Devotions

Author Archives: Philip Piasecki

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.

Jesus is Never Late

Delivery on Time • Jesus is Never Late
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader

The concept of a due date has always been fascinating to me. When Mary and I found out she was pregnant with our daughter Molly, we immediately wanted to know a due date. At the first couple doctor appointments, the number jumped around a bit, and it finally settled on April 15th. April 15th we could bank on meeting our new baby girl, or at least that is what we thought. April 15th came and went with no baby. Mary had already been done with work for a month, and I had taken that week off of work to be prepared all because of the due date. Every day after the due date passed was filled with stress and anxiety. Every text or call I received from Mary, I assumed would be telling me that she had gone into labor. It took another twelve days past her “due date” before labor began, and another full day before Molly was born. Altogether, she came thirteen days past her due date. We waited and waited for her, and then had to wait just a little bit longer. Throughout this whole time, I could not help but think about the Jewish people waiting for the arrival of Jesus. They had been promised a Messiah, and it was up to them to wait patiently for Him to arrive. Not only was the arrival of Jesus’ prophesied, but specific aspects of His birth, life, death, and resurrection were foretold in the Old Testament as well. Jesus, without fail, fulfilled every one of those prophecies!

Take time today and read through Isaiah chapter 53. The whole chapter is prophecy about Jesus’ life, and He fulfilled them all. It gives details about how Jesus would be killed; it is a sobering reminder of how truly brutal the death of Christ was. While reading through these prophecies that Christ fulfilled, I kept thinking “Jesus is never late.” His arrival to earth, ministry, death, and resurrection were all done in His perfect timing. No matter what is going on in your own life, Jesus is never late. His timing is perfect in all things; it is up to us to fully trust Him through the circumstances of life. Easter is an incredible reminder that Jesus was delivered over to death, to deliver us from eternal punishment. When we give our lives to Christ, His Holy Spirit then lives inside of us, guiding and sustaining us every day. Jesus is always there for us; do not despair if you feel like He is not close. It is so natural for us to think our circumstances are never going to change, or the difficulty we are facing is never going to end. I have gone through difficulties where I felt like God was never going to show up and intervene, then in hindsight, I was able to see how He was present throughout the entire situation. Jesus loves you, cares for you, and will never forsake you.

Jesus is never late!

Gentleness

Blooming • Gentleness
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

I once had a Pastor tell me that every morning he prays and asks the Holy Spirit to guide his “thoughts, actions, and reactions.” The idea of praying for my thoughts and actions to be guided by God was something that I had understood and regularly done, but the idea of praying about my reactions was something that had never crossed my mind. When we stop and think about it, so much of our lives are spent reacting to things. This has become even more evident in my life since being married and having a child. Within the family, we are constantly reacting to each other. How we react speaks deeply to the spiritual health of the family. A family that is rooted in Jesus Christ will react in a way that reflects the Fruit of the Spirit.

Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

If our family tree is blooming and producing fruit, our reactions will be filled with gentleness. We all can think of examples in our lives when we have to choose how we are going to respond, with gentleness or with wrath. Proverbs 15:1 is such a simple and powerful Scripture. We all know it to be true, when we respond with gentleness it can diffuse a situation, or we can respond with harsh words and stir up anger. Husbands and wives know this better than anyone, in the midst of a fight there is that point where you can decide how to respond. We all know that the harsh response is only going to lead to more anger, yet so many of us still choose it! The next time your spouse, child, or parent gets angry with you, choose to respond in gentleness. I promise that you will see an incredible difference begin in the spiritual health of your family! Fights between family members will be shorter or not even happen in the first place. However, this cannot happen by your power. None of us on our own have the power to respond with gentleness. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us to reflect Christ every day. Start your day off as a family in prayer asking Christ to give you the power to respond in gentleness. Pray asking the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts, actions, and reactions. A family that responds in gentleness is a family producing the Fruit of the Spirit and reflecting the character of Christ.

Bait and Switch

Pruning • Bait and Switch
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

There is nothing that I dislike more than being tricked. I think we have all been duped at one point or another. Maybe it was an online listing for something, but when it came in the mail it looked nothing like that ad or did not even work! My brother once ordered basketball shoes online, they came from China, and they were complete rip-offs. They were two sizes smaller than it said and looked like they could fall apart at any moment. Foolishly, I once bought a used riding lawn mower from a place with a no return policy. The ad said it started up and ran well; the only problem was that it did not do either! Sadly, we can also be tricked and deceived by people that we love, and nothing hurts more than that. I know many of us have stories that come to mind when we think about it, but I am sure none of them compare to what happened with Jacob and Rachel in Genesis chapter 29.

