Seek On Seeking On
Pastor Joshua Humpa
Verse of the Day:
Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more. (Mark 4:24)
My three year old daughter is a professional questioner. With her inquiring mind constantly trying to figure out the world, the simplest idea can be expounded into a game of 20 questions. She’s always listening to my wife and I and if there’s anything new to her or if she missed a piece of the conversation, she wants to know every fine detail about it. She has a brilliant memory and is constantly absorbing information. For her, there’s still so much in this big world to understand and she doesn’t even know what she doesn’t even know.
As Scripture lays out, whenever Jesus spoke the people were always amazed. Even at the age of twelve He was wowing and baffling the priests in the ways of God. Jesus describes himself as the way, the truth, and the life. Being the source of these three things, the more we dive into Jesus and what He says the more we experience the way, the truth, and the dream life.
I’m guessing by the fact that you’re reading this devotional that you have some desire to grow closer to God and become who He created you to be. Jesus tells us that the closer we listen, the more understanding we will be given. It’s a trickling effect, a snowball that is constantly growing as it travels forward. My three year old is hungry for understanding and it’s my prayer that she’ll continue to live that way, especially when it comes to God. How much are you paying attention to what you hear form the Creator of the Universe?
I Am Willing
Verse of the Day:
“A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” (Mark 1:40-41 NLT)
Are you willing to be used by Jesus? Throughout the Gospels we see several instances where Jesus was presented with a trouble and moved to action. He healed, cast out demons, raised the dead, showed compassion, and was a servant. Jesus is our example for how to live. He was willing to serve and help where needed. Nothing was beneath him. He didn’t consider himself better or too good for a certain task. No, Jesus made himself available wherever the need was present. In this portion of scripture, a man with leprosy wanted to be healed and he knew Jesus could do it. Lepers were considered the outcasts of Jesus’ time. They were considered unclean and untouchable, but Jesus did the complete opposite of what culture was doing at that time. He showed compassion, reached out and touched this man, and was willing to help him.
This is how we should live our lives: moved with compassion and action. As humbling as it is, God has called us to be his hands and feet to reach those around us. Jesus walked on this earth and did extraordinary things. Today, God uses his people to do extraordinary things through ordinary, regular people like us through the power of the Holy Spirit. We just need to be willing. When Jesus healed this man with leprosy, it ultimately changed the trajectory of his life. He became a disciple for Jesus; telling everyone he saw what Jesus had done for him. When we show compassion and meet a need, we too, could change the outcome of someone’s life by pointing them to Jesus.
Seeing a need or being moved to compassion is the easy part, but responding to or taking action tends to be the more difficult aspect. What burden has God placed on your heart? What action could you take to help? Where would you be willing to serve? Who around you needs a friend? As followers of Jesus, let’s be people who are obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and respond just like Jesus did, by saying, “I Am Willing.”
The Surprising Timing of Temptation
Verse of the day:
One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.” The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him. (Mark 1:9-13)
The timing of temptation can catch us off-guard. Mark 1 contains one of the most drastic changes in circumstances that we see in the life of Jesus. One moment he is being baptized and the sky opens and God the Father affirms how proud and pleased he is with Jesus. The very next verse says Jesus was lead into the wilderness for temptation. Isn’t that surprising?
We often recognize that there are peaks and valleys as we follow Christ and often the lows will follow the highs. But we should also consider that times of temptation can follow after obedience and victory. Jesus was obedient in submitting himself to baptism and the immediate result of that is being led into the wilderness for a season of temptation.
This season of temptation was an extremely difficult period in Jesus’ life. He went without food for 40 days and yet he never succumbed to sin. Jesus clearly shows us that it is not a sin to be tempted, and even the most righteous among us will not be exempt from the coaxing of our spiritual enemy. We would all do well to heed this pattern.
If Jesus was tempted after his baptism, when will temptation come against us? Perhaps it will come after our baptism, or our dedication to Christ at an altar. Perhaps it will come after our marriage or the birth of a child. Maybe it will come after God used us in a significant ministry or following a promotion at work. Whenever temptation comes we can be inspired by the example of Jesus. Temptation doesn’t mean we’ve done something wrong, and it can mean victory is just ahead.
Trouble & Deliverance
Verse of the day:
The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.
(Psalm 34: 19-20)
When we face trouble in life, we tend to be tempted to walk away from the God. A thought may come into our head that says: “I’ve been serving God so faithfully…why didn’t He prevent this difficult situation from happening?” It’s as if we think our faith in God should prevent us from facing hard situations. Psalm 34:19 derails that train of thought. In fact, both the New Living Translation (NLT) states the opposite:
Psalm 34:19 - The righteous person faces many troubles… (NLT)
The English Standard Version is even blunter:
Psalm 34:19 - Many are the afflictions of the righteous… (ESV)
However, the second part of this verse makes it clear that someone who continues to walk with God will be delivered from those troubles. Beyond that, it says our bones will not be broken, meaning no circumstance will ever be able to completely crush us. This is a comforting thought. Yet, the question is whether we will decide to have confidence, or faith, in God’s ability to deliver us and keep us from being crushed during times of trouble?
