Devotionals

Week 1

TRUST - DAY 1

Trust

by Sarah Johnston

Sarah and her family have been part of the LifeHouse family for 5 years. She is often found teaching in the Kid Jr room or helping with the Women’s Ministry.


Read Proverbs 3:1-12

What does it mean to trust in the Lord with all your heart? So often, I am quick to say that I trust the Lord for my life, but in reality, I am living day by day trusting in myself. Trusting in the Lord means that instead of relying on my own performance or good works, I put my deepest trust completely in the Lord’s “steadfast love and faithfulness” -- on His unconditional and undeserved grace and love poured out on us through Jesus’ finished work on the Cross. It means that I believe that God’s Word is true, even when it goes against MY own thinking and understanding. It means even when the Lord allows difficulty and suffering in my life, I recognize that He is working through those circumstances, because He loves me as His own precious child.


Trust goes hand in hand with obedience and surrender. When we fully surrender, rely on God’s grace and love and faithfulness, and walk in obedience to His Word, He promises to make our paths straight! What joy and peace come when we stop trying to walk in our own wisdom and understanding and instead fully depend on the Lord, our good and loving Father. When we humbly trust in the Lord and not in ourselves, God promises that we will “find favor and good success” and that it will be “healing to our flesh and refreshment to our bones.” God has never failed us and never will, and we will never regret putting our whole heart’s trust in our Lord and Savior!


Lord, help us to trust in You with our whole hearts! Help us to stop relying on ourselves, but instead humbly acknowledge and depend on You and You alone, our faithful God.

TRUST - DAY 2

TESTED TRUST

by Tim Gephart

Tim and his family have been part of the LifeHouse family for 4 years. He and his wife Lori are LifeGroup leaders and he also serves with set up and tear down team, as well as in the prayer room.


Read John 6:1-14


Sometimes throughout our Christian life God chooses to test us. We can see this play out in the Old Testament time and time again. I used to wonder, “Why would God test us?” But as my faith grows and my relationship with God deepens and strengthens, this only makes sense. 


God wants us to make sure we are keeping our eyes on Him by trusting in Him and in His ways. We read in John chapter six the miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand. In verse six of the same chapter we see that Jesus “tested” Philip. At first glance that might not seem fair. “Jesus is God’s Son,” we might say to ourselves. “No one will pass the test,” we might conclude. But if we finish the verse we see that “He already had in mind what He was going to do.” 


You see, Jesus has a better way for us. A better plan. He is in control. He already knows the outcome. So why not put our trust and faith in Him? Our mindset needs to shift. Consider that God isn’t playing games with us. He is simply stretching our faith and our trust because He has better things in store. 


Lord, please increase my faith and my trust in You by making me see that You are in complete control.



TRUST - DAY 3

WHAT’S MISSING

by Allan Tapken

Al and his wife Judy have been part of the LifeHouse family for 2 years and they serve our church on Sundays and beyond.


Read Mark 10:17-22

The rich young ruler in these verses can also be found in Matthew 19:16 and in Luke 18:18. He came to Jesus in search of eternal life. Jesus pointed him to just five of the Ten Commandments, all of which he claimed to have kept from his youth. But did he? Jesus said it’s the heart that matters. Hate is murder. Lust is adultery. Do we really believe that he never lied, or that he always honored his father and mother? Jesus knows the heart of everyone. In these verses Jesus says no one is good except God alone. Romans says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” and, “The wages of sin is death.” In Ezekiel God says “The soul that sinneth shall die.” There are two ways to attain eternal life. We can trust that Jesus died in our place for all our sins… or we can just live a perfect sinless life. The latter God says (and we know), is impossible for all but Jesus who, for this very reason, was able to give us eternal life by giving us His perfection and taking our sinfulness. 


Jesus said this young man was missing one thing. Did you notice the commandments he claimed to have kept did not include the very first commandment: Thou shall have no other gods before me? Jesus said, “This you lack, give all that you have and follow me.” He lacked the surrender of his heart to God’s will. This man’s god was his money. So what’s your god, your idol? Is it money, work, sports, bad company, your computer or phone, fancy car, beautiful home? If we trust Christ, if we follow Him, if we put no other gods before Him, then on that last day we will be found lacking nothing. 


Father, help us trust that by giving You our all we will be complete, lacking nothing.


TRUST - DAY 4

MERCIFUL INVITATION

by Sandy Kolbjornsen

Sandy has been part of the LifeHouse family for 6 years. She so faithfully serves our body by making preparations for communion and serving at the hospitality table.


