Tates Creek Christian Church

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Archive for the tag “Devotions”

God Adds the Humble – Matthew 5:5-6

When I think of being meek, it is being humble in the Spirit.  Some may feel broken and don’t know where to begin or go to find the solution.  I have found that God is the answer and our solution.  God tells us in Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”  Yes, we are meek but we can also be mighty in the Spirit and our Lord.

It also says in Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”  We all should hunger and thirst for the Word of God and want to help others to do the same, so we can multiply in the Lord and be in heaven together.

This brings to mind a young broken woman that I know.  She grew up in a home being abused and mistreated.  She lived with her step-father, mother, and siblings.  She had no solution or way out of the abuse of her mother.  The only person she could count on was her grandmother who lived far away and was only able to visit a few times each year.  Her grandmother did sense she was not happy and was often very sad.  Her grandmother began to talk with her and taught her how to pray.  As this woman grew older, she began to realize how prayer made a difference in her life.  She knew she was broken inside and needed something or someone more in her life.  Even though she could not see God, she knew He was there with her.  She began to have peace and comfort and acceptance of things she could not change.  She knew one day God would bring her out of the bondage in which she currently lived.

That day did come. God gave her an opportunity to leave that home and begin a new life in another town.  God eventually gave her a Christian home, husband, children, and church home.  He also gave her the most wonderful gift of her life, a relationship with Him.  He gave her boldness that she never had and enough love to serve and help others.

I encourage all to serve and reach out to those who don’t know the Lord.  Just pass it on and help others to become additions to the Kingdom of God.

~ Garnett Langley

Gods Adds the Broken – Matthew 5:3-4

Matthew 5:3-4

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” (NASB)

August brings an increase in crowds to Lexington.  Roadways, stores, campuses and stadiums will be filled with vehicles, parents, students and sports fans as they prepare and head out in search of the new.  New supplies, classrooms and teachers, new campuses and friends, and a new season.

The author of the above teaching was no stranger to crowds.  When Jesus spoke these words, He was surrounded by a multitude or mass of people.  He moved among them teaching them, touching them, healing them and showing mercy and love to them. He saw them and He knew them. He was looking into the eyes of people on whom He had great compassion.  He often saw them as sheep without a shepherd.  They did not understand it but I imagine they could feel it.  Jesus wanted them to know His voice and the depth of his teachings and trust His heart and mission, like sheep trust their shepherd.  He wanted them to understand that He was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies about the promised Messiah. Prophecies like Isaiah 42:3, “A bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice” and Isaiah 35:5, “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.” Jesus wanted the broken and wounded to celebrate that He was bringing them something new.  Hope. Eternal Life. The way to God.  2,000 years later this truth and the desire of God’s heart remains the same.

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule. You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” (The Message)

~ Phyllis Eversole

The Compassionate King – Matthew 4:23-25

How often do we look at our world through “spiritual eyes”.  If you’ve ever witnessed an act of compassion on the part of a good Samaritan, or a selfless sacrifice on someone’s behalf for a total stranger, chances are your spiritual “lenses” have been swept clean of worldly blinders  and cleared for viewing things Jesus had intended us to see.  It’s no wonder that on social media (such as Facebook or Twitter), we see phrases such as “faith restored” or “there is a God” in reaction to such uplifting events.
Christ, as he conducted His Father’s business on this earth, exhibited overflowing compassion toward everyone; including: the masses he saw (Matthew 9:36), his deceased friend Lazarus (John 11:33-35), and the woman at the well (John 4).  Christ, as His Father has proven many times, wants none to perish or suffer.  His compassionate nature is one of the key hallmarks that separates being a Christ follower from any other world religion.
In Matthew 4, beginning in verse 23, we see Christ who is spiritually victorious yet drained physically from his time in the wilderness being tempted by Satan.  Instead of retreating, His love for all humans and quest to fulfill the Scriptures of bringing light to a “dark land ” (Isaiah 9:1-2) overpowered the worldly inclinations of slumber and seclusion, and decided to carry on the compassionate work for the Kingdom’s sake.
Matthew: 4-23-25 (ESV)
23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
Remember, as Romans 13:14 admonishes us to “put on (the cloak of) Christ”, let us not leave the accoutrement of compassion stowed away.  He that has ears, let him hear.
Brad Byington

