Monday, April 30, 2012

A measure of my faith

 A measure of my faith
 S - Matthew 17:19-21 (NASB)
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” 20 And He *said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. 21[But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

O -   Jesus says this statement of qualification of faith after the man brings his son who has a demon in him to Jesus.  The disciples earlier where not able to drive out the demon themselves.   Jesus seemingly rebukes all the people for their lack of faith, but later gets a chance to teach his disciples.  I appreciate the clarity Jesus brings that our faith is something to be measured and expanded all the days of our lives.  Like many things as a Christian we will fall short of Jesus but we are to reach for the standard he has set for us. We are guaranteed to be growing in our faith all the days of our lives.

A -  In this season I feel my faith being challenged.    I feel somewhat like the how I imagine the disciples must have felt when they went out on for ministry on their own.   They went out practicing all that Jesus had taught them and they likely had both successes and failures.   Their failures may have been disheartening, but ultimately was connected to their complete understanding of who Jesus is, and what the capability of our God is.   In this season I must continue to press in and expand my faith and understanding of who Jesus is, and how much He alone is whom I place my trust and confidence.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, I come with humble heart to your throne of grace, and pray that you would help me grow and strengthen my faith, so that I may walk a walk of faith that glorifies your name.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wonderfully made by the creator

Wonderfully made by the creator

 S - Psalm 139:1-17, 23-24 (NASB)

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them! 

 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; 
Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, 
And lead me in the everlasting way.

O - Desperately I seek to stay defined by and connected to my creator.   David speaks truth of who God is and who we are.  David's vulnerability and dependence on God and yet his outward strength are encouraging to my soul.

A - The application for me is to be undone by these words of David, to realize God all along knows who he made me to be and he is pleased with his creation.  As such, I am to seek God's words for me he knows me and what I was created for.   In times of anxiousness like today I am reminded by David to seek God insightful word in my own life.  Though I press forward daily confident of his deliverance from this season, I seek his insight today to relieve my weary soul.

P - Dear heavenly Father thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart Lord. Lord I pray for deleverance from this season, please let your word of truth resound in me, to dry out the doubts and fears of who I am and who I am to be for your kingdom.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Laying down my burdens and sorrows

Laying down my burdens and sorrows.

S - Psalm 142:1-6 (NASB)
 1 I cry aloud with my voice to the LORD; 
make supplication with my voice to the LORD. 
2 I pour out my complaint before Him; 
I declare my trouble before Him. 
3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, 
You knew my path.
5 I cried out to You, O LORD; 
I said, “You are my refuge, 
My portion in the land of the living. 
6 “Give heed to my cry, 
For I am brought very low; 

O - David's cry is the cry of my soul today.  I am encouraged with a mighty man of God, anointed and loved by God postures himself in this manner before the Lord.   It is the humble and dependent posture that ensures the God who we love and trust can lead us in His ways.

A - The application for me to today is to trust in the God whom I love, and continue to humbly bow down before Him, in this season of low spirit in me.  

P - Lord I humbly come before you confessing my spirit is troubled in this season, I feel lost and wandering, without purpose torn between a world I grew up in and the life you are laying before me.  Help me both internally by encouraging my spirit within me, and help me externally by giving me courage to represent you in this world, in the community, and in the family you have placed me.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A season of little growth, deep roots

A season of little growth,  deep roots

S - Matthew 13:9 (NASB)
 3 And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. 8 And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”

O - What a powerful parable.   In the season I find myself I realize that this is parable is not just about when you first hear the Gospel or when you first come to give your life to Christ.  That the journey is one of escaping the scorching sun and thorns of the world so that we may be fruitful in the kingdom of God.   The deeper we send our roots, the more likely we will recover from scorching sun and choking thorns.  That does not mean we won't be affected by them simply that with a deep root system we will survive to thrive another day.

A- And that is the word of encouragement from the Lord for me today, that He has planted His seed in me.   It has grown deep over the years and I have already weathered a few seasons, been pruned back, and grown again.  The current season I am in feels like the choking thorns of the world have choked out the joy and peace I once felt, but I hang on by my roots of His word, and His promises, that one day I will grow and thrive again.

