Tuesday, January 31, 2012

God's ways of delivering promises

S - Acst 7:17 (NASB)

17 “But as the time of the promise was approaching which God had assured to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt...

O - God's promises come in unexpected ways, but His wisdom is greater than ours.   God promised Abraham a great nation, and up until Jacob, it had simply been a family line.  But in the fertile incubator of Egypt the nation of Israel grew.  A strange place, because under the Pharaoh who forgot all about Joseph and how they got there, they were mistreated and taken advantage of.  But it was a safe and stable place for the nation to grow for God also prospered all that they did, and grew the families in great numbers.  By the time of their salvation they were number in the millions from Jacobs original twelve sons.   Interestingly enough this verse comes from Philips testimony to the God's plan for God's people from the beginning until now.  Throughout Israels history God had profits who had been foretelling them of the next  step in his plan, the plan for a Christ to come, and restore the kingdom of God.  But as is often the case God's people resist prophets and the change/repentance they are calling for.  That was Philips point in sharing the full story with them, so they could see how,  the Christ had come, and now the Apostles come to create a new nation from the old, one that is restored to God perfectly through His perfect sacrifice.

A -   The application for me is to understand that God has promises for my life, and his path to deliver those promises are likely different than I would expect.   Taking lessons from both the Israelite's and the disciples of Christ, I am need to ensure I listen to and obey the prophets God places in my life, and maintain a close relationship with the Holy Spirit, so I don't wander far off from the spirits guidance in my life. 

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

My life as a lamp stand

My life as a lamp stand
S - Exodus 25:31-40 (NASB)
 31 “Then you shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand and its base and its shaft are to be made of hammered work; its cups, its bulbs and its flowers shall be of one piece with it. 32Six branches shall go out from its sides; three branches of the lamp stand from its one side and three branches of the lampstand from its other side. 33 Three cups shall be shaped like almond blossoms in the one branch, a bulb and a flower, and three cups shaped like almond blossoms in the other branch, a bulb and a flower—so for six branches going out from the lamp stand; 34 and in the lampstand four cups shaped like almond blossoms, its bulbs and its flowers. 35 bulb shall be under the first pair of branches coming out of it, and a bulb under the second pair of branches coming out of it, and a bulb under the third pair of branches coming out of it, for the six branches coming out of the lamp stand. 36 Their bulbs and their branches shall be of one piece with it; all of it shall be one piece of hammered work of pure gold. 37 Then you shall make its lamps seven in number; and they shall mount its lamps so as to shed light on the space in front of it. 38 Its snuffers and their trays shall be of pure gold. 39 It shall be made from a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils. 40 See that you make them after the pattern for them, which was shown to you on the mountain.

O - O.K Lord, I get it, even though the scriptures are seemingly full of details that someone like me find not that interesting, they are full of history and symbolism which is significant, and therefore reveal more about you.  Here we see God giving detailed description of a lamp stand to Moses (a midst a full detailed description of the tabernacle in which God's people where to meet with God).  In verse 40 God reminds Moses to make them after the pattern which He has already shown Him on the mountain.   These details matter to God because He is paying attention to the details of His creation.  He is also so interested in our trusting Him with the details and following Him out of love and obedience, because that lack of trust and relationship  is what led to Adam and Eve mistakenly separating themselves from God.   The lamp stands themselves provide a multitude of possible purposes and meanings.  The practical purpose was to light up the Holy of Holies, for it was the inner sanctuary where no outer light could be seen.  The lamp stands (menorah) where made of 75 lbs of pure gold, and symbolized purity and light on God's sanctuary.  From the Gospel perspective the lamp stands represent Christ, the light of the world, shining light on God's truth.  It also represents Christ's followers who are to be a lamp unto the world, shining light toward's Jesus.

A - The application for me is to understand that God's design is unique and important to Him, and worth studying to get to know Him.  The application for me is recognize I am a lamp stand which God has intricately designed for a purpose, if I don't understand my design, and purpose I may misrepresent myself by filling other purposes.   A 75 lb lamp stand could be used as a door stop, a coat rack, or perhaps just a decoration in you house. But unless it is filled with oil (Holy Spirit), and lit, it cannot shine the light of God's truth and glory, its true purpose.  I am to make sure I understand my one and only purpose, is to shine God's like, in the unique places He has placed me.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your wisdom, guidance, and patience with me as I continue to grow in your truth and  wisdom.  I pray Lord for revelation of your purpose and uniqueness of my creation, so that I might align perfectly with you in serving my uniquely designed purpose.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Laws worth obeying

Laws worth obeying

S - Exodus 23:10-14 (NASB)

The Sabbath and Land
 10 “You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, 11 but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.
 12 “Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh themselves. 13 Now concerning everything which I have said to you, be on your guard; and do not mention the name of other gods, nor let them be heard from your mouth.
Three National Feasts
 14 “Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me. 15 You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed. 16 Also you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the In gathering at the end of the yearwhen you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field.

