Devotions

Author Archives: LaRae Wing

1 John 5 • Devotion #2: The Father Gives Evidence

Several years ago, my husband and I witnessed an incident of road rage that resulted in an individual’s death. It was a harrowing and life-changing experience. As a result, I, along with my husband, was called to testify in court. I was asked to precisely tell what I saw and heard. Specific facts and details were important to the case because the judge had not been present and was going to determine the punishment of the accused.

The circumstances of what John is telling us in 1 John 5:6-12 are so different. No witnesses are needed because God, the righteous judge (Psalm 50:6), is telling us that He knows the One being judged as the Savior of the world. He knows all about who Jesus is. Why? It is because Jesus is “His Only Begotten Son” (John 3:16 NKJV) manifest in the flesh, sent by God to be sacrificed for our sin and to raise from the grave as our living Savior.

Throughout Jesus’ life on Earth, God had been showing and telling the world who Jesus is. God’s angels declared it at Jesus’ birth. At the water-baptism of Jesus, a dove (the Holy Spirit) descended, but more importantly, God spoke from Heaven and said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased(Matthew 3:17). Even when Jesus’ blood was shed on the cross, the sky became dark, the earth quaked, and the curtain enclosing the Holy of Holies in the temple was torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:45-51). Three days later, an angel spoke to the women from inside Jesus’ empty tomb (Matthew 28:1-7). So many signs and wonders that could only be acts of God declaring that Jesus of Nazareth was truly His Son. These things were evidence to man. Clearly, God’s actions were saying to people, “Stop doubting, this is my Son! Believe Him.”

In today’s culture, people often need evidence (facts and details) to believe that something is true. John was telling the world (both Christians and non-believers) that there was plenty of evidence as to Jesus being the one in which to place our eternal faith and hope. What is better verification there than what is given by a loving, merciful holy God?

Jesus Christ was God’s Son in the flesh. His humanity was affirmed when He was born as a human – by water and by blood. The Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, came from Heaven at His baptism, and God, His Father, confirmed Him as His Son. On the cross, Jesus’ humanity was confirmed when He was stuck in His side with a sword and out came water and blood.

All those years ago, I was a witness before a judge. I acted as his eyes and ears at an event that he did not witness. In the best selling book, The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel retraces his spiritual journey from atheism to faith by showing how the historical, archaeological, and ancient written evidence led him to a belief in Jesus as God. Yet, I just cannot help but believe that the most powerful declaration comes from the works and words of our God, who gave testimony to the veracity of the claims that Jesus was His Son and our Savior. As believers, we should need no other evidence!

At the end of this passage comes one of the most powerful and sobering verses in the Bible, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12).Do you truly have “life” through belief in Jesus as God’s Son?

Reach • Testimony #1: LaRae Wing

Like most kids who are churched their whole lives, I came to realize my need for a Savior at a young age. At the age of eleven, while sitting in a Sunday morning Church service, the actuality of needing the Savior’s forgiveness of my sin pressed heavily on my heart. In my little girl’s reality, I realized that I did bad things and needed to ask God to forgive me, and of course, I wanted to go to Heaven. So I prayed a simple prayer and felt God’s love and forgiveness. Shortly thereafter, I was baptized and continued to learn about the Heavenly Father who loved me and wanted me to trust Him.

That simple faith continued to grow, but the magnitude of that decision did not really sink in until I went away from home to college. There I began to understand that my faith was truly my own. It was a difficult journey. I felt very alone with my belief in God. My Mom and Dad were not around to encourage me. My three roommates were upperclassmen and not believers. I had no connection with any Church in the area. These things, combined with my shy and quiet nature, made me miserable, yet drove me to my knees.

But my God…

That September, on my first day of classes, I said a silent prayer and walked into my first class feeling terrified, until I saw Jane, the girl that I had shared a room with at orientation week during the summer. We immediately reconnected and thus began a journey that continued throughout my four years of college. As I continued through that first day, Jane and I ended up in five out of six classes. God was definitely directing my path. He knew that I needed a friend who was a Christian and so He sent Jane. We became almost inseparable despite having different room assignments. 

That first semester Jane and I struggled to find a community to worship with, but we did a Bible Study with an on-campus group. I felt myself growing into a deeper relationship with Jesus as my prayer life grew more consistent. Even while this was happening, my roommates tormented me because I was a freshman, because I was shy, and most of all, because I was a Christian.