We know that our faith in Christ’s death on the cross has forever delivered us from the consequences of sin, and provided us with a hope of eternity in heaven with Him. God also cares about our well-being on earth. If you feel like you haven’t been delivered from a troubling situation yet, trusting that God will rescue you can help give peace through the situation. That trust in God’s deliverance may also give you a new perspective on the situation. Ask the Lord’s help in giving you the right mindset for whatever you are facing. Perhaps you’ll discover that while the trouble is heavy, it hasn’t crushed you.
Training Up The Wise
Verse of the Day:
Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. (Proverbs 9: 7-8)
In a leadership position, one of the most crucial things to do is establish a good team around you. For me, I know certain strengths and weaknesses in myself that lead me to take certain tasks on myself, and push other tasks on to other people who can do them better than me. Now I am generally not a very trusting person. I like to see someone accomplish what I’m asking several times before I really will trust them to do it on their own. That’s a weakness in myself that I’ve noticed recently, but also something that in moderation can be healthy.
Over my time in ministry, there have been plenty of people that I have tried to raise up to certain positions, and for whatever reasons, some good and some not so good, the situation didn’t work out. Perhaps they thought they already knew everything and could handle it themselves, or they thought the task was too easy for them, or they didn’t have the capacity to fill that role, or they simply were fitted for a better role better. Whatever the reason was, there was definitely a lot of time wasted in trying to raise up someone who had no business being in a position of leadership.
I believe that these verses are instructing us to be extra careful about who we are attempting to raise up. It talks about the wise love the correction from their leaders, which is exactly the time of people I want to be surrounded by. So in positions where I am not in leadership, I try to make sure that no matter how difficult, I am always open to constructive criticism. In positions where I am in leadership, I try to make sure that the people surrounding me are trustworthy people, who have the wisdom to recognize when they don’t have it all figured out, and instead are open to wise correction.
A Golden Calf and Bronze Fonz
Pastor Stephanie Humpa
Jesus for several days had been trying to prepare the disciples for the hard times that were ahead. He had informed them multiple times that He was soon going to be leaving their company and that trials were ahead. He had prepared them the best that He could but they couldn’t fully grasp what was to come. They couldn’t fathom that their beloved teacher of the past three years would actually be taken from them. As was Jesus custom He took them out to pray and to spend time with the Father to gather strength for what was ahead. Not sensing the urgency the disciples made themselves comfortable and in their tiredness they fell asleep.
The disciples didn’t know that the temptation to abandon Jesus & their faith was about to come knocking at their door. Even though they had been warned they over estimated their own strength to be able to withstand the temptation. That’s why Jesus instructs them to, “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Their spirits wanted to do the right thing but the mind and body were too weak.
We never know what circumstances and what temptations are right around the corner so we need to always heed Jesus’ advice to “keep watch and pray” in our own lives. We may have the best intentions to do the right thing and overcome temptation because our spirit is willing but unless we have strengthened it with time with God our bodies may succumb because they are weak. We can never rely on our own strength. Paul who was an amazing follower of Christ even acknowledged that he struggles with this same thing. He says in Romans 7:15 “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”
The lesson here is none of us have arrived. We are never beyond needing to spend alone time in prayer with God every day. It’s often when we are the most comfortable and relaxed in our relationship with God that trouble is just around the corner. So be alert, stand guard, and pray!
Always A Bridesmaid
Pastor Dan Wootton
I recently attended a wedding where everyone of the bridesmaids was married. I asked one of the bridesmaids how the week was going. “So smooth. No drama.” This is the report of professionals. Mature women who have experienced the process of a wedding week. They don’t carry the additional nerves of “Will I meet someone at the wedding?” or “Will I die alone without ever knowing romance?”
In the past, bridesmaids were always unmarried. This practice traces back to the old testament where Leah and Rachel appear with handmaidens to marry Jacob. In Western culture, being a bridesmaids was viewed as a right of passage to one’s own wedding. This is why performing in this role was critical and nerve-wracking.
I remember another wedding years back where every bridesmaid was unmarried and under the age of 22. You could take a deep breath and inhale the chaos. The wedding started almost two hours late.
When we think about the second coming of Christ, it’s important to remember that we don’t have multiple chances. You might be a bridesmaid a dozen times on earth, but the Marriage Supper of the Lamb only occurs once. Everyone of us will be having a ‘first-time’ experience. There is no test run.
This is why Jesus impresses the value of patience and focus. We wait, and we don’t lose patience. We wait, and we don’t lose focus. We will be ready. But for now . . . we wait.
Short Term Daddy Anger
Pastor Joshua Humpa