Devotions

Author Archives: Wes McCullough

Government • Devotion #5: Honor

Being honorable and respectable is very important to me. I like it when my reputation goes before me and carries weight. I like to be known as reliable. My yes means yes and my no means no. 

The Bible has much to say about honor. We are instructed to honor those in authority over us because they are placed there by God (Romans 13:1), but we can frequently find them not deserving of it. Parents make mistakes but must still be honored. Bosses can seem like they do not care about your life but you must still honor them. We may have a major disagreement with state and federal authorities, but still, we are instructed to behave honorably towards them.

Romans 13:7 can be hard to live out sometimes, “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” 

Pastor Craig Groeschel has encouraging advice for those who struggle to give honor, “If you’re a married woman, but you don’t particularly like your husband – maybe he’s not the leader that you want him to be – honor him. If you treat him as ordinary and common, he won’t feel empowered to lead your family. But if you honor him, give him the opportunity to rise to the occasion, to become honorable. Treat him like he’s the man you want him to be; with grace and honor, help him envision himself as a better man.”

Pastor Groeschel also applies this approach to church leaders and I believe it can be applied in most cases. If you are unhappy with those in authority over you, rather than tear them down and out of that position, build them up and encourage them to be the kind of leader you want them to be. Honoring those in authority is good practice in humility.

Romans 12:10 adds, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” 

“Maybe you’d like to be the boss someday. 

Before you can learn to be over, 

you have to learn to be under. 

Practice being under 

by showing honor to those people

 whom God has put over you.” 

Craig Groeschel

Gather • Devotion #2: “I Choose to Praise”

I count on one thing

The same God that never fails

Will not fail me now

You won’t fail me now

In the waiting

The same God who’s never late

Is working all things out

Is working all things out

Yes I will, lift You high in the lowest valley

Yes I will, bless Your name

Oh, yes I will, sing for joy when my heart is heavy

For all my days, oh yes I will

I choose to praise…

“Yes I Will” by Vertical Church

As I write this, the summer of 2019, it has been more than four months since my wife went to Heaven. Our seventh anniversary is five days from now. I met and married her knowing her medical prognosis was pessimistic, and our time together could be much shorter than a lifetime. After years of waiting and looking, it was clear to me that God was telling me to marry her. I never second-guessed God’s plan.

Five years into our marriage, cancer showed up again. It had spread significantly. We were told most patients in this situation have two to five years left. I had to say goodbye less than two years later. 

I am thankful that I had several months to prepare for the possibility of losing Heather. While my hope stayed high, I could see the decline in her condition. I knew God could miraculously heal her, but He might not. My understanding has always been that life does not always go the way we want it, but God is in control. He has a plan that is beyond our understanding and perspective. This understanding has really helped me through my heartbreak. It has protected me from anger towards God. I have submitted to His will.

If you are facing or dealing with the loss of a loved one, I can testify that there is peace and freedom in surrendering it all to God. 

“For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.” Psalms 27:5

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Medical Symbol

Brazen Serpent | Devotion 2: Medical Symbol
Wes McCullough

Sometimes children fuss for no reason. Life is not exactly the way they want it. This attitude will make some parents think, “Stop crying, or I will give you something to cry about!”

It is easy for us to read the Old Testament in hindsight and understand God’s plan, but for the Israelites living it day by day, it was far from easy. God provided for and directed their journey through the desert, but it was a long and exhausting trip. Like they had done many times before, they complained about Moses and God because life was not everything they thought it should be. Like before, God saw fit to straighten them out, this time by sending snakes to bite and kill them.

Initially, I thought it odd that God would direct the Israelites to look to an object for saving. With some research, the concept became clear. Serpents were often used to represent sin. Bronze was associated with judgment because it is made by passing through fire for purification. John Wesley explains it clearly,

“This method of cure was prescribed, that it might appear to be God’s own work, and not the effect of nature or art: and that it might be an eminent type of our salvation by Christ. The serpent signified Christ, who was in the likeness of sinful flesh, though without sin, as this brazen serpent had the outward shape, but not the inward poison, of the other serpents: the pole resembled the cross upon which Christ was lifted up for our salvation: and looking up to it designed our believing in Christ.”

