Devotions

Author Archives: Pat Bedell

I Am: The Way, Truth, Life • Devotion #5: Stellar Defiance

As far back as I can remember, my grandfather had always had the best interests of his grandkids. I can remember for every birthday and Christmas, my siblings and I would receive a card with $100 in it to go towards our education beyond high school. I will always remember the summer vacation after fifth grade. We spent five to six days a week together where in the morning we would cut and split wood for a couple of hours, and then we would take the fishing boat out on the lake. I learned so much from him in a short amount of time and I cherish those memories I have of him. Many of the people that knew him, remember him as a stellar person that would give the shirt off of his back to anyone in need.   

He really was a stellar person, but he also struggled with alcoholism and anger issues. To be quite honest, I really do not know the details or the severity of it, but I do know that he died the day after my twenty-first birthday because his liver shut down, and the rest of his organs followed shortly thereafter. The only thing that we did to honor his life was to have a fish fry in his backyard and share stories of him and what he meant to us.   

This all happened before I accepted Christ as my Savior. To this day, I often wonder, and unfortunately highly doubt, my grandfather was saved. There are so many people around us that show integrity, honor, selflessness, and humility. However, just because a person has all of those qualities does not mean that they are saved. 

On a rough day, I wonder if I am actually saved with all of the wretched things I have seen and done. John 14:6 (NIV) says, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” Jesus is the only way to God. You must believe in and accept Jesus to live in eternity with God. It breaks my heart to know so many wonderful souls that do not accept Jesus into their hearts knowing what comes next for them when they leave this Earth.  

Evangelizing is such a tedious and volatile practice. God called us in His last words on this Earth to do just that as He departed from the Mount of Olives. Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Defiance of God’s Word comes at a price. Matthew 10:33 adds, “But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” 

We have all had chances to metaphorically swing at evangelizing to non-believers. I will be the first to admit that I have struck out several times and it is mentally draining to constantly be shut down and keep a positive attitude. Luckily, I have a God that is always a prayer away to boost my morale and give me the courage to keep doing so. I would like to challenge you all to find that stellar person in your life that may or may not know the Lord and spark a conversation about Jesus. Do not defy that God has called you to make disciples of all nations. Be bold in His name and speak the truth in love. Jesus is the way, He is the truth, and He is the life!

I Am: The Good Shepherd • Devotion #2: Identify Yourself

My name is Pat Bedell. I am a husband of a wonderful woman, father of two beautiful boys, and a follower of Jesus Christ. If there was an anthem of who I am, I would want people to know this. He has helped me steer clear of unknown obstacles, kept me safe from danger, and unbeknownst, kept me on that path that He set for me before I took my first breath. How I got to this point in my life was not an easy road, but I find myself in the greatest spiritual shape in my life thanks to our Good Shepherd.    

John 10:11 says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Jesus is depicted in this chapter as “the Good Shepherd.” He lays down his life for His sheep. This metaphor should not be taken lightly as being a shepherd of any kind is not an easy task. His people are the “sheep” of this world and to be quite frank, sheep need a shepherd because they are incapable of taking care of themselves. The shepherd has the experience, knowledge, and capabilities to protect his sheep from impending danger and death. Now imagine God has 7.5 billion sheep moving in all directions that need a shepherd. I remember being one of the sheep moving in dangerous directions, especially in my first couple of years of college. There are so many temptations and opportunities to succumb to the work of the devil. There were many times that I had failed God in those years but all the while He was directing me in the right direction all along. He will always work things out for my own good.  

John 10:14 reiterates the Lord is “the Good Shepherd.” It says, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.” God knows me, and I know my God. At the moment that I realized that God knew me by name and that He will always have His best interest in my life, I could no longer deny Jesus and His everlasting gift of eternal life. The fact of the matter is, God knows me, He has always known me, and I do not know God as much as God knows me. Therefore, I need to continually and fervently learn all about God. I want to know His stories, His struggles, His accomplishments, and everything in between. 

I appreciate His words, “I know my own and my own know me.”You must always seek the Lord and learn about Him. His living Word is the greatest and most reliable resource He has given us to do just that. It is in the Word and your relationship with Jesus where you will find your identity. Who you are and what you do on this earth is your legacy that your friends and family will talk about for generations. Will people know you for being a good friend or husband? Will you be remembered for running a successful business? I will say that there are so many ways a person can be remembered, but in all honesty, please remember me for being a follower of Christ, a loving husband, and a good father. Let my life celebration be not in vain, but be an opportunity for those that do not know Christ to learn and understand the Gospel so that they may find the same identity in Christ that I was so desperate and grateful to have.  

Giving • Devotion #5: God and Yourself

For those of you that know me, you know that I have been blessed to be a musician. I remember when I was in 2nd grade, Mr. Duvall had a piano in his classroom, and one day during our “free time,” I walked over and began playing. To me, I was just practicing and having a good time, but to my teacher and my fellow classmates, they seemed amazed that someone knew how to play piano at such a young age. I was filled with euphoria after receiving so much praise and acknowledgment. That was when I realized that I was going to have a lifelong struggle with pride. 

One of the greatest desires of humankind is to be accepted by others. We long for connection and relationships and we were designed this way by God. Some will go out of their way to get attention from others. We all know someone that tries to “one-up” you after you tell a story and it is simply to receive praise and acceptance from you. It takes a lot of discipline and multiple moments of self-evaluation to keep yourself in check trying to be prideful of what you have done and achieved. Pride can also set in when you are working for the Lord. Whether you are a volunteer, part of the staff, or one of the board members of the church, it is easy to get caught up in the accomplishments of the church. Whether it is putting together an awesome program, building a stellar backdrop, or playing an amazing set for worship, it is easy to pat yourself on the back. 

