Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bound to the person of Christ, not the doctrine of man

Bound to the person of Christ, not the doctrine of man
S- Matt :7-9, 17-19 (NASB)
7"You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:
17"Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated?

18"But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.

19"For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.

O - These verses got me all torn up inside, because in one way I am so in agreement that this is why I shy away from religious organizations because eventually they all begin forming and teaching doctrines that come from man's head and heart, and not God's word. On the other side, I am that man, who out of my heart, through my own mouth I say and do unrighteous things. So the turnmoil is this, what can and should I do not to be a part of the problem, and add my doctrine to bound those around me, and how can I help contribute to my home church to ensure we are ridding ourselves of any doctrines that are precepts of men.

A - The application for me comes from the Lord, and is basic, He would have me be bound to a person (Jesus), and not a doctrine or set of rules, he would have me bound to a relationship (with God), and not an organization, He would have me use the gifts of discernment, leadership, and guidance of the holy spirit to operate in the spiritual and natural area's of life simultaneous, balancing the wisdom of the spirit to the realities of the natural.

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 lead and guide me in your ways. I pray for a growing relationship with you, and a continued and growing partnership with your Holy Spirit, for guidance, wisdom, and discernment. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Processing Conflict Productively

Calmly LISTEN.
"Reckless words pierce like a sword..." (Prov. 12:18a)

"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." (Prov. 10:19)

"A man's wisdom gives him patience." (Prov. 19:11)

-wisdom [Shakkul] = Understanding

Sons of good and evil all mixed together

Sons of good and evil all mixed together
S - Matt 13:30 (NASB)
30Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn."'"

O - I guess this feels like a word of encouragement from the Lord in that He is letting me see why there is still evil in this world. This parable shows us that evil in the world is planted by Satan amongst God's people, and when Christ comes again for the great harvest he will gather all up and separate the good from the evil, destroying once and for all Satan and his followers from those Christ has called to be with Him in eternity with the Father.

A - The application for me is simply an understanding that we will grow up with evil in the world around us. My instincts are like the hands in the parable who asked if they should just go pull up all the tares, and the master answered not to because do so may also damage the harvest, and therefore it is best to wait and gather them all at the same time, and then separate them out. This simply means for me I am to understand that evil exists, and that while I don't have to accept it, I do have be aware that I can't rid all evil from surrounding my life or that of my family, friends, or those I lead. Rather I am to trust in Him and wait for the harvest, and allow God to separate the good from the evil.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord for discernment between the good and evil that is in the world, so that I may avoid the evil and cling to the good all the days of my life. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Being faithful to keeping the word of the Lord

Being faithful to keeping the word of the Lord

S - 1 Chron 10: 13-14 (NASB)

13 So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the LORD, because of the word of the LORD which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it,

14and did not inquire of the LORD. Therefore He killed him and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse.

O - So there is a great lesson here, one which we learned from Moses as well, you may be anointed by God to lead his people, but failure to keep the commands of God has consequences. It is not always immediate the affects of disobedience, but it is a slow fade. Saul's disobedience in not killing all the Amalekites when the Lord directed him to (he kept some alive, and some of their spoils he kept for himself). How often do I disobey a word from the Lord to me. How long have I been paying for my past direct and deliberate disobedience of a word from the Lord. Thank God I have Christ as my mediator with God, he recognizes my imperfection, and transgression and has paid the price for my sins even before I have committed them.

A - The application for me is to recognize that I can struggle to trust and stick to the command and promises of a word from the Lord. I have been known to get discouraged by circumstances that surround me and go back to the ways that are comfortable to me. The Lord would have me know two truth's:

1. He is trustworthy and capable of keeping His promises. I must walk in that trust, that when he commands me to do something, he is with me, and capable of seeing the promise through.

2. There is grace, and thanks to a relationship with Christ, we can fail and still come back to the Father in repentance and receive forgiveness when we fall short.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your word today to me. I am thankful for your committed relationship with me, because I know I am weak, and you are strong, and that your grace is sufficient to cover all my shortcomings. I pray Lord for strength to keep your commands given to me, to see you will be done.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Freely we received, no freely we should give

Freely we received, no freely we should give
S - Matt 10:8 (NASB)
"Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.

