Devotional Blog

Silent Tears

35 Jesus wept.


John 11:35 (ESV)


The Son of God shed tears. Jesus Christ, who was the only one able to die for our sins and provide a way of salvation showed great emotion. I don’t take enough time to properly consider Jesus, the man. However, I believe this verse must be a part of that consideration of Jesus as a man. Many commentaries suggest that according to the original language this was a time of silent tears, not loud sobbing or wailing. Jesus was moved to tears by the grief of the moment of the death of Lazarus.


Most of us likely know that today’s verse is the shortest in all of scripture, but it is certainly not the least. What can we learn from the shortest verse? I think we could spend a significant amount of time unpacking this verse and allowing God to teach us something new from it. Take some time to reflect on this verse today. Why did Jesus weep? What other emotions and feelings do you think were present in the life of Jesus? I think he also experienced feelings of joy and happiness, just like us. Let’s all take time today and this week to dig into the Word and see if what else we learn about Jesus, the man who walked this earth and was like us in every human way, yet was without sin, and also died and rose again to save us from our sins.

By: Marcus Steury

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Renewal for the New Year

"For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” Proverbs 1:32-33

New years has always been a time of expected change and new beginnings, whether it’s a new gym membership or new plans for a job. It also makes a good time for Christians to evaluate the past year and see how their walk with Christ has been going over all. This is something we need to do much more often than once a year, but New Years is a good time to look at the past year as a whole. It’s easy for us to fall into complacency with our day to day jobs and activities and forget how important it truly is to live for our Creator! Complacency is such a dangerous and easy thing for us to tend to fall into at times. This happens to me too often, but I am thankful for God’s “wake up calls” to me and how they always find a way to help me refocus on Him who matters. Take this new year as a time of reevaluation. Allow Christ to reveal things to you that you may have been missing throughout the year. 

By: Pastor Kevin Troyer

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What Lies Ahead!

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. (Proverbs 4:25-27 ESV)

What lies ahead for you in 2022? Do you have a vision or goal of where you want to be next year at this point? Are you “pondering the path of your feet” so that “your ways will be sure?” Are you so sure of the correct path that you are able to refrain from swerving “to the right or to the left?” 

With all of the uncertainty in the world it might seem presumptuous or even arrogant to tell someone, “I’m confident in my plans for this next year. I’ve got a path to traverse and I will stick to it.” However, the path of truth for each of us is outlined in Scripture and if we are dedicated to it, God will take care of all the situations that arise in our lives throughout the next year. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 states “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (ESV). I hope that each one of us will have our paths straightened by God this year. But the prerequisite to these beautifully straight walkways is that we trust His ways instead of our own silly ideas, and that we recognize who He is and all He’s done for us. 

So… Do you know the path to take this next year or are you fearfully fretting about all of the things that might potentially go wrong for you? My hope and prayer is that each one of us can use these last few days of 2021 to seek the Lord and His plan for next year. That we would choose to turn our feet “away from evil” and be single-minded in our pursuit of Jesus and His holiness.

By: Pastor Jay Mast


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Jesus Became Flesh to Become One of Us!

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). 

Jesus the son of God left the realms of Glory to take on flesh (or become like mankind). Why would he do that? Because of the love that he had for the world. 

Hebrews 2:17-18 (NLT) Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested. 

Hebrews 7:25 (NLT) Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. Scripture tells us that this Jesus (Word of Flesh) is the propitiation for our sins, who sits at the right hand of the Father and makes intercession on our behalf. 

Hebrews 4:12 (NLT) This Word of Flesh is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.


By: Pastor Steve Eicher

  

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The Ultimate Gift

I have been thinking about this time of year and the busyness of all the things we are trying to do and prepare. From going to family gatherings to finding the perfect gift for our loved ones. This is a time were we can easily get lost in the hustle and bustle. I want to encourage us to each take some time and reflect of what this season really means. God gave us the ultimate gift of his son to die on the cross for our sins. Because of this gift we are all able to be called the children of God. (1 John 4:9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.) I pray God blesses you and keeps you all safe the rest of this year and into the next!

