Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Correct back to God's ways and His word

Correct back to God's ways and His word
S - Psalm 107:11-13 (NASB)
11 Because they had rebelled against the words of God And spurned the counsel of the Most High.12 Therefore He humbled their heart with labor; They stumbled and there was none to help.13 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses.

O  -   Jesus when he ministered to the people did not minister to their demands or listen their desires, for he knew the ways of man.   Our tendency to rebel against the word of God and as a result face the punishment of seperation from God due to our sinful nature.  But the Psalmist even before Jesus revealed the grace filled loving heart of God, that whomever comes to the Lord repentant and seeking Him, he will save.

A - I can imagine that when we rebel against the word of God at times we don't even recognize we are doing it.  Often it is a slow fade.  But thanks be to God for His correction and his trustworthiness.   He loves us (me) so that he won't let me stay on the wrong path for long before he humbles me.  I know I have wandered at times, and I in retrospect always thankful in the end when I realize how God has corrected me.

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson,may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would continue to bring me back to your ways, according to your word,  so that I may lead a life that is holy and pleasing to you.  I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Humble yourself in times of waiting

Humble yourself in times of waiting
 S - 1 Peter 5:6-10 (NASB)
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.  Be of sober spiritbe on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect,confirm, strengthen and establish you.

O - These words of encouragement are to the men and women of the early church, from the Rock Apostle Peter whom experiences as a follower and now leader of the Christian movement are vast.  Peter experienced the the wonder and glory of our savior Jesus in the flesh,  and in the spirit.  He heard testimony from God himself,  watched his Lord suffer and die, and received him after he rose again , conquering death.  During those times his faith was being forged, he struggled with denial,  and with picking up his leadership mantle and moving forward with it.  He suffered persecution and jailing.   So when Peter speaks these words, they are spirit inspired, but experience forged.   He describes a common journey we all will likely face, one that depends on us humbling ourselves before the Lord, allow him to perfect and strengthen us, and establish our calling.

A - The application for me is to humble myself and wait patiently on the Lord.  In this season I am not yet clear of His purpose for my life, and His purpose for me in Monterey.  I know that He is with me, and doing a good work in me, and I need to continue to humbly serve my family, at work, and in the local church body.  

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wait on the Lord for renewed strength

Wait on the Lord for renewed strength
S -  Isaiah 40:24-26,28-30 (NASB)

Scarcely have they been planted,
Scarcely have they been sown,
Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth,
But He merely blows on them, and they wither,
And the storm carries them away like stubble.
25 “ To whom then will you liken Me
That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing.
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
29 He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
30 Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
31 Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

O - Isaiah was a fortunate prophet in that while he was bringing news of Israels and Judah's exile, he also brought prophecy of their future salvation.   He describes well in these verses the nature of the man, by describing the nature of the people of God.  That because of their own shallow roots in God they are easily blown to and fro and uprooted.   But our hope is in and can only be in the Lord.   You see because he will never be uprooted, and he will never grow weary, and he lacks nothing, we can count on Him and His love for us, and though we may still be a people who grow weary and stumble, if we will wait on the Lord he will lift us up, so that we may run and not grow tired, walk and not become weary.

A - The application for me is to recognize that I am like the people of Israel.  In particular in this season, I am recognizing how shallow my roots may be, and that as my spirit flags, and I grow weary,  I too am to wait patiently and confidently on the Lord because I can trust in Him to deliver me.   I may have lost my strength from before, but by waiting patiently on him, I will gain new strength, a strength that comes from Him and not from me.  A strength that glorifies Him to those around me, and not glorifies me for my strength.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would come to my rescue as I wait for your strength to fill my weakness.  I wait on you Lord to remove these doubts and depression from me and replace them with confidence in you, in who you have made me to be and restore in me confidence in you as the true source of my renewed strength.  Help me to walk out this transformation in a way that brings you glory Lord.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cease striving

Cease striving
S - Psalm 46:10-11 (NASB)

10 Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

O - This psalm comes paired with a  reading from Chronicles that describes the reigns on kings of Israel, the northern kingdom getting taken away to Assyria, never to return, and the southern kingdom Judah.  Each of the kings had over time begin seeking other gods.  In the case of Ahaz king of Judah, he did so because he was defeated and wanted to follow the god of the kingdom that defeated him thinking this would somehow bring him success.   The psalmist here gives a word of exhortation not to get distracted by your striving for safety and prosperity, for we know who God is.   His name is going to be lifted before all nations, and so in our striving if we are not striving to see his name become famous among the nations and staying with him as a stronghold against our enemies we will likely be in the same situation the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah found themselves.