In Matthew chapter 6, there are some guidelines given to help guide God’s people in the way they conduct themselves in their worship to the Lord. Matthew 6:3-4 says, “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” God wants you to give to the cause with no intention of receiving praise for your generosity from others. Matthew 6:6 adds, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” As I have studied this chapter, it seems that if you want to further His Kingdom in a healthy manner, you must do it with the mindset that you are only doing so in the eyes of God and no one else. Matthew 6:17-18 says, “But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Do not tell or boast of your fasting habits. God will not reward your efforts of fasting if you do so in a sinful manner. I interpret these guidelines in a very simple way that has helped me overcome some of the most difficult struggles of pride in my life. When you are trying to worship and praise God in your walk of faith, do so in the mindset that it is just God and yourself in the room. When we worship, we sing and play to an audience of One. When we give our tithes and offerings, we give to the one true God. When we fast, it is to remind us how faithful God is in our lives and that we need to display true humility in the eyes of our Father alone. I encourage you all to do a self-evaluation and to make sure the way that you worship God is done in a healthy manner and that it is done in a “God and Yourself” way.

Correction • Devotion #5: Let Go and Let God

I grew up in a small town in northern Michigan with a population of less than 5,000.  I was raised in a Catholic environment, but I never really knew the Lord and what it meant to live for Him. I also attended the public school system from day one which even in a small town, had a large demographic of students of different backgrounds. While in class, it was relatively easy to pick out the troublemakers in the class. They were the ones that were sent to the office regularly, parent phone calls to their home, detentions, and suspensions.  Do not get me wrong, I have fulfilled my fair share of detentions and corrective disciplines, but once I had learned my lessons, I rarely found myself in that behavior again.  

Fast forward ten years and I am in high school when peer pressure and social status are important. The same kids that were troublemakers in elementary school just happen to be the same troublemakers in high school and the choices they have made are rubbing off on others. Instead of causing trouble in class, now they are trying alcohol and drugs. Unfortunately, it is disobeying the ones that love you most and neglecting the real friends you once had. It really was a blessing that I never found myself in that crowd, but to see the same story in a biblical manner, magnified the blessing that much more. 

In the book of Titus, the Apostle Paul is giving us a guideline on how to treat people. He says to be trustworthy, kind, and speak evil of no one. He also noted that we were once foolish, disobedient, and unworthy sinners until the grace and mercy of God saved our souls. One of the hardest parts of this chapter is the moment where we are told to give up our pursuit of someone’s faith. Titus 3:10 says, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him.” For me, there were only a few friends of mine that fell into the dark and would not stop trying to illicit me into the same sin. It was hard for me to do, but I had to let go and let God. I did not entirely give up on my pursuit of these old friendships. Luckily, we have the privilege to pray and talk to God about these souls and pray that He does a work in their life that we are incapable of doing.  I am a firm believer that you are who you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with sin, you will sin. If you surround yourself with people who encourage and lift you up, you will be encouraged to be the best version of yourself and the person that God wants you to be. I encourage you all to take a look at your closest friends and family and see what they are pouring into your life. Make a concise decision on whether to pursue their walk with Christ or to pray for them and to let go and let God. 

Work • Devotion #1: Boss or Leader?

I am almost positive everyone can relate to a job in their past that was awful. It seems that when you land a new job with a new employer, you are taking your career to the next level and all is right in the world. For the first several weeks at this new job, you are on cloud nine while you get along with all of your colleagues, you enjoy the work, and you genuinely are being successful in your endeavor. Then there is the inevitable “first correction” that is made by your direct boss. Now depending on your personality, some may take this correction or instruction to be condescending and get very upset about it. Some may take it personally and think that the boss hates their work. Others might take the correction constructively and carry on with their normal duties. Depending on the type of superior that is in charge makes an incredible difference in the success of its business and employees. What makes a good boss in the eyes of God? 

First and foremost, most superiors either refer to themselves as either a boss or a leader. I am sure you can pick out which superior has a better motive in helping their employees succeed. I have had enough jobs and have seen many different leading techniques to know what makes a good leader. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” So when that inevitable conflict arrives, the leader can get the message across to his/her employee in a tasteful manner with the intent to help the employee succeed instead of making the employee feel inadequate. A few verses later also clear up who is the leader.Ephesians 6:9 says, “Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.”

What do you do if you are working for a boss that is unjust in his ways and is not a very good leader? I have drawn the short straw many times in my life with working for unjust bosses. I was miserable, I developed a hate for my superiors, I became very passive-aggressive, and it made me into a person that I did not want to be. In 1 Peter 2:18, it says, “Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.” This is the opposite of how I treated those bosses and simply put, I was sinning. Once it got to the point where it affected my home life and my relationship with my wife, I had to sever ties with that company and find different work. 

With all of the jobs that I have had over the years, I have always learned something new with each one. You always learn what kind of work you like, what you do not like, and also you learn the type of people you like to be around. You also learn what a bad boss and a good leader look like. You learn how they act, how they treat their employees, and also you can see if the boss/leader has either themselves or their employee’s best interest in mind. We are all called to work, for God has chosen us to be in that position to give us the opportunity to share His Gospel and show how to love one another. Colossians 3:12-13 says,“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Now that you understand a little bit better what a good leader is in the eyes of God, I encourage you to discover what a good servant looks like. Ephesians chapter 6 and 1 Peter chapter 2 are good places to start! 



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