Devotions

Author Archives: Sue Harrington

Obedience 

The Flood • Devotion #3: Obedience
Sue Harrington

Through Noah, the ark, the animals, and the flood, we can learn a lesson of obedience and protection. God chose to save Noah and his family because Noah was found to be a righteous man (obedient to God’s commands), blameless in his generation (stood out), and walked with God (he had an obedient life). 

The Lord commanded Noah to build the ark and then gather the animals and food. He said He was going to wipe out all mankind because they had become corrupt, violent, and wicked. It grieved His heart. Noah knew that because he was obedient that there was spiritual safety in following God’s commands. Genesis 6:22 says, “Noah did this: He did all that God commanded him.” Each time God gave him instruction, he did what God asked. He never concerned himself if it was convenient; he just followed in the act of obedience. God knows that it may go against the ways of the world to be obedient, but it brings us protection. It is our place of refuge from the floods of the world in which we live. 

Just like God remembered Noah, his family, and the animals, He does not forget those who walk in obedience. We have to remain faithful when facing our storms. When Noah and his family were finally able to leave the ark, before doing anything else they built an altar to the Lord as an act of worship because they were grateful for God’s protection, thanking Him. Our hearts need to always be in a state of worship and thankfulness for all that God does for us in this same manner. Noah was not exempt from a sinful nature because he could have perished in the flood as well but God’s grace was upon Him, the same grace in which we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ! Noah’s life serves as a reminder to us all that judgment on sin is coming, the day of the Lord will come when He sends His Son. So, be an ambassador for Christ, obedient, and take His message of redemption to others.

Approachable

Worship • Devotion #5: Approachable
Sue Harrington

Prayer has become one of the biggest aspects of my life. I love spending time talking to my Father. There is a peace and calmness I experience when I come with a thankful heart and gratitude to the very throne room of Heaven. I do not pray because I believe I will get anything or everything I ask, but I pray because God has commanded me to do so.  It is an act of obedience to Him. Prayer is just a simple, honest conversation with God inviting Him to be a part of our day.

As a child of the King, I know that He wants to give me good things, but I also know that His way, His timing, and His will are the most important way to live. I have come to the point in my life (finally) that when praying, I ask for Him to direct my every decision and move because staying on track and not getting distracted is vital for all of us, every day. Not listening to the Holy Spirit only takes me backward, and starting over is not an option I like to do. Trusting Him and knowing that the way He answers my prayers are key to my life. Please do not think that I believe I have arrived, but I do strive to make Him Lord of all of my life!

It is sometimes difficult because of the busyness of our lives to find the time to sit quietly and have that heartfelt conversation between God and us. Making time to do this is so vitally important. 1 Thessalonians 5:7 tells us to pray without ceasing, meaning recurring and non-stop. It has to become a way of life, to be continually in an attitude of prayer because our Father is always up, waiting to commune with us.

When praying, I always begin by thanking Him for all He has done, all He is going to do, and all He has given and entrusted me. I love that He is always working upstream in our lives knowing what is best for us, answering our prayers according to His perfect will. I always invite the Holy Spirit to guide me each moment of every day. Sometimes I just come to Him and sing praises, worshiping the King of Kings. What an honor it is to be a part of the Kingdom of God that we can come boldly before Him. Colossians 4:2 tells us to continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

Spending time with Him, listening to the Holy Spirit, and waiting for His answers helps us to trust Him. Nothing stops us from communicating with God but us. It is our choice. So go humbly, letting go of all control, getting rid of your pride that you may know what is best for your life, keeping your perspective of whose you are. It is not of who you are, and it will build your faith. When your prayers are answered, it can serve as a witness for those around us who doubt. It also strengthens our relationship with God and fills us emotionally.

Scripture also tells us that even Jesus, the creator of the universe went off by Himself to pray. Prayer is effective not because we are great men and women, but because of a great God who graciously hears His people, the One who suffered and died on the cross to make it possible for us to approach the throne of grace.

Steven Furtick said, “If we give God our attention, He’ll always exceed our expectation.”

C.S. Lewis said, “God designed the human machine to run of Himself.  He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn on and the food our spirits were designed to feed on.  There is no other.”

 

Serving

Back to Reach | Devotion #3: Serving
Sue Harrington

Mark 10:45 tells us, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many.” Ransom means paid the debt.

This is quite the opposite of the world’s view of serving. The world thinks that climbing the corporate ladder, having staff that does what they want them to do, and meet their needs and desires, that they have reached high status.  They believe they have achieved greatness.  That is a “me” mentality. The Word of God, however, tells us when serving others, we serve God.  It is a fulfillment like no other.  When focusing on someone or something else, the attention is then taken from us.   

Serving is not a glamorous concept in this world, but Scripture tells us in Galatians 5:13, “For you were called to freedom, bothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”  Serving gives us the opportunity to reflect or imitate Jesus, our greatest example of selflessness. Others will be able to tell what you are by what they see you do. They will see the heart through the actions.

