Devotions

Author Archives: Ryan Story

Letters to the Next One

Immanuel | Devotion #5: Letters to the Next One
Ryan Story | Student Pastor

For the prophet Isaiah, or any of the prophets for that matter, to prophesy that Jesus was coming has the same significances as me writing to my next child. To immerse myself in how the prophets of old must have felt, this month I will be writing to a child that I do not know. My wife and I have not even begun talking about another child, but to understand how amazing the first coming of Christ was, we must understand that people were writing about a person who they did not know.  I am writing theses devotionals November of 2017, and I am eager to read these December of 2018.  

Dear Child,

Always know that God has a sense of humor. While sitting here asking God where to go with this letter, I checked twitter and saw a tweet by a Pastor in North Carolina. It said, “Knowing who is with you is more important than knowing where you are going.” There will be times in your life, little one, that things will not make sense. There will be times when confusion will seem to be the norm, but remember that you know the One. There will be times when you are too afraid to take that one small step in faith, but remember you know the One. Psalm 118:6 says, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Never be afraid of what lies ahead of you; never let your fear slow you down. Always remember who you have on your side.

Jesus’ most famous nickname might be Immanuel. That means “God with us.” In those three words unpacks one of the most amazing truths in the entire Bible. God left His perfect seat in Heaven and came to be with us as humans. The fact that God came to be with us even though our world was more polluted than perfect shows how much He wanted to be near us. It is amazing to realize that God came to be with us even though we were all lost, hostile, and full of selfishness. Not only did God come to be with us, but He also came to save us from death, Hell, and the grave. If that does not change your view of God with you, I do not know what will.

There will be many times in your life where you feel lonely. There will be many times in your life when knowing exactly how something will turn out will be a mystery, but know the One is always with you. I cannot even begin to know how you will have to call upon Him to help, but know He is there. Know that no one knows the exact plan God has planned for them, and He does not want you to know the whole plan. He just wants you to trust Him with your next step.
There will be a day when you will be with me. I am excited to know when that will be a reality. Out of all the letters, this one brings me such joy and excitement. To know one day I will have my third child, but I do not know when, creates an interesting feeling. Like the prophets of old, I do not know when you will be here, but I know one day you will be with me, and I will walk with you. 

Letters to the Next One

Prince of Peace | Devotion #4: Letters to the Next One
Ryan Story | Student Pastor

For the prophet Isaiah, or any of the prophets for that matter, to prophesy that Jesus was coming has the same significances as me writing to my next child. To immerse myself in how the prophets of old must have felt, this month I will be writing to a child that I do not know. My wife and I have not even begun talking about another child, but to understand how amazing the first coming of Christ was, we must understand that people were writing about a person who they did not know.  I am writing theses devotionals November of 2017, and I am eager to read these December of 2018.  

Dear Child,

There is a concept I would like you to have instilled in your heart. There is a Hebrew word, “Shalom.” That is a fancy way to say “peace.” In Isaiah chapter 9, Isaiah uses the phrase “Prince of Peace” to describe Jesus. The root word for peace translates roughly to a peace from completeness. Knowing how to be at peace with the completion of Jesus’ work is one of the most amazing types of peace you could ever have. Knowing that in any situation, hardship, adversity, and attack, you can rest assuredly that Jesus is in control should calm your heart in such a great way. Knowing Jesus brought a peace to our relationship with God should calm you during any ordeal.

Do not let yourself live in the area of stress, doubt, or faithlessness. There is nothing of profit there. As I type, I am reminded of a song by Hillsong United called “Prince of Peace.” It is playing in my headphones. One verse of that song strikes out to me:

  “When fear comes knockin, there You’ll be my guard
  When day breeds trouble, there you’ll hold my heart

  Come storm or battle, God I know Your peace will meet me there.”

No matter what the outcome, know that our God is there for us. He protects us and wants us to know He is there for His children.

Peace is not something that comes from anything we can do. Peace can only come from growing in God. Peace is a Fruit of the Spirit, and apart from the Spirit, you will not grow in it. To have peace, you have to have the Spirit and to get the Spirit inside of you, you must know the Son, who is the Prince of Peace. Child, I want you to have peace that is true but know that you will never have that if you do not know who Jesus is. Jesus is the only one who brings true completeness in our lives.

Letters to the Next One

Everlasting Father | Devotion #5: Letters to the Next One
Ryan Story | Student Pastor

For the prophet Isaiah, or any of the prophets for that matter, to prophesy that Jesus was coming has the same significances as me writing to my next child. To immerse myself in how the prophets of old must have felt, this month I will be writing to a child that I do not know. My wife and I have not even begun talking about another child, but to understand how amazing the first coming of Christ was, we must understand that people were writing about a person who they did not know.  I am writing theses devotionals November of 2017, and I am eager to read these December of 2018.  

Dear Child,

I cannot be there for you every step of the way. I wish I could be there to watch every moment of your life, but I might have to miss a few important events in your life. I may have to walk out of the room, and you will fall off of something. I may not be around when your brothers gang up on you and hurt you. I have seen your brothers get hurt one too many times. It is humbling to know that I cannot be the type of father that can be everywhere at once. My extent as a father has limits. As much as I would love to be Superman, I know my shortcomings. I will never stop trying to live up to the Superman legacy, but I want you to always count on one person more than me, and no it is not your mother.

