Monday, June 19, 2017

receiving the fullness of Gods love

S-1Tim 1

5 The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. 6

O- Paul lays out for Timothy the purpose of hearing the gospel and studying God's word.  So that we might be filled with God's love.     In order to make room fully for God's love in our life our heart, mind and soul  need to be clear and pure.  Over time in this life we become weighted down and calcified by sin and our experiences that our wounds and scars begin pushig out  room for the fullness of God's love.  But we see that in Christ we are made new,  able to break the bondages of the past and live in the freedom and fullness of a future with the fullness of God.

A -  The application for me is to reach back for the fullness of God that I have once had, but even more importantly reach forward to to the fullness of God's love that He has waiting for me.   I can relate very much to the character Mackenzie from the Shack who had many past scars and hurts that were preventing him from  receiving and understanding God's love.  But love always finds a way and never gives up.   Today I am choosing to forgive God for allowing my past hurts to occur, and reaching out a hand to receive the fullness of His love... because He is a good good father, that's who He is.

P - Dear Papa, thank you for breaking through to a scarred and wounded sinner like me and saving me from myself and my sin.   I confess the season of struggle and sadness has surrounded me for far to long and have been mad at you for allowing me to go through it.   I trust in and love you Lord, and ask your forgiveness for my past sins, and that you would show me the fullness of your love.  In Jesus name, Amen.     Love Joe

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Triple braided cord

S - Ecclesiastes 2
7 I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun. 8 This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, “Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?” It is all so meaningless and depressing.

9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

O - I  am so thankful God has gifted me with wife and kids.  Solomon points out this blessing here in ecclesiastes which at  times can be a little negative but he really points out to me that life is meanigless without anyone to share your life with and without people to live for.  Secondly he points out that the strength of having someone who has your back and is standing for  you is so much better than being alone;  even more so is three braided cord for it is not easily broken.

A -  For Abby and I this is the image we have of our marriage, a triple braided cord in which Christ is the third cord that helps strengthen us.    This truth is proven over and over and of recent when I felt like a weak strand,  and the strength of Christ helped hold us together,  and Abby strength to back me up and wait patiently on me and Lord has helped us through a valley season.   My heart has had trouble seeing the positive in cirumstances of late, and this scripture helps me understand that God is with me, I am blessed to have Abby by my side, and that I should hang on to this important triple braided relationship.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, please help me see things through your eyes,  my heart and mind are not seeing clearly in many circumstances and i so desire to see things your ways, so I may rejoice in what you are doing, instead of disparing over what is not happening.   Plant this wisdom in my heart, and change my mind, so that I might embrace and celebrate the triple braided cord.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Learning who God "is"

S - Deut 4

29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

Psalm 36
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
    you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light we see light.

O-  My observation is influenced heavily by the imagery and story of "The Shack".   I realize that God has given us his word and many examples in the bible of who He is and how much he loves us.    The movie helped me colorize the picture that I have of God, and how my own past hurts influence this picture I have.    God is...  there is no changing who He is, however we all have so many different perceptions of who He is and what He should do,  we can have a unclear or even false picture.  This scripture exorts us to seek the Lord with all our heart, and He will reveal himself to you.   David is the psalm proclaims how priceless God's love is ,  he knows this because he has spent his life seeking him.

A -  The application for me is to recognize that I must continue to seek the Lord and be transformed into the understanding of who He truly is, and not hampered by the hurts, sins, and lies of my past.   God is the same,  only I am changing in my understanding of who He is.  I can trust though in His unfailing love, and goodness,  and must wait on the Lord to continue to do a work in my beautiful mess of a life,  always asking the Holy Spirit to help me weed and sow, and nurture what is of God. 

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would continue to heal and reveal to me who you are, and help me to life and love with an understanding of who you want and need me to be.  I pray  all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Serving confident in Gods provision

S- Mark

17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
“Twelve,” they replied.
20 “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
They answered, “Seven.”
21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

O-  My observation is to see myself sitting in that same boat with the disciples having toured with Jesus, in the moment of wearniness and trying to understand why Jesus said beware the yeast of th pharisses.    The yeast of the pharisee is thinking of what is good for you and worrying about your own needs, vice giving thanks to the Lord and trusting in His provision.   Jesus point to the disciples is to remind them of this more than bountiful provision god.