But my God…

A few weeks before the end of the first semester, a room for four girls became available. Jane and I took the chance and applied to move into that room together. It was definitely a long-shot because upperclassmen go to the top of the list, but we put our names on the list anyway. Two weeks later, we got the call that we had been approved to move into room 206 and that two other freshmen, Sally and Karen, would be joining us. It was a total surprise to us, but not to God. He had a plan beyond what we could think or imagine. Our new roommates were both Christians and seeking a church also. We immediately bonded, found a Church that loved college students, and became known as The 206 Girls on campus. We are still friends to this day. 

At that little Church I learned that sharing Jesus and serving others was my most important mission in life, that sharing God’s love was the source of my joy, and that despite the pressures of college life, there were always opportunities to point people to Jesus and show others His love through service. 

There have been many “But my God” moments throughout my life, but none so foundational to my spiritual growth and understanding as those that happened during my freshman year in college.

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)

No Blind Faith Here

Twelve Spies | Devotion 2: No Blind Faith Here
LaRae Wing

I grew up in the country. We had a very, very long driveway and there was little traffic on our country road. During the summer before I turned 16, I was scheduled to take driver’s training. I had no fear of passing the written portion of that training, but getting behind the wheel and driving an automobile was a huge fear. It was not that I had not ridden in a car, or knew that other people my age were already driving. It was not the fact that my dad had been talking to me about proper methods of driving for several months; pointing out the ways to safely maneuver and control the car. It was the fact that I had never been behind the wheel before and would be the one in charge of that huge machine. I would be responsible for where it went, how fast it was going, and where it would start and stop. What would happen if I drove too fast, cut a corner too short, got too close to another car, pressed the brakes too hard (or not hard enough)? Most kids my age were anxious to drive, but it was terrifying to me.

Unlike many of my friends, I had never driven a riding lawn mower, a go-cart, or anything motorized, much less a car. I was not allowed to even start the car, until that summer. Then a few weeks before I began my driver’s class, my dad gave me the keys and said I could drive the car up and down the driveway. “Don’t go past the end of the driveway,” he said. My dad had complete confidence in me and knew I could do it, but I balked. What if my little brother was playing in the driveway (as he often did), or what if I did not stop and went into the road? My dad was not worried. He had given me lots of verbal instruction. He wanted me to trust him; to do this thing because even though I had my reservations, he had confidence in me, had prepared me, and knew I could do it.

In chapter thirteen of Numbers, twelve men are being called to check out the land that God had promised would be the new home for the Israelite nation. Moses was commissioning these very specific individuals (named in Scripture) and giving them detailed instructions to:

1. Check out the geography. Was it fertile or poor, forest or desert?

2. Check out the inhabitants. Were they strong or weak, battle-ready or not?

He did this because the Israelite people wanted to know these things. Despite the fact that God had been supplying everything they needed, they still wanted first-hand information. They would not blindly follow God’s leading.

One of the questions I have while reading this is, why do you people need spies to check out this place? Did God not promise this land to you? Have you not learned by now that, “Where God guides, He provides?” I love how Matthew Henry in his Commentary on the Whole Bible writes, “(The people) came to Moses, and said, ‘We will send men before us; and it was the fruit of their unbelief.’ They would not take God’s word that it was a good land, and that He would, without fail, put them in possession of it. They could not trust the pillar of cloud and fire to show them the way to it, but had a better opinion of their own politics than of God’s wisdom. How absurd was it for them to send to spy out a land which God himself had ‘spied’ out for them, to enquire the way into it when God himself had undertaken to show them the way!” Is that just like us humans? We need to see it to believe it.

Guess what? I made it up and down that driveway (not without my fears at first) and I have been driving for over 50 years now. My dad just wanted me to believe that I could do it because he had told me to do it. He did not want me to second guess him; his desire was for me to have confidence in his judgment.

So it is with our Heavenly Father. He wants us to have “blind faith,” so to speak. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. He says, “follow me,” a minimum of 20 times in the first four books of the New Testament.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your path straight.”

We Need God, and Each Other

Raised Arms | Devotion 2: We Need God, and Each Other
LaRae Wing

“Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.’ So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.” Exodus 17:8-13

“Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends.”

This line, made famous in a song by The Beatles in 1967 (Yes, I am that old), certainly rings true with me. Have you ever over-committed yourself and basically could not physically or mentally complete the task without help. Honestly, there have been periods in my life when precious godly family and friends have been my lifeline. These situations have been entirely my fault because I have a hard time saying “No.” I do not stop to think about asking God about it, or even think about all my other commitments. I just say, “Sure, I can do that.” Then reality hits and I scream for help. They come to my rescue. Oh, I have been blessed many times in this way.