By: Michal Troyer

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In the Lions' Den

22 “My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I

was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”

Daniel 6:22 (ESV)


Daniel came face to face with several lions in their den, according to the book of Daniel, chapter 6. From today’s verse we see that God sent an angel to protect Daniel from being harmed by any of the lions. What do you suppose Daniel was doing in the lions’ den? Scripture doesn’t say, but I wonder if he was praying – or maybe he immediately saw that God had sent an angel to shut the lions’ mouths and was praising God. One thing we see is that Daniel acknowledges the power and miracle of God that was performed in protecting him from the lions.

How do you and I react when cast into our own situations of great danger, difficulty, or hardship? Do we pray and seek God? If you are reading this today, I am confident that God has brought you through a hard time at some point in your life. Were you, like Daniel, quick to acknowledge to people around you exactly what God had done? If you’re in that hard place right now, cry out to God. Ask Him to help you. Reach out to a close brother or sister in Christ today and ask for prayer. God has the power and might to help you through, there’s no doubt about that.

By: Marcus Steury

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Wisdom for Hard Questions

A significant number of people in our congregation are currently asking themselves hard questions about their stance on COVID vaccines and the requests being made by their places of employment. Depending on how they answer these questions they could soon be searching for another job or facing other difficulties. What is the Biblical position? How should we think through these things? 

Since we are all a part of the same church body, these questions affect all of us to some degree even if our job isn’t necessarily on the line. Recognizing the difficulty so many of you are facing, I’ve spent hours over the past few weeks wrestling with these questions, poring over mind-numbingly boring research studies, and crying out to God for insight and wisdom. I still don’t know how best I can encourage each of you, but I want you to know that I am diligently praying for you -  that God would give you the wisdom you need for this moment. In my search for God’s wisdom in how to pray, I’ve been praying over you the prayer that Jesus prayed for his followers in John 17. While I can’t share the entire prayer, I leave you with these words from Jesus: “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.” (John 17:13-19 NLT) No matter how you choose to answer the questions that are before you, I know that God’s grace is sufficient for this moment and I pray that God would “make you holy” by His truth. The Lord Bless you as you seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness!

By: Pastor Jay Mast



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Spirit of Thankfulness

NLT: Psalm 100:4-5

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;

go into his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him and praise his name.

5 For the Lord is good.

His unfailing love continues forever,

and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

 

When we enter the month of November, I automatically begin thinking of the holiday Thanksgiving. The truth is we should always be thankful, not just at Thanksgiving. Sometimes we just don’t seem or feel thankful. We should but sometimes we do not, so how do I cultivate and get a thankful heart?

 

Paul tells us in Philippians in the 4th chapter in the NLT “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Then in Colossians the 3rd chapter he instructs us in this way “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another with all wisdom, with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God,”

 

Many an unthankful heart thinks of the things one does not have, or has a spirit of envy, jealousy of another person or some other venom the devil implants in our mind, which then effects our heart.

 

The Bible repeatably tells us to “Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good.”


By: Pastor Steve Eicher

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God is Good!

Psalm 107

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;

  his love endures forever.


God never takes a break and he never stops loving us! The devil does his best to distract us from what God is doing in our lives. He tells us lies that make us question but, let there be no doubt that God is good! Even in the hard things that we can’t understand God is good! Even when we feel abandoned, God is there and he cares for us. No matter what you are going through just know that God is still in control and God can turn what the devil means for evil into good! We just need to continue to keep our trust and focus in him!


By: Michal Troyer

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Resting in the Shadow of His Wings

I recently read a story about a group of firefighters who were walking through a forest that had just burned. They were checking for hotspots and found a charred lump. They soon realized that the lump was a charred bird and thought it was strange that it hadn’t flown away from the fire. One of the firefighters decided to kick the bird off of the trail and as soon as he did, four little birds came out from under the mother’s body. The mother hen was the only chance that the chicks had for safety and she willingly gave her life to save her chicks. This story reminds me of how God longs to gather each of us under his wings to protect us. Matthew 23:37 says: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Not all baby chicks run to their mother for protection and try to find their own way. The mother hen can’t run around trying to gather each of them. They have to come to her. That’s how it is with God. He is waiting to protect us from whatever circumstance we may find ourselves in but he wants us to come to Him. We need to seek God in all areas of our lives and trust him to protect us.

By: Elton Gingerich

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