Sunday, December 15, 2013

Qualifications of a teacher

Scripture- James 3:1-5 NASB

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.  See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!

James 3:13 NASB

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.

Observation -  In this book by James,  brother of Jesus , who was leading the church in Jerusalem, he obviously felt it necessary to write these words of instruction and direction likely because the early church was facing  challenges with the teachers in the church.  The challenge sounds as if they had too many people not ready to be teachers who were becoming teachers.    He points out this role of teacher is no easy task and will come with greater responsibility and stricter judgment.   This is because the delivery of teaching to the body of Christ can either lead them to Christ's mission for the church or can lead them away from it.   Harsh or selfish words can lead people away from the church, or down a path of self righteousness and self service,  vice humble submitted service to God, with a grateful heart.

Application -  This scripture hit home because I have long desired to be a great teacher.   Each year  I recall hearing James' warning and think,  am I qualified?  Often throughout the year,  I find myself disqualifying myself because of my behavior.   I understand in most cases I am simply stumbling, but of recent I realize that while grace abounds with God,  in the roles and positions he is placing me in organizations there is much less room to stumble and the consequences are greater and greater as God continues to elevate my in positions of authority and influence.   I must continue to become self aware and self regulating to ensure that the words coming out of my mouth, honor God, and are spirit led. I must ensure they are in accordance with His word, and are able to meet the truth that James lays out here in that they are delivered with "good behavior " and with a "gentleness of wisdom".

Prayer -  Dear heavenly father, thank you for your word, presented by your servant James.  I need help with this one big time.   I pray that you would have your holy spirit work in me, to continue to remove in me all stumbling blocks to being a God honoring teacher.   I pray Lord for a growing in me the gift of teaching both in art and heart.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Facing my biggest thorn

S- Titus 3:1-11 NASB

Remind them to 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 the kindness 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. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.

O -  Paul here is giving advice to the young Christian church on how to behave in their occupations, in their communities, and even in their family of non believers.   While he knows there is new found freedom in Christ, and that their lives have been changed and transformed,  he knows also that their behavior amongst non-believers should be in such a manner that allows for the presentation of the Gospel.    We must not become prideful of our new found freedom as if it was something we earned, but instead are to be humble and in awe of what God has done for us, and serve well those authorities God has placed over us. 

A -  The application for me is to understand that God is shaping me in this season as to my personal behavior that is inconsistent with who he is calling me to be.    My past has shown my disrespect for authorities in my life,   my maligning people whom I disagree with,   being everything but gentle and peaceable.   I used to take pride in the tenacity and intensity in which I would defend what I believed to be good and true.  Now I understand this is not God's will for my life.   I am to behave as Paul has instructed Titus and the church at which he served to behave. 

P  -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's inspiring  and convicting word.   I confess Lord this has been a lifelong problem for me, and that I struggle just as much today as I did when I was younger.     I know lord with you and those you have placed in my life I am to face this area in this season.  I pray Lord you would grant me the wisdom to understand, strength to make a change, and peace to endure the process of being sanctified into the God honoring leader you are calling me to be.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Developing character - through trials and tribulations

S- Romans 5:3-8 NASB

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.   For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

O - Paul is doing a masterful job  in Romans to explain the theology of the Gospel.  It is a paradoxical shift to explain to a culture that they now have  savior for whom they can not earn favor, but whom will allow them to travel through trials and tribulations.   For many the idea of a savior comes from the idea that we will one day because of this hero in our lives will no longer face troubles in the world.  The good news (Gospel) is that we have a savior who willingly suffered for us.    In return for acceptance of this gift (reconciliation) he promises eternal life with God. 

A - The application for me is understand that my salvation does not come with a free pass from trials, tribulation and suffering.   Instead , I can rejoice in these trials because they are developing in me God honoring character and perseverance.   

P   - Dear heavenly father thank you for todays lesson from your word.  May it be sealed to my heart.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dealing with sin and unrighteousness

S- Matthew 18:15-17 NASB

"If your brother sins , go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.  But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or  three witnesses every  fact may be confirmed .  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

O -  Jesus was giving advice to his disciples about how to resolve conflict in the church but more precisely  how to correct people.  His wisdom in this particular approach of leading people away from sin into righteousness was simple:   have a conversation with them.   The conversation should lead to an understanding of their sin, and more importantly what a righteous path looks like.   If the individual refuses to listen, or does not choose to change, you move to step 2.   You bring two or three trusted witnesses and have them give their perspective to the individual;  if this doesn't work move to step 3 which is bring it to the church.  This might be in a group setting of the church so that his sin and refusal to acknowledge the sin.

