Devotions

Author Archives: Katrina Young

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.”

Prophet vs Politician

Death #1  November 27 Prophet vs Politician

Our country has just gone through a political process that might be considered the most controversial in history.   Respectfully, our country has elected a man to the office of the presidency that simply did not fit the mold expected of a political leader.  We have a president that did not come through the ranks as one would expect to leave him open to criticism.  His legacy remains to be seen, but the uncertainty gives way to protesting, rioting, and confusion.  If this is happening in our world today what must it have been like when Jesus walked the earth professing to be “The Messiah?”

Was Jesus who He claimed to be?  He certainly did not fit the mold of what people thought He would be.  The Bible is filled with Scriptures and prophecies describing who Jesus is, His life and what He came to do. The Jews had expectations of what the “Messiah” would be, but they expected an earthly king.  Isaiah 9:6 (NASB) says, “And the government will rest on his shoulders and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” 

During His ministry on earth Jesus did not deny that He was the fulfillment of prophecy; He spoke very openly about who He was.  John 5:39-40 says, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”  The signs and wonders that He performed were merely a testimony to who He was, but His message was salvation and eternal life.

Even today there is controversy about who Jesus was; was He a prophet? According to Scripture? “Yes.”  After Christ’s death and the establishment of the Church, the understanding was that Jesus was the fulfillment of Moses’ prophecy. Peter explained that Jesus Christ was the One spoken of by Moses (Acts 3:22-23),Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.’”

We see this fulfilled in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus did not come to govern as a political king; He came to give His life that through His death and resurrection we have the opportunity to receive Him. In receiving Him, He will govern our hearts until His return when He rules the earth as King of King and Lord of Lords. 

Instead of skepticism and wonder go to Scripture. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

Katrina Young 

Nursery & Pre-K Director

Eternal Investment #4 – Investment Options

Eternal Investment #4 – Investment Options
Katrina Young | Nursery & Pre-K Director

My husband recently started a new job with a company that offered great benefits.  This meant changes to the plans we had in place for retirement.  Meeting with the financial advisor to go over our investment options, the first questions that he asked were to find out what kind of people we are.  The goal was to find out if we are “risk takers, moderate, or conservative.”  Based on our answers he then makes a plan how to grow our funds. Watching the market, he will move things around risking what we have given him to make it grow into more than what it was.  The process is unsettling, giving over all that we have to such uncertainty.

In Luke 18 when the wealthy man asked how to inherit eternal life, Jesus said to him, “Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”  The man was very sad because he was very rich.  Our earthly wealth or the lack of has nothing to do with true wealth; the only treasure that matters is the treasure we lay up in Heaven. Jesus taught in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” 

We are all called to “invest into the Kingdom,” and each of us has been given a gift to further the cause. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” Our paths may be very different, and we may have different investment options.   Some may be missionaries in a third world country, a high-risk investment in the world we live in today.  Some may serve quietly and conservatively, while others serve more moderately working with youth.  Matthew 16:27 adds, “For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.”

Finally, 1 Timothy 6:7 says, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” 

The markets are volatile but eternity is certain – follow Jesus!  He is a wise investment!



Office: 8393 E. Holly Rd. Holly, MI 48442 | 248.328.0490 | info@theriverchurch.cc

Copyright © 2016 The River Church. All Rights Reserved.