LifeLink Devotions

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

In the “library” at my house is a cupboard that has a variety of things in it. One shelf of that cupboard used to be filled with magazines. I had subscriptions to In Fisherman, Golf Magazine, anda few Cabela’s hunting and fishing catalogues.

One thing I discovered while reading magazines about fishing and golf is that everyone has their own tested and proven technique for success. Month after month, the tips keep coming to catch more fish, add more yards to your drive, or make more putts. The problem is that in any given month there will be at least three articles that contradict what last month’s “experts” said. Where does a person go to get solid information that never fails?

There is only one source of truth – God’s Word, the Bible. Here’s a quick synopsis of what Peter says about the Word of God.

1 Peter 1:23-25   “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord stands forever.”

  • It’s alive. According to Thayer’s Greek Definitions, the word living, when applied to something other than a person or animal, means, “having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul.” Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Here’s the point –when something is called living, it carries the very essence of its Creator. It has the same power. It represents the same nature and character. So when God speaks, His words carry the very essence of His being. They are the exact representation of who He is. They are alive. That’s why John calls Jesus the Word in his gospel. In Hebrews 1, we read that God “has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” God’s Word is alive and will bring life to you!
  • It’s enduring.  Twice in this passage, the Word of God is said to be enduring. The second time the word is used it is translated as stands forever. The Greek word has three meanings that are significant to our understanding:
    • The first application is in reference to place. When something endures, it remains in place. When you read, study, and apply His Word to your life, it will never leave you. It becomes a part of your living soul. It is what gives life. God’s Word will never lose its place in you.
    • The second application is in reference to time. When something endures, it never gets old. Because God’s Word is the exact expression of His being God’s Word is eternal. It is not subject to time. It remains forever. “Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (Psalm 119:89)
    • The third application is in reference to condition. When something endures, it never changes. The Word of God never changes. It cannot, because it is the living expression of an unchangeable God. It is constant truth. James, the brother of Jesus, says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Every day we get to choose what light to let shine on our life. It may be the light of a golf or fishing expert. It may be the light of a spouse. It may be the light of a pastor. It may be the light of a boss. Every day we choose to cast a shadow caused by standing in someone else’s light. The trouble is, those lights are not consistent, and the shadows are always shifting.  But God’s Word is the one true Light. Jesus came as the Light of the world because He is the Living Word of God.

Where does a person go to get solid information that never fails?  The answer is the Bible. God’s Word is where you will always find solid and trustworthy information that will never fail. Spend more time reading it. My words are not alive. The books you are reading right now are not alive. But God’s Word is alive, and it will make you alive!

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Have you ever wondered how birds teach their young to fly? Well, using various forms of the same basic method, they generally push them off their perch. Eugene Peterson tells how he saw a family of birds doing just that.

“Three young swallows were perched on a dead branch that stretched out over a lake. One adult swallow got alongside the chicks and started shoving them out toward the end of the branch—pushing, pushing, pushing. The end one fell off. Somewhere between the branch and the water four feet below, the wings started working, and the fledgling was off on his own. Then the second one.

“The third was not to be bullied. At the last possible moment his grip on the branch loosened just enough so that he swung downward, then tightened again with bulldog tenacity. The parent was without sentiment. He pecked at the desperately clinging talons until it was more painful for the poor chick to hang on than risk the insecurities of flying. The grip was released, and the inexperienced wings began pumping. The mature swallow knew what the chick did not—that it would fly—that there was no danger in making it do what it was perfectly designed to do.”

Birds have feet and can walk. Birds have talons and can grasp a branch securely. But flying is their characteristic action, and not until they fly are they living at their best, gracefully and beautifully.

We have been designed to do lots of things well, but loving is what we do best.

1 Peter 1:22b  “…love one another deeply, from the heart.”

Love is the air into which we were born. It is the action that was designed into us before our birth. However, some of us try desperately to love only ourselves. We look so pathetic doing it, hanging on to the dead branch of self-worth, turning life upside down. We’re afraid to risk ourselves on the untried wings of loving others. We don’t think we can truly give ourselves away because we have never tried. But the sooner we start the better. Some day we are going to have to give up our lives, and the longer we wait, the less time we have for the soaring and swooping life of grace.

