Devotions

Author Archives: Noble Baird

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!

 

Anointed One

Delivery on Time • Anointed One
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

All throughout middle school and high school, one of my favorite subjects was math. I just always loved solving different problems, trying to find points on a graph, and of course being able to use the massive TI calculator! No matter how much I did enjoy math class, I did not always solve the problem correctly. There would be times where I thought I rocked a test, only to find out that because I had divided or subtracted one number incorrectly, I got the whole equation wrong. Needless to say, I soon figured out that although I enjoyed math class, it was not the career for me to pursue!

As we take a look at God’s Word, we find math spread throughout it. From Genesis chapter 1 through Revelation chapter 22, God is always using math to speak to us. One of the most fascinating and honestly more difficult equations for me to follow along with is found in Daniel 9:24-27. Here, we have the prophet Daniel writing about the coming of Christ. Starting in verse 24 he writes, “Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing.” So, what we have is an amazing equation from Daniel, predicting Christ’s coming and His death on the cross. Daniel writes about the “anointed one” or in other words the Messiah, who we know as Jesus.

Daniel gave this prophecy over 700 years before the birth of Christ. However, following along the timeline after the destruction of Jerusalem and the rule of the Persian emperor Artaxerxes, Daniel gives us the exact years leading to Christ’s death on the cross. One of the things I love about this passage is that this is the only time in the Old Testament that Christ is referred to as the “anointed one.” Thousands of years ago, Daniel knew about the Easter season we would celebrate. He knew that the Anointed One was going to come and mend that broken relationship between a fallen world and a just God. So, as you continue in your week, remember the Anointed One whom Daniel prophesied about will return.

Power of the Spoken Word

Nurturing • Power of the Spoken Word
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

Every year on Thanksgiving, my aunt, uncle, and cousin come to my parent’s house for dinner. It has become sort of a tradition for us as a family, one that I look forward to every year. Several years ago, when I was in college at Moody, I came home over Thanksgiving break and like every year before, I was excited to spend time with family. However, this year was a bit different. Coming home during my second year of Bible School, I thought this might be the right opportunity to talk to my cousin about going to church and living “right.” As the day progressed and we hung out, I had time hanging with my cousin in the basement and thought this might be the chance. The way in which I tried to talk and convey church and God’s Word to him was not very tactful and came across, to him, as if I was attacking him. Sadly, things turned sour and ended with him telling me how he respects what I do and why I am going to college, but not to interfere with his life and decisions.

The power of our words and speech are, at times, beyond our comprehension. With mere words, Hitler led an army to cause one of the greatest acts of hate our world will ever see. With two simple words “I do” a lifetime of love and adventure begins. In Proverbs 12:18, Solomon reminds us of the very power of our word. He writes, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Solomon, who is undoubtedly one of the wisest men to ever walk this earth, knew how strong our words are. He knew how quickly they could be used to destroy a life, without even using a weapon. He also knew how if used correctly, they could save one’s life and provide hope, love, guidance, and healing.

I have never forgotten the words my cousin said to me and how I had accidentally offended him so much with my words. It was not what I meant or wanted to do at all. As the years have passed and God has opened doors for reconciliation, my cousin and I are closer than ever. We have become so close that he stood by my side the day that I was privileged to say the words “I do” to the love of my life. Not only has God given me a chance to reconcile from that day years ago, but He has given me the chance to lovingly speak truth into my cousin’s life. I continually pray for my cousin, because I do not want him to go through this life without knowing the love of Christ and the blessing that comes from being called His.

So, as we continue in our family series, I challenge you to think of that family member who is in need of Christ’s love. Maybe you too have had an experience like mine where your words came across strong and not at all how you planned. As you prayerfully ask God for an opportunity to speak love and truth into that family member’s life, never give up and remember the words of Solomon on how powerful our words truly are!



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