Devotions

Author Archives: Pat MacDermaid

“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”

Gather | Devotion #1: “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”
Pat MacDermaid

“To gather” means to come together, or can refer to an assembly. We gather together for many reasons: a family get together, to work, serve, study God’s Word, pray, and worship God.

God wants and delights in our praise and worship. Did you ever wonder why He gave us two voices, one to speak and one to sing? Now some will say that God gave some people better singing voices than others, and this might be true to our ears. But I think God listens to our hearts. He listens with His heart. If you cannot make yourself sing in public, try speaking the words of praise to yourself. He will hear you.

All through the Bible, there is Scripture about singing to God. Did you know that the Hebrew title for the Book of Psalms is Book of Praise? Psalm 96:1 says, “Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth!” Psalm 147:1 adds, “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.” Psalm 118:14 continues, “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” These are just a small example of the Bible telling us to sing to our God. The Bible is full of Scripture telling us to do just that. I think it is safe to say that God wants us to sing to Him.

I love the worship in song part of our gatherings. It gets us prepared for the message. I love all kinds of worship music. I enjoy the old hymns and the contemporary music we praise God with today. 

Do you have any favorite hymns from long ago? I do. I think everyone knows and loves “Amazing Grace.” There are also some other hymns I remember and like: “I Surrender All” (words by Judson Van de Venter, 1896), “Anywhere with Jesus” (1887), and “Abide with Me” (1847). One old hymn I am very fond of is “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” (1922). The words of the song say it all for me.

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
His Word shall not fail you, He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well;
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

The words of this hymn tell us Jesus loves us, do not worry, you are not alone, He will light your way, and He keeps His word. Believe in Him and get out there and tell people about salvation.

There have been beautiful songs in every age. No matter if you worship like you are at home in the shower or you whisper the words, God hears you.

Noah “Only” Righteous 

The Flood • Devotion #2: Noah “Only” Righteous
Pat MacDermaid | Clothing Closet

“These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” Genesis 6:9-10

God called Noah righteous, but that did not mean he was perfect and did not have sin in his life. Noah was righteous because he had a close relationship with God. He loved and trusted God, so when he was told by God to build an ark, he built an ark. The ark was not some little fishing boat. The ark he was told to build was, by today’s standards, the size of an average World War II battleship and had three floors. It had plenty of room for all the creatures and people who would live in it during the flood.

Noah was obedient to God’s will, so I think it is safe to say, he never grumbled, griped, or complained when God told him what He wanted him to do. He had three sons (Shem, Ham, and Japheth) who helped him build the ark. They must have been laughed at, teased, and called names, but they kept right on being obedient. Noah loved God and did what God told him to do. They walked in peace and harmony like a father and his son walking step and step, side by side. The son wanted to hear every word his father had to share with him. The father just wanted to spend time with his boy, to love him and be loved by him.

I lost my dad when I was 15 years old. I still miss him. I still remember Friday nights when I was a little girl of four or five years old. That was back when TV’s were a new thing (yes, I am that old). I would climb onto my dad’s lap and put my head on his chest right over his heart. He watched the Friday Night Fights. He loved to watch boxing, and I loved to listen to his heartbeat. I felt loved and safe.

I have come a long way since then. I know I have a Heavenly Father who loves me. He will never leave me. He always has time for me. He will forgive me for anything when I am truly sorry. He forgives and never holds it against me. He is good, kind, loving, and so much more. When I am in His will, I have peace.

I want and need a Noah kind of relationship with God. We all need it. I think we would all love to hear that God has called us righteous, blameless, and that we have found favor in His eyes. Take time to ask God what He would have you do for Him. Spend time alone with Him; you will be blessed. If you do not, you will miss so much.

Get Up and Grow

Grow | Devotion #6: Get Up and Grow
Pat MacDermaid | Clothing Closet

Grow is a small word that means so much. A newborn baby grows fast from infant to toddler, child, pre-teen, teenager, and finally to a fully grown adult. They are learning and changing along the way.

In 2 Peter 3:18, we read, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” How do we do that? One thing we need to do is read God’s Holy Book. It is important to pray for understanding and wisdom to grow from what we are reading. Another excellent way to grow is to join a Growth Community Bible Study. One will learn a lot and meet other people who also want to grow.

Growing in Christ is not only reading the Word of God, but it is also living the Word of God. Prayer is another way we grow in Christ. The conversations we have with Him will help us to know what He would have us pray. It may be an individual, group of people, situation, or our country. Get used to asking Him to direct your prayer life and He will. Spend more time praying for others than yourself; He knows what you need.

You can grow more like Jesus by acts of kindness, a smile, holding a door for someone, and saying, “Thank you.” Take someone’s cart back for them. Cut someone’s grass.