When we love, we are most free. When we live for self, we become prisoners in our own bodies. When we seek to protect who we are and what we have, we become bitter and cynical. We hang on for dear life to what is no life at all. If we would just let go, the nature of God in us would set us free to fly in love.

That requires us to stretch ourselves a little – or a lot. But that’s exactly what Peter said in today’s Scripture verse. You see, the Greek word for “deeply” in this verse means, in its root form, “to be stretched out.” Peter is telling us to love each other in ways that stretch us, and to stretch out our lives to love as God loved us. Just think of how far Jesus stretched out His arms in love when He died for us. That’s how deeply we are to love others.

This story makes the point for me. Years after her concentration camp experiences in Nazi Germany, Corrie ten Boom met face to face one of the most cruel and heartless German guards that she had ever contacted. He had humiliated and degraded her and her sister. He had jeered and visually raped them as they stood in the delousing shower. Now he stood before her with hand outstretched and said, “Will you forgive me?”

She writes: “I stood there with coldness clutching at my heart, but I know that the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. I prayed, Jesus, help me! Woodenly, mechanically I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me and I experienced an incredible thing. The current started in my shoulder, raced down into my arms and sprang into our clutched hands. Then this warm reconciliation seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. ‘I forgive you, brother,’ I cried with my whole heart. For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard, the former prisoner. I have never known the love of God so intensely as I did in that moment!”

 To forgive is to set a prisoner free

             and discover the prisoner was you.

                            To love that deeply is to be free to fly.

                                           It’s what God designed you to do.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Monday, August 29, 2022

A rather well-built man saw an advertisement for a job at the zoo. When he went there, he was horrified to find that the only job they had open was for somebody to play the part of a gorilla. A lot of children were coming in the next few days, and the zoo, having no gorillas, needed someone to impersonate one. Since money was tight, the man decided he would take the job.

He arrived before sunrise, got into the gorilla outfit, and slipped into his cage. Finally, day dawned, and the children came. All he had to do was pensively pace the floor, look rather adept at swinging between trees, and eat the peanuts and bananas whenever they were fed to him. After eight or ten hours, he became thoroughly exhausted. The bananas were getting the better of him. As he swung from one tree to another, rather nauseated, he slipped and fell into the lion’s den next door.

He shouted, “Help! Help!”

The lion leaned over and said, “If you don’t shut up, we’ll both lose our jobs.”

We are adept at impersonating others. Young children impersonate their parents. Teenagers impersonate their friends. Poor people impersonate the wealthy by using credit. Men impersonate husbands while constantly looking for other opportunities for gratification. Christians impersonate the non-Christians to avoid suffering. Non-Christians impersonate Christians to be accepted in the church.

We all need to ask ourselves if we are impersonating anyone else right now because we believe it will bring us some measure of acceptance or value. Chances are we are. Maybe your personality is a copy of someone else you once knew, you saw the favor it brought to his or her life, and you wanted that for yourself. Maybe your current lifestyle is a choice to keep up with a neighbor down the street. Maybe your career choice was made to imitate the person from whom you wanted to gain approval. I’ll bet all of us are impersonators of some sort.

God has a plan to expose impersonators. It’s a rather simple plan. It starts with the indwelling Spirit of Christ at the moment of your salvation. When God’s love takes up residence in us, it exposes all our impersonation attempts. In Christ we become sincere.

1 Peter 1:22  “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.”

Peter states that the result of having our life purified by obedience to the truth is that our love becomes sincere. We cease to impersonate love and we begin to truly know and show love. So what’s the difference?

The person who is a love impersonator may look like they really love someone, but if their heart were exposed it would reveal the ugliness of self-gratification. Their actions may appear to be as meaningful as the Christ-impersonator, but underneath are the motives of self-acceptance, self-fulfillment, and self-gratification. They are impersonating love to gain an advantage for themselves. It may be that they need acceptance, or worth, or meaning, but the fact that they are trying to get those things from others and not Christ makes them a love impersonator.

