Devotions

Monthly Archives: April, 2016

Saturday | April 30

Walk, Don’t Point

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Psalm 1:2 “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

Deuteronomy 11:18-20 “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

We have been looking at specific relationships within the family. I think that not only do our roles reflect God and who He is and what He intended for us as a family, but He calls us to pursue Him together. As parents, you are responsible for training your children in the ways of God. Your children watch you. They actually watch everything you do… they need to see you studying His Word, and they need you to study with them. I have a 3-year-old niece. She mimics everything I do, and I love it… until she mimics something that isn’t good. We have all been there, but my favorite is when she mimics something that I love. I love post-it notes (I know, my nerd is showing but I can’t help it), Ada knows that, so she loves it. She writes on one, takes it off the pad and uses another one. I love it… I know strange, but I cannot help it! If you study His Word in front of them, and with them, they know it is important. They know it is something to pursue. If it is an extension of you, an extension of your family. “…when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” they will mimic it.

Families in our culture have become passive in their pursuit of God together. We have somehow shifted the responsibility of discipleship from the family to the church. I know this is bold, but it is not the church’s responsibility to be the sole spiritual discipleship to your kids. It is an enormous responsibility that is why the church comes alongside you and your children and helps, but it is not left at the feet of the church. Parents, it is on you. Follow Proverbs, Psalms, Deuteronomy… train up your kids, talk about God and His Word with them because they “…will not depart from it”.

 

Jill Osmon
Assistant to Pastors Jim and Josh

Friday | April 29

We are Family

Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

We have been talking about families for the last few weeks. Family is traditionally made up of Dads, Moms, and children. Not everyone has a traditional family, whether it is through a divorce, death, or a season God is calling you to. It can be difficult to navigate. Our desire for a family or a community when we do not have the traditional form of them can be difficult. God created us to desire community… to be known and to know others. I read a quote years ago by a pastor, Ben Stuart, and it has stuck with me… “The human soul cries for intimacy and impact – belonging and meaning – love undeterred by failure and significance undiminished by time.”

God created family, the concept of community for us. He created us to crave it, and He offers us ways to have it, even outside the traditional family. God has surrounded me with a community of people, a community full of people who love me, who know me. Some of them are biological family, and some are chosen, but all are specifically in my life for a reason. It is a beautiful picture of what the Church is a community of people that come together and make each other better, challenge each other and love each other. Hebrews 10:24, 25.

Life is tough, so tough that we need to do life with people who know us, who will encourage us, love us, and speak truth to us… family. Whether that family is by blood or by choice, it is family. God created the concept family. So my challenge to you is to look around, grab people who need community… from all walks of life and do life with them. I cannot imagine a more perfect picture of what God intended for us.

 

Jill Osmon
Assistant to Pastors Jim and Josh

Thursday | April 28

Perfect Parents?

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”  Ephesians 6:1-3

Parents and kids… it is a complicated relationship. One deeply affected by our own shortcomings. God calls us, as sons and daughters, to obey and honor our parents. Obey and honor fallible human beings. That is tough. That is made even more difficult because we, as kids, are fallible human beings. So how do we make this relationship work from a child’s perspective? How do we honor and obey our parents? The Bible does not give us a time limit on this. Obeying might look different at certain seasons of your life, but honoring our parents does not go away when you become adults.

It is interesting that God does not give us conditions on honoring our parents. The Bible does not say, if your parents make every right decision, honor them. It simply says honor them. How can we do that when we struggle with honoring a perfect God? If we cannot honor a perfect God, how can we honor imperfect people? Is it too simple to say because God commands us to do it? God commands us to do it!

Recognizing that our parents are imperfect makes it easier to honor them. I think we have some high expectations for our parents… we do not allow them to be imperfect. We need to remember that they are people trying to do the best they can. Sometimes their best is seriously inadequate, but when have we been perfect in any of our relationships? See, honoring has nothing to do with what our parents have done but all about God’s command. In honoring our parents, we are honoring God. Even when our parents are not worthy of honor, we honor because God has given us immeasurably more, and we do not deserve it, and yet He gives.

Next time we have our moments where we are annoyed with our parents, moments that they mess up, moments that hurt us… we honor them because God honors us by loving us, forgiving us, and providing for us.

 

Jill Osmon
Assistant to Pastors Jim and Josh

Wednesday | April 27

Mom Power

I was in a car accident years and years ago; I had a bad case of whiplash and some bruises but nothing that even sent me to the hospital. I held it together with the police officer, the people who stopped to help, and my aunt who came to get me, but as soon as I heard my mom’s voice, waterworks…I mean ugly cry! My dad may be my protector, but my mom is whom I want when something bad happens. She is my safe place.

