Thursday, June 28, 2012

S - 2 Tim 4:16-21 (NASB)

16 At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to Hisheavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20  Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus. 21  Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren.

O -  In this last chapter of the letter to Timothy Paul reveals some truth's of this world, and truth's of being a minister to God.  The truths are this that we travel through seasons, and along the way face trials, and make friends.   Trials are from the world and for our growth, and friends are to help us endure and pass through trials successfully.   Paul had both trials and friends.  And the though during his first defense in Rome he felt deserted, the Lord rescued him.   In this letter to Timothy, though he describes some people having left, he speaks fondly of the many friends and disciples he gathered along the way.  He is even really calling Timothy back to himself for a season even though he knows he left him with one of his local church plants.  

A -  The application for me is to recognize that I too will face trials and need to remain confident in the Lords rescue from those seasons.   I am also to reflect on the many great men and women the lord has put in my life and whom I may call upon again and again for fellowship, comfort, and to buouy up my spirits.    Men like Rod, Rich, James, Greg.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would rescue me from this season.   I pray for renewed and refreshed relationships with men and women of God that can help strengthen me in this season.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Lord our rescuer

The Lord our rescuer
 S - 2 Tim 3:10 (NASB)
10 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; whatpersecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!

O - Paul's letter to Timothy encourages Timothy that in ministry he is to practice all the things modeled for him when they were together because they are truthful and fruitful.   He also shows Timothy by serving in such a manner, persecution will come, but their is hope in the Lord, as He will rescue you in all situations.   

A - The application for me is to recognize that despite my feelings and circumstances if I stay true to acting on God's truth with patience, love, and perseverance, through persecutions and sufferings,  God is faithful and will rescue me.  I must endure with good faith that the Lord of all creation is with me.

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for being my strong savior, who rescue's me from the world, and from myself.  I pray Lord that you come quickly and deliver me from the season I am in,  so I might once again walk confidently in your will.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Satisfied in the restoration process

Satisfied in the restoration process

S - Joel 2:18-19 (NASB)

18 Then the Lord will be zealous for His land
And will have pity on His people.
19 The Lord will answer and say to His people,
“Behold, I am going to send you grain, new wine and oil,
And you will be satisfied in full with them;
And I will never again make you a reproach among the nations.

O - God's grace is abundant as He has shown us from the beginning his ability to tolerate our disobedience in the Garden of Eden and patiently carry out his plan for our salvation.   In this scripture we see the prophet Joel proclaiming that following devastation of  Israel and Judah , there will be restoration.  

A - The application for me is to realize in this season of tearing down of who I am and seeming destruction of many things internally, I can have faith in the the fact that the Lord is zealous for me.  That I must walk in this truth knowing that once again I will be able to walk satisfied in the Lord and his calling in my life.   

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your grace and patience with me, and your pursuit of me, during this season of reshaping and correction.  I pray Lord that you would continue to remove anything in me that is not of you, and that you would give me the peace to know you are with me always.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Godliness accompanied by contentment

Godliness accompanied by contentment

S - 1 Tim 6:6-12 (NASB)
  But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.  But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love,perseverance and gentleness. 12  Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

O- Paul's advice to Timothy came from likely some years of experience in walking as a Christian.  He helped formed new church's bring new believers to the faith, and shepherd them to walk in the ways of Christ.  He also saw the various responses to Christians with regard to their faith and their walk.  He spoke these words to Timothy to encourage him to stay focused on the calling to a different life, one seperate from the the world, but one in which a great amount of contentment resides.

A - Paul's words are timely and encouraging to me today.  I travel through a season of "in between" trying to figure out where I belong and what I am to do.  I am reminded that the contentment as part of my pursuit of being godly is critical so that I don't become distracted to seek the riches of the world out of my desire for comfort.   Instead focus on pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith , love, perserverance, and gentleness.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would hold on to me and not let me fall from your path and your ways.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Words for the member of the body of Christ

Words for the member of the body of Christ

S   - Col 3:1-3,12-21 (NASB)
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13  bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond ofunity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
18  Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19  Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 20  Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. 21  Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.

