Devotions

Author Archives: Pastor Jayson Combs

I Am: The Way, Truth, Life • Devotion #4: Absolutes

It is April 2020, we are smack dab in the middle of the COVID-19 quarantine. My son’s school has not skipped a beat when it comes to teaching and learning. He usually works from nine in the morning until about four in the afternoon. He is only in the fourth grade. I love my son, but over the past few weeks, we have had some battles over schoolwork. Sometimes I walk away and wonder why he fights so hard over certain things.

In John 14:6, Jesus makes what I think is one of His most powerful statements, He says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Wow! Jesus fires three shots. These three shots seem like the biggest battles of our world.

What is “the way?” What is “the truth?” What is “the life?” If you turn on your TV, go to your Facebook, or check a news website, you will find battles being waged over these three things. 

Is there any other way but Jesus? The world fights to tell you there is another way. It fights to say how selfish it is to think that Jesus Christ, who came to this earth some two thousand years ago and was born in a little rinky-dink town called Bethlehem, is the only way. This Jesus boldly proclaims that He is God’s Son sent to this earth to save the world from sin. 

Is there truth? You have heard it said, “There are no absolutes.” Which is funny because it is an absolute in itself. John chapter 1 tells us Jesus came full of truth. However, the world will always oppose Jesus and His truth. John chapter 8 says the truth is what makes you free. John chapter 14 adds that He is the truth and that truth is the only way to God. 

Jesus’s third bullet is life. Oh, how the world seeks “life.” In the Old Testament, Moses was given everything the world had to offer, but he knew it was not life. Hebrews 11:25-26 says it like this, “Choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.”Instead of choosing Egypt, he knew that this world’s pleasure only lasts for a short time. Following the Lord gives us the truth of eternal life.

The battle on this Earth will always be against the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus is either all or none of these. I contend He is the only way to the true living God.  

I Am: The Door • Devotion #4: Compassion, Protection, Salvation

“So Jesus again said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.’” John 10:7-10

Have you ever had a door slammed in your face? When I was 18 years old, I went to a very conservative Baptist college. One of the requirements of the school was to go from door to door and tell people about Jesus. To be honest, it was a scary thing for me. I will never forget the time when a small group of us rang the door at a particular home. A man opened the door and immediately slammed it back in our faces. That was a scary door. In John chapter 10, Jesus tells us that He is the door. Jesus says whoever enters through Him will be saved and will find pasture. Today, I want you to think about the amazing door that Jesus offers. 

First, it is a door of compassion. Matthew 9:36 says, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Maybe today you need to remember the amazing compassion given to us by our Savior. Growing up conservatively, it is easy for me to fall back into thinking God is a rule-enforcing, angry God. I sometimes need to stop and remember the door of compassion my God has opened for me. 

Next, know that God offers the door of protection. I have read that shepherds would lay across the entrance and would physically become the door. Any wolf that wanted to get to the sheep would have to physically go through the shepherd. In I Samuel chapter 17, David explains how he is a shepherd and how he protected his sheep by killing a lion and a bear. This is an amazing picture of the door that the Lord offers to us. He is our defender and protector. 

Lastly, Jesus is the door of salvation. It is only through Him that we may enter into life. Jesus says that people will seek different ways to get to God, but only through Him may we have salvation. Today, remember the wonderful door that Christ offers to us through compassion, protection, and salvation.

“I Have the Power”

Excuses | Devotion 1: “I Have the Power”
Pastor Jayson Combs

I am an eighties kid. I would turn on the TV and watch “StarSerach.” I would watch shows like “Double Dare” and “You Can’t Do That On Television.” Girls wore banana clips in their hair, and I had one of those cool wrist bands that you could slap on your wrist (that was until some kid cut himself with it and we lost them all). My favorite show though was “He-man.” If you come into my office today, you will see my childhood He-man figures on a shelf. He-man would transform from a cowardly man when he would say the words “I have the power,” while holding up his sword.  He would change into the great superhero that I loved.

At the beginning of Exodus, Moses has been told by God to go save the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt. Moses basically turned to God and said I do not have the power to do that. In verse 1 of chapter 4, Moses says, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’” Moses felt powerless.

