Devotions

Author Archives: Philip Piasecki

God or Money #2 – Money, Money, Money

God or Money #2 – Money, Money, Money
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

Our world revolves around the all mighty dollar. Our culture is constructed in a way that to survive a person must make money and spend money. Every day we are inundated with advertisements trying to get us to spend our money on their products. It is impossible to even drive to work without seeing billboards or signs begging us to spend our money. When kids go to college, many times they are encouraged to pick a major that has the highest earning potential. At times, it can seem like every decision we make in our life ultimately revolves around money. With this being the world that we live in, it can be easy to lose focus of what is most important. Scripture warns us of the dangers of money.

1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.”

First, let us clear something up that money is not inherently evil! When we look throughout Scriptures, there are many examples of people who were blessed with immense wealth. The money is not the issue; it is the heart behind the money that needs to be kept in check. When we love money more than we love God, we are in serious trouble. Christ needs to always be our primary focus.  He needs to be the one that we are relying on for our needs. The question becomes, is our master God or money? It takes some serious reflection to figure out the answer to this question. For those of you who have been blessed financially, make sure you are using that blessing to honor God. I was very lucky to grow up in a family that was blessed financially, and my parents were always using what God had given them to bless other people. We constantly hosted church events in our home, and they were always looking for ways to use what God had given them to bless others. If God is truly our master and not money, we will use what God has given us to His glory. When we love money that is when sin and destruction can enter our lives. One of the simplest ways to show God that He is our master, and not money, is by tithing to the church. This simple act shows the Lord that we understand everything we have came from Him and already belongs to Him. Each and every day we need to rely on the Lord for our provision, with the understanding that EVERYTHING we have has been provided by God. Let us love Christ above all, and use the material possessions that He has given us for the glory of God 

Christ, Not a Last Name

Christ #2 – Christ, Not a Last Name
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

In our society, names and titles hold a lot of importance. If you see someone with the title Dr. in their name, you know that they have gone through years and years of grueling training to earn that title. I am sure that you are more likely to trust someone with your medical care knowing that they hold the label Doctor compared to if they did not. If you meet a woman that has the title Mrs. or Miss. you know if she is married or not. When a couple gets married, traditionally the woman will take the man’s last name. That change in the last name shows that a new life has officially begun together. If we have an issue with a company we will ask to speak to a manager; we know that the title of “manager” (hopefully) gives that person the power to fix our problem. In our work lives, someone may hold the title of “boss” over us that seriously affects the way we interact with that person. All of these examples show how significant titles are in our society. Titles were as important back in Bible times. Throughout Scripture, we see Jesus hold many different titles. One of the most common titles we see given to Jesus is “Christ.”

Matthew 1:16 says, “And Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.”

Matthew 16:15-16 continues, “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.’”

John 4:25-26 adds, “The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he.’”

Christ is not Jesus’ last name, but it is a title that describes who He is. Christ is a title that means anointed or messiah. When He is referred to as Jesus Christ, it is the same as calling him Jesus the Messiah or Jesus the Anointed One. With the title of Christ, the Jews knew that He was claiming to be the promised Messiah that had been prophesied about in the Old Testament. Jesus is the Christ, He is the King, and He should be the King in our lives as well.

When we give our lives to Him, He needs to be Lord over every inch of our lives. We cannot hold anything back. It is so easy to go through life and try to keep parts of your life for yourself. I have found myself doing this, and yet I still wonder why life is so hard sometimes! It is because I am not making Him Lord over everything. As we remember, what Jesus Christ did for us on that cross, my challenge is that you start letting Him be Lord over everything in your life. I promise if you do this each and every day, your life will never be the same.

One Way

Son of God #2 – One Way
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

I absolutely love when the late night talk shows do segments where they are asking random people questions out on the streets. They will ask them what they think about the newest iPhone, while actually handing them the first ever iPhone. They will ask them complicated questions, and the people will end up making up answers so that it does not look like they are completely clueless. I believe that if you ask the general public questions about Jesus, most of them would have a decent answer. Most people would acknowledge that He existed, and many would probably acknowledge Him as a good teacher. When asked if Jesus was the “Son of God,” I believe that is when many people would start to disagree. A person can believe in every aspect of Jesus Christ, except that He is the Son of God, and they will have missed the whole concept of who Jesus really is.

