Devotions

Author Archives: Randy Johnson

Micah 7:18-19

Joseph Forgives Brothers • Devotion #4: Micah 7:18-19
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

I am not a fisherman. I was not raised in a family that excelled at fishing. The largest fish my dad caught was a Northern Pike. We all celebrated until we found out that 19 inches was too small to keep. I remember sitting in the canoe waiting for the bobber to disappear. Putting worms on a hook was not very exciting, and I soon realized that the main bait on the lake was me; mosquitoes loved me. To make matters worse, my little sister drew back her rod to cast her line but did not look back to see if the “coast” was clear. I got hooked. I am not saying I got “hooked” on fishing; I am saying that she literally hooked my arm. A few stitches later, I retired from the fascinating sport of fishing. As if it could not get worse, my wife’s dad loved ice fishing. Adding frostbite to a horrible hobby just brought a new category for a nightmare.

This week we have been focusing on how Joseph forgave his brothers. You might be thinking, “What does fishing have to do with forgiveness?” Micah 7:18-19 says,

“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”

God is amazing! When we confess our sins, He does not hold it over us. He does not stay angry. He shows love and compassion. He is even willing to cast “all our sins into the depths of the sea.” I want to remind you to stop fishing. Do not pull those past sins back out of the water. Let them drown.

Satan wants us to feel defeated. Remember: Misery loves company. Too often we revisit past sins and beat up ourselves. God has forgiven us, and we need to walk in confidence. God has cast our sins into the sea, so we need to put out a sign that says, “No Fishing Allowed.”

Audience of One

Joseph & Potiphar’s Wife • Devotion #4 : Audience of One
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

“From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field. So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate.” Genesis 39:5-6

The main point of this passage seems quite clear. God blessed Joseph. He not only blessed Joseph, but He blessed everyone and anything around Joseph. Potiphar and his estate were flourishing because God blessed him through Joseph.

However, I think there is another aspect that is too often missed: Joseph was faithful to God. Joseph had been belittled by his brothers, thrown in a pit, threatened death, sold into slavery, taken far from home, and humanly speaking had no hope of ever seeing his dad again. All sense of normality was gone. As he served in the house of Potiphar, he was faithful. He was faithful to God; therefore, he was diligent with his work. He was a hard worker. He was a hard worker when Potiphar was watching, but he was a hard worker when Potiphar was not home, too. With Joseph in charge, Potiphar “had no concern about anything.” 

The key to Joseph’s success was that he had an audience of One. There was only One that he wanted to impress. In everything he did, he was working for God. God was the focus of his diligence. 

It can be difficult to work for an unbeliever or a godless person. It can be tempting to slack off when no one is watching. It can be hard to press forward when we are not appreciated. It can be challenging to give our best when it is not acknowledged. It is easy to follow the crowd. However, Joseph knew One was always watching. He was the One Joseph strived to please.

Galatians 1:10 challenges us, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

As servants of Christ, we need to live it. When “no one” is watching, remember One is watching. When many are watching, focus on the One, the true and living God.

Blessed and Blessing 

Jacob & Esau • Devotion #5: Blessed and Blessing
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

“Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.’ Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.’ And he was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’” Genesis 28:10-17

This might be the first time you have ever read this story. Jacob had a life-altering dream. I have read that everyone dreams, but that not everyone remembers their dreams. Jacob had a dream and it embedded his mind the whole next day and throughout his life. His dream was important to him because he knew God made a promise to him in his dream.

Genesis 28:18-22 tells what Jacob did once he had been blessed by God, “So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.’”

Jacob was blessed by God, so he wanted to be a blessing to God. He also chose to set up a visual reminder for himself so that when he saw it, the stone would remind him of God’s blessing.

What do you do when you have been blessed by God? Do you look for ways to bless Him through others? I encourage you to “count your many blessings.” Look for God to bless you and then set up a visual reminder for yourself. Journal of the event. Write the date in your Bible. Post a picture or plant a tree that every time you see it, you remember the blessing from God. Be blessed and be a blessing!

New Every Morning

Requests • Devotion #1: New Every Morning
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11

I am a sticky note fanatic. I create at least one sticky note every day of what needs to be accomplished. I can get so overwhelmed by the big picture that I need to create “baby steps.” I might check off an item on tomorrow’s list, but I try not to fret about those items. If I just look at the project as a whole, I can become anxious, defeated, and depressed. The whole course is good to consider, but the next step needs immediate focus.

Something that jumps out at me is that the Lord’s Prayer speaks of “this day” and “daily.”  The focus is on today. Too often we get so caught up in the future that we miss the blessings of the present day. Matthew 6:34 adds, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Max Lucado got me thinking when he wrote, “No one can pray and worry at the same time.” We need to pray in confidence. George Mueller is known as a man of extreme faith. He added, “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.” Anxiety is real, but too often it tries to focus on things that are out of our sight.

Lamentations 3:22-24 presents this concept in another way, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’” God’s mercies are “new every morning.” His mercies are for today, and He will not run out of love. Corrie Ten Boom experienced God’s mercies at a time most would have missed them. She said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.” It reminds me of the whole thought that 90% of the things we worry about never happen and the other 10% we cannot change. Therefore, worrying does not make sense. Luke 12:25 captures the idea, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

God offers peace for today. In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” God will not leave us. He will not forsake us. He is with us. Enjoy Him today.

“As you walk through the valley of the unknown, you will find the footprints of Jesus both in front of you and beside you.” Charles Stanley

Seeing God Daily

God’s Will • Devotion #2: Seeing God Daily
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10

I have a certain concept I pray every day for my wife and children. I pray that they would see God in their life today, acknowledge it, and give Him credit. I want them to be blessed, but more importantly, I want them to know it is from God. Their relationship with God is of utmost importance to me. I like how the revivalist Jonathan Edwards said it, “God is glorified not only by His glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in.” I want them to see Him daily and thank, rejoice, and worship Him.

This prayer implies two things. First, God cares and is involved in our daily lives. Second, God has a plan, and it is designed to include His children. I want my family to see God, witness a miracle, and celebrate Him. Paul said in Colossians 1:9, “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” He prayed they know God’s will for their life. He wanted them to know how God wanted them involved in His bigger scenario.

If we start looking for God’s activity in our lives, I believe it will become obvious. He is present and active all around us. C.S. Lewis said, “Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.” God is alive and well. Look for Him. Make it a habit to start the day praying you will see, follow, and please Him.

Ephesians 1:18 says, “Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” I love the image of “the eyes of your heart.” It is the idea of seeing with our whole person. It is seeing and comprehending. The word “enlightened” is pretty powerful, too. God is involved in our daily lives, and He has called us to come out of the darkness.

It is amazing that God can work with all of us at the same time. We do not have to wait in line or take a number. A.W. Tozer said, “An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.”



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