Devotions

Author Archives: Philip Piasecki

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.

Courtroom of Life

Wonderful Counselor | Devotion #2: Courtroom of Life
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader

While I was in college, I held a lot of interesting jobs. I worked at a daycare for a couple of years, running around with the four and five-year-old kids. Then I got a job at a doctor’s office as a Specimen Processor (running tests on blood), which I was not qualified to do. Lastly, I worked at the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office as a student worker. This job was incredibly interesting as I got to see the inner workings of the judicial system. One of my jobs was to put together case files of arrests from the night before. I saw some really interesting things, also some pretty brutal and sad things. The most nerve-racking part of the job was when we would have to run files over to the courthouse. I would have to walk into a courtroom while a trial was taking place, and give the file to the prosecutor that needed it. I would get to see the defendant’s legal counsel giving them advice on what to answer, how to proceed, and what to say to the judge. Thinking back on these courtroom scenes, I cannot help but think about Jesus, our Wonderful Counselor.

The courtroom scene may be a bit dramatic, but we all find ourselves in situations where we are looking for counsel. The question is, where and who are we looking to for this advice? I think of the story of Job, and how he looked to his friends for counsel, and they gave him terrible advice. I have seen many Christians slowly fall away from Christ because they continue to follow ungodly counsel in their lives. Jesus Christ, He is the Wonderful Counselor, He is the one that we need to be looking towards every day in our lives. I know that many times in the heat of the moment, we are faced with making decisions quickly. We may not have time to stop, pray about a decision, and then make that decision. This is why we need to be asking Christ for wisdom every day.

James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

I think we can all acknowledge that we lack wisdom. Luckily for all of us, God gives wisdom generously to all who just ask! Our Wonderful Counselor will give us the wisdom that we need to make Godly decisions in any situation that we may face. Think twice before you seek worldly counsel, and seek counsel from the Wonderful Counselor. 

Cornelius

Lesson Fourteen | Devotion #4: Cornelius
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader

Cornelius was a Roman Centurion who feared God. Most Romans believed in many different gods, but Acts chapter 10 tells us that Cornelius believed in the one true God. The Lord sends him a vision and in it tells him to send for Peter to come to his house. So he sends men to get Peter, and as the men were approaching the city, Peter has a vision as well. The details are very interesting, and I encourage you to read all of Acts chapter 10, but the basic message of the vision is found in verse 15. Acts 10:15 says, “And the voice came to him again a second time, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’” Peter did not fully understand what God was saying to him until he returned with Cornelius’ men to Cornelius’ house. When Peter arrives at Cornelius’ house, he finds Cornelius, his relatives, and close friends all awaiting his arrival. It is at this point that Peter understands the vision from God.

Acts 10:34-36 says, “So Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all).’”

Peter begins to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. Up until this point, Jewish people had considered the gentiles unclean. However, God reveals to Peter that His Kingdom is for all people, and Peter responds by preaching right away to Cornelius and his friends and family. As Peter is preaching the Gospel, something amazing begins to happen.

Acts 10:44-48 says, “While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, ‘Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.” 

Everyone in the house who heard the Word was saved, the power of the Holy Spirit fell upon them, they got baptized, and they began to proclaim the work that Christ had just done in their lives. This would have been such an amazing and powerful moment to be a part of for Cornelius. When we think about world changers in the Bible, Cornelius needs to be towards the top of the list for us Gentiles (anyone who is not Jewish). It was at the house of Cornelius that we see God pouring out His love to the Gentiles, and making it known to Peter that they needed to share the Gospel with everyone! The lesson that Peter learned is so powerful in our lives as well. God loves every single person on earth, and He desires for every single person to be saved. In this day and age hate is so rampant throughout our culture and our churches. We would rather be the one to judge someone, than love someone. Scripture tells us that God is the one who judges, and commands us to love one another. In Peter’s mind, the Gentiles were unclean people, and God had to reveal to Peter that He shows no partiality. Anyone who believes in the work of Christ and surrenders their life to Christ can be saved. The account of Cornelius shows us, “that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). We just need to be willing, as Peter was, to share the hope of Christ with all those people. There are people that the world deems as “unclean,” and there are people that the church deems as “unclean,” but we cannot avoid those people. Through the blood of Jesus Christ, they can all be made holy in the eyes of God.

Josiah

Lesson Ten | Devotion #4: Josiah
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader

I recently read a story from the New York Post about a family who stumbled upon some baseball cards while cleaning out their deceased great-grandfather’s house. They found a crumpled up paper bag and inside there were seven baseball cards. Seven identical Ty Cobb baseball cards printed sometime between 1909-1911. After getting these cards analyzed by professional collectors, the family discovered that their find was worth well over $1 Million. Before the discovery there were only 15 known copies of this card, and now this family has 7 of their own. Can you imagine cleaning up a garage or basement and stumbling upon something this valuable? I am pumped if I stumble upon a $5 bill. When studying the life of King Josiah, I could not help but think of this story. However, King Josiah found something much more valuable.

