Friday, March 30, 2012

Born of the flesh, die to flesh for the spirit

Born of the flesh, die to flesh for the spirit

S - 1 Cor 15:45-49 (NASB)
“The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

O - Paul speaks at length on the resurrection of the dead here to the Corinthians. It implies they were having some questioning of can the dead be raised, and what does immortality look like.  Paul schools them pretty thoroughly on what the truth is, that without the resurrection of the dead, there is no truth in Christ as a our redeemer.   I found this passage in the scripture to be the most clear picture for me.  The picture of two Adams, one born of the earth , and one born of heaven.   We are the product of that born of the earth, but we are transformed into the spirit through the second Adam, who is of the spirit.  

A - The application for me is to understand that God has a perfect plan for us.  He created us in love, from the earth,  to commune with him in the flesh.   But this will not last forever, and because of his love for us, He gave us an opportunity to commune with Him in the spirit, both here on earth, and forever eternally in heaven.  I am to enjoy and embrace both the now and the future relationship with God. 

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord today for a renewed spirit and communion with you, so that I might know your will, be renewed in you, and refreshed so I might lead my family as you would love and lead them.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Love the spiritual glue for the spiritual gifts
S- 1 Cor 13
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing..

O - Right after teaching of the gifts in the body of Christ, Paul follows with a teaching of love, the glue that adheres all these gifts together.  Without love we can be the best in our gifts but it will not profit the body of Christ, or the kingdom of heaven.  

A -  As I sit in a season of doubt and wondering of what my calling is and when it will be and what it will look like,  I begin to feel less and less adequate and prepared.  I see skilled men and women around me and begin to doubt myself and my purpose and doubt my resolve to serve the kingdom of God.  But here Paul let's me know that there is but one area to excell in without which it will do me no good, and that is to love.  To learn to love excellently in every direction at every level, is an area I can spend the rest of my life trying to do.  Today I am learning to love my wife and my girls well,  I am learning to love my family well.  I then can work on loving those god places around me in my life at work, in church, and all around. 

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for loving me first.  I pray Lord that you would continue to transform me from the inside out to become the man, the husband, the father, the friend, and the disciple of Christ that you have called me to be.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

One spirit, one body, many gifts
S - 1 Cor 12:4-11,17-20 (NASB)
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another thedistinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things,distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But nowthere are many members, but one body. 

O- Just to remember in this letter to the Corinthians, Paul has been correcting many behavioral problems within the church, likely many different factions and interpretations where coming together from withing and slowly dividing the church because of their different interpretations of the how to be a follower of Christ.  They had begun to let the local culture seep back in,  they had begun to default to their Jewish religious roots, and slowly they began to disintegrate.   So he chooses to teach them about the uniting power of and the single mindedness of the Holy Spirit.  While this chapter does describe some of the gifts given to believers,  I think focus is in on describing that unity of the spirit of God.   And since we have accepted Jesus as  Lord we have the Holy Spirit living in us.   We only need to remember this and be led by the spirit, and there will be unity of action and purpose.

A -  The application for me is to recognize this in my life and in the churches and body of believers I belong to.     Being Holy Spirit led is the surest way to be free,  free from myself and my selfish tendencies.  It is the surest way to ensure I am operating in God's will, and not within my own.  Some of the practical aspects required to make this a daily reality, is the daily seeking of the Spirit's guidance, trust in the Spirits prompting, and obedience to the guidance.   Secondly we must know our own spiritual gifts from the spirit, and if we are a hand, stop trying to the job of a foot.   We are to seek to know and encourage the use of the spiritual gifts of those around us. The eyes and hands need to work together, not independently and therefore you must know the other parts and press forward with them in the direction the spirit is guiding.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the lesson today, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord your spirit would guide me today, and forever,  help my heart, mind, and soul be attuned to the spirits promptings.   I pray for a clarity and sharpening of the spiritual gifts you have imparted upon me to include teaching, pastoring,  discernment, prophecy.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, March 26, 2012

My house will serve the Lord

My house will serve the Lord

S - Josh 24:14-15 (NASB)
 14 “Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

O - Joshua give the people of Israel a long reminder of what God has done for them in delivering them to the promised land, followed by a warning that straying back to following false gods, and serving themselves vice serving the Lord is a path their fathers had taken before.   This tendency to experience the joy of salvation of the Lord, then overtime become complacent in our service of the Lord has plagued us from the beginning; even Adam and Eve living a life of perfect provision out of complacency  allowed themselves to oppose God's direction despite his perfect provision.  But Joshua, being the warrior that he was, proclaims boldly, that despite my own tendencies, I will dedicate myself and my house to service to the Lord. 

