Devotions

Monthly Archives: February, 2017

I for an Eye

Retaliation #2 – I for an Eye
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

Have you ever been driving down the road and a car passes you going significantly above the speed limit? I am sure that has happened before, and you have probably had similar thoughts to mine. “Man, I hope that guy gets pulled over.” Then a couple of minutes later, boom! You drive by that person as they are handing their license and registration over to that state trooper. You know that person is getting their due punishment. Anyone going 100 MPH on the freeway deserves a ticket. However, that punishment is not something that is for us to decide. It takes a police officer to hand out that punishment.

In the same way, vengeance and retaliation towards sin is something that is not in our control, but it is God’s responsibility. Romans 12:17-21 says, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Scripture instructs us that vengeance is not ours to be had. We are not to retaliate with evil when we are sinned against. This is a command that feels so unnatural because our sin nature desires that we get revenge ourselves when we are wronged. Scripture tells us that we should actually meet the needs of our enemies instead of getting revenge. When we take this instruction and apply it to our own families, it hits even closer to home. If my wife does something that upsets me, I have no right to turn around and “pay her back” for what she has done. I am instructed to love her and forgive her. When we think about our relationships, we need to look at the example Christ gives us with the Church. Believers continually sin against God, yet He continues to love and forgive us. We need to apply that same love and forgiveness to those who wrong us in our lives. If a family member has hurt you, you need to love them. If a family member has sinned against you, you need to forgive them. There are people in this world who have done terrible things, and we can trust that God will deal with them in the way that He sees fit. Vengeance is not our job, and I am glad for that. We get the privilege of reflecting Christ’s love to a broken and hurting world. Let us strive to do that better and better each and every day.

Don’t Retaliate, Bless

Retaliation #1 – Don’t Retaliate, Bless
Isaiah Combs | Worship Leader/Young Adults Director

I would say I am a hot-tempered person. During my early teens to my early 20s, I developed a no-nonsense reputation. My reputation was built on my temper and repaying people’s negative action toward me. Whether that was with words or actions, I was not to be shown up. I made it very clear to people that I was not afraid to retaliate, and I would let my temper get the best of me.

It did not take much to set me off. I am sorry to say that I hurt many people, and I was not the light I was supposed to be.

I know I am not the only one that struggles with anger and retaliations. Anger is not the sin. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry and do not sin.” Even Jesus was angry in Matthew 21:12, “And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.” Jesus was angry, but He did not sin.

Retaliation is the sin. My retaliation to a word being said to me or actions being done to me has been less than Jesus-like. I have been kicked out of countless games due to retaliation against other players and referees. I believe it was only Jesus who saved me from getting into serious trouble in the military from letting my temper get the best of me. I also need to thank you, Lord, for my wife who has dealt with my anger and me for a long time.

I have learned that Jesus is the only way to help me with my anger. The Bible has many verses about the right response to anger. Proverbs 15:1-4 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. “ James 1:19 says, ”Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

Peter was a man known to lose his temper. He was quick to open his mouth and quick to draw his sword. However, Peter was changed and forgiven by Jesus.
1 Peter 3:9 says, ”Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”

It is hard to repay blessing for evil. It is much easier to blow up. Yes, they probably deserve it. Yes, wives and kids can press the buttons that tend to put you in a place you never thought you could be. Yes, I know people love to run their mouths. Yes, it takes work. Yes, you feel weird. But…

Bless them that you may obtain a blessing. The blessings of God are much more satisfying than the satisfaction of retaliation.

Do not Retaliate, Bless.

Promises #6

Promises #6
Noble Baird | Guest Services Director

Three years ago, I made a promise to my future wife and family. You see, I do not take titles lightly. Whether that title is pastor, officer, doctor, sergeant, etc. they are all titles that are to be respected. Uncle Ben from Spider-Man said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Just as I have much respect for those who hold certain titles, I also hold them to a higher standard. With that being said, I believe that the titles of husband and father are the two most privileged titles a man can ever receive. That is why I made a promise to my future wife and family. I promised them that I was going to get my act together, get healthy, set my priorities straight, not conform, and continually seek after God to become the man they will need.

