Devotions

Author Archives: Max Sinclair

Jacob

Lesson Three | Devotion #2: Jacob
Max Sinclair | Children’s Director

From time to time we have a moment where we struggle, and we wrestle with what the Lord has planned for us. God has a plan, a plan to utilize and show His glory through us, yet we all wrestle with that. In Romans, the Apostle Paul tells us in chapter 1 verse 25, “Because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” We have put our ideas and our pride ahead of what God has planned for us. We believe that we alone are the masters of our destiny, that we alone have our best interests in mind. This, however, is like Paul said in Romans, a lie. I know this first hand; I was prideful in my youth, and I believed that I knew what God’s plan for my life was going to be. I was going to become a lawyer and then somehow some way run for office and help make the world a better place; yet, God’s plan for me was different. Instead of humbling myself, I believed that I could succeed by my merit and not through His divine grace and undeniable mastery of my life. I, like Jacob, wrestled with God.

In Genesis chapter 32, we have a story of a world changer, the Patriarch Jacob and how he wrestled with God. The story goes that Jacob was fleeing from his older brother Esau, and he sent all his belongings across the ford of Jabbok. He then camped by himself on the other side. While by himself, a man appeared, and the two began to wrestle. While wrestling with this man Jacob’s hip was displaced, and yet Jacob held on. Finding out that it was the Lord that he had wrestled with, Jacob then grappled and held on saying, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

Throughout our lives we come to wrestle with God and yet instead of grappling on and searching for the blessing that Christ will give us, we give up and go our way because it is easier. This is not what God has intended for us. Jacob is a world changer not because of his awesome wrestling moves, but because he would not give up. He knew that God was to bless him and he wanted to see it through.

Recognize | Where?

Recognize | Devotion #3: Where?
Max Sinclair | Children’s Director

As I look upon some of my fondest memories, I can see that it all started on a road. My road trip across the country to be stationed in Washington, and the return trip back with my sister. There was also a road trip where I connected with a woman who would soon become my wife, the road home from the office where I ponder and pray. These roads have a profound effect on my life, where I can pinpoint where I was going and what I was doing.

Roads have been important in our lives not only scripturally but in American culture. Here in Michigan, we have the first paved road in America, automobiles, and we have the interstate act of 1956. Thanks, Eisenhower.

As we start to tell the story of what happened after the death and resurrection of Christ, we want to look at His revelation to certain people and the effect that it had, but with that, we want to answer some questions, much like a reporter. So, in this correspondence, I will be covering the where.

It is not exactly known where the small village of Emmaus was in relation to Jerusalem. We only know that it was seven miles away (Luke 24:13). While walking on this road, two men were approached by a stranger that would then change their lives forever. As this stranger walked with the two men, He asked them what they were discussing. Dumbfounded that a man would not know what it is that they are talking about, the man named Cleopas answered Him in verses 18-19 saying, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days.” Jesus then asked, “What things?” Cleopas goes on to tell the story of what Jesus went through and that Cleopas had believed that He was the Messiah to deliver Israel, but He had died and yet His tomb is empty.

One can hear Jesus laugh as he talks about how it was important that Jesus had to suffer, “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:26). Finally, they arrive at the place they were staying in Emmaus, and Jesus revealed to them who He is, and they went to tell the disciples what had just happened on the seven-mile road from Jerusalem.

While these two men were discouraged and felt beaten, in seven miles, Jesus shared with them that these things needed to happen for us to be saved. The punishment needed to be delivered so that we may never feel the wrath of God poured out on us. Within seven miles these men understood the task that Jesus had to fulfill and believed that what He did was enough for us. Sometimes we think that it is what we do that we deserve Jesus, sometimes we need to walk along a road for Him to show up and show us the truth.

I remember listening to a recorded sermon of one of my favorite pastors, Pastor Matt Chandler. In this sermon, I remember him hitting the point of the glory of God and that we need just to look up and see His beauty. Instantly, tears ran down my face as I began to think about it.

These two men taking a road trip just needed to look up, and they would have seen the glory of God, Jesus.

On Time Delivery

Delivery on Time • On Time Delivery
Max Sinclair | Children’s Director

For most of my adult life, I think the most joy that I have ever had is realizing that what I ordered from Amazon is on my front porch. It is like a mini Christmas morning for adults who already know what was ordered. This small, yet major sense of joy is just awesome, from books to movies and bobbleheads of past Presidents that arrive by mail; just waiting for me to rip into and order more. This sense of overwhelming satisfaction is further intensified by it being delivered on time. Because I am a nerd and a dork most of the time, I imagine how it arrived; was it by rail, or plane, or just on a truck? The possibilities are endless. As awesome as that being what it is, we need to look at something far more important and precious of a delivery that helped the world.

The death of Christ and His fulfillment of the scriptures of the Old Testament were necessary and right on time. We see this in the prophet Isaiah’s writing in chapter 54, “For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you” (verse 7). This verse does not necessarily explain the Lord’s timing, but it does, however, show His will and its perfect manifestation. You see God is just, and being that as it is, God must demand the payment that comes with sin, by which is death. With that being the punishment for our sin, a delivery of grace and mercy was sent, His Son and the second part of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ. As Christ waited to be sent, God showed His divine providence to the children of Israel to prepare the way for His Son, the Messiah. So as the people of Israel stumbled and failed, God had told Isaiah, “In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you…” (verse 8). God had left the temple and the children of Israel; for around 400 years the God of the patriarchs of faith had been silent to His chosen people. Verse 8 continues, “But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.” Based on that everlasting love and compassion, the Creator of the Universe sent His Son to show us the way and poured His wrath and the punishment for our sin on Him so that we may have a relationship with Him.

Throughout our lives, we will lose touch and forget that everything in life is in His timing. Even our salvation and the promises of God and the blessings that come with it are in His timing. We need to remember even in this season of rejoicing for the debt that was paid and His resurrection, that these things come in His time.

Kindness

Blooming • Kindness
Max Sinclair | Children’s Director

Whenever I read Galatians, and I get to the portion where Paul lists off the Fruit of the Spirit, I always read through and think of the individual attributes of the fruit. One of them that I honestly have a hard time grasping is kindness. I was raised in a good home and full of love and the love of Christ, but one thing that my mother would always say is that we need to be kind. Of all the traits, she focused on kindness. It must be important. However, to this date, I struggle with the idea of what kindness truly is.

As I read in the Bible, for instances of kindness, it drips off the pages. One example in the Old Testament is the story of Mephibosheth. He was Saul’s grandson. Saul, who was trying to kill David, died. Instead of taking revenge, David receives Mephibosheth at his table. He shows amazing kindness. Obviously, the greatest example of kindness was shown when Jesus died on the cross for our sin.

Instead of elaborating on a story and trying to gain knowledge from it, or read a large passage of Scripture to try to aid me in this topic, I will just give you the words of Christ from Luke chapter 6:34-36, “And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

This Scripture is quite poignant in the fact that Jesus tells us that we are to be kind to all, from sinners to our enemies. So now the question is, how does this apply to the family? Too often, we are kind all day and stop when we get home. We should be kind to strangers, but the fact remains, we need to be kind to our families. I am not a parent, so the only thing I can say about parenting is from a child’s point of view, but kindness should not be absent from it. When dealing with a problem remember to be kind, but at the same time, one needs to maintain integrity and firmness. Kindness is very important; it shows the love not only we have for our children, but the love that Christ showed to us.



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

Copyright © 2016 The River Church. All Rights Reserved.