Jesus did so many kind things. He fed thousands of people before He sent them home. He healed the sick and brought dead people back to their loved ones. 

Kindness matters. I remember a lady who spoke to my heart. Before I came to serve at the Community Center, I managed the local video store. She was my first customer. One morning, she came in the door and went right to the back wall, got a movie, and came to the counter. As she got close to the counter, I could see she was wearing a very pretty pair of earrings. I told her how pretty they were. She paid for her movie and left. The next morning the phone rang; it was the lady from the previous day. She said, “I don’t know if you remember, but I was at the video store yesterday, and you complimented me on my earrings.” I told her I remembered and asked if I could help her with something. She replied, “I have been up all night thinking about how kind you had been to me. I have been feuding with my family for the last two weeks, and you were the first person in two weeks that has said a kind word to me. I had to call and thank you.” Kindness matters.

That phone call touched my heart. When she comes to my mind, I always say a prayer for her and her family. Growth is a process, a lifelong thing. There are many ways to grow, and kindness is a good place to start.

Christ #5 – The Back Row

Christ #5 – The Back Row
Pat Macdermaid | Clothing Closet

Matthew 16:15-16
“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’”

In the Bible, there are endless verses referring to the name Christ.  The name Christ means “The Anointed One,” “Son of God” and The Messiah.”

This morning as I sat waiting for worship to start, I was looking around at the people taking their seats and still coming in.  It struck me what a group we are, all so different yet so alike.  We are all in need of Christ, the Son of the Living God.

I sit in the back row.  I am a people watcher.  There are people who always come early.  They scan the room looking for the best seat.  There are young families, moms carrying their babies, and dads with little ones by the hand.  I say a prayer for them that all is well.  I notice that some people who come in are walking a little slower these days and look like they are in pain.  I wish I could make it go away.  I see teenage girls giggling together, and I wonder what their world is like for them, so different from the world I grew up in.  I watch as the worship begins, some people bounce to the music as they sing, others raise their hands in surrender to “Christ the King,” and some stand quietly waiting for the singing to end.

As I watch the people, such a feeling of love for every one of them came over me.  I think to myself, “If I can feel love for this room full of people young and old alike and I am just a sinner loving a room full of sinners, how must Christ our Savior love us?”  He let Himself be nailed to a cross so we could become blood-bought children of God.

I can almost see Him sitting in the chair next to mine, checking out His family from the back row.  He can see all of us; we cannot hide anything from Him.  He knows everything there is to know about us.  Maybe as His children, we should try to know everything about Him.

Finding Purpose

God’s Purpose • Devotion #3: Finding Purpose
Pat MacDermaid | Clothing Closet

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

This verse tells us without a doubt that God has a plan for all of His children that He knows best.  Trust Him to work His perfect purpose out for you.

If we want to know our purpose in God’s plan, we need to have a personal Father-child relationship with Him.  Think about it.  Do you want your children only to come to you for the things they can get from you?  I do not think so; we want them to come to us with their hurts, struggles, questions, joys, blessings, big, and small things.  We want to be on the inside of their lives.  Our Father, the creator of us all, should not get the leftovers of our time, a few crumbs of our day, and maybe a few more as we end the day.  I think our Father who called us, saved us, and will one day take us to Heaven wants more than that from us.

If you take quiet time with Him, talk to Him about your day, tell Him everything, you will find He will direct your path.  I know that He has mine.  If you are willing to let Him use you, trust that He knows what He is doing.  You will find yourself running to Him with everything, from the smallest things to the life-changing things.  If you are willing to go with Him, He will take you on an adventure and along the way, He will teach you about patience, perseverance, commitment, service, compassion, love, and a whole lot more.  You were made for a purpose, one that was made just for you.

I remember a time in my life when I knew God had a purpose for me.  I was 42 years old and a widow.  I was visiting my mother at her apartment.  We were just chatting about nothing in particular.  She had gone into the kitchen for more coffee.  I could see her from where I was sitting.  She looked at me and said, “I tried to get rid of you, but it didn’t work.  It worked out okay though because your dad loved you.”  That is not what you want to hear from your mom.  That hurt!  For weeks, I kept asking God why she did not just keep it to herself.  One day I was at a stop light, I asked God again, and this time, I felt that feeling when you get an answer and you know it is from God.  He said, “I wanted you to know I wanted you.”  I knew then that He had things for me to do.  When God says He has a purpose for each of us, He means it.  I am 71 now, and I know God had a plan for me, or I never would have been born.

Has God ever made something very clear that He wanted you to do?

Did you do it?

Why or why not?



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

Copyright © 2016 The River Church. All Rights Reserved.