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

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Desire compassion not sacrifice

Desire compassion not sacrifice
S - Matt 12:7 (NASB)
 7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,’

O - Jesus is speaking these words to the pharisee's who are seeking to trip Him up as He allows his disciples to pick grain to eat on the Sabbath, and He heals people on the Sabbath.  The truth He reveals is that even in the old testament Law is was given to help create and maintain a compassionate heart, one of loving God and loving others.  The generation that was accusing Jesus had missed this truth as they only sought obedience to the rules, but not the heart behind the rules.

A -  The application for me in this season, is to recognize God is trying to grow a compassionate heart in me.   The work of the ministry that lies ahead is not one of sacrifice but of increasing compassion of the  people God is pursuing.   

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you Lord for what you are doing inside of me.  It is a painful process, but one in which I trust you mold and shape my heart into Christ's image.   I pray Lord that you be gentle with me, and help me to be the man you know I can be.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Following Jesus, count the cost and go

Following Jesus, count the cost and go
S -  Mathew 10:37-39 (NASB)
 37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

O - Seemingly harsh words from my savior, but I believe they are said in Truth and in love.  Jesus knows that our passionate pursuit of deep loving relationship with Him and Father, is the answer.  Our tendency to stray from the love of God and begin to covet and idolize other people and things, is perhaps one of the root problems in our lives and causes us to feel empty and we pursue things of less worth than God.  This causes us to though we may claim Him as Lord not be ready to pick our cross and follow Him.   Lastly when we find our own life, free of Jesus, we have really lost the life of fulfillment and truth in following Him. Yet for those who once decided their own desires for their life and laid them down, and follow Him completely live a true life intended for them.

A - The application for me is to recognize I am still/once again at a crossroads in my own life, where I must decide to fully love Jesus,  I must fully count the cost of follow Him, and I must lay down the life I had been building for the one He is preparing.   I must do so in faith.

p -  Dear heavenly Father, I cry out to you Lord, help me in this season to choose you.   The fear and anxiety of the future, the quietness and emptiness of the present surround me in such a cloud, I cannot begin to know what direction to run to you.   I need you Lord to lift this anxiousness, and give me clarity and confidence of who I am in You.   I thank you for always being with me and speaking truth in Love.  I pray all these things in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

God's messengers with God's gifts

God's messengers with God's gifts
S - 1 Samuel 25:32-35 (NASB)
32 Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, 33 and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand. 34Nevertheless, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light as much as one male.” 35 So David received from her hand what she had brought him and said to her, “Go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to you and granted your request.”

O - The Lord works in this way sending people into our lives with differing gifts and words of wisdom so that we may not sin.  In this case God sent Abigail to offer David and his men food when her own husband Nabal refused, despite the protection with great honor in which David and his men treated Nabal.   But as David points out, vengeance is the Lord's,  we are not to be the judges of man, but simply follow God.  

A -  The application in my on life is to understand I am not to follow my passions for righting my own wrongs, but trust in the Lord to lead me or send people to do so himself.  He has sent me my very own Abigail literally, she has done much to bless me with discernment she has from the Lord.  I need to do my part to honor her when she speaks God's truth into my life.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your gift to me of your word, of David's example, of Abigail's courage, and for the very gift of my own wife Abigail.   I pray Lord you would give me the wisdom and courage of David to be obedient to your every guidance in my life.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Rescuer of my afflicted soul

Rescuer of my afflicted soul

S - Psalm 31
6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols;

as for me, I trust in the LORD.

7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,

for you saw my affliction

and knew the anguish of my soul.

