Devotions

Author Archives: Pastor Ben Kirkman

Gather • Devotion #4: Celebrating the Gospel

There are many misconceptions about what people think a Church gathering should be. We will not be addressing any of those right now. Instead, I want to point out one of the greatest opportunities that gathering together as followers of Christ presents to us, one thing on which our gathering together should always be centered. When we gather, we have the opportunity to celebrate the Gospel together. 

The Gospel is what gives us life and hope. The Gospel is what changes and heals broken lives. The Gospel is a gift from a loving God to people who have a need they can never meet on their own. Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” The Gospel is good news for people that are born into some really bad news. Every person is born a sinner, and as a sinner, they are separated from a perfect, holy, and righteous God. As sinful people, we have no hope of having a relationship with a perfect God. However, God in His mercy and grace made a way for us to be forgiven of our sins and declared righteous. He made it possible for the relationship to be restored. In I John 4:14, we read, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” John 3:16 adds, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus left perfect Heaven, came to this imperfect world and was born of a virgin. He was completely God and completely man at the same time. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life, yet was executed on a cross, bore God’s wrath, and took the punishment we deserve for our sin. He was buried, and three days later, He rose from the dead, defeating death and sin and giving us hope. We can repent of our sins and call on Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and He will justify us and restore our broken relationship with the Father. Faith in Jesus and His finished work on the cross is the only way to stand right before a holy God. Jesus made it possible! That is the Gospel. When we gather together as believers, we have the privilege of celebrating Jesus and the Gospel. When we gather together, we need to be mindful of what the Lord has done for us and make it a priority to celebrate our amazing God. Psalm 34:1-3 says, “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!”

Gather • Devotion #4: Celebrating the Gospel

There are many misconceptions about what people think a Church gathering should be. We will not be addressing any of those right now. Instead, I want to point out one of the greatest opportunities that gathering together as followers of Christ presents to us, one thing on which our gathering together should always be centered. When we gather, we have the opportunity to celebrate the Gospel together. 

The Gospel is what gives us life and hope. The Gospel is what changes and heals broken lives. The Gospel is a gift from a loving God to people who have a need they can never meet on their own. Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” The Gospel is good news for people that are born into some really bad news. Every person is born a sinner, and as a sinner, they are separated from a perfect, holy, and righteous God. As sinful people, we have no hope of having a relationship with a perfect God. However, God in His mercy and grace made a way for us to be forgiven of our sins and declared righteous. He made it possible for the relationship to be restored. In I John 4:14, we read, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” John 3:16 adds, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus left perfect Heaven, came to this imperfect world and was born of a virgin. He was completely God and completely man at the same time. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life, yet was executed on a cross, bore God’s wrath, and took the punishment we deserve for our sin. He was buried, and three days later, He rose from the dead, defeating death and sin and giving us hope. We can repent of our sins and call on Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and He will justify us and restore our broken relationship with the Father. Faith in Jesus and His finished work on the cross is the only way to stand right before a holy God. Jesus made it possible! That is the Gospel. When we gather together as believers, we have the privilege of celebrating Jesus and the Gospel. When we gather together, we need to be mindful of what the Lord has done for us and make it a priority to celebrate our amazing God. Psalm 34:1-3 says, “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!”

Lesson Four • Devotion #4: A Clear Conscience

“For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.”

2 Corinthians 1:12

Paul is addressing a group of believers that have been hearing all kinds of negative things about him. Enemies of the Gospel have been attacking Paul’s character and credibility. He does not seem to be shaken as he just matter-of-factly says, “For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.”

He basically tells them, “No matter what is being said about me, I have complete confidence that I am who God wants me to be, and I am doing exactly what God wants me to do. I am not going to be rattled by some haters.” One of the factors that played into his confidence was that he had a clear conscience.  

Believe it or not, as followers of Christ, we will face difficult people and situations because of our love for the Lord. Not everyone is pumped that you love Jesus. In 2 Timothy 3:12, we read, “Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Our conscience is a tool that God has given to us to help encourage us to stay strong in our faith. A clear conscience gives inner confidence that our faith in Jesus is true, and what we are doing is what the Lord wants us to do. It also works the other way in letting us know that what we are doing is not what the Lord wants us to be doing. 

