Devotions

Author Archives: Pat Bedell

Pay it Forward

Forsaken | Devotion #4: Pay it Forward
Pat Bedell

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46

We have all been there. Some more than others, but we have all felt the excruciating pain. I am not talking about physical pain, but emotional and spiritual pain. It could be losing a loved one by death or abandonment, or just spiraling into a state of constant, unrelenting temptation and sin. We have all been brought to our rock bottom and fallen before God screaming, “Why?” We have felt ashamed, guilty, scared, and all alone with no one or where to turn. Jesus had a plan in place long before we ever felt this way, and in the end, it works out in our favor.   

When I was a young boy, I remember exploring in the woods behind my house. I thought I knew our property well enough to navigate myself through all of the trails. Somehow or another, I found myself lost. I did not have a cell phone or a clue which way was home or which way to the closest trail. All I had was my voice when I could find a deep breath in between crying. I prayed to God quickly, and I asked if He was so powerful, why would He not let my parents find me? Why would He let me get lost? 

I now know that God puts us in these situations and lets us experience raw emotions. It helps us learn lessons to become better Christians. 

Obviously, Jesus had a little bit of a different situation. Jesus came to this Earth as part of the flesh and experienced first hand the struggles of our life. The temptations, ill thoughts, anger, and frustration were among some of the provoking events. When Jesus was rebuked and beaten, He knew what He was doing. He was about to give the ultimate sacrifice for humankind and save our souls for eternity. He took all of our sins. It covered the past, present, and future for all mankind to secure their place in Heaven if they would believe He did so. At that very moment, when He took on the sin of the world, Jesus was forsaken by God, and Jesus gave us a gift we never deserved. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV), “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus became sin for us. He became sin. He took on our sin. He was cursed, abandoned, and forsaken, all to save us from our sin. 

As much as this story warms my heart, I know that Jesus did something that was unimaginably awful. To think of the sheer mass of the amount of sin that He had to bear. He did it for us and our salvation. However, with that sacrifice, He also made the commitment never to leave us in our struggles. Hebrews 13:5 (NIV) reminds us, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  

This is our victory in and through Christ. Jesus took our place. He was forsaken, so we do not have to be. He was separated from God, so we do not have to be. He took our sins away so we could have eternal life with Him. It is so important that you recognize that you are never alone in the battle. People take on their battles every day.  Everyone has their vice and if we could all just rely on God to help us with these daily battles, I believe that the forsakenness we feel would fade and we would learn to know that God is in control and that when we recognize our inequities, we would learn that He taught us something in His name. Then we can turn around and help someone with the same struggles and tell them they are not alone. God is in control, and He will never forsake you in your desperate time of need.

Highlight

Gather | Devotion #2: Highlight
Pat Bedell

When I finally decided to give myself to Christ and accept Him as my Savior, there were a series of eye-opening events that brought my faith to life in a spectacular way.

Before being a believer wholeheartedly, I would attend church services and maybe learn a thing or two for the week. It was not necessarily something I would practice, but it gave me a little more Bible knowledge than the week before. After I became a follower of Christ, services transformed into gatherings for me. I was not at church to be “serviced” but to equip myself for the week to share Jesus. I was at gatherings to meet new people who became family and someone with whom to sharpen and develop. It gave me an opportunity to give back to God who has graciously given so much to me. 

For as long as I can remember, I have been performing music. Whether I am playing for family, friends, or as part of the worship team, it is a huge part of who I am. Prior to being saved, selfishly wanting to be the best musician and having the best performance was my goal. It was something that was mine, it was something at which I was exceptional, and it made me feel like I was an icon of any event where I was playing (what a tool). Music is what sparked my interest in being at church. I heard a song, and it sounded very enticing, so I listened intently to learn the progressions of the song and maybe listen to a few lyrics. All I would do during worship time was listening to the progressions to see if I could play the song. Things got flipped and turned upside down when I became a believer. It was an extensive and exhausting process to humble myself before the Lord and give Him credit for my talents. It was also daunting to look at my behavior and ego to see that I should not receive any credit, but all the glory needs to go to God. One of the greatest gifts ever given to me was music, and I thank God for all of the blessings I have received. The greatest transformation, besides humbling myself, was that now I pay attention and study the lyrics before learning a song. I can study the artist and what the song means to them and how they were inspired to share their story. I can then learn from and see what perspective the artist learned it which gives me insight on that particular subject. 

The gathering is now probably the greatest highlight of my week. Not only do I get to learn the Word of God, but I also get to do so with the friends that I call family. I get to serve the Lord with my gifts and talents. I am also spiritually filled to go and spread the Word of God and love others as were called to do. Gatherings have grown on me so much that it is now a lifestyle of which I can be proud.

Big Bulky Monitor

The Gift of Blessings | Devotion #5: Big Bulky Monitor
Pat Bedell

When I was six years old, I really started to grasp the concept of gifts. My birthday and Christmas day were days that I would look forward to for the sole reason that I would receive gifts. I had a knack for hinting to my parents and grandparents what I wanted. I certainly did not receive everything that I wanted, but usually, they would splurge to buy me one of the bigger gifts that I asked for, and I was happy with that.

It was the Christmas season of 1993, I was at my grandparents’ house, and they had just bought a computer. Mind you, this was twenty-five years ago, and they had large CPUs and the big bulky monitors. They were also quite expensive. I learned how to use it quite quickly, and I just had to have one. My parents looked at me and chuckled a bit and said “yeah right.” I was mildly discouraged, but I knew that I was asking for a lot.   

Tears of joy flowed hard that Christmas morning when I thought that I received the best gift that I could ever have gotten. I screamed, I cried, I ran around, and I tripped over the wrapping paper, before falling into my parents’ arms with extreme gratitude.

