Devotions

Author Archives: Wes McCullough

Great Fear

Shepherds • Devotion #2: Great Fear
Wes McCullough | Production Director

Have you ever been outside during a thunderstorm when a giant lightning bolt is followed by a massive boom? In an instant, your legs can go limp and your heart races. A close encounter of a strong thunderstorm makes you feel vulnerable and insignificant. It is not just about the possible physical harm, at that moment you have a renewed respect for the strength of the storm.

“And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.’” Luke 2:9-10

I imagine the surprise of an angel appearing before you is much more intense than a thunder boom. You would probably fall to your knees in their heavenly presence. I do not think you would fear harm from them, but you would certainly have absolute respect for their authority. I believe this is the fear the shepherds experienced in Luke 2 when they were visited by an angel.

The Bible speaks a lot about the fear of the Lord. In many instances, it is in the context of teaching life lessons and promises wisdom, knowledge, and life.

“The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.” Proverbs 19:23

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Proverbs 9:10

“For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and he is to be feared above all gods.” 1 Chronicles 16:25

“For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.” Psalm 96:4

“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!” Psalm 112:1

If you are always cognizant of God’s infinite power and authority, you need not be afraid of the Heavenly Father. Respect His power, His justice, His authority, and always know that He has a plan with your best interests in mind.

Absolutes

Miraculous conception and birth #4  November 9 Absolutes

There are absolutes in this world. Matter cannot be created or destroyed. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Everything that goes up must come down. We do not question these rules because they are known and accepted truths. There is another absolute, the Almighty God is not bound by absolutes, and we can learn from Zechariah that it is not a good idea to be skeptical of God’s Word coming from an angel. Zechariah was told in Luke 1:18-23 that he and his wife would have a child. Zechariah was doubtful because his wife was barren and they were now well beyond their child-bearing years. For his lack of faith, Zechariah was made unable to speak until his child was born. 

In the book of Matthew, Jesus gives a powerful lesson, “If you have faith and do not doubt…if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen” (Matthew 21:21). In Matthew 14 we read about Jesus feeding over 5000 people. The Disciples doubted that they could afford to feed the large group that had gathered to listen to Jesus. Jesus stunned them all when His prayer to God turned a small boy’s lunch into an abundance for thousands of people. Also in Matthew 14, we read of Jesus walking on water and calling Peter out to Him. Peter successfully walks on water until he is distracted by the wind and waves and begins to sink. Somehow Peter forgot that he was already doing the impossible.  These are a few of the countless examples of God’s power over the “impossible.” Our thinking tends to be limited to what we think is possible when we should remember Matthew 21:22, “Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” 

Zechariah was a faithful, God-fearing man. He knew God had no limits, but like us, he was distracted by his limitations. For nine months his inability to speak was a daily reminder of the sin and doubt that was in his heart. We need not doubt. God knows the desires of our heart, and we should bring them to Him humbly and honestly. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

We are all going to face doubt and uncertainties in this life, but one thing is for sure, faith is much stronger than any doubts this world can cause. God has no restrictions and no handicaps. Focus on His power, not your limitations.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

Wes McCullough

Worship Leader

Fallen – His Fall #4

Devils and Demons | Pride Bad; Humility Good
Wes McCullough | Worship Leader

No one is good at everything, but everyone is good at something. Therefore, every person is at risk of becoming prideful. You should be proud of yourself, giving thanks to God in the process, but be careful, the Bible has some strong words about pride.

We have all heard the familiar phrase, “Pride comes before the fall.” Not surprisingly, these wise words come from Proverbs. No one in history experienced this principle so literally and more severely than Satan. He was once on the holy mountain of God and was described as the Day Star, perfect in beauty and blameless, but he became filled with pride and desired to overthrow God, so God cast him out of Heaven. 

Let us look at the ancient Israelites and learn from their repeated failure at humility. For forty years they wandered in the desert while God stripped them of their pride. Only when they embraced humility and a reliance on their Heavenly Provider did they settle into the homeland God had promised. It is too bad they could not remember this lesson. Their struggle with the pride/humility concept continually led to war, exile, and captivity. Like before, it took a long time for them to learn a simple concept; pride bad, humility good.

