Devotions

Author Archives: Katrina Young

Evil for Evil 

Combustion | Devotion #1: Evil for Evil
Katrina Young | Nursery & Pre-K Director 

“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9

I think my siblings would agree that the only form of communication that we knew growing up was to argue. It is hard to admit, but in a dysfunctional family we did not even recognize it was wrong; it was our way of life! We had more heated exchanges and explosive arguments than I care to remember. Honestly, I do not even remember the cause or the reason for any of them, only that in the end someone was hurt. Thankfully those were my BC (before Christ) days and I vowed to break the mold and never conform to that means of communication again – and then my boys became teenagers! Those of you who have gone through these years with your children can relate to the explosive nature of their personalities and emotions. A simple conversation can lead to a misunderstanding and flip on you in a heartbeat. My son reminds me often of something that he believes I said in the midst of one of those disagreements. It is something I have no memory of, “but he does,” and it hurt him deeply! A discussion gave way to an emotional disagreement; an exchange of words that resulted in “COMBUSTION!” 

In scientific terms, Combustion reactions always involve molecular oxygen O2. Anytime anything burns (in the usual sense), it is a “combustion reaction.” Combustion reactions are almost always exothermic (they give off heat). We all know that oxygen feeds a fire. When we exchange words, or “evil” for “evil,” we are breathing life into smoldering emotions. The verse in 1 Peter says very clearly that we are not to exchange evil for evil, but on the contrary, “Bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” 

The chemistry that makes us who we are as a family is also what makes us so enticing to the enemy. He would like nothing better than to create division and pain between the ones that we love the most. Our words can build up and bless or can be harsh and bring tension and separation.  Proverbs 18:21 teaches us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  

With the power of our words, we can “Bless.”  Proverbs 15:4 says, “Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. I believe the conversation I had with my son years ago crushed his spirit. I am thankful for forgiveness and the love we have, but I will forever regret falling into the trap of exchanging words resulting in a memory of pain for him rather than a memory of a blessing.   

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19

Keep Reaching

Reach | Devotion #3: Keep Reaching
Katrina Young | Nursery & Pre-K Director

“Reach for the Stars,” “The sky is the limit,” “Go for it,” “Just Do It,” “Life is a canvas – paint your dreams.” We write all these things in cards at graduation time to encourage our young people to tackle life at all cost. We inspire them to give life their “all” and have no regrets!  But when it comes to sharing the Gospel, do we push with the same enthusiasm? 

I have heard it said, “If we are to be salt to the world we need to get out of the salt shaker.”    Scripture tells us we are the salt and the light to a lost world.  We are called to witness to the lost, to seek out and share the Gospel with those who are presently separated from Him.

Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 9:37-38 adds, “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’”

We all have people in our lives that need to be reached. Sharing the Gospel with those that are closest to us can be the most difficult. If they reject us, they reject Him.  If we can get past our hesitations and share the reality of Jesus, who He is and what He has done in our lives, our passion will be evident. Reaching others with the same drive that we have to achieve success in our everyday life can make the stars more reachable. 

Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

The power of God unto salvation is not in us but in the Gospel, itself. All we need to do is share it, and God’s Spirit can take the Word of God and make children of God. It does not depend on us, but it is incumbent upon us to proclaim it. What if our canvas is our spiritual journey? What if we paint it with the souls that we have reached out to and they came to know Christ?  What if our focus was to teach our young people to share the Gospel with the lost at all costs? What if we had no regrets? 

Our job is obedience. God’s job is results.

Naomi

Lesson Six |• Devotion #3: Naomi
Katrina Young | Nursery & Pre-K Director

When my son was younger, I spent the majority of my days going to therapy appointments with him: physical, occupational, and speech therapy. It was the same routine day after day. Every week I would check him in at the front desk and then go back to the “observation room,” a tiny little room where I could watch while they worked with my son. When his session was over, I would exit the room into a hallway and go pick him up. I had very little conversation with anyone and a lot of quiet time in that tiny little room while I waited. One day as I was making my way down the hallway, one of the therapists stopped me and asked if she could talk with me. This was someone who had not worked with my son, so I was curious what she wanted to say. As I listened, she began sharing the difficult things that she and her family were experiencing. She ended the conversation by asking if I would pray for them and said, “I knew you were a person of faith and that I could count on you.” I have never forgotten that moment when I realized how my life and my walk, even during a trying time, could be an example to others.

