Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Guarding my witness

Guarding my witness

S - 1 Cor 15:33-34 (NASB)

33 Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals."

34Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God I speak this to your shame.

O - I don't journal on this verse to condemn others but to convict myself. I have in the past allowed myself to stay longer in the company of bad company knowing that it slowly erodes at my own moral conviction, and I begin to conform to the morals in the world, rather than the truth of God's word. I am convicted as Paul says here, not because I am not forgiven, or that God does not have grace over my weaknesses and short comings, but that it serves as a terrible witness to those who don't know God yet.

A - The application for me is to discipline myself to two principles:

1. Don't soak in the morals of bad company - what this means, is that I am not to avoid being around people with bad morals, they are in as much need of a good witness as anyone, but I am to guard my heart and mind to ensure I don't conform for the sake of belonging.

2. Discipline my behavior, especially in the company of those who do not know God. When I say discipline, I mean live the life Christ has shown me and given me, in accordance with His commands for my life, to love God and to love others. May my witness be that of love and not tearing down and condemnation.

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 guard my heart and mind from soaking in bad morals that are from the world, and give me the positive spirit of love and compassion for your people. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Corporate prophesy, personal tongues

Corporate prophesy, personal tongues

S -1 Corinthians 14:1-3,23-26 (NASB)

Prophecy a Superior Gift

1Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
2For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.

3But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.


23Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?

24But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all;

25the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.

26What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation Let all things be done for edification.

O - Not only have I been commanded to grow the gift of prophesy, recently I have experienced a revival of using the gift of tongues. Both are powerful gifts, and both are to be fully applied in my life and in the Church; however, Paul's exhortation here gives us important detail on how they are to operate inside the church. The gift of tongues is for personal edification of the individual speaking them, in building an intimate relationship with God and the Holy Spirit, tongues communicates on a spiritual level. The truth those is tongues without an interpreter of tongues can be a stumbling block for those not living in the spirit yet, and therefore needs to be avoided. The gift of prophesy however is a more powerful corporate gift, to be used to edify and direct the church, as well as draw those who are seeking God closer to the revelation of who He is in their life.

A - The application for me is recognize the power of the Holy Spirit is in me, and can be tapped into by gift of tongues, but that is to be used quietly and aside for my own edification, not to intimidate or influence those around me. The gift of prophesy is to be used whenever possible, in corporate settings, amongst believers, and even unbelievers. The message should be delivered plainly as prompted and directed by the spirit.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your love and your guidance, through your word and through your spirit. I pray Lord that you would continue to edify and exhort me through your word, and your spirit in me, through the gifts of tongues and prophesy. I earnestly seek you best through these gifts, and pray for continued equipping in growing in these gifts for your glory. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Trusting in God's promises

Trusting in God's promises

S- Judges 2

Israel Rebuked

1Now (A)the angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to (B)Bochim And he said, "(C)I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, '(D)I will never break My covenant with you,
2and as for you, (E)you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; (F)you shall tear down their altars.' But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done?

3"Therefore I also said, '(G)I will not drive them out before you; but they will [a]become (H)as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.'"
Judges 3

1(A)Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to test Israel by them (that is, all who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan;

2only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war, those who had not experienced it formerly).

3These nations are: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and (B)the Hivites who lived in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath.

4They were for (C)testing Israel, to find out if they would obey the commandments of the LORD, which He had commanded their fathers through Moses.

O - The observation here is merely that we see that with disobedience comes consequence, and in many cases long term consequences, generationally. The Lord had given the Israelites the promised land, and despite early victories and proof of His promise being fullfilled, they were not obedient in taking fully the land He promised them, and completely ridding themselves of the people God had told them to. As a result of disobedience, God allowed these that stayed behind to be a thorn in Israels slide even today. God continued to use these people to test the Israelites obedience to what He had commanded.

A - Thank God I have been saved by grace, and my past sins no longer burden me; however I need to recognize the Israelite in me, and that my tendency is to wander away from God's promises and as a result I miss God's best for me. I need to be sure to stand fast on God's promises, and walk in them. To not walk on them is to invite the natural consequences of the world to take over, and while God has plans for your good, the world has other plans.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that you would reveal in me any disobedience to your ways that I may be blind to , so that I may repent and return to your promises. I pray all this in Jesus Christ name, amen.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Walking in God's promises

Walking in God's promises

S - Josh 21:43-45 (NASB)So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it.

44And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand.

45Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.