Fast forward ten years when I find myself in a campus Church being convicted of giving my life to Christ. I heard the Gospel, I believed it with all my heart, but I thought there was a catch. Jesus was rebuked, beaten, and crucified, but for what? He gave His life up for me. He knew me before I was even in existence and died to forgive me of the sins that I would commit two thousand years later. What did He want me to do in order to be part of God’s kingdom? James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” God will always be perfect in His ways, and He will never deter or change.

He gave all of humanity unequivocally the greatest gift of all. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” All He asks us to do is to accept Him, love others, share the Good News of Jesus, and you will be saved. 

When the pastor told me how to accept Jesus and what is required to give my life to Him, I was nervous and excited. I finally grasped the concept of what Jesus did for me and what His perfect gift was to me. I could not handle my emotions any longer. It was just like when I was ten years old; I wept of joy and gratefulness for such an amazing gift that could never be reciprocated. I told everyone about my perfect gift back then, and I find even more joy in telling people about the perfect gift of Jesus. Who in your life needs to hear about the perfect gift that you received when you accepted Jesus? Seek Him to find the strength and courage to be bold and share the Gospel to those that desperately need it!

Pharaoh’s Dreams 

Joseph in Prison • Devotion #4: Pharaoh’s Dreams
Pat Bedell | Special Ops 

In Genesis chapter 41, Pharaoh had a few dreams which he could not decipher. He dreamt of seven healthy and bountiful cows and then dreamt of seven thin and ugly cows. The ugly and thin cows then ate the healthy and bountiful cows. Then Pharaoh dreamt of a stalk of grain that had seven healthy and plentiful ears. Then he also dreamt of thin and weary ears that swallowed up the healthy and plentiful ears. Pharaoh was baffled by these dreams and called for all of the magicians and wise men in all of Egypt to meet with him. None of the magicians or wise men could decipher what Pharaoh’s dreams were about. 

Pharaoh then called for Joseph. Joseph shaved and changed his clothes and came before Pharaoh. He asked Joseph to interpret his dream. Genesis 41:16 says, “Joseph answered Pharaoh, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.’” Pharaoh then goes on to repeat his dreams to Joseph. Joseph then gave Pharaoh the interpretation that the seven healthy and plump cows and seven plentiful ears were a metaphor for seven years of “great plenty.” The seven thin and ugly cows along with the seven thin and weary ears were a metaphor for seven years of famine. Pharaoh took Joseph’s interpretation and used it to prepare. For the seven years of plenty, he used what was needed, but saved up for when the years of famine came. When the seven years of famine came, Pharaoh was prepared, and the land of Egypt survived.

There are several times throughout the year when I am secluded from all of the distractions of life and reflect on my life. It is a time to self-evaluate, make new goals for myself, and measure my progress as a person. There have been times when I can reflect on how awesome God is and how all the blessings in my life are so abundant. Then there are times when I put on a facade. Things in life are so messed up, I just can not seem to get anything right, and that I am a mess.  

This devotion is meant to help you and me understand that there are seasons when everything is absolutely amazing. It is when your marriage is strong, your kids are healthy and doing well, and you just got a promotion at work. You are on cloud nine, and there is nothing that can take your smile away. Then there are seasons when you feel like an outcast, an obligation, a hindrance, and a terrible person. You may have dealt with a death close to family, had a relapse into an addiction, or just caved into sin again. We are all guilty of sin, and it can be an emotionally draining feeling. The devil certainly does not help when we are down in our faith.  

Like Pharaoh, we need to approach our faith on a large scale. We always see God when all is great in life, but always seem to turn our back and be angry with God when all is not going well. We need to rejoice and give thanks for the blessings we have in our lives, and we need to understand that when our “famine” comes, we are prepared to endure the hardship and ultimately learn God’s will. His plans are perfect.  I would like to challenge you that the next time you have to endure a “famine,” you would give thanks to God and be quick to listen and slow to be angry.  Know that He is in control, and He is with you all of the time. 

“God of Seeing” 

Abraham, Hagar, & Ishmael • Devotion #6: “God of Seeing”
Pat Bedell | Special Ops 

In Genesis 16:13, Hagar says something profound about God, “So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.’”

When I was three years old, my mom started bringing me to the Catholic church where I began my Christian walk. I started my Catechism classes when I was around five, and I began to learn who Jesus was and what He did for us. It was the year after that my younger sisters began to attend church as well, but as all siblings do when they are younger, we began to cause mischief during mass and shortly after that, my mom took us out of the church due to behavioral issues.

Fast forward to high school, and early college days, I had done more than my fair share of sinning. From lying and disobeying my parents to making immoral decisions, I was in quite a mess. My second year of college, I came to know Christ as my Savior, and I started to live my life for Him.

As I read the Bible and listened to sermons more often, I began to learn that God was watching over me and seeing everything I had done while I was not seeking Him. Hebrews 4:13 says, “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” When I understood what that meant in my life, I was heartbroken. More importantly, I realized that I was disobeying and hurting Christ with all of my actions and decisions in the past. Proverbs 5:21 adds, “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his paths.” I was embarrassed and shameful, but I was also grateful that He had His eyes on me the whole time. He thought of the paths to set me on and ultimately led me to Him. Romans 6:14 says, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”  To live under God’s grace is so amazing and gratifying. 

Now that I know the Lord is watching me, it keeps me accountable for my actions and decisions. It helps me to repent of sin and live only for Him. It also gives me inspiration and a responsibility to lead my family and friends to live likewise. Do you have anyone in your life who might need to know that God is watching over them? I challenge you to be a light in their world and to show them that the grace of God is real and that He is watching over them with love and grace.

Our Lord is “the God of seeing.” This should challenge us, but it is also the most comforting concept. God sees you. 



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