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.  

new year resolution or goal to facilitate spiritual growth?

by ramona davis

january 2023

I have never been a fan of New Year Resolutions.  I tried it in my younger years; but I found by mid-February most, if not all, had been set aside and old habits ruled the day.


Last week I heard part of sermon while driving to an appointment.  I heard enough of the sermon to realize goal setting for believers in Jesus Christ is a helpful tool in our spiritual growth. The unspoken advantage of goals over resolutions is the assistance of the Holy Spirit to reach success. The sermon was based on Micah 6:8 The speaker used the New Living Translation:


O people, the Lord has told you what is good, 

and this is what He requires of you:


to do what is right,

to love mercy, and

to walk humbly with your God.


I arrived at my appointment but the words that I heard were foremost in my mind. What I heard on the radio can be goals that I can set; they are goals that will help me to grow spiritually; and that spiritual growth happens with the promised help of the Holy Spirit. God is so good to clearly tell what He expects of us.  Three items and He is done.  Do what is right. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God.


The LLC Women’s Bible Study is studying the 7 statements in the Gospel of John where Jesus uses “I AM” statement to teach who He is. We are currently studying where Jesus identifies Himself by saying, “I AM the Good Shepherd”. In the study guide there is a lot of material about the sheep and often the description is not complimentary.  But one thing they do great…they listen to their shepherd’s voice. They follow their shepherd. I pray that God will richly bless the LLC sheep (friends and members of Living Legacy Church) as we spend time in His Word. It is there our Good

Shepherd speaks to us. He has some things to say to us in Micah 6:8. How are we doing at hearing His voice?

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

by kevin kline

December 2022

"It's the most wonderful time of the year..."


I bet you could hardly read that without singing it. It is Christmas time! A time where the world, whether they recognize it or not, seems to stop and celebrate the birth of Christ.


My favorite Christmas story, other than THE Christmas story of the Bible, is "A Christmas Carol", where the old cranky Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by 4 ghosts and turns from an "odious, stingy, mean-hearted man" to "as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as the old city ever knew". 


The final step of that transformation was the realization that, after death, he is no longer able to interfere in the welfare of man. He learned that, for all his wealth and power, once he was dead, it was good for absolutely nothing. And, at this time of year, perhaps most of all, we should be concerned with the well-being of others, especially the poorest among us. 


This sentiment seems universal during this time of year. Toys are given away for free, people spend time and money to light up their houses, friends and family gather and copious amounts of food are shared, and this is all done often. But where does this sentiment come from? Why does it even exist during this time? Is it not because of the shining, inexhaustible, undeniable, overriding example of Christ? 


And while we can certainly learn from Mr. Scrooge and apply the lesson of "being sure to love those around us with an unselfish love while we're traversing this planet" to our lives, as a Christian we don't need to be haunted by 3 Ghosts to learn that the riches contained within this world, are temporary at best. 


Jesus says as much in Matthew 6:19-21:


19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."


Mr. Scrooge could have saved himself a restless night of terrifying ghostly visits if he had just read his Bible. 


And while it may be "the most wonderful time of the year", it's the most wonderful truth that for the Christian this feeling doesn't come only 1 month a year. The feeling that permeates every corner of this month, for the Christian, can be lived every day of every year.

the church

by mickey haist

november 2022

There is a passage in the 5th chapter of Ephesians that presents this interesting assertion -

 

This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church

 

What Paul had been speaking of has been on my mind of late, as the most recent catechism question we looked at declared that “God created man male and female” and as Pixie and I just celebrated our wedding anniversary. What Paul had been talking about, that he states is actually mysteriously referencing Christ and the church, was the marriage between a man and a woman. One of the specific points he made concerning marriage was -

 

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church

 

So we ask, how is it that Jesus loves His church? First we must recognize that “church” here is not referring to the building Christians meet at for Sunday fellowship and instruction, and it’s not what particular denomination your local congregation is associated with - “church” here, and in much of the New Testament, is referring to the people of God, believers, those who have turned to Jesus in faith and have been saved, Christians. The text here is setting forth ‘husbands, love your wives, just as Jesus loves Christians’. The church, Christians, are also identified as ‘the bride of Christ’ in the Bible. So again, we ask how is it that Jesus loves His church, His people, Christians?

