Devotions

Author Archives: Josh Lahring

Phony Joy

Reach | Devotion #5: Phony Joy
Josh Lahring | Production Director

There was a commercial I saw some time ago that made me think of how we should be sharing Jesus with others. It is called ‘Sparklers’ by Verizon.  Now you might think, “How did a phone commercial make you think about that?”  You can check out the commercial on YouTube if you would like. 

It simply starts out with one person holding a sparkler and then they light another person’s sparkler. Then that person lights another, and they light another and another. I think you are getting the picture. Next thing you know, there is a whole street full of people with sparklers lighting up the whole dark town, all looking excited.

It is what is said in this commercial that I believe if we Christians understood we would be telling everyone about Jesus.  It simply says, “When you experience something great, you want to share it with everyone.” 

This statement is so true about the way we are with phones and gadgets. How often are we so excited about a new phone or gadget that we feel like it changes our life that we tell all our friends and anyone we encounter.  We do not even care if they do not listen or have no interest, we just go say, “Hey, look at what I just got! It is so awesome! You should get one too!” 

However, as Christians, our greatest joy that we will ever experience is Christ!  Are we not as excited to share Him with our friends and others more than something like a phone?   

 Have you experienced the great love of Christ so much that you just want everyone else to experience it?  That is why we should want to share it with everyone.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Great are You, Lord

Gather | Devotion #5: Great are You, Lord
Josh Lahring | Production Director

This life is full of hurt, pain, and brokenness. Many times when my heart has been so broken and overwhelmed over the years, all there is to do is sing a song to deal with the hurt.  Sometimes there is nothing like singing praise to God in the midst of pain.  He is the healer, the restorer, and our hope. In the time of pain, I have proclaimed this truth in song.  

“Great are you Lord” by All the Sons and Daughters.
You give life, You are love, You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore every heart that is broken
It’s Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to You only.
And all the earth will shout Your praise
Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing
Great are You, Lord

In Genesis 2:7 it says, “Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” God gave Adam the breath of life, and this was an eternal breath.  There was no death and Adam was perfect.  Then we sinned and brought death upon ourselves, and that breath was taken away. Death entered the world.

But God restored us. He sent His perfect Son, Jesus as our new eternal breath of life.

Romans 8:10-11 says, “But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

Jesus is the life of our bodies, and every breath we have belongs to Him.  What else can we do with that breath than use it for His glory?  We sing praises to His name and not only that, but everywhere we go we proclaim His name and everything we speak should honor Him. On that day when He returns, we will continue with the whole earth in shouting His praise, proclaiming that Jesus is Lord. 

Jabez

Lesson Seven | Devotion #4: Jabez
Josh Lahring | Production Director

If you have ever set a New Year’s resolution or goal to read through the entire Bible in one year, you remember getting to 1 Chronicles. It has just about everyone’s genealogy. The word ‘son’ is used 391 times in the book. It is understood that this gives Scripture credibility as the history is recorded in great detail. However, right in the middle of this seating chart for a family reunion, there appears to be a side-note.

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 says, “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’ Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!’ And God granted what he asked.” There are three items that jump out in this passage. First, Jabez brought a lot of pain for his mother in birth. He was blamed for labor pain all his life. Our first child had a massive head, and she had to be delivered via C-section.  To this day she still has a larger than normal head, and it reminds me of the stress of her trying to be born.

Second, he prays that God would enlarge his border. The word “influence” is only used three times in the Bible and all three are in 2 Corinthians 10 where Paul talks about the “area of influence” God has given them and how they pray it will be enlarged.

Third, God granted his request. God wants to use us. After my first year in college for music, I transferred to computer science because I did not think I would ever get a job in music.  Two weeks into classes, I realized I needed to drop out and follow what God would have for me to do.  I transferred to a Christian college in Lansing and studied Bible, theology, and music.  I am not someone who likes change. It was a crazy leap of faith for me to make a move.  Five years later, He brought me to this ministry.

Do we pray that God will use us in a great way or do we just hope that something big happens? I know personally, it can be easy to be content with how your life is.  It is easy to think I will probably never do anything that will change the entire world. Jabez does not just ask for more land; he asks that God’s hand would be with him.  Jabez does not accomplish it all on his own; He asked God to be with him. It is not for personal glory. It is for His glory.

Where is your area of influence?

Are you an influencer for the Lord?

Obey | Where?

Obey | Devotion #3: Where?
Josh Lahring | Production Director

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

When we use the word “go” we usually are referring to things like I need to go to the store, to work, or on vacation.  I think we have the same mentality when we hear we need to “Go make disciples,” however we are already where we need to be to make disciples.

Jesus tells us to “go and make disciples” but we do not need to travel anywhere to start accomplishing that goal, we just need to start where we are.  It is more like a race where they say “Ready, Set, GO!” Start right now! We are not in this race on our own, Jesus said He is with us to the end of the age.  Think about if you teach your children the Gospel and they get saved and become a missionary one day, or you tell an old friend about Jesus, and they travel across the country to tell their family about Jesus. You are a part of something bigger because you were faithful in telling the Gospel here.

In Acts 1:8 Jesus says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  The people did not leave and say anything until they traveled somewhere.  They told everyone they met.  It is very unlikely these people made it very far, but the Gospel did.  From a few people the Gospel spread to millions, not by them traveling, but by them proclaiming it where they were.

We are where we are at right now for a reason, and in spreading the Gospel where you are now, you are a part of it reaching to the “end of the earth.”

Singing In The Reign

Shepherds • Devotion #4: Singing in the Reign
Josh Lahring | Production Director

Every year when the Christmas season arrives, Christmas music takes over the radio and stores, carolers sing on the streets, and people are in the giving spirit sending gifts to family and friends.  The season is filled with joyfulness and giving.  It is easy to be joyful when things are going well and you have a lot for which to be thankful.  If you had nothing though, could you still be joyful?

One of my favorite songs to sing during the Christmas season is “My soul Magnifies the Lord.”  It says, “My soul magnifies the Lord, He has done great things for me.”  We have seen God do some amazing things and we praise His name for that.  No matter what we are going through we can be encouraged that God has done great things in our lives.  God sending Jesus to this earth and giving Him up as a sacrifice for our sins is the greatest thing He has ever done or ever could do.  Even if He never did another thing for us, that is enough to praise Him for the rest of our lives.

This is why we come together as the church and sing.  Each of us has seen God do different things in our lives, but there is one common thing that all of us can celebrate and praise God together for, and that is Jesus. No matter if you are at your highest of highs or lowest of lows, you can sing because you know that Jesus is Lord and He came to rescue us.  While we praise God together as the church, it is encouraging to think that what we are doing is what a multitude of heavenly hosts did, and are doing, as well (Luke 2:13-14):

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’'”



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