Devotions

Author Archives: Philip Piasecki

Correction • Devotion #2: Never Too Late

“And he said to his disciples, ‘Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.’” Luke 17:1-4

My daughter is almost five years old, and my son will turn three later this year. Molly’s favorite thing to do is to tell Ander when he is doing something wrong. Her justification for it is, “Well I want to be a good big sister.” We have been working on explaining that being a good big sister can mean just playing with him, and keeping him safe. It does not mean correcting every little thing that he does. It is in our nature as humans to want to correct one another, and scripturally we see that it is important for fellow believers to hold each other accountable to what Scripture says. For many of us, we read “if your brother sins, rebuke him” and cannot wait to follow that Scripture, but then we struggle with “if he repents, forgive him.”

When there is correction and repentance there must be forgiveness. One of the biggest issues I see in the church is people carrying around past hurts, not willing to forgive, and move on. If someone sins against you and they apologize and ask for forgiveness, Scripture commands us to forgive that person. It goes as far as to say that they could sin against you seven times in a day, ask for forgiveness each time, and you must forgive them. This is so difficult to do as sinful humans. We would rather hold on to our hurt, instead of releasing it. When we withhold forgiveness we do more harm to ourselves than anything. Our example of forgiveness is the Lord, He is willing to forgive any that come to Him and ask for it. How many times each day do you sin against God, yet He still forgives. When we withhold forgiveness, we become bitter, and when we are bitter we become ineffective for the Gospel. I have seen so many people derailed in their walk with the Lord because they have unforgiveness they cannot release. If someone is currently coming to your mind today that you need to forgive, take that step today, and reach out. It is never too late to forgive and move forward effectively in the mission of the Gospel.

Grow • Devotion #2: Breath of Fresh Air

“Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.”1 Thessalonians 4:1

Having tough conversations with people is hard. It is something that none of us enjoy doing, but something that we will all have to do in our lives. The majority of Paul’s letters in Scripture are him having tough conversations with different churches. He is explaining to them how what they are doing is wrong, how they are disobeying the Lord, and how they forgot what he had taught them. The list could go on and on. However, this verse, what a breath of fresh air it must have been for Paul to write this verse. He gets to write to them and tell them, “Hey! You guys are following after the Lord, keep doing it!” I can imagine him sitting there celebrating that they were growing spiritually. 

I am sure that when Paul first started teaching the Thessalonians there were some hard conversations that he had to have with them, but eventually, they got it and their relationship with the Lord started to grow in an incredible way. As believers, we should all have people in our lives that we are investing in by showing them the way that the Bible teaches us to live our lives. Those conversations are not always going to be easy, but my prayer is that they eventually will lead to true growth in that person’s life. There are so many things that I still struggle with in my walk with the Lord, but there are definitely things too that people who invested in my spiritual growth can look back at and say, “Hey, good job! Keep doing what you are doing.” I am so thankful for that. We have to have tough conversations, but those many times can lead to an incredible celebration of growth in someone’s life.

Also, I am sure Paul could have started his letter off by pointing out some sins that the Thessalonians were still struggling with, after all, it is not like they were perfect, but instead, he takes the opportunity to encourage them and celebrate how they are walking after the Lord. We need to take this example and apply it to our close Christian relationships. Encourage one another. Tell someone that you see how they love the Lord, and encourage them to keep after it! You never know when someone may be in need of some spiritual encouragement, so be looking for opportunities to share that encouragement when you can. One on one discipleship can be as simple as an encouraging word from one believer to another.

Typology

Forty | Devotion #3: Typology
Philip Piasecki

My brother is three years younger than me. This age gap allowed us to be pretty close friends through the years. We always had our own group of friends, but we would always enjoy hanging out with each other as well. Whether it was playing one-on-one on the basketball court, or playing PlayStation against each other, we have always been very competitive with one another. The most frustrating thing for me was when he started getting older and actually getting better at me in some things! All of a sudden I did not always beat him in basketball. I had to finally come to terms with the fact that he was better than me. He went on to play some college basketball, all I ever played was intramurals. My team did win the Oakland University Intramural Basketball tournament, so I have that on my resume. There were times when I would be jealous of his talent, but for the most part, I was always very excited for him. That is why reading the story of Joseph is so difficult for me; I cannot ever imagine being so jealous of a sibling that you would be willing to sell them into slavery.