A -  Today's application is for me is to recognize that Jesus has given us a righteous method for facing unrighteousness.  Specifically here, it is for how to deal with sin within the church.  As with all things Jesus and God's word shows us a life principle.  In particularl in this season at work I am struggling with confronting unrighteousness.  I realize now I have not been following a wise process, and likely due to impatience have not given full time to each one of these phases of addressing sin, in order that the future has a hope of righteousness.   What I need to be doing when I see unrighteousness is to set up a one on one session with the individual in private,  show them their deviation from the correct behavior.  If they do not listen then I can find two or three people of good reputation and set up a time for these two or three witness to explain to the individual what they see in regard to the unrighteousness.  If this method does not prove effective and then it should be brought up to the command level.  If the individual continues to not align to the commands definition of righteousness, that individual may need to be moved out of the organization they are leading.

P -  Dear heavenly Father thank you for today's timely and relevant message delivered by your word, inspired by the Holy Spirit.  I pray Lord that you would help me apply this lesson to my life, especially I pray for the patience to not jump ahead, of this process.   I pray for a spirit of grace, and not condemnation and a spirit of gentleness and kindness and not of harshness and  meanness.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gift of prophesy without love is like a noisy gong

S - 1 Corinthians 13:1-2 NASB

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

O -  These words written by Paul to the church in Corinth were written to equip, exhort and edify the church there.  Just prior to this he clearly laid out the spiritual gifts that are imparted to believers.   This was so they could understand that God imparted on the them supernatural gifts that far exceed what the local cultures false gods offered.  In this verse Paul tempers these believers  with advice that without love, these gifts are useless to us.  

A -  The application for me is to know that while I feel blessed to have the spiritual gifts of prophecy and words of knowledge, if I don't wrap those in love,  I will be as ineffective as what the world offers.  I feel like I have recently been experiencing this as I feel my prophetic gift is becoming clearer to me, and God has been shepherding me on the use and communication of this gift.  Often times I can be harsh in the delivery of prophetic word or words of knowledge.   I deliver these words  in manner that often times that is not received as love.  I become a noisy gong or clanging cymbal and then whatever prophetic word or word of knowledge God may have wanted me to do deliver becomes useless and wasted.   The Lord is telling me that I must learn to wrap these prophetic words in love and deliver them in such a way that they are received not just spoken.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your timely message.  I have been struggling and frustrated with this gift mostly because I have not been stewarding it well.  Thank you for your word of truth, presented by your servant Paul.   I pray Lord that you would reveal in me what needs to be removed and replace it with your truth and your spirit in order that I might speak your truth's as revealed by your spirit ,  in a manner that is received with the love.  I pray for the patience to be able to have such knowledge and wisdom to discern the Holy Spirits guidance, and the strength yo follow your prompting on how to and when to speak.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

One Spirit, many gifts

Scripture - 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 NASB
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.  But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

Observation -  Paul here is speaking to the church at Corinth that he planted.  This was probably one of the more his toughest places to plant a church, given the many pagan God's the city had.   I find it interesting that it is with this church that Paul decides to introduce the spiritual gifts.   Perhaps it was because the people of that church faced constant pressure around them in their culture to bow down to the many defined gods in the city whom had temples, priests,  followers and rituals associated with them.  Each one of these gods had a definitive purpose and character, the goddess of love, the god of war,  etc.    So maybe it is not surprising after all that Paul describes for this young church that they have the one true God who has all power to do all things (all things those false gods could do and more).   Since God has but one Spirit, God is able to impart for the common good many gifts amongst His people.   These spiritual gifts are distributed to each believer as God wills for serving his purpose. How powerfully comforting this must of been for those members of the church at Corinth, and how much more so now for us today.

Application -  The application for me is found in my family,  in ministry and at work.   I must recognize that first, in my family,  God has given my wife and I each a set of spiritual gifts for the purpose of raising our children in a way that they will know who Jesus is,  how to love God, and how to love others.    I sense he has gifted Abby with the gift of faith and discernment, which is such a blessing to the girls and I.  The way she utilizes these gifts to shepherd the girls and support me is something I am constantly grateful to God for.    For me, he has made me the spiritual leader and teacher in the house, gifting me with words of wisdom and prophecy.   I still feel new at operating in these gifts but each day through God's grace, His spirit is showing me how to utilize these gifts to lead my family.    In ministry these similar gifts He uses in me to help fellow servant leaders in the church to steward well the ministries and people that God has given them to lead.  At work,  the same gifts are working to help me be a light to others in the workplace and help them to know God,  to love one another, and to lead the people of  Pearl Harbor Shipyard in a God honoring way, that serves our country and our God.

