Devotions

Author Archives: Pat Bedell

Poor in Spirit • Devotion #6: Humble Spirit

Being a worship leader is an honor and a blessing that I have been granted the opportunity to hold. Being a good leader comes with many responsibilities not only for the leader but for who the leader shepherds. It is human nature to struggle with wanting to be recognized for our personal efforts. Just about every musician you know has struggled with pride and self-satisfaction. I know this all too well and it is a constant battle with the devil. It is also a responsibility of mine to make sure that anyone with whom I do ministry, be it in worship or not, has the genuine heart of worship towards Christ that is pleasing to Him. Constant self-assessment is pivotal to be successful in a healthy ministry.

When the Bible forces extreme self-evaluation after you are caught in habitual sin, are you upset because you get caught or upset because you can do better? Matthew 5:3 says,Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” I first thought to myself, “Why would the poor in spirit inherit the Kingdom of Heaven?” I researched what some other scholars had thought of this Scripture and came across a great interpretation. The late Billy Graham said to substitute the word “poor” for the word “humble.” As soon as you make that click in your head, it is easy to understand that being humble in all aspects of your walk with Christ is imperative for your reward that is Heaven. Whether it be an event plan in ministry or leading someone to Christ, you must always know that God did the work, He made the way for success, and that He must be given all the glory no matter what. We must not be self-satisfied or proud of ourselves in the ministry that we do. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Be sure to check yourself regularly in your walk to make sure the devil is not creeping in with pride and self-righteousness.

Think of the moments in your life that make you feel the most guilty. Why? Is there something that you should have done differently or something that could have gone way worse? I will be the first to admit that I have sinned my fair share and then some in my lifetime. However, what I do know is that because of God’s grace and mercy, I am still alive and doing ministry. What is even more important than doing ministry is the heart that is behind it. Are you keeping a steadfast mindset that God is proud of while you are doing it? What can you do to continuously check yourself to make sure you are genuinely poor in spirit?

Lesson Fifteen • Devotion #2: What Do You See?

I feel Satan is becoming more prevalent in today’s society. Satan has been using media, money, fear, and idolatry to creep into the souls of people changing their morals and inherently, making people question their existence altogether. Satan has been at work tempting people to sin and it has been devastating. One of the more common sins of the world is idolizing something other than God.  

In 2 Corinthians 10:7, we read, “Look at what is before your eyes. If anyone is confident that he is Christ’s, let him remind himself that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we.” Breaking this down by sentence, the first statement is questioning, “What is before your eyes?” I know that I am not the only one who scrolls Facebook and finds himself watching dessert recipes or cats getting scared by cucumbers. I know that I am not alone when I fear a virus or wish to be wealthy beyond my means. Also, I certainly know that some people turn on the TV and wish to be famous and live a ritzy lifestyle. To be real, there are very real struggles and addictions to pornography. To be quite honest and frank, this is all garbage that can fill our hearts and minds. It teaches us to idolize those that are not God and it makes us blind to all of the blessings that the Lord has given us. It destroys marriages and splits families.  

The second sentence states that if you are confident that you are a believer, then remind yourself constantly that you are so. To make it easier on yourself, if you put yourself in God’s Word more often than you fill your eyes with other distractions, not only will you fix your eyes on God and receive the Living Word, you will also be constantly reminded of God’s love for you. It has the power to transform you in a way that transcends all understanding. He can break addictions and strongholds that weigh you down. He forgives and loves and takes away your sin so you can have everlasting life.  

Challenging yourself to be better is always a great idea. Challenging yourself to follow what God wants for you in your life is the greatest way you can honor His leadership. Challenge yourself to take away the distractions. Set a time to fast from technology. Shut off the computer, turn your phone off for the day, and find yourself in the Word. Idolize God for He is your creator. Find yourself learning and listening to what God has to speak into your life. Find yourself taking a step further in your walk with God. 

