Devotions

Category Archives: Capsized

Enduring the Storm

Storm Chaser • Devotion #1: Enduring the Storm
Jill Osmon | Assistant to the Lead Pastor

Enduring a storm is difficult; the kind of difficult that breaks men and women. Enduring a storm can seem impossible. Then God brings people into our lives; people, who try to help us endure storms, get through storms, and then thrive after the storm. Those people, the ones that speak into lives of people enduring a storm, that is whom I want to speak to for a bit today.

In the Bible, Job went through a pretty intense season in his life. He lost everything; I cannot imagine his pain and devastation that he endured. Job had a lot of friends surrounding him, with A LOT of opinions. Most giving some pretty terrible advice. His friends were going as far as telling him just to die because his life was so miserable. One friend had been sitting quietly, waiting, and listening to all that the others had to say, and he could not stay quiet any longer. His name was Elihu.

Elihu gave the perfect balance of love and truth; he did not allow Job to wallow in his circumstances, but he also gave Job solid advice. He goes on for a few chapters, and he has some difficult conversations with Job’s friends and with Job. He did not diminish the storm Job was in, but he also stood firm in who God is. Job 37:14 says, “Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God.” We have to remember to point people to God during their storm. Self-help, self-esteem, self-whatever, does not help if they do not recognize that God is in control, and He is “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling” (Psalm 46:1-3). Elihu reminds Job who he is and Whom he belongs to. Although it seems simple, this simple fact brings a sense of peace and calm that only God can bring.

We will all have opportunities to help others through a storm and to endure a storm. We must be prepared to have some difficult conversations. The most important part of helping others through storms is to point them to God every single time.

We’re Mean, Not God

Storm Damage • Devotion #6: We’re Mean, Not God
Ty Woznek | Lead Instructor of the Pastor’s Academy

People often reject the Old Testament because they view God as a mean grump. The fact check is quite the opposite. We were mean to God. We should be very careful to think we are better than God’s people in the Old Testament. We do the same things. Evil is when we try to replace God with another god. Most storms in life are manmade whether by our own choices or suffering from the poor choices of others. As you read the rest of this, ask yourself if and how you are rejecting God. It is never too late.

God warned Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of a certain tree. Adam and Eve rejected God’s instruction. You and I suffer death, disease, and suffering as a result. God promised a Son that would redeem.

God warned Cain that sin wanted to control him. Cain rejected God’s instruction and murdered his brother. Salvation seemed lost. God provided Seth.

God warned people to repent or he would flood the Earth. Mankind rejected God’s instruction. According to creationist accounts, the world population was about six billion people. They all died. God saved Noah and his family.

God told Noah and his family to be fruitful and multiply and to fill the Earth. Instead, they congregated under one rule to make a name for themselves, rejecting God’s instruction. God confused them by creating languages. God chose Abraham’s family so the world would still know a way out.

God told Israel to go into the Promised Land that He provided for them. Israel sided with ten spies who said otherwise. A whole generation was wiped out for rejecting God’s instruction. Only Joshua and Caleb were able to cross into the Promised Land.

God told Israel to destroy everything in Jericho. One man thought otherwise and brought failure to Israel and the loss of his family. God still forgave, and Israel took the land.

God told Israel to teach their children about who He is. Israel ignored God’s instruction, and there arose in Israel a generation who did not know God. They suffered under tyranny from other nations. God provided Judges to redeem them.

God told Israel the Law, and their Elders were to lead them. Israel rejected God’s instruction and requested a king like the other nations. The monarchy brought about the destruction of the nation. Through one king, David’s line, God protected to bring us a Savior, Jesus.

God sent many prophets to warn Israel to repent and turn back to the Bible. They rejected and killed off God’s prophets. God handed them over to their enemies. In all the promises of destruction, God also promised restoration and a Savior.

God sent Jesus to heal. Jesus was rejected and hung on a cross one time for all sin. God raised Him from the dead on the third day, providing the perfect way out of a nasty cycle.

Why does God love us even when we reject His Word repeatedly? God is a God of grace and mercy. The Old Testament should serve as a massive warning to us. God, is there something you are trying to tell me that I am rejecting?

No Excuses

Storm Damage • Devotion #5: No Excuses
Ty Woznek | Lead Instructor of the Pastor’s Academy

Micah says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

We were warned

In a Hebrew class, we were instructed to pick a verse and do an in-depth report on it. I loved the song growing up that quoted this verse. It was a sweet tune of a verse that is often a favorite of those who love Jesus. After studying it, I realize the tune missed the tone of what Micah was saying. Micah 6:8 was an indictment. God’s people were to be punished, deserved to be punished, and they were without excuse. Why? God showed them the answer. They did not follow.

Hard of hearing

Israel, like you and I, were hard of hearing. God showed them the way but they chose a different path. God showed them what good was, what justice was, love, kindness, and humility. These were rejected like at the beginning. Often when life is hard, we want to get mad at God, but the reality often is we ignored God. An older businessman said that if communication is the problem, it is that people are not listening, not that people are not talking. The bottom line is, are you and I listening to God?

