LLC MONTHLY Devotionals

Each week a member of LLC offers a short devotional to support you in your walk with Christ.  We hope each week is an encouragement to you and leads you deeper in your relationship with our marvelous, ever loving God.  

as it is written

by mickey haist

may 1, 2022

The Reformation, after generations of a shrouded ‘gospel’ and construct of false teaching, owned a vivid and accurate understanding of the gospel - because the reformation was Scripture inspired and informed. Martin Luther, John Calvin, and the other magisterial reformers came to the truth, amidst all the errors and assumed authority of the Roman church and its popes, because in preparation to teach and preach they were going to the Scripture and turning to God, rather than to ‘the church’, for the truth. It was studying the Bible and believing what it presented as the truth that turned Roman Catholics into Reformers and Reformers into Protestants.  

 

The Bible is the revelation of eternal truth, God’s truth. So if God has written a book and given that book to us, and has filled His people with His own Holy Spirit, who wrote that book, we must ask why there is so much disunity among those asserting themselves to be God’s people, why there are so many conflicting ideas about what the truth is. In a certain manner the answer rests here; the history of the church is a history of man trying to improve the gospel. From first century doctrinal disputes to today’s broad scope of differing approaches and practices of local congregations, men have tried to minimize or eliminate Biblical truths they think too offensive to draw people to Jesus and have introduced Sunday services that are more akin to some manner of community get-together than a coming together of God’s people to worship a holy God. 

 

Paul wrote I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel” . . . and yet he also had to write I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

 

That’s how authoritative the Bible is, how true and reliable the text of Scripture is - we are cautioned that even if we have a vision presenting a message to us directly, even if we are personally visited by an angel - if the message is not the message of the Bible, reject it. Paul even repeats his warning saying “I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. This is not about mere doctrinal accuracy, the reason Paul is so militantly insistent on what the message actually is, and why he never sought to ‘improve’ or soft peddle the gospel is because, as he himself said I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes”. It”, the Bible, is the power of God for salvation - not our cleverness, not our constructs, not even our sincerity. We must turn to the Bible, study the Bible, and trust in what the Bible presents as the truth and not rely instead on men or denominations or our own assumed competence. The Holy Spirit inspired the text of Scripture and the same Holy Spirit has been given to everyone who trusts in Jesus alone as their only hope . . . studying the Bible is more than an intellectual exercise, more than a comfort, more than a religious chore - for the Christian studying the Bible is the Spirit nourishing our heart and enlightening our mind in a spiritually miraculous manner, something otherworldly, heavenly is happening as you study God’s word. 

in christ alone his promise was kept

by amy hess

april 1, 2022

In April 2017, Jim's incredible mother died the Wednesday before Easter. This grandma, mom of 4 men, and wife for 48 years had left behind a legacy that runs threads of faithfulness through our lives. She had lived for 22 days in Hospice care with no water or nourishment. When her soul was passed into eternity, we had both intense joy and sorrow. The power of Christ's sacrifice for our redemption was close to our hearts as we remembered each day of that holy week. On Sunday morning, we celebrated Christ's resurrection with abandon. Our worship was only a fraction of the joy that Verlaine must have experienced as she passed into eternity. In Christ alone His promise was kept. Our hope in Him is sure. He is worthy of every word of worship as we celebrate His resurrection. Praise be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!


In Christ Alone, Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend, 2002


In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand


In Christ alone who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live


There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ


No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand

preparation for easter

by pastor jon weigel

2/3/2022

“We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20b-21)


Yesterday marked the first day of Lent.  Lent is a season of preparation.  During the 40 days of Lent Christians of many denominations dedicate themselves to the preparation of their spirits for the celebration of Easter.  


Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season.  This week I had the opportunity to worship with a group of residents at a local care facility and offer the imposition of ashes to those who worshiped.  The imposition of ashes is an ages-old tradition where a worship leader places the mark of a cross in ashes on the foreheads of the faithful.  The symbol then serves as a reminder of human frailty, sin, and our need for God’s life giving grace through repentance and forgiveness.   It’s a beautiful tradition, made even more beautiful as I worshiped alongside these precious residents.  


As I placed the ashes on one resident's head, he was reminded of his sin which made him unworthy of God’s love and with extreme gratitude wept, thanking God for the blessing of his grace.  It was a beautiful reminder of the impact God’s grace has on the life of a sinner aware of his wretchedness.  


This is my hope for each of us this Easter season.  I pray that you will be even more enlightened to your sin, more humbled before Christ and in response, more receptive to God’s mercy and grace this year than last.  May your Easter season be a time where God deepens your intimacy with Him and makes you more aware of His abundant mercy on all who will humble themselves, repent, and believe the good news of Jesus Christ.  


for the love of god

by cindy fetty

2/1/2022

On a regular basis we will be offering video devotions from members of LLC.  We hope that this encourages you and your walk with Christ.


W atch Here



getting 'hugs' from god

by ramona davis

1/19/22

I have a missionary friend who often refers to something she calls ‘A God-sighting’. I have been encouraged as through the years I have read her letters and emails as she has explained a blessing she received... usually unexpected... where only God could have orchestrated ‘the circumstances’ that resulted in her seeing God at work.  


