Devotions

Author Archives: Noble Baird

No sin against God

Joseph & Potiphar’s Wife • Devotion #6: No sin against God
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

Yesterday, we talked about trust. Arguably, it is one of the top three, if not the most, foundational part of any relationship. As I sit in Starbucks, I am reminded of this foundational characteristic. You see, four years ago I came on staff here at The River and had the privilege of doing an eight-month internship. During that time, I was joined by a young man named James Mann who I had never met but heard a lot about. Over the next eight months, James took on a summer internship here, and we were together pretty much every day. Whether we were cleaning toilets, arranging the storage in the warehouse on our maintenance Monday, or hanging out with the students at Fusion and accidentally breaking lights with a soccer ball (which we ended up having to fix), we were constantly serving and doing life together. Out of this, I gained not only a true partner in ministry but a friend who I call my brother.  

Joseph makes a very pointed statement in Genesis 39:9. It was one that I read over several times, often thinking that the whole point of this passage was simply to focus on Joseph fleeing from sin and possible adultery. However, in verse 9 it reads, “He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” From a human standpoint, Joseph is literally facing a rock and a hard place as he seemingly has two options. He can either run from Potiphar’s wife and not sin against his master, or he can succumb to sin and not have his position as head of the household at stake. We know the outcome and how he does indeed run; however, him fleeing from temptation was bigger than just not sinning against his master, Potiphar. At the end of the passage, Joseph says, “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” Joseph’s relationship with his Heavenly Father, was way more important to him than his earthly stature and glory.

While I am writing this, James is sitting across from me getting things in order for our kids camp this summer, and yes he did order a massive milkshake from Starbucks. All kidding aside, we are never alone in this life and in the ministry that God has placed us. Paul had Barnabas, Elijah had Elisha, Peter had Mark, Moses had Aaron, and we could go on for quite a while naming off all the amazing duos in God’s Word. One continued common theme amongst them all was that of trust. It was through that foundational characteristic of trust that they pushed each other, encouraged one another, and challenged one another daily. As they did so, they understood this foundational truth of our faith as followers of Christ of not compromising our relationship with the Father and sinning against Him, just as Joseph proclaimed and understood.

So, as you finish up this week or maybe you are just beginning, remember these two truths that we see prevalent in the life of Joseph. He did not want to compromise his trust and relationship with those around him whose trust and respect he had gained. Yet, more importantly, he fled sin so that he would not sin against God. Never take those close friends for granted, keep them close, and never be afraid to challenge and encourage one another in Christ.

No sin against Others 

Joseph & Potiphar’s Wife • Devotion #5: No sin against Others
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

A few years back, I was out at my buddies farm up in Attica. Connor’s parents own a massive horse farm with tons of land. He and his father spent some time building a shooting range in the back of their property in the woods. There are no houses around the range, and they had the perfect set up with a huge dirt hill backing the range. So, as Connor and I usually did on nice summer afternoons, we went out to the range on the farm and practiced shooting. One day we decided to run through some drills with live ammo. Our goal was to practice moving forward down the 200-yard range, alternating our forward position with our rifles, until we were 25 yards out and we pulled out our sidearm, hitting the targets in front of us, and finished the drill in unison. We ran through this drill several times that afternoon; however, there was one main factor that held us together and allowed us to complete the drill successfully and without injury: trust.

As we continue on in the story of Joseph, he has overcome many hardships already; however, he is about to experience one of the morally most difficult situations of his life. In Genesis 39:7-10, we have the account of Joseph’s interaction with his master’s, Potiphar, wife. Starting in verse 7, “And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?’ And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her.” 

Joseph’s life was full of literal highs and lows. Here, Joseph is at a truly incredible milestone in his life. Yes, he is still in slavery; however, as we read in this passage, he has no limitations. He is head over all of Potiphar’s household, and there is nothing that belongs to Potiphar that he does not trust with Joseph. The only thing that is not shared between the two is Potiphar’s wife, for obvious reasons. 

You see, the reason why Potiphar never questioned or doubted allowing Joseph, one of the slaves he purchased, with his household and all he owned was rooted in the trust he had. Potiphar literally trusted Joseph with his life. Not only was Joseph a true man of God, but he understood the trust he had gained with Potiphar and never wanted to ruin or place himself in situations that could compromise that trust. However, Potiphar’s wife had a hidden agenda and was overcome with sin. She had her eyes on Joseph and tried to be with him. Yet, because of the man he was and his identity in the one true God, he was not going to compromise the trust with his master and his character. So, he fled from sin and did not sin against his master.

As you go throughout your week, you will face temptations and trials just as Joseph did. I want to challenge you to stay strong, not to compromise, and flee from that sin as Joseph did. Joseph knew that trust was hard to gain and could be lost in seconds, but he did all he could to not sin against his master. Flee temptation and do not compromise.

Abraham’s Name Changed 

Abraham, Sarah, & Isaac • Devotion #2: Abraham’s Name Changed
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

For as long as I can remember, people have always questioned my name. Whenever I meet someone new and introduce myself, I always look forward to their reaction. They usually give me one of two reactions, that of disbelief or surprise because they think its a cool name. Noble is not a typical name by any means. I have found this to be true over the past 26 years as I have never met anyone else with the same name. However, I have also come to understand that for some reason it is a difficult name to spell as well. Whenever I walk into Starbucks or a sandwich shop to place an order the name on the order or cup will be: Mobile, Nobel, Noel, Noah, or Nable. It truly feels like I win the lottery whenever someone actually spells my name right on the first try!