O - I feel like this word is for me, from God, who is saying, Joe I will give you promises that will challenge your faith, and perhaps cause you to doubt they will be fulfilled based on your external circumstances, but remember my promises are always fully true, all things are possible, when I am on your side. For the people of Israel the promise came passed down from Abraham to Isaac, to Jacob, through Joseph, and Moses, and now ultimately being fulfilled in the time of Joshua. I am facing challenges in ministry in which God has called me to, in which I doubt the calling based on circumstances, or I doubt God's ability to pull it off. What I realize is that the entire journey for God's people was filled with circumstances that would naturally cause people to doubt the promises, all the way up to the very end when His promise was fullfilled.

A - The application for me is to realize that I need to rest on the promise and not the current circumstance when following God's direction and calling in my life. In order to do this I think there are some practical means in which I can ensure I do this.:

1. Write down, review, and meditate on the promises and callings of God. I think this is probably a weakness we all face in the midst of adversity, we forget the original promise, and more importantly who gave it to us. This can be done practically in a few ways; writing down the promises God speaks to you through prayer, as well as writing down God's promises found in His word, and revealed by the spirit of God.

2. Walk by faith - not by sight - this is a critical Christian habit, to walk by faith, not of the unknown God and His unknown plan, but walk in faith in His promises, his callings, and ultimately in His character and ability to fulfill the promises.

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 poor your promises and spirit into my life, and that I would be transformed by them, learning to trust by abandoning my own senses and trusting in your promises. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fools for Christ Sake

Fools for Christ Sake

S - 1 Cor 4:12-13 (NASB)

We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.

11To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless;

12and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we arepersecuted, we endure;

13when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.

O - I think I must enjoy the kind of motivation Paul gives. It is exhortation by minimization. In my heart and mind I feel I am motivated by being the underdog and overcomer. Here Paul through his testimony of weakness and toiling, is really showing his strength and trust in the Lord. For when he is weak , the Lord is proven strong. And there is the exhortation to throw yourself willingly into positions of weakness in order to show Christ's strength

A - The application for me is to use Paul's motivation to be willing to be a fool for Christ, which means at time being mistreated, misunderstood, and not respected. I can do this by trusting in the Lord, His plans, and His ways, that the triumph and glory is His, and that in my weakness He will be shown strong.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord you strenthen me to be more accepting of my weakness, and overcome my pride in order to be weak for your sake. I pray all this in Jesus Christ name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Circumcision of the heart

Circumcision of the heart
S - Deut 30:6 (NASB)
"Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants,to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.

O - This is first time God highlighted for me the act of spiritual circumcision. The physical act of circumcision is familiar but what God is revealing to me is that the promise even in the old testament was that when becoming the people of God his promise is not to circumcise flesh but their hearts. The definition of circumcision is the extinction of passions and the removal of spiritual impurity. That does not me he removes our passions for things of life, but rather removes our passions for things that are not of God, for God, and according to His righteousness. Honestly that is what we need, a God willing to take away what is inside of us, that we ourselves cannot get rid of on our own. Our salvation is not for us to earn, or work on achieving, rather it is simply surrendering our hearts to God so He might perform a heart circumcision, removing all the past hurts, and scars, the impurities that have been implanted over the years in us, that we might live with a free pure heart to love Him, and love others.

A - The application for me is to ensure I am submitted to God, and open to His spiritual circumcision. Practically speaking this is accomplished by submitting myself to His word daily, that would circumcise my heart; to submit to His spirit daily, whose voice would circumcise my heart, and to submit to those spiritual leaders he has placed in my life daily, so that my actions might reflect one who has been circumcised of the the heart.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that you would circumcise my heart of any impurities that remain, so that I and my family may live lives of loving you, and loving those you are seeking to bring home to you. I pray all this in Jesus Christ name, Amen.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bearing our own load, and not others

Bearing our own load, and not others

S - Gal 6:4-5 (NASB)

But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.

5For each one will bear his own load.

O - This scripture reminds me that while we are to care for, love one another, pray for each other, we each are to focus on our self transformation and our actions in life. How often do we turn our efforts and energy on leading and telling others what they need to do in their lives, when we still need to lead ourselves well.

A - I must take Paul's advice and examine my own work, bear my own load, and allow Christ to be my source of insight and transformation. I am not to focus on others weaknesses advising them what to do, but rather I may assist them in self discovery, and deepening of relationship with Christ.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Leadership of the Holy Spirit

Leadership of the Holy Spirit

S - Gal 5:16-18 (NASB)

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

17For 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.

18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

O - And there it is the answer to the question, how do we break free from the law, that which outlines how we should behave so as to honor God, a live in love of Him and love of others. The answer is the holy spirit. When we choose to try and control ourselves, and discipline ourselves into conformance with the law, we fail. But when we allow the spirit to guide and transform us we are no longer bound by the law, because the spirit will lead, we are no longer condemned by the law, because the spirit is alive and working in us. The law judges instantaneously and condemns us, the spirit is living and moving and not time bound; therefore the spirit works with us to transform us day by day, and moment by moment.