Dads lead, they have a heavy, righteous weight that they must carry. Moms, I think God has called them to be all things at all times. It is being a little silly but think about it, your mom comforts you, makes your lunches, gives wisdom, disciplines… she is your safe place. Isaiah 66:13 says, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…”, Proverbs 6:30 says, “My son…forsake not your mother’s teaching.”, I Timothy 1:5 says, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” All things at all times, a safe place.

So how does the world destroy this aspect of the family? I think as women we get overwhelmed with being all things at all times. We get lost in the vastness that is motherhood. We believe the lies Satan tells us that we are not good enough and what we do doesn’t matter. I am sure you have your unique soft spot that Satan preys on, but the end result is the same, women sometimes let the world paralyze them and resent their role. To be the safe place, it requires strength, wisdom, and a strong identity in Christ. We have the privilege to be a picture of our true safe place. Psalm 46:1-5, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.”

Women, whether you are a mom or your mentoring young women, or are a sister, or a friend, it still applies. God will give us all opportunities to speak into lives, to point them to the ultimate safe place. Let’s not get bogged down by the enormity of it, but instead be grateful that we get to be used by God to be a mirror of one of awesome characteristics. Let’s be a safe place for those searching in a dark world.

 

Jill Osmon
Assistant to Pastors Jim and Josh

Tuesday | April 26

Dad Power

Fathers. There is a lot of emotion that comes with that word. Fathers have the unique ability to speak into their kids’ lives…. for better or worse. There is a reason that there are millions of kids and adults that are struggling in life, a direct result of an absent father, an angry father, an emotionally absent father, or an abusive father. Dads, you have POWER. Please understand this, you have power; you have RESPONSIBILITY. You have the weight of your family on your shoulders. God has placed you at the head of the family. Please let that sink in… it is not a light responsibility, it is heavy. I thought about going in a lighter direction with this devotion, but honestly, the responsibility is too big to miss the chance to see what God expects of fathers…it begins with you.

Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Let’s break this up into two sections.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger….” I always took the “do not provoke your children to anger” pretty literal. So my parents should not make me mad, that is what I thought growing up. Mom, Dad, you are making me angry so you must be doing something wrong. Let’s dig a little deeper, with what that looks like. The Matthew Henry commentary says this, “Though God has given you power, you must not abuse that power, remembering that your children are, in a particular manner, pieces of yourselves, and therefore ought to be governed with great tenderness and love.” They are pieces of yourselves so take care…I love that. God is telling us, hey listen, you need to lead them but do not be so harsh that you injure them emotionally so that they become embittered toward you because they are a part of you. Kids are looking to their dads to lead them, and God is asking fathers to lead them with love. This does not mean that you do not lead them at all and avoid any conflict or difficult situations, but lead them with wisdom and godliness.

“…but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” I’ve never been more thankful for my dad, than when I first started mentoring and counseling women (kids, teens, and adults). Many and I mean many of their insecurities, their decisions, and their heartbreak were a direct result of their relationship with their fathers. Some realized that, but many just sat there struggling with their life and didn’t understand the connection. Sons and daughters struggle connecting with their Heavenly Father because they lack a connection with their earthly father. Daughters need to be told they are loved, they need to be protected, and they need to know that their earthly father believes they are unique, beautiful, lovely, strong, wise, and worthy.

It is the same with men. Sons need to be told that they are loved. They need to be protected and taught to protect. They need to be led and taught to lead. They need to know their earthly father believes that they are unique, strong, wise, and worthy. If they get that, if they believe that, their ability to stand in the embrace of their Heavenly Father and seek their identity in Him is immeasurably stronger. They become men and women of God who find their worth in their Heavenly Father; there is no stronger person than that. This pleases our Heavenly Father. This is how we can deliver or redeem the family. Continually pointing our kids to God, and continually finding our strength in Him.

Men, just because you may not be a father or your kids are grown or have unique situations only known to you, God is going to give you opportunities to step into people’s lives that may not have fathers or may need a strong male influence in their lives. This applies to you too, don’t waste those opportunities, pray that God brings those people into your lives and point them to the Heavenly Father.

Be intentional with your actions, your words, and your instruction. God will honor that, and our families will be changed for the better because of it.

 

Jill Osmon
Assistant to Pastors Jim and Josh



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