Devotions

Hello Everyone,

We want to let you know that there will be a daily devotional that Pastor Cody will provide during the time of canceled gatherings.  It will be posted on the church website crainvillebaptistchurch.org.  We also suggest that you spend this time continuing or starting a time of personal study and prayer.  If you need ideas or any help fill free to reach out and Pastor Cody can help point you in the right direction! 

Also, a few churches in this area along with churches all over the United states are starting a unified prayer time. This will create at unified time with many of God's children praying at the same time for people all over the world. If you would like to join this separate but unified time of prayer it is at 8 pm CDT. 

In His love,

Crainville Baptist Church

Note:
Some of you are on both the email prayer chain list and the email newsletter list. It is too difficult to determine who is on both without accidentally deleting someone I should not. I am sorry for this inconvenience. Please just delete one of them. Al
 
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Sunday, March 29, 2020
                                                                                                       

“You are loved beyond your wildest Imagination”

A few days ago I shared my second favorite drawing on the board; today as we leave the youth room, I want to share my favorite one with you. Who would have guessed my favorite one would have to do with love?

I like this drawing for three reasons:

First, in a world that construes and destroys the understanding that you are loved, this message helps us understand that. God’s love for us in not set on actions or benefit, it is genuine, unconditional, and never ending. The love God has for us will and does trump everything the world shows us. We have to remember God loves us for what God created us to be.

Second, it reminds us to have an imagination. God created us to be in God’s image and thus we are creative beings. There is not better way to be creative than with our imaginations. We live in a world that tries to tell us to grow up, to stop having imaginations that run wild, but that goes against what God created us to do and be.

the third reason you can only get with this chalk board, is at the bottom right corner. Ej Strong. This community and these kids are showing what love really looks like. It’s not just a word but a feeling, and these Senior High kids have marked the love they and this community have for a child who didn’t go to our church. You wonder what love is; it is being shown with the creativity of this wall.

I hope that you reflect on the lessons this wall has and continues to show me and all that take a glimpse of its quirky and beautiful thoughts.

In His Love,

Rev. Cody

 
 
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Saturday, March 28, 2020
 

It is finished… we have already won.

The words Jesus spoke on the cross would change the world forever. In the midst of the crazy part of the chalk board wall you will find these three words as a reminder that it truly is finished. I believe many times we forget we have already completed the game of life. I think many times we get so caught up we forget the actions of Christ have already finished the game we think we are still playing. That moment when Jesus proclaimed the sacrifice is complete is the moment the battle of Good and Evil had been fulfilled. That moment the long process of the people being made whole again finally is completed. It is not on anything we did, but on what He did for us.

As I look at this, I think of something one of my classmates said while I was at Ottawa University. He said this, “when it comes to life, I believe I have already won, now I’m just getting bonus points.” We have won the game because we have Christ in our hearts, we believe the power of his sacrifice, we believe in the life he has shown us and do our best to live His love, will, and light. We are not trying to win the game; we already have won!

Remember He won the game for us; it’s our time to get as many bonus points as we can and show the world just how amazing our God is.

In His Love,

Rev. Cody

 
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Friday, March 27, 2020

Do you know the author?  This is my second favorite creative saying on the youth wall.  Mainly because it speaks to me at my core.  Many times, I get asked how I can be so calm and collected during times of crisis, and many times I laugh on the inside because calm and collected is normally the last description I would use.  But it is all about trusting the author.  When we get to a place of having true trust in God and what God has done and will do for you, then no matter the storm we are able to make it through.  Trust in God doesn’t always mean it will be easy or even enjoyable, but there is no need to fret when the power is in God’s hands.  Know it is not your job to write!

I want you to reflect and ask yourself how much do you trust God?

What makes you want to grab ahold of the pencil?

No matter what is going on in life, no matter how big and scary the storm, you will be fine.  We will be fine because we are not the writers of our story.  God is the author and there is not a better writer in the universe.

May God continue to write your beautiful story, and may you let God write the next chapter!