Prayer -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for pouring out of your truth into my life , through your inspired word.  I pray Lord you would help me steward the spiritual gifts you have given me well, and continue to teach and mentor me on the utilization of these gifts for your glory.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Reverent fear of the Lord

Scripture - Job 28:28 NASB
"And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.'"

Observation - A simple yet profound statement from Job who was in a tough place.  Most all that he had: wealth, family, and health was taken away.  His physical condition was greatly degraded causing him not to ever be comfortable or ever have a moment of peace from his troubles.  His wife was telling him to curse God and die,  his friends were arguing that he probably brought all of this on himself in some way.   Yet from this position Job still focuses on what he knows  and chooses to  stand on the truths that God has already revealed about Himself . These words of wisdom were likely influenced by Solomon's proverbs 9:10  "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding".    I think it is interesting too that in this proverb that there is a clear distinction between wisdom and knowledge.   Fearing the Lord is wise and leads to making good decisions in your life.   In the world gaining knowledge is often more sought after than wisdom.  The folly with this is that knowledge can be applied in an unwise manner resulting in unexpected and unintended consequences.

Application - The application for me is to first and foremost pray I don't have to have all taken away from me to test if this  truth  has taken root in me.   Not to be scared of the Lord but to greatly respect Him in  such a manner that I wouldn't even consider departing from His ways.   I will live with the understanding that wisdom comes from the Lord.   I will also live understanding that while seeking after knowledge is not a bad thing unto itself, but rather applying knowledge in wise ways that glorify God, and help my fellow man is my ultimate goal.

-  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's injection of your wisdom in my life.  I thank you for the daily investment you make in me through the guidance of your holy spirit and through the truths in your word.     I pray for the discernment and the strength to walk boldly , with a healthy understanding that my wisdom begins when I reverently follow you.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What comes out of us makes us unrighteous

What comes out of us makes us unrighteous

Scripture - Mark 7:18-23 NASB
And He said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him,  because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?" ( Thus He declared all foods clean.) And He was saying, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries,  deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.  All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man."

Observation - Jesus was speaking to the Pharisee's here after they have accused Jesus' disciples of eating without cleaning their hands or dishes.  The Pharisee's where zealous in there cleaning of their hands and cups from which they ate.   Jesus here explains a paradigm breaking principle that it is not what goes into us that makes us unclean or sinful, it is what comes out our hearts and mouths that condemns us.  He goes on to say the prophet Isaiah predicted there would be a generation just like this, that had all of the knowledge of who God is and what his commands are poured into them, but that the output of their lives would be inconsistent with God's truth.  

Application -  The application for me today is to recognize that it is not much different today (save of course the fact that Jesus has died and reconciled us with God).  Our capacity as God's people is still the same though,  to fill ourselves with God's truth, only to watch what comes out of our hearts and mouths prove we are defiled still.  Right now in Hawaii a great struggle is going on over making same sex marriage the law of the land.   I think this displays this same truth Jesus was pointing out to the Pharisees.    First off, certain denominational and church leaders in Hawaii have voiced support of the same sex marriage law proposal.   Second, our legislative leaders in Hawaii during their testimonial portions of the hearings literally read scripture and pointed out that Jesus would want us to do this.   These leaders ability to take in God's word and put out something as unrighteous as a law such as this that violates the highest law in the land , God's law.  This both amazes and saddens me and at the same time confirms what Jesus already pointed out (as also prophesied by Isaiah).  For me personally I need to be sure the application of God's word to my life is displayed in my words and actions.  Any inconsistency between the two I need to trust and seek the Holy Spirits guidance, Jesus' grace, and God's transformational power.

Prayer -  Dear heavenly Father, normally my devotions and prayers are for me , but Lord I am praying today that you would help my country the United States,  my home state of Hawaii, and the world to know your truth and your righteousness.  Help us to repent and turn back to the foundations on which our country and state were built, the belief that we are one nation, under God.  I pray that your spirit would continue to convict me,  refine me, to be a man who walks consistent with your truth.  I pray all of this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Paul's example of obedience, self control, and wisdom

S  -Acts 26:1-2 NASB

Agrippa said to Paul, "You are permitted to speak for yourself." Then Paul stretched out his hand and proceeded to make his defense:   "In regard to all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am about to make my defense before you today;

O - Paul's long imprisonment even before having a real trial and sentence placed upon him is inspiring because it shows the great faith he had in God's plan for his life.  He followed the Holy Spirits direction on each leg of his journeys;  on this leg of the journey in his own defense Paul would be able to give his testimony and preach the Gospel to two major influential regional leaders Fetus and Agrippa.  Both men were familiar with and curious about the new followers of Jesus and the Way.  Paul could have been upset that he was unjustly imprisoned, instead he presented himself humbly and peaceful not only his defense but a rich testimony to those he presented his defense.  A testimony of Jesus, and Gods plan for all of his people.   

