Devotions

Author Archives: Jill Osmon

1 John 4 • Devotion #3: Image Bearers

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:7-12

Love. It is a concept that is all over our culture today. As humans, we constantly get it wrong. As Christians, we constantly get it wrong. The Bible uses the word love over 400 times. So maybe it is something we should pay attention to and get it right. I hear your inner thoughts, “I love my people well,” and “I love my neighbor.” I hear you, but I have also seen your social media posts, your attitude at restaurants, and your ranting over politics (this is where I would insert the wide side-eye emoji if I could. LOL).

So can we pause for a minute and look at what the Bible says about love? John has a lot to say about it in 1 John chapter 4. Verse 11 says, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” It seems pretty simple; God loves us, so we love other people. Why is it so difficult to actually do this? Is it because we do not really understand where love originates from? 

Verses 9-10 say, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” We should love not simply because we love God, but because He loved us so much He sent his Son. That is what verse 11 is saying. Our ability to love is born out of gratefulness for what God has done for us. I read a quote from a commentary that I thought was perfect, “Love is manifested in us because of what was done on the cross.” 

We are all image-bearers of a God who gave up His only Son to die for all of us, not just the conservatives, a specific race, or a specific gender. He died for all. Our love should reflect that. Preach the Gospel and love people because the cross demands it. 

We need to challenge ourselves. Next time we get irritated, angry, or prideful, we will remember the cross and the love it took for God to send His only Son. View people through that lens, an image-bearer whom God sent His Son to die for. I think it may radically change our perspective and our actions. We need to pray that our actions and words honor and reflect the love it took for the cross to happen. 

Home • Devotion #3: Parents

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be king in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Ephesians 6:1-3

As we are studying God’s order of authority, parents are a massive lane that we must learn to navigate as kids and as adults. It seems like obeying your parents is pretty straight forward, yet we have all struggled with it in varying degrees. I am a rule follower, so following rules and obeying came somewhat easy for me. I know I hear the collective eye rolls, and I deserve them; however, I know I have some people out there that are the same (give me a shout out all of you rule followers!). 

If we pull the lens back a bit and see our call to obey and honor our parents, we see the deeper connection in how we should obey and honor God. Obeying and honoring our parents (even as adults trying to honor our parents), can be difficult. We do not always understand what they are doing and why, yet we trust that they have our best interest at heart.

I have read Ephesians 6:1 a bunch of times, even noticed the part where it says a commandment with a promise. To be honest, I have never really put a lot of thought into it. Diving a bit deeper, it seems like God is promising blessings if we obey Him. I have lived my whole life “obeying” God and I have certainly not received the blessings I have wanted. So it is a bit confusing, I have obeyed God and my parents so where are my blessings?

I have struggled with this for a long time. I am sure each of you has something in your life that you have desired (a child, a job, a career, a spouse, a loving family, a repaired marriage) and yet it is allusive.

It can be painful. 

I am forever grateful that God is not in the business of granting wishes but instead providing what is best for us. That always looks different than we anticipate, but oh how sweet it is to find yourself in the center of where God has placed you. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Look at Psalm 37:3-5, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”

If we obey and honor our parents, we will have a long life. God wants to give us the desires of our hearts. Let us not forget what proceeds all of this. Our command is to obey, trust, be faithful, and delight in the Lord. If we find ourselves doing all of those things, our idea of desires of our hearts or living long takes on a different meaning. We hold onto promises from God, knowing that if we put our trust in Him and obey his commandments, He transforms our ideas of what a life well-lived looks like. We find our delight in Him and we will find the earthly things are not as important as the heavenly.

So, next time we lecture our kids about obeying us, take a moment and explain that in their obedience they understand God more, and it brings them closer to see what God wants from them.

Moses Tells of God’s Goodness

Advice | Devotion 3: Moses Tells of God’s Goodness
Jill Osmon

We love good storytellers, writers of books and stories, and speakers that can capture us with their words. We find in Exodus chapter 18, Moses told his father-in-law all that God had done. Verse 8 says, “Then Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had come upon them in the way, and how the Lord had delivered them.”

