Sunday, January 31, 2010

Moses, an early testimony of Christ

Moses, an early testimony of Christ
S - Acts 7:37-40 (NASB)
   "This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, 'GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN.'
 38"This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you.
 39"Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt,

O -  Up to know I never realized how representative of the Christ to come Moses really was.   He was born into the royal family in Egypt for the purpose of saving his people,  he however was rejected by them early on.   Even after receiving the word of God directly from God and coming to save them they resisted him.  Even after performing many miracles in bringing them out of captivity and leading them to the promised land, they rejected him.   This scripture is from Stephen's testimony to the pharisee's who are persecuting him.  He speaks it to help them recognize their own rejection of Christ, much like the Israelites rejection of Moses.

A - The application for me is still to recognize the pharisee that can live in me, and others.  No I am not to condemn, but convict.  I am to offer God's testimony through who he is and what He has already done, and the recognition of how his people have responded.   The following principles apply to me now, and need to be strengthened to ensure I don't miss God when he show's up and speaks into my life:
1.  Recognize Jesus as the prophet God has sent for me -  The principles of loving God and loving others are not things I am to consider good goals to shoot for, picking and choosing when I will be obedient to them, but rather principles I am to be obedient to because God has spoken through Jesus directly to me.
2.  Recognize the future prophesy that is to come, as real -  I can't relate to the book of Revelations at times, but I must recognize the promises of God through His revelations in Christ.  We are on a journey back to a New Jerusalem,  a heaven on Earth, in which God will once and for all restore His creation back to His original design, in constant fellowship with Him, with no wants and needs, in perfect peace, in the presence of His glory.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that I continue to maintain your eternal perspective of who you are and who Jesus is in my life, when facing tough decisions in the world.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Financial assistance to the family of God

Financial assistance to the family of God
S - Ex 22:25 (NASB)
"If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, you are not to act as a creditor to him; you shall not charge him interest.

O -  I know this verse has come up again in my life because of a changing money climate, economy and personal financial situations.   I recognize that for the family God has placed in my life there will always be a financial need from time to time.   I always get wound up and tense over these situations because I want to bless people, but sometimes the way they handle money causes me to want to tighten up controls.  

A - This scripture is a reminder for me to not be a creditor to God's people.  It goes beyond not just charging them interest,  it goes to treating them like a client,  setting terms for repayment, and expecting them to repay. I know for the family God has given me I must be a part of their provision,  I am not to be a creditor to which they can come, but a hand which they can reach for when they are in need.  Debt is not be tracked, but rather to live freely giving, because God freely gave to me.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you continue to sharpen me as a good financial steward of your resources, and help me to be wise and loving in the provision for my family, acting as partner in Christ, and not creditor.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Walking daily in the trust of God's provision

Walking daily in the trust of God's provision
S - Ex 16:4 (NASB)
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction.

O - Living day to day on God's provision is the goal, it is the way God designed our relationship to be.  You see God does want us to walk with him daily, trusting in the relationship and who He is.  I think of this relationship much like that of my daughters or my dog Koa.  The greatest love is felt from these who trust in me for their provision and day to day care.  That is why children really do come closest to the heart God desires us to have.  Before the ways and worries of the world have taken over, they fully trust in their care and provision to their parents.  So God here, knowing that the relationship he designed the people of Israel was one of love and trust in Him, he chose to provide for them on a daily basis while they wandered the desert, in order to draw them back to the original love relationship.

A -  The application for me is to begin breaking down the burdens I have laid upon myself for my own provision.  I am to trust in God's provision more and more until I can truly walk in faith and confidence in God's daily provision for me, my family, and the ministry he has called me to.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would help me to strip the layers of insecurity that remain in me, so that I might grow to fully trust you in all things.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The first shall be last - not by birthright

The first shall be last -  not by birthright
S - Gen 48:14 (NASB)
 But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the firstborn.

O - I find it curious that God once again chose to anoint the younger of siblings vice the first born.  This was the case for:  Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, Joseph over Reuben. Here it would be Ephraim over Manasseh, and later it would be David over his older brothers.  Jesus over Adam.   I know God has a message for us and that it is that He alone is sovereign, and no one by birthright is given everything in his Kingdom.  He alone has the plan.

A - The lesson for me is one of humbleness. The Lord wants me to understand he chose me and that it is not by birthright but by his grace.  The lesson is one that is later exemplified by the scripture "the first shall be last".  We shall humble ourselves and become our brothers servant, because this is the way of the Kingdom.   

