LifeLink Devotions

Friday, April 29, 2022

 When I was a junior in high school, well before computers, I had to write a 15-page research paper for an American History class. Of course, it had to be typed. I didn’t know the first thing about typing, so I asked my dad to type it for me. I can still remember the old black Regal typewriter he used. I did all of my research at the public library and made all my notes on 3” x 5” index cards and catalogued them by topic in a recipe box. We were required to use a minimum of twelve sources, all referenced and properly footnoted in the paper. It was a huge project, but I am so thankful for the training it gave me. It’s so much easier today with the Internet and the cut and paste features of computers.

My topic for the paper was the Pony Express. The year was 1860. Three men had a vision for starting a fast mail delivery system across the United States. They bought 400 horses and hired a bunch of men to ride them. This hearty, hard-nosed group of riders fascinated me. These guys, in relay fashion, rode on horseback from St. Joseph, Missouri to the west coast, and reduced the delivery time for mail from twenty-five days to ten days. When considering being on the alert and ready at any moment to do the job, it’s hard to beat the Pony Express. These guys knew what preparation and readiness were all about. I admire these riders. They were committed to their task. They did whatever it took to be prepared.

That’s what Paul reminds us to do in our lives in today’s Scripture passage.

Ephesians 6:13  “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

My friends, the days are evil. We are to be prepared every day for the evil that surrounds us and affects us. Our preparation is vital to our endurance. The only way we will be able to stand for Jesus in the midst of a world that doesn’t is if we are fully equipped and prepared. It’s time for us as Christians to realize that there’s a weight limit that we can effectively and efficiently carry through this life if we are going to stand. Just as the Pony Express rider had to strip down to the bare essentials so he could maximize effectiveness, so must we. Our mission for Christ demands the proper equipment without any of the extras we think we need. Everything we add to our lives in the forms of priorities, possessions, and pleasure hinder us from accomplishing the purpose of God. How many of us find that we are so busy with our jobs, our families, our friends, our recreation, and our relaxation, that we put the mission of Jesus Christ on the bottom of the “to do” list? How many of our resources are prioritized based on personal goals rather than spiritual ones? How much of our day is lived for self rather than for our Savior?

I think we have fallen prey to the deception of the devil who wants us to believe that our security and hope is found in what the world has to offer us. We want a bigger house for a smaller mortgage and the elimination of all other debt so we can have financial peace. We want to perform with excellence in our career so we have job security. We want all the latest toys, from bikes to boats, from campers to cruises, and from Play Stations to Park Avenues, so we can enjoy the finer things in life. After all, if it’s available, aren’t we entitled to it? Then, once we have it, we must use it and take care of it, which demands more and more of our time, leaving less and less time for serving Jesus. Then, when the day of evil arrives, and our career plans are shattered by a corporate meltdown, or our financial goals are crushed by a falling stock market, or our toys get old and break down, or our health is taken from us, we wonder why we fall flat on our faces in despair. I know why. We weren’t really prepared. We had wrongly prioritized our lives. We were carrying more weight than God intended.

My friends, it’s time to re-evaluate our priorities. It’s time to put on the full armor of God, specifically designed by Him to be exactly the right weight for His mission. We are allowed some personal items, but my advice is that we take along only those things that enhance our ability to accomplish our mission. Everything else is baggage that weighs us down and hinders us. Let us lay aside all such weights, and run the race God has laid out for us. (Heb. 12:1) Let us fix our eyes on Jesus alone, and with dogged determination to persevere at all cost, let us stand for Jesus Christ! Let’s get prepared!

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Ephesians 6:12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  

Just so we don’t get confused, let me make sure we all understand this issue of spiritual warfare. First, there is a spiritual war going on. It is being fought in the spiritual realm, and we are under the influence of that war. We are participants in that war. We are constantly wrestling with the enemy. The issues of finances, family, and even faith are constant points of attack to distract us from Christ and destroy our impact for Christ. In our own strength we are powerless to resist. But according to James, when we submit to God and resist the devil, he will flee from us. Notice that submission to God – “in the power of His might” – is the key to standing against the enemy.

