Friday, August 27, 2010

Blessed in my calling

Blessed in my calling
S - Psalm 144:1 (NASB)
1Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle;

O - I feel like the Lord is saying to me, "Joe I created you for the job I have you in. I have trained you through experience, education, and now my spirit, so that you might do a mighty work among the people I placed you amongst." I think this is how David was feeling when he wrote this Psalm, that his hands and fingers were trained and directed to do the work God had him doing. He did not worry that his role was to go do battle, and not rest peacefully at God's feet or serve in the temple.

A - For me this is a tension at times and a relief at other times; to know that the work that I am doing may not be work for a church, but that God has me where he wants me to do kingdom work in my workplace, specifically for this season at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. I am to embrace the role he has given me, to bring what he has trained me to do as His servant to the shipyard to be a servant and shepherd leader.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for todays word , may it be sealed to my heart.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The foundation of Christian Habits

The foundation of Christian Habits
S - 1 John 5:1-3(NASB)
1Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Fatherloves the child born of Him.
2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.

3For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

O - This is the foundation of the habits of effective Christians (2 Pet 1:5-8). That whoever is a follower of Christ, loves the Father, and loves those that are born of God, and keep God's commandments (to reach the world in His name). The means by which we grow like to love God and reach the world with the Gospel is developed in the area of the progressive habits (faith, moral excellence, knowing God, self discipline, patient endurance, Godliness, loving others)

A - The application for me is to recognize I am a child of God, and as a child of God, I am to love the children of God, and obey His commandments, and that the act of keeping these commandments to impact the world with His good news, is not a a burdensome task, but a joyful privilege.

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

Monday, August 23, 2010

Practicing righteousness, and loving your brother

Practicing righteousness, and loving your brother

S - 1 John 3:10-12 (NASB)
10By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

11For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;

12not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous.

O - The relationship with righteousness and love of thy brother is much more related and perhaps less obvious than at first casual observance. I believe the Lord knows that without love of Him and righteousness it is impossible to love one's brother. Or juxtaposed, an unrighteous life will lead to hatred and mistreatment of one's brothers.

The definition of righteous is 1. Morally upright; without guilt or sin: a righteous parishioner. 2. In accordance with virtue or morality: a righteous judgment.

A - The application for me is to recognize that God's design and desire is for us to lead righteous lives. We as Christians are to develop the character trait of righteousness so we can live the great commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves, and reach the world with the good news. This can be accomplished by growing the habits Peter suggests in 2 Peter 1:5-6 i.e. 5So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. 6Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this message, may it be sealed to my heart

Perfect Love

Perfect Love
S- 1 John 4:18-21 (NASB)
18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
19We love, because He first loved us.

20If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

21And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

O - Love is a powerful thing. It sounds like the softer side of God that would command us to love, but in truth it is the most offensive and aggressive thing God has given us. Just listen to the scripture- perfect love casts out fear. Fear causes most of our sin or departure from God. This may be hard to believe or understand, because many would say our rebellious nature causes us to sin. But I would say Adam and Eve were not born with a rebellious nature, but rather feared what was not known to them. That is what satan used to tempt them "to know what God knows, surely that can't be a bad thing" (knowledge of good and evil). After thousands of years of sin and repentance, God sent His son to use perfect love to cast out all fear in us. If we do not love others, we must still have some fear in us that we have not allowed Christ to cast out, and that is why the scripture says if you do not love your brother you certainly can't say I know and love God.

A - The application for me is to understand that I am ensure that I have allowed God's perfect love, cast out all fear I may have in my life. I am and rest in peace and confidence that Christ's love is in me, and that because of that love, I can love all people. This is related to the progressive habits of effective Christians in that God desires us to get to know Him, and understand how His perfect love has allowed us to be perfected (2 Pet 5 - faith produces moral excellence- leads to knowing god, self discipline, patient endurance and finally godliness, all so we might be able to love others and reach the world for the Gospel.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotions may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that you would continue to help me apply your word, to my life, and my calling, and allow me to love all of your people in the world , so that your light my draw them to you, and that your love may cast out all fear in them. I pray this in Jesus Christ name, Amen.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A nations decline

A nations decline
S - Jer 49:4 (NASB)
4"How boastful you are about the valleys!
Your valley is flowing away,
O backsliding daughter
Who trusts in her treasures, saying,
'Who will come against me?'

O - This warning is to the people of Judah prior to their impending defeat and captivity in Babylon. But it feels relevant today as a warning to the United States, the country I live in and love. Though we are facing declining economic times, declining moral and spiritual times, and a slowing slipping from the position of world leader, we continue with a degree of arrogance or denial of the potential doom in our future.

A - I believe the application for me is not to begin dooms day countdown or begin proclaiming America is defeated, but rather recognize the arrogance that is presence, and be humble in my leadership of others. I am also feeling stirred to do my part to help my country come out of the backsliding, and to stop counting its treasures as its security, but rather trust in our God who has made this nation of our great.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your word, and the humbling of my heart. I pray Lord for my country, USA, for its leaders, for the leaders you have annointed to rise up and proclaim your name, and your lordship over our country. I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Seek the Lord and be glad

Seek the Lord and be glad

S - Psalm 105:3 (NASB)
     3Glory in His holy name;
         Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
    4Seek the LORD and His strength;
         Seek His face continually.
    5Remember His wonders which He has done,
         His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth, 
O - The Lord is reminding me through this scripture that just seeking him continuously in my life, daily, moment by moment, and eventually continuously is enough.  I am to seek Him for guidance, strength and then remember all of the things God has done in my life in the past, so that I can patiently wait on Him, and trust in His promises.

A -  The application for me today is to rejoice (be glad) in the fact I can and do seek Him.   I am also reminded to strive to seek Him continually in the small moments and the margins in my day where I can become confident in myself or in times where I am worried an assured.  The last application is to look back week, month, and yearly and take time to reflect and "marvel" at what He has done in my life.

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

Monday, August 16, 2010

Reclaiming the kingdom of God in me

Reclaiming the kingdom of God in me
S - John 17:36 (NASB)
36Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."

O - Jesus' response to Pilate's question "are you king of the Jews?" is revealing, and as is always with Jesus not aligned with what the world would be expecting to hear. Even for the Jews it must have been confusing, their expectations of a savior was that of a King, like David, that would fight and win their battles for them. You can't really blame them, the models they had to refer to where Moses, leading the people from slavery in Egypt, David fighting the Philistines, despite the disadvantaged size, even when released from captivity in Babylon, it was for the purpose regaining the promised land. At least that is what it might appear on the surface. But really God was pursuing his people, the entire time. He did not desire their land in the world, but the space in their hearts that he owned.

A - I think Jesus is just reminding me that I am not to be fighting for this world, but fighting in this world for his kingdom. My fight is first within myself and in my heart to ensure that I have maintained the kingdom of God in my heart. Jesus died once and for all to ensure that the kingdom of God could be within me. My fight in the world is simply that, to ensure I guard my heart (God's kingdom), and help others to stake claim to the kingdom of God by helping them fight the world, evicting the world from their hearts, so that the kingdom of God may move in.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion may it be sealed to my heart. Thank you Lord for helping me reclaim some lost territory in my heart today, by rejuninating your word in me. I pray Lord that you continue to ignite that spark in me through your spirit to be connected, heart, mind, body, and soul with you and your kingdom. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.