A -  The application for me is to recognize that I have the intense passion that Paul had but I must grow in wisdom, discernment , and self control to know when to speak passionately, when to humble myself and wait for someone to ask me to speak.  You see Paul here waited for Agrippa to say "you are permitted to speak for yourself".   Paul didn't demand it, he waited for the invitation.    I too often begin my defense or testimony (or some may say tirade)  before the time is right or before I have the invitation to speak.   I need to apply the fruit of the spirit,  gentleness and self control to know when the right time to speak is, and to seek words that clearly communicates the truth, my convictions, but not in a way that creates an offense that would be a barrier to others receiving God's truth.

P-  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this day , your word, and your example through you Apostle Paul as to how I need to change.  I pray Lord you Holy Spirit would continue to reveal untruth in my life and replace it with your truth.  I pray for courage to speak and wisdom to choose words that represent who you are in me .   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Seasons of blessing vs seasons of adversity

S -Job 2 NASB

9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

O - What a powerful conviction, trust,  and understanding Job had as to who he was, who God was and what the relationship really between the two.   God in His wisdom knew this about Job and allowed Satan to test him.   It was not in a small way that Satan tested him either; after many years of abundance and blessings for him and his family Job's children where all struck down and Job's own flesh was greatly afflicted causing what must have been both extreme emotional and physical despair.  But in all that He is able to respond to His own wife's  recommendation to curse God and die,  with an attitude of understanding of who He was, and who God is.   Much like Paul later declares in the new testament,  Job declares essentially that in His understanding,  that in all things (good and bad) He has learned that God is on the throne and we are to accept willfully all that God has given us.  

A -  The application for me is to recognize that I have experienced both seasons of rich blessing from the Lord, as well as seasons of adversity in which my own mind begins to question if I like following a God that would allow such adversity in my life.   In the end of all the adverse seasons   I can  always see his intentions and blessings that resulted from the season of adversity.  These can be crucible seasons in which things in my life are ground down and discarded,   my soul is correct and strengthened, for the seasons to come.   I see these seasons in the life of Joseph (what a great name!)   He had numerous seasons of adversity shaping him for the season in which he would lead his people , and the nation of Egypt as the Pharaoh's right hand man. 

P - Dear heavenly Father , thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.   Help me Lord to remember to have the attitude of Job, to accept both seasons of blessings and seasons of adversity with the same gratefulness and same submission to your will. I pray all of this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Encouraged by God and Nehemiah to stand firm

S - nehemiah 6 NASB
10 When I entered the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was [h]confined at home, he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you, and they are coming to kill you at night.” 11 But I said, “Should a man like me flee? And could one such as I go into the temple [i]to save his life? I will not go in.” 12 Then I perceived [j]that surely God had not sent him, but he uttered his prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He was hired for this reason, that I might become frightened and act accordingly and sin, so that they might have an evil report in order that they could reproach me. 14 Remember, O my God, Tobiah and Sanballat according to these works of theirs, and also Noadiah the prophetess and the rest of the prophets who were trying to frighten me.

O - I love this story of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the gates of Jerusalem amidst great external pressure.  A mentor of mine likened this story to the work I do in shipyards and today once again God is showing me His lessons for my life through scripture.   Here we see Nehemiah who see's his enemies are conspiring against him and rather than become afraid he strengthens himself in the Lord , who has sent him on a mission to Jerusalem and made every way possible so far.  He used his spiritual discernment on whom to trust and what to do.

A - There is so much more to unpack here that I feel like this is just the beginning.  I know for me I feel like I am purposely place in an environment where  there is both great opportunity and great resistance.   I will be encouraged by Nehemiah today to  understand my calling and my source of wisdom and strength as God, and God alone.  I must confidently keep stepping forward.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this day , your word, your calling and your strength.  I pray you continue to fill me with courage to be a man of God like Nehemiah and stand firm in what you are calling me to do.  I pray all of this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Excellency of Brotherly Unity

S-Psalm 133 NASB

A Song of Ascents, of David.
133 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron’s beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robes.
3 It is like the dew of Hermon
Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.

O -  Today my observation is that I can see the Gospel being preached by David, who was before Christ but not before God,  whose plan for us was always there for our salvation and restoration of relationship with Him and with others.   The Gospel is fulfilled through Christ, but proclaimed from the very beginning of God's creation.   That He desired /commanded of His creation two things,  to love Him (which David whose very heart was after God's own),   and to love others (... to dwell together in unity).    