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I thank you for choosing me. I pray that I would represent you well with humbleness and understanding that I am yours, and I am my brothers servant.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A True elder brother - Judah

A True elder brother - Judah

S - Gen 44:32-24 (NASB)

"For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying, 'If I do not bring him back to you, then let me bear the blame before my father forever.'

33"Now, therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers.

34"For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me--for fear that I see the evil that would overtake my father?"

O - I think this is scripture of an excellent prelude of Christ, especially since it is coming from Judah, the tribe from which eventually Jesus would be born from. Here we have a brother who is willing to lay down his own life for his brother, rather than see his younger brother taken and his father heartbroken. We too have an elder brother who went in our place. Christ went and took our punishment on, so we might return to the Father in Heaven. We too need to remember this, and rejoice in give thanks for having such an older brother.

A - The application for me is to just remember that I was facing consequences that had eternal implications: separation from God, death. It was Christ who raised his hand and said I will go before you and take on that punishment in your place, so that you may come home to the Father.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion. May it be sealed to my heart. I thank you Lord Jesus, for being a true elder brother, who died for my sins, and reconciled me with God. I can never repay that debt, but I can love you and be obedient to your calling on my life, and pray it would be a pleasing offering to you. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Vision - recognizing when it comes true

Vision - recognizing when it comes true
S - Gen 42:6-9 (NASB)
 6Now Joseph was the ruler over the land; he was the one who sold to all the people of the land And Joseph's brothers came and bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.
 7When Joseph saw his brothers he recognized them, but he disguised himself to them and spoke to them harshly. And he said to them, "Where have you come from?" And they said, "From the land of Canaan, to buy food."
 8But Joseph had recognized his brothers, although they did not recognize him.
 9Joseph remembered the dreams which he had about them, and said to them, "You are spies; you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land."

O - I have been thinking a lot about Joseph as it relates to God's vision for our lives, and how He goes about giving us vision and then taking us through the necessary steps to achieve that vision.   Here in this scripture we see Joseph at the moment God's vision for his life becomes real.    The vision of his brothers bowing down to him is what got him in trouble with them in the first place.   Now when he saw it occur, he recognized it.

A- The application for me is just a trust reminder when it comes to God's vision for our life. When he gives us the vision it can often not be understandable based on what our current circumstances are.   In Joseph's case it was not understandable to Joseph's brothers, but when he had the dream I am sure Joseph didn't doubt it... that is until he was thrown in to the pit, enslaved, thrown in prison.  Now the vision probably looked extraordinarily unachievable.    But again, the exhortation is that God gives us vision, and then takes us where we need to go in order to prepare:  our character, our skills, and our heart.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would continue to invest in me and your vision for my life.  I pray Lord for the light at my feet on where I should be focused and what areas of character, skills, and heart I need to refine.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A slave to Christ

S - Luke 17:10 (NASB)
"So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'"

O - The highest form of service unto God is being a slave, because a slave has no expectations of compensation for their service. In serving God I am growing in the understanding that the sooner I serve him because it is what he commanded, and not so that I might earn respect, or favor with him, the sooner I will come to enjoy the relationship with God that is not focused on works and earning my salvation, but out of a deeper commitment to him, one in which I feel have abandoned all way's out of. You see as a volunteer I can always choose when I want to help, as a worker I can always choose to call in sick, as a servant I can always run away, but as a slave I am committed to a lifetime of service.

A - The application for me is to abandon all thoughts of looking for a better calling, career, or place in which I will spend my life. I am all in, a full time slave of God and his commands on my life. I am committed to following and serving him, without expectation or need, but with love and commitment.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that you would help me to have the heart of Paul, in service to you, to recognize my life is not my own, that you have given me all I need, and that I am here for is to serve you and your purposes. I thank you Lord for being such a kind, patient, and loving master, one in which I can in peace give my life to. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Faithful with unrighteous wealth - for kingdom purposes

S - Luke 16:9,11 (NASB)
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.
11"Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?

O - This verse of using unrighteous wealth for kingdom persons can be a bit confusing at first, but it really is any more complicated than exactly what it says, but we can confuse yet still.  It is easy to start to believe that money is evil, because it causes such bad behavior in men as greed and selfishness.  But money itself is not evil, the love of money is.  So Jesus is telling this parable to teach us that it is possible to use money for kingdom purposes, even money that was originally gained for unrighteous reason, can be redeemed for kingdom purposes.   

A -  The application for me is still forming.  I know that my finances and financial strategies in life are for kingdom purposes, the support of my family and ministry.  I know that I didn't originally start the accumulation of wealth and security for those purposes, but God has shown me and is showing me how his provision was there all along for these purposes.  So the spirit in me is prompting me not to back away from the financial minded giftedness, for the sake of making my self humbly poor, but rather use the gifts the Lord has given me to grow my influence in the world, for the kingdom's sake. 

