Devotions

Author Archives: Kyle Wendel

Relapse • Devotion #6: Selfishness

What does it mean to be selfish? Google says being selfish is lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure. Do you view yourself as selfish? I think many of us would think that we are not selfish people when we are a lot more selfish than we think. Do others think we are selfish? Often, we are blind to seeing faults in ourselves but are quick to see them in others. 

Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” 

This past year in my life has been truly incredible but a major eye-opener for me. My wife and I had our first child and it has been an awesome roller coaster. Parents out there, you know what I am talking about. I have always been pretty selfish. I think mostly about my wants or comforts. I did not like to go out of my way for others. There are times that I do those things for others, but I often do not like to go out of my comfort. This past year has taught me a ton about being selfless. I thank God for the lessons learned through fatherhood and being a husband through everything.  

A father is called to ultimately be a selfless leader. There are many times I would rather be selfish. There were many times I did not want to help my wife with our daughter. There were many times that I did not want to change those poopy diapers. There were many times that I did not want to do the dishes. Many times, I would come home from work and I would just want to relax like I used to before we had our daughter, but that was something that I could no longer do. I love my wife and daughter. This love drove me to learn to combat my selfishness in many ways. I try my best to put them first in every way, but it is not always easy. I want to show them my love for them through my actions. I want my actions to show Christ’s love to them. I want to be the example of my Heavenly Father to my family and show Him through me.

Philippians 2:5-8 continues, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

The world tells you to be selfish. The world tells you to only care about yourself and do what you want. The world will tell you to not do something that is out of your comfort or out of your way. Follow your own heart is one of the biggest lies the world will sell. Your heart is selfish. Jesus, however, shows us perfect love. Jesus shows us the perfect example of unselfish love. Jesus never sinned once, yet He sacrificed Himself in our place on the cross. He died the death we deserve. Even though Jesus is God, He took the place of the lowly sinner to save us from our sin. Jesus shows us the ultimate example of love, sacrifice, and being unselfish. 

No matter what life stage you are in, I am willing to bet you need to work on your selfishness. We need to look to God and others first with our thoughts and actions. We need to put God first in our lives because He put us first in His. We need to put others first because God calls us to show His love to others. Let us look to have the same mindset of Jesus, our Lord, in all of our thoughts and actions. It is not easy, but we can learn from what Jesus did. We can look to Him for help. 

Reset • Devotion #1: Realizing it is Broken

I grew up playing hockey and absolutely loved it. One of my favorite things about hockey was the tournaments. It was always so much fun going to stay a weekend in a hotel with your team and competing against other teams for a weekend packed with games. Typically you would play at least four games over the weekend. We played one Friday night, two on Saturday, and one or two on Sunday depending on if your team made it to the championship. 

One of my favorite tournament destinations we went to over the years was Sault Ste. Marie in the Upper Peninsula. We went there a handful of times over the years and it was always just an awesome place and atmosphere. One year was totally different. It was Friday, the first day of the tournament. It was our first game. In the opening minutes during my first shift on the ice, I was checked from behind into the boards. This is a very dangerous and illegal play in hockey because it leaves the person getting hit defenseless going face-first into the boards and often ends in injury. If the hit is bad enough you can get kicked out of the game for it. As I was hit from behind, I felt an intense pain in my thumb. I instantly got up and skated back to the bench. I was in great pain and knew something was wrong. Because of the adrenaline from playing, I thought that I had just jammed my thumb really bad. I could not use my thumb like normal and the way it was supposed to move. In hockey, your hands are very important to control your stick. I played the rest of the game but told my teammates to only pass it to me if they absolutely had to. I could not play my normal game and was almost worthless out there. 

After the game, my thumb and wrist began to swell a lot. I was certain that I had broken it. I went out to meet my parents in the arena lobby and they knew I was injured but did not know to what extent. I began to tell them what happened and show them my thumb. My mom and I thought for sure it was broken and that we needed to get it checked out immediately. However, my dad was always one to think everything was fine. He said I probably just jammed it and there was no reason to go to the hospital. Luckily, my mom and I were persistent that this was more than a jammed finger. We convinced my dad to go with us. I think he came just to prove us wrong and rub it in our faces afterward. My mom and I were telling each other how we were hoping it was broken just to rub it back in my dad’s face! 

The hospital took X-rays and it was confirmed that I had broken my thumb. However, it was actually broken down at the bottom of my thumb right by my wrist area. I never realized your thumb went down that far. The hospital then gave me a splint to wear to help keep my thumb straight. We would have to wait until we got back home to get a cast. Ironically, it felt so good to know it was broken to prove my dad wrong. The whole time I knew something was wrong. I knew it was broken. I knew something had to be done, even though my dad thought everything was just fine. 