Read Isaiah 26:3-4

As we drove, I was listening to my nine year old granddaughter singing “Dream Small” along with the singer on a Christian radio station, as she often does in her sweet voice. When the song ended, she asked, “Wouldn’t it be better to dream big?” She told me her dreams of being on the National Women’s Soccer League or even coaching that team. She went on to say she’s dreaming of being captain of the soccer team that she plays on now. She assured me that she has been praying about these dreams too. She is well aware of all the hard work that goes into the plans of those dreams. She and her best friend and soccer buddy do 1000 touches to a soccer ball daily, either by touching to practice a defensive move or kicking the ball with her foot. Her friend’s Dad has challenged them to do this to improve their skills. 


We continued to talk about how God can answer our prayers for small dreams and plans in such a way that it can be so much bigger and better than we could have prayed or dreamed. We have to trust Him to answer in His timing, which is hard sometimes. When we are kind and encourage each other (even strangers) it may turn out to be life changing for them or us. 


These two verses are God’s “merciful invitation” for us to walk with Him, trust Him, and find His peace. When we make plans or have dreams , whether they are large or small, He wants us to pray first and always for His guidance. Sometimes we have to hit “rock bottom” before we can come face to face with our sin, not realizing until then that God never leaves us. He is that rock we landed on. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 


Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and pursuing us before we even knew You and please guide us as we put You first in our lives and trust You.


TRUST - DAY 5

JUST TRUST

by Olivia Knight

Olivia has been part of the LifeHouse family for 4 years and can often be found loving on and caring for the babies of the church.


Read Psalm 16

I have a friend who all throughout high school would tell me to “just trust.” Generally, the statement was said because she was being funny and wanted me to go along with whatever she had planned. As we’ve grown up, we will say this statement to each other as an encouragement in our walks with God. I’ll be honest. Trusting God doesn’t come easy to me. Mainly because I think I have more control over a situation than I actually do, and obviously God needs my help for whatever I’m praying about. 


Maybe you are someone who has to have evidence to back up your trust in someone; or, maybe trust in others comes easily to you. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, I think trusting God boils down to trusting that He is good. I read Psalm 16 and found that David’s trust in God is evidenced by the fact that he knows God’s heart for his well-being is good. If you take a look at each verse closely, you can pick out something that tells you of God’s goodness for our lives. For example, verse 5 God holds our future, verse 6 God places boundary lines in our life indicating our future, and in Christ our inheritance is beautiful, verse 7 God’s wisdom is our comfort even when the doubt creeps in, verse 9 we have security in God knowing we are in Him, and verse 11 says that through God we have abundant joy and eternal treasures. 


Trusting God is a daily choice. It’s choosing to trust in the character of God. If we take a look back on our lives, we can see His faithfulness in everything. We can choose to just trust. 


Lord, I ask that despite whatever is going on in our lives that we choose to remember that You are good and we trust You.

TRUST - DAY 6-7

WHO YOU GONNA CALL

by David Holliday

Dave and his family have been part of the LifeHouse family for 6 years. He helps out with the Men’s Ministry and doing just about anything on Sunday mornings, from ushering to parking cars and helping with set up and tear down.


Read Psalm 143

Are you wrestling with a problem? Chances are you either are or will be at some point. Reflecting on my life, it’s been a timeline of wrestling. I am prone to wander. I thank the Lord for His agape love that He has for each one of us. I can relate to King David in this passage in so many ways and it’s not just because we share the same name. Many times I wrestle with thinking by my own might I can change a situation. My intelligence and my strength will be what solves the issue. All too often I fall on my face by thinking I can change the outcome on my own. I, like David in Psalm 143, find myself crying out to God for help. In the process of crying out I remember and reflect on all the victories the Lord has given me in the past. 


When I titled this devotional I couldn’t help but think of the movie “Ghostbusters.” It’s a horrible comparison because God is more than just a mere super hero that shows up in our time of distress to rescue us. Also, as you’ve probably noticed, Ghostbusters was a short lived series of movies. God is timeless. In the same ways he rescued King David and so many others in the Bible, He still hears our prayers today and is as real today as He was back then. 


We should not be surprised when troubles come our way. The word of God tells us to count it as a joy when we face trials of many kinds. How do we accomplish this? We find rest and refuge in JESUS. We pray like David does in this passage; we remember God’s faithfulness in the past, and trust by our faith in Him that He will secure our future. 


God, help us to remember to call on You for all things big and small.


Week 2

Sacrifice - Day 1

Love Sacrifices

by Ann Landry


Ann and her husband Davis have been part of the LifeHouse family for 5 years. She is a prayer warrior for our church at all times and is faithfully serving in the Prayer Room on Sundays.


