Devotions

Author Archives: Roger Allen

Forty-Six

Define It • Devotion #1: Forty-Six
Roger Allen | Recovery Director

 “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” 1 Peter 1:14-16 

My salvation story came later in life than most. Saved at the age of forty-six, the change in my life was profound. Clearing the junk that had accumulated through the years of selfishness and vain pursuits, clearly paid dividends. To many (including myself), the transformation was credible. The change in my life opened the eyes of many around me. It did not matter if you believed or not, there was something different about me now. Many that I had known for years wondered when it would wear off. Others wanted to know more of the exciting change they saw within me. In front of them, they had the transformation they themselves sought. It was an exciting time.  

A few years later, I realized there was a change in how I responded to the things of God. I was serving faithfully in the church and still attending Bible studies, but something was not quite right. I seemed to have lost the joy that was constant when I first believed. Disturbed by what was happening, I sought answers through Pastors and other leaders in the Church. Swayed by the emotion of “not feeling” as if my eternity was secured, I was becoming lukewarm. I was going through the motions with no conviction or enthusiasm. Prayer seemed difficult at best. 

Then one Sunday, the Pastor was speaking on forgiveness from those you had hurt. I needed to lay it on the table, bare your soul, and ask for forgiveness. Wrestling with God, I refused to obey. To disclose my past as an unsaved man was more than I was willing to do. I had too much to lose. The world would never understand. I wrestled for days on my decision whether I would be obedient to Him. My emotions overwhelmed me as I became a defeated man. I was broken. I finally relented to the Holy Spirit’s urging. This was the beginning of my search for His holiness and my obedience.

It has been over seven years since that day, and I look back in awe of what Christ did for me. The illumination of God’s will in my life to be obedient has forever changed the course of my life. The desire to seek His holiness has impacted not only myself but those around me.  Dr. Richard J. Krejcir wrote in “The Holiness of God” (an article from Church Leadership) that,                                                          

“God calls us, not to conform to the world, but to Him. This requires conviction, and the willingness to peruse through difficult times and people who have opposing ideas. We do this because we desire to because of what He has done for us, not because we feel obligated, or forced. Holiness is also a trust that many do not see, a trust that He is there, and that we can have comfort and confidence in Him in all aspects of life. Otherwise, we remain chained to the despair of loneliness and self-destruction.”

 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.”

Having trust is a game changer!

Joseph and Success

Joseph & Potiphar’s Wife • Devotion #2: Joseph and Success
Roger Allen | Recovery Director

What is success? Is it a big house, bankroll, toys, retirement, or some other vain attempt of a monument to ourselves? Is it a legacy that has temporal value, or is it an eternal substance that is hard to define and categorize? Is it one that is actually bigger than ourselves? In Genesis, we are introduced to Joseph, the eleventh and most favored son of his father. Clothed in a coat of many colors, he lived the life of the most loved. Already jealous, his brothers started planning his end when he told them his dream.

Genesis 37:5-8 says, “Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. He said to them, ‘Hear this dream that I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.’ His brothers said to him, ‘Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?’ So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.”

We all have had a “Joseph” in our life. Whether it was a sibling or a co-worker, we all know that one person that stands out above the crowd. It is the one that even at our best seems to bring out the envy in us. Typically, as we get older, we assume that we understand the futility of such emotions but, envy knows no age, only circumstance. I recall the first time that I had such anger and envy. When I was around eight years old, I was spurred on by my older brother to wrestle a neighbor kid. He was smaller than me, so I figured this would be easy. Face down in the dirt, I soon realized what it meant to be envious. I had always looked up to my brother and to be humiliated in front of him was the worst thing in the world to me. I seethed with anger just as Joseph’s brothers did.

As the story of Joseph unfolds, we are introduced to the plot to destroy him. Taken captive and sold into slavery by his brothers (Genesis 37:12-35), Joseph becomes part of the household of Potiphar where he quickly found favor. Elevated to the superintendent, Joseph’s star began to shine again only to be dimmed by a false accusation by Potiphar’s spurned wife (Genesis 29:1-20). Sent to prison, Joseph once again proved he could be trusted. In charge of the prisoners, he showed that integrity and wisdom would bring trust in an otherwise trustless society. Interpreting the dreams of those imprisoned by Pharaoh, he also showed that the hand of the Lord was upon him. Eventually, Joseph was called to interpret a dream for Pharaoh. Advising him of the coming famine, Pharaoh raised him to be second in command in all of Egypt. As the famine continued throughout the land, Joseph’s stature grew.