I want to be there for you no matter what. There is never anything you can do that would make me not love you. But I am a wreck of a person; I will at times fail you. God, however, will never fail you. He always has to be perfect. As much as I will attempt to be there for you in your life, He will be there more. David writes in Psalm103:13, “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him.” In my life, I pray to show you compassion for others. I know I am falling far short of this. My emotional responses to compassion seemed to have malfunctioned years ago. I promise I will get better. I do not want you to grow up thinking God is cold like your father. I want you to grow up to know God as compassionate, loving, kind, and caring. Children must look to their fathers to show them compassion. 

Now I am going to have to address a tough theological issue with you, my future child. If I can teach you anything, it will be “know your Trinity.” It is weird to read about the fore coming of the Messiah, the Son of God, Jesus, and hear that His name is described as “Everlasting Father.” Breaking your brain over the ins and outs of doctrine, know that because of Jesus, God’s fatherly character to us is revealed. If there is ever a moment you want to know what God is like as a father, look to the perfect image of God, Jesus. I pray I can emulate this to the point people see your Everlasting Father in your actions because you see His actions in your earthly father.   

Letters to the Next One

Mighty God | Devotion #2: Letters to the Next One
Ryan Story | Student Pastor

For the prophet Isaiah, or any of the prophets for that matter, to prophesy that Jesus was coming has the same significances as me writing to my next child. To immerse myself in how the prophets of old must have felt, this month I will be writing to a child that I do not know. My wife and I have not even begun talking about another child, but to understand how amazing the first coming of Christ was, we must understand that people were writing about a person who they did not know.  I am writing theses devotionals November of 2017, and I am eager to read these December of 2018.  

Dear Child,

The things that God is going to do with your life are unfathomable! I cannot even begin to figure out what kind of person you will be. Will you be calm or wild? Will you have a thirst for righteousness and have a heart for those in need? Will you be logical and loving?  I cannot even begin to think what your personality will be like, to even think about what God is going to do with your life. Even though I do not know much about you, knowing you will be used by God is such a fantastic feeling. The biggest dreams I can dream for you are still infinitesimal compared to what God has planned for you! God can do so many things with one small child. When Jesus was born, angels rejoiced so much they became visible. A group of shepherds’ lives were changed at the sight of a small baby. A temple priest by the name of Simeon said he saw salvation when he held that small baby. Wise men traveled miles to meet a small boy that lived under a star. Jesus was mighty from the moment He was born. God can do mighty things with small babies. While you may not be able to boast of that kind of might, know that God loves using small things.

The prophet Zachariah said, “For who dares make light of small beginnings” (Zechariah 4:10 NET). I cannot think of anything smaller than a baby, and I cannot think of anything larger than your potential. The largest tree starts as a small seed, but with the proper nurturing look how tall they can grow. Some of the biggest companies that exist started in a garage or a basement. At one point I did not know anything about the Bible. At one point I did not know anything about Jesus. Years have passed and with a lot of hard work and being faithful to God; I am now trusted to teach the Bible to God’s people. I know God will be there to help you move whatever mountains are in your life, just never lose faith that He, in fact, can and will move them. Do not look at your limitations, look at God’s limitless power!

Your brothers both started out small, and they moved mountains in my heart. I cannot even begin to express how much I love them. I can only imagine how you will be able to be used by God to influence others and me. Never forget, size is not the same as power. Remember God used David to defeat Goliath. God only has one option: He must use the small to show His might. So let God show His might through you.

Letters to the Next One

Wonderful Counselor | Devotion #6: Letters to the Next One
Ryan Story | Student Pastor

For the prophet Isaiah, or any of the prophets for that matter, to prophesy that Jesus was coming has the same significances as me writing to my next child. To immerse myself in how the prophets of old must have felt, this month I will be writing to a child that I do not know. My wife and I have not even begun talking about another child, but to understand how amazing the first coming of Christ was, we must understand that people were writing about a person who they did not know.  I am writing theses devotionals November of 2017, and I am eager to read these December of 2018.  

Dear Child,

There will never be a point in your life when I will not be here to give you godly advice. As long as I have breath in my lungs, I will not cease to help you in life. I want to see you be victorious over anything the enemy throws at you. I want you to run towards God with such a purpose you shed any weight that is slowing you down. I want to see you prosper in whatever Jesus has planned for you. I get overly excited even thinking about how amazing you are going to be, and I do not even know your name, gender, or when you will be here.

I have lived a life of making too many unwise choices that I will do anything to make sure you do not go through the same pains as I have. I have sat back and watched myself and many people who I have deeply loved make choices that are void of any wisdom. Ironically, James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” My hope for your life is you learn how to keep wisdom as the cornerstone of your walk with God. I have lived a life where I did not try to seek out becoming wise until I was older. I do not wish that upon any of my children. Learn to plead with God for wisdom because He will give it to you. Make sure you use that wisdom to help others because that is what God will want to see. Gifts are only good when you share them. 

Grow up in such a way that you realize how much more you will be able to do for God if you seek out wisdom. There will be a point in your life when someone is going to come to you and need advice. I pray you are able to take a page out of Jesus’ book and be able to counsel them. We live in such a world that needs more people to have godly wisdom. The church has many smart followers, but few wise leaders, and I want you to be wise beyond your years.

In Isaiah, one of the names used to foretell about His coming is “Wonderful Counselor.” I pray that you run, plead, and are relentless in your pursuit of wisdom. Instead of asking God “why is this happening,” learn to ask, “why is this best for my life?” Instead of being caught off guard by any rough times, be wise enough to know He is in control. Know that at any moment in your life, you know you can turn to a God that has your tomorrow already worked out. Never be too proud to ask for help. 

Never be too lazy to pray.

Never be too busy to help those God puts in your life.



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