A - The application for me is to understand that I am to desire and aspire to live together with my brothers in unity.  Unity of spirit, unity of cause,  unity of purpose.   We are all to be for God,  for His church,  and not against one another.

P - Dear heavenly Father,  thank you for this daily injection of your Word into my life, in a way that I can apply it today!   I wake up every morning Father and so look forward to our time together that I would be dissappointed if I didn't have this daily opportunity to reflect on your goodness,  and focus on my relationship with you.   Father, I pray that you help me walk in the spirit of truth and unity , with those brothers you have placed in my life,  with those people you have placed in my path, and with the family you have blessed me with.  I pray all of this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Childlike Trust in the Lord.

S - Psalm 131 NASB

A Song of Ascents, of David.
131 O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes [a]haughty;
Nor do I [b]involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too [c]difficult for me.
2 Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests [d]against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child [e]within me.
3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever.
O -  Oh David how pure your heart and soul is.  Look at the humbleness and trust David displays.  I wonder if he had to posture himself that way or if his soul just resided there at all times.  I suspect it is a conscious decision he had to make daily,  to quiet his soul, humble his heart,  and focus his eyes on God and not the world and circumstances in front of himself.

A -  The application for me is to understand that having a child like trust in the Lord is not a nature given to man but a choice we (I) must make.   I must follow David's  example, and humble my heart,  set my eyes on the Lord,  do not put myself towards great matters of things in this world, but rather quiet my soul and trust in the Lord.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion, may it change me inside and out.  Lord send your spirit to guide and prompt me when my eyes, heart, and mind begin to wander toward great matters in this world, and not on simply sitting at your fit, listening, and trusting in you.  I pray all of these things in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

God - the source of all power, provision, and authority

S - Luke 16 nasb
8 And his [f]master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own [g]kind than the sons of light. 9 And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the [h]wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.
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 [i]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? 13 No [j]servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and [k]wealth.”

O -  This is a parable Jesus is telling to a group of people, who includes the pharisee's of the time.   He is quite directly telling the Pharisee's they love money and power more than they love serving God (ouch!)   Just prior to this he tells the story of the rich man who goes to hell, and the poor and afflicted man who goes to heaven and is comforted by God and his angels (again ouch!).   How much more obvious does he need to be with these religious leaders of Israel.      

A -  Both of these parables are clearly for the audience Jesus is speaking to at the time, but have timeless implications for us today.    We (me) to can easily get distracted by the riches and powers in this world.  We can even start off with the intent to follow and serve God only, but find ourselves chasing riches, authority and power in this world.  I am made of the same DNA as the Pharisee's , but thank God I have been made a new creation and can overcome through the blood of Christ. 

P -  Dear heavenly Father, I know you have already won the victory in me, but confess the temptations for power and riches in this world still distract me daily.   I am so thankful for your abundant provision in my life, help me to understand you are more than sufficient.   Help me to remember all power and authority comes from you, and that I do not need to seek it or strive for it.  I pray all of this in Jesus name, Amen

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

not in my strength but in Gods

S - psalm. 143 NNASB
He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The Lord favors those who fear Him,
Those who wait for His lovingkindness.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Praying like Jesus

S - Luke 11 NASB
11 It happened that while [a]Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” 2 And He said to them, “When you pray, say:
‘[b]Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 ‘Give us each day our [c]daily bread.
4 ‘And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.’

O -   Jesus disciples where asking Jesus, we want to pray like you , not for the formula for prayers.  His disciples saw him frequently pray to the Lord and it is the heart to pray and seek God's provision,  forgiveness,  and overflowing grace.    

A - The application for me is to remember the heart behind this example that Jesus shows us.  For those that have a  relationship with God the Father, through Jesus, we ought to seek to glorify and worship GOd,  to look toward him during the campaign for our provision,  to wash us clean of our sins or any sin that has been weighing us down,   to help us to love and forgive others,  and most importantly not to lead others into temptation.

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this devotion today,  may my life glorify you.  Thank you Lord for the many blessings and provision in my life.  I pray Lord that you would forgive of my sin, show me the way to forgiveness so I might forgive those who have sinned against me.  Lord protect me from things of this world, from the devil, and tempation that would draw me further from you.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Leadership lesson: Humble yourself today

s psalm 113
Who is like the Lord our God,
Who is enthroned on high,
6 Who [c]humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in heaven and in the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the needy from the ash heap,
8 To make them sit with [d]princes,
With the [e]princes of His people.
9 He makes the barren woman abide in the house
As a joyful mother of children.
[f]Praise [g]the Lord!