I went on to play the rest of the tournament with a splint on my thumb, playing differently than I normally would, and having to adapt to my injury. It was definitely a crazy experience and one I will always remember and laugh about. Looking back, I still cannot believe my parents and coaches let me play. 

Too often in our lives, we do not realize when something is broken. We try to act like everything is just fine and normal. We must realize that we are broken and need help. If we continue to act like something is not broken in our lives, it will never heal the way it is supposed to. God wants us to be looking at our lives and what needs to be examined. He wants us to come to Him with our brokenness so that He can heal us the way we need to be healed. Acknowledging the break is sometimes hard, or it is not easy to look for help. We often do not want to admit we are broken or that something in our lives is broken. To heal properly, the first step is to realize that something is broken. If you cannot accept that, then you can never truly heal or take the steps to recovery.

Examine your life today. What is broken and needs to be fixed? Do you accept that it is broken or do you choose to not believe it? How can you go to God with your brokenness? 

Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Impact • Devotion #1: My Perfect Life

Disclaimer: I am in no way trying to insult or hurt anyone in this devotional. I am going to tell you my story of divorce and how it impacted my life. 

I grew up in a perfect family, or so I thought. My family was very loving and caring. I thought we had the “cookie-cutter” family. My parents were always there and genuinely cared for their kids. I felt nothing but love and care from them. My life was great as a child. Yeah sure, we had problems just like everyone has but nothing major. The biggest family problem I had growing up was my little sister. She and I could never get along and were always fighting. However, that is siblings for you. Other than that, my family was perfect. My life was perfect and my home was perfect, until the day my parents told me they were getting divorced. 

My parents never showed any hint to us children that they would ever get divorced. I saw many other kids at school who had divorced parents, and I always felt bad for them. I knew my parents would never get divorced, so I had nothing to worry about, or so I thought. One day we were supposed to go out to dinner as a family. Right before we were supposed to leave, my parents sat my three younger siblings with me down on the living room couch. They then explained to the four of us how they were getting a divorce. My younger siblings were just a little too young to understand what that meant entirely. However, I was a freshman in high school and understood exactly what was happening. I sat there filled with a million questions and emotions. I rarely saw my parents fight before. I saw them constantly showing love to each other and us. There were no warning signs of this coming. I could not believe this was happening. After questioning my parents for a minute, I quickly ran to my room and locked myself inside. I refused to go to dinner that night and act like life was fine. My world was drastically flipped upside-down. I remember my dad coming to my door trying to talk to me, and I could not face the truth of what was happening. I thought this was all a huge nightmare.

For me, the next season of my life was a mess. I could not handle the emotions that came with my parent’s divorce and how it was changing my life. I had so many emotions built up inside against my parents and how they could do this to me. I began to rebel in any way that I could. I started hanging around the wrong friends and making poor choices. Sin was wrecking my life. It was having a massive impact on my life and those around me.

My story is different from the majority of children who go through a divorce. My parents got divorced and were back together a year later. It is an incredible story to see this happen, as this is not common. Fast forward years from then and my parents are still married, which is an awesome blessing to have! However, this did not stop the hurt and pain that I endured from this. Sin has an earthly impact just as much as it has an eternal impact on our lives. 

Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

Sin has huge consequences in our lives, and it impacts those around us. Sin brings separation between the Lord and us that we cannot fix. Sin brings eternal punishment to us, but there has been a gift to get us out of it. The only thing that can bring us back to God is His Son, Jesus, dying on the cross to pay the punishment of all our sins. This is the greatest news ever!

Even though our sin has been wiped away by Jesus, there is still an earthly consequence of our sin. Those around us can be significantly hurt through sin in our lives. I went through a lot of hurt and pain from my parent’s divorce. It hurt my relationship with them for some time. I also made a lot of poor choices on my own as well from it. I do not wish this journey on anyway. However, for me, this journey led to me finding the Lord. It was a springboard to me finding a genuine relationship with Him. I found that God and His love will never waiver; it is firm and always there. When there is sin in our lives or others around us, there will be hurt from that. The Lord is always there and is waiting for us to cling to Him when sin impacts our lives. 

Know the impact your sin has on you and others around you. Know that the Lord is there for us through it all. 

When to Throw It Away

Leftovers | Devotion #6: When to Throw It Away
Kyle Wendel | Children & Student’s Director

What do you do with leftover food that you have? Do you throw it out or store it in the fridge? Do you do any meal preparations? Do you have it for lunch the next day? Does it sit in your fridge for weeks until you notice a rotten smell when you open your fridge? There are some things that take a long time to go bad, and there are things that go bad quickly. Have you ever had leftover fast food? What is wrong with you?! Fast food goes bad like five minutes after you order it. Do not get me wrong, I love a good trip to Taco Bell, but it is never good as leftovers. 