O - The Lord has so freely given me freedom, healing, restoration, and forgiveness in my life and now he is calling me to ministry. His ministry, to reach the world, and when I do so I must recognize it is about giving and not receiving when it comes to ministry, because when we were ministered to we freely received, in other words, in a was a gift from God that required no payment or no cost us nothing.

A - SO the Lord would have me ensure that when I server, when I minister I do so at no obligation to those I am serving, that it is an expense I must be willing to pay ahead of time. Just as Jesus paid for my sins on the cross prior to me even committing them, I must ensure when I decide to go a serve and minister to people I do so with the heart and expectation it will cost me something, and I must not begrudge or hold to account that person for what they owe, I must "freely give" just as Christ freely gave and I freely received.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you Father for your free gift of life and love and grace over my past. I pray Lord that you would help me to keep the correct perspective in leading and serving others that I would do so with the heart to freely give, because I freely received from you. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A personal decision for faith for our descendants

A personal decision for faith for our descendants

S- Matt 8:11-12 (NASB)

11 I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;

12but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

O - Jesus said this after the centurion showed a faith in Him greater than any in Israel. What he was pointing out was that the truth of who He is and the faith of that is more important than being a descendant of Abraham or Jacob. As it turned out there were believers who came from the nation of Israel, but many descendants did not, and still have not reached the understanding of and faith in who Jesus is. The consequence of that will be they will not be where they thought they should be in the kingdom of heaven, and others not from Israel will be, simply because in their faith in Christ.

A - The application for me is to recognize being a descendant of a believer in Christ, is not faith enough for the entire family. We each have to know, believe, and have faith in the one true God and His son, Jesus Christ, who was sent to die for our sins, and reconcile us to the Father in Heaven. For my kids I must ensure I point them in the direction of a decision to have a relationship with Christ, and not let my faith prevent them from developing their own faith.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that you would reach for Ashlyn's and Chloe's hearts, and capture them like you have captured me, so that they may know you, love you, and have their own faith in you. I pray you would guide me as a father, to know how to shepherd them well. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Removing the log from my eye

Removing the log from my eye
S - Matt 7:1-5 (NASB)
1"Do not judge so that you will not be judged.
2"For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.

3"Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

4"Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye?

5"You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

O - I have an odd feeling that I have a hard time changing my perspective and looking at my own weaknesses in situations. I have clarity of what I see in front of me and in others, but lack vision into what is in me. This scripture reminds me of my perspective change that I need to have in life. You see our own garbage will cloud how we perceive things and therefore we can never be sure we are seeing the truth of a situation.

A - The principle is simple, do not judge, so that you will not be judged. But what is funny is the Lord recognizes that we will fall short of this, and so he reminds us to remove the log out of our eye before we look at the speck in our brother's eye. This is simply a way of telling us to focus on ourselves we have a lifetime of self introspection and correction to do, so why are we concerned with others flaws. The Lord would have me seek him to point out my own barriers to seeing the truth of situations when I find myself leaning toward judging others.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that you would reveal today, any log's that are in my eye, clouding the view of your truth about the people and situations in my life. I pray Lord for the patience and endurance to work through what is in me that is preventing me from seeing your truth, and speaking life and not condemnation into people and situations.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Beware of practicing righteousness for the praise of man

Beware of practicing righteousness for the praise of man
(Seven habits - godliness)
S- Matt 6:1 (NASB)
Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

O - On our journey to be transformed by God into the people He desires us to be we will run into our own desires and pride. We seek godliness as character and habit that God can use, but we must be aware of the temptation to seek validation and glorification from men when displaying our godliness rather, than seeking to please the Father who is in Heaven.

A - The application for me is immediate and long term. Today I face the very struggle of being disappointed when my attempt to do something godly is not accepted by man. I realize somewhere in me is the disappointment in looking like a failure in front of other men and maybe more hidden deeply is the fact that my need for validation from man is not being fed. I must recognize it is not about me receiving glory for something God has asked me to do, but rather God receiving the glory because of what and how I do things. I am to do them in such a way that magnifies Him and minimizes me, because the world truly needs more of Him and less of me.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that you would mentor me in your ways of leading a godly life, and help me defend myself from my pride and rid me from need of validation from anyone other than you. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Seeking the Lord in our trying circumstances

Seeking the Lord in our trying circumstances
S- Psalm 34:4-7 (NASB)
4I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
5They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed.
6This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.
7The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.

