Devotions

Author Archives: Katrina Young

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.”

Love

Blooming • Love
Katrina Young | Nursery & Pre-K Director

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4 (NIV)

There is a new craze going on in my family researching our family tree. Some have purchased DNA testing kits to find their ancestry and heritage. It is interesting how easy it is to research someone that lived many years ago. Like putting a puzzle together connecting the dots of lineage, there is a sense of accomplishment finding the missing piece, but there is no real connection to the person, no emotional or spiritual bond, just a name, a year of birth or death that connects them to you. Sadly, this is true in families today, the root of the family tree has withered, some of the branches are broken, and there is no source of love from which to draw.

What does real love look like?

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

As Christians, we are called to love, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). It was not until I became a Christian that I began to understand these verses. As I grew in Christ, it became clearer how to not only accept love but to also love others. Loving the way God loves us requires understanding how much He loves us. God’s love is unconditional; learning to love in that way is a walk through patience, forgiveness, and sacrifice.

The love that I have for my kids is beyond measure; there is nothing that I would not do for them. It is within our families first that we begin to understand what unconditional love is, and it is often the ones that are closest to us that can bring the biggest challenge. We, like any other family, have gone through many difficult times. Keeping Christ in the center of those situations enabled us to grow as a family and deeper in our walk.

As believers, we are a new creation; our identity is not in a family tree that extends back centuries and has many branches; it is in Him. When we lean on, trust in, and rely on His word and His ways we strengthen our family and relationships. It is then that we can experience the Fruit of the Spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Joseph • Devotion #1: It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
Katrina Young | Nursery & Pre-K Director

Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year.  Our family always got together and celebrated even when there were struggles, pain, and hardships in our lives.  My mom was the most enthusiastic about Christmas, and nothing was going to steal her joy. She would always say to us, “Whatever it is, it will wait until tomorrow, tomorrow it will look different and then you can decide how to handle it.” Whatever the crisis was, big or small, it had to wait. I did not realize the wisdom in her words then, but now I cherish them.

When I read the story of Jesus’ birth and that very first Christmas, I have to wonder what Joseph must have been experiencing. What he had planned for his life had now taken a drastic turn, the woman that he is betrothed to was “….with child from the Holy Spirit.”  At a time when they must have been planning their wedding ceremony, he is now faced with making a decision while in the midst of a crisis that he did not see coming.  Joseph gives us a perfect example of what to do in an impossible situation. He pondered his decision, and he listened to the direction that was given by the angel sent by God; little did he know that God had something better in mind.

Matthew 1:22-23 says, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Behold! The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ — which means, ‘God with us.’”

We are all faced with life changes that we did not expect, things happen that are not within our plan, and we have to decide how to move forward.  Joseph and Mary were right in what seemed to be an impossible situation.  Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Both Mary and Joseph questioned what they could not explain but trusted God and found themselves in the middle of His plan and the fulfillment of prophecy.  They were entrusted with the very first Christmas gift, the birth of our Savior. 

Whatever the circumstances life has thrown at you this Christmas, ponder and wait on direction from your Heavenly Father, the greatest present to receive is ‘His Presence.’

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”



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