Lesson Thirteen • Devotion #2: Bold Faithfulness

I remember when I was young, our family would go to the Catholic Church just up the road from our house. I was only four years old at the time so I did not understand the concept of the Gospel and why we went to church. The greatest part of the church at the time was when my mother would give me the envelope to put in the offering basket as it was passed around. The ushers always commented on my eager demeanor while putting the envelope in even though I could not understand the concept of what was being done. 

Fast forward to my college years when I started pursuing my walk with Christ. I began to learn what giving to the church was actually about. This was a very rough time to learn about giving since I was a poor college student with a very slim bank account. I always lived very frugally and tried to cut my expenses but I still needed all of the funds I had to pay for bills and to put gas in my car. I tried to justify not giving financially by giving my time instead. I was volunteering as a musician, setting up and tearing down our weekly gathering, and any other volunteer opportunity I could find with the organization. I still knew that it was not what I was called to do. 

Being paid bi-weekly, there was a month that I received three paychecks and thought it was a great opportunity to give a tithe. I was nervous because I could use that money to put into savings or get ahead on some student loan payments, but I took a leap instead. In 2 Corinthians 8:2 (NIV), we read, “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” I remember exactly what happened after I gave to the church for the first time. I was blessed with a check from my parents for the exact amount that I gave. I could not help but know that this was a God moment in my life knowing that He would always provide when I was faithful in giving to His church. It was the first time that I had wanted to give to the church to help fund God’s plans for His ministry. In 2 Corinthians 8:12 (NIV), Paul continues, “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” From that moment on, I have not missed an opportunity to give to the Church monetarily. Some weeks are better than others, but giving according to what one has is crucial to God but more importantly, to spiritual growth and a stronger relationship with God.  

The bottom line is that our God is a faithful God. He will always have our best interest in our lives and that includes our finances. He wants us to give to the Church to help His mission while testing our faithfulness to God. He will bless us abundantly in ways we cannot comprehend and according to His timing. Challenge yourself to be bold in your faithfulness towards God. I can attest He will undoubtedly bless your efforts! 

Lesson Seven • Devotion #5: Let Your Light Shine

I am sure everyone can relate to a time in their life when we experienced or witnessed something extraordinary. It might have been winning a game by one point, beating an opponent that far outranked you, or beating cancer. During any of those events that you had been a part of, there was a point of time in that battle when you felt defeated, wanted to throw in the towel, and wanted to do nothing but “let it be.” The end of the story that you thought you had predicted was proven wrong when you became victorious. We have a thing or two to learn about Paul in 2 Corinthians.

Paul preached his Gospel boldly. When Paul thought about the purpose of his calling, it gave him the heart to face all his difficulties. We often lose heart because we do not consider how great a calling God gives us in Jesus. Many of us could think that Paul was a conceited know-it-all while he was proclaiming his Gospel. However, he goes on to talk about mercy. He knew his calling in ministry was not by his own works, but by mercy. Mercy is so undeserved. Paul also preached his Gospel with humility and honor.

Paul was a true man of God. Anyone could look at his Gospel and what he did in his ministry and see that they could honestly say that it was full of integrity. There was nothing hidden or watered down in his Gospel. It was the raw truth. There was nothing added or taken away.

My favorite part of 2 Corinthians chapter 4 is verse 6 (NIV), “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” God gives us the light of knowing God’s Word, and we have the responsibility and calling to get it out to others. He “shined His light in” so that we could “shine His light out.” 

This reminded me of a movie called “Coach Carter.” The plot of the movie takes place in a very rough part of town where a majority of minors were destined to be in jail or dead. Coach Carter disciplined these young men and gave them extreme choices to become better men. In a pinnacle point of the movie, a student stood up after a traumatic event happened in his life and quoted Marianne Williamson: 

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

If we implemented this principle of letting our light shine without fear, the kingdom of God could thrive beyond our own understanding and likewise allow those around us to do the same. 

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!



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