LifeLink Devotions

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Phosphorus is a fascinating substance. It does not exist as a free element on earth. It cannot because of its high reactivity level. When exposed to oxygen it glows. It gives off light.

The term phosphorescence that we use to describe this reaction is essentially wrong. Phosphorescence is the giving off of light that has been previously absorbed. You’ve all seen that with glow-in-the-dark items that you hold up to the light, light is absorbed, and then the item glows in the dark after the light is turned off.

What happens with phosphorus is chemiluminescence. It is the production of light due to a cold chemical reaction.

You may be wondering what this brief science lesson has to do with today’s Scripture passage from Second Peter.

2 Peter 1:19  “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” 

Well, the Greek word for “morning star” used by Peter is phosphoros. Isn’t that interesting? As the Light of the World, Jesus shines on us so that we give off His light. We are to be involved in spiritual phosphorescence. Check out these marvelous messages from God:

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6)

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.   See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.” (Isaiah 60:1-2)

The light of God’s glory has shined on us in the person of Jesus Christ. We are now phosphorescent and shine out the glory we have absorbed. “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18)

Here’s what I think is the greatest part of this science lesson: when we are cold and dark in the midst of life’s depressing details, the Morning Star comes to us and rises in our hearts. The Holy Spirit, the breath of God, brings the oxygen. Chemiluminescence occurs. The light of God’s glory is created in our hearts. God initiates it when we pay attention to what He is doing.

So when you think you just don’t have any more ability to shine, look to Jesus. His light will shine in your dark place and make you glow. The Morning Star will rise in your heart and make you shine. God created the science for it. He’s created you to enjoy it. So go ahead – illuminate!

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Monday, January 30, 2023

2 Peter 1:17  “For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 

Valentine’s Day is coming.  It’s the day we set aside to do something extra special for the person we love.

I remember one year, as my wife and I were shopping for essentials, we came across two bargains – one for her and one for me. She said they could be our valentine gifts.

I agreed, with my fingers crossed.

She thought we were done.

She was wrong.

She was surprised on Valentine’s morning when she saw a gift and card on the counter in front of the coffee pot. I had left it there before I went to the office early in the morning. It wasn’t a big thing, but it was one of her favorite collectibles. She called right away, and I was overjoyed to have brought her such joy.

I love giving! I enjoy the affirmation it brings to my life when I know I have served and encouraged another person. It helps when I know that person also loves me.

As Jesus was preparing to enter the final phase of His ministry and begin the daunting task of accomplishing the redemptive purpose of God on the cross, His Father in heaven affirmed Him. He had spoken words of love and affirmation once before at the river Jordan when Jesus was baptized. Now again, so that the disciples could hear it, God the Father affirmed His Son.

One point sticks out to me today: the Father’s affirmation had nothing to do with His Son’s performance, but everything to do with who Jesus was. The Father did not say “With His works I am well pleased.” He did not say, “With His behavior I am well pleased.” He DID say, “With Him I am well pleased.”

It was enough that Jesus simply existed for the Father to affirm Him. What a lesson I need to learn from this. How quickly I fall into the destructive trap of affirming others only when they do something. How selfish I am to think that unless their behavior or actions benefit me in some way that they do not need to be recognized or encouraged. It is so disheartening and destroys the spirit of another when they are led to believe that their worth is connected to their performance.

I praise God that He loves and affirms us simply because we are His children. We never have to do a thing to be the benefactors of God’s abundant love. Every moment, if I choose to, I can meditate on the affirmations of God’s love for me. His love is not conditional. When I am at my worst and weakest, I can be washed in the wonder of His love rather than drown in the pool of pity.

How awesome!!! God loves me and is pleased with me. Do you accept this truth? Do you spend every waking hour basking in its beauty? Do you realize that right now, as you read this and your thoughts are wandering into questions of worth, that God the Father is leaning towards His Son and speaking in a voice loud enough for all of heaven to hear, “I LOVE MY CHILD, AND AM PLEASED WITH HIM/HER.”

Believe it. Accept it. Apply it. Enjoy it. God affirms you because of Christ in you!