There have also been times when I was plugging along trying to complete a task that I did not realize was too big for me, and some great friends would just show up to help. They saw that I was struggling when I did not, and they came alongside and supported with physical help, words of encouragement, and needed suggestions to make the job easier. I knew I had received grace upon grace; blessing upon blessing.

In the verses from Exodus, we see Moses following the command of God. Moses was once again trusting and depending on God, knowing that God was the only One with the power to help them overcome the army of Amalek. Moses’ obedience and dependence on God was a great example to the Israelites. It made them realize that God alone was truly able to provide for all their needs. From the time Moses was called by God at the burning bush until this time of the battle, a wonderful relationship had been developed between Moses and his Father God. He had learned that God would never leave or forsake him (Hebrews 13:5) and that God would show him great things when he called upon Him (Jeremiah 33:3). Moses knew he needed to know God and that his relationship with God was paramount in his life.

That is so true for all of us. We need that close, personal relationship with our Heavenly Father (Psalm 23; Proverbs 18:24), and He desires a close relationship with us (Leviticus 26:12; Matthew 11:28). How do we develop a relationship with God? We do it just as we do with others; we spend time with God. We do that through prayer, reading the Bible, and meditating on the Scriptures. It is the sweetest, most fulfilling, and the best relationship we can have.

Likewise, we see in Exodus chapter 17 that God had brought to Moses’ life people who would help him in time of need. Moses’ relationship with Aaron and Hur was one that resulted in assistance and support when needed. As the Scripture stated, Moses would be on the hill holding up the staff God had given to him. It would be a reminder of all the great things that God had done with that staff in the past, and a sign to the Israelite army that God was in the midst of their battle. As the battle continued throughout the day, Moses’ arms grew tired. As long as he held the staff high, the Israelites won the battle, but when his arms began to sag, the Amalekites began to win. Realizing their leader was becoming exhausted during this difficult battle, Aaron and Hur came to the aid of Moses. They gave him a place to sit and held up his arms. Moses needed support, and they gave it.

It is wonderful when friends jump in to help when we need it. Just think about our leaders in the church whom God has called specifically to minister to us. What an encouragement we can be if we come alongside to support them. We need each other. That is the way God made us. He created the Church for us so that we can support and serve one another. God has promised to supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19), and many times, He uses others to supply those needs.

How can you be the hands and feet of Jesus to others today? Can you offer assistance to others with help, encouragement, Scripture, and prayer before they ask? Look around. Who needs relief, comfort, and support? You could be the difference between a loss or a win in someone’s battle.

Moses, Moses, Moses

Excuses | Devotion 2: Moses, Moses, Moses
LaRae Wing

So often Moses is criticized for his hesitance to serve as God’s spokesman to Pharaoh. God had spoken to him from the burning bush. We think, “Wow, Moses! How can you hesitate to do everything He tells you to do? You have heard God’s voice. He has spoken to you from a dry desert bush that is on fire, but was never consumed. Are you kidding me?” Not only that but God had given him signs (rod to a snake – Exodus 4:4-5, leprous hand healed – Exodus 4:6-8); yet Moses was still hesitant to believe that God could equip him to be His representative.

We wonder, “Why?” How could Moses be uncertain? Maybe his faith was weak. Maybe he was afraid because of his past (Exodus 2:11-15). Maybe he liked his life the way it was. Whatever the reason, we criticize him for just not doing what God had told him to do. Is that just like us? Are we critical despite our own weaknesses?

I specifically recall a time several years ago that God impressed me to plan a special activity for the senior women in my church, and what were my first thoughts? “I cannot do this. It is too much. I am too busy. Why me, Lord? I have never done anything like this before. I need help, a lot of help.” I then immediately thought, “I cannot do this without Sherry” (my best friend and whiz at organization and timelines). How could I be critical of Moses? I was behaving just as he did.

Have you ever had doubts when you felt God’s leading? Have you struggled with feeling inadequate or following through? Please remember that Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  We often feel this only pertains to material necessities, but when God says “every need” He means all needs – material, physical, emotional, and spiritual.

If you continue to read in Exodus, you will see that Moses, with the help of his brother Aaron, did acquiesce to his calling from God. God’s faithfulness to the mission He assigned to Moses is accomplished over and over again. Also in other biblical accounts, we can see that when God’s child follows His lead, there is victory and blessing (Abraham, Joseph, Gideon, David, and Elijah). If God leads you, you can rest assured that He has and will equip you.

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” I Thessalonian 5:23-24   



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