord as your Savior. He is ruling and reigning in your life. You serve Him, love Him, learn about Him, and He is the all-encompassing Lord of your life. But then there are those days where you wake up, feeling the baggage that is tied to you. It is like a steamboat that you are dragging around on dry ground that is chained to you. Some days you cannot get out of bed because of it. If you manage to peel yourself up, you look in the mirror and think, it is just too much. What are we supposed to do with our past once we have come to know the Lord? 

Can I remind you of how sneaky Satan is? Remember, he comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He is a liar, deceiver, and tempter. A lot of the times you will find that battle to be in your mind. At least it is for me. Satan wants you to wallow in your past, throw it in your face, and not forget that shame and guilt he likes to heap on you. 

All of this makes me think of 2 Peter 2:22, “What the true proverb says has happened to them: ‘The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.’” Some days we are so quick to forget that the Lord has forgiven us, He has taken our guilt and our shame on the cross. We are just like the sow, the Lord cleaned us all up, but we are so quick to return to the mud. We just cannot seem to forget all of the awful crazy that we have done. We wallow in the past, unable to forget it. 

One of my favorite verses is 1 Peter 1:13, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action…” The footnote in my Bible says, “Girding up the loins of your mind.” You have to know and understand that Satan wages war on our minds. You must gird up your mind, make it ready for battle, and flee those thoughts. When Satan lobs those fiery darts of shame and guilt, you have to run to Jesus. Take your mind and thoughts to Him. 

Philippians 4:8-9 adds, “Finally, brothers whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me-practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”  Training your thoughts is something, if you practice, the Lord can use to give you peace. He can help you flee the attacks of Satan. Start practicing today. 

Others Blessed because of Joseph

Joseph & Potiphar’s Wife • Devotion #3: Others Blessed because of Joseph
Jen Combs | Women’s Ministry

“His Master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptians house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field.” Genesis 39:3-5

Do you take notes in your Bible? Or are you one of those that just cannot bring themselves to write in God’s Word? I am a major note taker. I write all over the place, up the side of the margin, in the spaces provided, in any blank space that is available. I take notes from sermons I have heard, write definitions of words I have not a clue what they mean, and attach timelines of history. But mainly, I take notes because I have a terrible memory. Right next to this passage I have a note that says, “Do people see Christ in me?” It gets me thinking. In my everyday life, in the mundane, do people see the light of Christ in me? Do they see a difference in me? Am I taking opportunities that the Lord gives to shine His light? 

The other day I was at the gym and had missed the previous week because we were out of town. They were talking about raising money for a family, I was trying to put all of the pieces together but could not. So I bugged one of the girls after to update me. She, with tear-filled eyes, told me while standing on the gym mat that her friend’s young daughter was going to pass away. I had the opportunity to give the standard answer, “Oh, I am so sorry, let me know if I can do anything.” Or I could grab this lady who I did not know, with my sweaty, stinky, hot mess of a self, and pray with her right then and there. I have walked away from those opportunities far too many times in my life to hate the feeling of conviction, knowing I was supposed to do something and did not. So praise God, I prayed with her, and now I have that opened door to talk to her about things of the Lord.

How can you let your light shine today? Are you looking for opportunities? Are you praying for opportunities? Are you willing to feel uncomfortable so people can see the Lord in you?  Joseph experienced some pretty tough and traumatic situations in his life. He was abandoned, sold, and imprisoned just to name a few. Even through all of these things, it says that his master saw that the Lord was with him. This challenges me. In the rough seasons of life, do people see me and say, the Lord is with her? Unbelievers especially are watching how we as followers of Christ handle the difficult circumstances we encounter. Joseph’s story should encourage us to let our light shine before men, no matter the situation. 

Sarah’s Response 

Abraham, Sarah, & Isaac • Devotion #5: Sarah’s Response
Jen Combs | Women’s Ministry

“They said to him, ‘Where is Sarah your wife?’ And he said, ‘She is in the tent.’ The Lord said, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?’ The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.’ But Sarah denied it, saying, ‘I did not laugh,’ for she was afraid. He said, ‘No, but you did laugh.’” Genesis 18:9-15

The story of the Lord coming to Abraham and telling him that Sarah will become pregnant and have a child are what make for my nightmares. Josh and I have five kids ranging from 14 to 4. We had babies young, and I am now 36, I cannot even imagine having a child at the age Sarah was in this story. You hear people talk of little “surprises” happening when they are in their late 40’s. Guys, these are the things that keep me up at night. People constantly ask us if we are going to have any more kids, my standard answer is, “No, Lord willing. But I also know, He has a sense of humor.”  

All joking aside, this is such a real-life example of what the Lord does in our lives. There is so much in just these few short verses. It would take a few devotions to pick it all apart. You have a lady who was told by the Lord that she would be fruitful and multiply. Now she is 90 years old, and it has not happened. I am sure she was questioning whether or not she heard the Lord right. I am sure she had lost hope. I am sure she was heartbroken. I am sure she lost faith a time or two. Ever lose hope before? Have you questioned whether or not what God said was true? Have you found yourself heartbroken over something you could not change? Did you lose faith?

Now the Lord came and told her what she had wanted for years is finally going to happen, and she laughs! I do not judge her at all for this response. She is thinking to herself, “It is a complete impossibility.” Read the verses, it says right there, she does not have her period, and she is too old for sex with her husband. I would be laughing, too. Then I think the seriousness of her denial sinks in a bit, and she is afraid. She has seen firsthand what the Lord can do and realized that it is, in fact, a possibility. It was not in her timing. It definitely was not convenient. It definitely caused some anxiety. 

Why do you think the Lord waited until she was 90 to fulfill this promise to Abraham and Sarah? The Bible talks about everything happening for the glory of the Lord. He chose to perform an outright miracle for this couple. There was no other way that this pregnancy was going to be explained except that the Lord made it happen. I know that we all have had times in our lives, where the Lord does not exactly work in our timing, He does not always choose to do things the way we would like. But we have to rest in knowing that He knows best, He has got it all under control, He receives glory in some funky ways (90-year-old pregnant lady?), and that He does, in fact, love us.    



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