Through the next few verses, we see God showing Moses who actually has the power.  I know in my walk with Christ there are times I have been scared and felt powerless. However, it is in those times where we can really come to understand who has the power. God has called all believers to go into the world and preach the Gospel. There have been times when I have felt so powerless when giving the Gospel. God clearly tells in His words that it is not through the words that we have but through His power that people are saved. In 1 Corinthians 1:17-18 (NIV) it says, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.  For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

Salvation was not because Paul was an amazing man with words. Salvation was and is because God moves with power. In 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV), it says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

I am so glad that God reaches down and through His power and uses me. I only have that power because of Jesus. Today when you feel powerless, remember to tune to Christ and ask Him for the power to live the life that He has called you to live.

Seven and One Half

Stand On It | Devotion #6: Seven and One Half
Jayson Combs | Family Pastor

On January 1, 1997, I asked Laura Dubey to be my girlfriend. I was a 17-year-old junior in high school. She was a 14-year-old freshman. On June 4, 2004, we married.   If you are quick with your math, you added it up to a seven and one half year dating relationship. You may first say that is cute that I married my high school sweetheart. You may view that as something special. I will also say those things, but as a fifteen plus year vet in youth ministry, and a guy who regularly says that a long-term specific dating relationship in high school is stupid, this serves as a problem.

As a Youth Pastor for that many years, I have found disaster in long-term dating.  Whether Christian or non-Christian, it usually (almost always) brings a sinful carnage of hurt and scars. Every year I would take a month and teach on student dating. I would teach what the Bible says and does not say (1 Thessalonians chapter 4, 1 Corinthians 6:18, and Ephesians 5:3 are a good place to start). The questions then would always be asked, well what did you do? 

Do you have a story that you would not recommend for others?  Is there a story where you watched God bless and bring you through, but that you hope and pray those that you love do not follow? If so, how do we deal with this? First, I think it is okay to share our weakness. I do not have to pretend I am perfect. I do not have to pretend that I always did things God’s way. Too many times the Church looks like a place where we cannot show any weakness. I am thankful that God, even through things that are dangerous, protects and guides. I do believe the Word (Romans 8:28) that God uses all things together for good to those who love the Lord.  

As I give people my story, I always point them to the Word.  In Titus 2:11-12 we read, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.” 

My hope is that my story will point others to renounce ungodliness and not celebrate it. My hope is that my story points people to live a life of self-control, not recklessness. I pray that my story points people to the amazing God so that we may live a life that He has for us. 

 I believe I can use my story to point people to Jesus. But I also believe if they do not find the truth in His Word and how He tells us to live, they will not find Jesus.  

I have heard people say I would not change my story one bit. I would agree with that, but I would also say, “It is my story, not yours. Live your life to follow Jesus.” 

John 3:36

Hell and Heaven | Devotion #3: John 3:36
Jayson Combs| Family Pastor

Are we there yet?

When you hear the words “eternal life,” what immediately comes to your mind?   John, the disciple, speaks of eternal life or everlasting life more than anyone else in the Bible. He uses it 18 times in the Gospel of John and six more times in the Epistle 1 John.  

John states in John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” We see here as in other verses that eternal life is through no one else other than Jesus Christ.  In John 6:68, Peter answers Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (KJV).  Jesus tells us in John 10:28, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish neither shall any one pluck them out of my hand” (KJV). Jesus is the way, the only way to eternal life.

I do believe there is some confusion though among believers when it comes to eternal life. In Daniel 12:2 it says, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Life is everlasting no matter who you are. For some, it will be spent with the King of kings, for others under the wrath of God.  

The other problematic view I see with many when it comes to eternal life is the focus on the destination. Yes, it is wonderful to know that Heaven is our home. It is exciting to think about Jesus who has gone and who is preparing a place for us. However, John tells us that eternal life is not just about the destination, it is about the trip. He writes in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Eternal life is about a wonderful walk with Jesus that starts here on earth.

Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?  When I was a child, our family vacation was always to Myrtle Beach. I can remember jumping into our great Pontiac 6000 and heading south. Flying was not an option, we drove.  I can remember thinking how much I could not wait to get there so our vacation could begin. Thinking back on those amazing times makes me pause. I look back and think that vacation did not begin when we got there, it began when we left. I fondly remember those times in the car, the places that we stopped, and the adventures that we had. Now having a family of my own, we often have chosen to drive instead of flying.  

Remember eternal life is not just the destination of Heaven.  It is about the amazing walk with Jesus Christ.  



Office: 8393 E. Holly Rd. Holly, MI 48442 | 248.328.0490 | info@theriverchurch.cc

Copyright © 2016 The River Church. All Rights Reserved.