Monday, October 16, 2017

Tithing where you are

Tithing where you are
S-Malachi 3
8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. 11 Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts. 12 “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts.
13 “Your words have been arrogant against Me,” says the Lord. “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we have walked in mourning before the Lord of hosts? 15 So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up but they also test God and escape.’”

O- Malachi writes that God has spoken to him that his people needed to quit robbing him of the simple offering of a tithe. Malachi comes as the priest after the exiles return from Babylon, rebuild the walls of Jerusalem under Nehemiah, and begin restoring the nation of Israel. Malachi‘s words here indicate the need to get back to the basics, and one of the Basics is putting your trust in Him through the simple offering of 10 percent of the provision God has already blessed you with. This principle comes with a promise, when you put your trust in the Lord, acknowledge him in all that you have and all that you do, he will open up his treasures in heaven for you.

A- The application for me today is to  get my tithes and offerings realigned to our new home church here in Bremerton. I have likely waited too long to do so as we seek to make sure this church is our home church. I have kept my tithes and offerings going to New Hope in a Oahu because I know our hearts are still there. But God is showing me that we are to make this our home church and leave down this offering at his church his feet and trusting his ways.

P-Dear heavenly father, thank you for today’s lesson may it be forever sealed it to my heart. Lord thank you for growing me in this trust and obedience of your love and your provision. The lesson of tithing I have learned before, the lesson to trust you with this tithe. I look forward to the blessings you pour out on this church and my family here in Bremerton, not for my glory but for yours.  I pray all this in Jesus Christ name, amen.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The source of my strength

The source of my strength
s-Nehemiah 6
15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 When all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God. 

O- The Scripture comes right after Nehemiah gather a team to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem. Now there was much going against what he was trying to accomplish, many people did not wish to see the wall built, but Nehemiah persevered. What is most interesting and relevant is that the people who were against him in this endeavor lost their confidence because they recognize the work I’ve been accomplished with the help of God, and who are they to go against God. This was likely due to Nehemiah letting everyone know where his strength came from Kerry of the mission

A- The application for me is to first recognize where my strength comes from, the Lord. In all that I do if I do it for the lord then it needs to also be obvious to those I am serving and to those around me who may oppose me. Because in my life there will be adversaries and foes who do not support what I am trying to accomplish in the name of the Lord. I must let them know not so that they are scared but so that when God helps me accomplish the task at hand I can easily give God all the glory, and their hearts can be changed

P- dear heavenly father thank you for today’s devotion, may it be sealed to my heart. Lord I pray that you give me a heart of Nehemiah as a leader, who is passionate about the mission, who knows how to lead, and puts his trust in you. Help me to ensure I give you all the glory to those around me at work at home and in the community, so that they will know where my strength comes from.  I pray this in Jesus Christ name amen.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Leading Change

S -Nehemiah 2

Nehemiah Inspects Jerusalem’s Walls
11 So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12 And I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. I did not tell anyone what my God was putting into my mind to do for Jerusalem and there was no animal with me except the animal on which I was riding. 13 So I went out at night by the Valley Gate in the direction of the Dragon’s Well and on to the Refuse Gate, inspecting the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were consumed by fire. 14 Then I passed on to the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was no place for my mount to pass. 15 So I went up at night by the ravine and inspected the wall. Then I entered the Valley Gate again and returned. 16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I had done; nor had I as yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials or the rest who did the work.
17 Then I said to them, “You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach.” 18 I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king’s words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, “Let us arise and build.” So they put their hands to the good work. 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard it, they mocked us and despised us and said, “What is this thing you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” 20 So I answered them and said to them, “The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem.

O- The book of Nehemiah is a reflection on what a leader needs to do when he goes to rebuild. In this case Nehemiah has been given permission by Nebuchadnezzar to restore Jerusalem. Once Nehemiah arrives the first thing he does is takes a few good men with him to inspect the wall. He did so somewhat in secrecy so as not to arouse suspicion in fear in those in and outside of Jerusalem. Once complete with his inspection he knew what he needed to, to carefully recruit people to rebuild the wall while being politically sensitive to those in leadership in and around Jerusalem.

