Weekly Devotions August 10-14

Friday Devotion with Kim Wu

“I was an amazing mother before I had kids.” Therapist and author Kristen Howerton shared this thought to describe how she had imagined herself as the perfect mom before she actually had kids. She had projected into the future her picture of the idyllic life and her role within it.

We all do this. We create within our minds the trajectory our lives will take, and all the things we will do and be for all our people.

But real life is not something we can always perfectly plan and execute. Life is a struggle, and this could not be more true than it is in 2020. There’s a wide range of issues in our families, our communities, and in our country that are keeping us up at night, leaving us feeling defeated and depleted. If you feel like you are the only one feeling this way, the only one who isn’t turning this time into a golden opportunity for radical self-improvement, know that you are not alone.

And if you feel that after being in this pandemic season for more than five months, it should feel easier, like you should have found a new rhythm, hear these words from author Kate Bowler: “But it is a strange truth about pain. There is no getting used to it. It will be over when it’s over. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re in pain because you’re surviving.”

It’s okay to be weary and need rest. It’s okay not to be everything we had hoped to be, especially in this season. The third chapter of Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything… a time to plant and a time to uproot... a time to embrace and a time to refrain… a time to weep and a time to laugh. Perhaps this is a time to rest and a time to restore. A time to let go and a time to trust.

In my devotion on Monday, I focused on our need to recognize our sin and as God’s children, ask for His forgiveness. Today I am focusing on the importance of receiving God’s grace and mercy. Knowing in our minds that God has given us grace is not the same thing as receiving His grace and living with that truth in our hearts.

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

God’s grace is more than just the gift of forgiveness for His beloved people; it is also the gift of His presence through the Holy Spirit living in us.

His grace is available and here to uphold us in this season. The Spirit of truth is our Counselor, and He will be with us forever, guiding us, strengthening us, empowering us, and interceding for us.

“Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.” Amen.

Thursday Devotion with Pastor Will

Monday Devotion with Kim Wu

I’m one of those people who love cilantro. My husband, however, is one of those people who does not. It’s not that he just doesn’t enjoy it – he hates it. If I’m just washing some cilantro at the kitchen sink and he walks into the room, he can smell it immediately, and a look of pure disgust crosses his face. I’ve come to understand that this is not just a matter of personal preference - some people are genetically prone to detect the soapy-flavored aldehydes in the cilantro leaves and to be repelled by them. It’s part of who they are.

Bear with me on the comparison I’m about to make. If you lean in on this a little bit, I think you will see where I am going: can we get just a whisper of an idea of how God views sin by thinking about how some humans react towards cilantro? God detests sin. It is abhorrent to Him. By His own nature, he cannot bear it. It is antithetical to who He is.

For many of us, I don’t think we grasp the depth of our sin, and we don’t properly grieve over it. And here’s the thing: if we don’t have the proper perspective on our sin, if we are not horrified by the severity of our sins and how they affect us and offend God, then we fail to fully appreciate all that we have been forgiven, and we cannot truly understand the depth of the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross.

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:8-9)

Romans 8:1 tells us, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” and it is true that once we confessed our need for and acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior, all our sins were forgiven. Our debt was paid for all eternity.

But in our ongoing relationship with God as our Father, we are still called to daily confession and repentance of our sins, and this is another reason why it is so vital that we recognize the depth of our transgressions. Even as saved people, our sins grieve God’s Holy Spirit.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) The good news is that the Holy Spirit empowers us to do this work not from a place of despair, but from a place of confidence as beloved children of our Holy God, and we will receive His merciful forgiveness and compassion.

Lord, we confess our desperate need for You today and we humbly ask for Your forgiveness for our sins. Create in us a purity of heart that seeks to do Your will over our own. Amen

Print your tickets