Psalm 127
Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
2 It is vain for you to rise up early,
To [a]retire late,
To eat the bread of [b]painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep

Luke 7 nasb
The Test of Greatness
46 An argument [aa]started among them as to which of them might be the greatest. 47 But Jesus, knowing [ab]what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, 48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.”
49 John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is [ac]for you.”

O -  Wow,  how amazing the connection in three different scriptural locations of God's principle of Humbleness.   This is between two or three different writers in the bible, but one author , God the Father, that the principle of humbleness.   In psalm 113 the example of how God lifts of the humble of spirit.  (Beattitudes connection).  In Psalm 127 - is the example of the Lord not only lifts those poor in spirit, he helps build those humble good in spirit people to help build and guard their house , even despite their hard labors.  In fact the lord provides in their sleep as well as in their labor.   Then Jesus comes in luke 7 and explains to us (speaking to his disciples in scripture when they begin discussing who is greatest among the disciples) that it is he whom is able to receive a child with humble gentleness ,    whomever puts himself last, will be first.  (Paradoxical commandment).

A -  The application for me is to recognize  that for me I need to ensure I am following God's commandments and values, that I humble my spirit, especially when facing challenging situations in which my aggressive and defensive spirit rises.   I need to build my family, and my ministry (home, work, and church) not on my hard labors but on his power.  Last of all I must die to whom is the greatest among those in the things I am doing (the trap of comparing myself to others and not to Christ).  I am to receive each in need with humbleness and serve them with God's grace and love.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this inspiring devotion this morning I pray you would transform my heart and mind to live this biblical truths.  I thank you Jesus for walking with me daily and gracefully picking me up when I fall short of your standard.  I pray this in Jesus name.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Humbly and faithfully following Christ

S- Luke 7
31 “To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children who sit in the market place and call to one another, and they say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’ 33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’ 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a [y]drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and [z]sinners!’ 35 Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”

O - This is an interesting scripture in that Jesus is sitting here speaking to the pharisee's.     In this chapter Jesus is showing both his disciples and the religious leadership that they are looking in the wrong place when they are looking for whom God will answer prayers and bring the good news to.  It will be people like the Roman centurion whose faith surpassed the faith of all of Israel.  It will be the sinful woman who washed Jesus feet with her tears, and annoited his head with perfume.   

A -  The application for me is to realize I can be a spoiled brat, so used to being in God's church that I forget to approach Christ humbly and trusting in who He is , in my life, in His church.   I must continue despite my rank or position , to seek Christs healing humbly, and have faith to trust in Christ's authority in my life.   I must continue to humbly serve Christ, despite my position or years saved, but serve him as a grateful sinner redeemed.  Humbly serving him in all I do. 

P - Dear heavenly father, thank you for your wisdom and truth you are speaking into my life.  I pray Lord that you help me to continue to scrub my heart for prideful behavior.  I pray for your powerful leadelrship of my life , that you would go before me and give me the ears to hear and wisdom to follow you.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Called to the lost and not our own home towns

S - Luke 4
And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 And the [e]book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the [f]book and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
20 And He closed the [g]book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your [h]hearing.” 22 And all were [i]speaking well of Him, and wondering at the [j]gracious words which [k]were falling from His lips; and they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” 23 And He said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’” 24 And He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. 25 But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; 26 and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to [l]Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow

O -   I am just enjoying the observation how with such calmness , Jesus reveals himself in person, but also in fullfillment of Isaiah's prophecy.   How interesting that must have been to be in the synagogoue and hear these words.  I can imagine many did not quite understand (as I am sure I would not have) the implications of what Jesus was saying.  He was here to set the captive free (that was them, that was them slaves to sin.)    He describes for those people of his hometown of Nazareth that God does not typically send a prophet to his hometown but somewhere else.   This may have two meanings.  One that He wasn't there for the people of Nazareth but for all of Jerusalem, and Israel.   Second it could mean that he wasn't there for those in Israel who were not seeking God but rather holding on to traditions and authorities , namely the Pharisee's and Sadducee's,  and that he came for those who were not being led by good shepherds.

A -  The application for me is to remember that Jesus came for the lost and misled.  God loves his people but has specific compassion on those who have not be shown the Gospel in a manner that should receive it. Therefore we must always be sure that  we the church,  Christ's body on earth, must always represent God to the lost and under represented, to whom he is calling us to reach.   In many cases that won't be to our hometown, though our hearts are connected to them.

P - Dear Heavenly Father, thank you Lord for today's devotion, and your spirit inspired word.  Thank you for sending your son, to testify to your glory, and reconcile my sin, so that I who was once lost,  could be found and connected to the body of Christ.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Investigating the truth

S- Luke 1 (NASB)
1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things [a]accomplished among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning [b]were eyewitnesses and [c]servants of the [d]word, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having [e]investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been [f]taught.