A -  the application to me is to never forget again the abundant provision the Lord has given me, and not allow my thoughts and actions to be driven by a fear of not having something, or comparing my provision with someone elses's.     My attitude should be to be that of a servant wherever God's has me.

P - Dear heavenly father, thank you for you provisio and for your grace.  I recognize how much you have provided in my life and my hearts desire is to steward it well.   Lord give me the mind of Christ, so I might process things through His eyes.  In Jeus name I pray.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Correcting back to love

S  - 1 cor 13

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.

O-  I know our devotions go to this love chapter for a reason, and Paul goes here for a reason as well.  Love is God, and God is love, and in love lies the perfect plan of God.   It is here that Paul reminds us of the attributes of love, because we are God's instruments of love and need to behave accordingly.  Not just to discipline ourselves to do the things of love, like being kind, not easily angered,  not keep record of wrongs,  etc,  because this is both the character of our God and the character our hearts should desire to portray.

A -  I confess I lost sight of God's love for me and my love for others according to the scripture.  I would start with my wife and kids, and move outward to members of the church and into the workplace and the world around me.    I confess I have let envy, self seeking, anger,   and keeping records of wrongs to taint my perspective of life and my attitude toward others.

P - Dear lord,  forgive me for having wandered from the love you have shown me, and not carrying forward in my love of others.  I pray Lord that you ignite the fire in me o be a agood and faithful follower who loves my wife, kids, friends, and those in my life well.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Sabbath revealed

S -
Number 15
32 While the Israelites were in the wilderness, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, 34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. 35 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” 36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Mark 3
4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

O -  Here we see two opposing views of the Sabbath, and it often forces me to ask am I too emphathetic to the man in numbers who is stoned for gathering wood on the sabbath, and yet the pharisees are continually try to catch Jesus working on the sabbath, and Jesus intentionally uses this a learning moment.  The truth in scripture says God/Jesus are the Lord of the Sabbath, and they determine what is righteous and what is not.   The Lord created the sabbath for man, for rest and reflection.   Only God can judge the hearts of men to know the intentions of mens hearts.  In the case of the numbers wood gather, the lord assessed the intentions of the mans heart and determined it was not for good and therefore judged him righteously.   In the case of Jesus,  he realized mens hearts had been hardened and become too religious because they would literally see God at work, and yet condemn the works of the Lord on the sole basis it was on the sabbath.

A -  The  application for me is to bring my hearts intentions on the sabbath before the Lord and test my own intentions and be ready for correction and direction.  I  have probably become complacent in my love of the sabbath without utilize it for a time of rest and reflection on what the Lord is doing and saying, and simply using it for my own recreation.

P -  Dear God, help me honor the sabbath, in a way that honors you and your intent for the sabbath in my life. In Jesus name, amen.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

wait on the Lord

S- Acts 27
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?
....
    the Lord will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Lord;
    lead me in a straight path
    because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
    for false witnesses rise up against me,
    spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

O-   Davids psalms always set the example for me.     In times when my faith is strong and life is good they are words that embolden me to walk in confidence in the Lord's plan in my life.   In times of uncertainty or despair, they are words and truth to hold onto, the lord is my salvation and stronghold and is working to lead me and clar the path for His ways in my life. 

A -  The application for me is to recognize that I am coming out of a season uncertainty and to some extent despair, but it is clear the Lord has been making the way before me,  and I need to remain confident that I will continue to see the goodness of the Lord , if I continue to wait on Him.

P - Dear heavenly father, I pray no for strength to press through today and the next few months hanging on to you, I pray for an encouragement and strengthening of my heart to move forward with confidence and faith in the road ahead.  Lord heal me of my doubts, protect me from my fears, and help me keep my eyes on you.  In Jesus name, amen.