Monday, September 26, 2011

God builds it, protects it , or it falls

God builds it, protects it , or it falls

S  -  Psalm 127: 1-2 (NASB)
 1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
2 It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

O - The Lord is the Lord of everything.  This psalm has such simple and profound wisdom, yet I believe all mankind struggles to walk in this truth.   I am not exempt from missing much of this in my own life, but it is a simple reminder to build my life with God as the architect.  To trust in the lord to guard it,  to labor only as much as he needs me to, and to trust in his provision , both strength and rest.

A - As reflect on the opposites to this verse, I begin to see God undoing those parts of my life that were not from Him, that I have created.   I have spent the first 30 years of my life building my own house, with hard work and pain.   My design and vision for this house was a successful career, financial security, successful family.  All things that seem good, but where not built by the Lord but by my own ideas and my own strength, and as a result always susceptible to falling down.  Whether it be my career, my marriage, my finances, that which was not built from the Lord has over the years fallen away.   God has helped me die to some old decisions and habits I have chosen, and replaced them with His values and guidance.   What I have guarded out of desire not lose (my finances) was in vain, and when I invested in things I thought full of promise  it was easily snatched away.  When I invested in gifts from God He blessed it and guarded it.   When I worked hard to achieve something I found valueable the dreams of the future where taken away by others in the world,  but when I worked hard to build something God had planted in my heart, he grew it, guarded it, and provided for it in a manner that was not exhausting but exhilirating.   When my life is aligned with God my labor is not painful, but joyful, my rest is not insufficient, but his provision is sufficient.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your speaking into my life, Lord I pray that you would continue to help me build my house with you as the architect.   I pray Lord for your protection over my life and all that is off you.  I pray Lord that you would guide me in my labors, so that I might not labor in vain, but instead follow you will in all things.  I pray this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Building a Buzz - Jesus' way

Building a Buzz - Jesus'  way

S - Luke 7:11-17 (NASB)
11 Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd. 12 Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, Do not weep.” 14 And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother. 16 Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and, “God has visited His people!” 17 This report concerning Him went out all over Judea and in all the surrounding district. 

O -  Jesus in the midst of his touring ministry, was calling all people to Him.  He was healing centurion guards slaves, and raising from the dead the only sons of mothers.   Now it was not for these individual healings that Jesus came for, you see Jesus was gathering people to Him.  All so  they would recognize who He was, so when He served his role as redeemer, and the way and the truth and the life, people would already know who He was and have a reason to believe that God had sent His only begotten son to die for our sins, that we all may have everlasting life.

A - The application for me is to follow Jesus' example in ministry.  To realize people won't be interested in our message of the Gospel until they really can understand that we are a disciples of God, and that God is seeking them, and you can help them find God amongst them.   You see the miracles that Jesus was performing were not the biggest thing He would do, but they were eye opening, people drawing events, that had results that were very significant.  We see in verse 16, that only after Jesus raises the only son of a mother from the dead, the people proclaimed He was great prophet, and that God directly was visiting his people.  But it didn't stop with this one town, the news spread all over Judea.     As a church we should follow the same model.  We need to go into the community, and perform God's work, through God's spirit, and with God's power.  It is through this ministry that people will be drawn to seek out the church, to hear the good news, to receive God's salvation, to be transformed, and eventually discipled to be active members of God's family.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this teaching, may it be sealed to my heart, and may I apply it to my life and the ministry you have called me to.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Kingdom of God dwells in us

Kingdom of God dwells in us

 S- Ezekial :24-28 (NASB)
 24 “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. 25 They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. 27 My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 28 And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.”’”

O - Again, I am am probably not biblically scholarly enough to interpret or exegesis this scripture, but I sense God is given all His people a clear vision of what the kingdom is God is like.  For the Israelites He was giving them a vision of what His promises where as He was going to bring them back to the promised land and restore them from their exile.   For all of humanity He is describing His plan for salvation of all, and how this new covenant will be similar but much different from the old one.    His promise is that we will live in this promised land for ever, leading me to believe He is speaking Kingdom, not just the place in the middle east where Israel is.   He speaks of his servant David who will be king and prince over the people forever,  which I interpret to be the fortelling of the coming of Christ.  He speaks of His dwelling place will always be with them, forever. This is similar to the old sanctuary being in Jerusalem where God's spirit actually came down to and resided in the Holy of Holy's.  But in the new covenant He will dwell in each and every one of us, and His promise it to not dwell in a building but to dwell in us. 