Read Mark 14:3-9


In this passage, God gives us an account of a person pouring their love upon Jesus in sacrifice. Love sacrifices. Sacrifice is defined as “love purposefully giving itself, no matter the cost involved.” It is the giving of something or one’s self for someone or something of greater value. God’s standard for sacrifice is that it has to cost you something. The value of the gift is determined by what it costs the giver. God’s love moved Him to sacrifice His best, His one and only Son. Jesus had poured His love upon Mary and her family. His infinite love for her had produced a love in her for Him. Love mastered Mary and carried her away to costly sacrifice. Her sacrifice proved that she understood that Jesus Himself was the most valuable gift she had ever received, and her relationship and fellowship with Him was her most precious treasure. Her heart obviously overflowed with love and gratitude, and seemed to move her to action thinking, “What can I do to express my love and gratitude to Jesus for all He has done for me?” He was the One worthy of her treasured sacrifice, so she poured upon Jesus a spectacular and costly gift, a jar of perfume that was equivalent to a year’s wages. Though some criticized Mary for what she did, Jesus responded by commending her sacrifice as a good work or a beautiful thing that she had done for Him. He said, “She has done all she could.” She sacrificed, giving her best. What God had afforded Mary to have as a treasure, she gave, teaching us when it comes to sacrifice in worship, He wants us to give our best to Him. He knows what He’s given us, just as He knows if what we give is our best. 


As we think of Jesus and His sacrifice for us, and the value and worth of the Gospel, we would do well to ask ourselves, “What can I do to express my love and gratitude to Jesus?” If I was to bring my “best” in sacrific eto Him, what would I bring? We all have a flask of sacrifice to pour upon Jesus. When God puts the opportunity before you to extend the Kingdom of God through your sacrifice, what will your response be? God is giving us, as He did Mary, an opportunity to show that He is our Treasure. As each of us considers offering God a sacrifice worthy of Him, what might you offer Jesus as your best? 


O Lord, for the glory of Your name and in Jesus’ name, we ask You to grant us the same compelling love of Mary, and to stir us to do our best in offering a pleasing sacrifice, worthy of You. Amen

Sacrifice - Day 2

Choose Brotherly Love

by Rachel Pett


Rachel and her family have been part of the LifeHouse family for 2 years and she loves serving with children in TeamKID.


Read Hebrews 13:1-8


Where I grew up in Maryland, there was a popular bumper sticker that encouraged us to “Choose Civility.” It made me laugh because I thought to myself, is civility really the best we can do? Well, Paul believed we should do much more. In his opening statement in Hebrews 13, he begins with, “Let brotherly love continue.” Here and throughout the Bible, brotherly love means far more than “civility” could ever measure up to. Brotherly love is the type of affection that involves a strong, warm and personal attachment to another person, and not necessarily a family member. And that is the foundation of the rest of Paul’s letter. From brotherly love, all else flows. As a sacrifice to God, we do the hard and sometimes uncomfortable things in life. Paul gives us a few examples of areas in our lives to demonstrate this. 


Being hospitable towards strangers is not always easy with the differing of opinions, but it’s no easier today than it was in Paul’s time. And, more importantly, God asks us to. How can we claim to be followers of Christ and not show love toward others? Extending “hospitality” to strangers and those who are imprisoned can merely be expressed through encouragement, prayer or kindness. Showing brotherly love in our marriages seems like a simple task, but how often in the course of our day do we (intentionally or unintentionally) squelch the heart of our spouse with our words or actions? Additionally, being content with what we have allows us to not begrudge what others have, but rather focus on displaying love and not envy towards them. True contentedness comes from knowing God has us tightly in His hands and that He will supply all of our needs. With this assuredness, we are free to “Choose Brotherly Love” rather than just choosing to be civil. 


God, we ask You to reveal to us all the opportunities in our day where we can show brotherly love to others.

Sacrifice - Day 3

Do Not worry

by Henry Rozanski


Henry has been part of the LifeHouse family for 5 years and he helps lead our Discovery class for those who are just beginning to walk with the Lord or want to grow in their faith.


Read Matthew 6:19-29


When I finished school I had a plan to work hard to obtain all the promises available to me living in the greatest nation on earth. Many years later I discovered that material and secular pursuits could not satisfy the void that existed in my spiritual life. It’s only when I returned to regular church attendance and Bible study that I felt God calling me to tithe on a regular basis. I also realized that I had a distinct fear and distrust of “giving up” 10 percent of my income due to all the financial obligations I had assumed over time. Later, I realized that the way I used wealth was an indication of the condition of my “heart.” By putting money first in my life, it had assumed a kind of Idolatry. My false priorities were actually a type of greed that Jesus said could infect my entire life with superficial earthly values. 

