Devotions

Author Archives: Philip Piasecki

Word

Promises #2 – Word
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

My brother is currently a missionary in the country of Oman in the Middle East. Last year before he left the country, he decided that he wanted to get a tattoo of Michigan. I had always wanted a tattoo as well, so I thought getting one together before he leaves would be an awesome brotherly bonding experience. We came up with a plan and agreed to get them together. The only problem was that when he called me to tell me he was at the tattoo shop I bailed. I came up with every excuse in the book on why I could not get a tattoo. Luckily, he had another friend with him who got the tattoo alongside him. I am sure he is still a little upset with me that I bailed, and I do not blame him. Now, if I ever agree to do something like that with him again, he is never going to believe me.

Scripture says in James 5:12, “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.” When we make a promise, we need to keep that promise. For some reason, Christians are viewed as some of the flakiest people, and I think it is for good reasons. Our actions and behaviors reflect Christ, and one of the simplest ways to positively reflect Christ is to be a reliable person. If a friend asks you to help them move and you say yes, then show up on the day of the move. If you tell your kid that you are going to take them to the park tomorrow, follow through and actually take them. Kids, if you tell your parents you are going to get your chores done, do them. When we honor our word, we are honoring Christ. It is a powerful testimony when someone knows that if you tell him or her you are going to do something that you will follow through with it. An area where this issue is painfully evident is within serving in the church.

The body of Christ relies on believers serving, and we put the Church leadership in impossible situations when we agree to serve and then do not follow through on it. Serve Christ, and be committed to it. If you agree to serve in the nursery, do not cancel Sunday morning. In whatever area you have agreed to serve, there is an eternal difference waiting to be made; you just need to follow through on your word. We need to reflect the character of Christ by being people who follow through on our promises. We have a God who never breaks His promises. We know that we can count on Him no matter what the circumstance is, and as followers of Christ, we should be able to be counted on in the same manner.

The Conversation

Lust #2 – The Conversation
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

Within the family, lust is something that we do not like to discuss. I remember when I was 12 my dad sat me down to explain to me why we are not supposed to look at certain things. It was not a fun conversation. I am sure he did not enjoy it, but it was an important conversation to have. One day I will have to sit my own children down and explain to them how things that the world says is ok to lust after goes against what the Bible teaches us. Within the family, we have to be willing to sit down and have tough conversations with each other, even when it is uncomfortable.

Lust is something that every person struggles with in some form, and it is something that the Bible speaks about frequently. Romans 8:6 says, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” There are multiple definitions of lust. One form means a “very strong sexual desire,” but another definition also means “a passionate desire for something.” The Bible warns us in Romans 8:6 about the consequences of having “a passionate desire” for things of the flesh. James 1:14-15 also echoes the same warning, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” When we lust after the things of this world, death is the outcome. The world tells us we should desire power, fame, and money. However, Christ commands us to desire Him and to set our mind on the Spirit. Desiring the things of Christ and not the things of this world is not an easy task. We are constantly bombarded with worldly things everywhere we look.

We need to constantly be aware of the primary things we find ourselves desiring. If we are lusting after things of the flesh, we need to repent and turn our desires towards the things of Christ. The family needs to be there to lift each other up and help one another desire the things of Christ. Parents, you need to show your kids in Scripture the spiritual things they should be desiring. Kids, encourage your siblings to seek after Christ and not the “treasures” of this world. The world trains us to lust after fleshly things; we need to be diligent in strengthening our relationship with Christ each and every day so that our desires will match the desires of His heart. When we make Christ a priority in our lives, we will find ourselves desiring the things He desires. Also, when we make Christ a priority we are setting an example for our family on how they need to live their lives. If we desire life and peace, we must constantly be setting our minds on the things of Christ.

Brotherly Shove

Anger #2 – Brotherly Shove
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

My brother and I have always been very competitive with each other. We grew up playing all kinds of sports against each other, and it always seemed to end up with one of us angry with the other one. I would beat him at one on one in basketball and he would chase me around the yard trying his hardest to throw the basketball at me and blast me in the head. I remember one time we were playing football with my parents in the front yard and my brother scored a touchdown.  He decided to taunt me after scoring by repeatedly saying, “Nah nah you can’t touch this.”  I had finally had enough and tackled him as hard as I could. After hours of tears and a hospital visit for him, it was discovered I had broken his collarbone. I had let my anger get the best of me, and there were severe consequences. Still to this day, I feel guilty that I lashed out in the way I did.