O - In the commentary on Luke the it says that Luke wrote this very chronological history of what happened when Christ came and went during his ministry here on earth.  I am not sure but am interested to know how the stories where past around and then captured on paper.  For example in this chapter is the chronicle of Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist and his encounter with an angel.  Luke seems to be capturing the stories that were passed on , or did he in his life's mission, travel to Zechariah's house and get a first account from Zechariah as to what the angel said. Luke said it the information was "handed down to us from eyewitnesses and servants of God.    I trust in the Holy Spirits leading of Luke and the correctness of the text but just think it interesting to understand the text was likely not written through direct inspiration such as John and the book of revelations, but rather purposed to ensure that it was documented, first for his friend Theophilus but in God's purpose for the foundation of our faith.

A -  Perhaps I should learn from Luke who did not rely soley on the Holy Spirits inspiration but investigated for the accounts.  I think we (I)  are supposed to investigate for ourselves the truth in the scripture by understanding more about what is written.  For example , historical context of text,   who the author was, what were his influences.  The purpose the text was being written.   I know Pastor Rod and a few others in my life have spoken into the need for this expository study of the word of God. I am encouraged today to use more resource like Mathew Henry's commentary,   and J Vernon McGee's audio commentaries to better understand and reflect on scripture.

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank Lord for this opportunity and devine inspiration to again become hungry for your word.  I pray Lord that you would continue to lead me daily through revelation and inspiration and knowledge of your word.  I pray Jesus that you would help me plant these lessons deep in my heart, and help me raise my children in such a way as to help them know you, love your word, and serve the church.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Living on earth as it in heaven - a revelation of the New Jerusalem

S -  Rev 22 (NASB)
22 Then he showed me a river of the water of life, [a]clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of [b]the Lamb, 2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve [c]kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; 4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will no longer be any night; and they [d]will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

O -   I am not sure if I am suppose to receive it this way, but I am so looking forward to eternity with God, and serving him in this new Jerusalem, that I want to begin now.  The vision of a place such as is built of fine gems and pure stones,  with a living water river, that feeds the trees of life, which bear a variety of fruit for us to eat, and yields leaves for healing.  It is God's full and perfect provision.  This was God's original intent and design but due to sin entering the world, we were exiled from the Garden of Eden.  

A - The application for me is to understand that I can take this vision of God's perfect creation and pull elements of it into my life.   I can see despite a worn out and broken world,   that God's provision for my shelter , food and healing is here.   I must toil to get it but it is here.  The lesson might be to understand what is His provision,  what is His shelter, and what is His healing, and not things of man.  Focus on these things.

1. Shelter -  my home I have already been provided  ,  not a covetous view of bigger and more expensive houses

2.Provision - man made foods have likely worn heavily on my body and I need to begin eating more naturally from God's natural creation.  In Eternity on the tree of life will be required for food, and it will be on 12 different fruits which fully sustain us.   If I can begin eating whole fruits and vegetables and not food altered by men for profit or convienience.

3.  Healing -  healing also comes from the tree of life (the leaves to be exact),  so I believe there are natural cures out there available for a more natural healing.   This may be the hardest for me as I use alot of prescription drugs that are man made to manage my health.  I need the most wisdom and discernment in this area.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for revealing your eternal plan for us.    I pray Lord that you would let that vision spark me to see how your will can be done on earth as it is heaven, even now.  I pray for discernment to tell what is of you , and what is of this world.  I pray specifically in the area of prescription medication for what I might more naturally supplement to heal or relieve me of the symptoms of asthma, allergies, and depression.  I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hope is Alive - Heaven on Earth

s- rev 22 NASB
Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will [a]dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them[b], 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 6 Then He said to me, “[c]It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. 7 He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.

O - Ahh!  The vision of life in perfect relationship with God the Father, and Jesus his son, as he has always intended it to be.   God's description of the tabernacle here on earth to Moses and then again to Ezekiel  was  a foreshadowing of what it would be like when God's throne comes to dwell amongst us.   It is the hope that we place in our promised future,  it is the model which we strive to live today as much as humanly possible.  We desire to drink for Christ's living water, and to be children of God.  Our challenge today is that not all things have been made new, and the devil still operates against us. 

A - The vision has always been enough to motivate me to press on , if it is a large enough and exciting enough vision.   This is true at work, in a company (like Apple or Google) , and especially in this God proclaimed vision of God on his throne on Earth as it is in heaven.

