Saturday, November 24, 2012



S - Matthew 18:21-35 (NASB)

21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ 27 And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’30 But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. 31 So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. 32 Then summoning him, his lord *said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ 34 And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

O-  Forgiveness, one of the greatest gifts to receive but one of the hardest gifts to give. Jesus tells of this parable of forgiveness so we will recognize ourselves in it.  That we often embrace or even pray for the forgiveness of our heavenly Father, yet when even a close friend or brother has wronged us we expend so much energy trying to get them to right the wrong, even if that is the energy of waiting and holding an offense. Much like in this parable, God expects us to forgive as we have been forgiven.  In a way that is how he is restoring his people, through his people. 

A - The application for me is in my relations, wife,kids, family, co-workers, bosses, and fellow Christians   I am to daily forgive. To ensure as I am coming to my heavenly father for forgiveness I have let go of grudges and ill will to others, even if I have been wronged. 

P - God, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you help me to learn to forgive, and teach others forgiveness as you have forgiven and taught me. I pray for my sister Lisa, that your spirit would lead her and guide me as you see fit to help her to know you and know your forgiveness, so that she may begin to forgive.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Shedding the burdens of the world, in favor of the burdens of Christ

Shedding the burdens of the world, in favor of the burdens of Christ

S - Matthew 11:28-30 (NASB)
28 Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

O -  We who are weary are to come to Jesus and exchange the yoke of the world for the yoke of Jesus. The yoke while it come with some load to bear, Jesus promises his yoke is easy.  And with his yoke upon us he can gently guide us and lead us out of our weariness and away from our burdens.  When Jesus came to earth he was drawing all near to him, so they could all draw near the Father who is in heaven.  Our original design was to be under the Father's gentle yoke, but because of sin we have been separated and picked up our own yoke and continued to add over the days and years to our own burden.  We can now turn back, repent, and come to Jesus who restores us.

A - The application for me is to recognize, that I am not just to let go of the burdens of this world, which I see sometimes as the responsibilities I have accumulated over time, but rather to truly seek to come to Jesus, listen to and be led by him, and put on the yoke he gives me, that I might carry the burden he has designed me to carry, because it is easy to be led by his yoke than that of the worlds. His burden is there, but it is light.  I might shed myself of burdens that I placed on my self, and only carry those that he has placed on me, like being a good husband,  raising and loving my children, and sharing his love with those he places in my life.

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 lead me with your gentle yoke, making obvious the burdens you intend for me and helping me shed the burdens I or the world has placed on me.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Done according to our Faith

Done according to our Faith
S - Math 9:27-30 (NASB)
27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28 When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus *said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They *said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, It shall be done to you according to your faith.” 30 And their eyes were opened.

O - In the Gospel of Matthew at this point in the story,  Matthew is accounting the numerous, healings, and miracles Jesus performed. Cumulatively they testify to whom Jesus really  is, the Son of God, but also if we watch closely to the responses of the accounts of those who were healed we see the faith required to receive these blessings from God.   The first indication of faith was that those in need of healing heard of Jesus and pursued him for their healing.  When they were able to reach Jesus they asked for mercy.    Both of these steps were steps of faith toward Jesus, but the final expression of faith is their actually healing, for Jesus ask them the question do you believe I am able to heal you, and then he healed them according to their faith.  

A - The application for me is to understand that of importance and concern is not the capabilities and power of our Lord and Savior Jesus, but rather the depth of my faith in Him.   At times I am acutely aware of my greater need for Jesus to save me from my current circumstances, mentally, physically, and/or spiritually.   Sometimes  my prayers seem to get answered immediately, other times it seems to take time.  I wonder how much is done IAW my faith that Jesus is able to change my circumstances.   I must continue to seek to grow in trust and faith of all that Christ has offered.

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Storing up treasures in heaven

Storing up treasures in heaven
S - Matt 6:19-27  ( NASB)
19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

25 For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

O - God has revealed these profound and simple words through his son Jesus, because he knows our struggles and toils.  In some way we toil due to our own sin and separation from God, it is our curse as we were kicked out of of Eden.  Jesus' instruction is drawing us back to the promises of living under God's full dominion as it was in the Garden of Eden.  The peace that comes from simply focusing on our relationship with God and relationship with others is freeing from the constant worry about our provision, which can lead to us storing up treasures for fear we will run out.  Therefore it is out of fear that we begin guarding our treasure and our heart begins focusing on the treasure instead of God and our relationships.  

A -  The application for me is to strike out again for freedom from the growing bondage that is finances and my treasures here on earth.   I must once again place my trust in God for my families full provision, and start storing up heavenly treasures and not earthly treasures.   Heaven treasures being relationship building things with Christ, my wife, my girls, and those God places in my life.

P - Dear heavenly Father, Lord I pray for help in turning my head toward your heavenly treasures, and away from the worries of treasures of this world.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Preparation for ministry

Preparation for ministry 
S -  Mathew 4:5-11 (NASB)

Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,and *said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,
He will command His angels concerning You’;
On their hands they will bear You up,
So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him, On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down andworship me.” 10 Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” 11 Then the devil *left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.

Jesus Begins His Ministry

O -  Mathews account of Jesus entering the formal outward ministry gives me an understanding of how God might call us into ministry.   Jesus was born and raised by his parents.  He was named and dedicated to God but he still needed to be grow under his parents (and of course God's) shepherding.   After being baptized by the John the Baptist God proclaimed Jesus as his son, in whom he was well pleased, and then he was lead off to the desert to be tempted by the devil.  Jesus both flesh and spirit , felt the ache of the human condition after 40 days of fasting and yet the spirit in him clung tightly to God and His word.   It was after these testing from the devil, and his stalwart responses that once Jesus was physically recovered, at the assistance of the angels, that he began his active ministry.