In His love,

Rev. Cody

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Thursday, March 26, 2020
 
 

“He counts the stars and calls them all by name”

Today I want you to reflect on how powerful of a God you have. I don’t know about you, but I needed today and yesterday; this weather has been amazing and extremely helpful for my mental and physical health. But this weather also helps create more opportunity to see the blessings and power God has and has given to us. Yesterday I caught myself taking a few seconds to close my eyes and bask in the warmth of the sun touching my face. It was a moment to reflect on just how amazing the creation is we are in unison with. Last night was the first time in a long time I went outside and just looked up into the sky and remembered just how little we are. Yet even though we are small God still knows us, still wants to be with us, and still has a purpose for us.

We can’t ever truly understand just how amazing and BIG our God is, but that doesn’t mean we can’t just spend time remembering that. Take time these next few days of Lent to do things that help you remember just how special and amazing of a God you serve and calls you His friend.

I challenge you to go out tonight and look at the stars; see how many you can count and name…

Then remember God counts them all and knows them all by name. We serve an amazing God.

In His love,

Rev. Cody

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020
 
How many times do we forget growth is a process, or we forget to enjoy the process?  I have a love hate relationship with working out.  I love the feeling you get after working out.  To feel strong and weak at the same time, but to feel the change!  The reason why I don’t like working out is because I don’t see the results as fast as I want.  When I was younger, I thought if I went into the gym and worked out hard that I would come out looking like The Rock, but sadly that’s not how it works.  Growing older I have started to enjoy the process; the hard work makes the goal better.  Even though it is easy to think about this from a physical perspective, it is just as important from a spiritual aspect as well.  Many times as we think about growth we only think about something physical, but we must have spiritual growth also or else we plateau just like on anything else. 

But what does that look like:

Pray more often, find a specific place to pray, learn/practice meditation, read your scripture, read a book that is spirituality inclined, spend time in nature, start thinking about the ways God works through every day items, and finally spend time with your blessings God has given you. 

Working on your spiritual life is a must, but it is also a time to have growing pains so the process is better! Everyone no matter who they are, what they do, or how long they have been a Christian still can work on strengthening their relationship with God.  I hope you take this time to reflect, plan, and execute a plan on being spiritually stronger than you are now!

Start the process by thinking about these two questions:

What are some things you need work on?

How can you grow stronger in your relationship with God? 

In His love,

Rev. Cody

 
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Tuesday, March 24, 2020
 

One of my favorite places to pray in the church is the Senior High School room.  If you have not been there in a while, they decided last year they wanted a chalk board wall in their room.  Montana and I painted it and put a box of colored chalk on the table.  We let their creative side work with God speaking to them.  The reason I love to pray in this room is seeing all the small messages God speaks to me through them.  This week we are going to look at some of the wall and reflect on the message God is telling you through their creative drawings.

This drawing speaks to me about silence, something we all think we have more of right now during this time, but in fact I believe we don’t.  See even though everything is normal around us is becoming quieter than what we normally are used to, I don’t think we are using that silence to know that God is God.  We don’t listen, and if anything, we struggle trying to find meaning or direction in silence. We are so accustomed to always reacting to what we are hearing or what is going on around us we forget to do the most important thing about this scripture, and that is knowing God!

I have a few questions I want you to think about:

What does this drawing say to your relationship with God?

Are you being silent or are you just being quiet because everything around you is closing?

In the silence are you listing for God?

What do you hear?

In His love,

Rev. Cody

 
 
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Monday, March 23, 2020
 

I am a part of a Facebook group of pastors from all over the nation and the last three weeks have been intense in that group.  Three weeks ago, many of the pastors in the Northwest area of the nation, started to reach out for prayer and help guiding their thoughts as this pandemic was first starting to take hold of their community, congregation, and lives.  They were sharing firsthand experiences and knowledge to help other pastors to think about the future.  They guided in a time that guidance was hard to give or look for, but most importantly they showed trust in God.  There have been many questions about what’s next: what it will look like and how do we effectively continue the work of God with these new circumstances.  But never has there been any doubt about doing the will of God.  Through the conversations and hard times there is still an understanding and faith that God will continue to guide and take care of the many affected who look to God for serenity and peace.

