Devotions

Author Archives: Jen Combs

Road Trip

Water, Manna, & Quail | Devotion 5: Road Trip
Jen Combs

Lately, I have been plunking my way through the Old Testament. Sitting here reading and re-reading Exodus 17:1-7, I cannot help but laugh. I feel like it is me having a conversation with my kids on a road trip.

Here is how my mind raced:

“All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, (In other words, me trying to “herd” my “cats” or kids out the door, in stages) according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink (Holy Smokes, I walked out the door without snacks or drinks packed for our road trip!). Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, ‘Give us water to drink’ (No explanation needed. Just think about five kids in a minivan on a 20-hour road trip, with everyone asking for something to drink, over and over and all at different times. Maddening, right?). And Moses said to them, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?’ (Me turning around yelling, “Do you want me to pull this car over? Stop hollering!”). But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses (Me) and said, ‘Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?’ (I can hear one of my kids, “Why did you take us from our comfy house and go on this forever long trip with nothing to drink, I am going to die!”).  So Moses cried to the Lord, ‘What shall I do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me!’ (My same response with an added, “Have I neglected to ever feed or water you in all of my 16 years of mothering?”). And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel (I am going to get your Dad.) and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock of Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.’ And Moses did so, in the sight of the Elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’” (I am thinking about naming my van Massah and Meribah, it means quarreling and testing. I am pretty sure my kids quarrel and test me every time we are in it).

Now we can laugh at the comparison of the whiny, stubborn people of Israel and our kids. However, in actuality, this is so the Lord and me. How many times have I wondered if He was with me? Even when He has proved Himself faithful over and over, I still question things on my journey. Then there are the times I start to take control myself because maybe He just does not have me and my circumstances on His list of priorities.

Even though I know He is with me, why do I doubt? Why do I question? One commentary I read said that in less than six months’ time the people of Israel had witnessed ten plagues, the pillar of cloud and fire, the opening and shutting of the Red Sea, the miraculous sweetening of the water, and the sending of food and meat from Heaven. How soon we forget. One of the lessons God has been teaching me over the last three years is to be steady in the Lord. I need to do this regardless of my circumstances or feelings. I challenge you with that today. Be steady. He is with us. He has got us. Do not be whiny.

Pass It On

Burning Bush | Devotion 5: Pass It On
Jen Combs

 “…This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.” Exodus 3:15

Reading this chunk of Scripture over and over, I kept coming back to this verse. I realize that Moses is having one heck of an experience on Mt. Horeb. He was simply taking his father-in-laws sheep to be fed when all of a sudden, the Lord is speaking to him in a burning bush. God said, “Tell them I AM who I AM sent you.” Moses was in awe, terrified, and I guess his jaw dropped. But still this verse kept going through my mind, “…this is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.” It made me think. “What am I doing to make sure that the Lord is being remembered for generations to come?”

You see, I love moments or situations that the Lord uses me. I am amazed at the ways He teaches me. I enjoy that He gives me all of those God stories. But am I passing them on? Do I tell my kids about them? Do I share them with my friends and family? Normally I rush home and tell my husband. But is that where it stops?

I would hate for my kids to grow up and not remember the Lord because we never talked about Him and the ways He is working or moving in our home. Is the Lord something I make them just read about, or are we experiencing Him and talking about His works? I am intentional, so we can remember Him for generations to come.

I am a little way off from grandkids, but I want to be able to sit and talk with them about all of the ways I have seen the Lord be real in my life. How about you? What has the Lord done lately? Who do you need to share it with? It does not matter if it is big or small. I challenge you to share with someone today!

Clueless

Forgive | Devotion #3: Clueless
Jen Combs | Women’s Ministry

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

I remember a few years ago when I was dealing with forgiveness. I had someone in my life cause hurt in years past that I still harbored some angst against (Ever have that issue?). Reading this verse came alive to me for the very first time, “For they know not what they do, for they know not what they do, for they know not what they do.” I muttered that verse over and over. Could it be that this person did not even know that they hurt me? Gasp. Was that even possible? This was such a defining moment in my life; there was just no way it could be true. It is like the Lord was telling me, “When are you going to give this up? It is done; they do not even know what they did; it is time to forgive.” 

Jesus was hanging on the cross dying the most awful death possible. He was taking on the sin of all mankind. Yet here He was asking His Father to forgive those that crucified Him, mocked Him, derided Him, beat Him, and spit on Him. He was saying they do not even understand what they are doing, but asked the Father to please forgive them. Wow. That is quite a challenge. There is nothing I have or will experience that is even comparable to what Jesus experienced. That does not minimize our pain, but it sure does give me comfort.  