Those who truly know Christ know that their value and acceptance come from Him and not from others or from self. Once we learn that we become a transmitter of love, not an impersonator of love. That’s what it means for love to be sincere. Sincere love gives to others with no expectation of return benefits. Impersonators of love always need something back from the ones they love.

We cannot claim to love God and not sincerely love one another. The depth of our love for God will never exceed the width of our love for others. The Apostle John said, “if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:12)

Here’s how you can get started sincerely loving others. Start noticing people and pay attention to them. We get so wrapped up in our own little worlds and the overwhelming busyness that results from our own selfish choices that we tend to look right past other people, unless we can somehow benefit from noticing them. We are love impersonators. True love – the love of Christ living in us – makes us notice others. We don’t get frustrated with interruptions, but rather we embrace them as opportunities to truly love.

So take the mirror away from in front of your eyes. You know the one I mean – it’s the one that you pretend to being seeing through when in reality you are always looking at yourself. Get rid of it. You don’t need a mirror – you are a mirror. You are a  reflection of the love of God to others. He has already made you complete. You don’t need anything from anyone else. You have everything in place to become a true giver of love. So take notice of all the people around you that need God’s love, and pay attention to them.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Friday, August 26, 2022

Let’s play pretend. You are a doctor today. I need a diagnosis. I have a fever. It’s been a low-grade fever for about a week now, but today it has risen to a peak. I have a few other symptoms that go with the fever. I’m sneezing. I’m anxious and jittery. I’m distracted and find it difficult to concentrate. My muscles ache a little. I wonder what I have? Do you have it figured out yet?

Before you get too worried about me, I’m talking about Hunting Fever. It’s an annual event for me, but this year I’ve discovered something very significant about this malady – it’s caused by hope. That’s right – HOPE. You see, the memories of everything that I’ve done in the past when the weather starts to cool form a list of all the things I expect to do again. The list gets rather long, and the reason I get anxious and jittery is because there’s still so much to be done now before I can go hunting. That’s why my muscles ache, from trying to do too much all at once.

My list is so overwhelming that I can’t even decide what goes on the top of the list. Fishing season is still open. This is great golfing weather.  The lawn still needs to be mowed. I have trees to cut down and cut up firewood for next year’s camping season. And there’s still time to go camping this season. So much to do and so little time.

But the truth is I will get to do all those things, unless the Lord comes back today. I hope He does. But if He doesn’t, little by little, I’ll conquer hunting fever by faithfully accomplishing everything that leads towards fulfilling the hope that caused it. One thing I’ve learned is that activity fulfills hope. Hunting fever is simply the anticipation of the activity. It’s faith and hope working together.

1 Peter 1:20-21  “He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through Him you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”

Consider how much faith we demonstrate when we confess to having a fever. Consider the fisherman who spends hours reading about the latest techniques and works in his garage preparing his boat, fishing poles, and lures so that he’s ready when the season opens. Consider how much faith it takes to buy all the garden seeds early and plant them in little cups in the house in anticipation of the growing season when they can be transplanted to the outdoor garden. True hope always results in the activity of faith.

Rubem Alves said it this way in Leadership Magazine – “ Hope is hearing the melody of the future. Faith is to dance to it.”  That’s really cool! He’s really right. Our hope is in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ and the glory that will be revealed in us when He returns. Our faith is the activity of our lives today as we prepare for His return.

The hope of heaven brings a fever of faith. They are inseparable. One cannot claim to have true hope in Christ without backing it up with the activity of faith for Christ. The measure of true hope is found in the activity level of faith. Every day, our faith should be dancing to the music of heaven with good works that glorify God. So start dancing.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Ninety-seven years ago, high school science teacher John Scopes was arrested in Tennessee for teaching the theory of evolution in a public school. It was a contrived attempt to accomplish two goals. First, a few men from Dayton, Tennessee, had decided that their city needed more recognition, and thought that a trial of this magnitude would generate the publicity they wanted.  Second, and more importantly, the American Civil Liberties Union was notified of the plan, and they agreed to pay the legal fees of any teacher who would put the Tennessee law that required teachers to teach creation to the test. They quickly agreed, running a full-page ad in the Chattanooga Times the day before Scopes was arrested.