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would be the author of my financial plan, and that I would be proven trustworthy with the little you give me, so that I may prove trustworthy with much resources for ministry and kingdom purposes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Satan in the Old Testament

O - I had a revelation this morning reading the psalms of David, that no point in the psalms does David cry out to God for protection from Satan, or to defeat the enemy of his soul.    As a result I thought it would be interesting to do a search as see how often Satan came up in the old testament.   My memory told me not too often other than in the beginning with Adam and Eve, and then Job.   The search proved it out that he was not mentioned but 7 times in total.   And that makes so much sense, because in Genesis Satan had caused the separation of man and God, and then was pretty much able to go into hiding, working mostly behind the scenes.   But when Jesus came along, the reconciler of our soul's to God, Satan became once again a much more overt and powerful enemy to be considered, and confronted.  We find Satan mentioned around 45 times in the New Testament which is far fewer books and text than the old testament.  Again in revelation this is so obvious that we are reconciled with the Father, Satan has gone back to his full time job of breaking that relationship, in overt and tricky ways, and sometimes in much more covert and subtle ways.

A -  The application for me is to understand that I have an enemy of my soul, who is actively pursuing me.  The only means in which to combat him is to pursue Christ, my Lord, my redeemer, the guardian of my heart and soul, at a pace that out paces Satan's advances on my life.   The war has already been won, Jesus has reconciled my soul to the Father, the battles rage on though, and I have part to play in in the war for unreconciled souls.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would reveal to me the battles and attacks that Satan is planning and conducting around me so that I might help defeat him, in the day to day battle for men's souls.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The metrics of ministry

S - Luke 13:6-9 (New American Standard Bible)

 6And He began telling this parable: "A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any.
 7"And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?'
 8"And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer;
 9and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'"

O -  In context  of the time and the audience I know Jesus is speaking to the Pharisee's and warning them that though they were God's chosen people and they were keeping God's commandments according to Moses, because of their attitudes they are bearing no fruit for God, and like the fig tree , Jesus is warning them that even though they are God's people, if they don't begin to bare fruit, they will be cut down like the fig.    Certainly, God's children, that don't produce fruit are within the Church still today, and like the story of the prodigal son that portrays the Pharisee's as the elder son, it also portrays us today in the church.  We are not to sit back and think the scripture on baring fruit only applied to them back then, but also to us.

A - The application for me is to recognize there is a metric to measured in my life and my ministry, and it is measuring fruit produced.  In ministry it may be fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, happiness, etc,  or fruit of the harvest,  or changed lives of Christians in ministry.   Without that measure it would be easy to deceive ourselves into thinking our motives and good intentions are enough, much the way the pharisee's thought their commitment and discipline to the law of Moses who bare kingdom fruit, but didn't.   By measuring or at the very least observing the fruit we can catch ourselves from wandering down the path of self righteous service, with ultimately no impact on the kingdom of God.

P - Lord, thank you for today's message, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord you would reveal to me how to measure the metrics of ministry, so that I may ensure my efforts are not in vain, but bare much fruit.   I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Trusting in God's provision

S - Luke 12:27-28 (NASB)

 27"Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
 28"But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith
 34"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
O - God's provision is absolute... but I still struggle to trust at times.  I love living under God's provision, because it is a life that is focused on His purposes, and given His peace.   The example Jesus gives us of the lilies and the grass in the field that is so well made and provision, yet also so short lived, and simple in design.  We are God's creation, in his image, and the very people God love's.   How is it possible to think that God couldn't or wouldn't provision us with a life of sufficient abundance.   Verse 34 "where you treasure is , there you heart will be also"  is the key to why God does provision us... it is so we can focus on him, and his kingdom.  If we are focused on our own provision we will tend to store up treasures on earth out of fear of not enough, but when we focus on the bigger picture, God's kingdom, we are set free from the bondages of the world, and released to leave a life of peace and fulfillment.

A - The application for me is to understand that the more I release to God my own life's provision, the more I will be focused on his kingdom purposes, and live a life fullfilled and full of peace.