A -  The application for me is to soak in God plan, and His covenant with us,  with me.   How great is our God who humbled Himself,  sent his only son Jesus to die, so that the new covenant could be made with us.  One in which He now dwells in me, and leads me in an everlasting relationship.   I must never forget He is in me, and that He is for me, will never foresake me, and is trustworthy of my love and worship.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that your spirit would reside peacefully in me, as our relationship grows, may you be magnified.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Repentance - God's pleasure

Repentance - God's pleasure

 S -  Ezekial 33:11 (NASB)
, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’

O -  These words come from the prophet Ezekial who is explaining to the people of Israel the roles and requirements of himself as a prophet as well as the people's response to what he is proclaiming.  He basically says as a prophet if he refuses to tell the people God will hold him responsible (i.e. the blood will be on his hands) as well as the people will face the consequence anyway that God is trying to warn them about and get them to repent and turn away from their wicked ways.  In this scripture we see the Father's heart, the tenderness and grace of our God, that he takes no pleasure in the the death of the wicked. 

A - This is almost incomprehendable for me to understand how God can love those that have rebelled against Him, always reserving forgiveness up to the very end.  I know I am not like that but want to grow more like Christ in this idea of grace and mercy.  You see when I see the wicked (especially those who have done something wrong to me),  I can honestly say my heart is so impure I look forward to them receiving some sort of just punishment, and when they do I can almost see myself rejoicing inside.  But God is breaking my heart of this even as I write this, that he takes no pleasure in even the wicked facing the consequences they face, and is always hoping they will turn back to him.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your heart to invest in me through you word and your spirit.   Thank you for breaking my heart for what breaks yours.  I pray Lord that you would help me to change whatever spirit of judgement and turn it toward a spirit of grace and mercy.  Help me Lord to leave all judgment to you.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Monday, September 12, 2011

God's truth revealed to those He calls

God's truth revealed to those He calls

S -  Dan 4:34-37 (NASB)
... I  Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever;
   For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
35 “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
And among the inhabitants of earth;
And no one can ward off His hand
Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’
 36 At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”

O -  These are the words from the greatest Babylonian king that ruled, and goes to show us that God's sovereignty reigns.   The context of this scripture is that Daniel has just revealed the meaning behind one of the Kings dreams, an interpretation which Daniel warned the King to humble himself before the Lord or the Lord would humble him, by setting him out, as cattle to eat grass, and collect dew on his back (i.e. be outdoor all night).  Nebuchadnezzar failed to heed Daniels warnings, and therefore the King experience all that was revealed in his dream.   The awesome part those is how that experience changed the King, he humbled himself, acknowledged God, and his majesty on his throne was restored.   How amazing is that God took someone who was not a chosen person, and employed him in a way to discipline his chosen people who He placed in exile. How great is our God who can lead anyone to salvation and restoration.

A -  The application for me is to recognize God's sovereignty over all people,  not just Christians.  It is He who calls people to Himself, and not just those who are doing all the right things, those called according to His purposes.    I must be both like Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, always willing to acknowledge the Lord, His truth and His purposed for me, and those people in and around my life.   God is calling His people to Him, and I am not to get in the way of His truth reaching them, nor am I to judge who God chooses to use.

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 speak your Truth, with your Love , into those lives you place before me. Help me Lord to have the strength and courage to speak the truth, and to trust in your ways.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hearing God, trusting in Him, and faithfully obeying