8 You have not given me into the hands of the enemy

but have set my feet in a spacious place.
O - Thank you David for you words of affirmation.  Affirmation that our human condition brings us to places where we are surround externally by things that are not God honoring, and internally our souls feel affliction.  But David speaks the truth of our God, that He knows the afflictions of our souls and He will not give us into the enemy's hand but deliver us from evil and place us in a place where our soul's may have rest.
A - The application for me in this season of soul afflication is to rejoice in God's love for me.  He has already delivered me before from my own self caused afflictions and afflictions of the world.  He has delivered me according to His promises to this spacious place in Monterey, and know I must trust in His sufficiency in my life. 
P - Dear heavenly Father,  I pray that you would encourage and strengthen my soul for it has been afflicted in this season.  I honestly am not sure in what way it has, and I need you to remove this burden that rest on it.    I so desperately want to serve you and your people well but my continued feelings of doubt and insecurity make it hard for me to move forward.  Help me Lord, save me Lord, show me Lord.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My soul's savior

My soul's savior
S - Psalm 35
 9 And my soul shall rejoice in the LORD; 
It shall exult in His salvation. 
10 All my bones will say, “LORD, who is like You, 
Who delivers the afflicted from him who is too strong for him, 
And the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him?” 

O - My so longs to cry out the same as David does here.   David in this time had become a hero to Israel killing Goliath, and a servant and blessing to Saul the King, who tormented by evil spirits, both loved David for the peace He brought him but also hated Him for the threat to his crown he represented.    And so David must have felt all alone with all but His God to return to.

A -  Lord I confess at times I feel as David, all alone,  circumstances that surround me seemingly dismall , but knowing you are my rock my salvation, my stronghold, my refuge gives me hope.  So today I rejoice that you are my Lord, that you love me, and that no other is like you, that you are my strong deliverer.

P - Dear heavenly Father, I pray this scripture, David's words, my confession, and your Holy Spirit can work to strengthen my weakened soul, for I know I have much to get through and only you are my Lord and savior.  I pray Lord you would deliver me from this season, filling me with your spirit of hope, goodness, love and grace.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Ame.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A healthy fear of the Lord ensures His covering

A healthy fear of the Lord ensures His covering
S - Psalm 34
9 O fear the LORD, you His saints; 
For to those who fear Him there is no want. 
10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; 
But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing. 
11 Come, you children, listen to me; 
I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 
12 Who is the man who desires life 
And loves length of days that he may see good? 
13 Keep your tongue from evil 
And your lips from speaking deceit. 
14 Depart from evil and do good; 
Seek peace and pursue it.

O - Fear of the Lord is such a critical thing to learn.  In circumstances that externally seem grim, we can lose hope, but when we fear in God, our Hope is in Him and he is faithful to leave us with no unattended need.  All we need to do on our part is keep a healthy fear of the lord, by not speaking evil or deceit, doing good,  and pursue peace.   Now these are from the words of David who after fleeing into exile from Saul.  

A - The application for me is to know that though circumstances externally or even internally seem grim,  I am to continue to live with a healthy fear of the Lord by seeking justice, peace, and truth in all that I do.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you Lord for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would help me to restore and keep a healthy fear of you.  I pray for words of encouragement and direction in these future days, so I may boldly follow you, and lead those you have given under my covering. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Life giving word of God

Life giving word of God

S - Matt 4:4 (NASB)

O - Truth directly from the mouth of Jesus is always powerful, but  his own words are words that give life.  For we observe Him in a time of great trial and temptation , weak from fasting for 40 days, the devil tempts him to use his power for his own good and turn the rocks into bread.  But the words of life are this, that whatever commands the Lord gives us are life giving, and if it comes out of the mouth of God, via a whisper from the Holy Spirit, or simply reading God's word it is life giving.

A - The application for me is to translate that to my current needs where in this desert feeling season, I am searching for the the passion and love to feel me up so I may out pour this love into others.  I am desperately seeking to be filled.   From today's scripture I know I am to be filled not by physical food alone, but by the very word of God.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your word, and the sufficiency off it.  I pray Lord your word would fill me today and forever with the life giving spirit needed to press forward toward your kingdom work.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sometimes Righteousness is contrary to our own logic

Sometimes Righteousness is contrary to our own logic

S - Matt 3:13-15 (NASB)
13 Then Jesus *arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he *permitted Him

O -   It make sense to me that John the baptist felt himself unworthy to baptize Jesus.   But there is a strong lesson to learn from Jesus' response and John's contrition.   We see the theme that God's righteousness is above all.   Very similarly Peter learned this lesson in defense of Jesus, his teacher, when he tried to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem and even from being arrested, Jesus rebuked Him because He knew the righteousness of God would be achieved on the Cross.

