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.  

light in a dark world

by jim hess

april 2024

“The Lord saw how bad the people on earth were and that everything they thought and planned was evil.” Genesis 6:5 (CEV)

Hello LLC and friends. As we begin to see spring arriving. You may be looking for an upbeat devotional. I don’t want to be a “Debbie Downer” and we will get to a more upbeat thought before we’re done. So, hang with me. But have you looked around lately at our world? I am amazed at how selfish, greedy, and sometimes downright evil, people are. Now I am not a Holy God, but that is what I see. Can you imagine what a perfect God sees in our world? How mean and ugly people are these days. But honestly, the Human condition has been around, well, since the fall. People have always been evil not just in actions but also in thoughts and plans.

Now here is the challenge. Genesis 6:8 tells us, “But the Lord was pleased with Noah.” (CEV) Was Noah a perfect man. No. Was he better than the rest. Actually No. But he was walking in a way trying to please God. Are we trying to please God? Granted, we will not accomplish perfect status either. Probably far from it. But are we attempting to be blameless? I hope so. I was driving this morning, in a van marked “School Students,” beside me was a guy with a fish on the back of his car. You know, identifying himself as a follower of Christ. And someone, fortunately not me, did something in front of him that he didn’t like, and he blew and gestured and all the rest. My, how we need to seek God’s help in being upright and blameless.

Now the upbeat part. Noah pleased God. For whatever reason, God chose Noah to carry on The Human Race. He gave him, and his family, grace and mercy. We should rejoice in God’s grace and mercy, too, and find opportunities to share that grace and mercy with a lost and evil world. So next time you get in your car, make sure there is no fish on the back and try to please God!

hope for those we love

by cindy fetty

march 2024

Recently I’ve noticed myself being more prone to complaining about others. I’ve been frustrated with people’s integrity, believer’s lack of fruit, family and friends' lives seeming to be falling apart and no sign that they would turn to Christ in their struggle.  

This week, I was feeling conviction about my tongue in the middle of all of these things. When everything seems to be falling apart, people fail, lives are torn broken from sin…we have a God who is there in the midst. He has not failed or even lost a battle. James 3:9 says, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.” A little further down, in verses‭ ‭17‬-‭18‬ it is explained further, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

I hope to encourage you to guard your tongue this month as well. When we are feeling hopeless, like all is lost…like family members will never come to Christ, people will never learn or change…we serve an amazing God “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (‭‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭28‬).

So often God helps us work out our salvation in the midst of struggle, yet it is difficult to have patience with those we care about while we wait for their salvation or sanctification.  

However, we can hold onto hope for those we love because “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” ‭‭(2 Peter‬ ‭3‬:‭9).

Because of this, there is no reason to grumble or complain. God is always trustworthy and faithful with those we love. So, let us be patient and wait for the Lord in his perfect timing. 

how to moan

by mickey haist

february 2024

Phil 2:14   Do all things without grumbling or disputing


So there’s an immediate bit of instruction on how to moan - simply disobey Philippians 2:14. In truth we don’t really need any instructions on how to moan, moaning is a natural state for man. Some people moan a lot, and loudly, and some you never hear moaning, but there’s a moaning of the heart that’s just as harmful to that individual as the moaning everyone hears from others is harmful to them. 

But how is moaning about things troubling you harmful? Firstly because it causes us to disobey other Biblical instructions - 1st Thessalonians 5:16 tells us to rejoice always and then in verse 18 we’re told in everything give thanks. And actually, learning and practicing those two prescriptions takes us very far in learning how to not moan; if your standard disposition is to always be rejoicing, and if your life is lived rejoicing then your heart should be inclined to be thankful for everything.


It’s that “everything” that makes this difficult for us to not moan. Again, we’re told to Do all things without grumbling or disputing, but “everything”, “all things”? Not only is that hard for us to do, but we’re not even sure that’s a reasonable rule or guideline. Before we even fail at not moaning we kind of think we have a right to, that we deserve to moan about some things. Ok, I won’t moan about someone parking their car at church where I commonly park mine, I won’t even moan that someone is sitting in my seat during the worship service, but if I have to sit there with severe back pain, I get to moan about that don’t I? There are things we see as petty or insignificant and will agree we should learn to not moan about such things - but we hold in reserve certain things we count to be substantial and significant and so worthy of moaning about; if I lose the quarter I thought was in my pocket I don’t need to moan about it, if I lose my car keys and it’s time to go I get to moan about that a little, if I lose my job I fully deserve to moan about that.

