Devotions

Author Archives: Michael Fox

God Hears Our Cry

Murder | Devotion 6: God Hears Our Cry
Michael Fox

As we look through the life of Moses, we learn that God used Moses to bring “the children of Israel” out of Egypt from their slavery. Moses learned of his role for this in Exodus 3:10, “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

Exodus 2:23-25 stated, “During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.”

The covenant came from Genesis 15:18-21, “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.’” We learn here in Genesis that God promised to deliver the Israelites, and then we see it carried out through Moses in Exodus.

In Exodus 3:7-8, we see God describe that He had seen and heard both their affliction and their cry for help: “Then the Lord said, ‘I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.’” Then, in verse 10 He told Moses that he would be the one to bring the people out of Egypt.

Looking through the life of Moses, and specifically in these passages, we learn a few things about who God is to us. He is our refuge, strength, and help in time of trouble. Psalm 46:1 says “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” He is the one who can truly give us rest. Matthew 11:28 adds, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” If we truly learn to cry out to God, He promises to hear our cry.

My God

Forsaken | Devotion #6: My God
Michael Fox | Creative Director

I do not know about you, but I often need to be reminded of what God has done for me. I lose sight sometimes; I need perspective. The best way to gain that perspective back is to read God’s Word – and remember how great He is!

Sin separated me from God. I needed a savior. He loves me. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” These simple promises are a great reminder. Remember what Jesus did for us at the cross: He took our sins, died for us, and then conquered the grave!

I like studying things that I have heard many times and learning something new. It continually shows me how real God is. Looking at the cross, I learned something new this week. John Gill, in his Exposition of the Bible, talks about a point that I have never thought about before. Matthew 27:46 says, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”

Jesus cries out “My God, my God.” We know that Jesus was both God and man, which is something that is very tough to wrap our minds around. Here though, John Gill is suggesting that Jesus is showing His “human side,” calling to “His God.” 

He also cries out, “Why have you forsaken me?” I looked up the word forsaken, and it means to “leave behind” or “abandon.” All sin was put on Jesus at that time. I believe this phrase helps show us the realness of what was happening at that moment. He felt abandoned by His Father and God because of what He was going through. However, that is not the end. Jesus conquered the grave and fulfilled what God said He would do, and now provides us eternal life. That reminder is what I needed today!

The Best Gift

The Gift of Eternal Life | Devotion #3: The Best Gift
Michael Fox | Creative Director

What do gifts look like in your family? As a child, as I am sure was the same in a lot of families, gifts were a central focus around Christmas and birthdays. I remember going to sleep on Christmas Eve as a child with an excitement for the next morning that was like no other. What would I get this year? Did Santa bring me everything I asked? I remember feeling like I could not sleep at times with anticipation. 

I did not grow up in Church; however, my family began attending Church when I was in my early teens. The desire for gifts never went away, but over the years my family began to see importance during these times to thank God for the gift of eternal life as a part of the Christmas season as well. I have memories of waking up on Christmas morning and the first thing we would do as a family was read the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible and take a moment to reflect on that. 

Now as a grown adult, I often reflect on what God has given me. If I take a moment, just the fact that I am alive and breathing today is a gift from God. Sometimes I think about how the human body works, how the world is put together, and how the atmosphere and ecosystem all work together to create a world in which we can live. It is hard for me not to see God and in turn be thankful for the gift He has given us.

Romans 6:23 talks about the gift God gives us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God has promised us eternal life in Heaven, with Him. We were all created for a purpose, by God. What is even greater, the gift is free, and all we have to do is believe and ask! Romans 10:9 tell us, “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Having a relationship with Jesus and knowing I have eternal life with Him is the greatest gift I could ever receive! 

Move Mountains

Gather | Devotion #6: Move Mountains
Michael Fox | Creative Director

Music has always been an interesting influence on my life. I spent the majority of my high school life involved in music. I was in Concert Band, Jazz Band, Marching Band, Men’s Ensemble, and Concert Choir. Looking back, and now having a son of my own, I cannot imagine going to all those events! Worship music, however, was not a major influence until later in my life. I have even found in the past year worship music to be a major part of my worship to and with God. There is something about the music itself, mixed with the lyrics, that really creates a space for a connection with God in my mind.

I remember about a year ago first hearing the song “Do It Again”by Elevation Worship. I was going through a valley in my life, and that song really spoke into my life and helped point me to God.

Walking around these walls
I thought by now they’d fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yet

In the first verse of the song, they sing about a well-known story in the Bible where Joshua marched around the walls of Jericho seven times for seven days, and the walls fell, just as God said they would.

Joshua 6:2-5 records, “And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.’”

As I read through these lyrics and also an article on newreleasetoday.comwhere they interview the artists of the song, I reflected on some of the meaning behind this song. One principle that stood out was the first three lines. God has a master plan, but it is easy to want to take that into our own hands, and it is easy only to see it our way. Sometimes we get tired; we wonder where God is. Sometimes we give up or stop trying. But if we stop marching around the walls on the sixth time, we might miss what God has for us on the seventh time around.

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands This is my confidence;
You’ve never failed me yet


I’ve seen You move; You move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again

As the song goes on, we sing, “I’ve seen You move, You move the mountains.”My lesson from this is to learn God’s promises and trust and have faith that He will do what He said He would do. He can and will move mountains.

Matthew 17:20 says,“He said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.’”

Romans 4:3 (NLT) adds,“For the Scriptures tell us, ‘Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.’” 

 

Esau Forgives Jacob 

Jacob & Esau • Devotion #6: Esau Forgives Jacob
Michael Fox | Creative Director

Have you ever needed to be forgiven for something? I have! I have broken things, mistreated friends and family, and used hurtful words. If you have experienced forgiveness, you know how powerful it can be. Ultimately, God has forgiven us for our sin through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. This is a beautiful thing, something we do not deserve. In Genesis chapter 33, we see a picture of forgiveness played out in the story of Jacob and Esau, twin brothers in the Old Testament. 

If you are not familiar with the story, take a moment to read Genesis chapter 27. In Genesis 27:14-19, we see the story unfold when Jacob stole the blessing of his father from Esau, who was entitled to it: “So he went and took them and brought them to his mother, and his mother prepared delicious food, such as his father loved. Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her older son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. And the skins of the young goats she put on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. And she put the delicious food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. So he went into his father and said, ‘My father.’ And he said, ‘Here I am. Who are you, my son?’ Jacob said to his father, ‘I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.’”

Skipping ahead a little, we see Esau’s reaction to Jacob taking the blessing that was rightfully his. Genesis 27:41 says, “Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, ‘The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.’”

At this point, there was a bit of family drama. One brother stole something that was rightfully his, something rather large. His mother helped him do it. Now, Jacob’s mother encourages him to basically run away and hide, as his brother wants to kill him. Work your way through the story, and in Genesis 33:4 when Jacob and Esau finally meet again, we see forgiveness play out, “But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.”

Is there someone in your life today that you might need to forgive? Is there someone you offended or wronged, and you need to seek forgiveness? As you reflect and pray on this, here are a few promises from God about forgiveness. 

“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13

“Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” Luke 17:3-4

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 



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