When we think of anger, most people think of a physical outburst like the one I had about my brother. However, physical outbursts like that point towards more troubling issues within one’s heart. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” In this Scripture, we are instructed to put away our anger and to be kind to one another.  Most of the time I am a very patient person, but there are seasons in my life when I find myself getting angry much easier. This is when I need to stop and reflect on how I have been living my life. I often find that the answer to my anger is that I have not been spending enough time with Christ. I am sure many people feel the same way. Sometimes they can control their anger, and other times they feel like they get angry at everything. To put away anger successfully and all those things from Ephesians 4:31-32, we constantly need to be focused on what Christ did for us.

Sin makes God angry, and instead of pouring out His anger and wrath on us, He poured it out on His Son. When the truth of what Christ did for us is at the forefront of our lives, we will find ourselves much less likely to get angry. My desire is to forgive people just as Christ forgave me and not get mad at them for silly things. As believers, we should reflect the love of Christ to one another and not constantly be angry with each other. If you struggle with anger, pray that God would deliver you from that. Focus on the amazing things that Christ has done for you. Let’s be a Church that puts away anger, and reflects the holiness of Christ to a broken world.

God is Present

God’s Present • Devotion #5: God is Present
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader

The holiday season is one that can bring both great joy and great sorrow. For many families, it is a time to gather together, spend time with one another, and encourage one another. Unfortunately, for many others, it is a time where the people who are not present become much more magnified. Possibly it is a family member who has passed away, a relationship that has ended, or bridges that have been burned between friends or family members. When everyone is gathered together, it is much more apparent as to those who are missing. When I spent some time thinking about the idea of “God’s Present” the phrase “God is present” kept coming into my mind. During a season where it is very easy to start to focus on who is not present in our life, the phrase “God is present” has become such an encouragement for me, and I hope it can be for you as well.

The truth that God is present in our lives can be found throughout Scripture. Matthew 1:23 says, “‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).” Jesus’ name tells us that He is God incarnate! God sent His Son so that He could live in the midst of His people, and eventually give His life on a cross to make a way for salvation. When we have given our lives to Christ, we can know that God is with us in every situation. Psalm 46:1-2 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.” When we are going through times of trouble, we can rest in the fact that God is our refuge and our strength. The Scripture says that He is a very present help. We do not follow a God that watches us from afar, not interested in what is happening in our lives. We follow a God that is present in the midst of our every circumstance. No matter what is going on, He is there to help calm the storm. He loves us enough to give us strength in the midst of every situation.

John 14:16-18 says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” When Jesus physically left this earth, He promised to send a helper. Christ promised that He would not leave us as orphans. He sent us His Holy Spirit to dwell inside of us so that He could be with us at all times. When you feel like no one is there for you, when you feel hopeless in your current situation, know that God is present in the center of the storm with you. He loves you; the Holy Spirit will guide and direct you, and we just need to trust Him.

God IS present.

October 22nd

I was five years old when we first set foot into Faith Baptist Church. For as long as I can remember my parents made sure that we were consistently gathering with the church. Whether that was Sunday morning, Sunday night, Saturday night, Wednesday night, or at Awana, we were always involved in as much as we could be. I remember sitting on my parents’ bed when I was probably eight or nine, and I committed my life to Christ. A few years later, Pastor Jim baptized my brother and me in the lake in our back yard in front of friends and family. I was so blessed at a young age to have the opportunity to learn so much about Christ and have such amazing Godly parents and family as examples. It is something that I try to never let myself take for granted.

When I think of my testimony, I tend to think more about my sanctification along the years instead of my initial moment of salvation. I was blessed to be able to be saved at such a young age, but that does not mean my walk with Christ has been without its tough spots. At different points in high school and college, I had times where I strayed away from the things of Christ. I never stopped attending church, and I never stopped serving, but in my personal life, I was farther from Christ than I would have liked to admit. During those times, God used different events in my life to knock me down, wake me up, and call me back to Him. When I strayed, He never stopped pursuing me and unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way a couple of times. I am so blessed, though, that Christ has never given up (and never will give up) on me when I strayed from Him.

In 2013 I graduated from Oakland University, married my beautiful wife, Mary, and was hired as a Worship Leader at The Point Church (known now as The River Church). God has blessed us in so many ways, but life has not been without its difficult moments as well. Two months after Mary and I started dating, her father was diagnosed with brain cancer. Six months later, he passed away. Just earlier this year our one and a half-year-old nephew suddenly passed away. Moments like these in my life have significantly tested my faith in God. When Mary’s dad passed away in 2012, it was the hardest thing either of us had ever experienced. Moments like that cause you to ask God every question in the book. I learned that it is in those moments that you have to hold onto Christ with everything that you have. Those two deaths were the hardest things I have ever had to deal with, but I learned that God is good in every circumstance. The best way I can describe my testimony is a relationship with Christ built on striving to grow closer to Him each and every day even in the midst of the darkest of circumstances. Our prayer needs to be that God continues to mold us in the image of His son for the rest of our lives.

Phil Piasecki
Worship Leader

 



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