Devotions

Author Archives: Noble Baird

Thanatophobia

Fear of the Lord • Devotion #6: Thanatophobia
Noble Baird| Community Center Director

Thanatophobia. If I was a betting man, I would bet that this is a fear with which a majority of the world struggles. This fear, is the fear of death. At the time of writing this devotional, noon, it is estimated that there have already been a total of almost 80,000 deaths in the world today. We have all experienced the affects of death in some capacity. Whether it be the loss of a family member, friend, co-worker, teacher, or maybe a favorite public figure, we have all suffered because of death. However, thanatophobia is a fear that can be overcome.

In Genesis 3, we have what is often referred to as “The Fall.” This was the time in our history, when Adam and Eve were overcome by temptation and sinned against God. From that moment, sin entered the perfect world which God created. As a penalty for this sin, death also entered into our world. As God’s Word and our history has unfolded over the course of thousands of years, life and death have been a constant. As new life enters our world, life also leaves it. Fast forward to the night where angels rejoiced and shepherds traveled to worship a King; God gave us a Savior who would pay the penalty for a fear which has plagued this world since it became corrupt. As we read through the Gospels, we see our Savior Jesus conquering over death. He came with a purpose and a plan, which was fulfilled at the cross and in the tomb that was emptied three days later.

Death is very real and if I am honest with all of you, it has been a fear that I struggled with at a time in my life. Yet, when I take a step back and remember the Savior who conquered death for me, before I was even born, I am reminded of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:55, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” As I finish writing today, the death count has now risen to an estimated 82,000. Yes, death is very real and yes it is scary. However, as followers of Christ, death should not give us a fear, but a sense of urgency. An urgency to proclaim the Gospel and to make sure that we do everything within our power to share the message and love of our amazing Savior who conquered the fear that plagues so many in our world today. So, when you have those times of fear, take a step back and proclaim those words boldly as Paul did, for we have already won the war and we will spend eternity with our Savior! “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

Nomophobia

Fear of the Lord • Devotion #5: Nomophobia
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

In 1983, the world was introduced to the first commercially available cell phone. The DynaTAC 8000 hit retail shelves in 1984 at the low price of $3,995! Amazingly, this phone had a battery life to last for 30 minutes of talk time and only took 10 hours to charge. Fast forward over three decades and over 95% of Americans own a cellphone, with 75% being smartphones. As our culture here in America continues to grow, become more fast-paced, and our schedules continue to fill, we have become dependent on these little devices in our pockets.

For many of us, it is through these busy schedules that we are able to provide for our families and able to give back to God a portion of the blessing He has given us. However, in this fast-paced culture, we can often forget to take a step back and breath. In Psalm 46:10, David writes (as God is speaking through him), “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Jesus understood what it meant to be still. Yes, He had a busy schedule during His ministry here on earth. He was constantly traveling, speaking, healing, and He had twelve men He was discipling the whole way! However, countless times throughout the New Testament, we read of how Jesus took time to rest, pray, and remember His Father who was in control of it all.

Nomophobia, is the fear of being out of cell signal range or without our cellphones. If I am completely honest, there have been times in my life where this fear was very real in my life. However, when I remember the words of David and the actions of Christ, that fear is taken away. Now, I am not saying that cellphones are evil and we should not have them. Being in ministry, my phone has given me the ability to pray with people who are hundreds of miles away, video chat my missionary friends overseas, and has helped me get to Canada and back without a big outdated map! Yet, this reminder to be still, is crucial in the business of the world we live in. So, as you continue your week, I challenge you to take some time to set your phone down and truly just disconnect. Take some time to pray, rest, and remember the One who is in control. Be still.

Blessed to be a Blessing

Imprisonment and Doubt #6  November 25      Blessed to be a Blessing

One of my first mission trips I ever went on, was to the streets of Atlanta. Our mission was to help clean at a homeless shelter, then to travel the streets in the afternoon to try and minister to the homeless. During our walks, we took backpacks with supplies such as clothing, food, Bibles, and essentials. We not only wanted to be able to help meet the people’s physical needs but also hoped to reach into their spiritual needs. Every person we came in contact with, we offered prayer. Instead of trying to thump them with the Bible, we simply wanted to love on them by meeting their needs and prayer. It was through this time of prayer that we, as a teenage group on a mission trip, were most blessed.

In Matthew 3:4-6, Matthew sheds some light into the physical attributes of John. It reads, “Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.” John was a simple man. He did not have much, nor was his appearance anything that caught one’s eye. However, it was through that simple and what some would consider “poor” appearance, that lives were changed.

When I was on the streets asking if I could pray for the homeless, they turned the tables on me. They asked me if they could pray for me! I was dumbfounded and speechless. Our whole goal on the trip was to pray for, be a blessing to, and reach the homeless; yet, they ended up blessing my life. I thought that I was the one who had something to offer. Yet, it was through those men and women on the streets – who had nothing more than the ripped, torn, and dirty clothing on their backs – that I was shown what the actual message of Christ was. John’s mission was not to gain followers to his cause. His mission was to spread the message of Christ, through the repentance of sins and baptizing them.

In the culture we live in, we often can let the outward appearance of people bring about a judgment of them. For me, I saw homeless men and women and never once thought that they would have anything to offer me; and I could not have been more wrong. God chose to use a simple man to change the lives of those throughout Jerusalem, Judea, and Jordan. So, as you move forward each day, remember that it is about the message inside; not what the deliverer looks like on the outside.

Noble Baird

Director of the Community Center

Status No

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



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

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