In this passage, we find Jacob meeting Rachel for the first time. It was love at first sight, and Jacob just knew he had to marry her. So Jacob seeks out her father, Laban, and agrees to arrange the marriage.

Genesis 29:18-20 reads, “Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, ‘I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.’ Laban said, ‘It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.’ So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.”

What a love story! The Scripture essentially says the seven years felt like a few days because Jacob loved Rachel so much. Unfortunately, it is at this point of the story where it all starts to fall apart.

Genesis 29:21-27 adds, “Then Jacob said to Laban, ‘Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.’ So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. (Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, ‘What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?’ Laban said, ‘It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.’”

Laban tricked Jacob and gave him his first born daughter, Leah, on their wedding night instead. Not only does he trick him, but then requires that Jacob work another seven years to marry Rachel. When we finish the story, we see that Jacob faithfully works those seven more years because he loved Rachel so much. Now, I highly doubt any of us will find ourselves in the position of Jacob and Rachel, but there is still so much that we can learn from this story to apply to our own families.

Jacob was going through a very tough time for those fourteen years, but he stayed faithful through the whole thing. He honored his commitment to Laban even though Laban did not honor his commitment. There are going to be times when family life is difficult, when being married is difficult, and when raising children is difficult, but we have to persevere because of the commitments we have made. Loving your spouse is tough sometimes, but loving them is what you committed to do. You may not always feel like loving them, but love is about a commitment, not a feeling.

Jacob committed to marry Rachel, and he worked fourteen years just to see it through! That truth needs to inspire you when you feel like giving up on the commitment that you made to your spouse. If someone told you that marriage was going to be easy, I am sorry to say that they lied to you. With Christ at the center, there can be so much joy in marriage, but there will also be hardships. There will be times when loving each other will be tough. There will be times when you are hurt, deceived, and maybe do not feel loved. We need to look at the love Jacob had for Rachel, and the love that Christ has for us, as examples of how we are to love each other. We sin against God every day, yet He still loves us unconditionally. Imitate that love and commitment in your marriage, and you will see God do incredible things.

Teachable Moments

Nurturing • Teachable Moments
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

I have some of the largest oak trees around my house that I have ever seen in the state of Michigan. There are three of them in my front yard and every fall they dump what seems like a million leaves on my yard. I do my best to clean them all up, but every year since I bought the house I have left a small pile of leaves somewhere in my yard, and it kills all the grass underneath it. So in the Spring, I get grass seed, spread it over the dead part, water it, and see the grass come to life again. If I did not water those grass seeds, I would be left with a dead patch of soil. Spreading that seed is not enough, it needs to be watered. The same is true for our families. When the seed of salvation is planted in the hearts of our kids, spouse, or even ourselves, that seed needs to be watered with the teachings of Christ.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

This Scripture lays out such an incredible picture of what it looks like to have a family that is being nurtured in the things of Christ. First, it instructs us to love God with all our heart, soul, and might. If you are a believer, it should be your desire to love and seek God with everything you have inside of you. Think of an athlete training to be the best at their sport; they go after it every day. We, in the same way, need to seek the things of Christ every day. If we do not water our spiritual life, it will never grow! The Scripture continues, showing us how we can nurture and water our kid’s walk with Christ. It says we are to talk about God’s commandments when we walk, lie down, and get up. What this Scripture is practically telling us is that we should take every opportunity that we have to point what happens in our lives towards Christ. There are so many incredible teaching opportunities every day, and we so often miss them. Do the right thing, and then explain to your kids the biblical reason behind why you did what you did. Love your crazy neighbor, and then explain to your kids that we love that person because Jesus first loved us. The things of Christ should not be something that is only talked about on Sunday. If you are relying on a Pastor to water your children’s spiritual life you are going to be disappointed. It is the responsibility of the family to constantly be pointing each other towards the things of Christ. Kids, you can reflect Jesus to your parents every day as well. Talk about Jesus with them, take the opportunities in your everyday life to point back to Christ. Jesus needs to be at the forefront of our minds. A family pushing each other towards Christ will see their relationship with Him grow exponentially.



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