Second, the real battle is not against finances, health, or status. If we keep those things as the focus, we are losing the war. We will surrender to discouragement and will end up in the defeat of depression. We cannot change flesh and blood. We have no power over it. The priority of the power of God at work in us is not to heal the flesh, but to restore the spirit. When the spirit of a person is at peace with God, the flesh of a person loses its power to dampen the spirit. Hope is found not in the solution to fleshly ailments, but in the security of the Father’s arms. God’s power in us assures us of victory over the rulers, the authorities, the powers of the dark side, and the spiritual forces of evil. Jesus has already defeated them. Hallelujah! When we stand strong in the power of the Lord in the right arena, we win! The flesh is the wrong arena.

Imagine how ridiculous it would be for a member of the United States swim team to show up for competition at the Olympic arena for fencing. Not only are they not trained, but they’re also not properly equipped. They would be seriously injured because they have no skills and no armor. Yet that is how many Christians attempt to compete in the spiritual war. They fight it in the wrong arena. They learn more and more skills for conquering the problems of the flesh, and don’t understand why the battle never gets any better. More books are bought. More programs are subscribed to. More counsel is sought. More techniques are applied. More frustration develops. Why?  Because they are fighting in the wrong arena. The key to enduring life’s problems is to engage the Spirit of God. When we stand strong in the spiritual power of the Savior, we will be able to stand against all of the schemes of the devil. Those schemes may continue to have fleshly effects on us, but they cannot change our spiritual status.  

You see, Satan’s only arena is the flesh. The only way he can attempt to manifest any power is in the flesh. He has already been defeated in the spiritual realm. He has no authority over the spirit of a Christian. All he can do is hope to keep us fighting in the wrong arena.

The Bible does not describe a life of freedom from hardship. Nor does it describe a life that is free from the flesh. We are not promised that we can be perfect, prosperous, or healed. However, the Bible does tell us that we can be strong, enduring anything in the flesh, and filled with hope, because we stand in the power of God by faith. The power of our spiritual position in Christ always overwhelms the condition of our flesh. Regardless of the fleshly flaws, we are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. Hallelujah!

So stand strong in the power of God’s might. Commit every fleshly battle to the spiritual King. Put every issue of your physical life into the perspective of your position in Christ. Then you will be able to stand.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

As we begin to understand the power of God that we have, and the ability it provides us to take a stand for Christ, we must further understand what it means to stand against the devil’s scheme’s. There is a lot of confusion out there in religious circles about the subject of spiritual warfare. Very briefly, I want to challenge the increasingly popular viewpoint that it is our responsibility as Christians to do battle with the devil and his demons.

Ephesians 6:11  “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

First, we cannot use today’s scripture verse as a call to arms against the devil. We can, however, properly interpret it as a call to take a stand for Christ against the tactics of the devil. There is a huge difference. As followers of Jesus, we are called to stand for Him in the face of any trial or hardship. The armor of God that has been provided does not equip us to enter the enemy’s territory for the sake of destroying the enemy – Jesus has already accomplished that. The armor of God equips us to march into the enemy’s territory for the sole purpose of standing for Jesus and presenting His love and grace to those still in the bondage of the devil’s schemes. The idea that flows generously from the Christian church today that we have the authority to directly confront the devil and rebuke him is not supported by accurate biblical interpretation.

I think the desire to satisfy the pride of life motivates people to address the devil and his demons directly. People may add the phrase, “In the Name of Jesus” to whatever attack they are involved in at the time, but the fact that they begin their statement with the word “I”, such as “I rebuke you in the Name of Jesus,” indicates a bondage to self that exists in them. The slanderous words against the devil and the demons that I hear coming from the mouths of preachers and people concerns me. We do not have any authority or right to address the devil and the demons in any manner. The only exception is in the direct confrontation of a demon when it has possessed the body of a person. Then, by the authority of Jesus our Lord, we can be used by Him to expel that demon. But even then, we are acting as the representative of Christ and not out of any degree of spiritual pride or the pursuit of spiritual value.

