Friday, November 17, 2017

speaking humbly, writing boldly

Writing boldly, speaking softly
1 Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! 2 I ask that when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.
7 You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we. 8 For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame, 9 for I do not wish to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters. 10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.” 11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present.
12 For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. 13 But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for we were the first to come even as far as you in the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting beyond our measure, that {is,} in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you, 16 so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, and not to boast in what has been accomplished in the sphere of another. 17 But he who boasts is to boast in the Lord. 18 For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.

O-I almost got lost in Paul‘s dissertation here, not because it was it clear, but because I feel it mimics my own reality. What Paul is speaking to the church in Corinth is about who he is. Since Paul has established the church in Corinth, left, and sent letters back giving guidance I.e. 1 Corinthian’s.Here in second Corinthians we see Paul needing to explain to the people of Corinth that while he is with them he may appear humble and meek, yet in letters bold and pressing. His truth is that he is both , both kind and compassionate, and at bold in demanding. Paul goes on to explain this boldness doesn’t come from himself, therefore is not arrogance, but his strength comes from the Lord and therefore is righteous.

A-The application for me is to live a life like Paul, to be a leader like Paul, and to be a servant of Christ like Paul. I see Paul’s boldness in myself, not yet perfected, yet building into a Christ center leader who boldly can speak the truth, in love. The mistakes I’ve made in the past have been to expect people to recognize who I am and who I represent. When disrespected, or minimized I respond and elevate from my place of boldness to a place of anger in retaliation. It is this behavior I must stop, and follow Paul‘s example. Paul does two things in hears about things that upset him, he writes a letter in boldness impresses in direct me harshly at times but is able to prelude and post script it in a way that the corrected receive the correction in love. For me I must continue to practice my skills of articulating my thoughts in writing, more than reacting with my words in speech.I myself so follow Paul’s example and when in person, with kindness and love.

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 help transform my heart and mind in to Jesus’ image, and particularly help me to pause when confronted with things that upset me help me to respond meekly and with love. But I also ask that you would continue to develop my writing skills so that I may communicate with boldness And righteousness.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Love’s characteristics

Love’s characteristics
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

O- Paul’s definition of love, and therefore God‘s definition of love is the only one that counts. Now this verse is not the definition of love, as much as the characteristics of God‘s love. God‘s love is kind, and is not jealous.  He does not need to brag for he created the entire world, he is not arrogant because he can do all things, he does not act unbecomingly because he is the king of kings, he does not seek his own, all things are his to give. He is not provoked, and has infinite grace for those that wrong Him. He celebrates when his truth’s are proclaimed, his love has born the weight of our sin, and yet still believes in and has hope in us. He endures our child like behaviors.

A-Application for me, as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, is to every day try and be more and more like Christ. That means I must learn to love like Jesus loves. I will know how I am doing by the characteristics of my own actions.  If faced with having to wait I will know I’ve loved well when I can do so patiently. If while I am being required to be patient I am not unkind or jealous in my actions or thoughts, I will know I am loving well. I will know I am loving well when I don’t feel the need to boast in my accomplishments or falsely have confidence beyond my ability. I will know I am loving well when I am not seeking my own glorification, but God’s glory. I will know I am loving well when even though I’m provoked to take action in response to someone’s wrongdoing, I take no action. I know I am loving well when I see unrighteous  things happen to my enemies, and I don’t internally celebrate, but instead proclaim and celebrate the Gods truth.  I will know I am loving well when there is evidence that I am able to bear all things that are not from God, believe all things that are from God and put my hope in him completely, so that I might endure all the circumstances that I am placed in, and still glorify God.

P-Dear heavenly father, thank you for your love, and showing me what true love is. Lord my prayer today is that you would continue to do a good work in me, transforming my heart and my mind and my soul to be more like Jesus each and every day. Lord I pray that you would heal the scars and wounds from my own sins, and past hurts that are preventing me from loving others like you do. I pray all of this in Jesus Christ name amen.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Facing my giants

Facing my giants
S-Job 32
Elihu in Anger Rebukes Job
1 Then these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 But the anger of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram burned; against Job his anger burned because he justified himself before God. 3 And his anger burned against his three friends because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. 4 Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were years older than he. 5 And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of the three men his anger burned.
6 So Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite spoke out and said, “I am young in years and you are old; Therefore I was shy and afraid to tell you what I think.
7 “I thought age should speak, And increased years should teach wisdom.
8 “But it is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.
9 “The abundant in years may not be wise, Nor may elders understand justice.
10 “So I say, ‘Listen to me, I too will tell what I think.’
11 “Behold, I waited for your words, I listened to your reasonings, While you pondered what to say.
12 “I even paid close attention to you; Indeed, there was no one who refuted Job, Not one of you who answered his words.
13 “Do not say, ‘We have found wisdom; God will rout him, not man.’
14 “For he has not arranged his words against me, Nor will I reply to him with your arguments.
15 “They are dismayed, they no longer answer; Words have failed them.
16 “Shall I wait, because they do not speak, Because they stop and no longer answer?
17 “I too will answer my share, I also will tell my opinion.
18 “For I am full of words; The spirit within me constrains me.
19 “Behold, my belly is like unvented wine, Like new wineskins it is about to burst.
20 “Let me speak that I may get relief; Let me open my lips and answer.
21 “Let me now be partial to no one, Nor flatter any man.
22 “For I do not know how to flatter, Else my Maker would soon take me away.

