Devotions

Author Archives: Katrina Young

Strength • Devotion #2: Wife

Have you ever worked in a job that you were not qualified for when you started? It is probably safe to say that all of us have entered a new job, a new role, a new position, or even marriage with some anxiety about what to expect. Entering the unknown requires the flexibility of being “teachable,” and a “quick study.” Job descriptions do not always prepare us for the responsibilities that are required. The role of a wife as described in Proverbs chapter 31 (a virtuous woman) is a bit different, it describes her character and heart with one constant thread through the verses – “Her Strength!” From verse 10 through the end of the chapter, unfolds a description of a strong woman who puts God’s wisdom into action in her life and through the work that she does to serve her family and others. 

When I Google searched what does the virtuous woman mean, I found this: “In the Bible, Proverbs chapter 31 describes a virtuous woman as the one who leads her home with integrity, discipline, and more. All the virtues she is practicing are aimed at making the life of her husband better, teaching her children, and serving God.”

As a wife and mother, everything that I do is focused on my family. I strive to meet their needs and would drop everything in a heartbeat to help them. I am not always equipped for what is needed but I know that when faced with a crisis my God is always near. I do not have it all together like the woman in Proverbs but I can teach, I can pray, and I can love and be supportive knowing that it is not our strength that carries us through difficult times, but His. He provides for strength to work through our difficulties in marriage, wisdom to care for our children, patience in the workplace, and knowledge to solve difficult problems. Psalm 31:24 (CSB) says, “Be strong, and let your heart be courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD.” 

Thirty years ago when my husband and I were married, I would have told you that we could handle anything that life threw at us. Today, I will tell you that I was not prepared or qualified for the role that I was walking into. I am thankful for the “on the job training.” I am so thankful that God is loving and merciful and allows us to adapt and become teachable. 

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25 (NIV)

Relapse •Devotion #4: Addiction and Abuse

I think it’s safe to say that we all have a scar of some sort that marks a time in our lives with a story to tell. It is also probably safe to say that if we have had one from childhood, we may have gotten it while doing something that we should not have been doing. Maybe you have a scar from a tragic experience and are thankful to be here to share its story. Maybe you have a scar that is not visible in the flesh but lies deep within your emotions. Relationships can leave scars, the ones that are difficult to talk about because of the pain that they still carry, often from some type of abuse. For those of us who have suffered from the unseen scars know that they tend to resurface when we least expect it. They tell their story through anxiety, fear, insecurity, and even depression. Every believer has a story to share, a “testimony” of where you were without Christ, and who you are now with Him. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, we are told that we are a new creation – The old has passed away and the new has come. 

I was given a book many years ago called, “Your Scars are Beautiful to God” by Sharon Jaynes. The book is written to help those with emotional scars to find peace and purpose in the hurts of their past. I will be honest, I have not read it cover to cover, but the second chapter, “Recognizing Jesus Through Our Scars,”had a huge impact on me.

The author goes to John 20:19-20 and describes the encounter that Jesus had with His disciples after His resurrection. They were all gathered together in a room when Jesus appeared in their midst and spoke to them, but they did not know who He was. In order to convince them that He was the risen Christ, He held out His arms and revealed His nail-pierced hands. It was then that they recognized Him. The point of the chapter was for believers who have experienced healing from past wounds to not be ashamed to show their scars to the world. In doing so, they are able to share how there is a healing process through Christ.

We have a choice in how we let our scars from the past affect our families and our lives moving forward. We could allow them to produce fear and anxiety, or we could allow God to use them for good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” It is not the scars from our past that defines us, it is who we are now in Christ that tells our story. Sharing it allows us to tell others of His provisions, His mercy, His peace, and ultimately His love. Revelation 12:11 (NKJV) adds, “They overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb by the word of their testimony”. Chapter 3 of Jaynes’ book concludes by saying, “God is calling us to not be ashamed of our scars, for it is by those very scars that others will recognize the Savior, Jesus Christ.” 

Leftover Recipes

Leftovers | Devotion #4: Leftover Recipes
Katrina Young | Nursery & Pre-K Director and Assistant to the Family Pastor

I love watching the Food Network, and in particular, I love watching “Chopped” episodes. It always amazes me to see how a chef can take four or five mystery leftover ingredients that do not go together at all and transform them into amazing dishes. The rules are, if all the ingredients are not used and they are not made to work together, you guessed it – “They get Chopped!” I once watched a chef take leftover French fries, cut away the outer crust and scrap the soft insides to make a potato dish. With patience and precision, he carefully took something that I would have thrown away and made it into something amazing.

