Devotions

Author Archives: Noble Baird

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Ministry #6 | Status No
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

When I came on staff here at The River in January of 2014, I was given the opportunity to serve one day a week in our community center. From my first “Maintenance Monday” as it was called, I was amazed at everything that went on in the building. At the time, I was working alongside John Rigg who was in charge of our community center. That first day, he walked me around the building and showed me all the different items we had available for the community. From winter jackets and boots, to kitchen appliances and food, it was so awesome to see the donations we had received from those in the church and surrounding area.

In Luke 3, we continue to dive deeper into the life of John and more specifically, into his ministry. Luke writes in Luke 3:10-14, “And the crowds asked him. ‘What then shall we do?’ And he answered them, ‘Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.’ Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, ‘Teacher, what shall we do?’ And he said to them, ‘Collect no more than you are authorized to do.’ Soldiers also asked him, ‘And we, what shall we do?’ And he said to them, ‘Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.’” In this passage, John is teaching the people about what it means to really love the community. John was challenging the status quo of the people. He was challenging them not for his personal gain, but so that those who were in need would be loved and comforted. 

Fast forward three years and I now have the opportunity to be the Director of the Community Center. It is truly a blessing to be able to reach out into the community and bless them in any way possible. Whether it is by providing some kids with new shoes, a family with food for the week, or simply praying with someone who is struggling; we have been given an incredible opportunity to reach our community. John understood what it meant to love the community and all who lived in it. Not only did he love and want to help the poor, but he also reached out to the rich, the corrupt, and the sick. He did this so that they would understand the love of Christ; who was coming.

You see, John challenged the status quo of his time. He told those who had an abundance to give to those in need; those who were corrupt, to not take more; and those who were in authority, to not abuse it. As followers of Christ, we have been given the opportunity to do the same. Like John, we have been called to love the community we live in and to show Christ’s message of love. We cannot simply say give to the community and not do it ourselves. So, will you challenge the status quo as John did? If doing the right thing was easy, everyone would be doing it. Would they not?

Trust and Obey

Miraculous conception and birth #6  November 11 Trust and Obey

One of my favorite parts of church gatherings is when we do child dedications. For me, it is so exciting to see parents coming before the congregation to dedicate their child or children, to God. Now, this dedication does not signify the child’s walk with Christ or express their faith in Him. However, it is the proclamation before God that the parents of the child will do all they can to surround the child with the love of Christ and to raise them upon godly principles. Likewise, the congregation is charged to help surround the child in a Christ-centered community that will exemplify His love and teachings. 

In Luke 1:57-66, we read of the birth and dedication of John the Baptist. Luke writes, “Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, ‘No; he shall be called John.’ And they said to her, ‘None of your relatives is called by this name.’ And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, ‘What then will this child be?’ For the hand of the Lord was with him.” As we read in this passage, when Elizabeth and Zechariah named their son, there was much surprise amongst those who knew them. It was custom during this time and to name your child, if not for the parents, then after a relative. That being said, naming John was an act of Elizabeth and Zechariah being obedient to God.

Obedience to God is a foundational part of our walk with Christ. When parents bring their children before the church and congregation, they are doing it out of obedience to God. When Elizabeth and Zechariah named their son John, it was out of obedience to God. When Christ was baptized by John, it was Him showing obedience to the Father. It can be tough to be obedient in our lives; whether it be at work, with parents, teachers, or you fill in the blank. However, it is a foundational part of our walk with Christ that should reverberate throughout every facet of our lives. So, as we dive deeper into this guy named John, his life began with the foundation of obedience from his parents. I challenge you to take a step back and find an area in your life where you need to be more obedient to God.

Noble Baird

Director of the Community Center

Fallen – His End #6

Devils and Demons | Lake of Fire
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

On December 17, 2003, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was released in theaters all over the nation. Now, although it was almost three and a half hours long, it is in the top twenty all time grossing movies bringing in over 1.1 billion dollars. The story that J.R.R. Tolkien writes and Peter Jackson then took us on cinematically is, in my opinion, one of the greatest trilogies of all time. For those of you unfamiliar with The Lord of the Rings trilogy, it is a tale of a young hobbit and his friends who are taken on a journey to return a ring to the place it was created to be destroyed. The reason being is because this ring was made to rule the world, which then begins the battle between man and the one who created this ring, Sauron. Now, Sauron has one mission, to rule all of Middle Earth. His way of going about this was through the One Ring, which would be used to control the leaders across Middle Earth who wore the Rings of Power.

Over the last five weeks, we have talked about Satan, beginning with his fall and mission, all the way to now with his end. In Revelation 20:7-10, John writes, “And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” In this passage, John writes us the vision which he is given by God of Satan’s end. Although his mission was to deceive the world and conquer over Christ, he loses. He is defeated and will ultimately be thrown into the lake of fire, where he will be in torment and suffer forever.