 

Jesus so loved us that He died for us, died in our place that we might live. Very few of us will ever come to have to face such a circumstance, but there is another truth in this passage that most certainly ought to do “just as Christ” did. Jesus sacrifice on our behalf wasn’t an improvised event, it was some last moment decision, and the cross wasn’t merely part of a plan either - Jesus’ willingness to go to the cross, to give up His life to save us, was the faithful acting out of a covenant, an irreversible promise, even contract, that He made with His Father. 

 

Marriage, between a man and a woman, is likewise a covenant, a contract, a promise - that’s why God hates and condemns adultery, fornication, and divorce. God’s laws aren’t merely arbitrary acts or interests that He flippanly tossed into a ‘do’ or ‘do not’ column, God reveals Himself in His laws, in His revealed will . . . and so, God’s laws express God and His will, His truth. Men are to love their wives as Jesus loves His church because God established marriage to be a picture of Christ and His church. Jesus does not love others He loves us, Jesus does not love us apart from the covenant promise to love us, Jesus will never leave us but is forever faithful - hence God condemns adultery, fornication, and divorce . . . because “This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church”.

waiting patiently

by jim & amy hess

october 2022

I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD. Psalm 40.1-3 New Living Translation


Have you ever found yourself waiting for the Lord? I have but unfortunately, I was not like King David, I would not describe my waiting as patient. At least not at first. As I have gone through the last several years and have faced the many health issues, that honestly, I did not even realize I had, I often complained to the Lord. But over time God taught me a valuable lesson– to wait patiently. God has a plan that we may never

understand. But as we wait, know that He is there, and He is listening. In His time, He

will answer.


But why do we have to wait? Why doesn’t God answer our cry right away? That is after all what we want. Well, I have learned there are several reasons.


First, He wants us to learn that we can not survive on our own. He wants us to rely on Him. He desires for us to wait for Him to set us on that solid ground. You can not do it on your own. You can try, but we need Him desperately no matter what is happening in our lives.


Second, He knows that we need to be steadied. After my brain surgery, all the hospital staff watched me because they were afraid I might fall. At times, their concern was valid. With God, our need to be steadied spiritually is also valid. At times it was embarrassing because there was very little privacy. We don’t want others to know our weakness. But God knows us intimately, and He knows where we will fall without Him.


Third, He wants to give us a new song. He wants us to sing His praise. When we face trying times in our lives, we need to sing His praise, a new song. In the last five months or so praising Him has become a sweet opportunity. I love the opportunity He

gives to us to “sing” a song of praise to anyone who will listen.


Lastly, He wants others to hear and trust Him. Ultimately, this is what our lives are all

about, finding new ways to bring glory to Him because of the good things He has done. We can find ways to help others to trust Him because He is always good. He doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we want but that should never hinder us from singing His praises!

Turning to the lord

by cindy fetty

september 2022

"I felt I did trust Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."

John Wesley


“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭1:1-3‬ ‭ESV


“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:1-4‬ ‭ESV


Recently in our Sunday school class, we discussed how Romans is such an interesting book that has a profound way of bringing deeper understanding to all of scripture. I found that these verses in Psalm 1 were deepened so much by the understanding of this portion of Romans. 


All of us struggle with sin in some capacity. It can be a struggle in our minds, how we deal with stress or conflict, how we handle our finances, or any other number of things. Basically anything that turns our eyes away from the Lord can indicate what that sin might be. 


Romans 6:6 says, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”  However, sometimes this feels impossible in the midst of our struggle. There are times where it feels like my own sin claws and grips at my feet as I struggle to kick free of it.  Psalm 1 tells us a very clear answer though when it says, “but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”  


Several weeks ago, Pastor Jon encouraged us to take time of quiet solace in the Lord while meditating on the truth of His word. This practice, as we are reminded to do in Psalm 1, is the key to breaking sins' grip on our hearts. God offers us freedom from sin but we are reminded that this doesn’t mean temptation will not come. 