O - In this one chapter of a letter to the church of Colossia we see Paul covering a broad spectrum of subjects but all of them foundational for Christians to living a new life in the body of Christ.   Since Paul had spent much time traveling and planting new church's he was likely familiar with the challenges and growing that was needed.  The things listed in chapter three mostly have to do with the behavior of the individual in some new transformational way, made possible by the sacrifice of Christ.

A -  The application for me is to meditate on this scripture and allow it to refresh me and restore me to God's intent for my life.    I must keep focused on God and things above, while operating here on earth.  The member of the body are to operate differently because who Christ is in them, and the example He has set for us.   Lastly,  our family is the body of Christ, and how we interact husband to wife,  father to daughter does make a difference.  For me I must remember my calling to lead but not embitter my wife, to shepherd but not exasperate my children.  

P- Thank you Lord for your word today in my life,  may it be sealed to my heart.  I thank you for your grace as I struggle to find peace in this season.  Please Lord continue to show me your glory in this season, so I may follow you in faith and trust of your great plan for my life.  I pray this all in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Giving your heart completely to God

Giving your heart completely to God
S - 2 Chron 16:7-9 (NASB)
“ Because you have relied on the king of Aram and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has escaped out of your hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim an immense army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. 

O - The King of Judah during this time struggled to stay close and dependent and the Lord  and as a result lost the favor of the Lord.  Previous to this when faced with certain loss by a powerful Ethiopian force, he sought after God and his help and received it.   But time and circumstances this close dependence on the Lord and eventually the king found him relying on himself and his ability to build a strategy and coalition that served his needs vice seeking and depending on the the Lord. 

A - The application for me is to realize that I once was so dependent on God, that his favor was also on me.   But as I let the world influence who my obedience is to then I run the same risk as the king of Judah, that I might begin to depend again on the leaders of the world for my strength instead of maintaining my heart as completely Gods.

P -  Dear heavenly Father, I repent now as my wandering heart strays from being completely yours.  I need you Lord, to stay by my side and lead me and guide me.   Lord I belong to you.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Focus on what is true

Focus on what is true

S -   Phil 4:8 -13(NASB)
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
11   I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

O - Paul in speaking to the Philippians here is continue to encourage them in walking a good walk in Christ so their light will continue to shine.  Both of these verses are designed to be exhortations to the church which Paul knows by word of mouth or by the spirit need encouragement to stay true in what is likely a challenging environment.     Paul knows that our tendency can be to focus on what is going wrong around us,  what provisions we are lacking, and we can drive our self into the dumps.  We know however that our strength, peace and joy no longer need to come from our surrounding, but from the spirit of God that lives in us.

A - The application for me is to begin to reapplying this principles to my life.  First to focus on what is true and honorable and right, and not to get mired in the negative.  My soul needs to not be depleted but restored by the focus on what is good in my family, my ministry, and my work.  I also must learn to be content in all my circumstances, knowing that my provision is coming from the Lord, and he knows my every need.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord for your to show me how to fill my heart and mind with what is good and true, and reject all the negative thoughts and concerns.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Discipling my children

Discipling my children
S -  Eph 6:4 (NASB)
 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

O - Paul's advice here is to the Ephesians is to across the board from fathers, to slaves, to slave owners.   In each he does a good job of explaining the differences from the perhaps the current culture and the way people who are Christ followers should behave and more importantly lead God's people He has entrusted us with.   As a father,  we may have always felt responsible for our children, but Paul brings the subtle change of God's love for our children.

