Devotions

Author Archives: Noble Baird

Elisha

Lesson Nine | Devotion #5: Elisha
Noble Baird |Community Center Director

“My God is Salvation.”

Bold, by definition, means, “not afraid of danger or difficult situations.” Every summer, we ride into prisons all across the state of Ohio. It is a ministry that I have personally come to love and respect. The level of trust that God has given to us as a ministry is mind-blowing to me, and also very humbling. As we ride into these prisons, play rock music, put on a magic show, pray, and then pass out books, it is all done with the message of the Gospel. The one thing we want each of those men and women to experience is an understanding of who Jesus is and how He died for them. Being in those prison yards is a mission field unlike any other. We enter into a dark place where hopelessness is around every corner. As we walk through the sally ports and into the prison yards, our prayer is not only for strength and opportunity, but that through us boldly proclaiming the Gospel, lives would be changed.

Yesterday, we looked at an amazing prophet by the name of Elijah. He was known by his name as “My God is Yahweh,” however, he also lived this out in his life. Today, I want to look at his successor, Elisha. At the end of 1 Kings 19, we are introduced to a new young man who is called by God, through the prophet Elijah. It is at this point when Elisha leaves from his father’s fields to follow after Elijah. Fast forward a few years, at which point Elisha had spent much time learning alongside Elijah, and Elijah’s time on earth has come to an end. In 2 Kings chapter 2, we have the amazing account of Elijah’s departure from this earth. Before he is taken up in a chariot of fire, Elijah asks Elisha what the one final gift he wants of him before he leaves. It is at this point that Elisha makes the bold request in 2 Kings 2:9, “When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.’ And Elisha said, ‘Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.’” As Elijah is taken to Heaven in a literal chariot of fire, Elisha’s request is fulfilled, and his ministry explodes in a mighty way.

As we enter into the prison yards every summer, we boldly ask God to do the same as He did with Elisha, a double portion. Are you simply satisfied in your walk with Christ? Are you satisfied in the ministry you have? Elisha could have asked anything, yet he asked to be used more by God. He boldly asked to be thrown in more situations, so that everyone would know who God is and that He is the only way. So, what are you boldly asking of God? Do you want to stay comfortable, or are you asking for that double portion?

Elijah

Lesson Nine | Devotion #4: Elijah
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

Every time a baby is born, a name is given. That name which is given will be carried with them their entire lifetime. These names can span decades of history, a profound lineage, lay a path for one’s life, or give a challenge for the life ahead. Some names are hated, some are loved, some are chanted, and some are even worn by fans. Elvis for example, we do not even need to say his last name and everyone knows we are talking about one of the most influential musicians of all time, “the king.” Yet, when I say Queen Elizabeth II, we think of the royal family and the lineage that has preceded her. As we dive into these different world changers, I want to take a look at one whose name means “my God is YAHWEH.”

In 1 Kings 18, we read about one of the greatest confrontations in all of history. The people of Samaria are in the midst of a severe drought, and King Ahab is seeking water and vegetation for the livestock and people. As Ahab and Obadiah are searching, Obadiah is met by the prophet Elijah. Elijah precedes to meet Ahab and challenges him and all the prophets of Baal and Asherah atop Mount Caramel. It is within these next verses that this confrontation unfolds. In 1 Kings 18:20-39, God reveals Himself in a mighty way to the people of Israel who have yet again, drifted from their Heavenly Father. As all the prophets gather atop the mount and prepare an offering for their god Baal, they are met without an answer. This is when Elijah steps in and declares what his very name means. As an offering is prepared for the one true God, fire comes down from Heaven, consuming the offering. It is then that the people realize their waywardness and how they have drifted from their Father.

For Elijah, not only does his name mean that his God is Yahweh, but he showed that constantly throughout all his ministry. 1 Kings 18:21 says, “And Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.’ And the people did not answer him a word.” You see, Elijah challenged the people with a question. They were trying to serve two masters; they had their hands in both pots. So, I want to leave you with the same question that Elijah left for the people of Israel. Are you truly following after the one true God, or are you trying to serve two different masters? I do not know about all of you, but even though my name does not mean my God is Yahweh, I want my life and ministry to reflect it.

Ehud

Lesson Six | Devotion #2: Ehud
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

When I was in college, I took a class on narrative preaching. My professor, Dr. Koessler, divided all of the judges in the Old Testament amongst us for sermons we would preach at the end of the semester. As he began to assign the judges, I was given a judge by the name of Ehud. Who in the world names their son Ehud? If you are reading this and your child’s name is Ehud, I apologize, but this was honestly the first thought that crossed my mind when I was assigned this judge! However, as I began to dive into this action-packed story, I was quickly amazed how he was a man who truly lived up to his name.