Direct confrontation of the devil and the demons was forbidden even for the angels. Look carefully at this passage from the book of Jude. It describes a spiritual battle that took place between Michael the archangel and the devil over the body of Moses and where it would rest after he died. Imagine that scene. The devil and Michael, in a spiritual war, over the body of the great prophet and leader of Israel. God had sent Michael to bring the body to Him. Michael was given full authority to accomplish God’s purpose, and as an archangel he certainly had the power to fight that war. He was equipped to stand. But the devil was an archangel also, with similar power. The only difference was that Michael was acting under the authority of the all-powerful and Sovereign God. So how did he use his authority? We read this – “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” We don’t see Michael saying, “I rebuke you in the Name of the Lord” do we? He gives all authority to the One and Only who has the power to rebuke Satan.

 You may be wondering why I think this is such a big deal. Here’s why. Attempting to satisfy human worth and stroke human pride, many Christians have chosen to view spiritual warfare as their badge of honor. In doing so, they have allowed pride to destroy the effects of grace. They may claim that Jesus is getting the glory, but the attention is being drawn to themselves. They spend so much time trying to figure out the enemy and attack him, that they spend little or no time simply taking a stand for the Gospel. The power of salvation is not found in our attacks of the enemy. The power of salvation is found in the Word of God.

Here’s a simple way to understand what I am trying to say. Most of us are probably already sick of political campaigns that spew attack after attack on the opponent. I refuse to watch them. I do the typical male thing and hold the remote in my hand and flip the channel every time one comes on. I do not want to hear about what the other guy is doing wrong. I want to hear what the candidates believe and stand for. Spiritual warfare is not…I repeat NOT… slinging attacks at the enemy. Spiritual warfare is the battle Christians fight to take a stand for what they know to be true and to speak it no matter what the enemy is doing. No matter what schemes the devil devises to hinder us, we are strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might to take a stand and remain standing to the end.

So next time you’re tempted to rebuke Satan, try this. Take the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and follow the instructions of Ephesians 6:18 and pray.  Take a stand for God, not against the devil. Focus your energy on the power of God to equip you to stand no matter what the enemy does. And when you stand, trust Jesus to take care of the enemy. Yes, our struggle is against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, but the accurate interpretation of that verse is that our struggle is against, not with. Jesus is the only one authorized by God to struggle with the enemy. We simply struggle with the fallout of that battle. And the way we win is not to attack, but to stand in the truth of God’s Word and be strong advocates for Jesus.

 Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

In Ephesians 6:10 we learn that we are to be strong in the Lord. But being strong just for the sake of strength is not sufficient motivation for us to do what is necessary to become strong. We must be shown what we will be able to do with our strength. The Apostle Paul goes on to tell us why we should be strong. He says, “put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” I highlighted and underlined a phrase in that sentence for a very important reason. In several other translations of that verse it reads, “so you will be able.” That phrase is the translation of a Greek word that is the root word for “strong” in verse ten. In other words, being strong in the Lord has a purpose – to make us able to stand against the devil’s schemes. It is not enough for us to simply be strong. We are to be strong for a purpose, and that purpose is to stand strong, faithful, and true for the Lord no matter what the enemy does to us.