A -  The application for me was to understand that I have to ensure I "cease striving".   My cease striving is for acceptance and validation of the people of the world.  I must be satisfied with opportunities to exalt God to the people I interact with ,  and recognize in times of fear or worry I must remember God is with me, he is my stronghold. 

P - Dear heavenly Father, help me today to live this principle of taking comfort in the shelter of your stronghold.    I pray you search me and if there are in any ways that I am 'Striving' , remove from me the internal worry and concern that is driving this striving.  I pray all this in Jesus name, amen.   

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Increasing our longing for the Lord
S - Isaiah 30:18
18 Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.

O - These words of Isaiah are word of comfort after heavy words of warning about the fact that God will allow some to be exiled, some to wander to Egypt, and some to be taken away forever amongst the tribes of Israel.  Despite these circumstances around them,   Isaiah helps them understand what a  gracious God they have,  one in which is waiting to have compassion on those who long for Him.

A - The application for me is recognize I need to find/renew my longing for God.  During seasons we can become overly familiar with God and stop longing for Him, and perhaps begin longing for the things of this world.   

P -  Dear Father,  I claim to follow your son Jesus, but confess at times my longing for you has decreased.  I repent from these actions that have caused me to head away from you, and sincerely ask you Lord to help increase my faith, and long for you.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Freedom to walk in the Lord's provision

Freedom to walk in the Lord's provision
 S - Heb 13:5-6 (NASB)
What will man do to me?”

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money,being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “ will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say,
“ The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.

O -  Being content in all things is one thing we are all called to do.  This is such an essential trait for all Christians to have in order to walk with Christ and witness to the world.   Paul explains the reason and confidence in the promise that we can walk in order to once and for all be free from the love of money because regardless of having little or having much, the Lord will be there to take care of what we truly need and he will never leave us alone, as long as we don't leave him.   

A -  The application for me during this season of my life is to recognize I have reach a plateau where money is no longer a concern of mine the way it was when I was in college.    I have achieved many career goals, but the transition out of the Navy has me again worried about  a  financial time in the future in which life will change.   Verse 6 is my exhortation to recognize all along the Lord is my helper I shall not be afraid , especially of man , but rely confidently in God and his provision.

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your continued provision in my life.   Help me Lord to rid myself of all anxiety and fear of your provision both for my calling and for the well being of myself and my family.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Focus on Jesus, the key to endurance

Focus on Jesus, the key to endurance
 S -  Heb 12;1-2 (NASB)
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

O - Paul describes here to the Hebrews how we are endure our circumstances and press on so that we may finish well our race and calling in Christ.   Paul more than anyone knew what it was to be called into ministry, and he knew more than anyone what it meant to face opposition, and discouragement, even from within himself.  But he fixes his eyes on Jesus who is in heaven at the right hand of the father, and He encourages us to do the same.  By doing so we can know we can run with endurance because we are heading toward him and not wasting any energy  being distracted in other directions.

A - The application for me in this season is to stay focused and heading toward Jesus, who from the right hand of the Father is revealing His direction for me in this season.  All other things are less important and likely a waste of energy that will reduce my endurance.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your continued lifeline back to you through your word and through your Holy Spirit.  I pray Lord that you walk with me today and help me stay focused on you and your plan for my life and the life of those around me.  I pray this all in Jesus name.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

S -  Isaiah 12:1-3 (NASB)

“ I will give thanks to You, O Lord;
For although You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away,
And You comfort me.
“Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For the Lord God is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.”
Therefore you will joyously draw water
From the springs of salvation.

O - Isaiah continues to speak of prophesy to the people of Israel who are about to be exiled (or already are).    His words speaks of the coming messiah and all that he will do , and then here he shares what the peoples righteous response will be.  God is persistently pursuing his people to come back to Him and though he has had to discipline and correct them along the way it was always designed to turn them toward Him.  The attitude prophesied of here is one of giving thanks to the Lord,  trusting in him, and drawing from him the strength and courage to stay close to him.

