Devotions

Author Archives: Pastor Noble Baird

I Am: True Vine • Devotion #4: Vinedresser

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:1-5

I believe that for many of us who call ourselves followers of Christ, we have heard this “I Am.” I know certainly for me, growing up at a Christian school K-12th grade, this was a passage I knew very well and heard often. Over the years, I have made two observations from this passage which I think we should all evaluate within our personal walks with Christ. First, are you truly part of the vine? To be a part of the vine, Christ, means that we truly have accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. It does not mean that we simply have said some words and believe in a higher power. This means that as Paul wrote in Romans 10:9, that we have confessed and truly believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord and He is who He says He is.  

The second evaluation is this, are you truly prepared to be pruned? I am not sure about you, but cutting the grass and doing landscaping is hard work! However, the work is worth the reward to see those perfect lines in the grass, or that picture-perfect tree and hedge! Here, Jesus tells us that in order for us to bear fruit, in order for us to share His Gospel in a meaningful and impactful way, we must be willing to be pruned by our heavenly Father. This pruning is not to hurt or stop us from being effective, but to make us more effective for the cause of the Gospel of Christ. 

I pray that as you continue on today and the rest of this week, you will evaluate these two questions in your life and walk with Christ. I know that at times the pruning that has taken place in my life has not been easy. Yet, as I continue to prayerfully seek the Father’s will in my life and continue to stay in His Word, I am truly thankful for a Vinedresser who cares and loves me so deeply!

I Am: The Door • Devotion #5: Escape Room

A while back, I had the chance to go experience an Escape Room. For those of you who are unfamiliar, this is basically a real-life puzzle where you and a group of friends try to escape a room within the allotted amount of time. You truly feel like Sherlock Holmes as you try to decipher clues and puzzles, ultimately making your way through to unlock the final door and escape! However, it will also test your friendships as you try to communicate and work together. Needless to say, when I went with my group of friends, we did not escape in the allotted amount of time, but we did come close and had a ton of fun. The reason I bring this up is that whenever I think of a door, there are many ways in which to enter. Some doors, we use a key, others we may you a key code, and some fancy ones use a fob or a card.  

During this Easter season, we are going through our study on the “I Ams” of Jesus. Today, I want to take a look at how Jesus is the door of our lives. In John 10:7-9 we read, “So Jesus again said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.’” Now, when we read this passage, many of us can understand that when Jesus is referring to the “sheep,” He is referring to us, His followers. He first speaks of all the false teachers who have come before Him (thieves and robbers) and established how they were liars and not the true door through which to enjoy the pastures, or truth, joy, and eternal life. Yet, there is the second part of this teaching which I love, an open invitation. In verse nine, Jesus says “If anyone enters by me, he will be saved.” Jesus is reminding us of the open, free invitation to enjoy life in Him.

With the Escape Room, there are tons of keys and puzzles we must complete and work through, in order to earn and gain entrance to the final door and escape. Yet, as Jesus tells us here in John 10:9 and Paul reminds us in Romans 10:9, there is no secret clue or hidden key through which we can gain access to eternal life. All we must do is simply confess Jesus as our Savior and trust that He is who He says He is, and we will instantly gain access to walking through the greatest door in the world, that door is Jesus. There is no secret code, no fancy key, all we must do is trust and confess and we will be saved. I may have failed at the Escape Room, but boy am I thankful for a loving Savior who readily opened the door for me when all I had to do was trust and walk through it!

Reach • Devotion #2: Ambassadors

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

Did you read that verse? I am not sure about you, but my first reaction is WOW! Read that verse again. We are ambassadors of Christ! What an incredible privilege, but also an incredible calling! Webster defines an Ambassador as, “An authorized representative or messenger; a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government.” In this passage, Paul is writing about two different topics. The first is our relationship with Christ and the second, our relationship with the world. 

He begins in 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 writing, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” Paul reminds the church in Corinth and us of the message of the Gospel. It is through Christ that we have been saved and reconciled to our Heavenly Father. Without the atoning blood of Christ over us, we would never be able to have a relationship with God. Yet, God reconciled, redeemed, saved us from our sins, and repaired that broken relationship! It does not stop there. This is where the second part comes in, our relationship and call in this world.