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Friday, January 27, 2023

According to several sites I researched on the internet, there seems to be an attempt by those in our legal system to bring discredit to the value of eyewitness testimony. Psychologists have teamed up with lawyers to put in place serious doubts about the average person’s ability to recall events clearly and without prejudice based on personal perceptions. People don’t remember things precisely. They embellish. They filter what they see through their own set of issues. The time that lapses from the event to the testimony brings one’s memory into question. Eyewitness testimony is not viewed as very credible today.

But there is a way that eyewitness testimony becomes credible. First, it must be consistent. The event must be related the same every time no matter how far removed from the event by time the witness is. And second, it must be able to be corroborated. The testimony must be supported by other testimony and by the evidence.

Consistency and Corroboration. The same qualities that make the eyewitnesses of the life of Christ credible. The same qualities that make you and me credible witnesses.

2 Peter 1:16-18  “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 

Peter didn’t make up a story. It was consistent for the rest of his natural life. It was corroborated by all the other eyewitnesses and the historical evidence. It continues to be.

But what about our lives? We are commissioned by Jesus Christ to be witnesses – eyewitnesses – of His saving power. Is there consistency to your testimony, both in word and deed? Can your testimony be corroborated by your lifestyle? By your friends?

Consistency and corroboration. Makes for a great eyewitness. You are one!

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Thursday, January 26, 2023

I found a quote this morning from someone named Principal Denny of Scotland. After several internet searches, I can’t find out anything about him. But what he said is powerful.

It pierces to the heart of our self-centered nature.

It smashes to pieces the elaborate and deceptive disguises that have been erected to resemble churches in our so-called progressive church age.

It minimizes the attempts of modern-day preachers to maximize attendance with creativity rather than truth.

It puts to death the philosophy that man’s ingenuity will eventually conquer all social ills.

In its simplicity is embedded the complexity of truth.

Are you prepared for something simple to challenge your thinking in every part of your life, work, and church? I wasn’t, but it has. I hope it does the same to you.

Here it is in its splendid simplistic beauty:

You cannot at the same time show that Christ is wonderful—and you are clever.

2 Peter 1:16-18  “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.”

In all things, at all times, in all places, Jesus is preeminent and worthy of all glory. Live life in that context.

Pastor John


Peter’s passion was people. It hadn’t always been that way. Before he finally surrendered to THE LORD, he had tried to be lord of himself. To quote the words of Lord George Noel Gordon Byron (1788–1824), “Lord of himself—that heritage of woe.”

Peter discovered a better heritage to pass along – the heritage of the knowledge of God, not self. He made a commitment to live out his life passing along that heritage to those he had mentored. He wanted to be sure that the things he taught became so much a part of their lives that they would never forget them.

2 Peter 1:15   “And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.”

The heritage we leave is important. We start leaving it the moment we begin having any sort of influence on others. Even children, who are learning what their heritage will be, are passing along what they learn from an early age. That’s why God places such an emphasis on parenting in the Scriptures.

Remember the words of God through Moses in Deuteronomy 6?

“These are the commands, decrees, and regulations that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you. You must obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, and you and your children and grandchildren must fear the LORD your God as long as you live. If you obey all his decrees and commands, you will enjoy a long life. Listen closely, Israel, and be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you. Listen, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” 

It has always been and will continue to be the primary responsibility of the family to pass along the heritage of true faith in the one true God, the LORD of all, to the next generation. It is essential to the health of a church to pass along the heritage of truth to all that are brought to saving faith in Jesus Christ. It is imperative to us as individuals who truly love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, that we commit ourselves to teaching God’s love to others both in word and lifestyle.

We must become keenly aware that every one of us is passing along a heritage of one form or another. The heritage of the past is the seed that brings forth the harvest of the future.

So what kind of seeds are you planting in the people around you?

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Pastor Roger relates this story in Christian Reader magazine. His 5-year-old daughter, Ashley, was tracing her hand on a piece of paper. “Jesus died on the cross,” she said, busily at work. “This is his hand.” Then pointing to a dot in the center of the drawing, she added, “And that’s where the nail was.”  Tears welled up in his eyes. He was reminded again that we can’t hear enough of the greatest sacrifice ever made for mankind.