How can we be confident that our conscience is leading us in the right direction? To keep the answer brief and to the point: We can have confidence in our conscience when we base our beliefs and behavior on the Word of God. We must know what God’s Word says and act and react in step with it, only then can we follow our conscience with confidence and have the backing of a clear conscience to help us press on.     

Finally, we read in 2 Timothy 3:14-15, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

I Am: The Good Shepherd • Devotion #5: Salt

The Bible is filled with wonderful illustrations to help us understand the truth of its pages. Personally, I really enjoy the lessons from farming that Jesus brings to life. Much of my life has taken place on a farm and I love it, so when Jesus starts talking farm, I pay close attention. 

My wife and I now have the privilege of raising our children on a farm. We appreciate all of the life lessons that can be learned on a farm and are grateful for the opportunity the Lord has given us to raise our children in such an environment.

About four years ago, we had a baby lamb that was rejected by its mother. My two oldest daughters (6 and 8 years old at the time) begged for the opportunity to care for this lamb and try to save its life. My wife and I let our girls give it a try. They took this responsibility incredibly seriously. This involved feeding the lamb every few hours around the clock. They set an alarm for the nighttime feedings and did everything necessary to keep that lamb alive. In order to get the milk for the lamb, they had to milk our goat twice a day. The girls made custom diapers and kept the lamb in their bedroom at night. I am not sure if a lamb could have ever been loved more! We have some great memories and photos of the lamb running around the house and snuggling with our kids on the couch. Their love and commitment to this helpless lamb were incredible. My daughters proved their ability to shepherd well by their sacrificial care for their lamb. They were good shepherds. We still have a four-year-old pet sheep named Salt.  

John 10:11 says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Here in the book of John, Jesus refers to Himself as the good shepherd and He tells us why He is indeed just that. In the very near future, He was going to literally lay His life down to be the propitiation (satisfactory payment) that would make a relationship possible between sinful humanity (sheep) and a holy God. You can turn to the last couple of chapters of John and read the details of the horrific death Jesus willingly died for you and me. “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

If you ever wonder if God cares for and loves you, I assure you He does. He proved it. He made his love known to you by sending Jesus, His only Son, the Good Shepherd who willingly laid down His life to give you hope of eternal life. We have a God that loves us beyond comprehension. We have a good shepherd! 

I Am: The Light of the World • Devotion #5: Thankful for the Light

I was raised on a farm, way out in the country, far away from city lights. When the sun went down it was dark, very dark. I vividly remember being ten years old having to go outside and do my evening chores in the barn after dark. I can picture myself standing on the back porch in the safety of the house lights staring at the 300 feet of darkness I would have to cover to make it to the safety of the barn lights. I can still hear my dad saying, “Don’t let the boogie man get you!” I ran as fast as I could to the barn door, leaving the boogie man in my dust! I then had to unlatch the barn door, swing the door open, slam the barn door behind me, and then fumble around in the dark until I could find the light switch. Once the light was on, I was safe! 

I now live on the same farm that I grew up on and I have the joy of sending my kids outside after dark to lock up the chickens for the night. I make sure to remind them to watch out for the boogie man as they run out the door and then watch them out the window as they frantically try to outrun the fears that come with the darkness. In my defense, my children do have headlamps, so they have an advantage over the boogie man that I never had.

It is incredible to me the fears and perceived dangers that darkness brings. There is just something scary about being in complete darkness. Just as incredible is how light has a way of dissolving the uncertainties and fears that darkness may bring. 

I love how Jesus refers to Himself as the “Light of the World.” In John 8:12, we read, “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” The Bible speaks of those who have not turned to the Lord for salvation as walking in darkness; and of those who have trusted in Jesus, “the Light of the World,” as being delivered “from the domain of darkness.” In Colossians 1:13-14, Paul writes, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Jesus, “the Light of the World,” is the only source of freedom from the cursed darkness of this world. Jesus gave His life, shed His blood, and took the punishment for our sins upon Himself. He paid our sin debt and gives us hope of being declared righteous before a holy God. He came to this world as the light, shining in the darkness, preaching that He is the only solution for us in the spiritual darkness of the world. If you have not trusted in Him alone for forgiveness and deliverance from the consequences of your sins, repent and run to Him today. He is the Light you can turn to with confidence!



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