God is always looking at the heart seeing how willing we are to serve, not by how well, but why, and the why should be because of our love for Jesus and our gratitude for all He has done for us. We are called to serve with a grateful heart expecting nothing in return. God will open opportunities for you to serve if you just ask Him. He will also equip you for that very moment if you trust Him. So be obedient to God’s Word; try it and I know it will fill you with such joy and peace, and you will then become more like Him anticipating the next time you get your next mission. It could be as easy as opening a door for an elderly person or giving a hug to someone who is struggling. So go ahead, pray and then ask someone how or if you can help them. Open your heart to serving, and I think you will find it easier than you thought it would be. It not only reflects God’s love but points them to Jesus.

Jesus, Others, Yourself

Servant #6 – Jesus, Others, Yourself
Sue Harrington | Secretary

The definition of a servant is a person who performs duties for others.

In Scripture, servant means either “a hired servant, or one whose service was the property of his master for a limited time and under various restrictions.”  Some households of early patriarchs contained “many servants, who were apparently treated with kindness and justice; the highest trusts were sometimes confided to them, and they might inherit their master’s estate.”

Philippians 2:7-8 says, “God’s Word tells us that Jesus emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Jesus, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords took on the form of a human and humbled Himself (submitted, not thinking He was better than us), dying for us on the cross.  Read those words again.  He being everything became nothing and died a horrific, unrecognizable death for you and me.  He became a servant and through His example showed us how to live for Him and others before ourselves.  Referring to the above definition of a servant, because we are saved, we are going to inherit our Master’s estate.

In John 13, it explains that Jesus washed the feet of the disciples in the upper room just before the Last Supper. This was considered the work of the lowliest of servants; it displayed His humility and His servanthood. Can you imagine what the disciples must have thought when this was done to them because, in all actuality, they should have been doing this to Him?

For 32 years, I worked in restaurants serving, managing, and learning what it was to serve others. Even when customers would say things that were not very kind, or they were mad because they did not like something or treat you less than they should when you were doing the best to make their dining experience all that it could be, my job was to serve.  Jesus came to teach us to serve others no matter how they treat you.  We are taught in Scripture to die to ourselves each day. We are to put other people first.  We are to care about how we treat them, talk to them, help them in their time of need, etc.  We are to follow and display the characteristics and attributes of Jesus. He showed love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control, just to name a few, every moment of every day, no matter how He felt.

A day is coming when we will all be accountable for what we have done, what we have said, and how we have treated others.  I encourage you to pray and ask God to reveal to you where you need to change your thinking and change your heart to care about others just as He did and you will be amazed at how He will do that. You will start to see how to become kinder, nicer, calmer, and ultimately, putting others before yourself.

Jesus, others, and then yourself makes a great acronym for JOY!

Tidal Waves

Storm Warning • Devotion #4: Tidal Waves
Sue Harrington | Secretary

Definition of storm: Attack, disturbance, warning

Attack: Raid, invade, charge

Disturbance: Turmoil, uprising, disruption

Warning: Threatening, caution, realization

Our sea of life moves along smoothly for the most part and then all of a sudden it seems as if we are blind-sided by the biggest storm or sometimes a tidal wave. Storms are not comfortable, and there are sometimes no warnings about what is to come. It does, however, give us a great opportunity to tune into God and His Word and learn that He IS our best friend. He is the one we CAN count on, rely on, cry out to, and beg Him to not only hold our hand but to carry us when we feel weak. Although it sometimes feels like we will never be able to crawl out of the depths of this stormy sea, we can with the help and promises of God.  He is always there waiting for us to call out His name and say, “Lord, I am sinking, and I need you to rescue me.”

I then reflect on when God saved Daniel from the lions’ den. Can you imagine being thrown into a den like that and having the faith that God would save you from the horrible death that would occur? I know it is hard because we cannot see God or touch Him or believe that we will get through the storm, but His timing is not our timing, His timing is without delay in every circumstance, and it is our job just to keep praying and thanking Him for the outcome and for answered prayer. Romans 8:28 says, “We are assured and know that (God being a partner in our labor) ALL things work together and are (fitting into a plan) for good to and for those who love God and are called according to (His) design and purpose.” Isaiah 43:2 says that when we pass through the waters, He is with us, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm us and when we walk through the fire, we will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon us. We really have to read these promises and trust and believe that what He says is true! In Matthew 8:23-27 Jesus was sleeping in the boat and the storm came and the disciples were so afraid that they were going to drown. They woke Him up saying, “Lord save us.” He asked why they were so afraid. He got up and rebuked the winds and waves, and it became completely calm.

So why then do we panic in times of hardship and trials?  We are human and weak. We become afraid we are not going to make it, but He is God almighty and strong.  The one who created the heavens, the earth, put the sky, stars in place, and spoke light and darkness into existence.  He raised Lazarus from the dead, He parted the Red Sea, He took on the sins of the world and died a horrible death and would have done it for just one person. That person is you and me. We need to have more faith and trust in who He is.  He is INCREDIBLE!  He uses the storms in our lives to teach us to depend on Him.  There is a rainbow at the end of it all, and there is a calmness on the horizon when we trust Him, but remember He wants ALL of us, EVERYTHING, not just what we want to give but He requires it ALL!  He is in the calming business. So have faith my friends and make Him Lord of your life!  He is worthy and He is worth it!



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