Our family’s baskets are sometimes like those mystery ingredients; they have nothing seemingly in common with each other. When pain and brokenness are present, there seems to be that missing component to bring unity. Broken families are not something new, in fact, if you go way back to the beginning and read the story of Adam and Eve, you will find a couple who had a perfect life, and then they sinned. The two broken people then had children and became a broken family. Our need for Christ began in their brokenness.

In an article by Billy Graham entitled, “Mending a Broken Home,” he wrote, “A home is like a solar system. The sun, the center, holds the solar system together. If it were not for the sun, the solar system would fly to pieces. Unless the Son of God is put at the center of your home, it, too, may fly to pieces. Make the Son of God the center of your home.”

When we allow Christ to be the “Master Chef” in our lives, He can peel away the outer shell and work in our hearts to transform us. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, we read, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

If a skilled chef can work miracles with leftover food, what can God do with the incompatible broken pieces of your family? 

Romans 8:28 (Berean Study Bible) says, “And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.”

Water

Main Dish | Devotion #3: Water
Katrina Young | Nursery & Pre-K Director and Assistant to the Family Pastor

“Drink more water!” Yes, I rolled my eyes as I wrote this! I wish I had a dollar for every time I was given that advice. If you do a Google search, you will find all of the benefits of drinking a lot of water. It is surprising that we have to be reminded. Why would you not want to: Lose weight, have better-looking skin, increased energy, and have an improved immune system. The first thing that comes to you at a restaurant, sometimes even before you get a menu, is water. The truth is our bodies can survive for a very long period of time without food, but only a short time without water.  Yet, if you are like me, when given a choice, I order the diet Coke, and I leave the restaurant with the water untouched. The substitution seems refreshing, but it does not give the same results.

If you read John 4:13-17, you will see the story of the women at the well. The woman traveled a long way with her vessel to draw water from the well. She met Jesus, and in her conversation, she admitted that she had many husbands. The woman was trying to quench her thirst with worldly desires, and it was only after her experience with Jesus that she realized His truth and that He was the fulfillment of what she desired. Jesus was saying to her when you accept me; you will have a well of fresh living water to draw from within yourself.  John 4:14 says, “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” When she understood, she left the empty vessel that she had carried, went back to her town to share what she had experienced, and that she believed. 

In our daily lives, are we acting the same as the women at the well by trying to fill a void with things that do not matter only to be left feeling empty? Ecclesiastics 3:11 says that “God set eternity in the heart of man.” I love how the Amplified Bible puts this verse, “He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God].” Jesus is the only one that can fill that void! 

I read in a devotion not long ago, “Jesus is not a gate-crasher. He only enters the areas of your life into which He is invited.” Are you inviting Him to sit at the table with you and your family? When you sit, which well is your water being drawn from? Is your family hydrated or are they leaving the table thirsting? Serve them water, but do not forget to serve the “Living Water.”

Who I Used to Be

Forget It | Devotion #6: Who I Used to Be
Katrina Young | Nursery & Pre-K Director

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

As a new believer, I was given the book Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. In this book, the main character, “Christian,” is weighed down by the burden of his sin. When he came to the cross, the sin and burden fell from his shoulders, rolled down a hill, and disappeared into an empty tomb. The story represents what takes place when we confess our sin to God. He lifts it off our shoulders, takes it away, and remembers it no more. 

In a few weeks, I will be attending my 40th high school class reunion. I am from a very small town in Indiana, so it goes without saying, my class was very small as well. As little towns go, there is not much that is private in your life. Our class knew each other very well, and if we were not close friends, we still were very aware of the details of each other’s lives. “Nothing was a secret!” At this point in our lives getting together is a brief trip down “Memory Lane.” Yet, none of us are the people that we once were, and in getting reacquainted, I am certain I am not alone in hoping there is very little memory of who I once was but rather, want them to see who I am today, a child of God. 

We are reminded of forgiveness in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

Perhaps the most difficult part of this Scripture is allowing ourselves to let go of our own transgressions and guilt so that we can walk in freedom. Forgiving ourselves can be a bigger challenge because we are aware of the state of our own hearts and minds when we sinned. It is only through His abundant grace that He chooses to forgive us. By reliving the past and trying to carry the weight of our own sin, we can hinder our spiritual growth and prevent ourselves from doing what we are called to do. In the Psalms, King David wrote about God’s grace in saying, “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). If God does not hold our sin to us once we repent from it, why should we?

My prayer is that as I go through my daily walk, that people will see Christ in me and not the image of who I used to be. As C. S. Lewis wrote, “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.”



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