Each week our pastor, Dr. Jeff Redlin, writes a brief article for our church. They are intended to encourage our faith, strengthen our walk, and point us toward Christ.  We hope you’ll enjoy these devotional thoughts.
 

THINK ON THESE THINGS

February 18, 2018

We watch them wait at the starting gate before flying down a steep, snowy mountain, or see them pause before the gun sounds, indicating the race has begun…from almost every Olympic athlete we can observe a similar routine before the start of an event. In their mind, they rehearse what they are about to do. Some move their bodies to the twists and turns of the hill; others speak to themselves, offering a final word of encouragement or instruction. Yet, they all seem to mentally engage before they physically compete.

Of course, there are some whose minds get the better of them. A routine or race they have masterfully completed a 1,000 times before now becomes halting and hollow, even faltering. Why? The mind.

The Apostle Peter wrote:

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind… (1 Peter 1:13)

He was reminding us that we must keep ourselves mentally uncluttered from anything that may keep us from the race that is before us. The world’s top athletes understand the inseparable relationship between their thinking and their doing. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to …let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:5). To think incorrectly in the Olympics can be disappointing. To think incorrectly in the Christian life can be devastating. To live correctly we must first think correctly, immersing our minds in the unfaltering truths of God’s Word. The race of the Christian life is certainly no less important than that of any Olympian. May we all …think on these things (Phil. 4:8).
 
 ~ Dr. Jeff Redlin


I’M NOT GOING WITHOUT YOU

February 11, 2018

Have you ever said the words, “I’m not going without you”? They are usually uttered by someone seeking the reassurance they will not be “going alone.” It’s not that we don’t want to go; we just don’t want to go alone.

We long for presence. We want to know the path we are about to travel will be shared with someone we trust, maybe even someone who has navigated the path before. And how often has the sad story been told of one who attempted to “go it alone” only to regret the decision not long thereafter.

Moses knew what he didn’t know. He knew that there was a journey before him that couldn’t be done alone. Yes, he could have the training, the supplies, and even a well-marked map before him, but that simply wasn’t enough. So, Moses plainly stated:

And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. (Exodus 33:15)

And, God listened. In Exodus 33:16 God said, “I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken…”

How important it is for us to recognize our need of God and to enjoy the reassurance of His presence. Each day, there will be uncharted territory you’ve never traversed before. May we humbly say to God, wherever the path may lead, “I’m not going without You.”

 ~ Dr. Jeff Redlin



AN INCH DEEP AND A MILE WIDE

February 4, 2018

We often use the expression, “An inch deep, and a mile wide” to define something (or someone) that appears colossal, but actually has very little depth. At times, this expression may have fit the church, the very bride of Christ. For example, the church is often involved in many varied activities. Exercise programs, mom’s day out, kid’s sports programs, community service, political awareness, youth activities and so on fill the calendars and, admittedly, touch the lives of numbers of people. From a casual observer, it appears that the impact of the church is far and wide.

However, upon closer evaluation, we might find there can be, at times, little depth, although much activity. Busyness can be nothing more than a mask behind which believers hide. Was Jesus busy? We may safely conclude He was. But, His busyness was focused, purposeful, fruitful, and connected to the advancement of the Kingdom.

His reach into the lives of 12 men may have seemed limited, even shortsighted, but those men eventually “turned the world upside down.” No, there were no massive invitations, few headlines, and even fewer who “forsook all” to follow Him. But His work was anything but “an inch deep and a mile wide.” Let’s pour our lives into that which truly matters. We may even find we are far more focused, and much more fruitful.

~ Dr. Jeff Redlin



NO MISUNDERSTANDING

January 28, 2018

One of life’s challenges is being misunderstood. When someone accuses us of a position, motive, action or whatever doesn’t accurately represent our real intentions, we nd it exceptionally frustrating. e same must have been the case with Job and his three “friends.”

While Job maintained the position that he was, in fact, walking with God, his friends completely misunderstood all God was actually doing. As the book unfolds, you can sense Job’s exasperation with his inability to help his friends understand. At one point, Job simply said:

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)

The simple words, “He knoweth” must have provided wonderful solace for Job, even during the height of being misunderstood. Every attribute of God has the potential to add wonderful blessing and comfort to those who are rightly positioned with Him. Because Job knew of his own personal relationship with God, he could take comfort in the fact God knew the way Job was taking, even when no one else did. While others may have mischaracterized, misrepresented, and misunderstood Job, between Job and God, there was no misunderstanding.

~ Dr. Jeff Redlin



THANK GOD FOR UNANSWERED PRAYERS

January 21, 2018

How often have you been thankful, looking back, that God actually did not answer your prayer. W. E. Beiderwolf once wrote:

“If Hannah’s prayer for a son had been answered at the time she set for herself, the nation might never have known the mighty man of God it found in Samuel. Hannah wanted only a son, but God wanted more…Someone said that ‘God had to get [Hannah] before He could get [Samuel].’ The woman He got in Hannah precisely by those weeks and months and years there came a woman with a vision like God’s…prepared to be the kind of mother for the kind of man God knew the nation needed.”

We quickly make assumptions regarding what is best, when it should happen, and why God should answer now. Yet, looking back, we can see, had God answered the way we wanted, He would have done so in a way that was inferior to His perfect (and timely) plan.

Looking back over her life, I suppose Samuel’s mother, Hannah, may have been as thankful for her unanswered prayers as she was for the ones God answered. Take time to thank God – even for unanswered prayers.

 
~ Dr. Jeff Redlin