O - What truth about God and his power in our lives. The principles layed out here are ones I am learning to walk in and understand the power it has in transforming my life and how I live. The psalm says we seek after the Lord and he delivers us from our fears. Notice it doesn't say he delivers us from our circumstances, instead he delivers us from our fears; I think that is because God is never fearful of our circumstances, no matter how desperate they may feel He is sufficient to overcome. The next verse says they look to God and their attitudes changes from ashamed/fearful to radiant. That again happens when we look away from our circumstances to the one who is so much bigger than any circumstance we may be facing. The poor man , or man unable to overcome his circumstances, cried out to the Lord and the Lord saved Him from ALL of his troubles. And how is it that the Lord does this, He sends His Angels to encamp around those who fear him and rescues them.

A - The take away from this scripture for me today is that God is bigger than any circumstance I may be facing. When facing overwhelming circumstances I must follow the principles laid out in this Psalm:
1. Seek the Lord - He will deliver me from my FEARS. Fear is the thing that will paralyze me and move forward in a situation where I am called to be a servant of God.
2. Look toward the Lord and away from my circumstance- His radiance will relieve me of my shame of not being able to overcome the situation on my own.
3. Cry out to the Lord - It is only after my fears have been calmed, and I look to God and remind myself of his radiance that I will be free from my paralyzed state, and then I can cry out to the Lord, and it from here He here's my voice and prayers and can deliver me from my troubles.
4. Recognize that the Lord has sent Angels to encamp around me. This is a critical understanding in that often times after we seek and cry out to the Lord we are temporarily relieved from our fears, but when circumstances don't immediately change, we allow fear to creep back in, because we don't acknowledge that the Lord's answer to our prayer is a hedge of protection from the circumstances, and not an elimination of the circumstances. I must begin to trust in His ability to protect me through any circumstance.

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 live out these principles you have shown me here today. I pray Lord for that you would remove my fears of my current circumstances, and reveal to my heart your protection that surrounds me. I thank you Father for your faithfulness to your promises in my life, and joyfully look forward to serving you through any of the circumstances in my life. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Repentance and bearing good fruit go hand in hand

Repentance and bearing good fruit go hand in hand

S - Matt 3:6-10 (NASB)

6 and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.

7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

8"Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;

9and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.

10"The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

O - Back to the basics, even John the baptist understood that repentance and forgiveness of sins was a gift of God but that came with the responsibility of being true repentance that bears good fruit. Much like James says "Faith without good works is dead", repentance without transformed lives, and fruit is fake. John is pointing out as even the Pharisees and Sadducees were coming to him to confess their sins and be baptized, that they were more in danger of being cut down if they didn't practice true repentance and change their ways.

A - I believe the application for me is not to look for those people today that are like the pharisees and claim repentance and therefore are in danger of being chopped down. Instead I am to understand the Pharisee that may still live in me, those area's of my life that I may have confessed my sins for , asked for forgiveness, but have bared no fruit in regards to a change in my life away from that sin, into the fruit of the spirit (joy, love, kindness...). For me a critical area is fruit of the tongue - or that I have yet to transform words of my mouth to be words that bring life vice tear down. I still have moments of weakness that at times I feel welling up in me the need to breath fire onto people. A secondary indication is that even though I have grown more behaved and controlled in my tongue, my body language often communicates what my tongue desires to communicate. My take away is this, I must take my weakness to the cross and lay it at the foot of the cross and allow Christ to take it from me that I may be transformed.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that you would take whatever rebellious part of me that feels the need to pour out the opposite of your love and grace onto people through the words and body language I communicate. I confess Lord I have done wrong by you and by others in the way I have spoken, I ask Lord for forgiveness of these past wrongs, healing and transformation for the part of me that this anger comes from, and guidance from your spirit on how to live a life pleasing to you in my words and actions. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Faith of the Magi

Faith of the Magi

S- Matt 2:11-12 (NASB)

11 After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

12And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.

O - It is sometimes hard to comprehend and relate to the faith the magi had as they through only the scriptures, in faith followed the star indicating the birth of Christ, came to this very simple couple in Bethlehem and when they saw Jesus, they fell the ground and worshiped Him. How is it that I had such a hard time coming to that same level of awe and worship of Christ, when I had the whole story and witness of who Christ was and is. These magi, obviously led by God, but not even of God's people were used to acknowledge Christ at his birth, when even the people of Israel didn't recognize his coming.

