Devotions

Author Archives: Michael Fox

Back to Reach • Devotion #3: Nudge

When I was 18, our youth group needed a bus driver. For some reason, it was something I felt like I could do, so I studied, took the test, and received my CDL license. I am really thankful for the Holy Spirit’s leading and the “nudge” I probably received to begin serving. Over the years, it has become a small joke where I try to hide the fact that I have this license, so I do not get asked to drive. However, I actually do enjoy doing it, and looking back it has been a great way for me to serve over the years.

I began my journey as a Christian when I was twelve, and as I began to learn about God, study the Bible, and listen to those around me with wisdom, a common theme began to surface: Serve. In middle school, a friend of mine invited me to church. I was reached. Then I began to attend church, I gathered. As time went on, I attended Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and youth group. I began to grow. Here at The River, we talk a lot about the vision of the church which is Reach, Gather, and Grow. I can look back and see my journey and the path through this process, and I am thankful for those people in my life that helped shape me.

As believers, we are also called to go “Back to Reach.” That is what I believe I did when I went and tested for my bus license and began to serve in that ministry. Over the years, I have served in many different areas. There are many to choose from for you as well. A natural response after salvation is serving God, furthering His kingdom, and finding ways to carry out His will for us. John 12:26 reminds us that God calls us to serve Him, and He will honor us for it: “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”

In 1 Samuel 12:24, we are reminded to be faithful in serving, and remember what God has done for each of us: “Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” 


Finally, Joshua 22:5 says, “Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Leadership

Advice | Devotion 6: Leadership
Michael Fox

One thing I have learned, and am thankful for is that I cannot do everything myself. I have always struggled with letting others do things; I struggle with knowing it will be done right. I have been blessed with wise counsel over the years, and have begun to learn the value of investing in others.

As we work through the life of Moses, you will see these same lessons learned by Moses as well. Moses was taught by his father-in-law, Jethro to do this very thing.

Exodus 18: 24-27 records, “So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves. Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went away to his own country.”

If you read the entire chapter of Exodus chapter 18, you will find Moses tasked with leadership over a group of people, and Moses was sought out to help interpret the Scriptures when people had trouble with one another to give advice on how to handle their problems. It says Moses sat “morning till evening” (Exodus 18:13). It was too much for him to do himself, and he was spending all of his time on this one task.

He listened to his father-in-law, who was giving him wise counsel and godly advice and found other leaders to manage smaller groups of people. As David Guzik writes, “This was good for the leaders Moses chose. Capable men were given real responsibility and had the opportunity to serve God’s people in meaningful ways and further God’s work.”

We read in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

“It is better to set a hundred men to work
than to do the work of a hundred men.”
D.L. Moody

God Hears Our Cry

Murder | Devotion 6: God Hears Our Cry
Michael Fox

As we look through the life of Moses, we learn that God used Moses to bring “the children of Israel” out of Egypt from their slavery. Moses learned of his role for this in Exodus 3:10, “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

Exodus 2:23-25 stated, “During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.”

The covenant came from Genesis 15:18-21, “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.’” We learn here in Genesis that God promised to deliver the Israelites, and then we see it carried out through Moses in Exodus.

In Exodus 3:7-8, we see God describe that He had seen and heard both their affliction and their cry for help: “Then the Lord said, ‘I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.’” Then, in verse 10 He told Moses that he would be the one to bring the people out of Egypt.

Looking through the life of Moses, and specifically in these passages, we learn a few things about who God is to us. He is our refuge, strength, and help in time of trouble. Psalm 46:1 says “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” He is the one who can truly give us rest. Matthew 11:28 adds, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” If we truly learn to cry out to God, He promises to hear our cry.

My God

Forsaken | Devotion #6: My God
Michael Fox | Creative Director

I do not know about you, but I often need to be reminded of what God has done for me. I lose sight sometimes; I need perspective. The best way to gain that perspective back is to read God’s Word – and remember how great He is!

Sin separated me from God. I needed a savior. He loves me. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” These simple promises are a great reminder. Remember what Jesus did for us at the cross: He took our sins, died for us, and then conquered the grave!

I like studying things that I have heard many times and learning something new. It continually shows me how real God is. Looking at the cross, I learned something new this week. John Gill, in his Exposition of the Bible, talks about a point that I have never thought about before. Matthew 27:46 says, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”

Jesus cries out “My God, my God.” We know that Jesus was both God and man, which is something that is very tough to wrap our minds around. Here though, John Gill is suggesting that Jesus is showing His “human side,” calling to “His God.” 

He also cries out, “Why have you forsaken me?” I looked up the word forsaken, and it means to “leave behind” or “abandon.” All sin was put on Jesus at that time. I believe this phrase helps show us the realness of what was happening at that moment. He felt abandoned by His Father and God because of what He was going through. However, that is not the end. Jesus conquered the grave and fulfilled what God said He would do, and now provides us eternal life. That reminder is what I needed today!

The Best Gift

The Gift of Eternal Life | Devotion #3: The Best Gift
Michael Fox | Creative Director

What do gifts look like in your family? As a child, as I am sure was the same in a lot of families, gifts were a central focus around Christmas and birthdays. I remember going to sleep on Christmas Eve as a child with an excitement for the next morning that was like no other. What would I get this year? Did Santa bring me everything I asked? I remember feeling like I could not sleep at times with anticipation. 

I did not grow up in Church; however, my family began attending Church when I was in my early teens. The desire for gifts never went away, but over the years my family began to see importance during these times to thank God for the gift of eternal life as a part of the Christmas season as well. I have memories of waking up on Christmas morning and the first thing we would do as a family was read the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible and take a moment to reflect on that. 

Now as a grown adult, I often reflect on what God has given me. If I take a moment, just the fact that I am alive and breathing today is a gift from God. Sometimes I think about how the human body works, how the world is put together, and how the atmosphere and ecosystem all work together to create a world in which we can live. It is hard for me not to see God and in turn be thankful for the gift He has given us.

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

God has promised us eternal life in Heaven, with Him. We were all created for a purpose, by God. What is even greater, the gift is free, and all we have to do is believe and ask! Romans 10:9 tell us, “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Having a relationship with Jesus and knowing I have eternal life with Him is the greatest gift I could ever receive! 



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