Truly I Say

by Herman Crawford

I have mentioned in previous devotions, that I am intrigued by phrases used repeatedly in Scripture. I did a Lenten
devotional once on “walk worthy” or “walk in a manner worthy.” This is used only four times in the NASB20 translation but, for me, it is a convicting phrase.

Another phrase that is used often and therefore deserves some attention is one used by Jesus often in the New Testament — “Truly, I say.” This phrase is repeated about 75 times in the New Testament NASB20 translation. So, what exactly does this phrase mean? It is a term of strong, intense affirmation. It means firm. It means trustworthy. The Greek for “truly” is “amen” and is the word we use to end our prayers (in the name of Jesus, we pray, Amen). It means that everything we have just spoken to God in our prayer is trustworthy, It is true. You can take it to the bank. The only one who uses this
expression in the New Testament is Jesus. And again, He uses it some 75 times. In the book of John, Jesus really
emphasizes this phrase: “Truly, truly I say” and he uses it about 25 times. He is literally saying – “Amen and amen.” Every use of “amen” or “truly” by Jesus serves to affirm what He is about to say and, consequently, we need to pay close
attention to the instruction and/or teaching that follows.

What are some of the “Truly, I say” verses that stand out to me? Try these:

Matthew 10:42 — And whoever gives one of these little ones just a cup of cold water to drink in the name of a disciple, truly I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”
What little ones? What reward?

Matthew 13:17 — For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Longed to see and hear what?

Matthew 26:21 — And as they were eating, He said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.”
If Jesus knew about the betrayal, why didn’t He do something to stop it?

Mark 14:30 — And Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you, that this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times.”
Have you ever denied Christ? Would you deny Jesus?

John 3:3 — Jesus responded and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Will you see the kingdom of God?

John 5:24 — “Truly, truly, I say to you, the one who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
You have heard; now, do you believe?

Look at these verses as well as others listed within the New Testament; see what Jesus feels so strongly about. Answer the questions with each of the verses above – understand what Jesus is saying.

And I will leave you this one to think about from Matthew 25:12 – “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.” As we enter the Lenten season, think about these words from Jesus. I pray that these are not words reserved for you and yours.

Prayer: Father, thank you for Your Word. Help us to understand the importance of reading and understanding what You have for us. Help us to understand that we cannot love You without knowing You and we cannot really know You without Your Word. Bless us during this Easter season. Amen.


The Potter

by Sharon Luckenbaugh

“Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter, we are the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

Recently on a Saturday morning, my daughter Erin and I drove through the scenic country roads of northern Virginia until we came to the potter’s workshop. After months of waiting and anticipation, we finally arrived at our pottery class. We were both excited to learn the process of preparing the clay and making our pottery piece. After introductions and a cup of coffee to take off the winter chill, the potter demonstrated how to prepare the clay and create a piece on the pottery wheel. She shared techniques using the fingers and hands to form the clay into the desired shape. The right amount of water had to be applied to the clay to keep it moist and malleable. The clay had to remain at the center of the wheel as it was being formed. A solid and secure foundation had to be established. If not, the vessel could break while being fired. My turn came at the pottery wheel. I learned very quickly my need to be humble, teachable, and laugh at my mistakes. It was obvious I was not an experienced potter. The foundation to my vessel collapsed-twice and almost flew off the wheel. Clay can certainly have a mind of its own! Just like us. The potter was patient with me, reminding me again of the techniques I needed to use. She provided encouragement. The potter’s workshop was full of finished vessels. This inspired me to persevere and finish my coffee mug.

Over the past few weeks of reflection, my brief time at the pottery wheel reminds me of our Heavenly Father, the potter and creator of our lives. His word provides instruction on how to live this life here on Earth. The potter is patient as He instructs and guides me on my spiritual journey. A journey that began at a young age. I can easily waver in my faith, lose my focus on God, and disobey His word. Yet, time and time again, He continues to shape me into his likeness. The world and the enemy are relentless in trying to distract me from my relationship with God. The devil would love nothing more than to remove me from my relationship with Him. I need to come before Him daily and keep my eyes fixed on the potter, my Heavenly Father.

Despite the world’s attempt to distract and crush us, God’s promises help us to remain steadfast and persevere in our spiritual walk. One day we will meet the potter face to face. The potter who has patiently molded and made us into His likeness.

Thank you God for your unconditional love for us. Thank you for sending your son Jesus to reconcile and save us. We are grateful for His sacrifice and the life we now can have through Him.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come. All this is from God, who reconciled us and himself in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5: 17, 18


Live in the Victory

by Pastor Josh Trojak

In full disclosure, I am writing this devo the day after the Super Bowl. For many of the Eagles fans in our area, that was a tough ending to a hard-fought game. That is the reality of a big game like this. One team will leave elated, and the other will go home disappointed. I am not here to talk about what side of that game you choose. Some of you might even be asking, what game? No matter what your opinion on this big game was, it brought to light an important reminder for me.

For most of us who are not directly on the field, the outcome does not change our life at all. I remember my team winning the Super Bowl and I also remember them losing. In both cases, when I woke up the next morning my day had to continue on. As I drove my kids to school I watched as life went on as it does most mornings. There were people buying coffee at Dunkin, traffic was slow at the circle due to the bus traffic, many were already in their work day while others were on their way, kids were filing out of buses to start their day of school, and I was on Old Hanover road headed to the church towards the usual weekly tasks.