A-The application for me is one of learning to lead change. Almost all organizational change comes with great risk organizationally, but promises great potential. What Nehemiah does skillfully is ensures he Follows a couple of principles in leading this change. 
1.First he takes and builds a coalition trusted advisors.
  1. He does a gap analysis of what is to what should be.
  2. Then he announces his plan for change, and the source of his authority. In this case it came from both Nebuchadnezzar, and from God, two very credible sources.

P-dear heavenly father thank you for this morning‘s devotion may it be sealed to my heart.  Lord I pray that you would help me to apply this lesson to my own leadership of people that you have placed before me in the organizations that you have called me to lead. I pray that you give me the homeowners of heart in the words of wisdom to lead this kind of change, that you had Nehemiah lead. I pray this in Jesus Christ name, amen.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The humble will be exalted

The humble will be exalted
S Luke 18
9 And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

O - Holy Spirit thank you for today's message. I prayed for guidance for a situation at work I am facing and at first read of this passage I didn't get it and now I do. This parable is about me. Who at times places too much trust in myself that I am righteous and at times views those who report to me with contempt because they are not acting in a disciplined manner or like I am ( I.e. Arrogant). Jesus is delivering the parable to his disciples so they understand their role is not to judge but to repent, to lead humbly and help others come to repentance. The picture he gives is of the Pharisee praying a long prayer how good he is versus the sinner who in few words repents.  God wants us to know those who humble themselves will be exalted in those who exalt themselves will be humbled.

A-The application is definitely for me is to be wary of my own self righteousness.   Throughout my life I have gone through many challenges where I felt incompetent and unworthy to do the job I was in. But God found a way to help me through those times despite my incompetency. my humble spirit is what allowed him to lead me and allowed me to hear him.  What I have to understand now is those I lead at times are feeling equally incompetent and I must do for them as Jesus has done for me. I must listen and wait for a humble spirit willing to listen. If I bulldoze my way in to give direction, it was not well received. Even the humble in spirit feel an offense when they are not ready to receive help.  I must remember to give each individual that the choice to choose to seek help.  Well that doesn't mean the passive and watch someone go to their destruction,  but it does mean that like Jesus has done for me, I wait watch and protect those he has given me to shepherd.  When someone is in harms way and unable to protect themselves I am obligated to be a good shepherd and Step in.

P- dear heavenly father, thank you for this message this morning. I pray that you would help me to be a good leader and wise counselor, and a good shepherd like Jesus. I pray this in Jesus Christ name, amen.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Forgiving like christ

Forgiving like Christ does
S Luke 17
1 He said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

O-This  passage in Luke reminds me of a conversation I had with my own kids just yesterday. Jesus here is saying to the disciples there is innocence in men still, and in its purest form we have the children.  Children have not yet been worn down by the worlds ways and are in many cases closer to God's original intention for his creation, than us world torn adults. It is because of our evil ways, and in the influence of the devil in this world that our children become like us eventually separated from God because of sin.  God gives a warning that the person who is a stumbling block to repentance and reconnecting with God is much worse off than a simple sinner them selves. But then Jesus goes on to describe gods grace.   He says if a brother comes to you and repents we are to forgive them.   Because Jesus knows our cynical heart, he describes what we are to do if that same person sins against you seven times a day, he explains we are to forgive him even then. You see we think Grace is earned, God thinks Grace is his to give.  God would like us to be more and more like his son Jesus each and every day therefore we must learn to forgive with the grace that God does.