When we study other religions, we see that they even believe in many of the aspects of Jesus’ life. Judaism believes that Jesus was Mary’s son, He was a teacher, He had many disciples, He worked miracles, and that He died on the cross. Islam believes that Jesus was born of a virgin, He was one of God’s prophets, He worked miracles, He ascended into heaven, and that one day He will come again. Hinduism believes that Jesus was a holy man, a wise teacher, and some Hindus say that He is one of many gods. Buddhism believes that Jesus was an enlightened man, a wise teacher, and the current Dalai Lama describes Jesus as a Holy man. All of these religions believe some of the same things that Christianity believes about Jesus, but they are all missing a couple of key aspects. The main thing they are all missing is the acknowledgment that Jesus is the only Son of God. Scripture is so clear throughout that Jesus is the Son of God.

Romans 1:4 says, “Concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Matthew 3:16-17 adds, “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”

Matthew 16:15-16 says, “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.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.’”

Jesus is the one and only way to eternal life. He is not one of the options, but He is THE ONLY option. When Jesus died on that cross, it was God’s Son giving His life up for the world. The truth that Jesus is the Son of God is essential to Christianity. If it were just a normal person dying for our sins, there would have been no actual power in that. The power of the cross depends on Jesus being the one true Son of God. This Easter I hope that your belief in Christ is built upon the solid foundation of Him being the Son of God, not on Him being a good teacher or one of the ways to heaven. Put your full trust in Jesus, the Son of God.

A Father’s Love

Substitute #2 – A Father’s Love
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

The last year of my life brought about one of the biggest changes so far; my wife and I had our first child. Having our daughter has completely given me a new perspective on so many things. When I open up the Scriptures to study, I find myself connecting more with some biblical truths now that I have experienced the love that a father can have for His children. I remember Molly’s first couple of colds, or when she is teething and in so much pain, and in these moments I wish that I could take that pain and go through it for her. I know that this feeling is only going to continue as she gets older, and I see this with parents all over. They would rather take the pain and deal with it themselves than see their children go through it. This is such a beautiful picture of what Christ did for His children.

When we celebrate Easter, we are celebrating the fact that Jesus substituted Himself in our place. Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Everything we ever have done wrong, and deserve to be punished for, was instead put on His shoulders. It was our transgressions He was pierced for, and it was our iniquities He was crushed for. The cross is such an incredible picture of the love Christ has for us. Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’”

We have all broken the perfect law of God, and because of this, we deserve the punishment. Christ instead substituted Himself for us and hung on that tree. It should have been us, we should have had to pay the punishment for our sins, but instead He did it for us. Christ loves His children more than we can ever imagine. From the second Adam and Eve first sinned in the garden, God put into motion the plan for Jesus to be our substitute. As believers, we are called to love each other in the same way that Christ has loved us. John 15:12 says, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” When we realize that Christ substituted Himself for us on that cross, this commandment gets a little more intense. We are called to love each other in a way that we would be willing to lay down our life for them. We need to use this to challenge ourselves; I am sure most of us would agree we do not love people in our life the way that Christ loves them.

As we celebrate Easter, we need to use it as a reminder of the great love Christ has for us, and how He challenges us to love one another with that same love.

The Empathizer

Servant #2 – The Empathizer
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

We have all gone through a difficult situation in our life, and someone says to us, “I understand what you’re going through.” In reality, that person has never actually experienced what we are experiencing. Unfortunately, because they have not actually gone through what we have gone through, their sympathy is not as meaningful. This is why support groups are so prevalent. People want to be able to talk about what they are going through to other people who have experienced the same thing. Those people can truly sympathize with one another because they understand what they are going through. One of the aspects of Christ that I believe frequently is overlooked is the fact that He is a man as much as He is God. He is the Son of God, and at the same time, He is the Son of Man.

Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Christ came to earth, emptied Himself, became a servant, and was born a man. We see this truth expressed in John 1 as well.

John 1:1-2 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”

John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

He left His seat at the right hand of God, was born as a baby, and grew up in the same way you and I have. Imagine the God of the universe had to learn to walk, talk, and eat. In Scripture, we see Jesus experience basic human instincts. On the cross He was thirsty, He felt pain, and was even tempted as we are. When we read about Jesus in the garden, He prayed that the Lord would take the cup from Him if He willed it. Hebrews 4:15 shows us why this truth is so significant in our lives.

Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

When we are struggling in our lives, we can know that Christ honestly understands what we are going through. He lived 33 years on this earth fully man and fully God, He knows and understands our temptations. When we cry out to Christ, we can take comfort in that fact that He understands us and loves us. Even though He was going to have to suffer on that cross, He still willingly took that punishment on our behalf. When we understand the fact that Christ was fully man and fully God, we can better understand the true depth of His love for us.



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