Devotions

Author Archives: Sierra Combs

The World Revolves Around the Son

Worship • Devotion #2: The World Revolves Around the Son
Sierra Combs | Women’s Ministry Director

I will never forget the moment when it all clicked for me. Well, maybe not everything clicked, but there was such a radical, instant shift in my brain that changed the entire view of my world. The light bulb turned on in my teenage brain. It was the moment when I went from thinking the world revolved around me to realize the world revolved around God. It went from me thinking that life’s purpose was, frankly, all about me, to me realizing that my primary purpose on this Earth was to glorify God in everything I do. As I write this, I am tempted to delete that confession out of embarrassment. It sounds so ridiculous when I think about it. I was raised in the Church. I was properly taught who God is. I was very often reminded by those around me of the truth, but it never sunk into my mind and heart. I was so selfish. It was all about what God could do for me, instead of what I could do for God. You can imagine my prayer life. It was mainly focused on my wants, needs, and desires. I am sure there was “thankfulness” thrown into the mix when things were going my way. There was some “worship” added when I felt like God was doing what He was supposed to be doing. It is gross! Looking back, I can see that this was not true worship, and it is an absolutely terrible example of how we should pray. But how often do our prayer lives look like this?

Prayer is important. If it were not, it would not be mentioned so many times in the Bible. Prayer is how we communicate with God. He wants us to pray! It should be of utmost importance in our lives. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 calls us to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Colossians 4:2 tells us to “devote [ourselves] to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart” (NLT). Finally, in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus gives us a model of how we should pray. While most people view prayer’s main purpose as a way to ask God for things they want or need (and do not get me wrong, that is a component), they miss out on some other key elements. Prayer should start with worship. I do not mean singing (though this can be a form of worship). I am talking genuine, pure worship by bowing down in reverence and adoration before the One true God, acknowledging Him for all that He is, all that He has done, and all that He will do. So often we send up our prayers, expecting Him to answer when all we are thinking about is ourselves. We forget to whom we are praying. We forget that we are talking to the maker of Heaven and Earth! He created the Universe with billions of stars. He created the sun, moon, and a beautiful world. He just spoke it all into existence! He is so good and so worthy of our worship. How crazy is it that He made us, and He loves us so personally? The God who made the Universe loves you and wants to have a relationship with you!

I encourage you this week to examine your prayer life. How often are you praying? Are you praying continually, with joy and thanksgiving, as it says in Thessalonians and Colossians? Or is the focus of your prayers all about you? There is so much more to address with Him. When you pray, remember to whom you are talking. He deserves our adoration and our worship!

Going to Work

Back to Reach | Devotion #4: Going to Work
Sierra Combs | Women’s Ministry Director

Lately, I have been reflecting on just how awesome God is. Sure, I have known this most of my life, but this week I just keep getting bombarded with the true reality of how awesome He is to me. I am reminded of how much He loves me and how faithful He is. Also, He gives the best gifts. He gave, for example, the gift of His Son Jesus Christ to be my Savior. That one is easily the best gift I could ever be given. Also at the top of the list is the gift of the Holy Spirit. He sent me that “Guy” when I got saved and man, do I love and need His help on a daily basis. The gift list is endless. God has given me so many gifts, and not because I deserve them, but because He is just that incredible. However, not all of the gifts He has given me are just for me to keep and cherish for myself. Nope! I think of the old Sandi Patty song when she sings “The Father gave the Son, the Son gave the Spirit, the Spirit gives us life so that we could give the gift of love. And the gift goes on.” (And on and on and on. That song is catchy and will now be stuck in my head for the next three days). When we become children of God, along with all the gifts that God gives us, He also gives us some jobs. We are called to spread the Gospel to the world. We are called to love people. We are called to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). God does not just give us His spiritual gifts, talents, and abilities to serve ourselves. He calls us to take those abilities and use them to serve others.

Serving others is not natural for the majority of us. We are born with sinful selfish natures, much-preferring others to serve us. But that is not what Christ calls us to do, and not what He modeled in His own life and death. He is the perfect example of a servant, being that He left His throne in Heaven, came down to Earth as a poor man, poured into others throughout His entire ministry and then died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins so that we could be counted righteous by the Father. He did not have to do that. But He did. And if God has saved you from your sin, He has called you to serve. 1 Peter 4:10-11 (NASB) says, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God…whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” When we serve others with the intention to glorify God, I am convinced that He will deepen our love for people and turn our attention away from ourselves and more towards the needs of others. 