 

 

One of the most impactful things that has been shared is this little tweet Rev. Kast shared about the anticipation that all pastors and Christians are feeling right now.  Our thoughts and images we hold onto for the future are extremely important if they have the correct focus. We potentially have a very impactful and wonderful moment being created right now; the self-seclusion and the differences in schedules creates a moment for us to worship the way we are told to in scripture.  This very well might be one of the most powerful examples of seeing the Church the way the Church is supposed to be. If all goes well everyone is going to be screaming the power of God and wanting to be with each other.  In this time of change I can’t wait to celebrate, worship, and praise God with you soon.  May the power of God’s love flow from us, and may we celebrate God so much people must wear sunglass as they drive by our building!

 

 

In His love,

Rev. Cody

 
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Sunday, March 22, 2020
 

There are not many words I can use to explain this week. It has been hard week from a pastor’s perspective and quite frankly today as I sit in this empty Sanctuary all the feelings that have made this hard are still filling my mind and my body. It is weird, not normal, and downright sad… at least initially.

This empty Sanctuary can look like defeat; it can look sad because its not full of those we share worship with and love. It can be hard because we have been programmed to worship God here. But this is not a day of defeat, sadness, or seclusion.

The reason this is not a day of defeat is because God demands permission from evil. Multiple places in scripture tell and show us the devil has still lost to God. Even to this day the devil is still losing to God and has lost. There is nothing the devil can do that is more powerful than God. Therefore, it’s not a day of defeat, because God will not and has not lost.

As I look around this empty Sanctuary as I sit here in the darkness except for the light on the cross I still feel connected to God and my church family. When we walk out those doors our connection of being a faith family doesn’t get held on the coat rack until next week, we wear it wherever we go. I still pray for everyone in the church, I still text and send out phone calls, the love is different but not absolute. Do I miss you all? absolutely, but you’re not gone, so there is no need to be sad. We are still all connected and worshiping God.

Worshiping God right now has changed; it doesn’t look like it did a week ago. But it is still a big part of my life and hopefully yours. Even though worship in the Sanctuary will not take place until a time yet to be determined, we still worship God every day. Many of the devotions this week have been focusing on ways we continue to worship even when we are not in the building. Just because we are not sitting in our Baptist assigned setting doesn’t change the fact we are always worshiping God. We are never alone; we will always have each other but most importantly we have God. Don’t forget to celebrate this time with God! You don’t have to have the ideal party to still celebrate with God the blessings of our Koinonia with Him!

In His love,

Rev. Cody

 
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Saturday, March 21, 2020
 

It is Well with My Soul is my favorite song in the hymnal. It is a song that makes me happy because it constantly points to an aspect that is not always easy to remember; no matter what the world gives you, your soul is with God and thus everything will be okay.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll, Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well with my soul,

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well (It is well) with my soul (with my soul) It is well, it is well with my soul.

My sin, O, the bliss of this glorious thought, My sin, not in part, but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll, The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, A song in the night, oh my soul!

It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well with my soul.

It helps us remember that through the stages of life we will be well because God holds on to our soul. As you sing the song you are proclaiming power within God, trust in God, but you’re also proclaiming a reminder that through it all there is always time for praise. Asking you to let the world play out and not be worried or on high alert is not productive or easy to do in this time, but we must hold true to remembering the promise God makes to us when we accept Him in our hearts. God will always have us for now and forever no matter what the world is going through or what we are going through.

Know it is well because God has your soul and don’t forget to praise Him through it all.

In His love,

Rev. Cody

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Friday, March 20, 2020

Perception is so important to the person. Depending on what we choose to perceive also holds our control, or at least of what we think of as control. Control is something humans have wanted from the very beginning of time. We like to know everything, and we like to have power, because with these we believe we are in control of life. Though, we never truly are in control, only God is.

True control is something that can’t be possessed by humans because it is God’s to begin with. But, we are created to have minds and understanding that sets us apart from other creation. We are created in the image of God to be able to live life. Life was never created so we would have control, but it was created so we could have perception on the important things, or in this case, of life. The first of the Ten Commandments is to have perception on God and God only. It is not to perceive something greater than God in our lives and create Idols.

