Tag Archives: devotion

Trust and Obey

Miraculous conception and birth #6  November 11 Trust and Obey

One of my favorite parts of church gatherings is when we do child dedications. For me, it is so exciting to see parents coming before the congregation to dedicate their child or children, to God. Now, this dedication does not signify the child’s walk with Christ or express their faith in Him. However, it is the proclamation before God that the parents of the child will do all they can to surround the child with the love of Christ and to raise them upon godly principles. Likewise, the congregation is charged to help surround the child in a Christ-centered community that will exemplify His love and teachings. 

In Luke 1:57-66, we read of the birth and dedication of John the Baptist. Luke writes, “Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, ‘No; he shall be called John.’ And they said to her, ‘None of your relatives is called by this name.’ And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, ‘What then will this child be?’ For the hand of the Lord was with him.” As we read in this passage, when Elizabeth and Zechariah named their son, there was much surprise amongst those who knew them. It was custom during this time and to name your child, if not for the parents, then after a relative. That being said, naming John was an act of Elizabeth and Zechariah being obedient to God.

Obedience to God is a foundational part of our walk with Christ. When parents bring their children before the church and congregation, they are doing it out of obedience to God. When Elizabeth and Zechariah named their son John, it was out of obedience to God. When Christ was baptized by John, it was Him showing obedience to the Father. It can be tough to be obedient in our lives; whether it be at work, with parents, teachers, or you fill in the blank. However, it is a foundational part of our walk with Christ that should reverberate throughout every facet of our lives. So, as we dive deeper into this guy named John, his life began with the foundation of obedience from his parents. I challenge you to take a step back and find an area in your life where you need to be more obedient to God.

Noble Baird

Director of the Community Center

Fallen – His Angels #1

Devils and Demons | How Then Shall We Live
Chris Cain 

Are you at that point yet?  Half-way through this book and thinking, “Is this devilish talk over yet?  Make it stop already!”  Like, can these demons just not go away?  The Bible calls fallen angels – devils, demons, evil, and unclean spirits. They are supernatural, invisible, angelic, spirits. They are power hungry and love corrupting us humans to separate from God.  Did God actually create THIS?

Are you fearful of demons?  Should you be?  John McArthur writes, “There has always been a battleground between God and His truth and the devil and his lies. And that battleground is clearly drawn in Scripture and the fight goes on constantly. God calls to people through the truth and Satan with his demons tries to lure people away from truth with his hellish lies.”

The thought of writing about demons was somewhat daunting to me, maybe a little scary.  As I spent more and more time reading about them, you could say my fear factor was on the rise. But you know what scares me the most?  Knowing that demons want people to be lured away from the Truth. That is what scares me.

Retreat. Drawback. No way.  I am going to fight.  I am filled with the Holy Spirit and armed with Truth. Ephesians 6:10-12 says,  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

Will you armor up with me?  Will you battle?  The Greek word ‘dunamis’ is used about 120 times in the New Testament and means strength, ability, or power.  You might recognize that we get our English words ‘dynamite’ and ‘dynamic’ from it. We are not living our Christian life in our power, but in God’s and it is a miraculous and marvelous power.  An explosion of power!

If you want to battle, you will fight with Truth.  For those of you who have read a few of these “devotions” and say, “Eh, this is not a Bible Study, this is not deep enough,” then maybe it is time to put in some sweat equity, pick up your Bible, and read the rest of Ephesians six and answer: Who wrote it and to whom? Where do you see Jesus in the passage?  Why is it part of Scripture?  How then shall you live?

I know how I will live. I am going to armor up!  Do not let those demons lure you away from Truth.

Fallen – His Mission #6

Devils and Demons | The Hunt
Noble Baird | Community Center Director

One of my father’s favorite movie series of all time is Mission Impossible. I love how at the beginning of every movie, Ethan Hunt is given some self-destructing device, which contains the debrief on a mission for which he is requested. Whether Ethan Hunt is bouldering on the side of Dead Horse Point in Utah, sliding across the top of a speeding train, or climbing the side of the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai; he is continually put in scenarios and missions that are seemingly impossible.

In 1 Peter 5, Peter gives us a quick and accurate description of what exactly Satan’s mission is. He writes in 1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” I love how Peter lays it out quick, easy, and in simple terms. Satan’s mission is to “devour,” which means he wants to destroy anyone he can. He wants to consume, overcome, control, and ultimately take with him anyone in the world. This is his mission; his mission is not to simply attack those of us who are followers of Christ, but more importantly anyone in the world who lets him have a foot in the door of their lives.

When we watch a movie like Mission Impossible, we ultimately know that the resolution at the end will have Ethan Hunt completing his mission. Along the way, yes he will face impossible odds and tasks, yet he will come out victorious. As we read in 1 Peter 5, Satan is on a mission as well. His mission is to purge and devour as many people in this world as he can, to join his cause. Yet, his resolution will not be the same as Hunt. When Christ died on the cross, He completed His mission and solidified Satan’s as impossible. The veil was torn and as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:55, death lost its sting and will have no victory.

