Devotions

Author Archives: Philip Piasecki

Hebrews 11:17-19

Abraham “Sacrifices” Isaac • Devotion #3: Hebrews 11:17-19
Philip Piasecki

When I look back at my four years of college, I have a lot of really great memories. I remember meeting my wife on my first day of classes during my junior year. I remember winning the intramural dodgeball and basketball championships. I remember meeting our Waterford Worship Leader, John Hubbard, on our first day of freshman orientation. The one thing I do not look back fondly on is all the exams and tests. I never enjoyed taking tests; if someone tells you that they do enjoy tests, suggest they see a counselor because something is wrong with them. However, tests are there for a reason; it is a way to find out if you actually learned what you were supposed to. I can say I understand a subject completely, but if I cannot pass a test on it, then odds are I did not actually comprehend it.

One of the greatest tests we see in the Bible was when Abraham was commanded by the Lord to sacrifice his son Isaac. Why did God give Abraham this test? It was to see if he had learned what he was supposed to about the nature of God. Abraham passed with flying colors, and because of that we see an account of this story in Hebrews 11:17-19, By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.” Abraham knew that even if God let him go through with the sacrifice of Isaac, God could raise him from the dead. Abraham understood God’s promises and fully trusted Him, even when God’s commands did not make sense to him. 

Hebrews chapter 11 holds story after story of amazing acts of faith from throughout Scripture. Abraham’s faith is so inspirational and so deeply convicting. I know that personally, I lack that level of faith every day. I know that there are tests from God of my faith that I fail daily. There are basic things that I struggle to trust God with when in contrast Abraham trusted God to raise his son from the dead. I am sure you can think of areas in your life where you constantly lack faith. The remedy to this is to gain a better understanding of the promises of God. When our faith is lacking, we can remember the words of Scripture and be encouraged. 

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Philippians 4:6-7 adds, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Matthew 6:31-34 continues the thought, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ‘Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’”

For the rest of the day, meditate on these verses, let them remind you of the goodness of God. Let these verses encourage you to have faith in every situation just like the faith of Abraham that we see in Hebrews chapter 11.

Abraham & Melchizedek 

Abraham, Hagar, & Ishmael • Devotion #1: Abraham & Melchizedek
Philip Piasecki

It is time to open up and be honest. I really like “stuff.” I am sure if you take a good look at yourself, you will be able to identify “stuff” that you really like as well. I put “stuff” in quotations because it can be interchangeable with a lot of different things. For me, “stuff” is technology and electronics. I am a sucker for the latest and greatest tech inventions. I have slowly accumulated some smart home tech, added a couple of nice speakers, and sometimes I am still not satisfied. The Lord has convicted me on this, that I need to be more content with what I have. Then, I read Genesis 14:17-24 and I was even more convicted! 

Genesis 14:17-24 says, “After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said, ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!’ And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. And the king of Sodom said to Abram, ‘Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.’ But Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have lifted my hand to the Lord, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me. Let Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their share.’”

In this passage, we see the interaction between Abraham, Melchizedek the king of Salem, and the king of Sodom after Abraham returned from a great victory in battle. Abraham had just fought a hard battle, he had his army with him, and Melchizedek meets him with the gift of bread and wine and blesses him. The king of Sodom greets Abraham by offering for him to take whatever goods he desires from the spoils of the victory. The contrast between these two gifts became more and more evident as I studied this passage. Melchizedek gave a gift that would take care of essential needs, while the king of Sodom tried to ensnare Abraham with gifts of material things. Abraham was not a covetous person; he understood that everything he needed God had given to him, so he refused the king of Sodom’s offer. This way, he was protecting himself from the king of Sodom ever claiming that he made Abraham rich, as we see in verse 23. 

We clearly can see how Melchizedek is a picture of Jesus in this Scripture. Jesus meets our essential needs, while the world tries to distract us with the desire for material things. I always like to add a disclaimer in these type of discussions; there is nothing wrong with having things or being rich. Abraham was very rich, and he was still able to be a godly man. Issues arise when we desire riches more than the things of Christ and when we rely on our belongings more than we rely on Christ. This Scripture shows us what Abraham’s mindset was, and what our mindset should be as well. We need to be satisfied with how the Lord provides for us and trust in Him only for our needs. Fight and pray against the constant desire to get more and more “stuff.” This is something that I find myself needing to do daily. Our whole world is built around the accumulation of wealth and things. Our Christian mindset should be built around becoming more like Christ and being satisfied in our relationship with Him. Ask God to allow you to recognize all the incredible ways that He has blessed you and be thankful for those things! 

Worship 

Abraham’s Call • Devotion #4: Worship
Philip Piasecki

The older I get, the more I realize how difficult it is to remember everything that I have to do. When I was in college, I never had to write anything down. I could just remember what I was supposed to do and do it! After graduating, getting married, having a kid, and Mary getting pregnant again, we have so much more going on now. I have gotten in trouble multiple times by double booking us because I did not put the event in the calendar. Calendars and to-do lists are so important. Unless Siri reminds me that I put the clothes in the washing machine, they are going to sit there wet all night. I could go on and on about different situations where I just forgot and needed someone to remind me.