It was only after several Bible studies and meditations on what Jesus said about trusting Him with all my needs that I realized that if I put God first, my material needs will be managed by Him. He is greater than my fears and trusting in Him will sustain me. When I call on God as my “Father,” worry is unreasonable. He is everywhere, knows everything, is all powerful, and His heavenly rewards are limitless. Therefore, I demonstrate my faith by seeking Him and trusting Him in all things. 


Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unlimited grace and generosity. Give me the wisdom and discernment to spend my time and resources wisely to further Your Kingdom. I know I am never far from Your powerful love and care. Amen.

Sacrifice - Day 4

Why sacrifice?

by Jeff Sareyka


Jeff and his family have been part of the LifeHouse family for 5 years. He serves as an Elder, as well as the LifeGroup Coordinator.


Read Romans 11:33-12:2


This summer, my family and I vacationed in Florida along the Gulf Coast. One of my sons wanted to look for seashells. Now, for me, seashell hunting would fall way down the list of things to do at the beach. I obliged and joined him in searching for shells. I will admit, we found some beautiful large shells. But what amazed me more was just how beautiful the small shells are as well. We were more in awe of the colors, design and uniqueness that was found in the smaller shells. Our focus on the big shells turned into appreciating the smaller things. 


In Romans 12:1 and 2, we are told that we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable. We are also instructed to not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of our mind. But why? What gives us the desire and passion to surrender ourselves and present our bodies as living sacrifices, surrendering all for a life that God calls us to? Similar to the small seashells, the verses that precede these verses pack a powerful punch and uniqueness that explains why we are to make such a sacrifice. Romans 11:33-35 are beautiful and worshipful praise of the God we serve. Take a minute to read them. 


Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom that God provides. Once we get a glimpse of God and the fact that all things are from Him, through Him and to Him and how powerful He is, our eyes and heart should want to do nothing but be a sacrifice that’s holy and acceptable. And THIS is our spiritual worship. Don’t neglect the small things. In this case, those small things represent the worship that brings us closer to the Creator of all things, including cool little seashells. 


Heavenly Father, how awesome are Your ways and how amazing is the depths of Your wisdom! Give us the desire to strive for holiness and the desire to present our bodies as a living sacrifice for the One all things are for, through, and to. Amen.


Sacrifice - Day 5

His will. not mine.

by Kira Krell


Kira and her family have been part of the LifeHouse family for almost 2 years. She enjoys serving the church body by making meals for those in need.


Read Colossians 1:9-14


Last year we made the decision to homeschool both of our children. This decision has not been easy. I had felt God leading me to homeschool for quite some time, without acting upon it. I made excuses like: It is too much work. They won’t learn anything. The kids won’t like it. 


I did not listen to the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit and continued doing it “my way”. It did not end well. Their last year in public school was filled with difficult situations, situations that I did not anticipate. After many tears and hardship, I finally surrendered everything, myself and my children to the One who created us and knows what is best for us. 


We have now successfully completed our first year of teaching at the “Krell Academy” and we had such a positive experience. I did not expect the many blessings along the way, such as spending more quality time with my kids and learning new and exciting things, to name just a few. I thank God for His guidance throughout this process. 


God chose to include this prayer in Colossians 1 as an example for us: 

“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way.” 


Lord, let Your will be done even if it means that my will is not done.

Sacrifice - Day 6&7

living worthy of the gospel

by Jarvis Brennan


Jarvis has been part of the LifeHouse family for 5 years. He serves all over - working with LSM, hanging out with the 4 and 5 year olds, ushering, and helping with the audio visual team.


Read Colossians 1:9-14


As Christians, our lives should reflect what and who we believe in. Often, a Christian may see another Christian living their life in a way that doesn’t reflect what they claim to believe in. You may think to yourself, “That’s not how a Christian should act!” You could also be nervous that, a nonbeliever could encounter this person not living their faith according to the Gospel, which could turn them away from Christ. But, instead of focusing on the faults of others, this gives us the opportunity to look at ourselves and how we’re living to glorify Christ, because, it is our job to live our lives according to the gospel. So, nonbelievers may see how a true Christ Follower really lives their life. 


In Philippians 1:27-30, Paul is writing to the Philippian church, charging them to, “Let the manner of your life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” The way we live our lives should reflect and glorify Christ. When we live in a manner worthy of the gospel, we will be different but this different is what can draw people to Jesus. Christians should be the light that shines through the darkness in all we do. Paul then goes on to state that living for Christ is not always going to be easy. He explains that, in living for Christ may come suffering. But, God uses suffering to glorify Himself through us. The way we live is our biggest example to non-believers around us. Therefore we need to make sure that how we live our lives is reflecting Christ. 


God, we come to You for the strength and courage to live a life that is worthy of Your gospel no matter what. We pray that our belief will cause us to suffer for You just like You did for us on the cross.