Hearing God, trusting in Him, and faithfully obeying

S - Jer 43:19-44:4 (NASB)
19 The LORD has spoken to you, O remnant of Judah, “Do not go into Egypt!” You should clearly understand that today I have testified against you.20 For you have only deceived yourselves; for it is you who sent me to the LORD your God, saying, “Pray for us to the LORD our God; and whatever the LORD our God says, tell us so, and we will do it.” 21 So I have told you today, but you have not obeyed the LORD your God, even in whatever He has sent me to tellyou. 22 Therefore you should now clearly understand that you will die by the sword, by famine and by pestilence, in the place where you wish to go to reside.
In Egypt Jeremiah Warns of Judgment
 1 But as soon as Jeremiah, whom the LORD their God had sent, had finished telling all the people all the words of the LORD their God—that is, all these words— 2 Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, “You are telling a lie! The LORD our God has not sent you to say, ‘You are not to enter Egypt to reside there’; 3 butBaruch the son of Neriah is inciting you against us to give us over into the hand of the Chaldeans, so they will put us to death or exile us to Babylon.” 4 SoJohanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces, and all the people, did not obey the voice of the LORD to stay in the land of Judah. 

O - Wow, what a disobedient people we can be. Here we see Judah, receiving a word from the Lord via the prophet Jeremiah.  It is almost one last chance at being saved from the overall judgement they are facing as a result of their straying from God's commandments.  What was happening is that the northern province, Israel was being exiled to Babylon, and had been taken over, but Jeremiah was receiving a word of hope for the southern tribe of Judah, that they may be saved by the Lord if only they would trust in Him, he would deliver them from exile to Babylon.   It seemed to late at that point for the leaders where in denial of Jeremiah's prophet status, and thus denied a work from the lord and went off to Egypt, where eventually they were still defeated by the Babylonians.   

A -  The application for me is first to recognize, the Judean in me.   In my case I have Christ in me, and the holy spirit, prophetizes directly into my life.  At times out of fear and doubt I can walk away from God's promises in my life, in front daunting circumstances, and literally rob God of His chance to be glorified through His deliverance of me from my circumstances.  No other application other than trusting in the Lords words in my life, and glorifying God by my obedience to what He has spoken.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your word into my life today. Thank you for your trustworthy promises that you continue to deliver in my life.  I thank you for the season the last two years  you have brought me through, and I thank you for the future you have promised me in your kingdom.  I pray Lord for continued direction in my life, and the strength and wisdom to know it is from you, and courage to follow it.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

God's one plan - our part in it

God's one plan - our part in it

S -  Rev 7:3-5 (NASB)
 “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.”
 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: 5 from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand,

O - How consistent God's plan and promises where from the beginning.   The promise to Abraham to make his descendants a promised people,  the plan to make the son's of Jacob a royal priesthood whom would dwell in the promised land, witnessing to the world,  the plan for redemption of the 12 tribes, and replacement of them by a high priest, Christ, who would lead them to restoration,  the selection of 12 apostles who would symbolize a new convenant, not with a blood line, but with a spiritual line of priests (Christians) who would restore God's people.  So here in revelations we see a continuing of this promise and plan.  In the process of preparing for Armageddon, and the kingdom of God come to earth as in heaven, we see God sealing his people to him, symbolized by the twelve tribes, lead by the 24 elders he has chosen of which 12 are the apostles, the other twelve may represent old testament leaders of the tribes.  In any case God is giving clear picture to me now of just how intricate and perfect his plan is.  Intricate in that it is beyond human capacity to create such a plan, but somehow simple and beautiful in that it meets a simple promise to Abraham, and exemplifies the true character of God in his ability to be faithful in His promises, and consistent in his pursuit of restoration of His people.

A -   The application for me is mostly a softened heart, that just appreciates how much God loves me, and loves all of His people.  The father is so lovingly pursuing us , that  I feel desired and cared for.  I feel a sense of peace that God will never give up on me, or His people, in fact He is not concerned, because He knows his will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and that there is a day, marked in time when revelations prophecy will come to fruition, and the kingdom of God will reign on earth as it is in heaven.  So how to I respond to this revelation.  I feel I respond in peace, and confidence of the one who is orchestrating my life for a purpose, that his plans are good, and for a purpose, and if I stay aligned with Him, restoration and victory are mine, if I stray from Him,  He will not be defeated, I simply won't get to participate in His victory.

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord you help me stay on your path, in your will, and live with peace and confidence in your ways.  I thank you Lord for all you have done, and are doing in my life for your purposes, the joy and peace I feel is from you, and I am grateful.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.