Scopes was convicted of teaching evolution, something to which he had already admitted. But the trial was not really about Scopes’ guilt or innocence; it was about whether or not God should be the foundation of our educational system. When the verdict was announced, a vocal critic of the trial, who was a reporter named H.L. Mencken, explained to readers of the Baltimore Sun and the American Mercury:

“All that remains of the great cause of the State of Tennessee against the infidel Scopes is the formal business of bumping off the defendant. There may be some legal jousting on Monday and some gaudy oratory on Tuesday, but the main battle is over, with Genesis completely triumphant. Judge Raulston finished the benign business yesterday morning by leaping with soft judicial hosannas into the arms of the prosecution.”

Unfortunately, it was not the end. An appeal was filed. Scopes conviction was overturned by the state Supreme Court on a technicality. However, that same court upheld the constitutionality of the state law forbidding the teaching of evolution. But that started a nationwide battle in multiple states, and eventually the United States Supreme Court, which legalized the teaching evolution, and outlawed the teaching of creation.

On the official Library of Congress web site is this quote about the results of the trial. This would appear to be the official position of our government’s historical records on this subject. “While volumes of scientific evidence support the theory of evolution, many felt that it contradicted the story of creation as described in the Bible and thus did not want evolution taught in schools…The trial did bring Dayton, Tennessee a great deal of publicity, mostly comprised of reinforcements of a stereotype of the south as an intellectual backwater, certainly not the type Daytonians had hoped to attract.”

Wow! Those who believe in creation and deny evolution are called stagnant intellectuals. The reason I share all of that with you is very simple yet very profound – we live in a world that seeks to eliminate the need for God’s involvement in human affairs and goes so far as to eliminate the very existence of God. According to most people alive today, all man needs can be found in man. I declare, based on God’s truth, that people living under such a belief system are empty.

1 Peter 1:18-19  “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”  

I remember what Tom Landry said years ago, just after they had won the Super Bowl. “The overwhelming emotion—in a few days, among the players on the Dallas Cowboys football team—was how empty that goal was. There must be something more.”

Everything in this world from which we seek to gain approval, acceptance, or acquisitions, will leave us empty. None of the things the world offers can rescue us from the empty way of life we live. Why do we who have experienced the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus Christ continue to pursue the things of the world to fill the emptiness we claim to still feel.?

I think it’s truly a heart issue. We do not fully believe that Christ is sufficient. There is only one reason for a sense of emptiness in our lives – God doesn’t fill that part of our life. And as long as we don’t let Him completely fill us and we continue to pursue other means of satisfaction, we will continue to be empty.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

1 Peter 1:17  “Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.”

Yesterday’s devotional dealt with holiness, and the call to each of us to be people of integrity. We discovered that holiness means to have a core character that is consistent. Holiness is to be fully separated unto God, from the inside out. It does not allow for cracks through which the flesh might leak.

One crack that might develop is favoritism. Our flesh leans towards partiality because the flesh is self- seeking and self-fulfilling. We not only want what is for our own benefit, but we want what will benefit those whom we love. We reserve the right to play favorites and be partial to our favorite people. We even do it with our kids and grandkids when they model certain characteristics or personality traits that touch us in a special way.

God, however, in true holiness, is never partial. He sees each one of us as equal and will review our lives of service for Him with impartiality. When we stand before Him someday to receive our rewards, we will not be able to claim any privilege. Our family heritage will not matter. Our social standing and success will not be called into account. Even our positions of leadership within the church will be of no consideration. Here’s how one Pastor learned that lesson.

One evening I stopped by the church just to encourage those who were there rehearsing for the spring musical. I didn’t intend to stay long, so I parked my car next to the entrance. After a few minutes, I ran back to my car and drove home.

“The next morning I found a note in my office mailbox. It read: “A small thing, but Tuesday night when you came to rehearsal, you parked in the ‘No Parking’ area. A reaction from one of my crew (who did not recognize you until after you got out of the car) was, ‘There’s another jerk parking in the “No Parking” area!’ We try hard not to allow people—even workers—to park anywhere other than the parking lots. I would appreciate your cooperation, too.” It was signed by a member of our maintenance staff.