In the book of Ruth, we read the story of Naomi, a woman who experienced tragedy and loss and were in the midst of her grief and hardship, she finds that her daughter-in-law, Ruth, is drawn to her. It is that part of Naomi’s character that stands out to me. Naomi, whose name meant “pleasant or sweet,” had traveled to Moab from Bethlehem with her husband and two sons to escape the famine. While in Moab, Naomi’s husband died, her sons married Moabite women, and they later died leaving the three women to survive as widows. Naomi chose to return to Judah, blessed her daughters, and entreated them to return to their own families. However, Ruth declared her commitment to Naomi:

Ruth 1:16 says, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”  

Ruth obviously cared very deeply for Naomi, and her loyalty was such that she gave up her pagan god to follow Naomi’s God. Despite Ruth’s status as a non-Israelite woman, it was through her faithfulness to Naomi and God that she remarried and gave birth to a son, thus giving Naomi a grandson and ultimately a child was born into the lineage of Jesus Christ. God worked through her life to change many and Ruth is a perfect example that God desires those from all backgrounds to follow Him. God proves He can work in our lives in incredible ways to reach the lost when our lives are yielded to Him.

We never know what influence our words and actions might have on the lives of others. When we experience heartache and pain, our response to our circumstances is an example to others of what it looks like to be a Christian. It is Christianity in its purest form. To this day, I have no idea why the woman approached me or what it was that she observed in my actions or words that led her to me. That encounter made me aware that even in my most routine of days, I can be a light to others who might be taking notice of my walk.

Lord, my hope is that others see You through my actions in every situation and want more of You. There is nothing I desire more than to have someone say “I want your God to be my God,” or “your Jesus to be my Jesus.”

Ready | Who?

Ready | Devotion #1: Who?
Katrina Young | Nursery & Pre-K Director

My closest friends are the ones that are always by my side in both difficult times and those of celebration. They are the ones that I share deepest secrets with and will laugh at my not so funny jokes. Having the right friends in my circle is what keeps me balanced. There is a select group that I have become close with over time and have built long-lasting relationships. This group has stretched me, motivated me, and encouraged me. I believe in them, and they believe in me. They are with me during the highs and lows of life.

Have you ever thought about what it was like to have the privilege of being one of Jesus’ closest friends – one of “His elect?” What was it like to sit down and have a meal with Him or to witness first-hand His teachings? What was it like for them to see His nail scarred hands and pierced side after watching Him die on the cross?  The disciples were gathered together on many occasions with Jesus. He chose them carefully to be in His inner circle and, ultimately, to carry out His ministry.

Jesus had many followers, but those closest to Him, the apostles, were the ones present at the important moments in His life. They were the select group that He shared with and trusted. They were the ones with Him when He fed the 5,000 and when He rose Lazarus from the dead. It was the twelve that He gathered together and gave a divine mandate to as all power and authority were given to them to carry out the Great Commission. It was the twelve that sat down at the Last Supper with Him, and He asked them to pray with Him in the Garden. It was the apostles that were together in the upper room at the time of Passover. Jesus continually proved Himself to them despite their doubt following His resurrection. He appeared to them and “…rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen” (Mark 16:14). But Jesus’ love and commitment continued as He gave His closest friends a front row seat at the time of “The Ascension.” They witnessed this spectacular event as Jesus was received into Heaven, where He was seated at the right hand of God.

They were His chosen.

The awesome part is that so are we! 1 Peter 2:9 says,You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.” We are His chosen! We have the opportunity to walk closely with Him, to trust in Him, and build a relationship with Him so we can witness first-hand the work He is doing.  He loves us!

John 15:13 adds, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

Sin

Delivery Status •  Sin
Katrina Young | Nursery & Pre-K Director

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).

In my B.C. days (before Christ), there were many areas of my life that I thought I would never overcome. I was, without a doubt, a slave to the darkness and incapable of victory. I will admit, some of those areas that seemed to control me still have influence and try to come roaring back. Battling fear, anxiety, and even depression would be impossible without my Savior.

The verse that I can hold onto is 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Being born again is about being rescued from the old ways and choosing to live a life that God intended, walking away from the life that once enslaved me, and embracing the freedom His death and resurrection gave me.

So why do we continue to struggle after surrendering our lives to Him? The enemy is so good at reminding us of where we were and wanting us to stay in that mindset of guilt and condemnation. Romans 8:1-2 tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

Romans 6:4 tells us that since we have been buried and resurrected with Christ, we are now able to walk in that newness of life, unlike the unbeliever who is still a slave to sin. We can do this because Jesus has set us free from the slavery of sin and we are no longer under its penalty of death and separation from God.

John 8:36 adds, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”



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