One of the most tragic events during the Reagan Presidency was the Sunday morning terrorist bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, in which hundreds of Americans were killed or wounded as they slept. Many of us can still recall the terrible scenes as the dazed survivors worked to dig out their trapped brothers from beneath the rubble. A few days after the tragedy, Marine Corps Commandant Paul X Kelly, visited some of the wounded survivors in a Frankfurt, Germany, hospital. Among them was Corporal Jeffrey Lee Nashton, severely wounded in the incident. Nashton had so many tubes running in and out of his body that a witness said he looked more like a machine than a man; yet he survived. As Kelly neared him, Nashton, struggling to move and racked with pain, motioned for a piece of paper and a pen. He wrote a brief note and passed it back to the Commandant. On the slip of paper were but two words—“Semper Fi”- the Latin motto of the Marines meaning “forever faithful.”

If patriotism and the cause of national freedom can produce such strength to stand in the midst of the horrors of war, how much more will the power of God give us strength to stand against the schemes of the devil? It is imperative that we make the connection between being strong in the Lord and being able to take our stand for the Lord. We are not called to be strong for the sake of strength. We are not called to be strong so we can stand in front of a spiritual mirror and admire our spiritual muscles. We are called to be strong so that we can take a stand for Christ and remain standing no matter what evil does.

Clarence Jordan was a man of unusual abilities and commitment. He had two Ph.D.s, one in agriculture and one in Greek and Hebrew. He could have chosen to do anything he wanted. He chose to serve the poor. In the 1940s, he founded a farm in Americus, Georgia, and called it Koinonia Farm. It was a community for poor whites and poor blacks. As you might guess, such an idea did not go over well in the Deep South of the ’40s. Ironically, much of the resistance came from good church people who followed the laws of segregation as much as the other folk in town. The town people tried everything to stop Clarence. They tried boycotting him, and slashing workers’ tires when they came to town. Over and over, for fourteen years, they tried to stop him.

Finally, in 1954, the Ku Klux Klan had enough of Clarence Jordan, so they decided to get rid of him once and for all. They came one night with guns and torches and set fire to every building on Koinonia Farm except Clarence’s home, which they riddled with bullets. They chased off all the families except one black family which refused to leave. Clarence recognized the voices of many of the Klansmen, and, as you might guess, some of them were church people. Another was a local newspaper reporter. The next day, the reporter came out to see what remained of the farm. The rubble still smoldered, and the land was scorched, but he found Clarence in the field, hoeing and planting.

“I heard the awful news,” he called to Clarence, “and I came out to do a story on the tragedy of your farm closing.” Clarence just kept on hoeing and planting. The reporter kept prodding, kept poking, trying to get a rise from this quietly determined man who seemed to be planting instead of packing his bags. So, finally, the reporter said in a haughty voice, “Well, Dr. Jordan, you got two of them Ph.D.s and you’ve put fourteen years into this farm, and there’s nothing left of it at all. Just how successful do you think you’ve been?”  Clarence stopped hoeing, turned toward the reporter with his penetrating blue eyes, and said quietly but firmly, “About as successful as the cross. Sir, I don’t think you understand us. What we are about is not success but faithfulness. We’re staying. Good day.” Beginning that day, Clarence and his companions rebuilt Koinonia.

The power to stand. It is God’s power, and it produces the ability for us to be faithful. God promises that His strength will carry us through to the very end. You’ll find that promise in the book of Jude, verses 24-25 where we read that God is strong so that He is able. To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present youbefore his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Be strong for a reason – stand strong for Jesus.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Monday, April 25, 2022

We come to the concluding remarks of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Ephesus.  I remember as a little boy in Sunday School having to memorize this entire passage from Ephesians 6 starting in verse 10. Today, as I read it again, I got hung up on the third word. I asked myself, “What does it mean to be strong?”

Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”

One of my favorite methods of personal devotions is to explore how a particular word is used throughout the Bible and try to capture the richness and depth of its meaning. For the last hour I have been doing that with the word “strong”. I wanted to see how the Greek word for strong, which in this instance means “to endue with strength”, could apply to my life. After all, the root of the word here is the word from which we get our English word “dynamite”, so I would like to know how my life could be explosively strong.

