Author Archives: Jen Combs

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. 

Others Blessed because of Joseph

Joseph & Potiphar’s Wife • Devotion #3: Others Blessed because of Joseph
Jen Combs | Women’s Ministry

“His Master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptians house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field.” Genesis 39:3-5

Do you take notes in your Bible? Or are you one of those that just cannot bring themselves to write in God’s Word? I am a major note taker. I write all over the place, up the side of the margin, in the spaces provided, in any blank space that is available. I take notes from sermons I have heard, write definitions of words I have not a clue what they mean, and attach timelines of history. But mainly, I take notes because I have a terrible memory. Right next to this passage I have a note that says, “Do people see Christ in me?” It gets me thinking. In my everyday life, in the mundane, do people see the light of Christ in me? Do they see a difference in me? Am I taking opportunities that the Lord gives to shine His light? 

The other day I was at the gym and had missed the previous week because we were out of town. They were talking about raising money for a family, I was trying to put all of the pieces together but could not. So I bugged one of the girls after to update me. She, with tear-filled eyes, told me while standing on the gym mat that her friend’s young daughter was going to pass away. I had the opportunity to give the standard answer, “Oh, I am so sorry, let me know if I can do anything.” Or I could grab this lady who I did not know, with my sweaty, stinky, hot mess of a self, and pray with her right then and there. I have walked away from those opportunities far too many times in my life to hate the feeling of conviction, knowing I was supposed to do something and did not. So praise God, I prayed with her, and now I have that opened door to talk to her about things of the Lord.

How can you let your light shine today? Are you looking for opportunities? Are you praying for opportunities? Are you willing to feel uncomfortable so people can see the Lord in you?  Joseph experienced some pretty tough and traumatic situations in his life. He was abandoned, sold, and imprisoned just to name a few. Even through all of these things, it says that his master saw that the Lord was with him. This challenges me. In the rough seasons of life, do people see me and say, the Lord is with her? Unbelievers especially are watching how we as followers of Christ handle the difficult circumstances we encounter. Joseph’s story should encourage us to let our light shine before men, no matter the situation. 

Sarah’s Response 

Abraham, Sarah, & Isaac • Devotion #5: Sarah’s Response
Jen Combs | Women’s Ministry

“They said to him, ‘Where is Sarah your wife?’ And he said, ‘She is in the tent.’ The Lord said, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?’ The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.’ But Sarah denied it, saying, ‘I did not laugh,’ for she was afraid. He said, ‘No, but you did laugh.’” Genesis 18:9-15

The story of the Lord coming to Abraham and telling him that Sarah will become pregnant and have a child are what make for my nightmares. Josh and I have five kids ranging from 14 to 4. We had babies young, and I am now 36, I cannot even imagine having a child at the age Sarah was in this story. You hear people talk of little “surprises” happening when they are in their late 40’s. Guys, these are the things that keep me up at night. People constantly ask us if we are going to have any more kids, my standard answer is, “No, Lord willing. But I also know, He has a sense of humor.”  

All joking aside, this is such a real-life example of what the Lord does in our lives. There is so much in just these few short verses. It would take a few devotions to pick it all apart. You have a lady who was told by the Lord that she would be fruitful and multiply. Now she is 90 years old, and it has not happened. I am sure she was questioning whether or not she heard the Lord right. I am sure she had lost hope. I am sure she was heartbroken. I am sure she lost faith a time or two. Ever lose hope before? Have you questioned whether or not what God said was true? Have you found yourself heartbroken over something you could not change? Did you lose faith?

Now the Lord came and told her what she had wanted for years is finally going to happen, and she laughs! I do not judge her at all for this response. She is thinking to herself, “It is a complete impossibility.” Read the verses, it says right there, she does not have her period, and she is too old for sex with her husband. I would be laughing, too. Then I think the seriousness of her denial sinks in a bit, and she is afraid. She has seen firsthand what the Lord can do and realized that it is, in fact, a possibility. It was not in her timing. It definitely was not convenient. It definitely caused some anxiety. 

Why do you think the Lord waited until she was 90 to fulfill this promise to Abraham and Sarah? The Bible talks about everything happening for the glory of the Lord. He chose to perform an outright miracle for this couple. There was no other way that this pregnancy was going to be explained except that the Lord made it happen. I know that we all have had times in our lives, where the Lord does not exactly work in our timing, He does not always choose to do things the way we would like. But we have to rest in knowing that He knows best, He has got it all under control, He receives glory in some funky ways (90-year-old pregnant lady?), and that He does, in fact, love us.    

Eve’s Curse and Position 

Adam & Eve • Devotion #5: Eve’s Curse and Position
Jen Combs | Women’s Ministry

“To the woman he said, ‘I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.’” Genesis 3:16

When Adam and Eve sinned, a curse from the Lord was given to them. Sometimes when I think of Eve and the curse, I wonder if she is the most unpopular person in Heaven. Like, does every lady go to her and just eye roll and sigh? Or want to punch her? Sounds harsh, but so was the curse. It is good to break it down a bit.

