Daily Devotional 5/22/20

Good Morning, First Methodist Family!
Join Betty Roy for today’s devotional.

Daily Devotional 5/21/20

Hi First Methodist family, I’m Wade Cobb, Director of Celebrate Recovery. Today’s devotional is titled “Never, Ever Give up on Yourself”

Romans 8:31… If God is for us, who can be against us?… 34 …Christ Jesus …is at the right hand of God … interceding for us.
There are days when I feel as though the “Un-holy Trinity” – The World, The Flesh, and The Devil are all, at one time, ganging up on me. And I’m losing ground, or I have just lost the ground!
I could tell you many stories of how Jesus came and continues to come to my rescue. I would be the first to admit, if it were not for the grace of God in my life there’s no telling how far off the reservation I would be. Instead of one my stories, I want to share a story from Peter’s life of how Jesus’ intercessory prayer saved Peter from becoming a bitter old man, filled with regret, guilt, shame, and an unfulfilled life. It would be the Last time that the Lord would share the Passover Meal with His disciples, as Luke records it in Chapter 22. Then Jesus says: 31″Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” 33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go 2 with you to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Jesus informs Peter that he will deny him, not once but three times! Peter says, not me Lord, I’m a strong Christian. I have seen you heal the blind and the deaf. I’ve seen you raise the dead to life again. You even healed my Mother-in-Law! I’m talking about some BIG MIRACLES, Lord. Later into the same night we continue the story. 54 Then seizing him [Jesus], they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” 57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. 58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. 59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” 60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had 3 spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly. Jesus is arrested and His journey to crucifixion begins. Peter begins his three denials of Jesus. Peter’s heart is crushed because of his failure as a “Strong Christain” to stand up for his savior. Now, fast forward to Acts 4 where Peter and John have just been thrown into jail by the most powerful religious and political leaders of the day for healing a crippled beggar. 13 When they [These powerful religious and political leaders] saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished, and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Peter along with John are forced to stand up against their enemies who are trying to shut them up. Some fifty and a few days prior a little servant girl was enough to cause Peter to deny that he even knew Jesus. Now, the most 4 powerful people in Jerusalem with their threats of imprisonment can’t shut Peter up! What happen? What happen was that Jesus had interceded for Peter. Remember the conversation Jesus and the disciples had around the last Passover Meal together in Luke 22? 31″Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. There’s another part of this story, found in John 21, that you must see. It helps me to see with my spiritual eyes how Jesus intercedes for you and me in our failures and shortcomings as God’s children. By seeing the grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love by which Jesus dealt with Peter’s failure as a follower of Christ and this without even a hint of condemnation for Peter’s sin, it makes me so thankful that I am a Child of God! John 21 1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. After Peter’s failure, he goes back to fishing. We are left clueless about Peter’s spiritual and emotional state of 5 being at this point of the story. However, his actions of going back to being a “Fisherman”, what he did prior to accepting Jesus’s invitation to be a “Fisher of men” (Mark 1:17) is a strong indication that his failure has defeated him. It is note-worthy to make mention of the last part of verse 3…” but that night they caught nothing.” If we choose to stay in our guilt, shame, regret, and condemnation over our hurts, hang-ups, and habits we, like Peter, will not catch God’s grace, His mercy, His forgiveness, and His love. We will not overcome our failures and we will never become all that God intends for us to become. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Jesus wants to come and be with Peter in his failure, in his pain, in his hopelessness. But Jesus does not want to stay with Peter in his failure. So, it is with our many failures and short comings in life, Jesus comes to us each time, not to condemn us but to restore us to a vibrant relationship with Him. (Romans 8:1) The following two verses are a beautiful picture of Jesus’ relentless prayer of intercession for you and me. This is how I see Jesus praying for me. (See also Hebrews 7:25). 15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, 6 Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Jesus would not stop pursuing Peter’s heart until he had won it back again! It was the third time of Jesus asking Peter, “Do you love me” that Peter finally agreed with the Lord. Peter said with his mouth what the Lord already knew to be true in his heart. “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Child of God remember the next time you experience a failure in your walk with the Lord. He is at the right hand of God interceding for your heart and life. He will not stop pursuing you until you can say with your mouth, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you! Acts 4:13 “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished, and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Jesus is waiting to have breakfast with you this morning. Will you come to the table?