God was teaching the world a long time ago that salvation would not come from man’s efforts. We would have to look up and have faith in the efficacy of God’s grace.

John 3:16 is a very well known Bible verse. The verses preceding it say, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

One final note of interest: can you picture the modern medical symbol of a serpent wrapped around a post? Surely you have seen it many times and not thought of the origins of its design. Now you know. It is so cool to see all the influences biblical stories have had on our world and culture.

Cleaning House

Broken Tablets | Devotion 5: Cleaning House
Wes McCullough 

“Moses saw that Aaron had let the people get completely out of control, much to the amusement of their enemies. So he stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, ‘All of you who are on the Lord’s side, come here and join me.’ And all the Levites gathered around him. Moses told them, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Each of you, take your swords and go back and forth from one end of the camp to the other. Kill everyone—even your brothers, friends, and neighbors.’ The Levites obeyed Moses’ command, and about 3,000 people died that day. Then Moses told the Levites, ‘Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of the Lord, for you obeyed him even though it meant killing your own sons and brothers. Today you have earned a blessing.’” Exodus 32:25-29 (NLT)

This is such an intense passage. Can any of us imagine being this obedient to God? It is a true nightmare to consider. A more likely choice we would have to make today is to remove toxic influences from our lives. If you struggle with drugs, it will be much harder to get clean if you hang out with other addicts. If you are convicted about alcohol consumption – avoid bars, the liquor aisle, and perhaps friends who are always drinking or asking you to join them at the bar. If your conviction is profanity, you will have to get away from people and places where that language is used.

A good friend of mine had a “return to God” moment several years ago. He decided it was time to repent and rededicate his life to God. He had to make tough choices and separate himself from close friends because they would pull him away from godly living. He also chose to remove media and other things that did not honor God.

One of my favorite Bible stories is contained in 1 Kings chapter 18 – Elijah versus the prophets of Baal. The Israelites could not decide if they followed God or Baal, so there was a sacrifice showdown. God showed up in an undeniable and incredible way that day (I would love to see this portrayed in film one day!). After the Israelites are reminded that God reigns supreme, all the prophets of Baal are round up and executed. They led people away from God and had to be removed as influencers.

Be careful about the influences you allow in your life. Honor God with your choices and be obedient. Following God will often mean making personal sacrifices, but God will honor your obedience.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15

Leap of Faith

Water, Manna, & Quail | Devotion 4: Leap of Faith
Wes McCullough

If you have ever needed confirmation that God will supply your needs, Exodus 16:13-36 is the perfect Scripture to affirm your belief. Sometimes God arranges things so clearly perfect, but our human minds cannot rationalize what happened.

Here is a quick recap of this passage:

The Israelites have been delivered from Egyptian slavery and are about to spend significant time in the desert where there is not much to eat. God does the impossible and sends manna, a flakey and sweet wafer-like substance, every morning. Everyone gathered as much as they wanted for the day, and the manna melted away. If manna was kept overnight, it spoiled. These rules applied for six days of the week. On the Sabbath, however, no manna came. Everyone was instructed to gather two days worth the previous day. Only then would the manna last two days.

Some people will struggle to comprehend this situation. On only one particular day does the manna not spoil. There is no logical explanation here; it is simply God being God. He is not bound by the laws of nature, time, or logic; He is infinite in all aspects.

A classic movie scene from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” comes to mind. As the movie climaxes, Indiana is making his way toward the Holy Grail and must make a “leap of faith” to cross a bottomless void. From his perspective, the task seems impossible, but he puts disbelief aside and steps out in faith.

Our minds will never be able to comprehend the fullness of God’s power and wisdom. We like concrete truths. We like to feel in control of our situation and future. When our perception of control wavers, we are prone to worry, and the Bible is clear about that. Matthew 6:25-27 says, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” 

God has promised to supply our needs. Put your worry aside and focus on serving Him. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”



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