Genesis 12:7 says, “Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.”

Why did Abram build an altar? He built an altar so that he could remember. Anytime, for the rest of his life, as he walked by that altar, he would be reminded of what the Lord had promised him and what the Lord had done for him. Why do we worship? Why do we sing and praise God? It is so that we can remember. Our world is built on being busy, it is so easy to get swept up in that and forget about Christ. We get so bogged down by what the Lord “has not done for us” that we so easily forget the amazing gifts that He has given us. We get so focused on who we are that we forget who Jesus Christ is. This is why we need to worship God; this is why we sing on a Sunday morning. When we finally get through the doors of the church building, we can exhale, sing the words on the screen, and start remembering who Christ is. We get to sing about how He has never failed us, about His reckless love for us, how He is our only King, and about the glorious day that our sins were forgiven. All of these things help us remember. 

Our praise and worship is an altar to Christ. It is on this altar that we sacrifice our selfishness, forgetfulness, and our sinfulness, and we remember who Christ is and what He has done for us. There is power in God’s people coming together, proclaiming the truth of Scripture in song, and together celebrating who Christ is. Do not let it become something that is an afterthought, or you may find yourself forgetting. Worship and remember what Christ has graciously done for you.

Disobedience 

Tower of Babel • Devotion #4: Disobedience
Philip Piasecki

The older my daughter gets, the more opinionated she is getting. Molly talks so much and is so loud. I do not know what Mary and I should have expected, seeing as both of us are very talkative people, but it has been a learning experience with her. She wants things her way, and when we do not allow that, she starts throwing things! She will grab anything within arm’s length and throw it as far as she can. I think she may become a baseball player. She does not understand that when she behaves that way she is missing out on great plans that we have for her. When she throws a fit and does not eat her dinner, then she misses out on getting to have ice cream for dessert. When she tries to run out into the street at the playground, then she has to go home and does not get to play. Every time she behaves in this way, she is settling for less than what we had planned for her.

Genesis 11:2 says, “And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.”

The sad thing is believers every day behave in the exact way my child does, and subsequently miss out on seeing God move. This Scripture is from the story of the Tower of Babel, and we see the people of God behaving in a disobedient way. After God saved Noah’s family from the flood, His command to them was to “go fill the earth.” Instead of listening to that command, the people disobeyed and instead, settled together in the land of Shinar. Very simply we can understand that disobedience causes us to miss out on plans that God has for us. More specifically, I think the word “settled” in this Scripture is so powerful. When we disobey God and settle in our safe and comfy life, we miss out on experiencing God in some incredible ways. The incredible thing about God’s Kingdom is that He invites us to be a part of spreading it throughout this world. It is up to us if we are going to see God do amazing things through our lives, or if we are going to settle for hardly seeing Him move at all. God commands us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, commands us to pray, commands us to worship, and the list is endless. All of these things are opportunities for us to be obedient to Christ and see Him doing incredible things in our lives, in the lives of others, and in this world. It is so easy to settle into disobedience, not daily seeking to follow the commands of Christ. This is not the life that He has called you to. We all would say we want to see God move, then be obedient and take action! Give Christ an opportunity to use you. Pray each day that the Holy Spirit would move in your heart to stir you to action. When we obey the commands of Christ, we will see Him move in mighty ways.

Futile?

Easter • Devotion #2: Futile?
Philip Piasecki

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:17-19 NIV

There is power in the Word of God. Every time I read this verse, it gives me a new sense of wonder for the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I feel like we often hear in Christian circles things like “remember the cross,” “think about what Jesus did for us on that cross,” and the like. While there is nothing wrong with these sayings, I feel like our focus is sometimes misdirected. It seems like believers sometimes miss how important the resurrection was. If Jesus had died on that cross and stayed in that grave, we would have no hope. Paul says that our faith is futile without the resurrection! Essentially Paul is saying that without the resurrection we are not forgiven of our sins, anyone who has died believing in Christ is lost, we have no hope, and everyone should pity us. Those are some strong words. The resurrection of Christ is the most important event in the history of humanity. This one event solidified that Jesus Christ was who He said that He was, and it sealed the offer of salvation to everyone who believes in Him.

The truth of the resurrection should stir up action in your life. I love thinking about the lives of the disciples after the resurrection. They saw the resurrected body of Jesus Christ, heard His command to go into all the world to preach the Good News, and many of them took that message up until they were killed for their message. They saw their Savior raised to life, and they knew that they needed to go and tell the world about it. We may have not physically seen Jesus resurrected, but we have the historical accounts of it in Scripture, and we have our accounts of how the resurrected Christ has impacted our lives. Take Jesus’ story and your story of salvation in Him and tell anyone who will listen. Do not be inhibited by fear of how the world will react to you; the disciples did not let threats of death keep them from sharing their message. We cannot miss the importance of the resurrection. When you fully grasp the significance of it, I promise it will radically change your life.



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