O - We are always torn and Christians to love the nature of grace and forgiveness without works of our own good doing, and the love of order and law and methods for being good in Gods eyes.  Here in Exodus we see the law of Sabbath being clearly laid out, even with regard tot he land, donkeys, and slaves.  We see the law of honoring and celebrating what God has done through gratefulness for our salvation, honoring Him with our best, the first fruits, and our gratefulness for His abundant provision.   These laws, as Jesus said,  shall not perish, but are proven true through the life He came to restore in us.    

A - At this point in my walk I can see both the law, and the Gospel of grace, in harmony with one another, instead of in tension.  The principles of the laws if understood, are applicable to my life, and my desire to live them out for all they are intended, comes from a desire to love and honor God.   The warning of course is that without God, these laws may begin to bind me and others whom I lead.    So for me here is the application of these two sets of laws:

1.   The Sabbath of the land - I can see that the Lord has provided things in my life for my provision.  I am to profit from these things for my provision for six years, and in the seventh I am to give rest to my pull of provision from them.  Since harvesting the land is not in my provision means, I believe the Lords provision has come from two areas, my job, and my investments.   I believe I need to make an effort to ensure I press forward to gain provision from my investments (mutual funds, stocks and home purchase) for six years, and the seventh year - take a year off from requiring them to produce, either through sale of them or just simply taking my hands off of them.   I suspect this should coincide with the year I decide to take a sabbatical.

2.  Celebration of feasts - I can see that I need to honor God outwardly in my family.   I should purposely celebrate the day He set me free, by observing the day of my salvation and commemorating it as I would a birthday or Christmas, with a celebration.   I should also celebrate each time I receive first fruits from an area of His provision , a new job, a new home.  I should also celebrate the final abundant provision, the profit from sale of investment or property, the key is to celebrate what God has done in my life.  

P - Dear heavenly Father thank you today for your spirit led, inspired word, may it resonate deep in my heart, and change me heart, mind and soul.  I pray Lord for the discipline, and desire to follow your laws with the right heart, protect me lord from twisting these laws in a way that they would bind me or others.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Do not curse authority

Do not curse authority

S - Exo 22:28 (NASB)
 28 “You shall not curse God, nor curse a ruler of your people.

Acts 4:18-21 (NASB)
18 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge;20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21 When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened;

O - The verse from Exodus comes from the laws laid down by God right after he gave Moses the ten commandments.   They were  many detailed laws to help govern the people by rules that would keep them from sinning against each other and against God.  Verse 28 says do not curse God or any ruler of your people, because God is in control of even who is placed in authority over you.   The very rebellious nature that lies in man, needs to be resisted and put under self control, for a man who practices rebellion against those  who are leading him will have great difficulty submitting to the Lordship of God.   But we are not to be chumps, we are simply not to curse the rulers.  The example from Acts is John and Peter, when questioned by the Sadducee' and ordered to stop teaching the resurrection of the Jesus, responded not by arguing or curse them, but simply stating truth, that if given an order by God, or a ruler over you we should probably follow God.

A -  The application is not all that controversial, and not meant to allow me to ignore authorities in my life that God has placed.  But I believe it is to allow me to resist the desire to rebel against authority, and to respond in truth and love, much like John and Peter did.

P  - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lessons, may they be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would help me to be a good follower, of you, and those you place in authority over me.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Shepherding God's people, not substituting for Christ

Shepherding God's people, not substituting for Christ

S -  Exodus 18:17-23 (NASB)
 17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you are doing is not good. 18 You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. 19 Now listen to me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, 20 then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do. 21 Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. 22 Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go totheir place in peace.”

O - Without scholarly biblical knowledge of the righteousness of Jethro's advice to Moses,  I have a new perspective on it, which I believe to be spirit inspired.  In the past I had seen this passage as a great leadership principle, one that said a leader cannot carry the weight of all that he leads on their own, they must find good people to work for them.   This morning I now see it from a potential downfall of God's people.  First downfall seen here is Moses, who has spoken face to face with God, and has been led with excellence, is now taken advice on how to lead God's people from a former priest of other Gods (though a recent convert since hearing Moses story of God setting the people free).    This may or not have been God's plan to split up the leadership responsibility.   Looking forward in time, we see God's plan for our salvation was through one man, our judgement comes from one man, our guidance and direction comes from one spirit.  This is the model of God's kingdom relationship with us.  What Jethro proposed would lead us to believe we can find good men, teach the things, and have them intercede between God and man.   It is close but just enough off to allow man's prideful self to take over and forget that without God's intercession there judgement and leadership would be unrighteous.

A - The application for me is to recognize I do not need to be a judge of man, or a translator of His ordnance's in order to lead in a kingdom manner.  I simply need to lead people to the one true God, to their Lord and Savior, and allow them to be ministered to and corrected.    I do believe in the other principle though that I am to surround myself with Godly leaders who will in turn lead others to a relationship with God vice act as a subtitutionary Christ.   

