Devotions

Author Archives: Philip Piasecki

Futile?

Easter • Devotion #2: Futile?
Philip Piasecki

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:17-19 NIV

There is power in the Word of God. Every time I read this verse, it gives me a new sense of wonder for the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I feel like we often hear in Christian circles things like “remember the cross,” “think about what Jesus did for us on that cross,” and the like. While there is nothing wrong with these sayings, I feel like our focus is sometimes misdirected. It seems like believers sometimes miss how important the resurrection was. If Jesus had died on that cross and stayed in that grave, we would have no hope. Paul says that our faith is futile without the resurrection! Essentially Paul is saying that without the resurrection we are not forgiven of our sins, anyone who has died believing in Christ is lost, we have no hope, and everyone should pity us. Those are some strong words. The resurrection of Christ is the most important event in the history of humanity. This one event solidified that Jesus Christ was who He said that He was, and it sealed the offer of salvation to everyone who believes in Him.

The truth of the resurrection should stir up action in your life. I love thinking about the lives of the disciples after the resurrection. They saw the resurrected body of Jesus Christ, heard His command to go into all the world to preach the Good News, and many of them took that message up until they were killed for their message. They saw their Savior raised to life, and they knew that they needed to go and tell the world about it. We may have not physically seen Jesus resurrected, but we have the historical accounts of it in Scripture, and we have our accounts of how the resurrected Christ has impacted our lives. Take Jesus’ story and your story of salvation in Him and tell anyone who will listen. Do not be inhibited by fear of how the world will react to you; the disciples did not let threats of death keep them from sharing their message. We cannot miss the importance of the resurrection. When you fully grasp the significance of it, I promise it will radically change your life.

Still with Us

Immanuel | Devotion #3: Still with Us
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader

The Holiday season is a very complex time. There is joy in celebrating our Savior with friends and family. The opportunity to celebrate the birth of Jesus can be such an incredible time of worship. However, on the other hand, this season can bring about many sad and difficult emotions. For many people, Christmas celebrations are reminders of family and friends that they have lost in their life. My wife and I have lost people close to us, and while Christmas is joyful, it is still a painful reminder of those that we have lost. In the midst of so much joy, there can also be sadness. We remember those that are no longer with us while celebrating the One who became flesh to come to earth and be with us.

While studying the different names of Christ, “Immanuel” really struck a chord with me. The name means “God with us.” When the Angel declared the coming birth of Jesus, he commanded that He be named Immanuel. What an incredible picture, that the birth of Jesus was God coming to be with us in the flesh. God loved us so much, that He wanted His son to come to earth and live with His creation. After Jesus was crucified and resurrected, He ascended back to the right hand of God, but that does not mean that He is no longer with us. If the name of Immanuel is true, then God is still with us. He gave us the presence of the Holy Spirit so that there would be nowhere we could go where He would not be with us. Look at the words of Jesus in the book of John. 

John 16:7 says, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”

Though Jesus has returned to Heaven, He left us with something that is even more advantageous for us who are believers. We have the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit. We find our peace, our comfort, our wisdom, and our power through the presence of the Holy Spirit. So when we are sorrowful, when we are lonely, when we are in despair, we can receive the comfort of Immanuel, God with us. The name does not mean “God somewhere out in the abyss,” think of the implications of Him being with us! We can live our lives drastically different knowing that we have the Holy Spirit of our God with us. Ask for the Holy Spirit to strengthen you, ask for Him to guide you, and ask for Him to bring you comfort in your time of need. Even though the Christmas season can be filled with sorrow, the joy of knowing that God is with us can strengthen and encourage us in our time of need.

A Peaceful Season

Prince of Peace | Devotion #2: A Peaceful Season
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader

I am sure when most of us think of the holiday season, we do not think of the word “peace.” It seems like Thanksgiving through New Years has become the most insane time of the year. We all have Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years family functions. We all know how interesting it can get when family members get together for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We all can think of that family member combo that will inevitably result in some sort of argument over family history, politics, or some other nonsense! There is also food to make, houses to clean, decorations to put out, lights to put up, presents to buy, Christmas pictures to take, and Christmas cards to send out. Have I successfully raised your blood pressure yet? How does some peace sound? 

One of the names of Jesus is “The Prince of Peace.” That is what Christmas is all about, celebrating the peace that Jesus allows us to have in our lives. We can have peace in relationships, peace with ourselves, peace with our decisions, and the list could go on and on. While all of those things are true and good, they are not even close to as important as one type of peace Jesus brings us.