A - How transformational is the the Gospel! The good news is that we no longer have to carrying the burdens of our past sins, Jesus has covered that with his blood; so let's move forward, but not in the same way we lived the first part of our lives, according to the law and according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. That is the application for me, learning to love, lead, and live in the spirit. Practically this is accomplished by inviting the spirit to fill our lives (baptism - being filled with - the holy spirit), then growing that familiarity and relationship with the holy spirit, to the point you are daily, and moment by moment, aware of the spirit in you, listening and seeing the world around you through the spirits eyes, and making decisions and reacting out of the knowledge of what the spirit is discerning and guiding.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your today's devotion, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord you would continue to show me your ways, the ways to live and be led by the spirit, and to divorce myself from old ways of being led by my own flesh. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Leadership principle - write down the law

Leadership principle - write down the law yourself
S - Deut 17:18 (NASB)
"Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests.

O - I love the fact that leaders of Israel were required to write for themselves a copy of the law in the presence of the priests. How often are leaders put in place with there own agenda and own laws in mind. I am reminded of a quote from the Nixon interview with Frost in which he Nixon said he believed if the president did something by definition it was legal. This was a major flaw, because as leaders we are to submit to the the already perfect law of God, to write it not just on paper, though this helps alot, but to write it on our heads and hearts. How else can we submit to His authority when we are given so much authority here on earth as leaders.

A - The application for me is to as a leader write down those laws which are founding principles of any organization or group that I am leading, that have been written down or set in place by God, or the organizational founders them self. From there leadership should lead withing the boundaries and principles of the written law. Writting it down myself will force me to consider the principles, and drive them deeper into my subconcious thoughts and actions, and allow all decision and future plans, to be guided by principles founded by God and leaders he has appointed before me.

P - Dear heavenly Father thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray that you would help me to remember to apply this lesson to my life today, and in the future, not to just be inspired by it but to be transformed by it. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The truth about marriage and divorce

The truth about marriage and divorce

S - Mark 10:7-12 (NASB)


8AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.

9"What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."

10In the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again.

11And He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her;

12and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery."

O - We saw from the beginning God's design for bringing man and woman together, one flesh. And then later we see through Moses some allowance for divorce, due to their hardened hearts. But thanks be to God, Jesus came to reveal the truth, and we see what a shock that is even to his disciples who questioned Jesus on this topic, but the truth stood, God joins man and women into one flesh through the bond of marriage, and we are not to separate this bond, in fact it is a sin to do so and marry another.

A - The application for me is stand, fiercely committed and confident in my marriage, that it is God ordained, God formed, and God sustained. I can no longer consider divorce an alternative than I can consider amputating my right arm, my wife Abby is now an intrigal part of me.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord for a strengthening of the bond of my marriage, and pray you would help protect it from anything coming between Abby and I, including ourselves. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Revelation through feelings, not just facts

Revelation through feelings, not just facts
S - Mark 8:17 (NASB)
And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart?

O - I think the Lord is speaking a Truth to his disciples that resonates with me today, that we are not simply to discuss the facts of a situation, but we are to trust our heart, knowing our feelings and experiences of who Jesus has been in our lives, we are to live differently. As man, we may have grown accustomed to ignoring a critical part of God's design of our lives, our emotions and feelings. I am not exactly sure why that is, I suspect because facts are "sensible and observable" and feelings, much like God or the spiritual part of our lives come from a different place. Here in this verse we see the disciples examining the facts, when in fact Jesus is saying, tap into your feelings, who is with you, what is possible, trust what your feelings are indicating and at the very least don't ignore your feelings (or harden your heart).

A - The application for me is exemplified by what I have been learning about the power of listening for people's feelings and examining my own feelings. The importance of feelings in discovery of what God is doing, and what is happening inside of us is the principle I want to drive home for myself. Here are two principles to help with that:

1. Daily review my own feelings - I am to examine what my feelings are telling me, and allow God's spirit to reveal His truth in each situation. Regardless of whether the feelings are true, the Holy Spirit will ultimately use the revelation of that feeling, and insert truth where it is needed.

2. When listening, seek to understand others feelings, and not the facts of their situations. While facts are important in the law cases, feelings are more important in relationships. In relationships, facts don't always come out directly, by listening for feelings, and examining them with thoughtful reflection of feelings back, and thoughtful questions, we can and will grow deeper in relationship.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. Lord I pray that you continue to equip me in being an empathetic listener to others, and sensitive to the spirit's revelation in me of my and others feelings, and what truth is being revealed through this discovery process. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.