If you were to pick up your Bible for devotions today and it happened to flop open to 2 Peter 1:12-15, your initial thought would be to just start reading there and keep going. But that would be a mistake. Here is what Peter said.

2 Peter 1:12-15   “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.”

What should you do after reading this? Peter wants to constantly remind us of some things, so we must go back and look at what He has just written so we know what the “things” are. So the thing to do is go back to the previous verses and discover the life-giving promises proclaimed and put them to memory. But do it with a correct attitude.

Here’s what I mean. We are easily tempted into believing that the proof of God’s existence, power, and presence is found in the great big things He does. We tend to need miracles. We are no different than the people of Jesus’ day. We are no different than the Israelites standing at the edge of the Red Sea. We are just like those who require to be shown before they will believe.

But the proof of God’s presence in you and purpose for you is not found in some miraculous epiphany. It is found in the simple yet powerful work of the Holy Spirit in you to create the character of Christ. In the words of the Psalmist – “Be still, and know that I am God.”

We must stop ourselves from demanding big things from God to prove He’s still there. Instead, we are privileged to sit at His feet and learn from Him. As children of the Father, we are qualified to be cuddled in His arms. As those baptized by the Holy Spirit into the family of God, we are uniquely equipped to carry the character of the One and Only Son of God.

We are the living proof that God is and always will be. We are the visible evidence that Jesus saves. People will be drawn to Jesus as we live our lives faithfully in front of them. Not because of miraculous experiences of supernatural power. Not because of our success or wealth. Not because we have all the answers to mankind’s questions. No, none of these things are the true evidence of God’s presence.

We are the living proof of God because we participate in the Divine nature (vs. 4). People will be drawn to Jesus by watching the life of Jesus be lived through us (vs. 5-8). The unsaved of the world will start asking us about the hope that lives within us (1 Peter 3:15) when we start living like we are sure of it ourselves (vs. 10-11).

Be still today. Allow the Holy Spirit to penetrate all the conflicts imposed upon your mind by the world. Listen for the voice of God. He will be telling you who to be, not what to do.

Peter wanted us to remember all these things, even though he knew we knew them. In other words, live like you know them. Faith requires action.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Monday, January 23, 2023

I remember my first job. I was only 15. A man named Jack from the church my dad pastored owned a gas station. I don’t remember any interview, just an invitation. He approached me in church one Sunday and asked if I wanted to work on Saturdays as a pump attendant. That was way back in the days when gas stations offered full service. My job would be to pump gas, clean windows, and check the oil and fluid levels.

I said yes. He said he would pick me up at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday and return me home at 6:30 p.m. Lunch would be provided.

When I got home from church, I was so excited. I had been invited to work for someone. I had no idea what he saw in me, but I didn’t let my insecurities ruin the opportunity. I was just super excited to be asked. I couldn’t wait until Saturday.

As the week went on the excitement built. Every day at school I would find it hard to concentrate because I was making lists of what I was going to do with the $13 I made every Saturday. That’s right; I made $1.30 an hour. First, I would buy my first set of golf clubs. That only took two weeks. I paid $17 for them. Then I would buy a bag, then golf balls, then a membership, and here I am today.

Well, Saturday arrived, and I was up early. I listened carefully during the 25-minute drive as Jack told me about my responsibilities at the station. I followed him closely as he showed me around once we arrived. I asked questions. I was thankful my dad had already taught me how to care for a car, so I knew how to do what was required, but wanted to make sure I was doing it Jack’s way. After all, I was serving him and his customers. I was representing his reputation as the business owner.

 The day went great. I pumped gas, washed windows, and did everything and anything Jack asked me to do. Lunch was the best. He called me into the shop and there was a bag for me. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was the best double cheeseburger I had ever eaten. I think that’s because it was the first double cheeseburger I had ever eaten. I felt so blessed. I stood in the shop with all the other guys and felt like I was part of a team. I was accepted by men twice my age.