There are 10 occurrences of this word in the New Testament, and 5 of them specifically relate to areas of our spiritual lives where we can be strong. I was encouraged as I looked at them, and I hope you will be also. First, let’s make sure we understand that the strength in which we are to live is God’s strength, not ours. To fully realize the potential to stand strong in this life we must realize and accept our weakness and our need for the strength of the Lord. We have no power to overcome the trials, tests, and temptations of this world. Our strength has limited endurance against the storms of life. It is only in the strength of Jesus Christ, who suffered and endured all things without failing, that we will be able to also stand. This requires humility. We must not seek to defend what strength we can muster but must instead relinquish the control of every situation to the power of God. Then we will be strong in the Lord, and in His mighty power!

Here are the five things I learned about strength today, and how they apply to our lives. I have emphasized the identical word we are studying in each passage.

  1. My faith will be strengthened by believing that God has the power to fulfill His promises, no matter how contrary to present circumstances those promises appear. In Romans 4:18-21 we read about Abraham, and Paul says, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations…Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”
  2. I will be strong enough to serve others who are undeserving when I consider how Jesus served me when I was undeserving. It’s called grace, and Paul tells his protégé Timothy, “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”  (2 Timothy 2:1)
  3. When I trust the promises of God, and dwell in His grace, I will be strong enough to be content with whatever situation in which God places me. Paul tells the people at Philippi, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13
  4. I know that whatever weakness I have, God can turn it into a strength when my heart is intent on obeying Him, serving Him, and fulfilling His purpose. Read carefully about these heroes of the faith from Hebrews 11:32-34.  “…whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.” WOW! Our weaknesses are turned to strength so we can do great things for God’s glory.
  5. And finally, I can and will be strong because I know that I am never alone, and Jesus is always at my side. Paul tells Timothy, “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:16-18)

Now we know what Paul means when he says “ be strong in the Lord.” It’s up to us to apply these promises and actually be strong. Why not start today!

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Friday, April 22, 2022

After challenging employees to serve their employers with respect and to give them their best at all times, the Apostle Paul lays out clearly the responsibility of the employer to the employee. If the environment of the workplace is to be one of peace, prosperity, and fulfillment, the employer is urged to treat his employees in the same way he expects to be treated by them.

Ephesians 6:9 “And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.”

As I thought about that, I concluded that the workplace, when owned, operated, or managed by a Christian, should be a microcosm of the kingdom of God. What’s the kingdom going to be like? According to the teachings of Jesus…

  • It will be a place of no favoritism and no discrimination. It will be filled with humble people – Matthew 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 
  • There will be unity – Matthew 12:25 – “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined.” 
  • It will be pure and righteous – Matthew 13:41 – “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.” 
  • According to the parable Jesus taught in Matthew 18 about the king who forgave a debt, the kingdom of God will be a place of grace and mercy.
  • In Matthew 21 Jesus tells us that the kingdom will be productive.
  • And according to Matthew 25, when Jesus tells the parable of the women waiting for the bridegroom, the kingdom of God is filled with people who are looking to the future and prepared for what it might bring. 

Now apply those highlights of the kingdom of God to the workplace. The responsibility of the employer becomes clear.

First, be humble. Consider others better then yourself. When I was in business I had a boss who trained me for management who taught me a very important lesson about leadership. He said, “Great leaders are people who surround themselves with people who are better than themselves.” It is not the role of the employer to be the best at everything. It is the privilege of the leader to bring the best out in others.

Second, create unity. Keep people on the same path. Establish goals that are clear and understood and keep everyone focused on those goals. Any dissention is immediately handled by clear communication of the objectives. Any dissenter is dealt with individually. This keeps the workplace pure and righteous.

Third, Godly employers treat their employees with grace and mercy. There is compassion. Threats don’t exist. Encouragement and understanding abound.

Fourth, the employer requires productivity. But before he enforces it, he models it. Employees respond to leaders who do what they say. 

