Devotions

Monthly Archives: September, 2019

Work and Worship 

Back to Reach | Devotion #1: Work and Worship
Ryan Story | Location Pastor – Burton

I sit down with an older man every other week. The purpose of our meetings is because I crave wisdom in my life. I love when people can speak truth into my life so I can be a better husband, father, and pastor. One of the things he tells me is a quote from Thomas Edison, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” I have always enjoyed this quote, but I have often fallen victim to F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out). I have had to look at my life and realized that I have missed out on opportunities to see God work because I did not want to work.

I believe that God created man for two reasons. The first thing we were created to do was to worship God. The second thing that I think we were created for was to serve God. If you go back and read the creation account in Genesis chapter two, God and Adam both do some pretty amazing things. Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” Adam was assigned by God the task to take care of paradise. The opportunity to take care of Eden was not a punishment; it was not because of sin. For some reason, we always think that work is a sin. Work is not sinning. Work is our means of worship. If we jump to Genesis chapter 3, we see that work becomes hard because of sin. We must always remember that God created man to work. So we all must get to work!

As much as I could talk about this idea for the remainder of this devotion, God showed me something that I have never seen before. Genesis 2:19 says, “Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens 80 

and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.” It amazes me that God never commanded Adam to name the creatures. God simply sent every living beast to Adam, and he knew what to do. God did not have to beg, plead, or inspire Adam to do work. God simply sent work Adam’s way and Adam did it. The relationship between Adam and God was so perfect that God did not need to command Adam to serve Him, Adam just knew to do it.

You have heard the sermons and the announcements about serving. You have probably been told by God to serve in a ministry. Do not let the devil trick you into thinking that you do not have time, or you do not have the skills to help in a ministry. Do not allow serving to become what it is not meant to be. Serving should not be work, serving should not be something that pastors or leaders of the church beg you to do, nor should it be commanded. Serving should be our way of growing in our walk with our God. Serving should be us seeing the opportunities that God has given us and take the initiative to be used to further His kingdom.

Abilities

Grow | Devotion #6: Abilities
John Hubbard | Worship Leader

If anybody had the right to complain or have a bad attitude, it was Joseph. He had just been thrown into a pit and then sold into slavery by his own brothers. Imagine the confusion, heartache, and betrayal he felt. When he arrived in Egypt, he was bought by Potiphar, the captain of the guard in Egypt. I doubt that being a slave to an Egyptian was Joseph’s dream job. I doubt that it was a job he was passionate about. I doubt that as a little boy, he would daydream about being a slave when he grew older. Despite all of these things, Joseph was known for being honest and a hard worker.

Joseph rose through the ranks and was made the overseer of Potiphar’s house and was put in charge of all that this powerful man had. When Joseph wound up in prison he was, once again, placed in charge of all of the prisoners and was trusted by the keeper of the prison. Joseph eventually ended up being the second most powerful man in Egypt.

Do you think that he would have wound up there if he had been complaining day and night about his unfortunate lot in life? I do not. Joseph was faithful in the little things. Joseph was faithful as a slave, he was faithful as a prisoner, and all who saw him could see that he was favored by God. This can be a great reminder for us as we head to jobs that maybe are not our passion. Let us be reminded of this when we feel like we do not want to put the effort in to do a great job. God sees our hearts and our attitudes. You never know what God has planned for you!

I bet when Joseph was sitting in prison that he never dreamed he would end up in prison. Be faithful in trials, be faithful in the small things; you never know what God is preparing you for or where He is going to take you!

Luke 16:10 says,“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much…” 

 

Growth Community

Grow | Devotion #5: Growth Community
Gareth Volz | Seniors 55+ Director

Verse 1
Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.

Refrain
Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.

Verse 2
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.

Verse 3
Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
Standing on the promises of God.

Verse 4
Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
Standing on the promises of God.

Verse 5

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call,
Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.