Sauron wages a great war on man. He deceives many, gains thousands to his cause. There is a great final battle which ensues at Minas Tirith and the Black Gate in Mordor. As the battle rages in Minas Tirith and the battle is about to begin at the Black Gate, Frodo destroys the One Ring. As the One Ring was destroyed, Sauron is crushed and defeated. In an instant, all of Sauron’s followers and his army are defeated. They are swallowed up by the earth and fall just as he does. I love this imagery because it reminds me of what I imagine of Satan’s defeat. In an instant, fire will rain down on Satan’s followers and his “great” army, and they will be consumed. Then, Satan himself will be cast into the lake of fire; eternally separated from God and us, only to endure pain and suffering forever.

So as we wrap up this series on Satan, have hope. Remember that we have already won the great and final battle. When Jesus died, that veil was torn, and we are no longer separated from our Father. Yes, it is going to be tough, there will be trials, we will suffer, some have even given their lives fighting Satan’s mission; however, have hope just as John tells us, we win!

Fallen – His Preachers #6

Devils and Demons | Falling Star Wars
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved reading and watching movies about mythical worlds. Whether it be: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Narnia, or Wizard of OZ, I love being able to dive into these fun and imaginary worlds. Now, before I get started, know that I do not condone or support in magic or witchcraft. That being said, one of the greatest antagonists I have ever seen was Voldemort from Harry Potter. As the story unfolds, Voldemort recruits a group of followers called the Death Eaters. These Death Eaters continually attack and plot against Harry and his friends, doing all they can to stop the young wizards. Their goal is to recruit more followers to Voldemort’s cause of becoming the most powerful wizard of all time. 

In 2 Peter 2:1-3, Peter writes, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” Peter lays it all out for us when he writes here about the reality of the false teachers and prophets that were coming out of the woodwork. Their goal is simple, to give false testimony and preach false teachings that contradict Christ; or as Peter writes the Master.

The Death Eaters gave their allegiance to Voldemort and his mission. They travel all over the world trying to destroy innocent wizards and trying to convince the people that Voldemort is the one whom they need to follow. Likewise, Satan has recruited hundreds of false teachers and preachers to aid him in his mission of devouring and destroying the lives of everyone in this world. These preachers will not stop at anything and will take on any means necessary to carry out Satan’s mission. Therefore, as followers of Christ, we must be watchful of these false preachers. In 1 John 4:1-3, John writes, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.”

So, this is the challenge I want to leave with you this week; be careful. John told us how we must test the false teachers and preachers that are already in this world. He did not say they might come, or they were eventually on their way, but that they are already here. Just as the Death Eaters were walking amongst the people, disguised in the schools, and attacking Harry and his friends; so do these false preachers walk amongst us. They are in the workplace, the schools, on TV, they write books, and even preach in the church, with the mission to deceive as many from the cause of Christ as they can. So, be careful and watchful for these false preachers, because they are very real and they will do whatever it takes to sway the world from Christ.

Fallen – His Mission #6

Devils and Demons | The Hunt
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

One of my father’s favorite movie series of all time is Mission Impossible. I love how at the beginning of every movie, Ethan Hunt is given some self-destructing device, which contains the debrief on a mission for which he is requested. Whether Ethan Hunt is bouldering on the side of Dead Horse Point in Utah, sliding across the top of a speeding train, or climbing the side of the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai; he is continually put in scenarios and missions that are seemingly impossible.

In 1 Peter 5, Peter gives us a quick and accurate description of what exactly Satan’s mission is. He writes in 1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” I love how Peter lays it out quick, easy, and in simple terms. Satan’s mission is to “devour,” which means he wants to destroy anyone he can. He wants to consume, overcome, control, and ultimately take with him anyone in the world. This is his mission; his mission is not to simply attack those of us who are followers of Christ, but more importantly anyone in the world who lets him have a foot in the door of their lives.

When we watch a movie like Mission Impossible, we ultimately know that the resolution at the end will have Ethan Hunt completing his mission. Along the way, yes he will face impossible odds and tasks, yet he will come out victorious. As we read in 1 Peter 5, Satan is on a mission as well. His mission is to purge and devour as many people in this world as he can, to join his cause. Yet, his resolution will not be the same as Hunt. When Christ died on the cross, He completed His mission and solidified Satan’s as impossible. The veil was torn and as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:55, death lost its sting and will have no victory.

So, as we move forward and continue to live one day at a time, remember Satan’s mission that he has been trying to carrying out since the beginning of the world in Genesis 3. As followers of Christ, we know that he is seeking to devour anyone he can get a foothold. However, that is where our mission begins. Just as Ethan Hunt was given a debrief of his missions, Christ gave us ours when He left this world. Satan’s mission is indeed impossible, but ours is not. That is why this is your mission, should you choose to accept it: “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” (Matthew 28:19-20).



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