Category Archives: Family Chemistry

Gospel of Righteousness 

Chain Reaction | Devotion #6: Gospel of Righteousness
James Clouse | Student Pastor

There is an old country song that I have always loved to listen to called “A Father’s Love” by George Strait. In this song, Strait talks about growing up and his dad telling him that, no matter what, that daddies love will never end. The song goes on to talk about dying and coming before the gates to Heaven. He gets worried and thinks that he was not good enough to get into Heaven. Then God says that no matter what that God always loves His children. 

This song is great but misses something. It misses the responsibility that we, as God’s children, have for the Father. While true that God always loves His children, as God’s children we need to come before Him to seek the forgiveness that He is willing to give. That is the amazing thing about our Father, that He is willing to forgive when we ask. We do not always have to worry if we are good enough to get into Heaven.

Psalm 32:1 says, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” It is so interesting that David wrote this hundreds of years before Jesus even came to Earth. Jesus’ blood has covered up our transgressions, and all we need to do is recognize the free gift that God has offered.  

There is a chain reaction in the gift that God has given. By God offering His Son to the world by dying on the cross, we now have the opportunity of coming before the gates of Heaven and not having to worry about getting in or not based on our transgressions. 

Romans 5:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” 

By faith in Christ and what he has done for us, we are made righteous before God. We have been justified by faith in Jesus, and God can now look at us and not see our sin but rather see His Son’s blood that has been shed for you and me.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

You do not have to go through this world wondering if you are good enough for your Father. Jesus already has done that for you. Our “Daddy” loved us so much that we do not have to be looking over our shoulders all the time wondering if we have done enough good. We have been saved through faith in Jesus Christ. So when we come before those gates, our Father can say that He loved us that much.

Suffer for Righteousness

Chain Reaction | Devotion #5: Suffer for Righteousness
Ryan Story | Student Pastor

Being a godly husband or wife is difficult. Raising godly children is difficult. Making sure your family unity is all moving forward in the same God-honoring direction is hard. There is nothing in the family dynamic that comes naturally. Everything that you want your family to be takes work. From prayer to athletics, there will have to be some work that goes into your family. Sadly, just because you put in the work does not mean that you will see instant results. Recently my wife and I started to pray with our oldest son, Broly. At night we can get Broly to pray for everyone. For whatever reason during mealtime prayers, Bro wants nothing to do with praying. At one point I got super frustrated and said words that I will never forget. I looked at my son in frustration and said, “If you do not pray with us, you are going to get a spanking.” At that moment I realized how wrong my parenting was. I cannot punish my son’s spiritual immaturity. It was my job to suffer through the difficulty and show my son what was right.

In 1 Peter 3:13-14, it says, “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed.” I cannot think of anything more worthy for me to suffer for than the cause of Christ. What Peter is trying to say is that if you are truly passionate about something, if you truly believe it is right, you will be willing to suffer for a cause. It is better to suffer doing God’s will than to be pain-free and be void of His will. In my own life, I have had to give up habits, give up music, and I have had to distance myself from family and friends all for the sake of living out what is good and godly in my life. I look back at every decision I have made, and I know how hard it was when I made it, but I am so blessed to know that my children will never have to wonder if their dad is coming home drunk one night. I am blessed to know that my children will never have to worry if their parents will stick it out or get a divorce. In my life, I started fighting for what was godly the moment I became a Christ follower. I know I have done all of those things for myself, why not for my family? I cannot think of four people I would rather suffer for than for them. I would suffer until there is no longer a pulse in my being for my wife and children.

Suffering for righteousness sake is one of the most Christ-like things a person can do. To realize you will go through hardships for the sake of another person is exactly what Jesus did for us. He wept and sweat drops of blood while He pled with God in Gethsemane. Our Savior was tormented with the thoughts of knowing exactly how He would have to suffer for our sake. He endured the cross gladly! We must fight for our families. If you have a marriage that needs to get back to where God intends marriages to be, suffer through the conversation, and be honest with your spouse. If you have an unruly teenager who seems to make life hard when they do not get their way, suffer through their tantrum. Suffering is hard, it hurts, it is exhausting, but if there is one thing I know that is worth fighting for, it is family.  Endure suffering, because there is a blessing on the other side. 

Prayer of the Righteous

Chain Reaction | Devotion #4: Prayer of the Righteous
Max Sinclair | Children’s Director  

One of my fondest memories of my life is watching the movie Gladiator with my father. I recall us sitting down and my dad telling me how awesome of a movie it is, and we began to watch it. I think I was around age 14 when we did, and I still can see Russell Crowe saluting his officers and saying, “Strength and Honor.”

James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

To prepare for this devotion and the writing of it, I decided to go to a commentary set that I love, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary. As I read the section on James 5:16, I see this quote which has inspired me to write this, “Weak prayers come from weak people; strong prayers come from strong people. The energetic prayers of a righteous man are a potent force in calling down the power of God for restoring weak, struggling believers to spiritual health.” It hurts reading that because I know I am not a strong prayer warrior. I remember a time where I was down, and I needed encouragement. I was up at a youth camp with the church, and I was struggling. A man who I can honestly say is one of the strongest men I know, placed his hand on my back and prayed for me. At that moment I felt an energy I had not had in me, I felt this pushing of my soul, and with that, I was able to keep going.  