A -  Isaiah speaks to me about my own attitude.  For I am on the other side of this prophesy.  Jesus has come and paid the price for my salvation, and has given me a restored relation with God, that for many years I walked without.   I must daily choose to draw from this well of salvation, and choose to attitude to be one of gratefulness.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, help me to change my attitude and makea  disciplined decision to submit my thoughts to you that they may be holy and pleasing to you, that I might draw strength from you.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The new covenant, what it means to me

The new covenant, what it means to me 

S - Heb 8:7-13 (NASB)

For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says,
“ Behold, days are coming, says the Lord,
When I will effect a new covenant
With the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;
Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers
On the day when I took them by the hand
To lead them out of the land of Egypt;
For they did not continue in My covenant,
And I did not care for them, says the Lord.
10 “ For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
After those days, says the Lord:
will put My laws into their minds,
And I will write them on their hearts.
And I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.
11 “ And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen,
And everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
For all will know Me,
From the least to the greatest of them.
12 “ For I will be merciful to their iniquities,
And I will remember their sins no more.”
13 When He said, “ A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

O - Paul here teaches of the new covenant and how the old covenant given to Moses has passed away.    What is interesting is how this is not Paul through his own revelation coming to this conclusion but from scripture in which Jeremiah is proclaiming this new covenant to come.   God's plan was patient and perfect, for in the days of Jeremiah he was getting rid of the northern Israel tribes to Assyria, and sending the lower tribes of  Judah and Benjamin to exile in Babylon.   Upon return from exile the nation would still go through a long period of waiting for the messiah who would come and enact/fulfill the new covenant. 

A - The application for me is to realize the reality and truth of the new covenant as a means to my salvation and guarenteed relationship with God.   I by myself, even though I compare myself to the old standard, will always fall short of that standard,  but through Christ I am given a chance to reconcile with God.   Though living imperfectly today,  I can through repentance and Jesus' intercession have access to the God who created me and who loves me.  

P - Jesus thank you for your obedience to our Heavenly Father, and your  willingness to stand in my stead , first off for the punishment I deserve, then as chief priest and intercessor with the Father.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Work of my hands can become an idol

Work of my hands can become an idol
 S - Micah 5:13 (NASB)

“ I will cut off your carved images
And your sacred pillars from among you,
So that you will no longer bow down
To the work of your hands.

O - This word of the Lord was to the people of Israel from the prophet Micah who foretold the coming of the Christ and what He would do.   You see the people of Israel despite two full times be exiled continued to not fulfilling the law as written.  There tendency to forget what God has command us, and therefore we see the effects of our wandering away from God.  This has been true from the beginning.

A - The application for me is revealing that I realize God want me to no longer "bow down" to the work of my hands.  I have struggled in this season to find joy in my work and have in the past been driven by my work.   It's not that I think God doesn't want me to work with my hands, he just not want that to be the source of joy in my life.   When I place so much emphasis on work that it becomes my source of joy then I have begun worshiping my work and thus replacing God with my work.   I need to be sure that I believe and live like God is the only source of joy I need, and depend on Him.

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for devotions such as this so I might be corrected.  I repent Lord for making work an idol in my life,  I desire Lord to put you on the altar of my life and worship only you.  I pray Lord your Holy Spirit would rise up in me and remove all from me that is not from you or honoring to you and give me clarity and confidence of the things you are calling me to do.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Jesus' perfect intercession

Jesus' perfect intercession

S - Hosea 2:19-20 (NASB)

“I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice,
In lovingkindness and in compassion,
20 And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.
Then you will know the Lord.

Hebrew 2:1,17
For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.
17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He mightbecome a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

O - Hosea was prophesying to the northern tribes of Israel primarily how they where going to be cut off from God because of the their acts of disobedience.  Thankfully the Lord also provided hope for the future despite the current circumstances. Even to the disobedient bunch He commits that one day he will betroth himself to them and they will know Him.   As we transition to that actual acted on promise through Christ, we see Paul describing to the Hebrews that now that they have heard of God's kept promise they must be careful not to drift away as our past descendants had.  But he reveals the difference that through Christ who was tempted and suffered all things that we did,   we are able to stay connected and true to God because he understands us and can intercede.  Jesus is the difference. 

