Devotions

Pride 

Tower of Babel • Devotion #3: Pride
Josh Lahring | Production Director

I love to build and create. As a kid, I spent countless hours building with Legos. I can remember building something that made me feel so proud. Entering it into a contest, and yet did not receive any recognition for it. It was the greatest thing I had ever built; how could it not have been good enough? It is easy to become prideful and think that we are amazing when in reality, it is God who gave us the ability in the first place.

God gave man the ability to create. In Genesis chapter 11, man began to realize that there was nothing that they could not build. In verse 4, it says, “Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.’”

Pride had led man to want to build a city because they were worried about themselves. They did not want to be dispersed over the earth, so they came up with a way to solve that problem, and while doing it, they could bring glory to man. God, however, would not allow it. He confused their language, and they ended up being dispersed over the earth, the one thing they were trying to avoid.   

James 4:6 says, “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”

We, as man, in and of ourselves, are nothing. We are our Creator’s masterpiece, and we are meant to be glorifying the Creator in all we do.

Are the things we do for our glory or God’s?

“GO TEAM!”

Tower of Babel • Devotion #2: “GO TEAM!”
Kenny Hovis | Prison Ministry Director

One of my favorite movies is from 1986; it is the movie Hoosiers. In the movie, Gene Hackman (one of the greatest actors of all time, in my humble opinion), plays the infamous basketball coach, Norman Dale. He is a tough, regimented disciplinarian that zealously preaches that there is only one way to play basketball. His mantra, “Team!” It is very much a David vs. Goliath plot, but the general theme is one of a small group of high school kids from very different situations in life coming together, learning to play and work together as a team to overcome impossible odds. In the Bible, we see examples of teamwork and how it can be used both negatively and the way it is supposed to be.

In Genesis chapter 11, we see the account of the descendants of Noah and how they were commanded by God to populate the earth. Instead of obeying the will of God, a large group came together in a place called Shinar and concluded that it would be a good idea to build a tower to reach up to the heavens, in an attempt, in my opinion, to elevate themselves to be on par with God. God in His infinite wisdom sees and knows the heart of man and says in Genesis 11:5-8, “And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.” Humanity was using teamwork to try and achieve a monument to their greatness. This is always a recipe for disaster.

The Apostle Paul writes to the church in Corinth and describes how we as Christians should view teamwork when it comes to our faith, and ministry. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, Paul says, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” Paul uses the analogy of us, believers of all ethnicities and positions, to be “one body.” He goes on in verse 27 of chapter 12 to be more specific and says, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” A body is useless without a head, and Paul states that we, as the body, should have Christ at the head. All of the individual members working together in symphony and harmony, to achieve what we have each been gifted and called to do, to fulfill the leading of the Head of the body, Christ. All of our efforts and energies for His honor and glory alone!

Gene Hackman utters one of his famous quotes from the movie that is so true for us as the body of Christ as well. “Five players on the floor, functioning as one single unit. Team, Team, Team! No one more important than the other!” Let us remember as the body of Christ we are to work together, no one part more important than the other, no matter the gift set! We are to have the same goal and mindset. All we do, as well as all of the results, are done for His honor and His glory, not ours!

“GO TEAM!”

Unity 

Tower of Babel • Devotion #1: Unity
Carole Combs | Women’s Ministry

Disunity with God will never produce unity with man.

The word unity is a warm fuzzy word to me. When I think of unity, I picture a perfect tranquil utopia where everyone is living in perfect harmony and where there are no disagreements or conflicts. Nowhere in this world will you find this kind of unity. However, you can have unity with God in this life, and He has also prepared this perfect place for you to live for eternity with Him and with all those who have trusted His Son as their Savior. If there is disunity in this world, how then can you and I have unity with God and man in this world? 

I believe it first begins with our unity with God. The people of Shinar (Genesis 11:1-9) seemed to be in perfect unity. They settled together, they had a plan together, they made bricks and mortar together, and they even built together. There was one problem; they did this all together without including God! They did not inquire or include the God that made them and all things into the construction of their lives or in the construction of their plans. God allowed them to continue for a time in their futility. Imagine God watching the whole process of their tower building. Imagine God watching you in the process of what you are doing in your life. God was watching them, as well as God is watching you. God is watching you and I as we make our plans, and as we build our lives. He wants to see if we include Him. Are you leaving God out of your plans? Do you find that there is disunity in your relationships? 