As I reflected on the words of this hymn, I was reminded why it is important that I take advantage of the opportunity to be a part of a Growth Community again this year. Growth Communities provide us with the opportunity to gather with fellow believers and study the Bible – God’s Holy Word. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Apostle Paul writes, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Since the Bible is God-breathed, it is inerrant. If I know God’s promises and stand on them, I cannot fail. If I am God taught, God trained, and God equipped, I will be able to prevail when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail. Proverbs 30:5 says, Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”

The River Church has Growth Communities for senior adults, married couples, men, women, students, and children at all locations. They meet on different days of the week and at different times to try and meet each believer’s needs and schedule. The Growth Communities are opportunities for us to study God’s Word throughout the week, and then come together to study what God has taught us. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”  As we study God’s Word together, we help each other to stand in the liberty where Christ makes us free, to overcome daily with the Spirit’s Sword (the Bible), and to rest in Jesus as our all in all.

We have to know the promises of God in order to be “standing on the promises of God.”

Growing Through Trust

Grow | Devotion #4: Growing Through Trust
Ben Kirkman | Associate Operations Pastor & Facilities Director

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”Proverbs 3:5-8

God graciously blessed me with a wonderful father. My Dad loved and followed Jesus and was a man of integrity, honesty, and character. As I grew up, my Dad developed a relationship of trust with me. I knew I could confidently seek wisdom and advice from him and he would lead me in the right direction. My Dad had proven himself trustworthy, and because of that, I knew I could trust his direction and follow his leading. As I matured, I found myself wanting to be just like my Dad.

I understand your relationship with your father may have been completely different. Maybe you are still searching for a trustworthy example to help you grow and mature in your relationship with Jesus? I want to encourage you to ask God to bring that person into your life. Perhaps you have had a great example, and you are growing daily as a believer – find someone to whom you can be an example!

Wherever you may be at in your walk with God, Proverbs chapter 3 contains some wonderful truths that will help all of us as we continue to grow as believers. First of all, “trust in the Lord.” God is completely trustworthy; He has proven Himself faithful since the beginning of time. We could fill the pages of this devotional book with stories of God’s faithfulness. You can completely trust God to lead you and grow you into the Christian He wants you to be.

Secondly, really trust in God, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”So many people say they trust God, but when it comes right down to it, they will “lean on their own understanding.” They will follow what they think is best rather than what God has said is best. If you do not wholeheartedly trust in God, you are going to have a very difficult time growing in your relationship with Him.

Thirdly, “in all your ways acknowledge Him.”Make God a part of everything that you do. Do you want to grow? Do you want to mature as a believer? Get God involved in every area of your life. Seek direction from Him in the choices that you make. We have a God who knows everything, a God that is all-powerful, and a God that is completely trustworthy. The best choice is always to trust Him completely and seek His direction in every single aspect of our lives.

Proverbs chapter 3 continues with sound advice, “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” 

Finally, Psalm 92:12pictures the outcome of growth,“The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.” 

 

Imitator

Grow | Devotion #3: Imitator
Larry Gabbara | Financial Bookkeeper

“So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:10

To grow means the way a Christian will spiritually mature or grow in our faith, to draw nearer to God.

We as Christian’s should understand that to grow spiritually is a process that will help us to draw nearer to God. It is part of our spiritual faith. This process develops quicker for some than others. Through reading the Bible and listening to teachings, we will increase in our knowledge, and grow in our prayer life, faith, and understanding. Yet we should understand that growing should never end, as we should always continue to learn.

As a baby, we grew as our parents fed us, as we were nurtured we developed and grew, we matured and learned how to survive as people. I hate to think how our lives would be if we did not have this process. This process is true for all living organisms. The same happens to our pets, flowers, plants, and crops.

The beginning of spiritual growth is when we as Christians accept Jesus in our heart. We then develop a craving for the knowledge and understanding of God. We read in 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

My story is probably similar to many baby Christians, after being saved, it took time for me to understand spiritual growth. After many Bible study’s, attending church, and listening to messages, the Holy Spirit put the desire on my heart to learn the Word. This was a slow transformation. My old sinful nature wanted to take over, and the nasty old devil still rears his ugly head. With the help of prayer and God’s unending grace, we fight to continue to grow and continue in the ways of the Lord.

We must have a spiritual plan, a road map to help us develop. As we grow, we should pray to ask the Lord what areas we can increase our faith. Our plan should include growing in the knowledge and understanding of the Word.We should be doing our best to stay away from sin, and all that draws us to sin, working on learning Christ-like qualities, and having total trust in the Lord should be our goal.

Paul gives us a great plan to follow in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

 



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