We love good stories, but do we love to tell the best story? Do we tell the stories in our lives that show God’s goodness even in the most difficult times? God tells us to rejoice, to tell of His works and goodness. Psalm 105:2 says, “Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!” 

Moses had been through some pretty epic things, things that would cripple most of us. He experienced the good, the bad, and the devastating and yet when he sat and told the stories, God’s goodness abounded. It is a good reminder for us that even through difficult times, God is good, and when you come out on the other side, His goodness is what we should not forget.

Psalm 145:5-12 says, “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you! They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your powers, to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.” 

We need to remember these verses when we are on the other side of a difficult season, that we remember to tell of His goodness.

Failure?

Moses Challenges Pharaoh | Devotion 3: Failure?
Jill Osmon

Do you ever feel that God has put you in a situation that you feel unprepared and ill-equipped to handle? That is where we find Moses in Exodus 6:30, “But Moses said to the Lord, ‘Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips. How will Pharaoh listen to me?’” Have we all been there? We say or think, “God, I think you have the wrong person, why would anyone listen to me?” However, God with an avalanche of wisdom and patience is so kind to Moses. In chapter 7, God shows Moses and Aaron how He will provide.

First, we see that God equipped Moses and Aaron to relay His message to Pharaoh. Exodus 7:1-2 says, “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land.’” He not only equipped them to relay the message, but He also gave them the message to tell Pharaoh. God’s ability to provide in every situation continues to amaze me. It reassures me that if I rely on Him, He will provide and equip me for anything the world throws at me.

Second, God told them how the “plan” would fail. Can you imagine being Moses and Aaron? God laid this plan out and then in verse 4; God said, “Pharaoh will not listen to you.” God prepared and equipped Moses but told them, guys, it is not going to work; Pharaoh would let Israel go, but He still wanted them to go and boldly proclaim His name. Does it feel like life is that way sometimes? God asks for us to be bold, to proclaim His name and the world laughs and refuses to listen and walks away. What do we do then? We let God handle it, just like He handled Pharaoh and the Egyptians. In the end, they knew their role was to obey, and God would take care of the rest.

God equips and provides, and even though it may seem like the end result does not make sense, God’s will will always win, and His ways will always be for His glory.

Seventh Day

Sequel | Devotion #1: Seventh Day
Jill Osmon

“And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” Genesis 2:2-3

I have the privilege of coordinating most of our large events at The River Church, and I love it, I mean super nerd love it, it is what God made me to do. But, it is an intense job, very detailed, and very much requires me to expend a lot of mind muscle energy and just plain physical energy. So after a large event, I completely lose the ability to make decisions, I have been making decisions for the last few months about everything, and now all I want to do is sit and not think. After a few days, I feel refreshed, maybe, but I do not always truly feel rested, and I have struggled with why, after relaxing, getting away, why can I not find true rest?

We have all been there, right? We have been through seasons of life that are just exhausting, a new baby, a new job, teenagers, tough financial times, or health issues for yourself or a loved one; and all you want to do is rest. But what is true rest? God rested on the seventh day during Creation, making a command that we rest. Unfortunately, we have a culture that does not truly know rest, even with vacations and days off, rest alludes most of us. 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.”

We often equate rest with time off, doing nothing, or vacation, but what is God saying here? If you look closely, verse 10 says, “But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” While we may come back from a vacation or a day off refreshed, we will not know true rest unless we rest in God.

Psalm 91:1 (NIV) says, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” I know that my soul craves for true rest, and that desire, that need, can only be satisfied by resting in the shadow of the Almighty. So how do we do that? Well, I think we look at how God rested on the seventh day. Verse 31 of Genesis chapter 1 says, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” We look back on all that God has done, even when we are in the deepest valleys, and we see His goodness, kindness, and love, and we rejoice in gratitude. Matthew Henry Commentary puts it this way, “The Christian Sabbath, which we observe, is a seventh day, and in it we celebrate the rest of God the Son, and the finishing the work of our redemption.” Then, and only then, will we find true rest.



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