A -  The application for me (and my house), is the same a Joshua's.   I will grow my family to love, and serve the Lord.  I will trust in His ways, and reject the ways of our culture that deify objects, things, not of God.   I know I still have the propensity to slip back into worship of career, finances, houses, and things of value to the current culture, but I choose to embrace the calling to serve the Lord.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your lesson in today's word from Joshua.  I pray Lord that you would continue to ignite a fire in me, to help my family continue to seek to serve you and your Church.  I pray that you help me rid myself and my family on all dependency on things that would cause our worship of you to stray.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Profitable for the Kingdom of God
S - 1 Cor 6:12 (NASB)
12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

O - Paul is definitely rebuking the Corinthians about there tendency to go backwards, toward dependence on the law, toward acceptance of unprofitable practices, toward allowing the culture around them to re-influence them to pull away from the revelation of who Christ is and what freedom he brought, but also what that freedom is for.   You see Paul is letting them know their is freedom in Christ, but that doesn't mean we use our freedom for unprofitable things to the kingdom of God. 

A -  The application for me is to recognize that the society in which I live, in California, in America, is as complicated and irreligious as the Corinthian culture was.   As I grow in understanding of the freedom of who Christ is me, I am to guard against the tendency to do things which society thinks profitable, but God does not find profitable in my life.   Right now I know that my Navy career weighs heavily on my mind, and that while God has made profitable my time in the Navy, the future kingdom profit does not lie down the path of what is profit in a Navy career.  For now I must focus on what profits the kingdom of God,  investing in those who transform lives, and investing in transformed lives.   

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 navigate this path you have me on, helping me discern what is not profitable, and investing my time and energy on what is profitable.   I pray this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Servant of Christ

Servant of Christ
S - 1 Cor 4:4-13 (NASB)
4 For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. 5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. 
9 For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.10 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. 11 To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; 12 and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; 13 when 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 - Paul here is presenting to the Corinthians the paradigm shift that all Christians must face, that we are not to be made new in Christ and then exalt ourselves above all others, but rather we are made last and to be a servant to Christ and a servant to all.     We are not to seek the praises of man, or fear the judgement of man, but to wait on the praise of the Lord.  

A - The application for me is to see the richness of the picture of who Paul was not just as a great Apostle of Christ, but meant to be a example of the Christ likeness and attitude we are to seek.  For me this does not mean I seek the praises or comparison to Paul but rather that there is hope for me, that what Christ did in Paul he can do in me.    I am not to seek the legacy and glory of Paul, but recognize seeking to follow in Paul's footsteps means a life of service.  In my life today I am to begin divorcing myself from the exalted positions and ranks that I have earned in the Navy and begin serving others with greater vigor and love.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your daily speaking life and truth into my life, during this time of personal challenge.  I know Lord if I stay close to you,  I will always safely navigate the treacherous paths that lay ahead.   I pray Lord for a rebuking of any doubt that remains in me of my calling or my desire to be all in for you.  I pray that you would help my words and actions make clear who I am for, and that I would be a light unto those you place in my life.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Do not fret

Do not fret

S  -  Psalm 37:7-8 (NASB)
 7 Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; 
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, 
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. 
8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.  

11 But the humble will inherit the land 
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity. 

23 The steps of a man are established by the LORD, 
And He delights in his way. 
24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, 
Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.  

O - David rights these psalms as a man of experience, wisdom, but most importantly a man pursuing God his whole life.  I can imagine some of these psalms come from proven experiences, but others from natural revelation from the Lord, all in control of and inspired by God.   

A -  I am a fretter and I am one who struggles to wait patiently on anyone, and the Lord is no exception to my impatience.  I admit I know better but continue to fall into worry when things are not going as I perceive they should, or am feeling criticized by those around me.   When I fret though I am reminded by this same that it leads to anger and wrath, and if held long enough to evildoing.    I must instead trust in the Lord and wait patiently on Him.    Humble myself, admit my faults and weakness, and know the Lord has established my way, and even when I stumble and fall short of others expectations, I must know that the Lord will not let me fall in his plans for my life.

