Devotions

Author Archives: Wes McCullough

Joseph as Dad’s Favorite

Joseph & Brothers • Devotion #1: Joseph as Dad’s Favorite
Wes McCullough | Production Director

“Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.” Genesis 37:3-4

Favoritism seems to be a genetic problem for this family. Isaac favored Esau while Rebekah favored Jacob. Of his wives, Jacob favored Rachel over her sister, Leah. Of his sons, Jacob favored Joseph. The case can be made that Rachel, being the love of Jacob’s heart, was his “first” wife while he actually married Leah first. Joseph, as Rachel’s firstborn and coming in Jacob’s old age, would definitely have a special place in his father’s heart.

I can definitely say I am my father’s favorite son, primarily because he only had one. However, when my sisters married, I noticed a certain change. My parents welcomed my sisters’ husbands into the family with the same love they had for me.

I have also seen them love my wife as their own daughter. My parents’ attitude and actions make me proud and have been an example to follow in all my family relations.

There are several lessons we can learn from this story. 1 John 2:9 says, “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.” Matthew 5:23-25 provides some directions for such a situation, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.”

 Furthermore, 1 John 3:15 says, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” At the root of it all is hate which Proverbs 10:12 addresses, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” Hate will lead to other sins. It will cause you to become someone you are not and do things you are against. Combat hate with forgiveness and love. Jesus taught us to love and forgive, and we would do well to honor those instructions.

Abraham Believes 

Abraham, Hagar, & Ishmael • Devotion #3: Abraham Believes
Wes McCullough | Production Director

“And behold, the word of the Lord came to him [Abraham]: ‘This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.’ 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.’ And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:4-6

When God told Abraham he would have more descendants than he could count, Abraham was childless and more than 75 years old. His wife was approaching 70, but he believed the promise of God without hesitation. That is pretty incredible. 

It is helpful to contrast this story to another found in Judges 6:36-40. Gideon, in seeking God’s favor in battle, asks that a wool fleece, left out overnight, be wet amongst dry ground. God does exactly that, but then Gideon curiously asks God the next day to keep the fleece dry amongst wet ground. God again provided the sign of His favor to Gideon in battle. There are many times in Scripture where people asked God for a specific sign to confirm their faith. Asking twice, as Gideon humbly did, strikes me as an instance where I expected God to be unhappy for being tested and untrusted.

Abraham was different. He received God’s promise and believed without question, without tangible confirmation. It is an inspiring and encouraging example of unconditional faith. The New Life translation says that Abraham’s unquestioning belief in this promise made him right with God” (Genesis 15:6 NCV). I find it so satisfying when people do the right thing as Abraham did in this case. In my book, it ranks close to the quality of David being a man after God’s heart (Acts 13:22). 

Looking back, God has always kept His promises. Sometimes they seemed impossible or took years to be fulfilled, but God always kept His word. If God tells you He will do something you should have no doubts, only patience.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.” Hebrews 11:1-2.

Abraham & Sarah Lie 

Abraham’s Call • Devotion #6: Abraham & Sarah Lie
Wes McCullough | Production Director

A few weeks ago I watched a special on Netflix called The Push. The premise of this social experiment is this: can an ordinary person be coerced to kill someone in 90 minutes? The entire situation is scripted and directed with actors, props, special effects, and filmed with hidden cameras. Dozens of people were involved in the social experiment but only the subject was unaware of the goal. Starting with small compromises the subject of the experiment is influenced with peer pressure and strong suggestions that were less than moral. This social experiment was conducted five times, only one person refused the final “push” to take a life. 

When I read of Abram and Sarai’s journey to Egypt in Genesis 12:10-20, my thoughts were of principles. Principles are foundational to our character. We should not violate them for any reason. I wonder why Abram would trust his own cunning over God’s protection. God had just directed Abram towards the Promised Land with this assurance, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3). Much like ourselves, Abram’s focus on God’s impending blessings was quickly lost. He let the situation be more important than God’s will. 

God’s faithfulness to His promise shines in this story. God promised Abram and Sarai’s offspring would be too numerous to count. When Abram gave up his wife for his safety, God orchestrated a reunion so they could one day receive the promised blessing. Once again we see that God can not be caught off guard and His plan can not be distorted by our failures.

Are your principles set in stone? If someone asks you to lie, cheat, steal, or kill will you be ready to answer? Make the Christ-like choice and let God sort it out. It is much worse to offend God than man.

Life is not a DIY project

Guidance • Devotion #2: Life is not a DIY project
Wes McCullough | Production Director

I do not know about you, but I am stubbornly independent. After buying my first home, a fixer-upper, I insisted on doing most of the updates and upgrades myself. I have a good mind for understanding how most things work and should be. So, having the right tools made most of the projects doable.

The painting was easy enough. Installing new electrical switches, outlets, and lights, required minimal research. Laying vinyl planks required a bit of trial and error. Installing new cabinets was simple but tedious. Most recently my project was the crown molding for said cabinets. Like any “professional” amateur, I went to YouTube to learn what needed to be known. I watched a couple of how-to videos and learned that the molding needs to be cut upside down and backward. This concept took a while to grasp. I could not afford many mistakes, so I watched those videos over and over to understand.

What about life? We all need help navigating the ups, downs, and unpredictability we face. The Bible is an indispensable tool for helping you know God’s instruction and will. Additionally, spend ample time in prayer communicating with the Almighty who has plans for you to prosper.

Proverbs 3:5-6 was drilled into my memory at a very young age:

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

    and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him,

    and he will make straight your paths.”

It may be a career move, a long-distance move, whether to expand your family, or maybe just what to say to friends or family with whom you have a rough relationship, but we will always face decisions in which we need guidance from our all-knowing Heavenly Father. Your gut may push you strongly one way or the other but do not follow it if it goes against God’s guidance.

Psalm 32:8 is another great reminder:

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”

God will not let you down. Spend the necessary time in prayer and the Bible to fully understand the wisdom God is trying to provide. Read and reread, pray and pray again as you seek guidance. God will, at the right time, reveal the answers. Make sure you are always listening.

Rock Band

Worship • Devotion #4: Rock Band
Wes McCullough | Production Director

A few years ago, I attended a Student Life conference by Louie Giglio and Chris Tomlin. Being a musician, the music aspect was especially meaningful for me. However, what I remember most from those special days is an illustration by Pastor Giglio in which he spoke about some stars that are thousands of light-years from Earth. The rotation of these stars produces a tone or pulse that he arranged one by one into the musical progression for the song “How Great Is Our God.” His point was so clear; God created everything to give Him praise.

In Luke chapter 11, Jesus is asked to teach how to pray. Many of us have His response memorized:

“Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

On earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

As we forgive our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation,

But deliver us from the evil one.” Luke 11:2-4 NKJV

This response is short because it is more of an outline. Jesus teaches us to start prayer with praise. Later in Luke, we learn how important it is for us to worship God.

“As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’ And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these (people) were silent, the very stones would cry out.’” Luke 19:37-40

Some translations say that the rocks would immediately cry out! I love the truth that God is so worthy of being praised that if people do not do it, animals and inanimate objects will jump in to get the job done. God may not have given you a beautiful singing voice, but I promise you your praises are still beautiful to His ears. Not everyone praises Him now, but they will one day.

“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11



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