A - The application for me is not to second guess everything I do.  I need to live by the spiritual foundation that I have in me, and live accordingly.  Knowing that God's ways are often different and certainly better than our ways, I can expect the roads He has me on to be different than I might expect or plan for myself. Therefore I must be wholly lead able and correctable by His spirit in me, to live for His righteousness, and not my plans and expectations.  As with John and Peter, this may come as a humbling experience like getting to baptize Jesus, or as a rebuke like when Jesus told Peter "Satan get behind me".  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your word today as I sit down at your feet, I am grateful that your word speaks truth into my life.  I pray Lord for continued strength and guidance in this season I am walking.   In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Listening for God in His word

Listening for God in His word
S - 2 Cor 5
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. 17 “Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. 18 “And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.

O -  From Pastor Rick Warren's tweet:
God's Will is in God's Word. Stop listening for a voice. Start looking for a verse.

This verse is a word from the Lord for me today, as my heart so desires more of Him, but a struggle to live in the feelings I reside in.   I only wish his voice to wash over me, and as I do my devotions I wish His hand to guide and comfort me.

A - The application for me is to receive God's truth that He abides in me, He is with me, He is my Father who is in Heaven.    I must receive this word today to continue to draw myself out of this world, and into His kingdom.   I am to be in the world, to reach those He is putting before me, but I am not to conform to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of my mind by the washing of His word over me.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's saving word into my life.  I ask for strength for today and this weekend, that you might show me where I am to be , who I am to touch, and what I am to cast away as no longer a healthy part of my life.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Crying out to the Lord

Crying out to the Lord
S -  Psalm 61
 1 Hear my cry, O God; 
Give heed to my prayer. 
2 From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; 
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 
3 For You have been a refuge for me, 
tower of strength against the enemy. 
4 Let me dwell in Your tent forever; 
Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. 

O -  Yes, as David cries out, so my heart needs to cry out to the Lord.  David a powerful King, and anointed leader,  a faithful servant, a man after God's own heart,  his heart grows faint.  

A -  How much more do I need to seek out God's refuge,  leadership, and strength to resist the enemy,  to dwell with God forever.   In this dry season of uncertainty,   my heart grow faint,  I am trying to "do" things that will strengthen my heart,  but weariness seems to surround me.  So like David I will focus on seeking the Lord, asking him to lead me to the rock that is higher than I,  seeking refuge in Him for me and my family. 

P - Lord thank you for your message this morning. I pray Lord that you lead me and my family to the solid rock in this season.  Jesus help us to focus on you and what you are doing in us, and I pray you would be merciful unto us as we grow to be the family you are calling us to be.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Proclaiming the Truth of who God is
S -  Psalm 89
11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; 
The world and all it contains, You have founded them. 
12 The north and the south, You have created them; 
Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name. 
13 You have a strong arm; 
Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted. 
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; 
Lovingkindness and truth go before You. 
15 How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! 
O LORD, they walk in the light of Your countenance. 
16 In Your name they rejoice all the day, 
And by Your righteousness they are exalted. 
17 For You are the glory of their strength, 
And by Your favor our horn is exalted. 
18 For our shield belongs to the LORD, 
And our king to the Holy One of Israel.

O - I can imagine the heart and mind of David as he writes this Psalm.  It likely comes in a time during or right after a great trial of sorts.   One of David's strengths in writing the Psalms is to simply proclaim word's of truth about who God is.  The more you describe God the more encouraged you begin to feel about who you are following, and whose covering you have. 

A - My encouragement from this is to understand that speaking words of truth about who God is in my times of worry and doubt, when facing great trials, or even simply when my faith is flagging.  God has patiently and perfectly pursued me,  he saved me, he has planned my every step before me and has good plans for me.  He see's all and knows all, and is pleased with me. 

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your example to me through your son David,  I pray that I may have a heart like David, one that is all for you, trusts in you, and leads your people well.  I pray Lord that you would remove whatever lie lives in me that I am not good enough, that I am somehow not doing enough, that I am failing or wasting my time.   I pray that you remove any doubts about my calling, and your path and provision for my calling, help me Lord to walk in confidence daily in your Truth.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.