That seems perfectly acceptable to us, we’re just regular folks, just like everybody else, how can we be expected not to moan if we receive a scary diagnosis or if our house burns down? How can God direct us to rejoice always and in everything give thanks? For me that answer is, because He’s the same God who promises us eternal peace and rest with Him in paradise, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ. What God has done for us is far weightier, significant, consequential than anything this world, and ourselves, can do to us here and now. And we know that, we believe that, so why is it yet so hard for us not to moan?


2 Corinthians 4:6    For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels


God has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ - how is that not sufficient to keep us from moaning? because we have this treasure in earthen vessels. These ‘tragedies’ are not so tragic eternally as they feel tragic here and now, and the Holy Spirit is mightier than anything this world can assault us with - but we are weak, frail, and self-concerned . . . we are prepared to, often looking to moan.


Our passage in Philippians says Do all things without grumbling or disputing, and it goes on to explain so that you will be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. God is calling us to not be like the world, if we moan about the very same things our neighbors and coworkers and everyone moans about then we are not lights, or, our light is not shining. So what’s the answer to ‘how to moan’? Ignore the Bible, ignore the Holy Spirit, follow the ways of those rejecting Jesus, live like the world. We are earthen vessels, weak and frail - but we are vessels that God the Holy Spirit indwells, turn to Him, trust in Him, depend on Him.

There’s a very well known verse just in between rejoice always and in everything give thanks  we are vessels that God the Holy Spirit indwells, turn to Him, trust in Him, depend on Him . . . and pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks.

celebrate the new year

by ramona davis

january 2024

As 10-year-old child I, with my friend Ginny, joined our local 4-H club, the Trilla Boosters.  As we became teenagers, we could choose the project "A Party a Month'. Those taking the project were assigned a month; a themed party was to be planned and hosted by the planner.  I was assigned January; the obvious theme was a "Celebrate the New Year" party. The invitations were in the shape of a leaf. Each place card was also in the shape of a leaf cut from colorful construction paper. The leaf was to remind us that with the New Year we were to 'turn over a new leaf'. The varied leaf shapes made for a very colorful table setting; but it also showed how little I understood about how true change occurs in the lives of individuals.


Last Sunday (12-31-23) Pastor Jon taught from God's word how true change occurs.  It does not come from making and keeping New Year's Resolutions and it certainly does not come from 'turning over a new leaf'. True change comes from God transforming a person from the inside out. God is the One who changes us. What a blessing of faith is God transforming us into the image of His Son. Pastor Jon clearly illustrated this through the Apostle Peter.


One way God transforms us is our investment of time in reading and applying God's Word, the Bible. Do you have a reading plan for 2024?  As we read and apply Scripture God transforms us into all He has had in mind for us to be. (Romans 5:2b TLB) Happy New Year!

love came down at christmas time

by Julie nickell

december 2023

Years ago, Point of Grace released a song entitled “When Love Came Down”. The lyrics point to the birth of Jesus Christ, appealing to “everyone on earth to believe that the child was born, the star shone bright, and love came down at Christmas Time”. Last December, Pastor Jon provided a short devotional book to the congregation for reading during the month of December. The devotional, written by Sinclair Ferguson and titled “Love Came Down at Christmas” highlighted each verse of the 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (commonly referred to as the “love chapter”), connecting the most comprehensive description of love ever penned to the birth of Jesus Christ. A friend gifted a book authored by Bob Sorge titled “The Cross” in which he provides detailed contextual commentary on the sacrificial death of Christ in order to

redeem sinful humanity, clearly making the point that Christ’s death is love perfectly manifested.

As I reflect on Christmas time, I am overwhelmed by Christ’s love for me and for sinful man. Christ left the splendor of heaven behind to become a man destined to die a horrible, humiliating death at the hands of the very men (and women) he came to redeem. Phil 2:6-8 states that Christ, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross”.

As I reflect on Christmas time, I am equally astounded by the Father’s love for me and for rebellious, sinful man, in that He created me/us, realizing that we would be sin vessels, unable to be reconciled to God’s holy standard unless God also provided THE way for redemption. That way to truth and life is God’s perfect Son. Most of us are very familiar with John 3:16, the verse that succinctly describes this truth – “for God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life”. The prophet Isaiah further states that “it was  the will of the Lord to crush him [Christ]; He has put Him to grief, when His soul makes an offering for guilt” (Isaiah 53:19). At Calvary, God demonstrated His massive love for the world by “expending the entirety of His wrath upon His Son. Tipping the cup, He emptied its contents. And then, when His Son was crying out to Him, He

turned His face away and forsook Him – because of the magnitude of His loving plan to redeem us” (Sorge, p. 54).