Remove the Rock of Lying

As we look at removing the “rock” of lying this week we turn to Ephesians 4:25, where Paul specifically warns against lying to our Christian brothers and sisters. Here are three ways lying within the Church can distract us in our faith and be detrimental in our witness to non-Christians:

First, starting and spreading lies in the Church leads to distrust among the members of the Church. Whether it is a “white” lie, a malicious rumor, or some kind of false teaching, lying between Christians creates a lack of trust that prevents us from experiencing the close fellowship with one another that God intends for us here on Earth. What is so important about having close fellowship with other Christians? Galatians 6:2 says we are to “bear one another’s burdens,” Hebrews 10:24 says we are to “stir up one another to love and good works,” and 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says we should “encourage one another and build one another up.”

Second, lies and falsehoods within the Church will undoubtedly be noticed by people outside of the Church. People who are outside the Church should be able to look into the Church and see us loving each other, caring for each other, supporting each other, and being honest with each other. Lies and falsehoods in the Church – which will only bring drama and conflict – will not reflect anything different from what non-Christians are used to seeing in the world every day. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.” Our interactions with other Christians should cause non-Christians to notice that we’re unique.

Third, lying within the Church creates distractions for Christians in their personal walk with God. Even the most mature Christians can experience a lapse in their focus on God if they get caught up in the web of a lie. Colossians 3:2 says, “set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on Earth.” Lies within the Church take our focus off “things that are above”, distract us from our faith, and have a negative impact on our ability to serve as witnesses to the world for Jesus.

~ Cory Wilson

Remove the Rock of Grumbling – Philippians 2:14

Humanity has a long history of sin, especially grumbling. We don’t see it as very serious and probably none of us is innocent of this sin. But God knew the trouble it could lead to from the beginning. To paraphrase a familiar drug analogy, grumbling can be called the gateway sin that leads to more dangerous sins (that is, from a human perspective) like rebellion, retribution, and even murder. After all, Adam was grumbling about Eve, Eve about the snake, and Cain about Abel.

That’s probably why God gives us so many warnings. For instance, in Phil 2:14 (NASB), God says “Do all things without grumbling or disputing” and in 1 Thess 5:16-18 (NASB), He says “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

In case you think you’re not a grumbler, note that the Hebrew and Greek words translated as grumbling can also mean back biting, whining, complaining, or murmuring.

But come on, we may think to ourselves, it’s so easy to grumble, complain, and whine. Most times we don’t even recognize when we’re doing it. And such minor sins don’t count much, right? Is it really even a sin? Surely He can easily overlook that, can’t He? Maybe you think, my life’s hard and it’s impossible not to grumble and complain about something…isn’t it?

He knows all this. But we’re forgetting who we’re talking to. He became a human just like one of us, and He lived through circumstances we cannot even imagine. If anyone had a legitimate excuse to complain and grumble, it was surely Him. But Hebrews 4:15 tells us He didn’t: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” He didn’t give in. Not to grumbling, not to any sin.

And praise God that He didn’t, because if He had given into the tiniest temptation, we would be doomed to eternity in hell. But because He refused to indulge this selfish desire (and many others we’re told), He defeated Satan, destroyed death, and enabled the Father to send us the Holy Spirit which is the means by which He communicates with us and helps us to resist sin—even grumbling—until we’re finally home with Him. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 He says so: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

So the next time you’re tempted to grumble or complain, or even when you realize you’re doing it, stop, breathe, and ask for help (and forgiveness, if you’re guilty) and receive help from a loving God who wants to see you succeed: “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb 4:16 (NASB)

Monica Kennedy

Remove the Rock of Anger – James 1:19-20

ANGER

In today’s culture it seems as if most people find themselves easily aggravated and anger seems to flair without much cause. This happens while traveling the streets of our city, shopping at the local grocery, or even in our own home while watching the evening news. I am often surprised and ashamed how quickly my anger can flair for what really is a very insignificant reason.

