Devotional Blog

Love Amidst Differences

I’ve been reflecting recently on the experiences that shape each of us into who we are. Because of our individual personalities we tend to perceive things differently. Two people can experience the exact same event or happening and one comes away feeling encouraged while the other one feels hurt. And both are experiencing valid emotions based on their perceived experience. Many parents have puzzled over how it’s possible that one child thrived in their home while another felt hurt and resented the home environment.  

Why is this? Why do we think so differently about shared experiences? I take solace in 1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” And I think this same chapter in 1 Corinthians can also give us some valuable insights into what the response to our own frustrations should be when others are so convinced that an event or institution was awful when our own memories surrounding it are treasured and wonderful (or vice versa). We respond in Christ-like love. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). We might disagree with someone but we can always choose to extend love even as Christ has loved us.

By: Pastor Jay Mast


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HOW IS YOUR FAITH?

The definition of faith is found in Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.

So often we view faith as believing that God is going to do something for me and if I have enough faith it will happen. In the case of some of the faithful in Hebrews they never received what was promised and yet their faith earned them a good reputation. Hebrews 11:13a  All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it.

So our faith results in a good reputation. As we look at our faith and the results of it, let’s ask the question; will others see a good reputation in us.

So what does it mean to have a good reputation? In the Barclays Greek-English Dictionary it means to; bear witness, testify, be a witness; attest, affirm, confirm; speak well of, approve (pass. be well spoken of, receive approval).

Although we may never see the promise fulfilled, we continue to be a witness for Jesus and our lives well-spoken of. Keep walking by faith!

By: Pastor Steve Eicher

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KEEP PRESSING CLOSE TO JESUS!

Mark 2: 1-5

1And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.

2And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.

3And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

4And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.

5When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.


We need to keep pressing close to Jesus! Sometimes it is difficult, but it is those times when it so important to do so. Keep pressing close to God and stay encouraged!


By Michal Troyer

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Waiting on the Rain

The Bible says in 1 Kings 17 that Elijah told King Ahab there would be a drought that would only end when he said it would. There was a great famine because of the drought so God ordered Elijah to hide by the brook and the birds would feed him there day and night as he drank from the brook. Eventually the brook dried up and God told him to go to Zarephath where a widow woman would feed him during the famine. In chapter 18, God told Elijah in the third year of the drought to go show himself unto Ahab and tell him that the Lord was finally going to send rain. After they met, Ahab gathered all of his prophets to Mount Carmel and Elijah challenged him and all of the prophets to prove whose God was the true God. The challenge was to see whose God would answer the call of burning up the sacrifice. The prophets of Baal chanted from morning to noon but their sacrifice did not burn. But when Elijah set his sacrifice before the Lord he prayed and fire fell from the Lord and the fire licked up all the burnt sacrifice. The people were convinced and confessed the Lord is God. Then in 1 Kings 18: 43-44 it says “Elijah said to his servant, go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, there is nothing. And he said, go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea like a man’s hand.” The rain was coming! Are you waiting on God’s rain or answer? God wants us to be persistent and obedient, so don’t give up. Keep looking for the rain!

By: Elton Gingerich

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Seek My Face

You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”

Psalm 27:8 (ESV)


Has the Holy Spirit ever spoken to you saying, “Seek my face?” We should always seek His face. In times of trial and trouble, we sometimes need reminded to seek the face of the Lord. However, many times that seems to be our last resort, or certainly not our first.


Joni Eareckson Tada gives the illustration of a young cruise ship passenger aboard a ship that was in turbulent waters. Waves crashed over the deck, the ship rocked back and forth violently, and most passengers feared for their lives. This young passenger snuck to the deck where the captain was steering the ship. The captain noticed the look of fear in the young passenger’s eyes, and gave him a reassuring smile. The passenger ran back to a large crowd on the ship and hollered, “I saw the captain, and all is well!”


What do we find when we seek the face of our Captain, the Lord Jesus Christ? I believe we find peace, comfort, joy, promises, assurance, and hope, just to name a few. Brothers and sisters, seek His face today, and always. Seek His face in prayer and Scriptures, through your tears, your trials, and even your good times. I promise you will not be disappointed in what you find.

By: Marcus Steury

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Be Foolish!

Have you ever thought that someone was foolish or that their advice was particularly devoid of wisdom? Have you ever personally felt foolish? Some of us tend to experience that particular feeling more than the rest of you but I imagine that we have all felt that way at some point in our lives. But what some might consider your greatest foolishness is actually the greatest insight the world could ever hear. “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). “But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means” (1 Corinthians 2:14).    

