Devotions

Monthly Archives: November, 2015

Monday | November 30

Make a List

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God.    Luke 17:15 KJV

Less than four weeks till Christmas and I am pleased that you are taking a few minutes out of what can be an incredibly busy time to look again at Jesus’ healing of the 10 lepers and the impact this miracle can have in our lives. This week we will focus on the example of gratitude that the “10th leper” set in his encounter with Jesus so long ago. What is true thankfulness? Is it a feeling? A thought? An action? When should we be thankful? When we get what we want? When we succeed? During struggles? To whom and how do we express our gratitude? How does being grateful affect us? I am hopeful we can better grasp the spiritual importance of the old AA recovery circle adage of, “Have an attitude of gratitude”.

You may know the story by now, 10 men with leprosy call out to Jesus as He entered a small village on His way through Samaria and Galilee. They asked Jesus in unison for mercy as they suffered with one of the most tragic and humiliating conditions known to man at the time, leprosy. I am sure the mere mention of the word back then created such an intense sense of fear and panic that we struggle to relate. If you contracted leprosy not only was death imminent, but you were going to die away from normal contact with family and friends, isolated either by yourself or with others who shared your condition.  Possibly even worse was the fact that you were now deemed “Unclean” per the Old Testament Law which meant you were unfit for worshipping God at the Temple.

Jesus responded to the lepers’ pleas for mercy with a simple command. He told them to go immediately and show themselves to the local priest. The priests of the day appeared to also be the local health department because they had the authority to examine and declare a person “clean”. The lepers do as Jesus instructed and they soon realize that their faith and compliance has resulted in their complete healing.  We never hear from nine of the lepers again, but the 10th leper returns to Jesus literally screaming his gratitude for the world to hear. Can you imagine his excitement? From a shameful lonely death sentence to a complete return to normal life and loved ones.

The 10th leper now does something that I believe touched Jesus’ heart in a very special way. He doesn’t just express his gratitude verbally, Luke writes in verse 16 of chapter 17 that “He fell down on his face at His (Jesus) feet giving Him thanks.” In all of his excitement he not only took a moment to publicly thank Jesus; his thankfulness led him to WORSHIP!  Allowing our gratitude to lead us to praise and worship God will be the focus of our devotions this week.

Take a moment to write or mentally list 8 to 10 things in which you are most thankful. I hope that we can all gain a more clear vision of our many blessings.

“The greater our present trials, the louder our future songs be, and the more intense our joyful gratitude.” Charles Spurgeon

 

Jeff England
Counseling Pastor

Saturday | November 28

Person of Impact: A suggestion or a command?

Go clean your room, take the trash out, sweep the floor, get those reports done, fix that car, sell those items, organize this, put that together, finish the job we started yesterday, and the list goes on and on and on. These are some simple daily task/commands that you may get handed to you from your boss, your spouse, or your parents. Things like this are more than a suggestion, because if we fail to perform said task, then there is almost always a consequence. A command is direction with authority. A suggestion is an idea of what someone should do. A command is definite. A suggestion is a maybe.  A command indicates necessity while a suggestion might be unnecessary.

Jesus COMMANDS us in Matthew 28:18-20: “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”  We not only have the opportunity to go and make disciples, baptize, teach, and make an impact, but we are commanded to GO and make disciples. Jesus DOESN’T say, “maybe it’s a good idea to tell others”, He doesn’t say, “you may want to think about baptizing”, and He certainly doesn’t indirectly suggest that we teach others. He COMMANDS with AUTHORITY! Imagine if the people of impact in your life took Jesus’ command as a suggestion. They most likely would not have impacted you for the cause of Christ!

Do we view God’s words as a suggestion that we should try out, or a command to live by? What would happen if we took the call to impact others for Christ as a command rather than a suggestion? Who could we impact? How many could we impact? How many could they impact if we taught them to do the same? When we disobey one of God’s commands we are in sin. When we are not following the command to make disciples, we are in sin. James 4:17 says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”  Don’t ever think you can’t impact somebody for Jesus. Don’t ever look at God’s call as a suggestion, but fulfill the command we have been given to make disciples and impact others!

 

Matt Hatton
Student Ministries Director

Friday | November 27th

The Snowball Effect

Two times two is four. Four times two is eight. Eight times two is sixteen. Sixteen times two is thirty-two. Thirty-two times two is sixty-four. Sixty-four times two is one hundred and twenty-eight. One hundred and twenty eight times two is two hundred and fifty-six. Two hundred and fifty six times two is five hundred and twelve. Five hundred and twelve times two is one thousand and twenty-four. One thousand and twenty four times two is… well, you get the picture. The eternal impact that we make in someone’s life can make an impact larger than any of us could ever imagine!