And finally, great employers clearly present the vision for the future to the employees and provide them with the means to accomplish it. They anticipate change and prepare for it. Leaders in the workplace don’t get so wrapped up in managing the present that they lose sight of the future.

As an employer you have the privilege of representing Christ to your employees. Do that without favoritism, just as Christ did for you. 

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Slavery is offensive. It is the product of a Godless disrespect for all human life. Yet for many cultures it was and even still is a reality. The Apostle Paul addresses such a culture with a Christian perspective in Ephesians 6:5-8.

“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.”

Being a servant-hearted employee is the main point of emphasis Paul makes in today’s Scripture passage. As a former business manager during the 1970’s and 80’s, I watched as the work ethic of people deteriorated. I dealt firsthand with employees who demanded rights more than they fulfilled responsibilities. I dealt with staff who tried to take advantage of their positions for personal gain when they should have been sacrificing their objectives for the good of the company. I saw irresponsibility manifest itself in undependability. I was frustrated with negative attitudes expressed to customers because of some unfulfilled goal of the employee. I watched as life in general became more and more self-centered and it became harder and harder to find employees with a good work ethic.

I’m sure there are some of you today who are struggling with your current employment. I know there is temptation to become critical of your employer. I know you have higher goals. And I know there are times when moving to a different position is the right thing to do. But how we handle those situations is important because it is a key area where the Bible emphasizes our call to reflect the heart of Christ. There are Christ-hearted attitudes and actions that should prevail no matter what your fellow employees or your bosses are doing.

First, do what your told to do, unless it is a directive to sin, and do it with respect, fear, and sincerity. Respect and fear are irrevocably intertwined. They are both being lost in our modern culture. Respect for authority is almost gone, and with it the fear of any consequences. As Christians, we are to be the prime example of these two attitudes in our employment because it’s who we are. As born-again followers of Jesus Christ, our hearts have become His. Our hearts have been transformed so that all the old is gone, and as new creations in Christ all things have been made new. It is the sincere desire of our hearts to please our Savior because we have been overwhelmed by His grace. We don’t put on a show. We don’t do things because we have to, wishing we could be doing something else. We express in our actions and attitudes the true condition of our heart. We are sincere. That is how we are to work for our employer. Don’t just do a good job when they are watching so that they will reward you, but serve as an employee with sincerity, always doing your best, because God is always watching. It is the will of God for you to work this way.

One more thing about respect – it’s not just for the workplace. If our hearts are truly sincere so that we represent Christ all the time, then respect for your employer will carry over into your private life as well. The employee who speaks well of his employer while at work but then ridicules and critics that employer in the home or with friends is not sincere and is not representing Christ. It is imperative that as Christians we live sincere lives that express the heart of our Lord.

Second, do your job wholeheartedly. Do it with excellence. Don’t just get by with the minimum. Don’t just fulfill the job description. Excel! Push yourself to the limits. Learn more than you need to. Give your employer your best, because even if they don’t recognize it or reward it, God will. I should add at this point that this applies to positions you volunteer for in your church as well. I see a huge problem in most churches. People volunteer for a position, then complain about having to do it. They put in only the bare minimum required, and then claim to be serving the Lord wholeheartedly. YUCK! It is in the church of Jesus Christ where the greatest expressions of excellence should occur. I can understand the difficulty of some people to see their secular employment as a ministry to God, but I cannot understand the complacency that exists in the church when people volunteer for positions and then disrespect the Holy Spirit by quenching the full expression of the gifts He gave them. Every place of service in the church should be a place of excellence. There is something wrong with the heart condition of those who serve with critical attitudes and sub-standard effort.

So, evaluate your heart today before you evaluate your job or your boss. Ask Jesus Christ to teach you to be a servant. Ask Him to capture your heart with His love. Then serve Him wholeheartedly in every area of your life. It will be a joy to watch your attitudes change.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Here’s an important question. Whose responsibility is it to teach children to follow God? The answer may seem simple, but it is not lived out in our culture today. According to the Apostle Paul, under the direct and Divine influence of the Holy Spirit, the responsibility for the training of children to be followers of Jesus Christ belongs to the father. Not the mother. Not the church. Not the AWANA leader. Not their schoolteachers. The father!