There had been times during the week prior to my first day of employment that I wondered if this invitation was real or not. I started to question my ability. I doubted my worth. How could I be sure that I was needed and accepted?

The answer was simple – show up for work. Accepting the invitation was the first step, but acting upon it was vital. If I hadn’t shown up, the invitation would have been withdrawn.

Now, except for the part about the invitation being withdrawn, this situation is a pretty good illustration of our salvation. God, the creator and owner of the universe and everything in it, has invited us to be His servants. His invitation, once accepted, is permanent. But it is our responsibility to conquer our doubts about that invitation.

Doubts happen. We question our worth. We wonder if we are qualified. But we must remember that the invitation had nothing to do with our qualification, just as my invitation to work didn’t. God did no interviews. There are no spiritual resumes.  He invited us as an act of grace.

Showing up for work eliminates doubts. That’s what Peter is saying in this passage today.

2 Peter 1:10-11   “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Be careful not to let this verse confuse you. We are not responsible, nor are we even able, to make God’s calling and election sure. We are responsible to make ourselves sure of it by doing what Peter taught us in the previous verses. We do that by growing in the knowledge of God and increasing in the character of Christ. When we do, we remove doubt, and we gain a rich reward when we enter glory. We do not show up for work to earn our entrance – that’s already guaranteed by the invitation we accepted. But the welcome we receive when we get to heaven does depend on the quality of work we do today as servants of the King.

Remember, your life represents the reputation of Jesus.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Friday, January 20, 2023

As I drove to the hospital to visit a friend who was having heart valve replacement surgery, I asked the Holy Spirit to lead me to a passage of Scripture to read to him. When I parked the car and picked up my Bible, I was led immediately to these words in Psalm 89:

“I will sing of the LORD’S great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself. The heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings? In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him. O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you. Your arm is endued with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn.”

What a wonderful time I had with some of his family as we gathered around the Word of God and declared our confidence in His faithfulness and love. What a blessing it was to be with those who have learned to acclaim the LORD and who walk in the light of His presence. The LORD is our glory and strength, and by His grace He exalts us.

2 Peter 1:9   “But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.”

I hurt for the people who have forgotten the splendor of their salvation. I am ashamed of the number of times that I have become nearsighted. So many people have degenerated their regeneration and become blind to spiritual things when they have the right to see the glory of God. How it breaks my heart to realize that there are brothers and sisters in Christ who will live today solely for themselves surrounded by the anguish of their dreadful circumstances and not once remember that their sins have been forgiven.

Yet we must remember this – GOD HAS NOT FORGOTTEN! Peter never says that the person who stops growing loses their salvation. HALLELUJAH for that, or we would all live in the bondage of fear. But that person does miss out on the incredible blessings of fellowship with the Father through the filling of the Holy Spirit.

So much pain could be eliminated from our lives – pain caused by our constant struggle for self-exultation – if we would just remember that the LORD is our glory and strength, and that He exalts us.

So today, begin a mind and body renewal program. Here’s the starting point – fix nearsightedness by fixing your eyes on the LORD. His love endures forever. His faithfulness extends through all generations. The LORD is more awesome than all who surround Him. He is mighty, and mighty to save. In His arm is power. In His hand is strength. With His right hand he lifts us up and exalts us. Fix your eyes on the LORD and walk in the light of His presence. You will be renewed by His righteousness. You will replace despair with rejoicing. You will see the glory of God.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Thursday, January 19, 2023

2 Peter 1:8-9   “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. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.”

Sometimes I think about the principle of increasing measure. Snow removal is a real-time illustration of this principle. When it snows again, I am going to have trouble. I have not removed the last snowfall from the driveway. The one before that had left heavy slush that was too heavy for my snow blower.  Consistent traffic has packed it down, and it is icy, rutted, and bumpy. The snow blower will bounce and be hard to steer. My feet will slip on the ice. I may be tempted to not remove any more snow and just pack it all down for the rest of the winter. At least it wouldn’t be so slippery.

We make similar decisions in our lives and then experience the principle of increasing measure. It is equally valid in the negative and the positive world.