In Judges 3:12-30, the story unfolds as the people of Israel have again strayed away from God and come under the oppression of Eglon, the king of Moab. For 18 years, the people served Eglon. As always, the people cried out to God asking for deliverance. It is at this point which we are introduced to Ehud. A Benjaminite by birth, the smallest of the 12 tribes of Israel, and he was a lefty! It was demanded of Eglon that a tribute be brought to him once a year by a representative of the people; the representative chosen was Ehud. When he was chosen, it was not a glamorous duty to be given, but a demeaning one. However, Ehud devised a plan to end his people’s oppression and assassinate the king. As his plan came to fruition, Ehud proclaims in Judges 3:28, “Follow after me, for the LORD has given your enemies the Moabites into your hand.” It is with this triumphant cry that the people of Israel regained their freedom and killed over 10,000 Moabites.

For 18 years, the Israelites lived as servants to an evil king. They decided that they could live life on their own and forgot the true King. However, God provided them a redeemer who saved and united the people back to Himself. Ehud means “united.” It was from this man, from the smallest of the tribes, which God used to unite His people and bring them back to Him. As you continue this week, do not forget the importance of unity. Not only is it important for us as believers to be united together, but as followers of Christ, we must always remain united with Him. For without Christ, there is no unity in our lives.

Obey | Why?

Obey | Devotion #5: Why?
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

One of my favorite questions to always ask is, “Why?” As a child, this was often the case when my parents would wake me up at six in the morning for school or when they told me to go to bed early when I was cranky! As I look back, I now understand why they chose to do these things. I had to get up early so that they could drop me off to morning daycare so that they could get to work on time to provide for our family. Then, sending me to bed early was because waking me up at six made me tired and cranky at night! Much has changed since I was a young child, some good and some bad. Some of the changes have been easy, and some have been honestly very difficult, at times I still find myself asking this question, but now instead of being directed to my parents, it is to my Heavenly Father.

At the end of Matthew, after Christ is raised from the dead, He spends 40 days with His disciples and followers. His parting words before He physically left this earth, were a mission to all those who call themselves followers of Christ. In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Here, Jesus does not just go back to Heaven saying “See you guys later, it has been a fun couple years hanging with Y’all!” No, He gives them and us a mission, a mission that will not be over until He comes back.

So, “Why?” Why was this mission given and why were these Christ’s parting words? I believe it is because out of all He taught during His earthly ministry, this mission says it all. You see, during His ministry, He was constantly teaching, advising, guiding, instructing, fellowshipping, and correcting His followers. In the beginning, and even as they were at His side throughout the three years of ministry, I am sure the disciples still wondered about why Jesus was doing some of the things He did, or teaching them certain lessons. However, on that day when He gave them their mission, I believe their eyes were opened. Much like myself with my parents, years after I was old enough to finally understand, the disciples and all His followers understood why Christ had done all He did with them.

We have just come out of the Easter season; however, our mission is far from over. As you continue on this week and the months and years to come, never forget this mission. You will have times where you just look around and say “Why God?” However, do not be discouraged, because “why” always leads to a greater understanding of His plan.

Celebrate

Delivery Day • Celebrate
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

Easter has always been an exciting time of year for me. When I was younger, I will never forget waking up in the morning and to search all over the house to find the eggs my parents had hidden. As I became older, Easter took on a more meaningful and special time. I started to understand the true meaning of Easter and how it was not all about the eggs, the candy, and toys that would be hidden around the house. Instead, Easter has become a time of remembrance, but more importantly a celebration!

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul gives the first written account of the resurrection of Christ. Within this passage, he lays out the foundational truths for which our faith stands. Starting in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, he writes, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” These three truths are pointed out by Paul: Christ’s death, Christ’s burial, and Christ’s resurrection. It is within these three declarations that we have the Gospel by which our sins are cleared.

One of my absolute favorite worship songs is “Resurrecting” by Elevation Church. It is truly a beautiful song, proclaiming the message of these foundational pillars in 1 Corinthians 15. This is the final verse in the song:

“The tomb where soldiers watched in vain
Was borrowed for three days
His body there would not remain
Our God has robbed the grave
Our God has robbed the grave.”

I love this verse because that is exactly what happened when Christ walked out of that tomb. The soldiers were wasting their time, Christ was simply borrowing Joseph’s tomb, and then he robbed Satan of what he thought was his greatest victory. So, as we continue in this Easter season, let us never forget that empty tomb that was only borrowed, as we celebrate the victory that Christ won for us!

 



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