I have never been someone who is into leftovers at all. Once I eat a meal, I am done with it. By the time the next day rolls around for leftovers, that meal no longer sounds appealing to me. We could have some leftover chicken and my mind will always go to, “Pizza sounds really good right now.” Does a new meal just sound so much better? My wife hates this about me. She is the kind of person who wastes no food. If there are leftovers, we are eating all of them. Over the past couple years my wife has opened my eyes to leftovers and how they can actually be pretty good and a way to save money and eat healthier. The Lord knows I need her in my life, even for the small things. I may not get all the pizza I want, but it is better for me in the long run. 

The real question is for how long are leftovers good? I know I have toed the line a few times on how close something is to going bad. You almost always can rely on the smell test. If it smells rotten, do not touch it! Throw it away and be done with it. We need to look at our lives in this perspective sometimes. How often do we allow leftovers in our lives to turn bad before we take care of them?

Bad leftovers can be a multitude of things. It can be old baggage we carry, old relationships that bring us down, bitterness, jealousy, sin in our lives, anger, old ways, and a host of other poor choices. We let these things begin to stink in our lives. We leave these leftovers in our lives, and we do not take care of them. We let them sit in our hearts, and we begin to rot because of them. With leftovers, once one thing begins to rot, the whole meal is gone. You must throw it out once it is spoiled. 

Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” We need to examine our lives and see what has gone bad in our hearts and lives. Are we holding on to sin and allowing bitterness to destroy us? We must throw it in the trash today. Do not let sin take root in your heart and begin to spoil everything in your life. Throw out the garbage that is in you. Only keep what is still good. That good is the goodness from Jesus. We need to learn when to throw out the bad leftovers in our lives. Jesus shows us how to do that very thing. I love how Ephesians 4:31-32 shows to throw out the junk and to put on Jesus. Put on the love that Jesus has shown. Put on the forgiveness that Jesus so graciously gives. How can we hold on to such things when Jesus has forgiven us of all sin if we believe and trust in His sacrifice?

What are some leftovers that have spoiled in your life? 

What are you going to do to throw them out today?

Sides

Main Dish | Devotion #1: Sides
Kyle Wendel | Children & Student’s Director 

Everyone loves a good side to complement their dinner. What are your favorite sides? There are so many from which to choose. There are soups, salad, vegetables, rice, fruit, and loaves of bread. Personally, I love any kind of bread. Instead of having a salad with dinner, I would rather take a double or triple serving of rolls. Rolls of any kind trump all sides. Have you ever had so many rolls or sides that you were full before you even got to the main dish? I know I have. Then there is the moment where you eat about two bites of the main dish and you are done. 

I think we do this too often spiritually as well. Too often we get so caught up in the sides of this life and not the main dish. Jesus is our main dish. He should be our main focus. However, we fill ourselves with the things of this world, and by the time we come to the main dish, Jesus, we are full. We have no room left. We spend so much time on everything else that we have left no time for Jesus.  

Sides, in a sense, do not have the same amount of nutrients that you need that the main dish does. Spiritually it is the same. There is nothing this world can give you that will give you even close to the same amount of spiritual nutrients that Jesus can. So why do we spend so much time on the sides of this world and not Jesus?

In 1 Corinthians 6:12, Paul says, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.” Paul says that things in this world can be okay for us to do. It is okay to love sports, it is okay to love your job, and it is okay to enjoy these things. However, that does not mean that everything is good for you. I love sports, but sports cannot become the main dish in my life. I will not be filling myself with the nutrients I truly need. We need to be filled spiritually with Christ alone. We cannot fill that void with other sides. We will always be trying to get the nutrients we need from Jesus from these other sides, and we will never get them. It is okay to enjoy these things, but if they take the place of the main dish, we will be in trouble.  

Colossians 3:1-2 says, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Colossians 3:17 adds, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Colossians chapter 3 tells us to seek the things that are above. If we seek the things of God, we are seeking what is truly helpful to us. We should focus on Jesus through everything. Our sides should always be pointing and complementing our main dish. Do not try to mix sides that do not go with Christ. Keep your minds set on Him and His truth, love, and grace. Do not try to make something the main dish that should never be in His place. God needs to be the number one priority and thought in our lives daily. If that happens, we will be filling ourselves up with the spiritual nutrients that come from God alone.

What are some things that you put in place of God in your life?

How can you make sure to keep that from happening? 

How can you keep Jesus as your main dish?



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