Daily Devotional 5/20/20

Good Morning, First Methodist Family.
Join Victoria DePass as she continues our devotional series entitled, “God Is For Us”.

Daily Devotional 5/19/20

Today I have a special guest with me for the video devotional. I’d like you to meet Crackers, our family hamster. Crackers is a Syrian Hamster who joined our family on Valentine’s Day. My eight-year-old daughter is trying very hard to work her way up to having a dog – we are starting very small. Crackers, while adorable, is the most nervous, fearful creature I think I have ever met. It has taken her a long time to warm up to us – to not run and hide, cowering in fear any time she sees us. She’s come a long way!

I do have to work with her each night on becoming more social and accustomed to us. The other night, I had her out of her cage and I was enjoying watching her go from toy to toy, crawling in and out of a soft blanket that I had put down. Every time she came out of a hiding spot, she would look up at me and start trembling again. She would tentatively step out from hiding with her eyes still cautiously watching me. I told her, “You know, life would be a lot more fun for you if you would just trust me and trust the fact that I will NEVER hurt you! I give you fresh water and food every day, a cozy soft bed; I clean up after your countless messes and I give you extra things you don’t even need. I just know you will enjoy them, like toys and treats, because I enjoy seeing you enjoy them!” … Then it dawned on me, the soft voice of the Holy Spirit – “And the same goes for you, Kara. I provide for you every day. I have been nothing but trustworthy and faithful your whole life. Life would be a lot more fun if you would just trust me and who I am!”

We are in the midst of these daily devotionals on the theme God is For Us. And that’s the truth – He REALLY is FOR us! That’s great news and I don’t think we let the reality of that fully sink in.

In my last staff devotional during the Psalm 23 series, I mentioned that I have been reading a book called “Life Without Lack” by Dallas Willard. In it, Dallas says that it isn’t what we DON’T know about God that is our problem. Our problem is what we THINK we know about God that just isn’t true. Jesus came in essence to say, “Forget everything you think you know about God. I’m here to show you what God is really like and it is very good!”

I love this quote by Dallas Willard, “God loves to gush forth with His goodness.” John 4:14 says, “but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Dallas goes on to say, “Nothing so delights God as giving to anyone and everyone who will receive.”

A favorite verse of mine is Psalm 34:8, “O taste and see that the Lord is good!” Taste and see – experience, reach out, receive the goodness that is being offered to you. Like my hamster, I’ve come a long way in learning to trust God and His goodness through years and years of experiences with Him. There are still times though when I go right back to trembling, questioning His very nature. I slip and doubt God’s goodness, stumbling into false thinking such as “Be careful what you pray for, you just might get it!” Have you noticed when people say this, it is always meant in a bad way? Such as, God might use what you pray against you, so be very careful how you word your prayers! Or if you pray for patience, then God is going to dream up the most horrible situations you could be in to REALLY teach you patience – as if God is saying “ha, ha, ha, I’ll show you; YOU asked for it!” God does teach and guide us, but God is wholly and purely good. He teaches us as the gentle guiding shepherd that we can fully trust.

We must continually learn and lean into the fact that GOD IS FOR US! Life is so much more enjoyable when we can relax in this truth! Like I provide for Crackers, my hamster, God provides daily for us, taking excellent care of us, providing not just the things we need for survival, but out of His goodness, providing things just for our enjoyment because He delights in seeing us enjoy them!

Journaling is a practice I have enjoyed since I was in junior high school. It helps my mind to focus to write out my prayers to God on occasion. At the start of each new year, I enjoy looking back over the previous year or years of journal entries. Having a written account is proof to me of God’s faithfulness and presence. Being able to see how situations that were big concerns at the time, later worked out in unexpected ways. Other situations that seemed a big deal at the time that I had completely forgotten about as the year went on. Journaling is helpful because of the fact I do so easily forget. I need the written reminder that God indeed is good! We are all part of God’s story of His faithfulness to His people. This story is written down for us in the Bible as our written account and reminder that we continue to live out today. The good news that God is for us!

Let us pray:
Father, today, may we taste and see that you are good. Help us to trust you. Show us where our thinking about you is just not true and replace these false ideas we have adopted with your truth, that we may know you as you really are and trust that you ARE for us! Thank you for this undeserved grace and for the good gifts you place in our lives for our enjoyment each day. Amen.