As Christ followers we are called to live a life that is more in control of how we react in certain situations. In the book of James we read these wise instructions from God by the hand of James concerning how best to begin to remove this anger from our lives. James writes in verse 19, “be quick to hear”, yet so often our anger flairs out of a misunderstanding. We need to be cautious and listen intently to others and make a great effort to show compassion for their situation. This will cause us to lay aside our self and place others before our own needs or desires. James continues to give us instructions by writing “slow to speak”. How often have you been in a normal conversation and without warning something is said that causes that conversation to become very hostile? Let us as Christians be careful in how we use our words for they have a great power and can cause very deep wounds on the hearts of those we love and know.

James ends this portion of scripture in verse 20 by writing, “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Every morning we are to awake with an overwhelming desire to be more like Jesus. If we allow anger to continue to plague our hearts this becomes impossible and instead our hearts will become cold and our witness of His love for others will be dead! Instead awake with love and grace overflowing from your lives and anger will flee from you!

-Nick Wallen

Remove the Rock of Pride – Luke 18:9-14

Proverbs 16:18 warns “Pride goes before destruction.”

We see the example of the results of pride when we remember Eve in the garden. Satan came to her in his sneaky, crafty way and tempted her to eat the fruit that God had forbidden saying, “You will not surely die, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God.” He appealed to Eve’s pride. She fell for the lie.

This opened the door for the troubles that then fell on all of mankind, of whom we are a part.

On the other hand, we see the Godly handling of pride when we read of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4: 1-1-11). Satan tried his best to tempt Jesus to get into pride. He suggested Jesus use his power to turn stones into bread after his 40 day fast,(appealing to His power), then he tried to get Jesus to throw himself done off a pinnacle,saying angels would bear him up. Next he tried to appeal to Jesus by telling him he would have all the kingdoms of the world if he would worship him.  Jesus met the test with the word of God. He did not let Satan lure him into pride of who he was and what his power was.

We do not want to be like Eve when faced with pride. Psalm 73:6 says, “Therefore pride is about their neck like a chain.”

When we think of pride like a chain around our neck it helps to resist it, but it can be so tempting to want to set people straight when we are challenged in our opinions or behavior (especially when we know we are right). When these temptations come, let us determine to walk in the example Jesus provided and not fall for the temptation to let pride get a foothold. We don’t have to have that chain around our neck which takes our focus off Jesus and puts it on our grievances, stirs us up, and steals our peace. See pride coming and resist it in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Peggy Park

Committed Workers

As we continue to read and study Nehemiah 10-13, we see just how well the people of Jerusalem served God.  They were committed to rebuilding Jerusalem, so the leaders signed the covenant to obey God’s law.  The people followed their leaders and committed to obeying these laws as well. They were all committed because they fully believed that God was their Lord.

Only two chapters later, in Nehemiah 13, we see the people who were so committed to follow and obey the laws of the covenant slip away from those laws and break the commitment they made.  We must be in constant communication with the Lord to be reminded of His word which keeps us from slipping away from the true will of God.  To know and understand the truth, we must allow the Holy Spirit to guide us because the world can pull us away from God and it can be easy for us to abandon our first commitment.

It is sometimes hard to find our place in what God has planned for us and we overlook the obvious.  God will lead us to our work, we just need to be committed to follow him and go where he leads us.  It may be that we have a calling to do big things; to travel the world in ministry helping and witnessing to the lost or serving the impoverished.  Sometimes our commitment and strength is supporting those who are committed to doing just that, by staying in prayer for them, showing them guidance, and showing them love.  We see examples of this everyday in our church and community and the commitment to pray for each other is a blessing.

