Devotions

Author Archives: Isaiah Combs

Grow • Devotion #3: Shrink?

Once a year, my wife and I line up our five kids and draw a line to measure our kids’ heights against last year’s line. It is always exciting to see their faces when they turn around and see that they have grown from last year. My wife and I get excited with them. We love that our kids are healthy and growing.

I believe 100 percent that this is the way God looks at our spiritual growth. He gets excited to see His children growing from when we first came to know Him. We were babies in Christ, and over time, we grow through prayer, reading the Word, and gathering with the saints in a Growth Community. 

We read in 1 Peter 2:2-3, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the lord is good.”

Could you imagine if this year we walked up to the wall where the marks from the past years are, we put our kids up there, and they had shrunk from last year? We see that none of them had grown, but shrunk. It would be a really disappointing day for our kids and for us.

I believe 100 percent this is how God feels when we put off our spiritual growth. He wants us to grow and become spiritually strong, but we become content growing to a certain point, and we think we have arrived, or we just stop making our growth a priority altogether.

There is an old song that we used to sing in kids’ church. The song’s words are: “Read your Bible pray every day, and you’ll grow, grow, grow.”

Then the second half of the song’s words say, “Forget your Bible, forget to pray, and you’ll shrink, shrink, shrink.”

It is a pretty fun song to sing with kids to teach them the importance of growth and the importance of reading your Bible and prayer. 

Growing in the Lord is important, and it is not a seasonal thing. Make your spiritual growth a priority in your life. Get in a Growth Community. Get in the Word and spend some time in prayer. Do not put off or forget because you will “shrink, shrink, shrink.”

Look for Jesus

Brazen Serpent | Devotion 5: Look for Jesus
Isaiah Combs

Reading the Old Testament can be hard. I struggle through chapters and verses like everyone else. However, I have found the key to reading and studying the Old Testament – look for Jesus! The whole Old Testament is filled with pictures of Jesus and mankind’s desperate need for a savior. That savior is Jesus. I love how the New Testament writers inspired by God used Old Testament verses and stories to prove that Jesus is the answer.

Could you imagine growing up your whole life being forced to study and learn the Old Testament? You know all the stories and laws by heart and your life is built around what the laws, thoughts, and stories say. Then a guy, John, who was a follower of Jesus writes in John 3:14-16, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

The story John is describing in these verses is found in Numbers 21:4-9. God sent fiery snakes to bite and kill the people of Israel as punishment for their sins and dumb things they did. Verse 6 says that many people died. However, God gave the people a way to save themselves from death after being bit by one of these fiery snakes. God had Moses build a bronze statue of one of the fiery snakes, and if you got bit all you had to do was look at the statue, and you would survive.

Remember, when I told you to look for Jesus? I hope this story sounds familiar. Our Savior Jesus, the Son of Man, was lifted up on the cross and died for our sins. When we look to the cross and believe Jesus died, was buried, and rose again, we will be saved from death and eternal damnation.

Jesus is the key to the whole Bible. He is the fulfiller, author, and finisher. The whole Bible is about Him and for Him. Look for Jesus!

Doubter or Overcomer

Twelve Spies | Devotion 6: Doubter or Overcomer
Isaiah Combs  

“But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, ‘Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.’ Then the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.’ So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, ‘The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.’” Numbers 13:30-33

God had freed the Israelite people from slavery, and they were now wandering in the wilderness. They had seen God do some awesome things. They got to see the ten plagues, the pillar of fire that would direct them by night, and the cloud that would direct them by day. God also fed them bread from Heaven every morning, so they had something to eat. You would think that the Israelites would be fully trusting in God and the promises He had for them.

Moses sent twelve men to spy on some land that God had promised them. Ten of the men came back, saying that they would not be able to defeat the people of the land. The men they saw were giants, and the ten men agreed that they could not win the fight against them.