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.   I pray Lord that you help me during this time know that I find myself fretting over mistakes I have made at work.   Help me to trust in you and what you are doing in my life, help me to move in your ways, and leave my ways behind.  I pray that you would help me continue to witness to the life and love you have shown me.   I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Speaking God's wisdom

Speaking God's wisdom
 S - 1 Cor 2:1-6 (NASB)
 1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. 
6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7 but we speak God’s wisdom in amystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory 

O - By this time in Paul's missionary journey's he has gained much wisdom and experience in what it means to preach the gospel, and plant new church's.   What is interesting is that here in a letter to the Corinthians he is intentional in not boasting of his skill and knowledge but carefully exhorted the church to rely on the pure wisdom of God and not Paul.  I think this must have been hard as a man of much experience and sacrifice to do, but it truly reflects the humble nature of the servant of God that Paul was.  

A -  The application for me is guard my own pride when proclaiming the gospel or teaching those Christians around me what is true and what is wise.  The spirit of God is the key to all revelation and all true wisdom, and shepherding people to the God's truth is a process of shepherding them to the source, which is not us, but the Holy Spirit.   The good news is that feels like a burden has been lifted, and likely what Jesus meant when he said my yoke is light,  the hard part is simply not picking up the burden that is not yours to carry.  For me that means though I strive to learn and grow, I will ultimately need to grow in wisdom on how to lead people to a real genuine connection with the holy spirit.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for day's words of revelation.  I pray Lord that you would open my eyes to the path of personal development you would have me on here in Monterey. I submit to you and your spirits guidance, and intend to wait patiently on you Lord and your revelation.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Boast in the Lord

S - 1 Cor 1
26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that noman may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to uswisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Restoring those who have stumbled

Restoring those who have stumbled
S - Gal 6:1=2 (NASB)
 1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentlenesseach one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 

O -  Paul here continues to write words of correction to the church at Galatia, because he knows they are having internal problems with members of their own congregation driving themselves and others away from Christ.  But in teaching that we are no longer bound by the law and therefore bound by the punishments it laid out, he is obligated to teach how under Christ we are to correct others.   So the paradigm shift comes here, that we are to restore people with a spirit of gentleness, vice the old testament law method of stoning them to death and riding them of the congregation.   This is so we may fullfil the new law,  the law of Christ, which is a law of loving God, and loving others,   a law of restoration, and a law abound in grace.

A -  The application for me is to recognize that I too must follow the law of Christ, in my job, at home, in ministry.   I must be Holy Spirit led, seeking to help restore someone who has stumbled with a spirit of gentleness.    I must reflect on myself when counseling, for though I counsel others, I am susceptible to be entangled in the same problems as the ones I counsel.  Lastly, I am to help carry the burden, i.e. participate in helping people work their way out of the circumstances they are in.   The recent example for me is a young Navy LT who has been pulled over for a DUI and is facing losing his opportunity to serve.  I need to help restore his personal confidence with a spirit of gentleness, empathizing with what it means to make mistakes in our lives, and helping him climb out through repentance and yet with a willingness to come along side him as he takes a walk through this valley in his life.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson , may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord for a renewing of my spirit, so I may help restore others with a spirit of gentleness.  Help me lord to be willing to bear others burdens for their sakes,  in service and obedience to you.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It is for freedom to love, that Christ set us free
 S - Gal 5:5-8,13-14, 22 (NASB)

1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. 
5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
 7 You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you.
 13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”  
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 

O - Paul in most of his letters to the church's he has planted along the way often times is going back with a letter of correction.  You see he spent time at each church plant teaching and building the local church's,  but he was also learning many lessons along the way about how quickly a once spirit led, Christ following congregation can slip backwards with even few members begin to lead them away from the truth of the Gospel.  This letter to the Galatians is addressing our tendency as a church to slip back into the handcuffs of the law.  Paul reiterates the freedom we have in Christ, but the fruit of that freedom is truly the freedom from the law, because we are free to love and in love there is no law needed to bind us.   The truth is we tend to rebind ourselves even in new found freedoms, we tend to set up local laws, or reapply old laws with the intent of not getting hurt by someone else's offense. 

A -  The application for me is in is life and ministry to recognize I am free to love in all circumstances and all situations, because my freedom comes from Christ, and not from my own works.  Therefore I have no need to bind myself or others to a rule set that they would need to live up to in order to deserve my love. In those I lead in the church, in ministry we will work toward a common goal of further the Gospel but in doing so we will bump up our flesh tendency to judge.  We must return to the truth that Paul teaches, that we have been set free to love, and that is what we should do.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion may it be sealed to my heart.   I pray Lord that you would continue to lead me in your ways,  help me to correct quickly back to your ways when my flesh begins to lead me astray.