Years ago, when I was only a high school student attending summer camp, I remember my youth pastor preaching a sermon about making disciples and going out to intentionally impact someone’s life. I remember my youth pastor sharing a story about a young lady, named Sharon, who had the boldness to carry out the command to “go and make disciples”. She was courageous enough to share Jesus with my youth pastor’s father, who then had multiple children whom he boldly shared Jesus with. Those children grew up to be people God has used to impact hundreds of people!  My youth pastor was a man who made a lasting impact in the lives of numerous people, myself included. He is a man that taught me how to battle sin, love others, serve others, lead others, and live for the cause of Christ! Part of my duty as a follower of Christ is to do the same! Each day I have the opportunity to impact teenagers and others for Christ. My hope and prayer is that God would use them to do the same.

As we continue to say thanks this month, I would like to say “hey thanks” to all of those who have made an impact in my life. I would like to thank them for their obedience to God by fulfilling the call to “go and make disciples”. Thanks for your boldness. Thanks for coming alongside me to help me grow into a better follower of Christ. Thank you Lord for placing these people in my life.

Who are some people that have made this lasting eternal impact in your life? Take some time to thank them. Who are some people that God has placed in your life for you to impact for the cause of Christ? You never know how far sharing Christ with one person can go. You never know how great of an impact you can have for the cause of the Gospel!

 

Matt Hatton
Student Ministries Director

Thursday | November 26th

The Perfect Example

By definition, an example is one that serves as a pattern to be imitated. Throughout the Bible there are many examples of persons of impact but there is one that we must look at and follow with great detail. The example that we are to look at is the Perfect Example. That perfect example rest upon the only perfect person to ever walk the face of the earth. The perfect pattern that we are to imitate with our lives is the lifestyle of Jesus. The apostle Paul knew full well that the only perfect example is that of Jesus. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” Paul writes something similar to the church of Philippi, “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” (Philippians 3:17). Paul wasn’t saying that he was the most perfect example to be followed, but he followed Christ who is a perfect example to live by.

When it comes to being a person of impact we can look to Jesus as an example. Being a person of impact/making disciples/mentoring is not something that happens overnight. Jesus spent THREE straight years by the side of His disciples. He spent three YEARS teaching them, training them, loving them, and serving them. When I think of people who have been an impact in my life, I think of people who have been around me for a long time. I think of the people that have battled in the trenches with me. I think of the people that have gone through life with me no matter what I’m going through. I think of the people who have not only taught me, but have taught me by example. Making disciples and being a person of impact takes time and investment.

Jesus did more than just teach and train His disciples. His love and His service was an example for them to follow. In John 13 we read the account of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet: “When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:12-15). Jesus lived His life as a perfect example for His followers. His love and service was something that made a lasting, eternal impact on His disciples.

Jesus is the Perfect Example for us to follow. Being a person of impact isn’t something that happens in a moment, it’s more than teaching, its leading by a loving example that we see displayed in the life of Jesus. The impact that we can have in the lives of others is an impact that is found in the example of Christ. Are you imitating the pattern of Christ?

 

Matt Hatton
Student Ministries Director

Wednesday | November 25th

Paul’s Protégé

No parent hopes for their child to grow up to be a criminal with no respect for others. The goal and hope for any parent is to watch their child mature and grow into a strong, well-rounded adult. The same holds true on the spiritual side of things. In discipling another believer, your hope and prayer isn’t that they would fall into sin and disown their faith, but it’s quite the contrary!  It’s a joyful thing when someone you’ve spent years with training and discipling grows into a strong, grounded, God-honoring individual that displays Christlikeness in all areas of life.

A person of impact, A.K.A. a disciple maker, is someone who seeks to reproduce the virtues and aspects of Christlikeness in the life of his or her disciple. A person of impact doesn’t only seek to lead others to Christ, but they strive to help those whom they have led to Christ grow to be firm mature believers who will be willing and able to repeat the process.

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men  who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:1-2).

The charge from Paul to Timothy to be a person of impact is a command to us as well. The command to GO and make disciples and the charge we see here from Paul to Timothy is not a suggestion from God. It is our duty as followers of Christ.

Timothy was Paul’s Protégé, the person he was privileged to impact. He was Paul’s spiritual son and the reflection of what Paul was as a follower of Jesus. 1st and 2nd Timothy both begin almost the same way with Paul addressing his pupil in the faith, Timothy.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord (1 Timothy 1:1-2).

We are all called to follow this example of Paul and Timothy in both ways. Is there someone in your life who is training, impacting, and discipling you? Are you taking what you have been taught to disciple and impact someone else for the cause of Christ?

 

Matt Hatton
Student Ministries Director



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