Ephesians 2:12-14 says, “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.”

Jesus made a way for there to be peace between us and God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This verse tells us that we were once separated from Christ, had no hope, and were without God, essentially we were hopeless. There was no peace between Christ and us; there was strife. That was until Christ, through His blood, brought us near to Him and became our peace. Let the craziness of the holidays be a reminder of the peace that we have through Jesus Christ. That peace can extend through to every aspect of our lives. The Prince of Peace gave His life for us so that we could have peace between Him and us. I pray that as a church we will focus on the peace that we have through Him and that we would extend that same peace and love to other people. When the world seems crazy around us, rest in the Lord and rest in His peace.

Never Leave nor Forsake

Everlasting Father | Devotion #2: Never Leave nor Forsake
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader

Being a father has drastically changed my approach to life. After my daughter was born, my main priority became being the best father I could be. Every action and decision that I make started being run through the filter of being a father. I have always been a huge thrill seeker; however, I am now much less likely to do something that could put my life in danger now that I am a dad. I always want to be there for my kids, and it breaks my heart to see those whose fathers have abandoned them. The lack of good fathers is truly an epidemic in our culture today. There are so many kids that just want to know they have a dad who loves them, and they have been deprived that opportunity so far in their life.  However, Christmas can be an incredible reminder of the Everlasting Father that we have through the person of Jesus Christ. 

When Scripture calls Jesus “Everlasting Father,” do not be confused, it is not mistaking Him for God the Father. However, Jesus is the perfect representation of God the Father’s attributes. Through Jesus, we see fatherly love. In Scripture we see Jesus love His friends, His disciples, strangers, and ultimately lay His life down for all of those people. A father never abandons his children. Still to this day, if I need help with something, I know that I can call my dad and he will be there right away. In Hebrews, we see the fatherly character of Christ. 

Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”

This Scripture serves as an important reminder that true contentment comes from knowing that the Lord is with us, and will never leave us. It does not matter what worldly possessions we have or how life is treating us, we can celebrate knowing that the Lord is with us. Jesus Christ, the Everlasting Father, will never leave us or forsake us. He does not bail when life gets rough, and He does not give up on us when we fail Him. He cares for us, He watches over us, He encourages us, He disciplines us, and He treats us like a father treats his children. If you do not have a loving earthly father, know that God is your Heavenly Father whose perfect attributes were put on display for the world to see through His son Jesus Christ. If you are a dad reading this, I challenge you to have your actions towards your children reflect those of our perfect Heavenly Father. Even when it may feel like we are alone, take hope in knowing that God and Jesus Christ are always there for us. 

Having Complete Power

Mighty God | Devotion #1: Having Complete Power
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader

There is nothing worse than feeling powerless. As humans, we always want to have some control in our lives. I remember driving my brother and myself to school one dark January morning when we hit a patch of ice on the freeway exit ramp. Instantly, I went from having complete control of my car, to having none at all. We spun 180 degrees to where we could see a semi truck heading straight for us. By the grace of God, I had the awareness to pull the wheel and slide us off into the ditch. My brother and I sat there speechless. I finally looked over at him and said: “Don’t tell mom about this.” Years later, we finally told my parents the story, and about how differently that morning could have gone for the both of us. Sometimes in life we can have this same feeling; it seems like our whole life is out of control, and that we have no power over what is happening. This is when we need to fix our eyes on the one who is the Mighty God. 

The word Almighty means “having complete power.” I am sure that is not the first thought that came to everyone’s mind when Jesus was first born as a baby. It is hard to imagine a tiny baby, that needs milk and needs to be changed, as having complete power. However, Jesus was fully God as well as fully man. God is Almighty. Therefore, Jesus is Almighty. When Jesus was born, He may not have been what the Jewish people were expecting for their king, but Jesus knew how His plan of redemption was going to unfold. Do we trust in Jesus as our Almighty God? I know that in my life, many times I put Christ in a box. I put limitations on what He can do, sometimes without even knowing it. However, it is evident in my prayers, my thoughts, and my actions. I know that if I daily approached Jesus as my Almighty God, that I would see drastic changes in my life. We see an incredible picture of who Jesus is in Psalm 24:8-10:

“Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory!”

Our Lord is strong and mighty. He is mighty in battle. He is fighting for us every day; there is no reason to hang our heads, we need to lift them up to the One who is mighty to save. Life does not always bring what we are expecting, but Jesus is there for us no matter what comes our way. He is the Mighty God, who holds complete power, expect that He will show up in mighty ways in your own life.



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