Two men came back and said that they could defeat the giants living in the land that God had promised to the Israelites. The two men were Joshua and Caleb. In verse 30, Caleb says, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”

In this story, Moses had ten men who were doubters and did not believe with God they could do anything. Moses only had two men who believed they could overcome.

There will be many more doubters in your life than people who believe you can overcome. We have a choice in life to be doubters or overcomers. We also have a choice to whom we are going to listen. Do not let the doubters in life convince you that you cannot overcome something.

A Cow?

Broken Tablets | Devotion 3: A Cow?
Isaiah Combs  

My parents were really busy people and still are. When my brothers and I were too young to watch ourselves, my parents would bring in a babysitter to watch us. I want to give a quick note and apologize to our babysitters. We are and were three very type A, rambunctious, and annoying kids.

My parents would leave us with these poor people, and we would go crazy. My Mom was great and ran a very tight ship. The three of us were very aware of what, where, and when we were supposed to do things. So we took full advantage that the babysitter was unaware of Mom’s strict rules and guidelines. We would basically do whatever we wanted to do and try and get away with the craziest things.

That is what is happening in Exodus 32:15-20. Moses was up on top of the mountain while the Israelites were camped at the base of the mountain. Moses was up there on top of the mountain speaking to God and getting the Ten Commandments. On his way back down, he hears a crazy sound. It was the sound of the Israelites worshiping a golden image (The idol was a cow made of gold. Why do we worship creation and not the creator?). They created it from the gold of their sons’ earrings. By the way, when I was a kid, I wanted earrings. So, I used this to convince my parents that boys in the Bible had earrings. It did not work.

This story is just like my Mom when she would get home from whatever she was doing. She would either see the devastation that we caused or our poor babysitter would tell her all the terrible things we had done while she was out. This is what Moses was feeling. He was furious, and he punished the Israelite by melting the golden cow down and making them drink it.

Just like the Israelites, when Moses was up on the mountain talking to God, we have a choice of who we are going to worship. On Sundays, when going to church and worship God, we have a choice. During the week, when we are away from everyone, we choose who we are worshiping. Is it your job, money, wife, kids, yourself, or God?

Who are you worshiping when no one is looking?

Rest

Ten Commandments | Devotion 3: Rest
Isaiah Combs

I struggle with resting. I am not talking about sleeping but resting. I enjoy napping, but with five kids that is not a given. When I finally lay my head down at night, I fall asleep with no problem.

I am talking about resting from work and the busyness of life. I love to be busy, and I love that I get to serve God with my life in full-time ministry. The work of the Lord is never done, and if you allow it to, it will consume you and your life.

Resting is important. Yes, work, kids, life, and fill in the blank are important. However, we as followers were called to rest. We can define our use of rest as a resetting, unwinding, getting perspective, spending time doing nothing, or hanging out with your family.

I struggle with resting, and I believe it is me not trusting God and telling Him He is not in control, and I need to work like a maniac to make up where He is lacking.

God created everything in six days, and on the seventh day, God rested (Genesis chapter one). God is purposeful in everything He does, and everything in the Bible was put there on purpose for a purpose. God rested on the seventh day. This means that we, as followers of Christ, should take time once a week to rest and give God the glory for the week.

Exodus 20:8-11 further supports my argument for a day of rest. God commanded the Israelites (His chosen people) to create a Sabbath, a day of rest that would honor God in accordance with the rest day God took on the seventh day after creation.

Exodus 20:8-11 says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days, the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

Some people make the argument that Sundays are the day that God wants us to rest. It can vary for each of us.

• God rested on the last day of the week, and that day is Saturday, not Sunday.
• He actually did not say what day to rest.
• My work week starts on Tuesday and goes through Sunday. Sunday is usually my hardest most stressful day. It is work for me.
• I take my Sabbath, or rest day, on Mondays.

Taking a rest day is hard, and if you want to implement this in your life, it is going to take real commitment. You may have to turn off your phone, get off social media, tell your boss you cannot, and actively choose not to plan things for your day of rest.



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