Christians and non-believers have two different metrics for evaluating foolishness. We (Christians) consider the wisdom of the world to be utter folly and the world is convinced our spiritual wisdom is awful foolishness that ought to be stamped out. Unfortunately, it seems that  we are too concerned with the world’s estimations of our foolishness and so we avoid looking like fools for Christ. Today’s advice from Corinthians is, “Drop that concern like a hot potato and act like a fool (in the eyes of the world)!” Try it! Be a fool! Foolishness can be fun. And necessary — only by our folly will the world hear true wisdom!



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WHO AM I?

Written by Pastor Steve Eicher


For the past week I really have been doing some soul searching and seeking our Heavenly Father. As most of you know that one of my identities for the past 35 years has been Senior Pastor of HMC. So now that I am now longer in that position do I lose my identity? No of course not my identity is in Christ, who gave Himself for me.

 

I have had many people ask me what religion I am, of course they are asking what denomination I am. I usually tell them that I am a Christian (follower of Jesus) with a Mennonite flavor.

 

You see our identity is in Jesus Christ, not by what we do. 

 

Taken from-- June Hunt, Biblical Counseling Keys,

—    God chose me.

—    God adopted me.

—    God redeemed me.

“He chose us in him before the creation of the world.… In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.… In him [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding” (Ephesians 1:4–8).


  • The Presence of Christ is within you …

“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)


•   The Power of Christ works through you …

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3)


•   The Character of Christ is reproduced in you …

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.” (Romans 8:29)


•   The Life of Christ is reflected through you …

“For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.” (2 Corinthians 4:11)

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The Eyes Of The Lord

This week's devotional by Michal Troyer        

For this week’s devotional I chose Proverbs 15: 3 “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere keeping watch on the wicked and the good”. When things get too quiet at my house I go to investigate because my boys are probably getting into something they should not. This one time I found my oldest sitting on the floor playing with sprinkles that he had dumped on the floor! He was playing and did not notice my presence. He was enjoying just spreading those sprinkles everywhere and yet he knew that he was maybe not supposed to be doing that. We do not always think that people are watching or paying attention to us, but God is always watching and caring for us. We still need to do what’s right in God’s eyes. So be encouraged that God is on our side, his eye is on us and he blesses the good choices we make.   

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STRESS

  Written by Elton Gingerich

 2 Chorinthians 1: 8-9 says 8. For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our troubles which came to us in Asia. That we were pressed out of measure above strength, insomuch that we despaired even life. 9. But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in the God which raised us up.

                 I would say that none of us have ever been in the situations that Paul was in in his lifetime. He was shipwrecked, beaten until near death, or had to be lowered over a wall in a basket at night to escape those who wanted to do him harm. Although we do have things in our lives that we allow to cause us stress. Some of them may be finances, jobs, people, relationships, planning a wedding, or planning 2 weddings. Stress has a tendency to cause us to do things or become someone that we don’t want to be, and make us vulnerable to satan's temptations. We snap at people, become impatient, or become depressed. Many times stress causes us to take our eyes off God, and focus on ourselves and our problems.

                 1 Peter 5:6-7 says. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. 7 Casting all your cares upon Him; for He careth for you.

                 Remember when you become stressed with the situations you find yourself in, trust God and give those things to Him and allow Him to calm the storm that is in you.


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When God Says Yes

Weekly Devotional by Marcus Steury


10Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?” 11God answered Solomon, “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kigs had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like.”

2 Chronicles 1:10-12 (ESV)


We make hundreds and possibly thousands of decisions every day. Some we do with very little thought or consideration, and likely, very little consequence. Today we might’ve put our right shoe on first, and yesterday we put our left shoe on first. Did it really matter? No, not at all. However, some decisions affect the rest of our lives, and can even affect the people around us.


Five categories that encompass some of our most important decisions in our lives are these: career, education, family, finances, and relationships. Have you sought the will of God in those more important or impactful decisions throughout your life? Has the Holy Spirit led you in a specific direction? Have your received confirmation of your decisions from God? What has that looked like and felt like? Oftentimes, people say that they experience an immense sense of peace.


In today’s passage we see that Solomon asked God for wisdom and knowledge. I believe he knew that there would be many decisions to be made in his future. We see that God said yes to Solomon. What are some other examples in God’s Word where God seemed to say yes to a request? What can we learn from these examples?


This week, reflect on at least one example where you sought God regarding a decision and you received confirmation or affirmation. That might be an opportunity to share with others about how God has worked in your life. If you aren’t seeking God in your decisions, I would encourage you to start today! None of us is exempt from needing to seek God in our decisions.

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