Devotions

Author Archives: Richie Henson

Herding Cats

Raised Arms | Devotion 4: Herding Cats
Richie Henson

All over the world, there are idioms for pointless endeavors. In America, one of the most used is “herding cats.” Others I have heard are “nailing Jell-O to a tree” or “trying to squish water.” At some point or another, many of us have used a phrase like this in reference to a situation or circumstance that just seems pointless. As I read Exodus and look specifically at the life of Moses, I often think of these phrases. Moses, by the power of God, leads an entire nation out of slavery just so they can complain about the way in which God is rescuing them. As the leader, Moses was overwhelmed by the difficulty of “herding” these people to the promised land.

As if matters were not difficult enough, as we come to Exodus chapter 17, the nation is confronted with their first major battle. It is in this battle that the Israelites win as Moses raises his staff (if you have not read this amazing account, I encourage you to read Exodus 17:8-13). At the end of the battle, Moses is instructed by God to take a written account declaring that God will blot out their enemy (Amalek) and then, Moses builds an altar.

Exodus 17:14-16 says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.’ And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner, saying, ‘A hand upon the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.’”

In life, we are continually confronted with difficulty. There is always a situation or circumstance that seems to be more than we can handle. I think Moses knew this better than most. He saw that there was no way to succeed. However, Moses chose to build an altar, to make a stand, that the Lord is his banner. That is to say; the Lord is his rallying cry.

Moses continually needed the Lord’s provision to accomplish all things as a leader. Our lives are no different. Unless we continually look to the banner of the Lord, that is salvation and righteousness, as our rallying cry, as our hard fast line for daily battle, we are doomed to drown in waves of anxiety and defeat. However, as we submit our will to God and put our faith in the battle cry that is Jesus’ name, we can live as conquerors.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

Excuses, Excuses

Excuses | Devotion 3: Excuses, Excuses
Richie Henson 

As a kid, I hated doing my homework. I felt that if I spent the whole day at school, there was no good reason for me to keep working on school work once I got home. I mean, think about it, when my parents came home from work, they did not work another two hours. I think my logic was sound, but my parents always got on me about doing my homework. So, to combat this, I began to make excuses at every turn as to why I was unable to do my homework. It even got to the point where I was flat out lying that I did not have any homework. When I think about the feelings of avoidance at any cost, I am reminded of Moses in Exodus 4:10, “But Moses said to the Lord, ‘Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.’”

Moses is standing before God in a burning bush, and he has the audacity to make an excuse about not being able to speak to Pharaoh. If anyone was capable, it was Moses. As we find out in the book of Acts, Moses spent the first 40 years of his life living in Pharaoh’s court. He knew all the rules and regulations for interacting with Pharaoh. However, Moses was all about the excuses, I believe, because he was afraid of the enormity of God’s call.

It is easy to judge Moses at this moment. We can easily assume that if God appeared to us in a burning bush, we would stand at attention and take our marching orders without blinking an eye. However, I think on my own life, and I must admit, there have been many times where God has called me to something, and I have made excuses rather than heeded the call.

Quite a few years ago, I felt God calling my family to Michigan. We were living in California at the time, and I was terrified of moving. I made an excuse after excuse to God. I told Him I had a good job and friends I could not leave. I asked God to give me some time to get things in order. However, much like God did with Moses, He continued to pursue me with the call to Michigan. Eventually, I ran from God so fervently on this matter, and I began to experience God’s discipline. It was at this point, I had to stop making excuses and fulfill God’s calling.

The last few years in Michigan have not been perfect, but I know this is exactly where God wants me. I can see why He brought my family here, and I am excited for all that He will do.

God calls each of us to action in our lives. He has set aside good works for us and desires for us to fulfill them to His glory and the salvation of the world. However, this call is often scary or uncomfortable. We feel unprepared or unworthy. We must continually remember that we do not have to be prepared or worthy because a great God goes before us preparing a way for victory. My prayer for us this week is that we would run after God’s calling on our lives with the assurance that we need not be perfect to do God’s will, we must simply trust in the plan of God.

A Monumental Shift

Birth | Devotion 1: A Monumental Shift
Richie Henson

The life of Moses cannot be totally understood unless we take a moment to grasp the context prior to his birth. As we begin reading Exodus, there is a serious transition taking place. Joseph and the sons of Israel have all moved to Egypt, and their families have become quite large in number. At this point, Joseph and all the other people of his generation have died, and a new Pharaoh takes control in Egypt. Along with this generational transition, there is a cultural shift in Egypt.