If God has saved you, you should not just be sitting. Get out there and serve! There are so many people in need of our help, and we are called to shine that bright light of Jesus to them. People should see Him when they see us. God has given us talents and abilities so that we can use them to help others as we glorify Him, so it is time to get out there to use them! Not only will serving others bless those in need, but it will also deepen our faith and help connect us with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that God will turn our focus away from our own needs and desires and replace them with hearts overflowing with care and compassion for those around us. It is time to get to work!

Jordan

Prince of Peace | Devotion #1: Jordan
Sierra Combs | Women’s Ministry Director

A few years ago, my beautiful 22-year-old cousin was killed in a car accident. I wish I had pages of space to tell you her testimony because it is pretty much the most amazing one I have ever witnessed, but perhaps another day. I remember it vividly. Those were some of the most difficult days of my life. On the late October day that she died, I walked into my doctor’s office excited for a routine ultrasound of our third baby-to-be, only to find that there was no longer a heartbeat and we had lost the baby. I walked out to my car, and before I even had my seatbelt buckled, my mom called to tell me that Jordan had just been killed. Talk about a double punch in the gut. In the course of 15 minutes, I went from a happy, vibrant girl who was over the moon excited about the future to a girl overwhelmed with grief and despair, having just lost two people that I loved. I can still feel the knots in my stomach when I think about that day. I will never forget that funeral. I will never forget the hundreds and hundreds of people who waited in a line for hours to pay their respects to the family and say goodbye. I can still see the tear-streamed faces and hear the cries of her friends. This girl touched so many lives. But the thing I will never forget was her amazingly strong mother and the way she took on that day. She stood for hours, greeting every single person in that line with a huge smile on her face, sharing the Gospel with all of them (several of which accepted Christ by the way, again, another amazing story for another day!). I have never seen anyone exude so much peace as I did that day. 

How could a mother who lost her precious daughter just days before have so much peace? How could I find that same source of peace as I mourned the loss of my child, one I would never meet? There was nothing we could do to stop these things – death, loss, wars, sickness, turmoil, and evil. The list seems endless. This world is so chaotic and hard, and we have no control over it. How could anyone ever have peace? Though life’s troubles have a way of sneaking up on us, nothing takes God by surprise. Because of His sweet and loving kindness, He sent us a Savior, the “Prince of Peace,” Jesus Christ. But God never tells us that because we are saved, we will have it easy. He actually tells us the opposite. In John 16:33, Jesus is speaking to His disciples and tells them, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” You see, true peace, God’s peace, is not the same as worldly peace. It does not come from a happy life, free from pain and suffering. If it did, no one would ever be able to attain it, at least not for very long. True peace comes from knowing that God is in control. True peace comes from knowing that God is in control and giving that control over to Him (even though it was never even ours to begin with, but hey it is the thought that counts). God tells us that when we are anxious and troubled that all we have to do is bring that burden to him, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). When we present our requests to God through prayer and petition, that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). 

As much as I wish that Jordan was still with us and that another little blue-eyed blonde Combs’ kid was running around my house, God had a different plan. Sometimes we will not be able to understand the reasons behind the plan, but our God is so faithful and loving. While He does not promise us peace in the way the world would define it, He promises something better. As a child of God, I know that He is in complete control and that no matter what I face in this life, my future is eternally secure. Rest in God’s true peace today and every day, giving thanks to the Savior, Jesus Christ, The Prince of Peace.

Revelation Song

Gather | Devotion #4: Revelation Song
Sierra Combs | Women’s Ministry Director

At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald…From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures…and day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” Revelation 4:2-8

There has never been a time when music was not my thing. I love it. Even when I am not singing, strumming, humming, or listening, I am doing one of those things in my head. It is like I have my personal movie soundtrack going on in my head, and it is pretty awesome. God has gifted me with a musical heart, mind, and ear, and in recent years, He has taken this shy, terrified, quiet girl and given me boldness and passion to help lead His people in worship. It is just my favorite thing. Every Saturday night, I go to bed excited to wake up to gather together to worship our incredible God with my church family. Every Sunday morning, He wakes me up at 5:30 am in a good mood, which is truly miraculous because I am not a morning person and on any other day even having to get up at eight is like pulling teeth. However, that is not the case on Sundays. I love the church and worshiping together is important.

