God Before Google

by Laura Courtney

I don’t think I’m alone in saying that when I don’t know the answer to something, I will often immediately Google it. I can remember doing it quite often when my daughter was first born. As a new mom, I realized how little I knew and how little prepared I felt to take care of this tiny, fragile life. So, what did I do? I Googled. Everything.

I don’t think I need to tell you that the internet has a lot of opinions. Blogs, forums, research statistics, social media… everybody is an expert on the internet it seems. And the topic of babies is no exception. I think I drove my husband a little crazy for those first few months as I would tell him of a new method for baby caring almost daily.

Now as mentioned, I was (and still consider myself to be) a new mom who felt ill prepared to say the least and inadequate most days. But in all my struggle and worry I started to forget to turn to the One source that I could truly count on for accurate and true data and info. (Hint: the answer is Jesus!)

Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

I realized, way too late if I may add, that I was skipping past God and going straight to Google for all my problems, worries, and questions. After all, isn’t that the benefit of having access to seemingly endless data literally right at our fingertips? We can ask any question we want and get plenty of answers instantly. But I know again that I don’t need to tell you that all that data and all those answers are easily manipulated, swayed, changed, and just straight up made up. While I might find some good ideas or resources online, it can be hard to trust a lot of the sources we find on the internet.

But the fact is we do have access to the most reliable and trustworthy resource we could ever need! (Hint: answer again is Jesus!) We should count ourselves fortunate and blessed to have easy and seemingly unlimited access to God’s Word – from bookstores to the app store, the Bible is available to us almost anywhere we go. Not to mention that God is always ready to listen. He doesn’t have office hours, PTO, or limited-service connection. God is just waiting for us to talk to Him every minute of every day.

So, I’d love to say this devo has a perfect and happy ending and once I realized my error, I went to God for everything and don’t worry about a thing with parenting anymore. But much like the internet, that’s not quite true. However, I did finally have that realization that I was going to Google more than God. I have been working on making sure I seek His guidance, wisdom, and words first before I ask anyone else. I don’t always do it in the right order, but I know that those moments when I pause to seek His word and will for my life give me more peace and direction than anything I can find online. Yes, I can still get stressed out at each new phase of parenthood. But I also can continually go to the One who is the only one able to guide me through it all with trustworthy advice.


Scripture Reading: March 26 & 27

A Blind Beggar Receives His Sight

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. (Luke 18:35-43 NIV)


Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:1-12 NIV)


God’s Rest

by Carlos the Coconut

As a creative individual/musician hobbyist I can sometimes get stereotyped as being sporadic and unplanned in habit. However, quite the opposite is true about me. It’s true I easily go with the flow and am very calm in demeanor (as most coconuts typically are), but I do enjoy an organized and planned schedule (which is why Miss Christina and I are such good friends). It is also a characteristic I share and quite enjoy about our Almighty God.

In some of my Bible reading this year, I came across a very thought-provoking commentary note in my Bible. In Hebrews 3:7-4:13, the writer discusses the concept of God’s rest in the Genesis account of creation. The commentary states the follow:

That rest is a Sabbath-rest that is modeled on God’s own rest on the seventh day of creation. Clearly “rest” does not indicate God is inactive. Instead “rest” implies that God completed his plan for every contingency that would arise through history. (I underline this here because it is now underlined in my Bible too for emphasis.)

Talk about an organized and thought-out plan! I feel good about myself if I can get my schedule for the week planned out in a day. God had all the contingency plans for the entire earth for all of its existence figured out and set in motion in six days.

The commentary went on to state, “As believers we enter God’s rest by trusting God to have the answer for every uncertainty we face, and we find those answers by listening to God’s guiding voice and responding, in faith, with obedience.”

Have you had some uncertainty in your life in the last year (or two)? Do you know and believe that none of it was a surprise to God? Nothing caught Him off guard. Nothing was out of His control. Nothing made Him scrap His plan and force Him to shift to Plan X. God has had the answers from that first week of creation. God has never lost control.

The second part of that last quote raises and equally important question: are you trusting and listening to God’s guiding voice and responding with obedience? You don’t have to know the answer or have a perfect 5-year plan. You just have to be attentive to His voice and His Word and be willing to trust and follow where He leads and calls you.

Hebrews 4:12-13 NIV says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

God’s Word is real, active and alive in our lives. Nothing can escape His omniscient power or fall out of His control. And we are all held accountable in the end for how we have chosen to listen, respond and obey.


Be Prepared

by Christina Hice

About two years ago a gentleman called the church; he had the wrong number. I don’t remember where he was trying to call but he called here. His name is Stanley, he is in his mid-sixties to seventies, and he speaks with the most delightful New York/Northern New Jersey accent. He continues to call, somewhat regularly; he called last week.