First, in the negative world of sin, every choice we make to ignore sin will only bring an increasing measure of sin. Sin is a weed, and unless the soil of your heart is being consistently cultivated with the Word of God, those weeds will choke out the harvest of righteousness. Sin will take over. You will become nearsighted, and unable to focus on things of the future because you are only focused on the immediate. That will eventually lead to blindness, and you will not be able to see God at work in any part of your life. That will lead to forgetfulness, when even the memory of God’s grace is covered by the desire to fulfill the sinful pleasures of the world.

The Bible gives us some good advice at this point –

  • “Do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26)
  • “Avoid even the appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22)
  • “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” (Hebrews 12:15)
  • “Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.   A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” (Matthew 7:17-18)

Be careful, brothers and sisters in Christ, that you do not succumb to the principle of increasing measure by allowing a single sin to go unchecked in your heart. It will multiply and choke out the seeds of faith that have been planted. You will become increasingly inward focused. Finding human solutions and fixing human pain will consume you. Gratifying self is sure to suppress grace. Bitterness will bury your beauty.

But on the positive side, the principle of increasing measure works equally well. In fact, because it is empowered by the Holy Spirit of God, it is guaranteed successful. The seed that brings this abundant harvest is faith, which must be watered with the knowledge of God. As our knowledge grows, it will be productive in changing our character and effective in conquering our conceit. We will become mirrored reflections of the character of Christ – humble servants of others who bring glory to God.

But again, let me caution you – it takes a determined and intentional effort to accomplish this. Just as it is not my neighbor’s responsibility to clean my driveway, it is not the pastor’s or the small group leader’s responsibility to make you grow up in Christ. You must do it. You must study. You must pray. You must apply the truth to your life. You must let the knowledge of God transform your mind and influence your choices. And as you do, God will abundantly increase your faith and keep you from being unproductive and ineffective.

The choice is yours. It always will be. Will you choose to have an increasing measure of self or the Savior? Will you choose to let bitterness, resentment, gossip, slander, hate, lust, adultery, covetousness, envy, or any of the other items on the long list of sin continue to stick to your driveway and then just drive over it as if it isn’t there? Or will you choose to put your hands to the spiritual snow blower powered by the Holy Spirit and remove every connection to sin so that God can fill you with an ever-increasing measure of His Son’s character? The choice is yours.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotions

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

2 Peter 1:6 “…and to brotherly kindness, [add] love.”

I’m going to get right to the point today because if I don’t, I will still be here tomorrow morning writing this. The subject matter of love is vast. According to the Psalmist, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.” There are 505 references to love in Scripture. If I don’t limit myself, I will get carried away.

Our modern-day culture, under the control of our enemy the devil, has accomplished an extensive and effective brainwashing of our minds. If not for the influence of the Holy Spirit, we would be firmly convinced that life is about us, and that the focus of all activity must be on the betterment and enjoyment of self. Every choice we would make would be to make ourselves feel better. Every activity in which we choose to participate would be designed to bring some personal benefit. Every expense of our resources would be invested to build greater treasure for ourselves in this life. Every moral and ethical decision we make would be rationalized by the need to express personal freedom and gain personal favor.

Praise God for the power of the Holy Spirit in us to resist such deception. Give thanks to the Father who has covered us with the righteousness of Christ and has transformed us from children of darkness to children of Light. And give glory to God that the character of Jesus is growing in each of us so that we reflect His glory in ever increasing measure.

Because the character of Christ is increasing in us, we are growing in the activity of love. It is the culmination of character development. We sacrifice our personal dreams on the altar of community. We learn to put aside our own preferences for the good of others. We shift the focus of life from affirming self so we feel accepted to affirming others, so they are accepted. We learn that one of the greatest expressions of love is to encourage others.

So, I’ve written an acrostic for love. It is not intended to be the total expression of the theology of love. It is just today’s helpful application point. I hope it lasts longer than today. May it be said of each of us that we are the living expressions of the character of Christ because we have added this action to our repertoire of love. May every word that we speak today and every day Leave Others Visibly Encouraged.

Pastor John