As a worship leader, there is nothing better for me than seeing and hearing the church put everything aside and focus their hearts on singing praise to God. There are so many songs that hold much meaning to me, but there is one in particular that gets me every time. I often have held back tears of joy when singing or hearing it because I think, this is awesome now but WOW! This is only just a small imperfect preview of my eternal future in Heaven- sitting around the throne room of God with absolutely no other purpose but to worship the King of the Universe. The song, Revelation Song, is practically plucked straight from Scripture, as you can see from above. Also check out Ezekiel 1:25-28. I love to sing the chorus to this song.

Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come.
With all creation, I sing,
praise to the King of Kings,
You are my everything
, and I will adore You! 

I just close my eyes and think about what it will one day be like in Heaven. With all creation, I will sing praises to Him who sits on the throne. I long for that day. I agree as the song continues. 

Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder,
at the mention of [His] name.
Jesus Your name is power, breath, and living water!
Such a marvelous mystery!

That is so true! The fact that God loves us so much that He left that glorious throne room to come to Earth as a man and pay the penalty for our sins is a straight up marvelous mystery. The awesome thing is that if you have accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, you will be standing beside me one day singing praises to the Lamb that was slain. I pray I see you there. In the meantime, we can and should keep practicing here while we wait!

Samaritan Woman

Lesson Fourteen | Devotion #6: Samaritan Woman
Sierra Combs | Women’s Ministry Director

Yesterday I had coffee with a friend who is a new believer. We meet every week to study and discuss some of the main fundamentals of our faith in Christ, and it is an absolute joy for me to see her learn and grow in God’s Word. After we finished our lesson, we got to chatting about how we can share Christ with others. She shared with me that she has someone very close to her who is sick with cancer, and she does not know Jesus. She knows ‘of’ Jesus, she knows some of His teachings, but she does not believe that He is the ONLY way to be saved. “I think you are her person” was the first thing that came into my head and out of my mouth. My friend was silent and quietly flipped through a prayer journal that she kept and showed me what she wrote that same morning, “I think I am her person.”

Do you not love it when God uses us to do His work? In this case, my job was simply to encourage a friend. God was already nudging her in a specific direction and then sent me in to nudge her again. Her job is to plant the seed in her loved one’s heart that Jesus is the Messiah, and pray that one day soon that seed will blossom. Of course, my friend wants nothing more than to see that happen, but as we talked, I could see the worry on her face. Worry screamed, “I am not equipped for this!” and “how could God use me for such an important job? I barely know the basics!” Have you ever felt like this? I know I have! But one thing that I am often reminded of is that God equips those He calls, and He loves to use the ordinary underdogs to change the world.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 4, we are introduced to a Samaritan woman. The Samaritans were considered “half-breeds,” part Israelite part foreigner, and were universally hated by the Jews. In verse 6, we find her at a well when Jesus happens upon her. Now not only was she a Samaritan and a woman, but she was also a woman with a pretty bad reputation, known to be living in sin. No respectable Jewish man would ever talk to such a woman, but Jesus did. Does that not just sound like Him? He was and is always breaking barriers and social norms to reach those that He loves, reminding us that the Gospel is for EVERYONE! Jesus asks the woman for a drink, which confuses her: “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (John 4:9). He then goes on to tell her that while that well offers physical water, He offers “living water.”  In verse 14 Jesus says, “Whoever drinks of the water…will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” It took a few minutes of conversing with Jesus for her to understand what He was talking about, but when she got it, she knew she wanted to tell everyone about it! She immediately dropped her water jug, ran to town, and told others about Jesus, urging them to come and talk with Him.

As Christians, we are called to share the Gospel with others. Perhaps just like my friend, God has placed a specific person or group of people on your heart to be “their person.” Maybe you are fearful that you do not have the adequate tools to go to work. Maybe you feel embarrassed by things that you have done in the past, wondering why anyone would ever listen to someone like you. But look at the Samaritan woman! She immediately dropped her baggage and told everyone she knew about Christ, despite her background, despite her reputation, despite her lack of knowledge. See what happens. “Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony…And many more believed because of His word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.’” (John 4:39-42).

Be encouraged. Plant those seeds. Tell others about Christ and let His words do the watering. The harvest is ripe!



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