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” God is a holy and just God. He would not allow the people in Shinar to continue in their complete disregard of Him, nor will He allow us. We see nowhere in these verses that they inquired of God nor that He directed their paths. The decisions they made were on their own and without God. They thought they were in unity during this process, but sadly they were in disunity. God was not leading or guiding, only the “I, we, and us” were in charge. God allowed the language of the people to become completely different from one another. A father could not understand a son. A mother could not understand a daughter. God needs and wants to be placed in everything you do. Disunity with God will never produce unity with man. Fathers will be in disunity with sons, mothers will be in disunity with daughters, and husbands and wives will be in disunity. Neighbors will be in disunity with one another. The Church will be in disunity.  The whole world will continue to be in disunity when God is not placed in the center. Go where God wants you to go. Make God’s plans your plans. Build your life around His tower. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” Proverbs 18:10

Rainbow 

The Flood • Devotion #6: Rainbow
Mark O’Connor | Student Director

There was a time not too long ago when I learned something that changed the way I viewed the Bible. For years, I had read the Bible, studied it, and grew close in my walk with Jesus. I knew the stories and events in the Old Testament, but only a small portion of it connected with me. Much of it at the time was downright painful and boring for me to read and study. As a result, I did a disservice to myself and those I was teaching.

I took an Old Testament Survey class for college, and it opened my eyes quite a bit to the amazing prefacing that was happening about the arrival of Jesus. This was quite interesting to me. I knew of much of the prophecy in the Old Testament that told of Jesus’ coming to save the world. The book of Isaiah, throughout its sixty-six chapters, lays out in great detail the coming of Jesus and His life and reign. It tells us of John the Baptist coming before Him. 

There is more to it than that. When we start to examine the fact that every event, story, and character in the Old Testament points back to Jesus, He is intertwined in every piece of Scripture. Jesus can be seen from Moses striking the rock, showing the pouring out of the living water, to the rainbow God showed Noah after the flood.

The rainbow you may be asking? Yep, before it became the sign of the LBGTQ community, the rainbow was, and still is, the picture of the promise made to Noah that God would never again flood the Earth. This is not even a short passing verse or two that is easy to skip over and miss. There are eleven verses that make up this new covenant that God makes with Noah. You can read it in Genesis 9:7-17.

My wife and I had the good fortune to spend a week in Maui, Hawaii this past January. I saw for the first time in my life, in all of its beauty, the entirety of a rainbow that stretched from end to end. We saw both ends touching the horizon. I wish I could put a picture here for you to see now. When I think back on it, I do not think of joking about the pot of gold at the end. I do not think of the rainbow flag filters that take up space on my Facebook page. I see Jesus. I see that, just like God sent the rainbow to Noah, for them to always be reminded of God’s love and grace, He sent Jesus to us. He sent His Son to be an example of the love that He has for us. He lived a perfect life which included the sacrifice to carry a weight that I am not able to bear.

Walking Theo 

The Flood • Devotion #5: Walking Theo
Mary Jane Johns

Theo is our chocolate lab. He is 79 pounds of pure muscle, slobber, and joy. Sometimes he sits and waits for us by looking longingly out the front window for either Steve or myself to pull in the driveway. In the process, he slimes my living room window. I still love him so much! Theo is a huge fan of daily walks through our subdivision. When walking, we generally take the same route every day, sunshine, snow, or wind. Theo has never met a pothole puddle he did not like. He is a very thankful and obedient pup. It is a sad day when it rains, and we cannot walk.  Although Theo would be fine to walk in the rain, I am not a big fan. 

In the Old Testament, God commanded Noah to build a huge boat. At that time, it was not even raining. The people around taunted and teased him relentlessly. Noah was obedient to God and did as he was told to the exact measurements. Noah brought his sons, their wives, a variety of animals, and birds into the boat. 

God flooded the earth. His wrath was relentless on an ungodly, unholy, dismissive people who did not heed God’s warning through His servant Noah. As the water continued to rise, it continued to rain. Then it rained some more! It was not small puddles (that Theo loves to run through), but huge amounts of water flooded the earth. It rained for 40 days and nights. God completely wiped the earth of people. Noah’s family was safe inside the ark. After a series of tests to prove that the earth was dry enough to walk on, Noah, his family, all the animals, and birds exited the ark. 

Genesis 8:20 says, “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.”

Before Noah built a new home for himself, before he changed his clothes, before he even showered, He built an altar of sacrifice to the Lord. His greatest concern was not for himself, but to give honor to his holy and provisional God. Noah took the time to give God His very best which included clean animals to sacrifice.

Every day God is providing shelter for us in our deep waters. Noah showed a heart of thanksgiving through the pain of seeing the world wiped away. We can give honor to God for His provision for us through the rain and puddles that this life brings us. 

Joy through pain is difficult; however, we can walk through the deep waters of life without reservation. Giving an offering of praise is showing obedience to a faithful and holy God. Your story will be so much richer. Is He worthy of your adoration and praise? 

Take a moment and thank God for His continued provision and care for you while walking through the puddles and rainy moments.



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