Devotions

Category Archives: Family Chemistry

Gospel

Radioactive | Devotion #6: Gospel
Ryan Story | Student Pastor

A moment ago I just read an article about the Marjory Stoneman High School students returning to school. I know that in a year most of us, including myself, will have forgotten about this tragedy. We have all read stories about tragic events; young children dying, someone taking their own life, or families being broken and split apart. I love moments where you see a community rally around a family, but too often we see society quickly move on from these situations, and a family still left trying to deal with their grief. I read these articles, see these news stories, and know that no words can even begin to articulate the hurt, pain, and numbness that is in each situation. We empathize with how those going through these situations feel, but certainly do not understand the full weight of the darkness they are facing.

In your life, bad things will happen that feel as if they will destroy you. In your life, there will be nukes that land in your life and seemingly level everything around you. There are times evil seems to prevail. There are times when the most unforeseeable circumstances happen, and it leaves us wondering “why.” We have all experienced and suffered from some sort of death, hurt, abuse, divorce, neglect, pain, or manipulation. We have all woken up after a fallout, looked at our life, and had to figure out how to start putting the pieces back. Life is hard, life hurts, and bad things happen, but that does not take away from how great our Jesus is. 

In the book of Daniel, three men are sentenced to death. These men are taken to a furnace that is so hot, it killed a man because he got too close. These men were being pressed hard to forsake the God of their fathers. A king that wanted them to relent their worship was attacking these men. We have been in similar spots in our life. We have all stood in front of a blazing inferno. We have all stood in front of scenarios we never thought we would encounter. We have stood and looked upon our lives and felt that the only thing we can see is the horrible fate that awaits us. I take refuge in something that these godly men said. Daniel 3:17-18 says, “If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” 

To stand in front of such horrible circumstances and say, even if God does not deliver you in the way that you deem appropriate, that He is still worthy of your worship is beautiful! The three men were looking at the end of their life, and they did not just call out to God to save them from their circumstances; they called out to God and worshiped Him for who He was. Life is hard. Bad things happen. Evil will attempt to destroy your life. But even then, He is always there. No matter what has happened, or what will happen, Jesus is in every situation we encounter. He is too faithful to abandon us. He is too loving not to offer us comfort. He is always with us.

Hunker Down

Radioactive | Devotion #5: Hunker Down
Michelle Moshier | Nursery & Pre-K Director

Hunker Down: to hide, hide out, or take shelter.

Prepare: to put in proper condition or readiness.

As a Nursery Director, one of my favorite things to hear in my classrooms is the children singing, especially the song “I’m in the Lord’s Army.” God begins to prepare us (His army) by training and encouraging each of us throughout the entire Bible. He proceeds to condition us through what I would call a “war zone.” Peter warns us in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” In Ephesians 6:13-18, the Bible tells us what it means to put on the whole armor of God. This is a defensive strategy. According to Wikipedia, “strategic defense is a type of military planning and a set defense used for the purpose of deterring, resisting and repelling a strategic offensive, invasion or attack.” The enemy’s strategy is to kill, steal and destroy. 

God has given us everything we need to have victory. We have to acknowledge each part of this armor God has to offer. If we do, we will be able to combat Satan’s attacks on our family. The truth of God’s Word should always be close around us, like a belt. Memorizing Scripture is a powerful way to be ready to combat Satan’s lies. Next, we must put on the breastplate of righteousness. Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Without righteousness, we leave the door open for Satan to attack. A person who claims he or she is a child of God should have the works of righteousness. Then we have spiritual footwear. Your first reaction to this might be to run away; however, shoes made a soldier “ready” to run into battle. 

Faith protects us in many ways. Think about the story of Daniel in the lion’s den or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; they were not alone. God was with them in the midst of their battle. Just like He is with each of us if we have faith. Taking up the helmet of salvation protects our minds from the discouragement and despair in this world. The sword of the spirit is an offensive weapon that we have access to at all times. Hebrews 4:12 explains: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Our sword will not sharpen itself; therefore, we must be diligent with regular and focused time in the Word of God.  

Paul ends this passage by encouraging us to pray fervently for ourselves, for each other, and for the work of the Church. I like how praying reminds us of the fight, along with showing us where we get our strength. I want to be fully committed to God to show Him I am ready to hunker down and be a faithful soldier “In The Lord’s Army – Yes, Sir!”

Remember, we are all in different combat zones. We need to be aware of Satan and his different ways of attack. Are you using your armor?

Wearing a Mask 

Radioactive | Devotion #4: Wearing a Mask
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor

My wife and I became homeowners in June of 2016. Shortly after that, we had our first child, Heidi Lou. She has filled our hearts with so much love; we cannot even contain it. We want the world for Heidi. We want to love her, take care of her, be there for her, and protect her. Now that she is walking around and wanting to be outside, I keep thinking to myself that I need to fence in the backyard. In case you have not noticed, we live in a crazy world. I do not want to constantly worry about something happening to Heidi while she is focused on fun and playing outside. I want to protect her from cars, stray dogs, other animals and honestly, creepers!  So, I will slave for multiple hours putting that fence up. Why? To protect her.

Let me ask you something. How come we, as parents, will go the extra mile to physically protect our children, but slack in the area of spiritual protection? I am guilty. I will let things into my home (the very institution structured to protect my family) that spiritually harm them in the form of movies, music, video games, and social media. In 1 Peter 5:8, it says, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour!” Why do we let him prowl in our homes?

