Devotions

Author Archives: Randy Johnson

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.”

John Calvin

Lesson Eighteen | Devotion #6: John Calvin
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

Often when people think of John Calvin, they only speak of the TULIP. This is an acronym used to summarize five of his key theological (and maybe controversial) points: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints. Although you may not agree with him, he has had a huge affect on the church today.

Not much is written of his testimony, but Christianity Today records, “With his brother and sister and two friends, John Calvin fled Catholic France and headed to the free city of Strasbourg. It was the summer of 1536; Calvin had recently converted to the ‘evangelical’ faith and had just published The Institutes of the Christian Religion, which articulated his Protestant views. He was a wanted man.”

The Institutes of the Christian Religion was written as a basic guide to the Christian faith. Calvin described it, “The whole sum of godliness and whatever it is necessary to know about saving doctrine. I labored at the task especially for our own Frenchmen, for I saw that many were hungering and thirsting after Christ and yet that only a very few had any real knowledge of him.” His work is still read and respected today.

Calvin’s journey was unique. He started off studying for the priesthood, but then switched to the study of law. In studying to be a lawyer, his reading became quite diverse, and he was jolted by reading the Bible in its original languages.

Calvin’s final days were very active. Christianity Today reports, “Calvin drove himself beyond his body’s limits. When he could not walk the couple of hundred yards to church, he was carried in a chair to preach. When the doctor forbade him to go out in the winter air to the lecture room, he crowded the audience into his bedroom and gave lectures there. To those who would urge him to rest, he asked, ‘What? Would you have the Lord find me idle when he comes?’” Calvin made a huge impact for the Lord right up to his death.

John Calvin made other noteworthy statements:

“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.”

“Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness.”

“There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.”

“However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts.”

“I gave up all for Christ, and what have I found? Everything in Christ.”

Charles Finney

Lesson Eighteen | Devotion #5: Charles Finney
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

Charles Grandison Finney was a lawyer, evangelist, theologian, author, and college president. He was also the most famous revivalist of the Second Great Awakening. While most preachers ‘waited’ for the right timing for a revival, Finney believed the time was always right. He said, “More than five thousand millions have gone down to hell, while the church has been dreaming, and waiting for God to save them without the use of means.” While others studied approaches, Finney preached.

Not much is said about Finney’s childhood. Apparently, he was well-educated and became a lawyer. Christianity Today records his salvation moment, “The 29-year-old lawyer Charles Grandison Finney had decided he must settle the question of his soul’s salvation. So on October 10, 1821, he headed out into the woods near his Adams, New York, home to find God. ‘I will give my heart to God, or I never will come down from there,’ he said. After several hours, he returned to his office, where he experienced such forceful emotion that he questioned those who could not testify to a similar encounter.” Finney walked into the woods lost and came out found.

His salvation was radical and life-changing. The next day he went to his law office as normal, but it was different. He met with his next client and said, “I have a retainer from the Lord Jesus Christ to plead his cause and cannot plead yours.” Finney felt the immediate call to leave law and become a preacher.

Although he became a preacher, his style was very analytical as that of a lawyer. He used logic and expected people to make an open and public confession to follow Jesus. He knew he was saved miraculously and expected the same for others. We need a faith like that.

Finney, ‘the father of modern revivalism,’ said many valuable things:

“A state of mind that sees God in everything is evidence of growth in grace and a thankful heart.”

“Nothing tends more to cement the hearts of Christians than praying together.”

“It is the great business of every Christian to save souls.”

“If the presence of God is in the church, the church will draw the world in. If the presence of God is not in the church, the world will draw the church out.”

“Revival is a renewed conviction of sin and repentance, followed by an intense desire to live in obedience to God. It is giving up one’s will to God in deep humility.”

Billy Sunday

Lesson Eighteen | Devotion #4: Billy Sunday
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

William Ashley Sunday, better known as ‘Billy Sunday,’ was a promising professional baseball player who left the ball diamond for the pulpit. He went from centerfield to center stage. He became, “The most celebrated and influential evangelist in America during the first two decades of the twentieth century” (New World Encyclopedia).

Sunday’s father died when he was just five weeks old. “His early childhood in an Iowa log cabin was enveloped by death—ten deaths before he reached the age of 10. His mother was so impoverished, she sent her children away to the Soldier’s Orphans Home” (Christian History Magazine). His early childhood does not record any highlights. There does not seem to be any spiritual influence. It appears to be more about survival.

When Sunday was about 26 years old, he had been out drinking with some other ball players. He wandered by the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago and heard a preacher. He walked in and started listening. He became a follower of Jesus Christ. He quit drinking alcohol and baseball. He took a substantial pay cut, started speaking at the YMCA, and became an evangelist. His goal was to be so basic that anyone could understand him.

He was known for being a volatile preacher. “Sunday was a whirling dervish that pranced and cavorted and strode and bounded and pounded all over his platform and left them thrilled and bewildered as they have never been before” (Christianity Today). His emotions took him to the point that he became so passionate that he would even use course language to get their attention and make his point. His fighting and firing spirit can be seen in his quote, “I’m against sin. I’ll kick it as long as I have a foot. I’ll fight it as long as I have a fist. I’ll butt it as long as I have a head. I’ll bite it as long as I’ve got a tooth. And when I’m old and fistless and footless and toothless, I’ll gum it till I go home to Glory and it goes home to perdition.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica States, “He conducted more than 300 revivals with an estimated attendance of 100,000,000.” His message was salvation through Jesus Christ, and he ended every message with a call to conversion (or as he said ‘hit the saw dust trail’ – walk the aisle, come to the altar).

There are several sayings from Billy Sunday:

“Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.”

“Temptation is the devil looking through the keyhole. Yielding is opening the door and inviting him in.”

“They tell me a revival is only temporary; so is a bath, but it does you good.”

“The fellow that has no money is poor. The fellow that has nothing but money is poorer still.”

“What have you given the world it never possessed before you came?”



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