What is this ministry of reconciliation? Paul makes it clear that through us, we have been called to carry the Gospel, this message of reconciliation, to the world. God has called us to be His representatives, His messenger, and His highest ranking agent to a broken and sinful world that is in such need of reconciliation to its Creator. Today, I hope you are challenged with two things. First, never forget that you have been redeemed and reconciled to the Lord through our Savior Jesus Christ. If you are reading this and have not experienced that reconciliation and redemption, you can do that right now! Romans 10:9 tells us that if we confess Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that He is truly the Risen Savior, you will be saved! Secondly, we have been called the Ambassadors of Christ. We have been given the greatest calling ever, the privilege to represent our Savior, Jesus Christ, to the whole world on God’s behalf. Wow!  

1 John 5 • Devotion #6: Flee

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:21

One of my all-time favorite movies is Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Within the first opening minutes, we find Indiana cautiously making his way through an ancient cave. Narrowly avoiding all the traps and obstacles, he ultimately finds what he has been searching for – the golden idol. Yet, after what he thinks is a clean exchange (the idol for a bag of sand weighing almost as much as the idol), the trap is sprung, and a chain reaction of destruction begins. 

In 1 John 5:21, John reminds us of a very similar idol which Indiana was seeking. Although the idol John is referencing is not necessarily a golden object, the outcome is the same. John, writing in 5:21 says, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” Here, John is reminding us and warning us of the dangers of this world. The world is full of temptation, traps, and snares that, at a glance, are enticing. Satan knows how to deceive us. Ever since Genesis chapter 3, he has been doing it and doing it well. However, John is reminding us first of all of our faith in Christ; he calls us “little children.” This term is not used in a derogatory way, but a reminder of what he said in 1 John 2:28-3:1, “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. See what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” Secondly, John is warning us and reminding us to flee from temptation and the desire to place anything in this world before God.

When Indiana grabbed the golden idol, the chain reaction of destruction began. The world around him in the cave he was in literally began to fall apart. Church, I want to remind and encourage you to heed the warning of John here in 1 John 5:21. We are so privileged to be called children of God. However, sin has one goal, destruction. Flee from temptation; do not touch or dabble with the idols in this world and surrounding you. No matter how easy and harmless it may seem, you may think that you can simply take the idol and no one will notice. Yet, if we take that step and fool ourselves thinking that we have gotten away with it, we will trigger a chain reaction of destruction that, once triggered, is almost impossible to escape.  

Be Obedient 

Twelve Spies | Devotion 1: Be Obedient
Noble Baird  

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved spies. The concept of hiding in plain sight or behind enemy lines in order to gain information has always fascinated me. As a kid, I loved watching G.I. Joe; seeing the secret missions that went on and watching the spies carry out whatever task was put before them, I was hooked! That being said, in Numbers chapter 13, we have one of my favorite stories in the Bible. You probably guessed by now; it involves spies; twelve of them to be exact. At this point in Moses’ life, he has successfully led the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and they are in the wilderness, approaching the Promised Land that God said was theirs. So, as any good leader would do before entering the unknown and possibly hostile territory, Moses selected twelve men to scout the new land out, however, this was all done at the advisement of the Lord.

In Numbers 13:1-2, it reads, “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel.’” Here, we see two things: obedience and a guarantee. First, we see Moses’ obedience to God as he followed out what the Lord ordered him to do; send out twelve. In Numbers 13:3 we see Moses’ reaction to God, “So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran, according to the command of the Lord, all of them men who were heads of the people of Israel.” Obedience is one of the absolute crucial attributes in which a true leader carries with them. Yet, in the second half of verse two, we see a guarantee from the Lord. God told Moses to send the men to spy on the land of Canaan, “which I am giving to the people of Israel.” Here, we have the Lord’s guarantee to Moses – the land is yours; you will have it!

Being a leader is not always easy. It is a position and a role, which Moses was truly called to do and be. Yet, he was not left alone. We see throughout all his life that the Lord continually guided and encouraged him in the ways he needed to go. In this passage, Moses again shows his strong leadership character as he obediently listens to the Lord’s guidance in his life. As you continue on in your week, I want to challenge you to listen. However, as you listen, be obedient. Be obedient and remember the promise of victory we have in Christ, just as the Israelites were guaranteed the Promised Land.



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