“That worker’s stock went up in my book because he had the courage to write me about what could have been a slippage in my character.

“And he was right on the mark. As I drove up that night, I had thought, “I shouldn’t park here, but after all, I am the pastor.” That translates: I’m an exception to the rules. But that employee wouldn’t allow me to sneak down the road labeled “I’m an exception.”

“I’m not the exception to church rules, nor am I the exception to sexual rules or financial rules or any of God’s rules. As a leader, I am not an exception; I’m to be the example. According to Scripture, I am to live in such a way that I can say, “Follow me. Park where I park. Live as I live.”

None of us are exceptions to the rules. Peter says we are all to be the example of holy living. We are to live our lives in reverent fear of God. He is the one and only judge of our works. According to today’s verses, one principle of God’s review process is this – did we live our lives as strangers in this world or did we live seeking to be connected to this world? Every day we live with the choice to seek our identity from the world or to live out our identity in Christ. With absolute impartiality, showing no favoritism, God will judge His children based on that issue.

Live today as an expression of your identity in Christ. It will make you a stranger to the world, but better that than a friend to the world and a stranger to God.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

1 Peter 1:14-16  “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 

The concept of holiness sometimes scares me. The call of Scripture to match the holiness of God is frightening, because I am so incapable of doing it. But the fear I feel is not from God. It is an attack of the enemy of my soul. And the reason why Satan has been able to bring such fear against me is because I have looked at holiness from the wrong perspective.

For most of us, the word holy is synonymous with sinless. Yet sinlessness is not the definition of holy. God is not holy because He is sinless; He is sinless because He is holy. Freedom from sin is a product of holiness, not the cause. My fear of the call to holiness is because I have been convinced that it is a call to sinlessness. That’s when Satan gets to pile the guilt and shame on me, because I know my sin. His definition of holiness has kept us in bondage and kept us from being holy.

Of course, the more I understand what holiness is, the more I will find victory over sin. But in this life, I will never attain perfection. Yet I can be holy. The key is to understand how God is holy and how He calls me to be holy.

The word holy simply means to separate and carries with it a sense of such perfection of separation that it produces incomprehensible awe. In the context of that definition, God is holy for several reasons:

  • He is separate from creation. He is the Creator and sustainer of all that exists. He is not dependent upon anything outside of Himself for His existence or sustenance.
  • He is separate from corruption. He has the knowledge of sin, as do we, yet the perfection of His separation from it means there has never been an experience of it.
  • He is separate in His character. This is the key for me to understanding how I am to pursue holiness. God’s character is separate from mine. The various aspects of His character can never be categorized. Every aspect of His nature and character are absolutely inseparable. It is the inseparableness of His character that makes Him holy and thus separates Him from us.

My nature and character are divisible. I can in one instance be set apart for God’s purpose, and in the next be pursuing my own interests and desires. God cannot. He is eternally constant. He never wavers. He never ceases to perfectly express His glory. Every thought and action of God is done as an expression of the totality of His nature in perfect integrity. He is without contradiction. His characteristics are never in conflict with one another.

My goal then in pursuing holiness is to become more separated for His purpose and more consistent in living it. The pursuit of holiness is the pursuit of integrity. The call to being holy as God is holy is a call to eliminating the contradictions and conflicts that exist in our character.

Jim Elliot, the martyred missionary to the Aucan Indians in Ecuador, said it this way: “Oh, to be holy! Just to sense for a moment that I have somehow, however small, simulated some measure of Thy character, Lord Jesus.” The simulation of God’s character is to become consistent. It is to become set apart for God’s purpose alone and live that purpose constantly.

When we begin to see holiness as being set apart for God with integrity of character, instead of as sinlessness, we will see it from the positive rather than the negative perspective. Seeking to become sinless is scary because it’s impossible in this life. But striving for consistency of character is stimulating, because it satisfies every longing of our hearts, the primary one being to have integrity of identity. Our identity is inconsistent because in sin it seeks to please self. When we pursue true holiness, the integrity of our identity is restored because it is found in Christ, and thus reflects the character of God.