Most of the big popular things in life don’t ultimately change our future plans. But there is one thing that should cause major change. What Jesus did for us was gigantic and sometimes we treat it like the day after the Super Bowl. We say “that’s cool” and then move on without any change. The gift of grace God gave us through sending His son for us is one that should cause us to live far differently today than we did yesterday. We shouldn’t go back to the status quo of yesterday.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

The stuff of yesterday may have little impact on your today, but the gift of salvation from Jesus should have all the impact in the world. Live today in light of that victory!


Scripture Reading: John 14:1-14

Jesus Comforts His Disciples
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Jesus the Way to the Father
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.


Flip Flops

by Lauri Kuhn

JOB 33:14-18 (NLT) “For GOD speaks again and again, in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men as they lie on their beds. He opens their ears in times like that, and gives wisdom and instruction, causing them to change their minds, and keeping them from pride, and warning them of the penalties of sin, and keeping them from falling into some trap.”

In September 2022, a few friends and I went on a Discover Mission trip to Anadarko, Oklahoma. We went to see how the ministries and the Sullivans were doing. The Sullivans were still recovering from Covid, but doing well, and the ministries were thriving again. On the journey home, we had decided before hand to stop at the Ark Encounter. We arrived in the small town we would spend the night, get up early and go to the Ark Encounter, then head back home.

Well, I needed a brush and the Dollar General was close to the hotel we were staying at. As we pulled up, the store had a shopping cart full of flip-flops for $0.25. I heard that small voice in my ear say, “They would be good for the DR.” NO! I thought. I just wanted to go get my brush and go to the hotel and rest after driving all day. The next morning, one of the friends on the trip said she really liked the brush I got and asked if we could go back to the store so she could get one. Sure! So, we pulled up to the store and the flip-flop cart was still there. I ask the LORD,” Do you still want me to get these flip-flops?” “Go get them”, He said.

My friends and I pushed the cart in the store, and told the girls working at the register that we would like all the flip-flops. We start packing the flip-flops in boxes, so we have the same amount in each box. The girl at the register said they had more in the back. Eureka!

Then chaos ensued. They couldn’t figure out how to ring up all the flip-flops up on the register, and customers were lining up. Meanwhile, we’re telling the girls where they would be going – to the DR! Turns out, one of the girls at the register was the manager and says, “You can have them all for $10. We need to get rid of them to make space in the store.” Over 200 pair of flip-flops for $10! Thank you, Jesus! After packing the flip-flops in the car both my friends hand me money for the purchase. I paid nothing for them!

Listen to that small voice, it just may be the voice of GOD!


Full Circle

by Crystal Johnson

On Sunday, January 22, 2023, I sat in the sanctuary and watched as my son became a member of Christ’s American Baptist Church. This is something he did fully on his own, without any encouragement from me or his father. Yes, we were very happy that Gage decided to take this big step and so extremely proud of him. However, the decision was his and his alone. Becoming a member of the church was not something I was going to “push” him into.

As I was sitting there in the sanctuary taking it all in as Pastor Josh spoke about how Gage literally grew up here at CABC and has been a part of things since he was a toddler, a thought popped into my head, “huh, we’ve come full circle”. The verse from Proverbs 22:6 immediately came to mind. This verse is special to me for several reasons! It is the verse that CABC Preschool identifies with, and strives for above all other teaching. Training a child to go in the way they should go… listening to God’s words, knowing of Christ’s love for them, serving their Lord and Savior. This is my main goal for the children that go through CABC Preschool each year. “When they are old, they will not depart from it.” It is our prayer that even after these kiddos leave CABC Preschool, a piece of this knowledge, love and servant heart will go with them, so that when they are older, teenagers, adults, they will still have that knowledge, or have expanded on it over the years.

As a young mom I was careful and adamant about raising Gage and later his younger sister in the way they should go. I grew up knowing about Jesus and believing Him and His Heavenly Father. I knew Christmas was because of Christ’s birth and Easter was because of His crucifixion and resurrection. I knew Christ was the Savior of the world and the only way to get to Heaven was through Him. However, when I was older, in my teens and early adulthood (particularly after Gage was born and my Grandfather passed away) I really struggled. Not so much with faith, just lack of proof, lack of evidence of God in my life, lack of knowledge. I vowed that my children would not feel that way. And so, we went to church.

Gage was dedicated to the Lord (at CABC), he attended Sunday School classes, he attended VBS, we attended Easter Family Fun Days, he was a part of the live Nativities on Christmas Eves, as he got older, he started volunteering for things. Small things at first, like manning a game at the Fall Fest., when he started playing guitar he started to play on Wednesday evenings for the Pulse Worship. He started helping at VBS when he was too old to participate. I could keep going, but my point is, Gage grew up at CABC and NOW he is a member of CABC as an adult.

God has brought Gage around full circle in his life here at CABC. Psalms 138:8 says “The Lord will bring to an end or to completion that which is about me.” Gage did not depart from the way he was brought up when he became a young adult, even though it is so easy for young adults to lose their way or fall away from their upbringings, especially spiritually, for however long it may be. I could almost feel God’s hand patting me on the back, saying, “Well done, Mom! You started him on the way he should go.” This was not about me, all I can say is, “Thank you, Lord. All glory and honor and praise are yours! Gage is yours.”

I don’t what other “circles” God has in mind for Gage, I’m sure there are many! What I do know is that He will complete the works He starts. Full circle.