P - I pray Lord that you would help me to surrender my grip on my own provision, to faithfully put my life's provision in your hand.   I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, January 11, 2010

God's grace sufficient to cover our early mistakes

S - Genesis 27:20 (New American Standard Bible)

 20Isaac said to his son, "How is it that you have it so quickly, my son?" And he said, "Because the LORD your God caused it to happen to me."
O -  I think God revealed this verse to me not so I can use it to condemn others, or judge Jacob for utilizing the Lord's name as the cause of some untruth we have done. In fact the rightness of this act is not at all complicated,  Jacob lied,  and God is truth and therefore God had no part in what Jacob was saying or doing.  But despite that God was true to his promise to Abraham, and Jacob would receive God's blessing and covering, and he would make the nation of Israel from him, and from that nation would come the Messiah.  

A -  So what is the take away from this verse.   I believe it is grace.  God's grace is sufficient to  cover even the most deceitful acts of his people.  Jacob eventually would become a great leader, but notice at this early age he is still influenced by his mother, and his needs, but later is much more submitted to the guidance and leadership of the Lord.  And there it is for me, I must recognize that those younger men and women who have a calling on their life, will stumble, and head in the wrong direction.  I must remember that God's grace is sufficient to cover that.  Their calling is not slowly erased with each mistake,  but their character must be molded and shaped into a character God can work with.   As we venture out to do kingdom work, we must become more and more dependent on God to guide us, and less dependent on our ability to make it all happen ourselves.

P - Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would help me to ensure my motives and actions are grounded in you, and not me deceiving others in your name.  I pray you  would help me to mentor and cover your upcoming leaders with your grace and love, and guidance.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

To whom much is forgiven, there is much luv for god

s luke 7:47

o my observation is that we eho have been forgiven much have much love for god. that doesnt mean we have to be a big sinner before to love god more, but rather we must truly confess our sins, digging deep into ourselves and see all the things tha have seperated us from God.

A the application for me is understand just how deeply i love god, reflects my repentnace of past disobedience. I must reflect and pray on thid frequently in order to be able to do what my hearts desire is, ... to love god more and more

P Dear heavenly father thank you for todays devotion, may it be sealed to my heart

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lending/Loving - Expecting nothing in return

Lending/Loving -  Expecting nothing in return
S - Luke 6:35 (NASB)
"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men

O - Jesus is such a paradigm breaker.  It's not that the Gospel and Christ's teachings are wrong, they are just so opposite of what feels like the natural instinct of our lives.  Whether that is our nature, or the way society has influenced our world view.  Bottom line for me is I must make effort to trust in the principle Jesus has laid out here. Love my enemies, lend with out expecting anything in return, and my return will be great.   That just breaks something in my core;  but I trust, and I know Jesus' is right.  It is unforgiveness of enemies, and disappointed expectations of returns on loans that cause us to break relationships that Jesus would have restored.   Ultimately the character laid out in this scripture is the character of our Father in heaven.  He loves us, despite at times our treating him like an enemy, he gives to us freely without expectation of return.

A -  The application for me is to realize that I must transform my mind, and influence my hands to live out the principles of loving those who oppose me, and giving freely to those who need.   It can become a reality in my life through the restorative power of Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  I must get back to being the creation God design me to be.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion.  Though I have struggled to seek you through devotions recently, and perhaps created seperation between us, you have been a faithful friend and father, and a giving and loving God, who continues to invest in me through your word and through your spirit.  I thank you Lord for who you are, and what you have done for me.
In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New wineskin - a requirement deliver the Gospel

New wineskin - a requirement deliver the Gospel
S - Luke 5:37-39 (New American Standard Bible)

37"And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined.

38"But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.

39"And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, 'The old is good enough.'"

O - The scripture I believe is alive and full of meaning. Recent teachings of the prodigal son parable have caused me to to listen to Jesus' parables more intently, keeping in mind who he was talking to. In this case he was speaking to the Pharisee's who were questioning his eating with tax collectors and sinners. In this parable the new wine is the Gospel, and it cannot be poured into the pharisee's because they are the old wine skins, and would burst and be ruined b the new message of the Gospel, and that is why Christ when he came chose new disciples to deliver the Gospel message. The old guard, the pharisee's where not capable of carrying out such a new and radical message without ruining it. Just as in the parable Jesus reminds the pharisee's once the people get this new message they no longer will be interested in the old message.

A - The application for me to understand that the Gospel is a new message and is alive and growing, it can not be put into a vessel that is not willing to grow and expand with it. A person who is not flexible still in there theology and view of the lost will ultimately limit the power of the Gospel. I don't want that to happen to me, so I must be open to what God is showing me the Gospel is capable of, and not what I have encapsulated it to be.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's message may it be sealed to my heart. Help me to be a new wineskin, capable and growing and expanding, so I may be used for the delivery of the Gospel to the lost and broken. In Jesus name I pray Amen