Daily Devotional 5/18/20

Daily Devotional 5/14/20

Good Afternoon, First Methodist Family.
Join Ty Lust, Director of Youth Ministries as he continues our new devotional series entitled, “God Is For Us”. 

Daily Devotional 5/13/20

Good Afternoon, First Methodist Family.
Join Pastor Melissa Shuler as she continues our new devotional series entitled, “God Is For Us”. 

Daily Devotional 5/12/20

Good Afternoon, First Methodist Family.
Join Pastor Kurt as he continues our new devotional series entitled
“God Is For Us”. 

Daily Devotional 5/11/20

Pastor Steve begins a new devotional series today entitled, God is FOR you, as he share a story about a conversation he and Alayna (his wife) had a few weeks after they first started dating way back in 1993.  

When Alayna and I began dating, I was twenty-two and she was nineteen. My goodness we were young. One evening we were hanging out and having a deep conversation about some of our past hurts. I can’t remember who said it first but we both agreed that we felt that God put us through hard stuff just because he knew we could handle it.  It was as if God was saying that there were a certain number of bad things that people had to go through, and since Steve and Alayna are so strong, I will just let them go through more than their fair share.  Crazy, right? I think we both had believed a serious misreading of I Corinthians 10:13 where Paul writes, “God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear,” that got us to this place. I remember being surprised that someone else felt that same way and I think Alayna was surprised as well. We were both followers of Jesus at the time. I knew I was called to be a pastor and Alayna knew she wanted to marry someone going into ministry, and yet we were holding onto this false story about both God and ourselves that was negatively affecting every area of our lives. 


When we try to make sense of our challenging circumstances, persistent disappointments, difficult people, and even bad health by directly or indirectly blaming God for them, that will lead us to hold a false story about God. This false story is that the one who made us, the one who says he loves us with an everlasting love, would actually arrange the world where we suffer and remain constantly frustrated by the hard things of life simply because we are strong.  


Let’s just be real clear, negative circumstances have the power to deeply derail our lives. It is not our own strength that enables us to stand in the face of our circumstances, but it is rather holding tight to the good and beautiful truth that God is FOR you!  More than a half of a lifetime ago, Alayna and I were struggling to believe this all important truth.  What about you right now?  Do you believe that God is FOR you?  Or do you believe that God is against you? 


Romans 8 is one of those power packed chapters that would do us all well to memorize.  In this chapter, Paul is reflecting on “our present sufferings” (v. 18) and he asks this powerful and audacious question in v. 31b, “If God is FOR us, who can be against us?”  Well, how can we be sure that God is for us? Paul continues in v. 32, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” 


When we evaluate our hard times, both now and in the future, we should evaluate them through the lens of the cross. God does not leave us to our suffering, but spares nothing, not even his own Son, to rescue us from it and graciously give us all things!  This is the truth that we must allow to sustain us through negative circumstances. I love how Paul closes out this section of Romans beginning in verse 35, 37-39 as he concludes his reflection on suffering. He writes, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 


Nothing out there can separate us from God, but something in our hearts and minds can. Alayna and I were being hindered in our life with God and others by the false story that we held. Our lives have been transformed as we have traded in that story for the true story that God is always FOR us. 


Over the next two weeks, our staff here at the church is going to be helping us explore this grand biblical theme from different stories in the Bible. You won’t want to miss any of them as we seek to deeply take hold of this deep truth.   


I want to leave you this evening with a song that Alayna and I learned in college.  May it strengthen us all as we trust the greatest truth that God is FOR us! 


Who shall separate us from the love of God? 

Who shall separate us from the love of God? 

Shall tribulation or distress 

Shall persecution or famine or nakedness 

Or peril or sword from the love of our LORD 

Who shall separate us from the love of God? 

Who shall separate us from the love of God? 

Daily Devotional 5/6/20

Join Pastor Steve as he concludes this series of Daily Devotionals on David and the Psalms as he share with us his favorite Psalm, Psalm 131.  We will start a new series of Daily Devotionals on Monday, May 11th, entitled God is FOR us based on Romans 8:31.  Grace and Peace!