A -   The application for me is to reflect on my own journey and walk with God.  I have been reborn a new creation in Christ, and raised by my spiritual family to begin to understand the things of God and His church.  I have proclaimed my faith through baptism in water, and have received the holy spirit.     In this season I am in, I feel as if though I am not so much in the desert, I have been given over to Satan and allowed to be tested.  My body is not physically weak but my spirit is , and I need to continue to lean on God's truth to defend against and rebuke the devil's lies.

P - Lord Jesus, give me strength and confidence to walk through this season, and give me protection with you word against the devil's discouraging and tempting words.   Help me like you  to walk away in victory from tempation that I might serve my purpose here on earth.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Our inner life being renewed daily, in the midst of external decay

Our inner life being renewed daily, in the midst of external decay

2 Cor 3

15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is,there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

2 Cor 4

For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

O - This letter from Paul to the Corinthians is rich with instruction to a local church and its membership on to how they are to view their new found freedom in Christ, and what to expect in walking out their faith.   One way Paul does this by revealing the difference between operating under the written law of Moses which is has been veiled us from God's glory and the veil being removed by Christ, and now Christ's spirit is in us and we have a new found freedom in Christ that could have never been attained under the law. Now the light shines in us to share with the world but we are yet still vessels born on earth and face the same fragilities of this world.  We can be broken and cracked,  but we will not despair or be destroyed because we have the eternal light of Christ in us.  We are both dying to the old body and being renew in our inner life daily.

A-  The application for me is to realize when I begin feeling down and defeated in it often the external circumstances and my outer self that is feeling defeated.  Whether it be my physical body getting older and more sore with age, or my worries for the external circumstances like my job, my possessions decaying away that I begin despairing.   The encouragement from Paul is this that my internal man is being renewed daily, through prayer, God's word, and the Holy Spirit in me.  This is being renewed and restored daily.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your daily spiritual renewal.  I recognize I have despaired to much about my external circumstances, while all along you are renewing me daily and filling me spiritually.  I pray that you continue to renew me from the inside out, until once again your light shines to all around me and they see your glory through my life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The simple message of the Gospel

The simple message of the Gospel
S -  1 Cor 15   (NASB)
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 

 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

O - Paul in speaking to the Corinthians in this Chapter is giving them a powerful teaching to help them understand absolute necessity and truth of Christ's resurrection.  Likely the church's that were initially planted began to have discussions among themselves much like the Pharisee's and Sadducee who were of the same God but differed from their belief regarding resurrection of the dead.   So he clearly lays out the importance and the why behind Christ's death resurrection.  First that he had to die for our sins,  that he was buried and raised on the third day and now reigns in heaven is truly the good news.  He reigns in spirit and truth , and has defeated the flesh and death.          It had to be in this order because as the first Adam was a living soul, and through him we all die because of sin, but through the second Adam, a living life giving spirit , we are born again. 

A-  The application for me is just to help refine the simplicity of the Gospel in my own mind, so that I may share it freely with others.  That freely with others might sound something like this : "God create the world and us, and he loves his creation.  He gave us free will to love and abide in Him but because of Adam our nature to sin gave birth to and flesh that was separated from God.  We became born of the flesh of Adam and carried the same traits of separation from God, and the separation is sin or basically walking away from God.   But God had a plan to restore that relationship through a second Adam, who was Jesus.  Jesus came and paid the price for all of our sin so we might be restored to a full spiritual relationship with God.  When he died he paid the price, was raised new as a spiritual being to heaven where he reigns.  All those who believe in him will be given a new spiritual life that allows them to have a close personal relationship with God in which he will guide us in this life, and lead us in eternal life. 

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this devotion today.  May the truth of your Gospel be cemented in my heart so that I may share it with others in a way that leads them to you and your truth.  I pray Lord you would give me those opportunities to share your good news to those in my life in a real and meaningful way, and would guide my heart, mind, and mouth in doing so.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Love is ... the way and the truth and the life

Love is ...  the way and the truth and the life

S - 1 Cor 13:4-7 (NASB)
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

O - Paul as in most of his letters to the church's is writing back to instruct them based on what the spirit is leading him to teach and guide these young church's on how they are to conduct their lives.  What is is interesting is how different from the old testament laws these instructions are.   Instead of telling them what they are to do or not do, he teaches the principles and core values on which they are to conduct their life and make value judgement    The whole law spoke to loving God and loving our neighbors by what it prohibited (coveting neighbors stuff or wife, murder, honoring our parents, placing nothing in our lives above God).  In this letter Paul lays out in ways we can all understand the traits of the love in which we are are to live and strive for.

A -  The application for me is to rejoice in Paul's writing and God's instruction, under the freedom of Christ.  I see now that I have the freedom to love freely with all of these traits.   It doesn't come easy and I can understand that our history prior to Christ in our life may continue to influence our thoughts and flesh if we don't allow our old selves to be crucified with Christ, dieing to our old self and living in a new spirit.    I felt a moment of truth to be revealed to my sister regarding forgiveness in verse that love does no take in to account wrong suffered.  

P - Lord Jesus, thank you for today's lesson, and your devine inspiration to rejuvenate my participation in your word through journaling.  It is an honor and priveledge to be led by you and I pray that you would continue to lead and grow me in this season, and help me to speak your truth into my sisters life in a meaningful way.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.