By the second year of the famine, many from the surrounding areas were sent to Egypt to buy food including his family. Now was the time for Joseph’s revenge. His brothers were at his mercy. He could get even. Yet, instead of an instant death sentence, he would have some fun. Never letting on to who he was (it had been twenty years), Joseph began the payback. At any time he could end their lives and have his retribution, yet he did not. After playing it out, Joseph ended his ruse and reunited with his family. 

Joseph certainly was not perfect. He had a prideful streak that cost him his freedom. Rejected by those closest to him, he paid a high price. Yet, that price paid dividends to him and his family (Romans 8:28-29). Steadfast through his trials he brought salvation to them. The hand of the Lord, his integrity, and wisdom allowed him to succeed where others fail. Psalm 41:11-12 says it best:

“By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me. But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.”

Do Not Delay 

Isaac & Rebekah • Devotion #4: Do Not Delay
Ryan & Cathy Story | Location Pastor – Burton

Could you imagine buying a house without seeing it first? Would you consider getting a new car without looking it over? How about choosing the person you will spend the rest of your life with, would you be willing to jump into marriage sight unseen? Chances are you answered “no” in regards to each of those questions. We live in a time where online purchases are the norm. You can order just about anything you can think of having, knowing that if it does not actually fit the way you wanted, work the way you expected, or is the actual color you imagined, you can simply return it. No commitment is necessary. 

In Genesis chapter 24, Abraham sent his servant to find a bride for his son Isaac. Verses 1-53 give the account of Abraham’s charge to his servant, the travels, meeting of a young woman, Rebekah, and the servant’s request for her to return back to his master with him. These verses portray the goodness of God and his faithfulness in provision. In verses 54-56 the servant showed no delay in wanting to leave and return to Abraham and Isaac with Rebekah. In verse 58, “And they called Rebekah and said to her, ‘Will you go with this man?’ She said, ‘I will go.’” When reading, I pause here because I cannot imagine the boldness it took to say those three simple words. Rebekah is going to marry a man she has never met, sight unseen. 

Personally, I struggle with this. I cannot even decide if I want to move the couch in my living room without actually seeing it first! I do not do well with being told to picture something; I need to see it to really picture that idea in my mind. Even more than a concept, I struggle with spontaneity. I am definitely a planner and thrive off of routines. I want to know as many details as possible before jumping into a major decision. I am challenged as I look at Rebekah. God had clearly orchestrated the meeting between her and the servant, and she recognized that. Prior to Rebekah’s statement that she would go, verse 55 shows Rebekah’s mother and brother saying, “Let the young woman remain with us a while, at least ten days; after that she may go.” How easy would it have been for Rebekah to tell the servant that despite all of the ways they could see this had been God’s plan, she was going to listen to her family and wait just a few more days before leaving? How often do I do this in my own life? How often do you do it in yours? You know God has called you to make that move, finalize that decision, or make that call, but you would really rather wait just a few more days. We like to ask and wait for just one more sign, one more indication that those choices are truly what God is asking of us. We find ourselves lacking Rebekah’s boldness in saying “I will go.” 

Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Sometimes our faith is making moves, sight unseen. Now, there certainly are times where planning is important, but there are also times where we are being called to trust and show our faith in our willingness to do what God is asking of us. 

We are all called to go, to share Christ’s love and the Good News with the world. Isaiah 6:8 writes, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.’” It can be easy to think that we would say, “Here I am Lord! I am willing to go!” but in reality, are you willing to be like Rebekah and actually go? The rest of Genesis chapter 24 recounts the servant and Rebekah traveling back to Canaan. She met and became one with Isaac. This all happened because she was willing to say, “I will go.” 

Today, what is God asking you to do? Where is He calling you to go that you have been delaying? As the servant says to Rebekah’s family in verse 56, “But he said to them, ‘Do not delay me…’” It is time to stop delaying and do what is being asked of us!     