Exodus 1:8-10 says, “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, ‘Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.’”

The new Pharaoh determines the massive number of Israelites is a threat to the security of Egypt. Pharaoh decides to deal with this threat by subjugating to slavery the entirety of the Israelites. In spite of these poor conditions, the people of God continued to multiply thereby increasing the fear of Egypt. In turn, the Egyptians begin to work the Israelites even harder in an attempt to keep them from rising up and escaping. This is such a jarring change. One generation previous, Joseph was a man of high stature within the government, and now, the entire nation has been lowered to slavery.

As I read this account in Exodus, I cannot help but think of our own nation. As the church, we, at times, put too much importance on our “Christian nation.” We allow ourselves to believe that our government is devoutly Christian. We get sucked into the false sense of security that our nation and government will always support our freedom as Jesus followers.

However, I believe Exodus teaches us that things can change quickly and we must continue to put our faith, not in our worldly government, but in the Kingdom we are eagerly working to build by the power of the Holy Spirit until the coming of our Lord Jesus. Do not get me wrong, if you love to vote or engage in politics, by all means, that is your prerogative. However, I would beg us as a church, as members of God’s kingdom, to focus our attention on the importance of the eternal government that will come at the return of Jesus. That we would put our hope and trust, not in our government, that could be as fickle as Egypt in Exodus chapter 1, but instead to put our hope and trust in a great and mighty King who will one day come again to rule and reign.

Make a Name for Ourselves

Sequel | Devotion #3: Make a Name for Ourselves
Richie Henson

It seems like the greatest allure of the current generation is fame. I do not know many young people who would not like to be internet famous, myself included. I mean, who would not want a million strangers to watch videos about your life?

These desires for grandeur are not new to the current generation. In fact, they go all the way back to Babel. As civilization began to push East, a group of people came together to build a tower to the heavens. It seems strange to think that anyone might attempt to build a tower to heaven, but these people had convinced themselves the status of God was attainable.

As they began building the tower, an interesting statement is made in Genesis 11:4, “Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.’”

These people were looking to set themselves apart as important on the earth. I am not sure I could ever understand building a tower to heaven, but the feeling of wanting to be important is hard to shake. Beginning with Satan, the allure of being like God has led to destruction. For the people in Babel, they desired to be famous like God. They desired to have a name as known as God’s. In what ways do we try to gain equality with God? Is it by accumulating wealth or possessions? Maybe we try to be equal with God by handling all of our problems or playing a large role in our community.

Whatever the case may be, we must always remember that no matter how tall we build our tower, God will always be bigger. No matter how famous we make our names, God’s name will always be infinitely more famous.

Thankfully for us, we do not have to strive for equality with God. Instead, we can live in the grace of our Messiah, Jesus and have favor as God’s children.

Obedience in Love

Commit | Devotion #6: Obedience in Love
Richie Henson | Production Director

When considering the life and death of Jesus, I believe we can take the immeasurable significance of each moment for granted. In my own life, I know that to be true concerning the crucifixion. I think of the gruesome nature and purpose of the event, but I rarely consider the lessons that Jesus taught us even in His death. Jesus’ final moments on the cross are recorded in Luke 23:46, “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last.”

As I consider the purpose of Luke’s recording of Jesus’ final words, I am baffled that even unto the point of death, Jesus was willingly laying down His life. His final breath seems to come of His own volition, not coaxed from Him or ripped from Him, but given freely not unlike the rest of His life. 

I think Jesus wants us to understand that free will means obedience is of our own will. God does not desire servants who grumble and complain. The Father does not want us to obey because we have to or are forced. Instead, God desires for us to obey out of love. However, many of us go through our lives complaining and frustrated by our sufferings and difficulties. We fail to see that God finds purpose through sacrifice. I think Peter was aware of this truth in 1 Peter 5:10, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

Jesus suffered and died for us willingly. He was not compelled by duty or responsibility but truly loved us enough to suffer on our behalf. As the Father calls on us to suffer for the Gospel, we must submit and obey in love maintaining, until the end, our desire to see God’s will accomplished.



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