In Genesis chapter 17, God appears before Abram and makes a new covenant with him. It is within this covenant that God promises to multiply Abram’s offspring and bless them as long as they continue to follow after God as their one and only God. As part of this covenant, Abram receives a name change. In Genesis 17:4-5 it reads, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.” This name change is not only signifying the promise of the covenant with which Abram enters with God, but it is also a reminder of what his legacy will now be. 

A question that I am often asked is why did your parents name you Noble? To which I give a two-fold answer. The first is that my father was reading a Louis L’Amour book and Noble was one of the characters in his novel. Secondly, my parents wanted to give me a name that they had hoped one day I would live up to and fulfill. Boy did they give me a tall order! However, I am grateful for the name my parents gave me. Yes, the misspelling can sometimes become annoying, but I would not change my name for anything. You see, Abram was given a new name. It was a name that he would have to live up to, and that would leave a legacy for generations to come. Translated literally, Abraham means “father of many nations.” God did not give him this name to simply help the questions and, I am sure, the misspelling of Abram; but He gave him this name to signify the new covenant that was promised.  

Abraham left behind a legacy to his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so many more as he truly become the father of many nations. However, more importantly, he left a legacy of faith and obedience in the one true God. It is God that would fulfill the promise He made to Abraham. As you continue on in your week, I challenge you to think about your name. Maybe the actual meaning of your name is not significant, but what is more important is what your legacy will be. How will you be remembered? Abraham is remembered for his faith and obedience. Because of that, God made a covenant with him and made a great nation out of his family. What legacy will your name leave behind?

Elohim

Creation • Devotion #2: Elohim
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

One of my favorite movie series is Harry Potter. Now, I do not necessarily agree with everything that is in the movies; however, I do appreciate and enjoy the adventure which Harry, Hermione, and Ron experience. Throughout the series, Harry uses various “tools” to carry out tasks and solve his many mysteries. One of my favorite tools he uses is the cloak of invisibility. As you have probably guessed, for those of you who have not seen the movies, this cloak makes Harry and whoever wears it invisible. This allowed Harry to sneak around Hogwarts without ever being seen.

As we continue to take a deeper look into creation, it is important that we make sure to stop and establish who was there at the beginning. In Genesis 1:2 it reads, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” So, right from the very beginning, we have established that we not only have God the Father during creation, but also the Spirit of God, or the Holy Spirit for a more familiar name. Fast forward to Colossians, Paul writes in 1:15-16, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.” Here, Paul establishes that we also have Jesus’ existence at the very beginning of creation. Now, we have this completed picture where we not only have God the Father at creation but also the Spirit and Christ, completing the Trinity.

Some days, I wish that I could put on the cloak of invisibility and just disappear. Maybe sneak into a Dierks Bentley concert, snag a free pizza at Little Caesars, or simply hide at home knowing no one would see me! Now, I know this cloak is not real and it is just all in fun; however, when we talk about the Spirit of God, He has the same character trait of being invisible, yet so much more powerful. When Christ ascended after His forty days here on earth, He told us how He would be sending the Helper. In Acts 1:8 Jesus says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” You see, although we cannot physically see the Holy Spirit, we will be able to see His works through us and others, but not see Him, yet.

Personally, I have found this understanding of the Spirit so comforting. Knowing that Jesus left this earth, but made sure we were never alone, blows my mind. He knew exactly what the Disciples needed then and what we need now. So, as you continue in your week and we continue this study on Genesis, I encourage you to remember the Spirit of God. Knowing that although we may not be able to physically see Him, He is covering us and His power is at work in and through us always.

Heart of Nehemiah

Fasting • Devotion #4: Heart of Nehemiah
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

One of the most simplistic, yet encouraging definitions of “fasting” I have found: “to be firmly fixed.” Growing up, the practice and meaning of fasting were very confusing for me. Whenever I would hear it talked about or read it in the Scriptures, I would tune it out, telling myself it was not for me. Yet, as I grew older and understood God’s Word more clearly, I realized that fasting was so much more than simply not eating for prolonged periods of time.

In the very beginning of the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah found himself and the city he loved broken. The walls were falling down, fires were raging, and everything that he had known and the place he found comfort was now gone. Yet, before he lost his mind, searched for answers, tried to find a solution, he sought God. Nehemiah 1:4 reads, “As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah’s first reaction was to realign himself and his heart with the Father. He knew that before he could make a move, he needed to prepare his heart and mind with the Father’s purpose and plan.

As followers of Christ, we are going to have these “Nehemiah” experiences throughout our lives. For some of you, you have been in the midst of one for a while, preparing to repair the wall; yet for others, you may be just arriving at the scene and are speechless, trying to process the hurt and destruction. Regardless, I want to encourage you to remember the heart of Nehemiah. Instead of letting his gut reaction take hold, he sat down with a broken heart, but an open one. He sat silently, praying, fasting, and taking the necessary time to fix his heart with the heart of the Father firmly.



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

Copyright © 2016 The River Church. All Rights Reserved.