A - The application for me is understand the opportunity I have to recognize, honor, and worship who Christ is, in my life and in this world. Like the Magi, it is done with great honor and respect for who Christ is, not who the world recognizes him to be. Also like the magi I am to worship Christ with an understand the world does not know Him and respect Him, so I must be sure to be cautious to protect Christ's witness in the world. There are those who would destroy what He is doing in people's life all over the world, and I must be aware of those who like Herod, have false motives behind their seeking of Christ.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you Lord for your gentle spirit to continue to reveal to me and teach me more about Christ. Thank you Jesus for all that you have done and continue to do in my life. I pray Lord that you would continue to transform and use me to be the man of God you are calling me to be.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Obedience over sacrifice

Obedience over sacrifice
S - 1 Sam 15:22-23 (NASB)
22 Samuel said,
"Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
23"For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
He has also rejected you from being king."

O - This is a reminder that God loves obedience more than he loves gifts. Saul here at first appeared to be doing a good thing as he defeated the enemy of Israel, but in fact he added to and took away from God's will for the situation. He added the thought of presenting a sacrifice to the Lord, an added requirement not spoken by the Lord, and he did so by disobeying the Lord's command to actually get rid of all the people and their possessions. Samuel reveals why this is a problem, because it is rejection of the word of the Lord, and is equivalent to rebellion which is our nature to reject God and his ways for our own.

A - The application for me is to recognize that I am as susceptible as Saul was to rejecting a word from the Lord by merely changing it to meet my preference. I am not exactly sure how to overcome that tendency or nature in me to do that other than I can't do it on my own. I must rely on the victory Christ has in my life, to conquer the sinful nature in me, to allow the voice of truth that is the holy spirit to guide me. I must be sure to bring all decision through the filter that Christ is who dwells in me, and allow the Holy Spirit to prompt and convict me when I begin to head down the wrong path.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord for continued restoration after a period of absence from true devotions in you word. I pray for forgiveness for those things that I have rejected and continue to reject that are from you, and a commandment in my life. I pray Lord for the Holy Spirit to clean house in me of those things are have been rebellious to your will, and allow those things that are remaining in me to be removed. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Called as Ambassadors for Christ

Called as Ambassadors for Christ
S - 2 Cor 5;10 (NASB)
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

O - We are ambassadors for Christ. I like that description of who we are as Christians. We are all things for Christ, and he may use us in any way he pleases, because of who He is, our Lord and Savior, but he chooses to give us the noble role of Ambassador. It is a diplomatic role rather than dictator role. A role in which we offer to those who don't know Christ a invitation to meet and know Him, to ask questions of and seek assistance from Christ, without fear of repercussion or persecution.

A - The application for me is to recognize the role I play in ushering people to meet, discover, and formally know Christ. I am an Ambassador, and such a role comes with great responsibility, to represent Christ and His Kingdom properly, to act on His behalf, and to encourage peaceful relationships, not separation with those He he has appointed us Ambassador to.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that you would enable me to be an effective ambassador of your kingdom. I pray all this in Jesus Christ name, Amen.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Where the spirit of the Lord is , there is freedom

Where the spirit of the Lord is , there is freedom.

S - 2 Cor 3:14-18 (NASB)

But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.

15But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;

16but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

18But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

O - Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. That is a great song to my heart and mind, and a reminder in this scripture that the word of God or the commandments of God can be written and recited, but where his spirit does not dwell, there is a veil hiding His glory even from His word.

A - It means that for me I have to ensure the veil between God and I is lifted, by seeking and embracing His presence when I am going into His word, looking for freedom and restoration. For those that do not yet know Him, there is hope, the hope is found in verse 16 "when a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away". I am to help those God puts before me to turn toward the Lord, so the veil might be taken away for them, and His word might be known to them, and they might live in His freedom.

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 lift the veil from my own eyes, that I might know the glory of you found in your word, revealed by your spirit. I pray Lord that you would continue to use me in whatever way you see fit to allow your spirit to draw others to you, so they may walk in the same freedom. I pray all this in Jesus Christ name, Amen.