P - Lord today I am encourage and excited for your vision of your childrens future. I pray Lord for a periodic refreshing of that vision , especially in the times where the world as it is today seems to erase that , and the attacks of the devil distract me from it.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Walking in obedience of his commands

28 If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God: deut 28:1-2


15 However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you:deut 28:15

Don't worry what you will say

"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. (Matthew 10:16-20 NASB)

the new old

S - 1 john 2
Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. [c]On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.10 The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes

Remain people of Christ and resist the devil

S - Revelations 20 NASB

Satan Bound

20 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain [a]in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.
Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of [b]their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had notworshiped the beast or his image, and had not received themark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

O - My immediate observation was how "how lucky are these guys"   they are given 1000 years where Satan can't complicate their faith in follow the truth.   What is even more interesting is this is when the judgement of all is about to occur, first the saints who served Christ faithfully and lost their lives for it, then all those that during who did nto received the mark of the beast.   For those thousand years, there was no Satan, and those who did not receive the mark of the beast  reigned with Christ.  What an opportunity for all who lived during that time to truly know Christ.

A -  The application for me is to understand that I am very challenged to resist the lies of Satan,  and to live true to Christ,  but I must.  The second application is to remain true because in the end,  I will be able to be apart of the first resurrection and reign with Christ to affect even more people for Him,  I will be a preist of God and work for the best boss I could ever hope for  ,  Christ.
P - Dear Heavenly Father, thank your for this day you have made,  your revelation of what is and what is to come.   I am refreshed and rejuvenated by your word and your presence  in my life.   I only  pray that you help me to resist Satan, and any thing of this world that would draw me away for you.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Philippians: Faith Revealed

Philippians: Faith Revealed

“A Quality Love”

(Pastor Wayne Cordeiro)

(September 14-15, 2013)



“…so that you may prove what is excellent…” (Phil. 1:9).

“[Love] …believes the best in all; there is no limit to her

hope” (1 Cor. 13:7 ISV).

“And this I pray, that your love will abound

still more and more in real knowledge and all

discernment, so that you may approve the

things that are excellent, in order to be sincere

and blameless until the day of Christ …” (Phil.

A. SINCERE: ________________ ________________.

“…in order to be sincere…” (Phil. 1:10).

1. OUR LOVE HAS TO   __________ _________.

“And this I pray that your love will abound still

more…” (Phil. 1:9).

“May the Lord make you increase and abound in

love for one another…” (1 Thess. 3:12).


B.  BLAMELESS:  NOT EASY TO _________________.

“…in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of

Christ…” (Phil. 1:10).

“These were among the mighty men who helped him

in war. They were equipped with bows, using both the

right hand as well as the left to sling stones and to

shoot arrows from the bow” (1 Chron. 12:1-2).


_________________________ &


b)  _____________ QUALITY: LOVE THAT


Let God reinforce His message through a CD or DVD available at

our Resources Table or go to  to help you to

grow in Jesus!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hope of relief in God's mercy

S -jerimiah 3

 Hope of Relief in God’s Mercy

19 Remember my affliction and my [e]wandering, thewormwood and bitterness.
20 Surely my soul remembers
And is bowed down within me.
21 This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses [f]indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the [g]person who seeks Him.
26 It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man that he should bear
The yoke in his youth.
28 Let him sit alone and be silent
Since He has laid it on him.
29 Let him [h]put his mouth in the dust,
Perhaps there is hope.
30 Let him give his cheek to [i]the smiter,
Let him be filled with reproach.
31 For the Lord will not reject forever,
32 For if He causes grief,
Then He will have compassion
According to His abundant lovingkindness.
33 For He does not afflict [j]willingly
Or grieve the sons of men.
34 To crush under His feet
All the prisoners of the [k]land,
35 To [l]deprive a man of justice
In the presence of the Most High,
36 To [m]defraud a man in his lawsuit—
Of these things the Lord does not [n]approve.
37 Who is [o]there who speaks and it comes to pass,
Unless the Lord has commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
That [p]both good and ill go forth

O -  The verses here are written by the prophet Jeremiah who has spent some time prophesying what the Lord was going to do with the people of Israel and Judah.  He both tells them why the Lord is about to act, and also gives them a opportunity for repentance.   This portion feels like it is Jeremiahs testimony to those who are about to journey through the seige of Jerusalem and exile to Bablyon,  he gives both hope and posture for how we are to respond in light of God's sovereignty over our lives.

A -   Lord your word is sufficient for me to know you and understand your will for my life.   I understand whether in affliction or blessing,  abundance or scarcity of resource,  joyful times, or times of morning,  you are on the throne.  I believe you are good, and that you have good plans for me.  

P - Dear heavenly Father thank you for your love and character that reigns over my life in such a loving way.   Thank you for ruling with truth, might, and grace.    I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.