I pray that the Holy Spirit – called Holy because He is perfectly set apart to fulfill the will of the Father consistently and completely – will increase our understanding of this great truth. We are called to be holy as He is holy. We are called to be separated unto Him and to live consistently for Him. When we pursue that call, we will be holy in all that we do, because we will be doing all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and for His glory, not ours.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Monday, August 22, 2022

I remember the first time I ever did it.  I spent a lot of time preparing for it. I watched several videos of the activity, and every chance I got I turned on the TV to the channel that carries such programming so I could learn more. I dug out all the clothing for the activity that has been safely stored since I used it for a similar activity. I planned my location and approach. I watched a few more programs because I wanted to know all I could about what I was going to do so I could be as successful as possible. As I discussed yesterday, I have a need to know.

In this instance, my need to know resulted in activity. I was preparing for action. I was ready to go turkey hunting. I couldn’t wait to see that first big tom turkey come lumbering towards me as I imitated a hen with my call. I was so excited about raising that shotgun to my shoulder and bringing home a family dinner.

Some people may laugh at such preparation. They are the same ones who don’t expect much action. People who expect action get prepared for action. Abraham Lincoln once said, “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first hour sharpening the ax.”

That principle has a spiritual application as well.  

1 Peter 1:13  “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 

Donald Grey Barnhouse (1895–1960), pastor of the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1927 until his death in 1960, and founder of Eternity magazine, said, “If I only had three years to serve the Lord, I would spend two of them studying and preparing.”

The Apostle Peter knew well the need to prepare for action. He had entered a spiritual battlefield unprepared once before. His mind had not been ready for real action. He thought he was, but the arrest of the Lord proved that his focus had been more on himself than on his Savior. When the action heated up, he denied even knowing Christ.

Now, with his focus firmly on faith, and his hope fixed on the return of Jesus, his need to know prepares him for action. He prepares his mind so that he thinks spiritually. He prepares his body so that it is self-controlled. He prepares his heart so that his hope is always on the finish line of faith rather than on the present world. He is ready for action.

His ministry partner Paul said the same thing in Romans 12:2. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” (NLT)

It all starts with the need to know. But knowledge is of little value if not put into action. The knowledge of God will change the way you think. As it does, God will give you knowledge of His will and purpose for your life. Get ready. You are being prepared for action. You may not feel like you’re able to do much today but get ready for action. You may feel obscure, but God is preparing you for action.

My favorite preacher, Chuck Swindoll, said it this way – “Learn your lessons well in the schoolroom of obscurity. God is preparing you as his chosen arrow. As yet your shaft is hidden in his quiver, in the shadows . . . but at the precise moment at which it will tell with the greatest effect, he will reach for you and launch you to that place of his appointment.”

Get ready. You’re about to be launched into the action of God’s will.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Friday, August 19, 2022

1 Peter 1:10-12  “Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.”

We all have a need to know. It may be more exaggerated in some of us, but as beings created in the image of God, who is all-knowing, we all have a need to know. Someday, in the presence of God, that need will be fulfilled. The apostle Paul said, “Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

My need to know can become overwhelming sometimes. When we upgrade software at the church I have to fight to stay focused on important ministry activities because my need to know distracts me and drives me to learn the new systems. Why is it that I think I need to be as proficient as those who are actually going to use it? It’s the need to know overblown by pride.

But pride can also cause us to restrict the need to know. Our need to know can also be controlled by our need for personal benefit. At times, when we have been exposed to something new, we decide not to pursue any additional knowledge because we don’t believe it will bring any practical benefit to us. Our need to know is often restricted by our need to experience.

This can cause serious issues when applied to the way we study the Bible. Our desires can dominate our devotions. We pick and choose the things from Scripture that we want to study because they complement our current attitudes. We choose not to study those things in God’s Word that bring conviction and change. Our need to know all of God is restricted by our fleshly desire for personal benefit.

Imagine if the Old Testament prophets had allowed their need to know to be so restricted.

