Devotions

Author Archives: Philip Piasecki

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.

Jethro

Lesson Four | Devotion #5: Jethro
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader

I have never received a speeding ticket over my entire driving career. This is something I pride myself on, much to the dismay of my wife. I will comfortably set the cruise control between 70-72 mph and relax. It drives her crazy. I have however received two tickets for “rolling” through stop signs. The most recent one was last summer, and I decided to go to court to dispute the ticket. When I arrived at court, there were five people ahead of me in line, and I had to wait for what felt like hours. After I finally got in front of the judge, he dropped the points on my license, thanks to my sparkling driving record. I cannot help but think of that long wait to see the judge when I read Exodus 18.

Exodus 18:13-16 records, “The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, ‘What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?’ And Moses said to his father-in-law, ‘Because the people come to me to inquire of God; when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.’”

This sounds like a gigantic mess. We have all been stuck in a line that felt like it was going to take forever, but can you imagine being in line with all the people of Israel who had disputes? Moses would sit there morning to evening to hear everyone’s disputes. Moses was doing his best to manage the people of Israel, but his plan needed some serious help. Luckily Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, was there to witness the whole thing, and God used him to speak wisdom into Moses’ life.

Exodus 18:17-23 adds, “Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.’”

We essentially see Jethro come to the rescue with a much wiser plan on how to deal with disputes among the Israelites. He knew that Moses could not continue with his way of running things, he would have burned himself out in a matter of weeks. This way Moses would be able to focus on matters of greater importance. Jethro was a World Changer because he spoke wisdom into Moses’ life that essentially saved Moses’ life! Moses went on to do so many great things for God, and Jethro played a huge role in allowing that to happen.

This passage on Jethro is such a great example to believers. We should all be asking God daily to give us wisdom, asking for the right words to say in any situation. We also need to be willing (brave enough) to give someone godly advice when we see a need. I want to highlight that Jethro was not going up to some random person and giving them his two cents. Jethro loved and cared for his son-in-law. While Moses was in Egypt, Jethro took care of his kids and wife for him. Jethro had invested into Moses’ life, and that gave him the platform to give him advice. We need always to be the best family member and friend that we can be to glorify God. When we have invested in someone’s life, there will be times where we need to speak truth into their lives, and we need to do it boldly. Trust that the Lord will give you the words to say, and pray that they will be received with as much grace as Moses received Jethro’s words. God may just be using us to change someone’s life like Jethro changed Moses’.

There will also be times where we find ourselves in the place of Moses, receiving advice from someone else. Be quick to listen and slow to speak. Many people have so much godly wisdom to share, and we often miss it. God does not always boom down from Heaven with a loud voice, very often He uses godly people who are invested in our lives to speak to us His wisdom. If we are too proud to hear it, we may be missing out on a life changing instruction from God.

Lot

Lesson Two | Devotion #4: Lot
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader

One of my favorite songs is “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” by a band called The Postal Service. They are not a Christian band, but there is a line in the song that has always resonated with me as a believer. In the second verse of the song it says, “I am a visitor here, I am not permanent,” and we see that theme carried throughout the song. Anytime I listened to that song it was always a reminder to me that as a believer this world is not my home, all Christians are just visitors on earth waiting to return to our eternal home. While we live here, we have been tasked with the challenge of influencing the world for Christ, while not letting it influence us negatively. Romans 12:2 says, Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” This is something that believers have struggled with since the beginning of the world. Many people find themselves slowly becoming more and more like the world without even realizing it. We see an example of this through Lot in the Old Testament.

In Genesis 13 Lot and Abram were living together, but because of their great wealth and disagreements between their herdsmen they decide to split up, and each finds land of their own. Genesis 13:11-13 shows us what they both decided on, So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.” We see that Lot decided to move his tent to the same valley as Sodom, even though he knew that the men of Sodom were wicked. I am sure Lot thought being that close to Sodom would not be a big deal, he could handle that temptation! This is the same trap many of us fall into, we get too comfortable and get closer to sin, thinking that it will not burn us. However, in Genesis 19 we find the next account of Lot, and we start to see how much has changed. Genesis 19:1 says, The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth.” Lot no longer just lives in a tent in the valley of Sodom, he now lives in the city and is even conducting business within the city gate. He has gone from living on the outskirts of Sodom to living within the walls of the most wicked city on earth at the time.

The rest of this story is seriously “R” rated, but it shows the slippery slope that sin is. I would encourage you to take some time and read all of Genesis chapter 19 and see how comfortable Lot had become with sin in his life. The account of Lot and the city of Sodom needs to serve as a warning in our own lives. We always need to be vigilantly looking out for sin in our lives and making sure we get rid of it. The more comfortable we become with our sin, the more likely we are to get into it deeper. We need to confess our sin to Christ, asking for his strength and power to conquer whatever we are facing. Unchecked and unrepentant sin in our lives will lead to destruction; there are no exceptions. God is gracious to us, just like He was with Lot, but let us not make the same mistakes that Lot did.