Ephesians 6:1-4  “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

That’s why Satan has mounted a full assault on the institution of marriage and family. The Adversary of our souls makes it easy for divorce in our society. The Devil has convinced our society that single-parent families with moms being the parent are just as viable as traditional two-parent families. The Enemy knows that without dad, there can be no true teaching about authority and respect. Without dad there is no complete picture of God that can be presented to a child. Without dad, there will be an ever-increasing separation of generations from faith in Jesus Christ. (If you’re a single mom, may the Lord grant you the grace necessary to bring your children up in the training and instruction of the Lord, but may He also grant your children the influence of a Godly man through your church so that they can overcome the spiritual disability they will feel without one and fully learn to follow Christ.)

But just because a dad is present doesn’t guarantee the spiritual success of a child. Dads must be spiritual fathers to their children. Paul told the parents, “Don’t use your authority to abuse the child, but to encourage and build the child.” To the Colossians he wrote, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” So it seems the opposite of “provoke” is “encourage.” Dads are to be the encouragers of their families. He is to be his children’s greatest fan, balanced with the loving discipline that trains.

Fathers can provoke their children and discourage them in a variety of ways. Here’s a list I found of the top ten things dads do that exasperate their children:

1. They are over-protective.

2. They show favoritism toward one of their children.

3. They compare the accomplishments or abilities of their children.

4. They push achievement, aims, and goals, and in so doing, put undue pressure on their children.

5. They do not reward or encourage their children.

6. They fail to allow childishness; that is, they do not understand that a child is a child, and not an adult.

7. They neglect their children’s needs: spiritually, socially, intellectually and physically.

8. They nag their children.

9. They abuse them with hateful, ugly, and bitter words.

10. They punish them cruelly by making the punishment too harsh or severe for the mistake that was made.

There’s one thing from this list that needs greater emphasis – they neglect the spiritual needs of their children. Dads, your first and highest priority as a father is to teach your children the truths of God – not only verbally but by your example. Godly dads don’t just tell their kids how to behave – they model how to behave. They model love and a servant’s heart to their wife – the mother of the children. They model sacrificial giving by putting the needs of mom and the kids ahead of their own, no matter how tired they are. They model personal devotion to Jesus Christ through a consistent daily quiet time with God. They model respect for and submission to authority in their church and in their careers. They transfer worth to their children by investing their time in the child’s interests. The instill a sense of security and value in the child by taking the time to truly teach them the things of God that will bring fulfillment to their life. It’s amazing what happens to the behavior of a child when he or she knows that dad cares enough about them to invest his best in them. Dads – Jesus Christ is the best you have to give them. Without you and without Jesus, your children will be exasperated.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

In Ephesians chapter 6 the Apostle Paul is continuing his instructions on how we are to be imitators of Christ as we live in our modern world. He discussed in chapter 5 the relationship between husband and wife that is to model love and respect for God’s authority and for one another. Then he gives us the instruction necessary to make sure all of society can succeed, and it starts with the family. There will be no respect in society if there is first no respect by children for the authority of their parents. God’s promise of social success hinges on this one commandment – “Honor you father and mother.”

This requires several things to be in place. First, the parents are to be “in the Lord.” It is imperative that for children to learn proper respect that the parents model it, and that begins with a surrendered and submissive heart to the will and purpose of God in their lives. Without Jesus Christ as the Lord of their lives, parents quickly become their own lords, and will become models of self-centered and self-serving authority. Self-help books, philosophy, and religion has not, will not, and cannot change this. Only Jesus can bring respect back and it starts with us respecting Him.