1 Peter 1:10-12  “Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.”

What if, upon receiving the initial word that the Messiah was for a future generation, they had stopped writing what the Holy Spirit was teaching them? What if, when the going got tough and they were persecuted for their words because their message conflicted with society’s choices, they stopped declaring the truth? What if, because they were told that the message did not directly apply to them, they simply stopped studying and exploring the Scriptures to try to understand the truth? What if they were so selfish that they never considered those of us who would live in the age of grace and stopped preparing the way for it for our benefit?

The prophets of the Old Testament were told that the Messiah, Jesus, would bring salvation to the world by grace through faith. They did not understand it. The angels still don’t. But their need to know drove them to study intently all that God had previously told them so they could understand this magnificent truth. They wanted to know all they could about God’s plan to save sinners and bring about the spiritual fulfillment of His kingdom.

We have become complacent about learning the truths of our salvation. We have taken for granted that we know just enough to be content. This complacent contentment that minimizes knowledge has resulted in weak witnesses. One of our biggest hindrances to sharing our faith is that we don’t believe we know enough. Well, whose fault is that? (How’s that for pointing a convicting finger?) We have suppressed the need to know with fleshly needs for acceptance and approval of the world. Yet the longing of the Holy Spirit in us is to teach us all things. He wants to fulfill our need to know.

In Peter’s second letter he writes,  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Don’t stop learning. Don’t stop studying. The Holy Spirit in you is producing the need to know. Don’t stifle His work. Get started today and pursue the need to know God!

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Anne Steele was born in 1716. She was the eldest daughter of William Steele, a Baptist pastor at Broughton, England. In her teenage years, Anne demonstrated a beautiful gift for writing. Her teenage years were also the beginning of a hard life that could have turned her into a bitter woman.

First, her mother died. Then a fall from a horse rendered her permanently disabled. Because of her natural beauty and the more important beauty of her spirit, she was able to attract and fall in love with a wonderful young man who proposed marriage. Just hours before their wedding ceremony, her fiance drowned in the river where he was bathing. She spent the rest of her days, until she died at age 63, in the quiet seclusion of her father’s home. But she did not live in despair. In fact, she was described by those who knew her as “cultured, pious, and beautiful.”

From the moment of her fiancés death, she began to write. Her poetry was filled with hope and joy because of her faith in Jesus Christ. Finally, at age 41, she decided to have some of her writing printed. Her father’s diary contained this entry – “Nanny sent part of her composition to London, to be printed. I entreat a gracious God, who enabled, and stirred her up to such a work—to make it useful, and keep her humble.” Perhaps it was this emphasis on humility that compelled “Nanny” to write under a pen name, “Theodosia.” The proceeds of all her works were donated to charity.

Anne Steele never married, and her already feeble health was aggravated by the shock of her father’s death in 1769. She lived the last 10 years of her life alone. Yet despite her many trials, “Nanny” wrote 144 hymns and 34 psalm versions. She published Poems on Subjects Chiefly Devotional in two volumes in 1760, and a third was produced after her death. Her hymns received wide acceptance, and her poems were reprinted in America. More than a century after her death, it was written that she “stands at the head” of all Baptist hymn writers.

Her most famous hymn was written right after the death of her fiancé. As you read the words of this poem, even though written in Old English, you will understand what Peter says in today’s Scripture.

1 Peter 1:8-9  “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 

The hymn was entitled “Father: Whate’er of Earthly Bliss.” 

Father, whate’er of earthly bliss
Thy sovereign will denies,
Accepted at Thy throne, let this
My humble prayer, arise:

Give me a calm and thankful heart,
From every murmur free;
The blessing of Thy grace impart,
And make me live to Thee.

Let the sweet hope that Thou art mine
My life and death attend,
Thy presence through my journey shine,
And crown my journey’s end.

May we live our lives in that kind of faith – faith that produces joy. The world chooses to believe only what they can see and what makes them happy. We believe God, even though He is unseen, and as a result, we are filled with true joy. Let His joy overwhelm you, no matter what earthly bliss is denied.

Pastor John