I recently counseled with a couple that needed help with their fourth-grade son. He was suspended from school because of a violent game he had created on paper to play with other kids during recess. The game involved multiple “weapons” to use to kill each other. The object of the game was to be the last person standing. When I asked the couple what types of video games he was allowed to play at home, I heard games like “Call of Duty, GTA, and Fortnite.” You could see the parents immediately put two and two together. They had allowed something into their home that was desensitizing their son to the value of human life. They had not spiritually protected him.

That is just one example. I could go on and on about movies that I hear elementary age kids talk about, lyrics I have heard them sing, and posts that I see on their social media accounts (How do they have these accounts when they are not even old enough?). We, as parents, are charged by God to protect them. The protection is not only physical, but emotional and spiritual as well. Most of the time, with children, protection means withholding something that they want because we know it is not good for them. Spiritual protection also entails teaching them to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind (see Deuteronomy 6:7).

It is not too late fellow parent!  You can make a change in your family today. It is my prayer that you place extreme importance on spiritual protection in your home. Lead your family. Set a godly example for them. Put a fence up around their hearts. Protect them from the enemy. Then watch God do amazing things with your children as they learn to love Him with all of their heart, soul, and mind.

Washing your Hands  

Radioactive | Devotion #3: Washing your Hands
James Mann | Children’s Director

In a household, if one person is sick, everyone is likely to get sick. You are near everyone and unless you quarantine yourself, you may spread the illness. Most of the time, sin is brought into the household by one of the family members. Once it is brought in to the home, it is likely to spread to everyone, and before you know it, your household is infected. I may not be a parent or a head of a household, but I have been in a household long enough to see this happen first hand.

 As a God-loving household, we are constantly under attack from the enemy. The devil is using everything in his arsenal to tear down our walls and take control. Often, he tries to make it seem like the grass may be greener on the other side. When in reality, the grass is not any greener at all. In fact, the grass is dead and infectious. In 1 Peter 5:8-9, it says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” We live in a world that temptation is around every single corner. You can barely drive to work and back without seeing or hearing something trying to tempt you. As believers, we must be checking ourselves constantly. All it takes is to be exposed to the tiniest amount of the infection before we become infected ourselves. Once we get infected by the world, we then go home and expose our families to it. The scariest thought to me is that babies have lower immune systems. If we carry the infection, and they grow up within the infected radius, they will contract this disease and not even know it, because it is how they grew up. 

God has called every single one of His followers to not be of this world. Instead, we must rise and fight against this infection that the enemy is trying so hard to get us. We cannot afford to take this thought lightly. Our families and their lives are way too important to expose them to this. Unfortunately, it only takes a father to be unfaithful to his wife one time, a wife to try something to numb the pain one time, a child to try and “fit in” one time, and then the whole family is destroyed. It is not easy to avoid the enemy and his temptations. If it were easy, we would not see families everywhere completely engulfed in this disease. We could easily be the single vessel to bring this into our family. We need to remain strong during our lives. We need to ask God daily to provide us with the tools to go through this world that is trying so hard to bring us down.

“In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

Cover your Eyes 

Radioactive | Devotion #2: Cover your Eyes
Max Sinclair | Children’s Director

Growing up, I had an overactive imagination. To this day, I can see my overactive imagination get the best of me when I get mad at a situation and think that someone is trying to purposely sabotage an event or even just my day. I perceive or see things that affect the way I live my day to day, not only that but my life. I was young, around five years old, when I saw Star Wars: A New Hope. I was so enthralled and loved every second of it that I wanted to become a Jedi. I remember many times playing make believe that I would watch something and want to be just that. I went from being a firefighter to Jedi, from acting as a police officer to being a spy and even President of the United States. All of these things came from me watching or seeing something. To this day I try to move stuff from across the room with “the force” just to feel my wife playfully smack me on the head.  

Even though these are not necessarily bad things, how my mind is wired could cause me some problems. If I allow myself to let negative and corrupt ideas and things into my mind, that begins to affect my heart. In the Bible, we see many times the command or the instruction to guard our heart (Proverbs 4:23; Romans 12:2), yet we can see that it is the last line of defense. In the military, the goal of ultimate security is to have something to stop the threats before they happen, to intimidate or to have a large enough defense to stop the storm of attackers; our first line of defense is what we see. As I prepared for this devotion, I decided to start where it all began, Genesis chapter 3. In this chapter of the Bible, we see the fall of man from the perfect nature we were meant to walk with God. You see after Adam and Eve had taken the fruit, their eyes were opened, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked” (Genesis 3:7 CSB). We see that once sin had entered into the world, our eyes began to corrupt our heart. What they saw were shame and fear, and that is not what God had planned.  

Now we live in this broken world, sin has run rampant throughout society, and we see it everywhere. We are affected from scantily clothed women trying to sell products or fantasy, to just seeing what others have and comparing our lives to it. Our eyes are what cause us to sin, so we need to protect what we see. So how do we do that, how do we protect what we see? Hebrews 12:2 (CSB) says, “Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith.” Stop looking around, and start looking at Jesus. Focusing on Jesus and keeping our eyes on Him will stop us from looking around, it will stop us from falling into temptation. In my own life, this has spoken truly just in the past two years. I came from sin and shame of not guarding my eyes to the world and what it offered to train my eyes on Him and not allowing myself to focus or fall into what I have in the past. My life has begun to change, my relationship with my family has drastically changed, and I know that my relationship with God has moved to where it needs to be heading.



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