All devotions are written by our Founding Pastor Bill Elliff. More blogs and books from Bill at

Malachi 2 | Blessing and Cursings

“And now this commandment is for you, O priests. If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the Lord of hosts, “then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart. ( Malachi 2:1-2 )   God is the creator of every blessing we have ever known. The beauty of a sunrise, the glory of a new child are both from God. Everything your eye can see that is a blessing to you is from the One who loves you and made you.   But there is another side to God. God can send great judgment when needed. God’s judgment can be compared to God’s use of pain in the human body. When pain comes, it alerts us to something that needs to be adjusted … a change to be made.   God has a plan for our lives and that plan is “good, acceptable, and perfect” ( Romans 12:2 ). When we cooperate in faith with God, our lives find order and beauty and life as it was designed to be. But, if

Malachi 1 | Treating God Right

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? and if I am a master, where is My respect?” says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name. ( Malachi 1:6 )   It’s a common statement and very understandable. “You’re not treating me right,” a wife might say to her husband or vice versa. What they mean is, “I’m your mate and you made a vow to me that you’re not fulfilling.”   As is true in a marriage or a family or a relationship, it is also true (and even more so) in our relationship to God.   HIS PLACE   God created us. He made us and then He sent His Son to buy us back from sin and Satan when we wandered from Him. Twice over we belong to Him. Every breath we have is by His grace. Every “good and perfect gift” comes from Him. All we are and have is purely because of Him.   Many of us have surrendered our lives to His leadership and control and embraced Him by faith as our Savior and Master. The question must be asked, “What doe

Nehemiah 13 | No One Is Immune

“Did not Solomon king of Israel sin regarding these things? Yet among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless, the foreign women caused even him to sin.” ( Nehemiah 13:26 )   Most people think they’re immune. That it won’t affect them. Most believe that they can compromise with sin and not be affected.   But no one is above the subtle effects of sin.   A CLASSIC EXAMPLE   Nehemiah, in Chapter 13, is reprimanding the Israelite people because they have made multiple compromises. One of which was marrying women who worshipped false gods. God knew that this would pull them away from the most important place, which is worshiping the one true God alone.   As an illustration, he cites Solomon, the wisest man on the earth in his day. And yet, Solomon disobeyed God in one thing as he married foreign women who turned his heart away.   This story is for us. If we begin to make compromises with the world and run

Nehemiah 12 | The Necessity of Big Moments

Then I had the leaders of Judah come up on top of the wall, and I appointed two great choirs ( Neh 12:31 )   I have noticed something fascinating and helpful lately. We have been preaching through the life of David and last week we came to his final act as King in 1 Chronicles 28-29 .    At this moment, David called all the people together. He cast vision for the building of the temple (which his son, Solomon was to build), and then he, then the leaders, then the people gave a great offering. It was a huge, corporate vision-casting and course-directing moment.   Nehemiah does the same, recorded in Nehemiah 8-12. As they finish rebuilding the temple and restoring the wall, Nehemiah appoints choirs who stand on top of the wall on either side, and there is a great celebration.    ... on that day they offered great sacrifices and rejoiced because God had given them great that the joy of Jerusalem was heard from afar. ( Neh 12:43 ).    In addition to this, Nehemiah led the people t

Nehemiah 11 | Honoring Those Who Serve The Lord

And the people blessed all the men who volunteered to live in Jerusalem. ( Nehemiah 11:2 )   There are some among us who are called to serve the Lord and His purposes full-time. This is not a mere duty, but a calling. And, these should be honored among us.   THE MEN OF JERUSALEM   In Nehemiah’s day, the great task was the rebuilding of the wall around the Holy City. But although the walls were built, the city inside was not. But the city needed men to protect her from her enemies.   A tenth of the men, (a tithe), was chosen for this task. They were to move from their houses and lands and occupy a place on the wall to protect it.   The people blessed these men. They honored them for their faithful service to this holy task.   And, we should do so today.   Lord, thank You for the men and women who serve You among us. All of us are compelled to serve You, but thanks for the ones who are called out to perform special service to shepherd and protect the family of God. Help us to bless and h

Nehemiah 10 | The 3-Fold Value of Giving First Fruits

Nehemiah 10 and that they might bring the first fruits of our ground and the first fruits of all the fruit of every tree to the house of the Lord annually, 36 and bring to the house of our God the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, and the firstborn of our herds and our flocks as it is written in the law, for the priests who are ministering in the house of our God. 37 We will also bring the first of our dough, our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the new wine and the oil to the priests at the chambers of the house of our God, and the tithe of our ground to the Levites, for the Levites are they who receive the tithes in all the rural towns. 38 The priest, the son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes, and the Levites shall bring up the tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers of the storehouse.   When nationwide revival came to the people of Israel, they realized that one of the things they had failed to do was to bring God’

Nehemiah 9 | The Cycle of Our Sin and God's Grace

“But as soon as they had rest, they did evil again before You. Therefore You abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they ruled over them. When they cried again to You, You heard from heaven, and many times You rescued them according to Your compassion. ( Nehemiah 9:28 )   “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it; prone to leave the God I love.” The hymn writer captured in a sentence what is universally true of man. Our humanity is weak, the devil is strong, and the world pulls us relentlessly away from God. Even those who have come into a relationship with Christ still wander at times.   God made us, so He knows this truth. And, He has made an incredible provision. It’s called “grace.” Grace is the unmerited favor of God. It is His goodness extended to us in spite of our rebellion. This compassion makes possible a cycle that occurs over and over again with people and nations. It’s a cycle that we are in right now and if we don’t properly understand it we may not cooperate with Go