A -  For me is hits close to home in the leadership of my daughter Ashlyn.  She is my oldest daughter, and because of this we grew a strong bond early in her life.  But she possesses a similar personality to me in her passion and her potential for anger.   As a father my desire is to always bring her joy in her life, but I know that is not always possible. I am reminded that my role is to bring discipline and instruction so she will be raised up in a way that grows her to love and respect God and the authority He has placed in her life.  At the same time the scripture reminds me I have a part to play in ensuring I am not provoking her behavior by allowing my own temper and anger to lead me to create anger in her.  I need to guard my heart and emotions when leading and discipling her to ensure she knows that I am not the enemy but the good shepherd.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson may it be sealed to my heart.  Lord I pray for freedom from the anger in me that hurts others, and the wisdom and discernment to lead my daughters, your children well.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Our gifts for the building of the body of Christ

Our gifts for the building of the body of Christ
S -  Eph 4:11-16 (NASB)

10 11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12  for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children,tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

O - The doctrine Paul lays down here is the very simple design and goal of the local church.   We see God has given each of us an assignment according to the gifts he has endowed us with for a singular purpose: to equip the saints for the work of service which is building up the body of Christ.  This design is also part of God's plan to ensure his people don't once again wander from him as the tribes of Israel did prior to then.  He gives instruction how these many gifted people are to edify one another strengthening one another by building up each other in truth and love.

A -  The application for me is revelation just a little more of my calling and purpose.  Simply I am to operate in my gifts of pastoring and teaching to help equip the saints for the work of service which is  to build up the body of Christ.   The exact nature of when and how I need to release to and trust in God.  During some seasons I will be receiving equipping from a Pastor, in another season I will be pastoring and teaching to a friend,  in another pastoring a co-worker.    

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your continued equipping of my life.  I pray that you would continue to remind me to minister using my gifts exactly where you have me.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Enjoying the riches of your Labor

Enjoying the riches of your Labor
S - Eccl 4
I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is vanity and striving after wind. The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh. One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.

Eccl 5

The Folly of Riches

10  He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its  income. This too is vanity. 11  When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on? 12 The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep.


18 Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. 19 Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keepshim occupied with the gladness of his heart.

O - Solomon as the riches and most wise King of Israel has a lot to offer us with regard to leading a fullfilled life.   Like many bits of wisdom they are learned through inspiration and experience.   God may have inspired much of Solomon's wisdom but the understanding of the folly of riches, and what truly satisfies a man's sole is likely experiential as well.  Solomon had all the riches and wisdom of the world, and yet he wrote psalms of lamentation and revelation that all is toiling after the wind.   I summarize wisdom shared here as this:  It is not riches that satisfies a man's soul, it is simply to enjoy the life the lord has given you,  to work for things, but to enjoy the life your labor provides, no matter how little or how much.

A -  The application for me is to recognize I can not store up riches and toil to earn them and never enjoy life in the present time.  I must be wary of living a life of someday I will be able to ...;  instead I must live a life in which I labor, enjoy the fruits of my labor, and trust in God's provision for my future. 

P -Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your wisdom and encouragement.  I pray Lord that you would open my eyes to the ways I may enjoy the riches you have given me here on earth,  while honoring you and not allowing myself to needlessly strive.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Building Christ's church - person by person

Building Christ's church - person by person
S - Eph 2:19 (NASB)
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21  in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

O - This visual revelation of God's church being built is one Paul paints for us so that we will understand who we are.   He is explaining it primarily to a the church at ephesia who likely had many gentile converts in it,  and the context of much of what he is writing is to describe the grace and free gift of salvation which is not through our works, and not for only God's chosen people, the Israelites.   Instead he describes a church built on the foundation and cornerstone of our redeemer Christ, who paid the price for our sins and inequity, to resolve us once and for all with the Father in Heaven.   Then Christ church began to be built on this,  that person by person those who believe in Him, repent and confess that Jesus is their Lord and savior, they would be added to the church.    We cannot make the church, but we can join the church.

A - The application for me is just to rejoice in the mental image of Christ church being the body of believers united in commitment to Christ,  linked to the Holy Spirit for guidance and direction, and united in our worship and praise for the Father who is in heaven.   

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your gift of salvation, and the gift of your church, your holy spirit, and the gift of your son.   I pray all this in Jesus Christ name, Amen. 

S-  Eccl 3

 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? 10 I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.
11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.
12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime;13 moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God.14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. 15 That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.