The story of Joseph has so many great moral principles we can take from it, but we must be careful that morality is not always the only thing we take from the Old Testament Scriptures. The whole Old Testament constantly is pointing toward the coming of Jesus; we just have to be looking for the correlations.

Genesis 37:28 says, “Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt.”

We see here that Joseph was bought for the price of a slave, does that ring any bells? Look at the account in Matthew chapter 26 where Judas is seeking to betray Jesus.

Matthew 26:14-16 says, “Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?’ And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.”

Here we find the Scripture where Jesus is sold for the price of a slave as well. Joseph was betrayed by those closest to him, in the same way that Jesus was betrayed by Judas. The Old Testament is filled with the foreshadowing of what was going to happen to Jesus. When we read the Old Testament, there will be new life breathed into it if we approach it through the lens of Jesus. There is so much more to the Scriptures than just morality. There is a Savior who loved us and died for us. Our desire should be to honor and glorify Him, and through that, we will live moral lives. Joseph’s story is a beautiful picture of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, how He loves us even though we constantly sin against Him, and how He will show us mercy when we ask for it. Let the story of Joseph help you better understand that character of our Lord and Savior.

Politics Aside

The Gift of Family | Devotion #2: Politics Aside
Philip Piasecki

“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.” Psalm 127:3 (NLT)

I think I need this Bible verse plastered all over my house. Especially for when my newborn son will not go to sleep. I need it when he is just staring at me, with his eyes wide open, at 1:00 AM. “Remember Philip, children are a gift!” I know all of us can think of times when our children really do feel like gifts, and times when they feel more like a punishment! In all seriousness, I love my children, and I could not imagine my life without them. It is Christmas time, and I think we can take this verse a step further, family is a gift from the Lord. Again, this is something we need to be reminded about when our family is having a heated political debate around the Christmas table. God uses our family to point us towards Him and to give us an opportunity to be like Him.

I believe one of the reasons children, and family, are a gift is because they better help us understand the love of God. Once I became a father, I better understood the love that my Heavenly Father has for me. It seems like every single day with my two children gives me better insight into the relationship between myself and God. There is nothing that my kids could do to get me to stop loving them, the same is true for us with God. If my children were to run away from me, I would never stop looking for them. When we wander from God, He never stops seeking us out. The correlations are endless, and we can learn so much from these relationships if we are paying attention. 

The family is a gift because it is an opportunity to reflect Christ to the people closest to us. First, they are our closest mission field. If you have unsaved immediate family, make them the priority in your prayer life. Do not ignore them while trying to impact the lives of strangers. The family will always test our patience, but we can reflect Christ to them by being loving, patient, and kind to them. Holidays are an amazing opportunity to show your family the love of Christ through your actions.

For those of you who may be thinking, “I do not have any family,” I would encourage you to look towards your Church family. God has given you the gift of a family of other believers through His Church. This can be so easily overlooked, but it was God’s intention that we grow in deep relationships with other believers. No matter your situation, you have a spiritual family through the bond of Jesus Christ. This Christmas time, we need to learn about Christ through our families and reflect Christ to our family.  

Timehop

Remember It | Devotion #5: Timehop

Philip Piasecki

My wife has this app on her phone called “Timehop.” Each day it takes posts from all your social media accounts on that day in history and shows them to you. So she is always showing me pictures that she took and posted five years ago, and most of the time the memories are really cool for reflection. I decided that I was going to install the app too, so I could see what I had posted in previous years. Unfortunately, it mostly has just embarrassed me. I cannot help but think, “Why did I post that status!?” However, it is good to see how much I have matured and to see how far I have come over the past ten years. It can be hard to appreciate where your life is at now, without looking back to see from what God has brought you. 

This is an awesome concept that we learn throughout the Scripture. It is remembering what God has done for us, and praising Him because of it! It boggles my mind how forgetful we can be as humans. We will go through a difficult time, see God work miracles to get us through it, and then completely forget about how faithful He was after it is over. King David went through so much difficulty in his life (most of it brought on by his own decisions), and God was always faithful to bring him through it. The Psalms are filled with David’s praises, remembering what God had done for him.

Psalm 9:1-2 says,

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.”

When we remember what God has done for us, and praise Him for it, it helps us be more faithful the next time that we find ourselves in the valley. We will remember His faithfulness, and trust that He is always faithful. When we worship and sing God’s praises, we remind ourselves about who Christ is. Our God never fails, and I promise, that He is not going to fail you now. Make a habit of looking back and remembering God’s faithfulness; I promise it will help you grow in your trust of God for the future.



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