Many times our perception of life and the world tries to encompass something that makes us think we are in control: routine, jobs, amount of money, or the amount of fame. But, really the power of perceptions lies on to whom you give that perception. Are you focused on God and what God calls us to do in this world? Are you focusing on the things you can control and leaving the rest of the control to God, or are you giving it all to God? This image is going around right now on social media to help us see what control we have in life during this pandemic. Sometimes in a time of great change we lose focus on what we can perceive and in return lose the little bit of control we think we have. In times like this the best thing we can do is focus on God and focus on what we are doing for God. Now is a great time to reflect on what we are putting our time and mental energy towards. Ask yourself these questions and reflect on how you can put your control back into God’s arms.

What are you focusing on right now? Is it Godly? What can you do to put your focus back on God?

In His love,

Rev. Cody

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

How many times have I prayed for some calmness to the chaotic-ness of the week? By no means do I believe that my prayers created a pandemic, but I do believe all things can be used in the power of Christ. Sometimes when we remove ourselves from some things that are so frequently applied in our lives we lose touch with the meaning behind it. I am an extroverted relationship pastor; I love being around people and having fellowship with contact. This has already been a hard time and quite frankly we still are at the tip of the iceberg. But with these things slowly being removed from my everyday routine I’m starting to grasp a better understanding of the need I have in my life for these simple routines--being around smiling faces and normality. I believe everything is a learning moment if we are strong enough to seek understanding and not look only at things at face value. In this time of Lent maybe understanding the things we are giving up without making it our goal will help us appreciate them more when we get them back. At least that is my goal. Once we see the end of the precautions that I remember the beauty in the small things and don’t take for granted normal everyday actions. Everything we do is a gift from God, maybe this is a time to remember that.

Some questions that I believe we all need to reflect on during this time:

What do you take for granted in your everyday life?

Have you forgotten that life itself is a gift?

Are you focusing on achieving more than appreciation of what you have already?

In His love,

Rev. Cody

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Don’t go to church. Be the Church.

Are there more important words to remember at this time? Many churches including ours is trying to navigate in uncharted waters. Many are battling with thinking about how they can still stream service or hold a bible study over the internet. Many are asking themselves how they can help the church still be the Church. I want us all to take a moment to reflect on what we think the church is:

When you hear the word Church what comes to mind?

What does the Church try to accomplish?

What is the purpose of the Church?

Matthew 28:18-20 New International Version (NIV)

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

Jesus comes and tells us the Church is to go into the world and give them Christ by showing them firsthand what Christ teaches us. In many ways, the thing we believe to be the church is a geographical place for this to take place but still hinders the true mission of the Church given by Christ himself. The Church is more than a building; it is the way we show Christ to others. The words we use, our reaction to situations out of our control, the way we love, and most importantly the focus of our minds demonstrate how we show Christ to others. Understand that during this time the buildings might be closed to gathering but the Church is not dead, obsolete, or even postponed. Every day we have the obligation to show the world Christ, and that is what we need to do. Make the world see the true Church, make them see God through you!

 

In His love,

Rev. Cody

 

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020                                                    

On this day of St. Patrick’s, I want to share a prayer of protection that is traditionally attributed to Saint Patrick during his Irish ministry in the 5th century. This prayer of protection also helps us see all the ways God is with us. In this time that is unprecedented and will be filled with major changes and stress, we do well to remember these words. We serve a Lord who promises to never abandon us, a Lord who loves us, and will always be present in our lives.

As many of you know already Crainville Baptist Church has cancelled all organized gatherings until the end of March. It was not an easy decision to be made but one that needed to happen as we help in protecting those who God has blessed us to care for. But even as this decision takes place and we start to change the normal aspects of how we work, it will never take away from the fact the church has never been the building. Even more now we must remember the church is all of us who have God living in us. Not only are we in fellowship with God always, we also are always the church.

Today I ask that you to read this prayer and remember all the protection God has bestowed on you, and I also want you to think about the last four proclamations in this prayer and think about how you are still at church.

Know you are prayed for and thought of by many. But also, that this time is a great time to show the power of God that works within you; what you say, what you do, what you share, and your outlook. Trust in Him, for there is no one better to hold your trust.

Just because we are not meeting in the building doesn’t mean the church is closed

In His love,

Reverend Cody