Devotions

Category Archives: What a Mess

Letters to my son: “Be watchful”

Above my son’s crib, my wife and I put the verses 1 Corinthians 16:13-14:

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. When we were discussing decorating his room, I knew I wanted to put some Scripture on his wall. One day while finishing up reading in 1 Corinthians, I stumbled across the final instructions that Paul was leaving for the church or Corinth. I am not sure why but I felt tasked to teach my son how to live out each one of these. In the same way that Paul wanted the church of Corinth to live for Jesus that is my hope as well.

“The greatest disciples you’ll ever develop are not in your church, they are in your home”- Dustin Woodward

Dear Broly,

I made a mistake today. When we were sitting on the couch doing our Monday tradition, watching cartoons, I took my eyes off you for only a moment and somehow you managed to roll off the couch. The moment I heard the thud I knew what had happened, and I felt horrible. I scooped you up, held you until you calmed down and you went back to being your normal crazy self. After that, I put you on the floor and just sat and watched you play. Now I know you are just a baby, but I wish you understood that there are some things that can hurt you. You scare me when you start grabbing electrical cords and putting them in your mouth. I will always be here for you, and I will always be here to watch over you and keep you safe, but soon you will have to keep watch over yourself.

Son, please be watchful of your walk with Jesus. Being able to have a relationship is the biggest blessing that anyone could ask for, but we need to make sure that we are not ruining that relationship. “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” (1 Corinthians 5) It seemed like such a small thing to look away from you, and you fell. That is how our walk with God can be. A sin may seem small, quick, and insignificant but please pray to God to help you resist that sin. No sin should ever enter your life without you knowing it. No sin should be able to settle in your heart without being undisturbed.

“There is nothing finer than the point of a needle, but when it has made a hole, it draws all the thread after it” – J.C. Ryle

Broly, Jesus has an amazing plan for you. It may seem like you can let your guard down, or go on a break, but that is what the enemy wants. It took me five seconds to realize that you were on the ground today. When you get older, you will understand that sometimes it can take years to get rid of sin. There are hundreds of barnacles I have on my heart from years of unrepentant sin. I so wish I had been watchful and not let them into my life in the first place. When you fell today, a thought formed. “There are several ways to get down from a high place. Fall or climb down slowly.” If you let the little sins grow, you will fall. I hope you learn to ask God to help you when you need someone to watch over you. Keep your eyes open, do not be deceived, and learn how to ask God to help you. Trust me; you will get to watch God do great things if you stay watchful of your life.

 

Ryan Story
Student Pastor

1 Corinthians 15:58

Over this past summer, I became a huge fan of the UFC. Between the immense amount of training, mixed martial arts, and the intensity of the fights themselves, I enjoy watching the sport. Just like any sport, people have their favorite players and in this case, mine is Ronda Rousey. Ronda is simply an incredible fighter. As of March 2016, she was ranked the number 2 female bantamweight fighter in the world. She was formerly the champion until Holly Holm knocked her out in a fight in November 2015. However, if you ask anyone who is a fan of the UFC, they will more than likely agree with the fact that Ronda is one of the absolute best in her field.

As Paul concludes this chapter, he closes by encouraging them to keep up the fight. In 1 Corinthians 15:58 he writes, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” It is not easy being a follower of Christ. In a world that is filled with sin and people who constantly bash the name of Christ, it is tough. Yet, Paul encourages us to be steadfast, immovable, and continually pressing forward for the cause of Christ.

Ronda was knocked down back in November. It was not the first, and I am sure it will not be the last time in her life when she is knocked down. However, one thing she has done repeatedly is get back up. She gets up, gets back to the gym, trains harder, practices longer hours, and presses forward in her sport. She has not given up.

Likewise, as followers of Christ, we must not give up the fight. Yes, we are going to get hurt by this world and even by some of those who are closest to us, but we cannot give up. Just as Paul said, we must be steadfast and immovable in our cause for Christ. This world is going to throw whatever it can at us, to knock us down and take us out of the ring. However, do not let it. Do not let this world and the tools Satan tries to use to take us out to win. Just as we talked about yesterday, Christ has already declared victory for us. I leave you with one final challenge: get in the ring, strap on your gloves, and fight the good fight for Jesus!

 

Noble Baird
Guest Services Director

Victory

Victory – something that is chased after by so many in this world. Whether it be a sports game, political race, competition at work, or maybe rolling up the rim on a Tim Horton’s coffee cup; whatever it may be people are always trying to win. For my father, he will often remind me of the time he had victory finding an action figure for me for Christmas one year. There was a Star Wars action figure I wanted when I was a child, and my father would constantly check the toy stores for it. He would visit before and after work and make phone calls to toy dealers and comic book stores all over the state. Finally, one morning he arrived at a Toys-R-Us just as they were dropping off the morning shipment and he got his victory!