A - In this season, one of my fears is that my heart is drifting from the lord and these feelings and circumstances I find myself in will weaken my faith to the point of losing my calling and blessing from the Lord.  As I read these old testament stories of the people forgetting their God I see how it must be possible that I too would do the same when distracted by the circumstances of my life.   I know now that Jesus is ready and able to intercede, and he knows my concerns, and has experienced my circumstances.   I need simply to ask that He guard my heart and mind until my faith again is somehow  restored through the power of God.

P -   Dear heavenly Father, thank you for you encouraging and comforting words.  Jesus I ask that you intercede on my might not fall away from God.  I pray Lord for restoration in this current season, for myself , my wife and my family so that we might continue to grown closer to you Lord and be used in this life.   I pray for comfort and peace Lord that I might lead myself and my family in a way that honors you.  I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Seek the Lord

Seek the Lord

S - 2 Chron 26:5 (NASB)
 He continued to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding through the vision of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him.

O - This scripture refers to King Uzziah of Judah,  who was one of the few kings in the line of kings following Solomon who did right in the sight of the Lord.  He reigned from a young age of 16 and ruled during a time when the nation of Israel was split between the northern tribes of Israel and the southern tribe of Judah and Benjamin.  So what was the difference in his ruler-ship than all the Kings; it is found in this scripture, "He continued to seek God".  

A -  The application for me is to understand what King Uzziah did that despite circumstances surrounding you if you simply continue to seek the Lord  He is good and faithful and will care for your every need.  In this season of wandering and uncertainty I find myself desperately waiting on the Lord to change the season.   I must hold on to the truth that if I continue to seek God he will answer and lead me in His ways, which are better than my ways. 

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank youfor today's devotion may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would continue to reveal to me what  you would have me do in this season to be aligned with you and your plan for my life.  I pray this all in Jesus name, Amen

Monday, July 2, 2012

Our strong deliverer

Our strong deliverer

S - Psalm 116:1-8 (NASB)

I love the Lord, because He hears
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.
The cords of death encompassed me
And the terrors of Sheol came upon me;
I found distress and sorrow.
Then I called upon the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, I beseech You, save my life!”
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
Yes, our God is compassionate.
The Lord preserves the simple;
I was brought low, and He saved me.
Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
For You have rescued my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
My feet from stumbling.

O -  This is who our God is , our savior, our true friend, a solid rock on which we can stand.  The psalmist here understands that so well likely from a close relationship with the Lord.    For the psalmist it is out of experience that he can claim the goodness and righteousness of God, and it is written for our benefit that our walk may be strengthened in the Lord.  

A -  The application for me is to understand that the truth proclaimed by the psalmist is a  truth that I can place my trust and faith in.  The truth that God does incline His ear toward me , and that I simply need to call on him.  The Lord is compassionate on me, in that he knows I am low, and He can rescue and bring rest to my soul.

P-  Dear heavenly Father, thank you Lord for speaking and being the truth in my life.  I am desperate for youto in this season rescue my soul from the low it resides into today.  I pray Lord that you would deliver me from this weariness and reveal to me your truth.   I pray all this in Jesus name.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Be a new creation in today's world

Be a new creation in today's world
S - Titus 3: 1-8 (NASB)
be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.  For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when thekindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,  He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,  whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.

O - Paul continues to teach those he has discipled how to lead the local congregations of church's which he has planted.  I believe Paul writes these because of his experiences in the local church, that often we come to the saving knowledge of Christ, and receive the gift, but over time our nature wants to take us back to being dependent on our old ways, dependent on our selves and our righteousness rather than being renewed by the new spirit of god that is in us.   

A -  Here is the lesson and application for me:  that God has done his work in me, despite anything I have done,   I have received his mercy and grace, and salvation.  I have been made new and I no longer have to go back to my old ways of living.  From here on out I am free to simply serve God by doing what is good and profitable for the building up and edifying of his people.  I don't do so to maintain my salvation but out of love for the Lord and his people. 

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for revealing your truth.  I pray for a renewed spirit to serve your people with a spirit of truth.   I pray all this in Jesus name.