“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”- ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:13‬. 


John Wesley once said, “I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”


When we trust wholly in Jesus Christ and run to him in our temptations, even ours, he is faithful to provide a way of escape that we may endure it. I hope this encourages you with whatever you are facing that we serve a God who is faithful to keep all his promises. 








trust in the lord

by cindy fetty

august 2022

We live in a broken, fallen world. Everyday, there is another story of a child being hurt

or killed in some tragic way. Just this month, several kids were drowned, one fell from balcony, kids were trafficked, starving, suffering from terrible disease, etc. As followers of Christ, it is important to remember that this world is not our home. I don’t have an answer as to why so many innocent suffer during their lives, but I have personally seen God use suffering in amazing ways. We don’t always know what the end will hold, but Romans 5:3-5 offers an excellent resource for the explanation of suffering during our lifetimes. It says, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:3-5 ESV). Many times in our lives, we as humans experience suffering based on our own poor decisions. However, as seen above there are other times when we suffer because of other; poor decisions, disease that we may or not be responsible for, or just natural occurrences in life that are beyond our control. No matter what we are going through, God is always good, just, and right; and can use whatever terrible situation is happening as something that ultimately glorifies

him.


Insights from Job


“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless

and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1) 


God speaks to him after his many trials and questioning: “Dress for action like a man, I will question you, and you make it known to me. Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right” (Job 40:7-8)?


Through all of this, Job’s love for God helps him to hold fast to his faith and grow in his trust in the Lord, despite the terrible circumstances.


Insights from Joseph


The story of Joseph is also a great illustration of being long suffering in the face of trial. For several years, Joseph endures trial after trial as he is sold and enslaved, wrongfully accused, sent to jail and then forgotten. In the end, however, he is able to forgive his brothers who originally sold him, saying, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (Gen. 50:19b-21).


These two stories are great examples of how we can come to the place of trusting God through hardship. Romans 8:28 reminds us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Whether we are innocent or guilty, God can use whatever we have gone through for his glory if we have placed our trust in him, turned from our evil ways and are called according to his purposes in our lives.

a father's bargain

by kevin kline

july 2022

The Father's Bargain


John Flavel (c.1627–1691) was an English Puritan Presbyterian minister and author and he once imagined a verbal exchange between God the Father and God the Son. In this exchange, the Father is considering the hopeless condition of sinful man and how they (we) are open to His eternal wrath. In this exchange, the Son lovingly offers an alternative to the Father: to pay the wrath in full. 


This exchange has become known as “The Father’s Bargain.”


It's short, so I encourage you to read it slow... It's tremendously powerful. 


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"Father: My son, here is a company of poor miserable souls, that have utterly undone themselves, and now lie open to my justice! Justice demands satisfaction for them, or will satisfy itself in the eternal ruin of them... What shall be done for these souls? 


And thus Christ returns:


Son: O my Father, such is my love to, and pity for them, that rather than they shall perish eternally, I will be responsible for them as their Surety; bring in all thy bills, that I may see what they owe thee… Lord, bring them all in, that there may be no after-reckonings with them; at my hand shalt thou require it. I would rather choose to suffer thy wrath than they should suffer it: upon me, my Father, upon me be all their debt.


Father: But, my Son, if thou undertake for them, thou must reckon to pay the last mite, expect no abatements… if I spare them, I will not spare you.


Son: Content, Father, let it be so; charge it all upon me, I am able to discharge it… And though it prove a kind of undoing to me, though it impoverish all my riches, empty all my treasures, yet I am content to undertake it."


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What a great truth... Christ took every last one of our "bills", and paid them so there would be zero wrath left for you and me. The haunting words "if I spare them, I will not spare you" echo eerily in my ear, but I praise God that Christ was not only willing to take it, but worthy to take it.


What a marvelous God we serve!