In our family, our daughters are both committed to go where God takes them.  One, to Cambodia to the those who have been abused and sold into slavery.  She has been called to bring awareness about human trafficking, something that is hard to imagine and believe.  Our younger daughter has committed to work with children who are hurting physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally because of their impoverished circumstances.  She is committed to traveling to Ghana this summer to serve the children there.  They both inspire me as I watch them go where God leads.

As with the people of Jerusalem, we must be committed to serve and obey God wherever he calls us.  We are all sent with the Great Commission, to go out and make disciples of all nations, in whatever way God has individually called us. 

Laura Mullins

Quality Workers – Nehemiah 7-9

Have you ever had the responsibility of leading and managing a group of workers or employees? If so, I am sure you have some definite ideas about the kind of people that make the best workers. I imagine your preference is for the person who is teachable. One who will accept the information, make it their own, and hold themselves to that standard or even higher. This person may require some investment upfront, but once established they are strong and consistent because they have expectations of themselves.

This is what we see from the ‘Quality Workers’ Nehemiah describes in chapters seven, eight, and nine.

Reading the beginning of chapter eight, it is striking to me that the people (these workers) asked Ezra to read the Book of the Law of Moses to them. They showed a hunger for the Word of God. They desired to know His expectations so they could apply it to their lives. Look at the picture painted by these excerpts from verses 2 and 3; “Ezra the priest brought the Book of the Law before the assembly, which included the men and women and all the children old enough to understand … from early morning until noon and read aloud to everyone. All the people listened closely to the Book of the Law.” If you read further you will see that they were standing for this three-hour period while Ezra read the Law to them. Their desire for the Word was stronger than their desire for physical comfort. This shows a great desire to know the standard.

Chapter nine then tells us how these workers applied what they learned in the Law. They separated themselves from all foreigners, confessed their sins and worshiped the Lord their God (verses 2,3). When they heard the Law, they evaluated themselves against God’s righteous standard. When they saw where they fell short, they confessed these sins and then they released this sin and guilt to God in worship.

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin, this pattern of learning, application, evaluation, confession, and worship is still an effective plan for us, as we desire to be ‘Quality Workers’.

David Eversole

Focused Workers – Nehemiah 4-6

In Nehemiah 4-6, Nehemiah is following God’s plan by rebuilding the walls to Jerusalem and facing trials in the process.  There are comparisons that can be made to the opposition that Nehemiah faced and what Christians face today.  During reconstruction, rival nations plotted against Nehemiah’s implementation of God’s plan to rebuild the city walls.  The rival nations made false accusations, spread rumors, and plotted to stop the reconstruction by force.  Though those rebuilding the wall had to guard against attack while working, Nehemiah’s workers remained focused on the mission before them.  If threats and rumors weren’t enough distraction, Nehemiah also contended with turmoil among the Israelites.  It seems the enemy was both outside and within the walls of Jerusalem.  Nehemiah was a servant-leader who humbled himself before the people and refused the perks of his position.  Though the threats were real and the stakes were high, Nehemiah kept the workers focused on the work at hand and the walls were rebuilt.

So, how do the trials facing Nehemiah and the people of Israel compare to the trials we Christians face?  We’re engaged in an important work for our Lord that involves reaching, teaching, saving, and serving.  Unfortunately, over the past few decades, followers of Christ have been increasingly ridiculed for the truth they find in the God’s word and are stifled from expressing their faith in school or the workplace.  That’s the distraction and threat from outside the walls of the Church.  There is certainly a lot of “noise” in media that tries to tell us how truths found in the Bible are wrong, hateful, and non-inclusive, because the truth makes some people confront the brokenness in their life.

Some Christians have acquiesced under the influence of culture (i.e., modernism) or succumbed to false doctrine that teaches what itching ears want to hear.  That’s the threat inside the walls of the Church.  Staying focused on our mission and purpose for Christ means that we must not allow detractors to get in our way or silence the truth.  We must be prepared to suffer ridicule for what we believe.  We must be prepared to state boldly what we believe, without condescension.  We should suffer the ridicule of the world for our Lord and consider it a blessing, not a distraction.

Stan Stack

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