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 be the kind of leader that shepherds people to you.   I pray all this in Jesus Christ name, Amen.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Leading God's people to the Sabbath

Leading God's people to the Sabbath

S - Exodus 16: 22-30 (NASB)
 22 Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, 23 then he said to them, “This is what the LORD meant: Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.” 24 So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it. 25 Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. 26 Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, there will be none.”
 27 It came about on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. 28 Then the LORD said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions? 29 See, the LORD has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

O - The Lords teaching of His people, His ways is always done with such patience and grace.   From the begin his instructions to Adam and Eve for life in the garden,  his resetting the table with Noah and the Ark,   his leading Abraham and Sarah,  his salvation of Jacob and his sons through Joseph and Egypt, and his deliverance of the nation of Israel through Moses;   God had always provided his guidance on how to live.   Each time there is a wandering away from God's ways but He is patient at pursuing His people and this time of restoration of God's people is done with a deliverance that they had no choice but to recognize it as God (I believe it wasn't until the Red Sea that many really believed),  but just days later in the search for food and water we see them grumbled or not understanding there relationship with God and how sufficient His provision is.   Now when he delivers food, water, he gives them a command not to gather twice as much of the manna on the sixth day, for the Lord will rest on the seventh.   He taught them dependence on him in that they were to daily wake up trusting in His provision, and gather no more than was needed for the day.  As we see, some did fully trust and the manna turned to worms;  all except on the seventh day, since they gathered twice as much from the day before.  The grace and patience God shows us in teaching us His ways for us, is refreshing.

A - The application for me is to understand that God has a great plan for us on how to live our life.  If we are obedient to it we can live in his provision in peace, with comfort in the knowledge that he is ever faithful to deliver on His promises.  The second application for me is an affirmation of the Sabbath as not just something He is testing us with but it is what He does, and what He has designed for us to do.    I am not sure why so many people then and today struggle with God giving you a day off.  I suppose the curse of toiling over the land is a hard one to break and we tend to be people who rely on ourselves for provision.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's words of wisdom and truth.   I pray Lord that you would reveal more to me on the Sabbath, your infinitely wise plan for us as well as a best practice we can follow in your example.   I pray all this in Jesus name.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Prayerfully waiting on the Holy Spirit

Prayerfully waiting on the Holy Spirit

S - Act 1:12-14 (NASB)
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. 14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along withthe women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

O - After Christ's resurrection and ascension I can imagine both the exciting and the following fear or at the very least concern that must of been among the disciples.  You see up to then they had been following Jesus for as long as 3 years, they had seen incredible miracles, had been taught by the master himself, and then witnessed his arrest, crucifixion and subsequent resurrection and ascension into heaven.    So now what do these band of apostles do in light of their fearless leader being gone.  The truth is Jesus had been preparing them indirectly for this moment for years as he taught and sent them to do ministry in God's name along the way.   He also gave promises to support them in their future ministry that though He would be absent in body, He would send the Holy Spirit to act as a teacher and guide, and that He himself would represent the disciples to God from Heaven.    One notable observation is that as they gathered in solidarity and prayer, that Jesus' mother Mary and Jesus' brothers were there as well.   While we do not see through scripture Jesus calling his brothers to ministry, we do know that James his brother becomes an early church leader in Jerusalem.

A -  The application for me is be mostly be inspired by the faith and dedication of the disciples and what it must have been like to meet daily in prayer and faith,  awaiting the Father's guidance on where to move next.   I think that same emotion is felt today in church leaders heading out on new callings into unknown areas.   Even an experienced Pastor, may be called one day to go start a church plant, or go on a mission trip, and the experience can only tell us who to cling to, who to draw our strength and wisdom from.   Times of fervent prayer and meditation in these times are required to ensure we wait patiently on the Lord.   The apostles gathered in the upper room not knowing in chapter 2 they would receive the Holy Spirit, but in faith, waited patiently on the lord for guidance, wisdom, and strength.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would show me your ways,  Holy Spirit speak to me, guide me, teach me and correct me.  I pray that Lord you show me your perfect timing, for what I am to do here in Monterey, and what you would have me do at New Hope Honolulu.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Opening our minds to the scripture

Opening our minds to the scripture

S - Luke 24:44-49 (NASB)

44 Now He said to them, These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them,Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

O -  I truly believe for Jesus' disciples it took the supernatural opening of their mind to reveal the truth of what they experienced with the coming of Christ, his ministry, and his death and resurrection.   Often times we sit back and think how could they not have not have know he was the son of God and that this was all part of a grand plan.  Well the truth is that our very nature, and the effects of the world can dim the light that is in the world, even to the point of us missing it.    Everyday today, we have God's miraculous and supernatural occuring around us and we can be in denial of those things.  But when God reveals to us His truth, in His word, and in our very lives, we begin to fully experience and understand all that He is, and is doing.

A - The application for me is to be mindful of what is happening around me and what is written in God's word.    I am to press in and look for God, and ask His guidance and revelation as to what truth is, and to reveal what is hidden.  

P - Dear heavenly Father thank you for today's revelation, I am grateful for the fullness of life that you have granted through your revealed son, and your revealed truth.  I thank you for choosing me, and pursuing me, that I might walk in the fullness of your truth.   I pray Lord that you would continue to open my heart, mind, and soul to your truth, whether it be through the sharpening of the gift of discernment and prophesy, or the simple understand of your involvement in the things surrounding me.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.