Men, it is our duty as the spiritual leader of our house not to be weak, we need to be strong. Our job is to defend our house, and with that, we need this strength, we need to pray to strengthen not only ourselves but our families. I see more times than not, weak men who do not let their families move. I see men who would rather sit on the sidelines and not pray and dig deep. Our job is to move and see the Holy Spirit move in our families. 

Women, encourage your husbands. I say this with love and with the utmost respect, but your husbands do not need you to convict them of their wrongdoings. If they know Jesus that is already done. Instead pray for them, with them, and over them. Encourage them where they need to be and motivate them to go there. 

Do not forget that quote, “Strong prayers are from strong men.” Stay strong and do not stop praying.

Practice Righteousness

Chain Reaction | Devotion #3: Practice Righteousness
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor

Everyone has heard of the saying, “Practice makes perfect,” right?  Yeah, I want to punch whoever coined that phrase right in the face. In my life, it seems like no matter how hard I practice righteousness, I never get better at it. How about you?

The Bible says in 1 John 3:7-9, “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning since the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”

That is an incredibly powerful Scripture! From what did Jesus save us? It was sin.  It is the very thing that separated us from God and condemned humanity to Hell in the first place. If we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior from sin, we begin to live in Him; we no longer continue to live for sin. We have the power, through Christ, to practice righteousness.

It is important to remember, God cares more about what is on the inside of a man than the outside. That means that God cares more about the motives of why you do what you do, instead of what you do. He wants to discern why you choose to obey or disobey Him. Now, we are all human, fallible, and sinful. Those who are genuinely saved still sin. It is one of the reasons we should be looking forward to the return of Jesus. Then we will no longer have to battle with temptation and choosing poorly. But those who are saved do just that; they battle with sin. When they disobey God, their hearts and minds are not right until they seek forgiveness and try again. John speaks clearly to this battle in our verses. Those whose motives are to please God, try to practice righteousness.

We can use these very verses as a barometer to measure within our hearts if we truly are different than natural man (those who have not believed in the Gospel).  Do you continue to sin and sin with no conviction from the Holy Spirit to practice righteousness? If you do, maybe you need to get to the root of your problem. Ask yourself this question: Do you truly believe with all your heart in Jesus and what He came to change? If the answer is yes, then that belief changes your motives. You no longer live for selfish desire, but for something bigger. It is something that is a greater cause than just your gain. You will start to outwardly express qualities like kindness, sacrificial love, and self-control.

Living for Christ almost always means denying self. I have a general rule I live by in my own life: If I want to do something, I should probably do the exact opposite. I know that seems weird, right? But it is true. Self-denial is the synonym of practicing righteousness. Man’s righteousness is as filthy rags. But Christ works in me daily. Therefore, it is like the motto that practice becomes perfect. Ok, I do not want to punch that person in the face anymore.

Train in Righteousness  

Chain Reaction | Devotion #2: Train in Righteousness 
Kyle Wendel | Children’s & Student Director

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

I want to start out by asking a question, for what are you training? I played hockey growing up and had to train to be able to be good at it. I was one that took practice seriously. Some would want to skip practice and go straight to games. But I knew that you had to take practice serious to get better. Your practice would show during a game. I trained to become a better player. When I was not on the ice for practice, I was running, practicing in my driveway, or watching videos of players and how they played. I spent the majority of my time on hockey and training myself to become a better player and teammate. We all have something that we are training for in some way. These things do not have to be a sport either. Some things we could be training for are parenting, being a good employee, or playing an instrument. While some of these things may be good, they are not the most important thing that we should focus our training. 

In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Bible tells us that all Scripture is breathed out by God. This is saying that the Bible as a whole is God’s Word. Yes, the Bible was written by human hands, but it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. God was giving them the words to write. When we look at the Bible this way, it changes how we should view it. It is no longer just a book written by man, but it is a Word from our God! The importance of the Bible now becomes infinitely greater. If we continue in verse 16, we see all the things the Bible is profitable for such as teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. We cannot focus on only verse 16; we must also see the reason for these things in verse 17.  

I want to focus on “training in righteousness” and what that means for us. To be righteous means to have the quality of being morally right or justifiable. We see in Scripture God’s righteousness and His call for us to be righteous. Now we are only made righteous by the blood of Jesus alone, and we can do nothing to become righteous. However, that does not mean we do not change when we accept Jesus as Lord. Now we are living life to worship Him. When that is our focus, our lives change, and we want to become more and more like Jesus.

The Bible is the way we can train ourselves in righteousness and be more like Jesus. The Bible is God’s Word to us on how to follow Him. If we want to become better followers of Him, then we will take God’s Word and not only read it but apply it to our lives. We must train ourselves to be in the Word daily. The more we are in the Word, the closer we will become to God. The less you are in it, the more you fall into sin and draw yourself further from Him. It is our way to train to be like Him. We must discipline ourselves to make the Bible a huge priority in our lives. It is living and active and can change our hearts and lives. We do this so that we may become a man of God that is complete and equipped for every good work. We should want to become the best follower of Jesus that we can. Not that we can be the best, but that we can live as a sacrifice to Him for what He did for us on the cross.

There are a few questions you should discuss as a family this week. 

For what are you training? 

How can you be training yourselves in righteousness more? 

How often are you and your family spending time in the Word? 

Are you applying the Word to your life?

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