Monthly Archives: November 2015

December 2015 Devotion

When All Else Fails


My son’s first apartment is a fond memory. He bought kitchen furniture at a local department store for a hundred dollars. It was hard to believe that the table and chairs could all fit into such a small shipping package. Between Nathan and his three friends, the furniture was assembled. Unfortunately, no one took the time to read the instruction manual. Further, the high-torque powered screwdriver quickly bent every misaligned piece. Sitting at his new table became adventurous.


         “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.”   (Psa. 119:105-106, NIV)


Following God requires an understanding of the instruction manual. Discipleship includes numerous hours of Bible study. The discoveries we make are amazing. God’s instructions empower.


         “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2Tim. 2:15, NIV)


The Bible makes life far less complicated. From its passages, we obtain wisdom, comfort and encouragement. God’s precepts illuminate our path so that we do not make costly errors. God’s methods yield incredible blessings.


Just as a firefighter is comfortable with his or her hose, Christian warriors learn to handle the Word of God with precision. The more that we learn, the more effective we become. Like the psalmist, we choose to follow God’s divine instructions. The more we know — the further we can go!


Oh Father, we praise Your glorious name! You are awesome in Your majesty and beyond compare in Your wisdom, grace, and mercy!! Lord, we long to know more of You. We ask that You would guide us in the study of Your Word. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!

Rev. Dr. Judy Baumgartner

November 2015 Devotion

One Dimensional Relationship


A high school football coach struggled to win a game during a long season. As the season progressed, his folly became apparent. He loved a particular running play so much that it was called almost every first down. The same play was also popular on second and third down. Although his players gave a great effort, his one-dimensional offense became the laughing stock of the region.


Often, we as humans reduce our relationship with God into a single dimension. A prayer before a meal or perhaps a weekly church service encompasses our time with the Almighty. Are we reducing our relationship with God to a weekly chore? Like the football coach with only one play, we cannot be victorious in this setting.


During the life of Christ, large crowds gathered to receive a healing from the Master. This became the motivating factor for attendance. Sadly, these people were more interested in pragmatic results than the incredible words of Christ. Jesus had to preach in a boat to keep from being overrun with people seeking to be healed.


Jesus did not lack compassion. His love for people was incredible. He longed for them to have so much more than health. He knew that people needed a multidimensional relationship with God more than healing within their bodies. This principle still applies to us today.


“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.” (Psa. 119:103-104, NIV)


This passage within the context of this song is incredible.   The earlier verses reveal that the psalmist had suffered incredibly. In his anguish, he longs for the words of God rather than relief from his physical condition. This is not a form of denial, but a revelation of the complexity of his relationship with the Lord. This is a shining example for us to follow.


Often, we have what we perceive to be an overwhelming need for divine intervention. Conversely, God understands our every thought, emotion, and physical requirement. If we only talk to the Lord about a single issue, we are limiting ourselves like the stagnant football coach. Beloved, let us improve our connectivity with God rather than decrease it.


Teenagers often think of their parents as logistic agents. They only want to talk to mom and dad when they are hungry and the refrigerator is empty. Wise parents learn to use these opportunities to deepen relationships with their shallow children. A giant step of discipleship is learning that God is far more than our supply depot.

By Rev. Dr. Judy Baumgartner