Second, children must be taught that there is a right and wrong. Paul’s command to them says, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. This assumes that the children both understand right and wrong and have a desire to do right. Parents, are you teaching your children the truth of right and wrong? Are you training them in righteousness? Are you consistently enforcing consequences of wrong choices so that they learn to respect the righteousness of Christ? Do your children and grandchildren see you humbly submitting to Jesus Christ and accepting the consequences of your own sin when you make a wrong choice? You can’t hide your sin from your children. They see it, and they talk about it. Do they see you modeling the respect for God’s authority that is necessary to teach them proper respect?

As Christians, we have a huge opportunity to change our culture. It begins in our own families. It extends through our personal ministry to neighbors as we model love and respect to them. It is one of the main areas of mission for our churches. We must learn, submit to, and model respect for the authority of God. We must live out that respect in our family lives. We are to be the source of people’s desire for a new society. In fact, the church is to be the new society – a society of people who love and respect God, and as a result love and respect one another.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Monday, April 18, 2022

Respect. It’s being lost. I don’t know when it all started, but the right of an individual to respect only his or her own position has become the new social order of today. As I was researching this issue this morning, I came across an article written by J. Gerald Harris on The Christian Index in October of 2007. Here are some excerpts.

“I remember well the riots and demonstrations that took place on many college and university campuses in 1967-68. There was a crusade to “tear down the establishment.”

“This crusade carried over into the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Abbie Hoffman, a self-proclaimed communo-anarchist, was arrested and tried for conspiracy and inciting to riot as a result of his role in protests that led to violent confrontations with police during that fateful Democratic National Convention. Hoffman along with other individuals became known, collectively, as the Chicago Seven. In his autobiography Hoffman wrote: “Kids need to be educated to disrespect authority. Otherwise, democracy is a farce.”

“I would never recommend Hoffman’s book, but somehow his message, which was conceived by the devil and hatched in hell, has found a lodging place in the minds of many.

“I was in a restaurant last week and in the booth behind me a mother was eating lunch with her two small children. There was constant bantering between the poor beleaguered mother and the two very vociferous and rambunctious children.

“The children were apparently born in the objective mood and the negative case. They were not happy with the restaurant their mother had chosen, the color of Crayons they had received from the server, the food, or the surroundings. At one point the mother said to her son, “Landon, eat your chicken fingers.”

“He responded by shouting loud enough for the chef in the kitchen to hear, “I hate this food and I don’t have to do what you say!”

“If I had ever said that to my mother or father in public or private the wrath of Khan would have seemed like a walk in the park compared to the retribution I would have received from my parents. But then, my parents taught me to have a reverence for God, a respect for authority, and a reason for living.

“To me it is of little wonder that many children fail to respect the authority of their parents, because there is a lack of respect for authority on just about every level of our society. When adults fail to respect those in authority over them, why should we expect any less from children? Unfortunately, in our day we not only see authority disrespected, but demeaned. Americans have the right to dissent, but the protestations of some have reached a level of disrespect and dishonor that is shameful, even reprehensible.

“In the grand scheme of things I suppose that disrespect for authority is nothing new. In fact, in the first pages of the Bible we find that Satan entered the Garden of Eden and tempted Eve by challenging what God had said. The first sin was not a matter of whether the action was right or wrong; it was a matter of whether or not authority should be respected. Satan led Adam and Eve to believe that God was an inadequate authority trying to hide power from them and lying to them about the outcome of their choices. He convinced them to reach around God, due to His “inadequacy,” and reach for godhood on their own. Obviously, this same tendency follows us today. We have an enormous problem with authority and have been searching for a way to get authority for ourselves since Eden.

“Any time we disrespect the authority that is over us, it is a blatant attempt to reach around the authority God has established. People who fail to honor the authorities God has placed over them may ultimately get the leadership they deserve.”

Ephesians 6:1-3  “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise—that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Think on the issue of respect today, and we will talk more tomorrow.

Pastor John