Galatians 5
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

O-The Lord has shown me through these two different yet connected passages in scripture how I am to process and handle circumstances I find myself in. Like Job I am in the midst of a great trial of circumstances in which those around me would advise me different than the Spirit of God that is within me.  And like the Galatians  I am to take Paul’s advice to walk by the Spirit and not by the desires of my flesh.  Circumstances have me leading in an organization in which dysfunction reigns and the politics run deep and dark. God I believe is calling me to be the light in the circumstance. And much like Job, I understand that externally, the situation may seem simple and easy.  The decision to choose to follow the three (Sliger, Otis, Gibson) satisfies the flesh but it’s not Gods way. it’s a great battle at a whole other level in which God‘s victory is available, if not inevitable.  There is even an Elihu (Gianokokos) who wants to rebuke the three and support me in Gods plan here at Puget.

A-so what is the application then that I am to take away from this scripture.?! Well the process of devotion is not where I come up with a plan but where the Lord helps me understand his application. What His spirit in me is telling me is to continue to proceed down with Job and path with the Paul passion and boldness.  Enough said.

P-dear heavenly father thank you for your Holy Spirit guiding me and leading me. I thank you for your power which is perfected through Christ in me. I pray Lord that you would help me guard against my fleshes reaction and response to the circumstances I am in, and that you would help me stay tuned to your Holy Spirit as both my comforter, peace giver, and direction finder.  I pray all of that in Jesus Christ name, amen.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Feeling under attack all around you

S -psalm 120
1 In my trouble I cried to the Lord, And He answered me.
2 Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, From a deceitful tongue.
3 What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you, You deceitful tongue?
4 Sharp arrows of the warrior, With the burning coals of the broom tree.
5 Woe is me, for I sojourn in Meshech, For I dwell among the tents of Kedar!
6 Too long has my soul had its dwelling With those who hate peace.
7 I am for peace, but when I speak, They are for war.

O- My observation at first is that I can relate with the Psalmist here, who is likely David.  Often times in our relationship with the Lord, and living in the world we are amongst great blessings, followed by great trials.  David speaks of how he responded to these trails first by crying out to the Lord to deliver him from the people trying to bring harm to him.  Often times it’s to escape what others intend to harm us with, in this case Sharp arrows burning coals these were likely actual and spiritual battles David faced.  David proclaims he is for peace,  not passivity.   He seeks the peace that comes from God and not the passivity that goes along with following mans ways.

A-The application for me is to look at my situation at work and at home and apply the wisdom of this song to those situations. At home I am facing what feels like a trial with my mom with regard to our relationship and our communication with each other. While I deeply love my mother I know there are scars from my past that come from her, and which are not from God.  It is these things that I am trying to rid myself of that cause the greatest tension between her and I.  When I realize God has changed within me, because it only takes a conversation with her to upset me when I hear words from her that drive me back to the way I was before Christ. I confess my response is passionate and often times angry, but as in the song I feel like the lies my mom speaks, this is the manner in which she has always communicated with me and others, are the arrows in which I am trying to avoid, yet draw out the fight instinct in me, when in my heart I only seek peace with her.  At work, a similar response is elicited from me when coworkers, subordinates, and even superiors speak to me in the manner in which I feel I am being belittled or pushed into a cornerIn which I feel my morals and values, as well as analysis would have me avoid. The common denominator in these two circumstances is  me.   I know there is a lie deep in me which God can reveal and heal.  

P- Dear heavenly father, thank you for today’s message through your servant David. I confess I have this ugly mess inside of me from my past, I confess also that I am a new creation in Christ. However the scars of the past still affect my attitude and actions at times.  Lord I pray for healing and untangling of this broken mess from my past. Whether that be the scars of my father, and mother, or scars of growing up and learning that there are lies and bullies out there.  Lord also help me to have your perspective on situations and not my own, which can be colored by my past scars and anger. Lord I know you are with me and I am thankful for all that you have done in my life for me, and so that I might serve you for the rest of my life. I pray all this in Jesus Christ name,amen.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The space between Stimulus and response

The space between Stimulus and response
S- Mark 8
31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and *said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

O- this is a cool scripture in which we see Peter rebuked Chrsit in an effort try to defend Jesus from the crowds. But Jesus rebuked Him which might seem to be backwards but Jesus just got through telling the disciples that he must suffer many things so that he might rise again and redeem all of humanity. When Peter came against this uncomfortable plan Jesus recognize this was not Gods spirit in Peter but a spirit of fear, The kind in which Satan likes to use most in distracting us from our ministry for God here on earth.