Believe | Why?

Believe | Devotion #5: Why?
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

Conspiracy theories fascinate me. There are so many different theories people have that they fully believe with their whole heart. Two theories that I seem to still hear about constantly are that America faked the moon landing and that the earth is flat. I recently read about an NBA player who is funding his satellite to send up to space to confirm for himself whether the earth is flat or round. The common denominator with so many of these conspiracy theories is that people tend only to believe what they can see with their own eyes. Sure we have “pictures,” and NASA has “told” us that the earth is round, but unless they can go to space and see it themselves some people will never be convinced. When I think about people needing to “see it to believe it,” I cannot help but think about Doubting Thomas and his unbelief.

Everything that Jesus did on earth had a purpose. We can learn so much just by asking the question “Why?” when we are reading the Bible. Why did Jesus appear to Thomas? What is the purpose of the story of Thomas being included in Scripture? First, it is important to know that Jesus did not appear to Thomas to embarrass him. Unfortunately for Thomas, this specific encounter defined him in history, but as we will see in other devotions this week, Thomas went on to do some incredible things for God’s Kingdom. First, through Thomas’ encounter with Jesus, we see the truth that Jesus always hears His disciples. In verse 25, Thomas explains his stipulations for him to believe to the other disciples.

John 20:25 says, “So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.’”

When Jesus appears to Thomas and the disciples eight days later, He gives Thomas the opportunity to do exactly as he had said to the other disciples earlier in the week.

John 20:27 continues, “Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.’”

This is such an incredible truth that can so easily be overlooked in this passage. Jesus showed His disciples, and to us through Scripture, that He always hears us. He hears us even when we may think He is not listening. What a comfort that must have been for Thomas to have Jesus show up, and utter the same words back to him, giving him the exact thing that he needed to believe. Once Thomas is given this opportunity to see Jesus, he immediately confesses Christ as his Lord and God. Then in verse 29, we see Jesus’ response to Thomas, revealing another reason why Jesus appeared to Thomas. John 20:29 says, “Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”

Jesus takes this moment to acknowledge the fact that soon people will not have the opportunity to see and believe as His disciples did. Soon, He would ascend to Heaven, and faith in Him would have to come solely from believing without physically seeing the resurrected Christ. Jesus appears to Thomas so that He can speak these words to all of His future followers throughout time. He is speaking directly to you and me; we are called to believe in the Christ even though we do not see Him in the flesh. We are blessed and accepted by Christ when we believe in Him without physically seeing Him.

Jesus appeared to Thomas to show us the incredible truth that He is always listening and hears His disciples. He loves us and desires that we believe in Him. True belief is faith without sight, but it is not blind. It sees the truth of Jesus Christ and His Scripture beyond the physical, knowing that Jesus has resurrected and that we will one day see Him in all His glory. We should pray that the Lord would be patient with us and help our unbelief when we doubt like Thomas doubted, that He would rescue us from our unbelief, and lead us to do incredible things for His kingdom just like in the life of Thomas.

Victory

Delivery Day • Victory
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader

I have never liked to lose. I feel like that is pretty common in most men, we just do not like to lose. Most of the time, I can be a gracious loser, but sometimes I am not able to hold in my disappointment. My brother and I both had so many battles growing up where inevitably one of us would end up angry because we lost. If we are honest, it was him (being the younger brother) who lost more than he won, but he occasionally beat me. There is nothing like the feeling of victory and nothing like the disappointment of defeat.

When I was asked to write about what Easter means to me, the first word that came to mind was “Victory.” As someone who does not like to lose, the idea of victory pumps me up. It is so easy to be beaten down by the world, sometimes to feel like the devil is winning. Easter is a yearly reminder that Jesus won. It is sad how easily believers can forget about the victory we have in Jesus Christ. So many of us live our lives with such a miserable outlook, dreading each day instead of celebrating it. When we remember what Christ did for us on the cross, and we understand that we are children of God, our attitude will change drastically. Each Sunday as we gather as the church, we should be reminded of this, and it is especially true on Easter.

Romans 8:11 says, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

This verse is so encouraging to believers. Jesus rose from the dead, and His Spirit lives in us and gives us life. Easter reinvigorates the truth of that Scripture in my life every year. We get to come together as the Church on Resurrection Sunday and proclaim that truth together as the body of Christ. When I think of Easter, I think of victory. Jesus conquered death, hell, and the grave. He was raised up so that we would be able to spend eternity with Him. Whenever you are feeling discouraged, remember Jesus’ victory.



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