Stanley talked for about fifty minutes. When he calls, I just listen. It’s a challenge to get a word in edgewise with Stanley…he is both lonely and has a lot to talk about. He covers the spectrum from Romantic poets (think back to your English Lit class and Shelley and Blake) to the secular teachings of Jesus (I know…I was surprised there was such a thing also!). He seems well educated but lost.

And when he called this time, it was due to loss. His mom passed November 10, 2020, and he is struggling. He is struggling with that loss, with having no other family, with disconnection from neighbors during this pandemic, with legal issues, and, I think, with spiritual issues.

Stanley repeatedly tells me he is an atheist. He does not believe that God is real but does believe Jesus was a good man who walked this earth and had some excellent teachings on how to live. Yet in this conversation, Stanley asked me to send him some scripture because he was struggling so much. He asked for verses about peace because he is not resting and he is not at peace. He wanted some hope.

I emailed Stanley some scripture, but I also gently pointed out that knowing the Author is really where peace and hope are found, that verses separated from the One who authored them could be comforting in the moment but would not bring true peace.

We are two years into a global pandemic and there are many suffering and lost people who think they may need peace and want a little verse or platitude but who really need the Prince of Peace. Stanley cannot possibly be the only one. Somebody’s wrong number could be your opportunity to share the Hope that you have.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)

Lord, as we walk through our days, help us to be aware of every opportunity You give us to share our Hope in You. Help us to see and hear the brokenness and loss around us. Give us wisdom and boldness to lovingly speak your truth. And help our hearts to overflow with thankfulness and love for you, that we may share this with those you put in our path. Amen.


Burden Us, Lord

by Mark Schumacher

Barb and I read a news article last Fall that grabbed our hearts and did not let go. After each of us read it, we both shared immediately, “we cannot allow this to happen.” The story shared the unthinkable challenge many Afghan families were facing when they could not pay bills owed to local landowners or merchants – selling their children. Fortunately, when we investigated with the author and were directed to a group that was trying to help, we found we were part of a large group of people who also felt they had to help.

Thankfully, in the case we read, involving an eight-year old girl whose mother was grief stricken with such a prospect, financial help from hundreds of people would allow for a payment to go to the person who was prepared to take the little girl as payment. The financial help provided also was changing the previously bleak prospects of many families to ones of hope and security for their children.

This situation reminds me of the role we all have to reach a world that is destined to much worse than even the unthinkable destination these children faced – that of eternity in Hell without God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19 NIV – “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations.” Once we have accepted Jesus’s free gift of salvation and the promise of life eternal with Him, we are to share this news with others. Of course, this happens as we allow God to use us in the power of the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 13: 15-16 NIV says, “…let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others.”

As with the Afghan children I cannot imagine being sold, even more so, I cannot imagine dear ones I love or people God places along my path in life being subject to an eternity with Satan instead of a glorious and joyful eternity with God in His beautiful kingdom. As believers, we have so much to be thankful for as we celebrate this Easter season. We are reminded of all that Jesus endured for us, His indescribable love for us, His resurrection from the dead, and the promise He offers of eternal life with Him. We have a story to tell – who He is and what He has done for us!

Let that gift, promise, and hope encourage and inspire us to willingly carry a burden for those around us. May we be available to go where God wants to send and use us. And by serving and loving others as He leads us, let us be open to sharing the message of Jesus from His Word, as the Spirit leads and empowers us.

Dear Lord, allow each of us to willingly commit ourselves to your leading. Show us the people you would have us love on, serve and share your message of Jesus Christ with today and each day you want to use us. It is in the redeeming and powerful name of your son, Jesus Christ that we ask this. Amen.


Made in the Image of God

by Laurie Kuhn 

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27 ESV)                                                                                                                                      

My mother is a member of Northwest Baptist Church in Reisterstown, Maryland, and has been for years. Both my parents were a part of starting this church in 1968; my dad actually named it. He knew the state was going to build the Northwest Expressway next to the property where church was going to be built. I’m very proud of my parents for that.

Mom started volunteering in the nursery on Sunday mornings for the babies and toddlers. She said she was “babysitting” because the children were too small to teach a lesson to. She would hold the little ones, rock them while they would cry for Mommy, and take them for walks around the Sunday School rooms. There was, and still is I hope, a beautiful picture of Jesus on the wall in the nursery and Mom would point and show the little ones saying, “Jesus”.

My mom was there just about every Sunday morning for over 30 years. The Pastor would use her as an example when he preached about serving in the church. Mom didn’t like that. She would say there are lots of other people serving just as much as she is. She thought herself undeserving of the accolades. 

Mom told me of a time, after years of” babysitting”, when she was grocery shopping and a young mom with her two-year-old came toward her. They attended church at Northwest Baptist Church. The little one noticed Mom and, with a crooked little finger, pointed at Mom and said “Jesus”. 

Gee, I think they’re not too little to be taught a lesson, how about you? I love you, Mom.