Paul also knew the gravity of these titles. In Ephesians 5:25 he writes, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” I do not know about the rest of you, but when Paul uses Christ as the example for a life lesson, I think it is important. You see, Paul says that Christ’s relationship with us, the Church, is the same relationship that husbands and wives ought to be modeled after. Paul is setting the benchmark high with this passage. He is not taking the title of husband lightly, so why do we?

All too often in social media, TV, the news, books, etc. the world is changing and reshaping the standard. For example, nowadays it is often acceptable and encouraged for couples to have premarital sex. Reason being, relationships are like used cars, and you have to “test-drive” it before you buy. Another one that I see often is the whole I would rather them drink alcohol in my house rather than out at a friend’s or some party; since breaking one law and starting a bad habit will not lead to another, right? You see, our society has corrupted and changed Christ’s standard and His example to what the world deems acceptable and true.

That is why I made the promise. Know my heart; I am not saying that I am best or a model of Christ in every aspect of my life because truthfully I am not. I mess up daily. However, I do my best to continually chase after the example, the model, and the standard that Paul writes about and Christ set. Christ loves us, the Church, so much that He laid down His life for us. He sacrificed and made Himself a servant out of love. That is why I promised to do the same. I know that I am going to mess up and fail, I am human, and I am not perfect. Yet, when Paul writes to husbands and all the future husbands, he is leaving them with more than just a challenge; he is giving them the standard.

So, instead of a challenge, I want to leave you men with this question: have you been chasing after Christ’s standard in your marriage and family? Or have you conformed to the standard that the world has deemed acceptable?

We’ll Go Tomorrow, I Promise

Promises #5 – We’ll Go Tomorrow, I Promise
John Hubbard | Worship Director

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’—  yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’  As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.”  James 4:13-16

I wish that I could keep my promises, especially to my family, but the truth is that more often than not I cannot control when things are going to happen. My daughter is nearly three years old, and even at this age, it is a crushing defeat when I cannot take her on a fun playdate because something else has come up that I cannot ignore. James writes that to plan our lives without acknowledging the Lord’s will is to boast in our arrogance. This sounds easy enough, to remember God’s sovereignty, but how often do we plan and schedule our time or save and spend our money without thinking about what the Lord’s will is in our life?

Our lives are like a mist. It is a glimpse in the span of eternity. If you ever tried telling your mom what she will be making you for dinner when you were younger, you have a pretty good idea about how foolish it is to make plans without acknowledging the Creator of all things as at the very least a factor in your decision-making process. Now sometimes your mom might let you pick what is for dinner, and sometimes God will let you pick what you might do as well. Just keep in mind that sometimes, it is just not up to you.

Promises #4

Promises #4
Kyle Wendel | Children & Students Ministry Director

Have you ever made a promise to someone before? I am sure we can all think at least some goofy promise we made before. I know my mom used to tell me as a kid that if I ate my green beans, I would become the green power ranger. Unfortunately, I have not transformed into him just yet…hopefully, someday that will come true!

Promises that we humans make fall short a lot. We often make promises we cannot keep. We end up breaking those promises and often hurting someone. However, the promises of the Lord will never be broken or come up void. They will always be true and come in full.

Let us just look at a few promises that God has given us that have not been broken.

Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

How awesome is it to think about how the Lord is always with us and will never leave or forsake us?! You may not always be able to rely on other people’s promises, but you can always know the Lord will never leave your side. He is always there for you. He will never break His promise.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

All things work together for those who love God. Now this does not mean everything in our earthly lives will go the best in our thoughts. We often are too caught up in the here and now. However, in the eyes of God, the things will work out for good for us. We can have closer fellowship with God, bearing fruit for the kingdom, and we will one day be with God.

2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”

All God’s promises find their fulfillment in Christ. The Old Testament promises and prophecies point to Jesus. Christ fulfills them all. He has given God’s Word weight to them. How amazing is it to think about all the things Christ has fulfilled for us. It is crazy that we know that God’s promises are so true and will never come up short. We know that we can always trust His word. We can always trust His promises to us. Let us never doubt God and His word. Let us hold fast to Him.



Office: 8393 E. Holly Rd. Holly, MI 48442 | 248.328.0490 | info@theriverchurch.cc

Copyright © 2016 The River Church. All Rights Reserved.