A-The application for me is to understand that sometimes I don’t like to experience God’s plan in trying seasons and I am as susceptible to fear planted by a whisper of doubt or a feeling of uncomfortableness.  In my current circumstances where I am dealing with my own past, and my family, I am finding myself wanting to avoid the pain when in fact this is gods plan. Rather than waiting to get rebuked by Jesus I need to recognize his plan and that his grace and power are sufficient to get me through this situation.  So how do I actually do this. I must learn to wait and follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit, vice responding instantly to the feelings of my flesh and the worries of my mind. Stephen Covey said there is a space between stimulus and response, this is a space that God has given us in our design so that we may choose our response. You see animals have instinct so strong they are not given a choice, it’s fight or flight, it’s migrate, or it’s hibernate, it’s things that are beyond their choice of control (as I am learning from our dog Sophie who struggles with bathroom control inside the house), but God has made us different. He has made us like him, In his image so that we might understand him better and choose his ways over the worlds ways.

P-dear Heavenly father, thank you for your patience with me and speaking truth into my life through Scripture. I pray Lord that you help me in this season to take the pause necessary between stimulus and my responses. Lord make your voice clear to me and your guidance through so that I might respond in a way that honors you. I pray all this in Jesus Christ name, amen.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Managing my anger with compassion like Jesus

Managing your anger compassionately like Jesus
2 They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 He *said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” 4 And He *said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He *said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians

O-Jesus here is ministering to the lost as well as teaching the Pharisees the wrongness of their ways. He started with a great question, “is it lawful to do good work to do you harm on the Sabbath?“  their silence indicated both their ignorance and hardness of heart. Jesus chose to teach them even though they had this  hardness of heart, which even angered him.  Instead of lashing out at them he eventually grieved this hardness of heart, and showed them what to do, which is to be compassionate and serve others.

A-The application for me is both deep and real. I have struggled with my own anger and lashing out over my life. I know this anger comes from both a place of passion and deep concern, but also can be influenced by my scars from my own past. Today I understand Jesus’ perspective on how he handles things that anger him, And I hope to apply these lessons to my life. What I have learned is that anger is an emotion that should inform you, Jesus was angered because of the lack of compassion he saw from the Pharisees. I need to first recognize what I am angry about. In this case Jesus was then grieved by the hardness of their hearts, meaning he felt sorry for them in their condition.  What I need to do once I understand, communicate what my anger is about. I then need to be like Jesus and compassionately Grieve the injustice in those in front of me. The last step is to follow in Jesus’s footsteps to show them what good looks like.

P- Dear Heavenly father thank you Lord for this daily devotion, Lord I ask that it would not just be cemented to my heart but it would break down all of those things in my heart which are not from you and replace them with your truth.  I pray this in Jesus Christ name, amen.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

My redeemer lives

My redeemer lives
S Job 19
23 “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
24 “That with an iron stylus and lead They were engraved in the rock forever!
25 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
26 “Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God;

O- what great faith job shows here, in the 19th chapter of the book which was in scribed with an iron stylus on slab so that all of us may know Jobs faith. We see the trials that job has gone through, the support he got from his wife and close friends (not really) the physical pain and anguish he suffered, and yet he makes a bold statement he knows his redeemer lives. Back in those times redeemer was an actual person from your family who could buy back your freedom even if you’ve been committed as a slave. In the old testament the Lord gave a method for this redemption. In the New Testament he gives a permanent fix.  That fix is Jesus our redeemer the one who reconciles that’s from slavery to sin to freedom in Christ.

A- The application for me is to understand that I must at all times understand I am redeemed under the blood of Christ. That is not to say I won’t face trouble times be enslaved by the events around me, even my own sin. But I too need to remember that my Redeemer lives. Jesus is  is not dead he is alive, and therefore I can always go to him. My habit of coming to him at least daily in the morning reading his word reflecting on it and praying to God is a way that I can come to him daily and be redeemed. As long as I live in this fallen world I will face the effects of it, I am not immune,  but I know my Redeemer lives.

P- dear heavenly father thank you for today’s devotion, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord for redemption today freedom from my own past sins, freedom from the past sins of my family, freedom from the effects of sin of this world. I pray Lord that you would help me to walk in your peace knowing you live, at the right hand of the father, and that you are interceding for me. I pray all of this in Jesus Christ name, amen.