My husband Ken was a ‘hugger’.   After his death I missed his hugs of encouragement.  As time passed I began to notice things my missionary friend would have called ‘A God-sighting’. After such an experience I realized that the way I was feeling was very similar to how I felt when Ken had given me a hug to encourage me. I began to call these experiences a ‘hug from God’. If trying to define ‘a hug from God’ I would say it is something that He ‘ties’ together that is somewhat of a surprise ... an unexpected blessing especially concerning His Word.


Here is an example of a ‘God hug’; it occurred last Monday (January 17, 2022).  Once again this year the Lord has convicted me that it is time to sit down and read the Bible with the goal to read all of it by December 31, 2022.I am using a guide and this particular one has an OT, Psalm, Proverb, and NT passage each day.  It starts with Genesis and Matthew.  So reading since January 1, I am now at the place in Genesis that Joseph is the main character. My activities on Monday included doing some things in the kitchen so I turned the radio on to WDAC the Christian radio station broadcasting out of Lancaster. The program was one that I only occasionally hear. It was a sermon on Joseph by Robert Jefferies pastor/teacher of 1st Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas.  The text was the exact portion that I had read earlier in the day. That felt like a “God hug”.  What are the chances of that happening??!  Actually, what came later in the sermon was the real hug.  Pastor Jefferies gave a very clear and uncomplicated definition of CONSCIENCE.  


Recently, in the Women’s Bible Study in Hebrews in our study guide we were asked to define the word CONSCIENCE. My definition, gained from a word study of the Greek word translated ‘conscience’ resulted in a rather complicated definition. I love it when someone is able to take something and make it easy to remember and therefore easier to apply. Here is his definition of Conscience: Our conscience is God’s built-in warning system. Hearing that and tying it back to our study felt like a ‘God hug’. Pastor Jefferies did go on to explain that ignoring our conscience can over time ‘turn off’ the warning system.  


Why do I see this ‘God hug’ as encouragement?  It is a long time to December 31, 2022.  Life will be busy I am sure. So busy that I might abandon my January decision to read the Bible in its entirety in 2022? I pray that is not the case; but should I fall behind and be tempted to put daily reading from the guide aside I can remember how I was encouraged by God on January 17th that reading the portion of Scripture just may lead me to a place of being blessed in an unexpected way.


Relationship between our prayers & god

by kevin kline

1/13/22

Dr. Barnhouse had a great illustration to convey something of the relationship between our prayers and God's sovereignty and eternal will. 


This is what he said:


“We will suppose the case of a man who loves violin music. Okay?  He has the means to buy for himself a very fine violin and he also purchases the very best radio he can buy.  He builds a library of the great musical scores, so that he is able to take any piece that is announced on the radio, put it on his music stand, and play along with the orchestra.


"The announcer says that Mr. Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra are going to play Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.  The man in his home puts the symphony on his stand, tunes his violin with what he hears coming from the orchestra.  The music that comes from the radio we might call foreordained. Ormandy is going to follow the score just as Beethoven wrote it.  The man in his living room starts to scratch away at the first violin part. He misses beats, he loses his place, he finds it again, he breaks a string, he stops to fix it, but the music goes on and on.  He finds his place again and plays on after his fashion till the symphony is ended.


"The announcer names the next work that is to be played and the fiddler puts that number on his rack.  And day after day and week after week and month after month and year after year, he finds pleasure in scraping his fiddle along with the violins of the great orchestra.  Their music is determined in advance.  What he must do is to learn to play in their tempo, in their key and to follow the score as it’s been written in advance.  If he decides that he wants to play "Yankee Doodle" when the orchestra is in the midst of a Brahms number, there's going to be dissonance and discord in the man's house, but not in the Academy of Music.

"After some years of this, the man may be a rather creditable violin player and may have learned to submit himself utterly to the scores that are written and follow the program as played.

"Harmony and joy come from the submission and cooperation.”

Then Barnhouse says this, "So it is with the plan of God, it is rolling toward us, unfolding day by day as He has planned it before the foundation of the world.  There are those who fight against it and ultimately are cast into outer darkness because he will not have in His heaven those who proudly resist Him.  This cannot be tolerated anymore than the authorities would permit a man to bring his own violin into the Academy of Music and start to play Shostakovich when the program called for Bach. 

The score of God's plan is set forth in the Bible. And in the measure that I learn it, submit myself to it and live, or seek to live, in accordance with it, I shall find myself in joy and in harmony with God and His plans.  If I set myself to fight against it or disagree with that which comes forth, there can be no peace in my heart and life.  If in my heart I seek to play a tune that is not the melody the Lord has for me, there will be nothing but dissonance.

Prayer is learning to play the same tune that the eternal God plays and to play it the way the eternal composer wrote it and meant it to be played."

So, that really helped me understand how prayer works with regards to an Almighty, all powerful, and all knowing God of the universe, and I pray it does the same with you.