Devotions

Author Archives: Philip Piasecki

Timehop

Remember It | Devotion #5: Timehop

Philip Piasecki

My wife has this app on her phone called “Timehop.” Each day it takes posts from all your social media accounts on that day in history and shows them to you. So she is always showing me pictures that she took and posted five years ago, and most of the time the memories are really cool for reflection. I decided that I was going to install the app too, so I could see what I had posted in previous years. Unfortunately, it mostly has just embarrassed me. I cannot help but think, “Why did I post that status!?” However, it is good to see how much I have matured and to see how far I have come over the past ten years. It can be hard to appreciate where your life is at now, without looking back to see from what God has brought you. 

This is an awesome concept that we learn throughout the Scripture. It is remembering what God has done for us, and praising Him because of it! It boggles my mind how forgetful we can be as humans. We will go through a difficult time, see God work miracles to get us through it, and then completely forget about how faithful He was after it is over. King David went through so much difficulty in his life (most of it brought on by his own decisions), and God was always faithful to bring him through it. The Psalms are filled with David’s praises, remembering what God had done for him.

Psalm 9:1-2 says,

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.”

When we remember what God has done for us, and praise Him for it, it helps us be more faithful the next time that we find ourselves in the valley. We will remember His faithfulness, and trust that He is always faithful. When we worship and sing God’s praises, we remind ourselves about who Christ is. Our God never fails, and I promise, that He is not going to fail you now. Make a habit of looking back and remembering God’s faithfulness; I promise it will help you grow in your trust of God for the future.

Delivered

Gather | Devotion #3: Delivered
Philip Piasecki

One of my personal passions is writing worship songs for the church. Our Gathering Team is filled with so many creative people, and we have had the opportunity to write a few songs together that our church now sings on a regular basis. Last year, we wanted to write a song that would work hand in hand with our Easter theme, and we ended up writing the song, “Delivered.” It is amazing how God can use multiple people, with multiple ideas, to come together to write one song. John Hubbard (Waterford Worship Leader) came to us with the lyrics for the chorus, and after that, the whole song started to flow. I want to take you through each part of the song and explore what we were trying to express through it.

Verse 1
Broken for broken
beaten for me
put on the cross called Calvary
Creator crucified
bled on that tree
descended to darkness, You died for me

For the first verse, Pastor Caleb had the idea of the phrase “Broken for broken.”The idea is that Jesus Christ was broken on the cross to save broken people. So many people treat Jesus as if He only died for those people who “have it all together,” but that could not be further from the truth. He was broken for a broken world and for broken people. The whole first verse is the story of His crucifixion, how He was broken, He was beaten, He bled, and He died all for us. Surprisingly, sometimes as believers it is easy to forget about the cross. We wanted to take the first verse of the song to sing about it, reminding us of what Jesus endured. This first verse sets up the rest of the song and the story.

Verse 2
All hope was shattered placed in the ground
Your body lay broken my Savior cast down
The stone rolled away
You rose from the grave
You are alive and now I will proclaim

The lyrics at the beginning of verse two express how it seemed like all hope was lost after Christ had died. I cannot even imagine being one of Jesus’ disciples at the time. To see the man you had faithfully followed for three years be crucified would have shattered all of my expectations about who Christ really was. However, then the miracle of the resurrection takes place. The stone was rolled away, Jesus rises from the dead, and because of that, we proclaim His praises.

Chorus
From my wandering
From my sin and shame
You delivered me out of the grave
Now I’m found in You
You’re my hiding place
I will praise You for all of my days 

Jesus died and rose again to deliver us from our sinful life. That is what we celebrate in sing in the chorus. Part of the concept comes from the story of the Prodigal Son. He had left his father’s house, wandering the city streets living in sin, and living in shame. He had no hope until he returned home to his father. The father delivered him out of his wandering, sin, and shame. The father welcomed him home and gave him a place where he was protected and safe again. That is our same story, and it is why we sing that Jesus delivered us from our wandering and ultimately from the grave. Instead of being found in this world we can be found in Christ. It is in Christ that we can find strength and refuge, and that is something for which we should praise Jesus!

Verse 3
Death was defeated
your love abounds
Rise up in victory and claim Your crown
Creation rejoicing
come hear the sound
heavens be glad that salvation is found

Verse three continues the celebration of what Christ did, and how we should respond to that victory. One of my favorite lines in the whole song is found in verse three “Rise up in victory and claim Your crown.”It is this picture of Jesus taking what is rightfully His, victory over death and Hell, and claiming His crown as our King forever as creation. I remember Josh Lahring (Goodrich Worship Leader) bringing up the idea of even creation rejoicing and praising the Lord. It is so powerful to think that all of creation is worshipping God and we get to join along with it.

Bridge
I’m found in You
I’m found in You
Your Love broke through
I’m found in You

I remember when we were writing this song we wanted something simple, yet profound for the bridge of the song. Isaiah Combs (Holly Worship Leader) came up with the simple and powerful idea of how Jesus’ love broke through everything and found us. We are no longer found in this world once we have been delivered from it; we are found in Christ. It is so powerful when the body of Christ is singing in unison “I’m found in You.”We get to declare to Jesus that we do not want to be found in our pain, circumstances, sin, or shame. We are found in Him.

I hope understanding the lyrics of this song has been an encouragement to you. Remember, when we gather together as the Body of Christ, we sing for a purpose. We sing to celebrate, to remember, and to confess. I pray that it is something we would not take lightly, but that we would recognize that we are coming before the Throne of God with our prayer and our worship.