As I reflect on Christmas time, I am confronted with my inadequacy and inability to love Christ with the kind of love He demonstrated for me. I will also never be able to love God the Father to the degree and magnitude of His perfect love towards me. My humanity and my sin nature also make it impossible for me to love others completely, sacrificially, continually – you get the picture. The Holy Spirit is dubbed “the Helper” (John 15:26). Without the help of the Holy Spirit, not only will I fail to love others

as Christ first loved me, I will also be blinded to the truth of Who Christ is and my need for Christ as a Savior. I often pray for the Holy Spirit to help me love Christ the way that Christ deserves to be loved, having finally recognized that I will never be able to love fully and perfectly on my own . . . and I trust in faith that this prayer will be answered.

Finally, as I reflect on Christmas time, I can’t help but fast forward to the perfect expression of Christ’s love for me demonstrated on Calvary. John wrote that Christ “loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding His blood for us” (Rev 1:5). Recorded in the Gospel of John is Christ’s assertion that the greatest form of love is that “someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Christ demonstrated this love when He died for me, but He improved upon it – I was His enemy when He died

for me. “For God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Thank you, God, for loving me so much that you created me anyway, knowing that I would be a sinner deserving death. Thank you, God, for loving me so much that you created the perfect redemption plan through the death of your perfect and only Son, as a substitute for me. Thank you, Christ, for being willing to leave the splendor of heaven to embrace humanity as a human child, for the purpose of paying the penalty of sin for me through the painful, humiliating, horrific death on the cross of Calvary. Your perfect love is demonstrated from manger to cross, from the cradle to the empty grave. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for bearing witness to “these things” and helping me to better understand the mystery that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

with thanksgiving

by jim hess

november 2023

Don't you love Thanksgiving? It is an awesome time of the year. The air is crisp. It is time for pumpkins, apples, harvest, and it is often just a happy, joyful time of the year. It should be a time of celebration and reflection. But I think it is best when it is simple. Simple is good.

I don't know about your life or family but ours is always hectic and fast paced. I need to take or make Thanksgiving time a simple time. That's not always possible and sometimes takes some effort. But as I was thinking about Thanksgiving and giving thanks, I was reminded of a passage of Scripture, Psalm 136. It covers twenty-six verses. Meditate on these verses. It begins with a call or command to give thanks. (vs. 1) Then a refrain that comes to us twenty-six times. "For His lovingkindness is everlasting." Do you think something that God, through the psalmist repeats twenty-six times might be important!

You may be thinking, "well yeah, but this has been a difficult and challenging year." You know it has and I would say that every year is. But think of that refrain, "for His lovingkindness is everlasting." Reflect and remember that with all the difficulties and challenges that come, God is still good. He has been through each of those challenges with you. So, as you reflect don't ignore the difficulties but embrace them and exclaim, God you are good, because your "lovingkindness is everlasting." Don't miss that last word. Everlasting! He has saved us, brought us through, and has been with each challenge, and will be forever!

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,

For His lovingkindness is everlasting."

Choosing what is better

by cindy fetty

october 2023

I can’t speak for men, but I think among women there is this stigma. Many of us are always running... taking this kid to soccer, that one to an appointment, trying to get dinner on, making sure the house is put together, laundry done, and so on. In my own life, it has felt like I’ve been running on a treadmill for years, getting nowhere. Every single moment filled with something. After a recent move, this strange thing happened. I dropped my kids off at their new bus stop and rather than spending an hour in the car driving them to and from school, I had this space. This little window before work that I could just sit and enjoy my coffee with the Lord. Sometimes my husband will come in and sit with me, sometimes it’s just me. I found that often I was so not used to having this space that I’d just veg out on my phone, playing a word game or scanning Facebook. I’d miss this beautiful chance to read scripture, pray, or just sit in His presence. I found that if I wasn’t intentional with that time, I’d lose it. I would just squander this little treasure away. 

I was considering how this is related to us in scripture in the story of Mary and Martha.

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭10‬:‭38‬-‭42‬ NIV

I think many of us can really relate to Martha. We know what it feels like to have more things to do than time to get it all done. I believe we can all understand her frustration with Mary in that moment. Jesus, however, doesn’t have the same timeline or concerns that we do. He tells Martha that Mary has chosen what is better. 

In our own day to day, hectic lives, it’s not always easy to remember. The way of Martha seems so much more noble and likable but Jesus says few things are needed, or indeed only one. All the things we feel have to be done right now are only temporary in the greater picture. There is nothing more important and no better place to be than sitting in Jesus’ presence, listening at his feet.