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing.” I have yet to meet a woman who says, I just love to give birth. I have had five children, relatively speedy, uncomplicated deliveries and I look back thinking, birth is one of the hardest things I have been through in life. It is painful and full of anguish. But this is also what the Lord felt when sin occurred in the garden – Pain and Anguish. So, ladies, this is part of our curse passed down from Eve. Guys, sorry but you have to watch your woman being in the most miserable pain of her life, and there is nothing you can do about it.      

“In pain you shall bring forth children.” As I sat here rereading the curses, it hit me that this was not just talking about birth pains. This is talking about child rearing. Scripture is telling us that raising our children is going to be painful. Our children are going to make decisions that hurt us. They are going to do things that grieve our hearts as mothers. But again, these are all emotions that we make the Lord feel. We sin and grieve His heart continually. 

“Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” Just when you thought the curse was tough enough, the Lord sticks this one in there. Now guys, do not get all excited thinking this is a sexual desire that your wife will have for you. Nope, this is a desire to want to lead and tell you what to do. So we were given this curse to want to be in charge, yet the Lord says that the husband will rule the home and be in charge. That is like putting oil and water together. Talk about a recipe for some friction and repelling of each other. 

You are probably wondering, well that is all a Debbie Downer. How do we fix it? First Timothy 2:15 says, “Yet she will be saved through childbearing- if they continue in faith and love, holiness, with self-control.” We do not fix it. Jesus fixes it. He restores. He renews.  If we have surrendered our life to Him, we will be women of faith, love, holiness, and self-control. If we are godly women, we will be raising godly children with these attributes and lessening our pain. I love how John MacArthur put it, “And in the lives of these godly children, the work of the Lord will go on, mitigating sin in their own lives, sanctifying them and therefore reducing her pain.” What about the whole husband part? Ephesians 5:22 says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” I know that probably makes a lot of you bristle. But sometimes we need to push our feelings aside and just obey. If the Lord says this is how you grow a loving, God-honoring marriage, then we just need to do it. If you dig into Scripture enough, the Lord does answer so many of our questions and even gives us formulas for some situations. Sometimes the answer is to merely obey His commands regardless of how it makes us feel. 

Misguided Expectations

ACTS • Devotion #5: Misguided Expectations
Jen Combs | Women’s Ministry

Have you ever believed in something so much before and it turned out to be not at all what you expected? These last few weeks, Josh and I did a 21-day detox. We lived on fruits and veggies for 11 days and then were able to add some meat to the mix. Can you imagine, me on just fruits and veggies? I am a coke drinker, butter user, and cheese slatherer. We were able to make smoothies, but the kicker was, we had to ingest two times more veggies than fruit. I was coming up with all sorts of stuff to try. I had this great recipe that involved pumpkin, cinnamon, and some spices. I mean, I like pumpkin pie, how bad could it be? I had high hopes for this smoothie. This one was going to be my life-saving smoothie for this 21-day venture. I got it all mixed up, it did not smell awful, so I took a nice big spoonful. It was awful. It was not at all what I expected. I wanted to chuck it across the room and run the other way.

You are probably thinking, “What in the world does a gross pumpkin smoothie have to do with the Triumphal Entry?” But this is exactly what was happening. The Jews believed that Jesus was a king. While He was entering the city, they were honoring Him. Matthew 21:9 says, “And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, ‘Hosanna, to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’” They were throwing their cloaks on the ground, they were cutting palm branches, and they were lining the streets. This was something they did only for royalty. They believed Jesus was a King wholeheartedly.

John MacArthur does a great job describing what they were expecting, “The people wanted a conquering, reigning Messiah who would come in great military power to throw off the brutal yoke of Rome and establish a kingdom of justice and righteousness where God’s chosen people would have special favor.” The crowd missed Him then, and they still miss Him now. They believed so much in Jesus being the conquering King over Rome that they missed why He was here; they were turning Him into something He was not. He wasn’t at all what they expected. Can you imagine having the Savior of the world walking down the street and only expecting Him to be an earthly King? I love how MacArthur finishes it up as he says, “But Jesus did not come to conquer Rome but to conquer sin and death. He did not come to make war with Rome but to make peace with God for men.”

Do not miss Jesus. He is right here. He died for you. He is willing to take your shame and guilt. The Bible says that you have to repent (turn) from your sin and make Him Lord of your life. Do you need to do that?  What is stopping you? If you know Him, are you following the Lord? Or are you looking for Him to be something He is not?

Office: 8393 E. Holly Rd. Holly, MI 48442 | 248.328.0490 |

Copyright © 2016 The River Church. All Rights Reserved.