So, as we move forward and continue to live one day at a time, remember Satan’s mission that he has been trying to carrying out since the beginning of the world in Genesis 3. As followers of Christ, we know that he is seeking to devour anyone he can get a foothold. However, that is where our mission begins. Just as Ethan Hunt was given a debrief of his missions, Christ gave us ours when He left this world. Satan’s mission is indeed impossible, but ours is not. That is why this is your mission, should you choose to accept it: “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” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Fallen – His Mission #5

Devils and Demons | Kingdom Seeker
Mark O’Connor | Student Director

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  – 1 Peter 5:8

The simple statement of Satan’s mission is to keep us from entering into a meaningful and lasting relationship with Jesus. This is shown in verses like 1 Peter 5:8 shown above. John 10:10 tells us he comes to steal and destroy, and he does. It is funny to me that it appears that even Satan does not fully understand the power of God. Throughout history, he has been defeated and overcome so many times, but he thinks there is still a chance of victory.

That is where we come in. We see in movies when the good guy loses a fight, and they reference that while this battle may be lost, the war is far from over. Maybe this is where Satan is.  Obviously, he is on the losing end of the war, but he continues to fight, and he continues with these guerilla-like tactics on humanity.

We battle in our spiritual lives to become more Christ-like, at least I pray that I can be continually moving in that direction. We are in a fight against a worldview that is growing ever more popular that contradicts the foundation of how Jesus calls us to live. There is no doubt that the enemy is at work in this movement. That is not to say that those who are part of these movements are satanic at heart. But the very nature of the enemy is to point us in a direction that we are acting in a manner that is pleasing to us and what we want in our selfish nature, that we would lose focus on living a life that is pleasing to God.

Colossians 3:1-2 says, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Paul instructs the Church to set our minds on things that are above and not what is happening here on earth. Jesus Himself tells us in Matthew 6 to seek first the kingdom of God. Satan will use things both big and small to distract us. It could be a little thing in your personal life. Maybe it is one of those “secret” things we do not let the rest of the world see, but are tearing our faith apart in the background. It could be an issue with a friend or family member. Or maybe it is the cumulative collection of all of the enemies’ small victories in this much larger war. I do not know what he is using to distract you, but I pray that you will begin to take stock of the thing that are keeping you from a meaningful relationship with Jesus.

Fallen – His Mission #4

Devils and Demons | The Destruction of Distraction
Holly Wells | Assistant to the Pastor

The little, non-intrusive interruptions are those often unnoticed. Maybe it is an unchecked thought out of nowhere in the middle of a prayer, to which you never return. Or what about when you check out of your day to peruse social media to “connect” with others only to get swept away and your few frivolous minutes became an hour (or more), and you feel emptier than when you logged on. Maybe constant worry and fear consume your thoughts, actions, and time, or is it relationships, food, shopping, video games, or…? What about something more obvious like sitting down to have quiet time with the Lord and every chore imaginable must be done right then otherwise the world will implode? Maybe you are getting ready to step out for the Lord in a new way, and your mind is soon taken captive by the vastness of your “disqualifications.” Whether it creeps in or we seek it, unguarded distraction is a simple yet powerful tool that can reap unimaginable destruction.

It all starts in our mind. If we haphazardly accept the “innocent” thought, if we willingly accept the counterfeit reprieve, or if our shame buys the lie, the hardest part of the battle is over, and the enemy can so readily declare, “Checkmate!” We are distracted so well that we are blind to it. What have we left behind in these moments? What have we compromised in these minutes? What thoughts, ideas, or deceit have we allowed in this season, or maybe years? Distraction can seem so innocent, so trivial, and so typical that we fail to consider guarding our hearts and minds – our defenses are down. We accept various forms of distraction throughout our day that we have willingly been disarmed – we sit as prey. Our minds are frequently bombarded with tempting invitations to “look here!” and “try this!” – we look everywhere, yet focus on nothing. 

The moment we are captivated by the thought, the instant we are caught up with the distraction, our eyes are no longer on the Lord – this is a very dangerous place.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

The Word of God is very clear that we are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. We need to be aware of what consumes our thought-life. Do our thoughts align to what the Lord would desire? Are our thoughts anchored to Him or are they fleeting out of control in every direction? What safeguards can help us?

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil… Stand therefore, having girded your waist of truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for the saints…” Ephesians 6:11, 14-18

Each piece of the armor that God has provided is vital to fight off fiery darts, to stand steadfast and immovable, and it is essential to put on your armor! As a soldier prepares to enter the battlefield, so too must we! Notice the armor is both external – to protect the body – but also internal – to protect and gird our minds so that with the Lord, we will persevere.

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8

Pray – ask the Lord to show you the distractions causing destruction in your life. (Psalm 139:23-24)

Seek – the Lord’s truth and instruction through His Word. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Accept – be willing to accept what He reveals and seek accountability.

Repent – and apply His correction. (1 John 1:9)

Gird yourself – with the armor of God, take your thoughts captive, fix them on His truth.


Office: 8393 E. Holly Rd. Holly, MI 48442 | 248.328.0490 |

Copyright © 2016 The River Church. All Rights Reserved.