Thursday, October 18, 2012

Following God's direction and relying on the Holy Spirit

Following God's direction and relying on the Holy Spirit
S - Act 8:14-17 (NASB)
14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.

O - This was not an insignificant event for the Apostles to hear that the people of Samaria, whom the Jews did not associate with,  had received the word of God.  Now this was very consistent with what Jesus showed and taught them, and he himself stopped at talk with the Samarian women at the well and it resulted in many from that town believing in Jesus.  A couple of interesting observations about this is that it was because of the persecution in Jerusalem that Philip and others moved out and began preaching the Gospel through out the region. The second observation is that when the Apostles hear of this they sent Peter and John, seemingly there top two Apostles to come down and pray for the receipt of the Holy Spirit. 

A -  The application for me is to realize that I must trust in God to lead me and to provide the Holy Spirit.  Philip and the others that were scattered I am sure did not enjoy being scattered out of their comfort zones but it was part of God's plan for their life.  While I am sure they didn't enjoy it , they stayed obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and preached the Gospel to those God led them before.   They didn't have to plan a way just be obedient to what God was doing.   The same goes for me in my life.   While I may feel I have been scattered somewhere that is different than I am comfortable with, I trust in God's plan for me here and wait patiently on the Lord to reveal to me whom he would have me minister to, fervently praying for the spirit to guide me.

P -  Dear heavenly Father, it is your word, and your spirit that sustains me in this season.  I know you have a good plan for my life,  but a confess my spirit flags at times in this season.  I pray Lord for a strengthening and enduring spirit to faithfully walk in this season.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Weighted down by the worries of life

Weighted down by the worries of life

S - Luke 21:34-36 (NASB)

34 Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; 35 for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. 36 But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

O - Jesus was describing what it would be like after He was gone physically and before His ultimate return.  The words word perhaps be hard to understand and head by his disciples, but they are True. 

A-  The application for me is that in this season, the worries of life in this world weigh me down.  As I wait on the Lord I must do as Jesus commanded and keep praying that I might be strengthened to escape these worries and be able to stand before Jesus and hold fast to the Truth that he has become in my life.  

P -  Dear heavenly Father, you know my heart,  it is waiting patiently on you, and yet can be troubled by my own thoughts and worries of this world.  I pray Lord simply that you relieve me of the worries of this world, that I might focus on you and your will for my life.  I pray this in Jesus name. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Posture of our prayers

Posture of our prayers

S -  Luke 18
And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector,standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

O - Jesus tells a parable that is helping the people understand the posture they should come to when praying to the Father.  Out of a good heart I believe the Pharisee aimed through self discipline to follow God's ways, but the over time this turned them judgemental where they were not following God's commands to submit to him, and but became outwardly focused and concerned with what others were doing (or not doing).  There hearts had shifted from who they were in relationship to God to who they were in relationship to other people.  But the tax collector who though may not have chose the disciplined path since you, came to God humbly and submitted.

A -  The application for me is to recognize that my own walk with God can turn from a me submitted to God type relationship to me judging others.  I must consistently come back to God in humble worship and submission with my heart submitted to his correction and mercy.   When I see others I must not be comparative with their righteousness but simply in trust and awe of God's grace and sufficiency in their life.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my life.  I pray Lord for forgiveness if I have been judgmental of others in a comparative way.   I pray Lord for the humble spirit to come before you broken and inadequate without you.    

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rebuke sin, and providing forgivenss

Rebuke sin, and providing forgivenss

S - Luke 17
Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

O - Jesus here is teaching his disciples the grace and love of God and how we are show the same love and grace to our brothers and sisters.   We are not to embitter our hearts when sinned against, but rather rebuke the sin, and if repentance appears,  provide forgiveness;  even if this is over and over again. 

A -  The application for me is to understand that I am not to passive sit by and watch sin impact peoples lives, but rather rebuke it for the cause of repentance and freedom from sin in peoples lives.  I must have courage in the face of sin, in my sin, in the sins of others to rebuke it.   

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this lesson  may it transform my heart, mind and soul. I pray Lord you would give me the courage to rebuke sin in a way that honors you, and in a way that draws people to honest repentance.   I pray you would fill my soul with your love and grace for those you place in my life.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Steward the gifts of God

Steward the gifts of God

S - Luke 16
10 He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? 12 And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 

O - Jesus is telling these parables to the leaders and pharisee's to help them see their own sin, and repent.  He is point out that God entrusted the hope of the world in the nation of Israel through his promises to Abraham, Moses, and Jacob.    But because they didn't steward that responsibility well they may not be given the stewardship over God's people for much longer.  

A -  The application for me causes me to search my heart, mind and soul to see if I am a good steward of what God has given me.   I recognize that in this season I have felt like less of a steward of God's gifts.   I must examine my daily activity and see if I am being faithful.  While my desire is not be in charge of much, it is to impact lives, so I must be a good steward of the resources and gifts he has given me.

P- Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson and thank you for your incredible gifts of mercy, grace, and blessings you pour out on me and my family.  Jesus help me to steward these all well and honor you in all I do.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Turning back to a graceful God

Turning back to a graceful God

S - Luke 15
“Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ 20 So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

O - Jesus is sharing these parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son around the time when the religious leaders were questioning why he hung out so much with sinners and tax collectors.   The answer is eloquently revealed through God's love for all of us,   that though we were mired in our own sin, that when we turned away from that sin and toward God that he was ready to receive us gladly with open arms and a rejoicing spirit.

A -  The application for me is to recognize that I am a sinner saved by a loving father.   That even now as I self condemn myself for falling short of my expectations,  I am always able to turn towards God and his open arms and receive unconditional love. 

P - Dear heavenly Father thank you for your unfailing love and grace.   I know in this season I have not followed as close to you as I have in the past, but I am turning back toward you Lord now, and asking for your firm and caring embrace to help lift me out of the mire I am in.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Renewing my commitment and spicing up my saltiness

Renewing my commitment and spicing up my saltiness

S - Luke 14:26-34 (NASB)

 26 If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
34 “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?35 It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

O -  Jesus is speaking the a large group of people that have been following, including the 12 he has chosen to be his disciples, and speaks these words not to discourage them but to instill courage in them to the task ahead.   Being a disciple of Christ would require that they give up much of what they had prior to being His disciple.  Jesus instructs them that there is a cost to following him, and that this must be considered and bought into.    The salt analogy is particularly revealing in that it shows that if we don't count the cost of following we may lose courage after a period of following Christ, and then of what use are we as light and salt to the world.  

A -  The application for me is to recognize in my life that though I have at one time counted the cost of following Christ,  I may still need to revisit this periodically to ensure my heart is still aligned with my original commitment.    I must recognize that while my vision for my life might be changing, God's vision never has changed.  That while he has given me experiences, talents, and gifts to be salt of the world,  He expects me to stay fresh and continue to influence people with Christ's love.   I must daily seek to stay connected to him, and who he is placing in front of me, deny my own agenda for the day, and minister to the people he brings into my life.

P - Dear heavenly Father, I thank you so much for your investment into my life through you spirit, and through your word.   I thank you for restoring my drive in my devotional life. I pray that you would help me count the cost of following you, and give me the courage to follow you.  I pray that you would help dust off my saltniness so that I once again can see myself being light and salt to those around me.