In 2 Chronicles chapter 34, we read the account of Josiah’s reign as king. He became king at the age of 8 and at the age of 16 Scripture tells us that “he began to seek the God of his father David.” Before Josiah, his father and grandfather were both very wicked kings. Idol worship had run rampant in the land of Israel, and they had completely forsaken the God of Abraham. After following God, Josiah knew that this idol worship was unacceptable, so as a 20-year-old he began purging Judah and Jerusalem of all the altars and temples to idols that had been built. At 26 he began repairs on the temple, and this is when his incredible discovery is made.

2 Chronicles 34:14 says, “While they were bringing out the money that had been brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord given through Moses.”

2 Chronicles 34:19-21 adds, “And when the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Abdon the son of Micah, Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, ‘Go, inquire of the Lord for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do according to all that is written in this book.’”

The laws of God which had been neglected for years had been rediscovered. Hilkiah, the priest, brought the Book of the Law to show to King Josiah and his response is incredible. When he hears the words of the Lord, he tore his clothes. He immediately understood that this is what Israel had been missing. He immediately connects the dots; the wrath of the Lord had been poured out on them because they had not kept these commandments. King Josiah decides to take action and commit himself and the country back to the Lord.

2 Chronicles 34:31-33 continues, “And the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. Then he made all who were present in Jerusalem and in Benjamin join in it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. And Josiah took away all the abominations from all the territory that belonged to the people of Israel and made all who were present in Israel serve the Lord their God. All his days they did not turn away from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.” 

The last line of the Scripture is so powerful, all of King Josiah’s days they did not turn away from the Lord. After a line of wicked kings, God uses King Josiah to turn the hearts of Israel back to Him. All of this happens before Josiah’s 27th birthday. I cannot imagine being a king at his age, let alone being used to bring the entire nation back to God. Josiah’s father and grandpa were both wicked men; he could have used his family history and background as an excuse for not doing what he knew was right. This is such a powerful example that it does not matter where you have come from, God can use you for incredible things. As believers, first and foremost we are a part of the family of God. Being a part of that family comes with the power to do incredible things for Christ. God used His Scripture to show King Josiah what it was that needed to change in the kingdom of Israel. We need to make His Word an essential part of our lives so that we can know how God wants us to live our lives. There is power in the Word of God, and there is power in being a part of His family. When we understand those things, Christ can use us to be world changers like He used King Josiah.

Gideon

Lesson Six | Devotion #1: Gideon
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader

The story of Gideon and his 300 chosen men is incredible. God chose Gideon to lead the men of Israel against the Midianites, and God promised Gideon that they would be victorious. Gideon and his army started at 32,000 men, but God told Gideon that there were too many men, because when they defeated the Midianites, they would become boastful. So, God had Gideon let all who were afraid of battle leave, this brought the army down to 10,000. God told Gideon that this was still too many men, He wanted them to know without a doubt that their victory was fully because of the Lord. God tells Gideon to have the army go to the river to drink and to send home whoever laps the water from the river to drink in the same way a dog would drink. This brings the number of men to 300, and it is this group that defeats the Midianites. This is obviously a condensed version. I would encourage you to go ahead and read the entire story in Judges chapter 7. The thing is, this incredible event almost never took place due to Gideon’s lack of faith. Look at what happens first in Judges chapter 6.

Judges 6:36-40 says, “Then Gideon said to God, ‘If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.’ And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. Then Gideon said to God, ‘Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.’ And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.”

God had told Gideon that by his hand He was going to save Israel, and Gideon doubted. Even though the Lord verbally spoke to him, he still requested another sign from God. Then after Gideon gets confirmation on the first fleece, he decides to test God one more time and ask for another sign. God yet again answers Gideon’s request and confirms what He has already told him. When I was reading this story, my first thought was, “Gideon! You are an idiot! God already spoke to you and told you these things, why would you need two more signs?” Then the Holy Spirit shined a light on my life and convicted me. I am guilty of doing the same thing. God has given us His Word. The Bible is the living breathing Word of God, and yet we so often look for confirmation from God in other areas. There have been so many times in my life when I know what Scripture says, yet I still ask God to give me some other confirmation before acting. Luckily for Gideon, despite his indecision, he did not miss out on the incredible plan God had for him. Imagine if his lack of faith and indecision had caused God just to move on and choose someone else? Gideon would have missed out on an opportunity to be used by God incredibly. When we know God is calling us to do something, we need to hear His voice and act. We hear God by spending time in prayer with Him and spending time reading His Word. If the Scriptures tell us to do something, we can know without a doubt we are supposed to do it. We do not need to wait around for a booming voice from Heaven; we can act in biblical faith that we are doing the right thing. I cannot help but think that believers constantly miss out on God using them for His Kingdom because they lack faith and do not trust God’s Word. God wants to use us to change the world just like He used Gideon. We need to be ready and willing to trust Him and to act upon it.



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