 

Typology  

Joseph & Brothers • Devotion #6: Typology
Philip Piasecki

My brother is three years younger than me. This age gap allowed us to be pretty close friends through the years. We always had our own group of friends, but we would always enjoy hanging out with each other as well. Whether it was playing one-on-one on the basketball court, or playing PlayStation against each other, we have always been very competitive with one another. The most frustrating thing for me was when he started getting older and actually getting better at me in some things! All of a sudden I did not always beat him in basketball. I had to finally come to terms with the fact that he was better than me. He went on to play some college basketball, all I ever played was intramurals. My team did win the Oakland University Intramural Basketball tournament, so I have that on my resume. There were times when I would be jealous of his talent, but for the most part, I was always very excited for him. That is why reading the story of Joseph is so difficult for me; I cannot ever imagine being so jealous of a sibling that you would be willing to sell them into slavery. 

The story of Joseph has so many great moral principles we can take from it, but we must be careful that morality is not always the only thing we take from the Old Testament Scriptures. The whole Old Testament constantly is pointing toward the coming of Jesus; we just have to be looking for the correlations.  

Genesis 37:28 says, “Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt.”

We see here that Joseph was bought for the price of a slave, does that ring any bells? Look at the account in Matthew chapter 26 where Judas is seeking to betray Jesus.

Matthew 26:14-16 says, “Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?’ And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.”

Here we find the Scripture where Jesus is sold for the price of a slave as well. Joseph was betrayed by those closest to him, in the same way that Jesus was betrayed by Judas. The Old Testament is filled with the foreshadowing of what was going to happen to Jesus. When we read the Old Testament, there will be new life breathed into it if we approach it through the lens of Jesus. There is so much more to the Scriptures than just morality. There is a Savior who loved us and died for us. Our desire should be to honor and glorify Him, and through that, we will live moral lives. Joseph’s story is a beautiful picture of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, how He loves us even though we constantly sin against Him, and how He will show us mercy when we ask for it. Let the story of Joseph help you better understand that character of our Lord and Savior. 

Immediate Response 

Isaac & Rebekah • Devotion #5: Immediate Response
Philip Piasecki

These days, we want everything fast. We want our food immediately once we order it. We want someone to respond to our text message the second that they receive it. We even get mad if our Amazon package takes longer than two days to arrive! It is incredible to think about this for a second, an item that you were able to order on the internet, from your couch, that is shipped from across the country, took longer than two days to show up on your porch and you are upset? The technology we have today, to have everything instantaneously is almost magic, and yet we still want it to be faster. We treat God like this in our prayer lives as well. He asks us to have patience, wait on Him, and we will see Him move. Other times, however, we are blessed to see an immediate response to our prayer. We see an example of this immediate response to prayer in the story of Isaac and Rebekah.

The last couple days we have been looking at different aspects of the story of Isaac and Rebekah from Genesis chapter 24. Abraham sends his servant with a seemingly impossible task, go to a different country, find a wife for my son, and bring her back here. I love verse 12, “And he said, ‘O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham.’” I imagine the servant sitting there thinking unless God shows up this is going to be impossible, so he goes to the Lord in prayer. As we have seen the last couple of days, the Lord brings Rebekah to the servant, and he accomplishes the goal Abraham gave him. In verse 26 we see the servant’s response, “The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord.” He had his prayer answered, and he immediately worshiped the Lord to thank Him. 

There is so much to learn from this Scripture when we look at it from the perspective of the servant. Daily we will find ourselves in situations that seem impossible unless God steps in the middle of it. It is at those moments that we need to bring our situation before God and ask Him to bless. So often, we do not see answers to prayer because we do not even ask Him to do something! You are mistaken if you think that God does not step in during your day-to-day life. He wants to, He is willing, and He wants us to ask Him to help. Abraham’s servant prayed and saw God immediately answer that prayer. We too can see God do incredible things like that in our life; we just need to commit to asking Him.

Hebrews 11:17-19

Abraham “Sacrifices” Isaac • Devotion #3: Hebrews 11:17-19
Philip Piasecki

When I look back at my four years of college, I have a lot of really great memories. I remember meeting my wife on my first day of classes during my junior year. I remember winning the intramural dodgeball and basketball championships. I remember meeting our Waterford Worship Leader, John Hubbard, on our first day of freshman orientation. The one thing I do not look back fondly on is all the exams and tests. I never enjoyed taking tests; if someone tells you that they do enjoy tests, suggest they see a counselor because something is wrong with them. However, tests are there for a reason; it is a way to find out if you actually learned what you were supposed to. I can say I understand a subject completely, but if I cannot pass a test on it, then odds are I did not actually comprehend it.

One of the greatest tests we see in the Bible was when Abraham was commanded by the Lord to sacrifice his son Isaac. Why did God give Abraham this test? It was to see if he had learned what he was supposed to about the nature of God. Abraham passed with flying colors, and because of that we see an account of this story in Hebrews 11:17-19, By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.” Abraham knew that even if God let him go through with the sacrifice of Isaac, God could raise him from the dead. Abraham understood God’s promises and fully trusted Him, even when God’s commands did not make sense to him. 

Hebrews chapter 11 holds story after story of amazing acts of faith from throughout Scripture. Abraham’s faith is so inspirational and so deeply convicting. I know that personally, I lack that level of faith every day. I know that there are tests from God of my faith that I fail daily. There are basic things that I struggle to trust God with when in contrast Abraham trusted God to raise his son from the dead. I am sure you can think of areas in your life where you constantly lack faith. The remedy to this is to gain a better understanding of the promises of God. When our faith is lacking, we can remember the words of Scripture and be encouraged. 

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

Philippians 4:6-7 adds, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Matthew 6:31-34 continues the thought, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ‘Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’”

For the rest of the day, meditate on these verses, let them remind you of the goodness of God. Let these verses encourage you to have faith in every situation just like the faith of Abraham that we see in Hebrews chapter 11.



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