Promise to Abraham 

Abraham, Hagar, & Ishmael • Devotion #2: Promise to Abraham
Roger Allen | Recovery Director

In the summer of 1981, Kayla and I became husband and wife. We were married in a small church on the outskirts of Clare, Michigan. We were excited to begin our new life and the challenges we would face. Through many trials and hardships, we have remained together, and we are more in love than ever before. Our individualism is slowly evaporating and becoming as the Bible says “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Through a miscarriage and a failed adoption, our marriage has persevered. We are now in that stage of life where we no longer dream of children. The circle of life looks different to us than most couples.

In Genesis chapter 15, we find a similar situation. Abram, while still childless, asks what the Lord would have for him. With no child, his only successor is Eliezer of Damascus, who is at best a surrogate for an heir. Possibly a servant or extended family member, he was the only suitable successor. At least he would be one who would take care of them in their old age (and inherit their wealth). Led outside, the Lord shows Abram the heaven overhead and says; “And he brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be’” (Genesis 15:5). 

To a man as old as Abram (possibly in his eighties), this must have seemed a bold yet comforting promise. Abram and Sarai’s wish to have a legitimate heir would ultimately be fulfilled. Genesis 15:6 says, “And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”

Because of his belief, Abram became the “father of many nations.”  The Lord became his protector and shield. His reward was great. What does that mean to us? How do we see the promise of God in our lives? I remember when I was first saved, I read most of the Bible within the first seven to ten days. I had an insatiable desire to learn the Word of God. One of the first verses I read was Romans 8:29 (CSB), which says, “For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

The moment I read this verse, I realized what the Lord had promised. That through me, many in my family would be saved and come to know Him. To see that unfold in my life is a comforting example of the Lord’s promise. I am so glad that the prayers of my faithful wife were heard those many years ago. You see, it was not until I was forty-six years old when I accepted Christ, and I received the great reward. 

“And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.” Joshua 23:14 

Need for Community

Creation • Devotion #4: Need for Community
Roger Allen | Recovery Director

I love people. When in a crowd, I seek out those that look out of place, the “wallflowers” you might say. I believe that all should feel welcome. Even as a child, I would search out those who did not seem to be accepted. I encouraged those that would isolate themselves from others. I sought out the introverts. I would not allow you to leave without knowing at least one person in that room. Often that person was me!

I was constantly roaming in search of new friends. I remember one afternoon when I was about seven years old, after opening our Christmas gifts that morning, we traveled to my Grandmother’s apartment in Romeo, Michigan. A short time after arriving the search for me began. It finally ended at the end of the hall where I had introduced myself to my Grandmother’s neighbor. Excited, with a full plate of cookies and a huge smile, I proceeded to tell my story of how I introduced myself at every apartment on that floor. Did I tell you, “I love people?”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 reminds us, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

As I have grown older, my desire to meet new people has not diminished. While I do seek alone time, I am quite content being surrounded by a roomful of people. Even in the most trying times, I prefer the company of others. As Ecclesiastes says, “Two are better than one.” I realize that not everyone shares my enthusiasm about making friends, but there are wisdom and benefits in sharing experiences. Words of encouragement, compassion, and a helping hand make a difference. Friends, family, and most of all your spouse can comfort and console when it is needed most.

However, today we are becoming more isolated than ever. With the advent of social media, we have traded in a real and tangible relationship for a virtual one. People are never having a real commitment and end up settling for something less than intended. We are now in isolation instead of a relationship God had planned for us.

Proverbs 18:1 adds, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”

Many today have chosen a life of meaningless partnerships in place of living, breathing relationships. Devoid of any real commitment and emotional attachment, they believe there is freedom in their lifestyle. Never caring to be their brother’s keeper and having the chance to leave at the first sign of trouble, they never really commit. God never intended it to be so. In Genesis, after He created the Heavens and the Earth, God looked at His creation and said, “It is very good” (Genesis 1:31). However, when it came to Adam, He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” The whole verse in Genesis 2:18 reads, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’”

“Eve” as she is called, is now Adam’s “help meet.” Unlike the other animals of the sea, land, and air, she is part of Adam. Created from his rib, she is a suitable helper to him. She is one that will strengthen and comfort him when he is weak. She was the perfect creation for Adam just as my wife has been the perfect creation for me. After 37 years of marriage, it has become very clear what God had intended all along. We have learned to care, encourage, and lift up each other. We walk side by side as He intended.



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