A - The application for me is actually very simple because of how Jesus has set the words and example to me what God's grace is. I need to forgive and show grace like Jesus does. Oh that doesn't mean I have to be soft on sin.  It means I have to hate the sin and not hate the sinner. It means that I can hold my brothers accountable but when in repentance comes I must be willing to freely give forgiveness. The second part of forgiveness is forgetfulness, in becoming more like Christ. No longer can I go back and hold onto the previous in on that person's account, I must move forward as if it never occurred. This could be a big challenge but I am confident through Christ all things are possible even in me a sinner who judges and holds grudges.

P-Dear heavenly father thank you for today's devotion. May it be sealed to my heart. Lord I pray that you would help me to respond to sin like Jesus did, and help me to give grace and forgiveness like you have exampled through your son.I pray this all in Jesus Christ name, amen.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Unrighteous leadership corrected

S - Luke 16

1 Now He was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions.2 And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ 3 The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4 I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes.’ 5 And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He *said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light. 9 And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.

O -  Wow, I hope I get this observation right, I am sensing I have a new understanding of this parable that Jesus is telling his disciples. He is telling of a manager who is not doing such a great job. The master is about to discipline and take away all his authority, when the manager decides to act very shrewdly and forgive debts of those fellow managers which will bring him favor with them even if he gets fired. In the end the master gives praise to the unrighteous manager because he acted shrewdly. Then comes the warning that Israels leaders in that age Jesus was in would not act shrewdly in their case. I believe that Jesus was telling this to his disciples so they would not be like the Pharisees who had not been acting as unrighteous managers of God's people when Jesus came down to correct them. He will be replacing the leadership of God's people with his disciples, and the Pharisees didn't see it coming, and those who did didn't act as shrewdly as the unrighteous manager did.  

A- The application for me is not to be arrogant that I am on the sides of the disciples and Jesus, but that I am more likely to act like Pharisees if I don't guard my heart seek Jesus, and follow the Holy Spirit. For me this does happen periodically I can think of times when I became confident in myself, or confident in my position, and have allowed my extreme discipline and high standards to take me too far in my leadership of my people. I recognize that it is good to have high standards, or understand the standards of God, but I must recognize all fall short and God's grace and love is sufficient to bridge the gap. For me my leadership I must also understand the high standard on which I desire us to operate, but so there is sufficient grace and love to bridge the gap between where we long to be and where we are.

P-dear heavenly father, thank you Lord for this morning's devotion and your revealing of this parable of the unrighteous servant. I believe Lord you were speaking directly to my heart as a follower of Jesus, and a leader of men. Lord help transform my mind and heart in this leadership role you have placed me in here at Puget Sound Naval shipyard, help me to lead like Jesus. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The source of our strength and peace

The source of our strength and peace
S- Psalm 147
10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The Lord favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness.
12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your sons within you.
14 He makes peace in your borders; He satisfies you with the finest of the wheat.

O- this song is for those like me who at times and allow pride to get in our way. God's people because they follow him often times find themselves in favorable situations.  This can leave them falsely to the conclusion that your hard work and their talents have gotten them to this place of peace and abundance. And that's the cycle that men and women of God begin to delight in their own strengths and lose their reverence for what the Lord is doing in their lives. This song is an exhortation and a warning.

A-The application for me is to be both encouraged by this song, and cautious of myself righteousness. I am to be encouraged because God is with me he favors me because I fear him and wait on him. He allows me to be disciplined when I rely on my own strength he allows me to be bound by this world when I begin to feel free from him.  God is faithful to me either way, but I know the way in which I desire to live is one in which I fear the Lord and trust in him.

P- dear heavily father thank you for today's devotion,  for its simplicity and for its depth.  Lord I pray that you help me to walk this walk that you have described here in which I am to genuinely fear and have reverence of you and never forget you are in my life and in this world.  Lord thank you for the many many blessings you've already given in lord if I haven't done it enough I want to give you praise glory and honor for the piece you brighten to my family and my life in the strength knowledge and skills you have blessed me with. I pray all of this in Jesus name, amen.