If pride is on one end of the spectrum humility is on the other end. Satan’s refusal to humble himself cost him everything. The Bible is very clear on how God feels about pride and humility:

“For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down.” – Psalm 18:27

“The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground.”Psalm 147:6

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” James 4:10

These few examples give us clear instructions on how we should conduct ourselves if we seek to please God and desire His favor in our lives.

God is the Creator, the Provider, the Sustainer and we have nothing, are nothing without Him.

Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

Sharables – Testimony

Sharables – Testimony
Wes McCullough | 
Worship Leader

When I say I have gone to church my whole life, I mean it. When I was born, my parents took me from the hospital straight to church where they prayed over and dedicated me.

Here is my life in a nutshell:

  • Both parents are believers and lifetime attendees of church
  • I accepted Christ at a very young age and rededicated my life as a teen
  • I have attended church nearly every weekend of my life
  • I have been serving in the church since I was 14 years-old
  • No alcohol, tobacco, drugs, profanity, or sex before marriage

At first glance, my testimony can seem plain, boring, or dull. Hearing a powerful testimony of total life change from sin to salvation can make me think mine is nothing to brag about. A better way to think of my testimony is not salvation OUT of a wicked life but FROM a wicked life completely. I am not claiming to be without sin, but a life of alcohol, drugs, sexual impurity, and lawlessness is one I have never known firsthand. Christian parents raising me with morality and respectfulness, compounded by my shy nature has protected me from making decisions that would send my life spiraling out of control.

God’s mercy has allowed me to understand choice and consequence. I have always focused on the negatives that alcohol, drugs, and promiscuity have on one’s life.  By the grace of God, I have never been tempted by those things. One verse that has always helped is Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” I have always wanted to be my own person. Be it the partying lifestyle or fashion; I only ever wanted to be me. My duty as a Christian is not to mirror the ways of man but to reflect the image of Christ.

I share my story with humility. I do not think myself better than any other sinner saved by grace. The truth is, hearing of someone who has hit rock bottom and been saved by God is inspiring to someone like me. I hope my testimony is likewise inspiring to them. I want my testimony to be confirmation that God can save you BEFORE you turn the wrong way as well as after. I encourage you to proudly share of God’s grace in your life no matter when it happened.

Secret Giving #1 – Almighty

Secret Giving #1 – Almighty
Wes McCullough | Worship Leader

Deuteronomy 15:10
“Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.”  

Having been raised in the church, I am no stranger to tithing. It was never a foreign concept, never a struggle to do, and frankly, never an “option.” God has clearly commanded that from what He has blessed us with me must offer back ten percent. Ten percent does not sound like much until you convert it to dollars. That ten percent can be difficult to part with knowing you have a concrete budget and giving it away may mean your household could miss a meal or not be able to pay a bill. Letting go of the assurance that money brings is exactly why God asks us to do it. He says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understandings” (Proverbs 3:5).  Put your trust in the Almighty God, not the “almighty dollar.”

Giving does not stop at God. We are also commanded to be charitable and help our neighbors with our time, effort, or money. My wife and I have had opportunities to bless friends, family, and strangers with money and it has been satisfying knowing we have the money to give and are willing to part with it. My parents have been setting an increasingly good example for me over the years. Their stories of giving away items ranging from rugs to cars have been inspiring.

It is true God loves a cheerful giver, but we must be careful to keep our motives pure. Pride of giving can be our downfall and seeking praise from man can mean losing the blessing from God. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.  Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-4).

Do not be discouraged from giving. The Bible is full of praise and promises to those who give:

  • “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty.” Proverbs 3:9
  • “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.” Luke 6:38
  • “Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.” Deuteronomy 15:10
  • “He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.” Proverbs 28:27

God has plans to bless you. When you give, guard your heart from sinful pride. Aim to honor God and thank Him for blessings abundant enough to share with others.



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