Now, although that fun victory was about a simple action figure, I want to talk about the greatest victory of all times. In 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 Paul writes of this great victory, “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’ ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The greatest victory of all was when Jesus conquered the grave. He defeated death, sin, and hell on the cross when He died for us. He paid the ultimate price, His life, and came out victorious!

I do not know about you, but knowing that through Christ we have won the greatest victory of all, puts all other victories I have had to shame. Nothing can come even close to comparing to the victory we have in Christ. So, I want to encourage you as you go through the rest of this week to remember this victory. Remember the victory we have in Christ and how nothing can take that away from us. I also challenge you not to let this simply be a verse read on paper but to make it a declaration in your life. “O death where is your victory? O death where is your sting?”

 

Noble Baird
Guest Services Director

We Have Hope

When my grandpa died back in February of 2013, it was a rough time for my family. He would always tell us joke after joke after joke, and I was always amazed at how he remembered not only so many jokes, but also the punch lines for each one! At his funeral, I had the privilege to get up and speak to many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins who I rarely see. For me, speaking at my grandpa’s funeral was an opportunity to present the Gospel message of Christ to so much of my family who simply have no relationship with Christ. Truth be told, my parents and I are the only ones from my mother’s side of the family who proclaim to be followers of Christ.

Death is never easy; it stinks. As followers of Christ, we have hope. We know that this is not the end, but merely the beginning. In 1 Corinthians 15:52-53 Paul writes, “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.” When Christ returns, those who have passed away before us will be raised. We will no longer have the earthly bodies that can get tired and hurt. Instead, we will receive new heavenly bodies that will last forever.

A month and a half before my grandpa passed away, I went and visited him for the last time in the hospital. I was getting ready to go back to Chicago the next morning, so I stopped at Crittenton Hospital in Rochester. When I got there he was asleep, but the nurse woke him up for me, and he had a big smile when he saw me…I always knew I was his favorite grandchild. He sat up, and we talked about life, school, how the food was, and about how we were going to break him out of the hospital. Just before I left, I asked him if I could pray with him as I always would. He gladly reached out his hand for mine as I prayed with him. After we prayed he looked up at me and told me how proud he was of me, of the man I had become, of my choice to go into full-time ministry, and above all that that he loved me.

I will never forget that amazing day with my grandpa. You see, when my grandpa passed away, I knew I would see him again. I had hope because I knew he had accepted Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. There is no doubt in my mind that one day I will see him again in his new heavenly body, no more hospital stays, no more pain, no more medication, just that big smile and his contagious belly laugh.

In Christ, we have hope. We know that one day we will see our fellow brothers, sisters, and loved ones in Christ again. However, if you take a step back and look at verse 51, Paul tells us how we will all be changed when the trumpet sounds in the twinkle of an eye. We have no idea when Christ will return, but He will. Until that day, we must continue to spread the amazing message of the Gospel to those who are hurting, searching, and without hope. You have that hope, now share it with the world, and make it contagious. I know I want to make it as contagious as my grandpa’s smile and his laugh, how about you?

 

Noble Baird
Guest Services Director

God is NOT Dead

When I attended Moody Bible Institute, I had the privilege of hearing some amazing speakers and preachers. We always had an annual Founder’s Week every February, which celebrated our legacy as a school. Amongst all the speakers that I was able to see and hear over my four years, one that I especially loved hearing was Ravi Zacharias. Zacharias is without a doubt one of the greatest apologists of our time. He has a burning passion for the lost and it is seen in both his writing and speaking. This quote of his, in particular, has really stuck with me, “Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life.”

I love 1 Corinthians 15 because it focuses so much on the resurrection and the Gospel message of Christ. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:13-14, “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” Here, Paul is saying it plain and simple; without the resurrection of Christ, we have nothing. The resurrection is the absolute foundation of our faith. It is the resurrection that we preach and the resurrection through which we are saved in Christ.

Zacharias brings up an important point about the resurrection, in that it is the only hope for this world. Everyone in this world is searching for hope. Some find that hope in their job, alcohol, drugs, religion, sex, video games, etc. As followers of Christ, we know the only One, who will bring true hope to all those in this world. So, what does all this mean for us? Urgency. An urgency to spread the Gospel message of Christ. We do not preach in vain, nor is our faith in vain because of the fact that our Savior is not in a grave. Our God is not dead. No, He is very much alive, and He conquered the cross and the grave for every one of us. I do my best to leave you with a personal challenge every day I write and today is no different. With that said, I simply want to reiterate what Zacharias said, “Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life.”

 

Noble Baird
Guest Services Director



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