Too many stories

When Doc asked me to write a couple of devotions on the devastation of sin as a storm of life, my heart sank. There are too many stories of heartache I could share. That is just starting with me. In all my years of ministry, they sadly add up. I noticed a common theme in many of the stories. They simply did not listen. Without fail, many pastors and I deal with an issue on Mondays that we addressed on Sunday, but the person was absent. I would not be surprised if some of you reading this today ignored what some of the pastors shared this past Sunday.

Hear

In Deuteronomy 6, Moses writes about loving the Lord our God with everything we have. He instructs us on teaching our children and talking about the Bible constantly. However, before that Moses wrote the bottom line, “Hear of Israel, the Lord is God, the Lord is one.” There is more I could say on this, but here is what we need to do. Take a moment and simply ask God this question, “God, how well have I been hearing you?”

The reality is

We can be mad at God when he allows hard times in, but sometimes the reality is we knew the right answers but chose to go our own way instead. Micah 6:8 should be a depressing song. God gave them the answer; Israel did not listen. I guess that is why Paul so urgently warned us to no quench the Spirit. Like a good soldier, we would be better to answer “No excuses.”

David’s Demise and the Depth of Sin’s Damage

Storm Damage • Devotion #4: David’s Demise and the Depth of Sin’s Damage
Matt Hatton | Student Ministries Director

Yesterday God showed us in His Word that there are, without a doubt, immediate consequences of our sin. Sometimes they are small and sometimes they are compared with being near to death in the middle of a raging storm. Whatever they may look like, sin has its effects on our lives, and the lives of others right here and right now. God not only warns us about the consequences of sin, but He shows us examples of what happens when we do sin, He shows us the depth of its damage, He gives us a chance to learn the easy way!

David was a great king, a godly upright man, fearless leader, and is even described as “a man after Gods own heart.” However, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. Through David’s sin, we see the depth of sin’s consequences, but we can also learn from it. If you have never read 2 Samuel 11-12 you NEED to before you read any further. If you have read 2 Samuel 11-12 you NEED to read it again before you read any further! To make a long story short, David gives into his temptation and sins.

It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, ‘Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’ So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, ‘I am pregnant’” (2 Samuel 11:2-5).

The depth of the damage of sin did not end at ruining the heart of Bathsheba and dragging her into his lust. Bathsheba had a husband as well. Uriah was a courageous upright man who was out in battle. David was going to be in trouble if he did not do something to cover up his sin. His sin led to lying and deception. David sent to bring Uriah back home and spend time with his wife hoping that they would lay together, but Uriah being an upright man did not feel he deserved to be home when his fellow soldiers were out at war. Now how was David going to cover his tracks? The lying and deception did not work, so David resorted to murder.

“In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, ‘Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die’” (2 Samuel 11:14-15).

Sin escalates rapidly. It went from David being lazy, to lust, to adultery, to lying, and then to murder. The sins that David committed had not only harmed him but also damaged the lives of many others. Those damaged were Bathsheba, Joab, servants, Uriah, and now a child! Unfortunately, the effects of sin did not end there. Even after David had repented, the child had died. Sin digs deep. The damage is great and will eventually lead to death!

James 1:15 says it like this, “then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

Do we think about the depth of sin’s damage before we sin? Do we think about the consequences when we lie to cover our tracks? Pray for God to keep you from sinning, so you do not have to experience the damage it can cause! Repent and pray for God to repair the damage that has already been caused!

Jonah and the Effects of Sin

Storm Damage • Devotion #3: Jonah and the Effects of Sin
Matt Hatton | Student Ministries Director

When I was in high school, I loved taking hands-on science, technology, and physics classes. I enjoyed these classes because they were an easy-A, most of the time, and because we had the opportunities to do many projects that involved building things. One of those projects that I managed to do six times in the span of four years was the infamous “Rube Goldberg” Project. The aim of these projects was to build something where energy would be transferred from one thing to another eventually causing something grand to happen. One push of a domino would have an effect on mousetraps, toy cars, wheels, pulleys, levers, and other random apparatuses that would somehow make their way to turning on a light, making a sound, squeezing toothpaste on a toothbrush, or even starting a car! One small thing had a large effect on many others.

Sin can be like those Rube Goldberg machines. The only difference is that we do not realize how large and detrimental of an impact sin makes not only in our lives but also in the lives of many others. In the book of Jonah chapter 1 we see that Jonah did not realize this either. God commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh and to preach against their wickedness; however, Jonah felt like he would rather do his own thing and not do what God had commanded him to do (That is called sin by the way). As Jonah continued to run from the Lord, as he dove deeper and deeper into disobedience, we begin to see the effects.

“But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them” (Jonah 1:4-5).  “And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.’ So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah” (Jonah 1:7).

“Then they said to him, ‘What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?’ For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. He said to them, ‘Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you’ (Jonah 1:11-12).

The consequences of sin are unmistakable. Sin brings destruction! Sin makes us deserving of an eternal destruction, but it also causes damage that is immediate. We will often face the repercussions for our sin right here and right now. Jonah saw some immediate effects of his sin that made his life pretty rough for a short while. We also see that Jonah was not the only one that faced the storm caused by his sin. There were many others that were affected by it! Everyone else on the boat thought they were going to die all because of the sin of one man! Our sin has immediate consequences in our lives and the lives of others. Have you seen the immediate damage cause by your sin or others? Has your sin affected others?  Have you been affected by the sin of others?



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