Now if I were Jesus, I could probably forgive and be done, but I am not. I am Jen Combs, and I am rather resentful (Things you just have to know about yourself). So, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do?” God exposed something I could not hide any longer. I had been rug sweeping, burying, and angry about until I finally exploded (There was not a rug big enough to cover it up!). I decided I was going to go to the person. I talked about it through tears and anger. Sure enough, they had no idea the hurt they caused. The Lord was right after all. The Lord was right again! 

Is there a person in your life that you need to forgive? Let me encourage you to do it sooner rather than later. I do not know what forgiveness looks like for you. I think it is different for us all. Sometimes it is daily forgiveness; sometimes you need to talk to the person face to face. Whatever it is, please forgive. If Jesus can forgive the mobs of people that crucified Him, surely we can forgive those that have caused pain in our lives.

All Sales Final

The Gift of Family | Devotion #6: All Sales Final
Jen Combs | Women’s Ministry

It is the week before Christmas. So, you are probably stressed, broke, and tired of trying to figure out gifts for people who do not need a darn thing. Gifts, I am approaching my late thirties, and I still cannot decide how I feel about them. Are you the person that gets super excited to give and receive gifts? Are you the person who is a terrible gift giver? Are you a terrible gift receiver? As I said, I am a conflicted gift person. I do not like giving obligatory gifts (like Christmas), but if I find something that I know would be perfect for someone, I cannot wait to give it to them. I usually do not wait. I do not wrap it. I just race it right over to whoever I bought it for and give it to them. I know, I am a mess. 

Did you know that Scripture says that family is a gift? All over it talks about wives being a gift from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22; 19:14), grandchildren are a gift (Proverbs 17:6), and children are a gift (Psalm 127:3). As I said, you are probably stressed and not feeling like any of these things are a gift. After all, it is the time of year where you spend an inordinate amount of family time together, racing from place to place trying to appease all of those “gifts” that God has given you.  

So, this is your friendly reminder that during this season, the family is, in fact, a gift from the Lord; Scripture says the family is a gift. Now, I could feel some of your eye rolls from here. You are probably thinking, “You do not know the hurt, the abuse, the manipulation, or the dysfunction that I have been through in my family.” Or, you ask, “What if I do not have children, grandchildren, or a spouse? Does that mean I am without gifts from the Lord?” Absolutely not! That is why the Church body is so important. Josh and I have people in our lives that the Lord has given to us that are just as close as family. The key phrase is “the Lord has given to us.” He sees holes in our lives that need to be filled, and He fills them with His gifts. I cannot encourage you enough this Christmas season if you are lacking, to hold fast to your Church family and pray that the Lord will fill your gaps. Hold fast to the family the Lord has given you, whatever that family looks like to you. After all, they are gifts from the Lord, despite the way we may feel. 

Mind your Mind

Forget It | Devotion #5: Mind your Mind
Jen Combs | Women’s Ministry

Do you have any skeletons in the closet? Are they the things you do not want other people to know about you? We all do to some extent. Fast forward some years, and you have come to the point in life where you now know the Lord as your Savior. He is ruling and reigning in your life. You serve Him, love Him, learn about Him, and He is the all-encompassing Lord of your life. But then there are those days where you wake up, feeling the baggage that is tied to you. It is like a steamboat that you are dragging around on dry ground that is chained to you. Some days you cannot get out of bed because of it. If you manage to peel yourself up, you look in the mirror and think, it is just too much. What are we supposed to do with our past once we have come to know the Lord? 

Can I remind you of how sneaky Satan is? Remember, he comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He is a liar, deceiver, and tempter. A lot of the times you will find that battle to be in your mind. At least it is for me. Satan wants you to wallow in your past, throw it in your face, and not forget that shame and guilt he likes to heap on you. 

All of this makes me think of 2 Peter 2:22, “What the true proverb says has happened to them: ‘The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.’” Some days we are so quick to forget that the Lord has forgiven us, He has taken our guilt and our shame on the cross. We are just like the sow, the Lord cleaned us all up, but we are so quick to return to the mud. We just cannot seem to forget all of the awful crazy that we have done. We wallow in the past, unable to forget it. 

One of my favorite verses is 1 Peter 1:13, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action…” The footnote in my Bible says, “Girding up the loins of your mind.” You have to know and understand that Satan wages war on our minds. You must gird up your mind, make it ready for battle, and flee those thoughts. When Satan lobs those fiery darts of shame and guilt, you have to run to Jesus. Take your mind and thoughts to Him. 

Philippians 4:8-9 adds, “Finally, brothers whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me-practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”  Training your thoughts is something, if you practice, the Lord can use to give you peace. He can help you flee the attacks of Satan. Start practicing today. 



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