Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Trusting in the lord for provision and peace

Trusting in the lord for provision and peace
S -Phil 4:4-7 (NASB)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near .6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension , will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Phil 4:11-13 (NASB)

O -   Paul is speaking to a generous church at Philipi that they might be encouraged to continue trusting in God for their provision and to continue to be generous.  Paul says the key is to be content in all circumstances by trusting that we can do all things through Jesus who gives us our strength.

A -   The application for me is to see that I can not walk around with a defeated or scarce mentality in the circumstances I am facing.  I must realize that God has placed me were I am am for heavenly purpsoses and I can rejoice in that his provision is sufficient to accomplish his purposes in the places he is sending me.     My attitude is my choice, and laying down my problems and needs before him is my provision.

P- Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your message of hope and provision.  I pray Lord that you convict me and help me to change my attitude and perspective on things, one in which I can rejoice in who you are and what you are doing .   Help me to reflect you to my wife and family, and those that I reach every day in your name.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

S -1 Tim 6:17-19 (NASB)
17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works , to be generous and ready to share,19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

O -   Paul is giving Timothy a reminder to preach to his congregation the need to continue to focus on doing good things and not focus on their wealth or provision.  Many will come to the saving knowledge of Christ, but like the parable of the seed , some will be choked out for concerns about riches and troubles of this world.   Jesus said it would be very difficult for the rich man to inherit the kingdom of heaven; he did not say impossible though, and through God all things are possible.  For the rich man his answer is Jesus and a life dedicated to using the riches God has endowed him with to do good, and share so that many will know God's love and provision.

A -   The application for me is a reminder that though I feel at times choked out by the troubles of this world, I must continue to remain generous in heart and spirit.   The troubles of this world is where the treasures of this world live,  the hope of eternity is where the treasures of Jesus live in heaven.  

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

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sowing Bountifully

Sowing Bountifully
S - 2 Cor 9:6-8 (NASB)
6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully .7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed

 O - Gernerosity is contagious and self perpetuating.  This is what I observe God saying through this scripture.  Paul is writing to the church in Corinth to encourage them to put their minds to being an outlet of Gods love and not just an inlet.   He encourages them to sow recklessly for from it will come a bountiful return.   God supplies sufficient grace to us to allow us to recklessly give, because He will always ensure we have an abundance to do every good deed our heart desires.

A - The application for me is a reminder to be generous with my love and resources.   My mind reminds me not to be reckless with resources,  but generous.   I can become conservative in times when I am worrying alot about how much more I feel I have going out than coming in.  I need to trust in God for his provision and reflect on his abundant generosity to me and how that has allowed me at times to be generous with others.

 P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you Lord for this gift of life you have given me.  Help me Lord to live a life of abundant, even reckless generosity.   Break my heart for what breaks yours.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Holy spirit lead in ministry

Holy spirit lead in ministry
S -Acts 16:6-10 (NASB)
6 They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia ;7 and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them;8 and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.9 A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."10 When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

O  -  The path to sharing the Gospel should always be Holy Spirit lead.  Paul examples this well in his journeys because he had his desires and thoughts on were he ought to go, but showed obedience to the Holy Spirit on where not to enter.  He maintained a seeking heart and continued to travel until it became more clear where God was calling Him to preach the Gospel.

A -  The last couple of our reckless faith study have had us understand that we are to spread seed reckless, because only God knows the soil;  we are to recklessly love because God recklessly loves us and people will begin to understand God's love by how we love them and one another.   The holy spirit is the source of discernment  on where to scatter,  God's love is the power by which we spread it.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion, may it be sealed to my heart . I pray Lord for both a filling of your Holy Spirit within me so that I might not miss an opportunity to participate  in delivery of the good news/  Lord fill me with you love, so that it would overflow out me to my family and those you have put in my life.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Humbly promoted

Humbly promoted

S - Luke 14:8-11 (NASB)
"When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him,9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give your place to this man,' and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place.10 "But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you.11 "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

O - This is a simple yet profound truth of being humble.    Much of our lives people spend time trying to gain experience and position.   Many men the longer they are in an organization the more respect or authority they  expect to have.    With Jesus things are different.  In order to prevent yourself from becoming bigger than God, or exalting yourself he recommends the humble approach of waiting to be lifted up rather than assuming a higher position.  This is so we might have an attitude of humble servant and reverence to those around us, so that our light might shine, to others, and we can receive our promotions from the Lord.

 A - The application for me is one that I have to remind myself more the older I get.  I  need to enter each circumstance, each meeting, each new job, with a willing heart to serve and a humble heart to enter through the servants entrance.

 P - Dear heavenly Father, help me to humble myself where I may have exalted myself,  help me to continue to serve those around me where I am, trusting your light to shine through me , that you may be glorified and people will get to know you when they see my heart to serve humbly.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Forgiveness, a key to loving like God

Forgiveness, a key to loving like God

S -Matt 6:14-15 (NASB)
14 "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.15 "But if you do not forgive others , then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

O - I was almost immediately convicted by this verse spoken by Jesus to his disciples.  He was sharing with them how to pray, and how not to be hypocrites like some religious folks are.  In a very general way he was showing them how to display true christian love , for God , and for others.   Forgiving others is how we show we have learned from God what true love is.  It is out of the receiving of his love and forgiveness that we begin to have the capacity to forgive others.

A - There is truth in this scripture that convicts my heart in my own closest love relationships that I must be quick to forgive the shortcomings and transgressions of those I love, and in fact all people.   I must remember who I am , an imperfect, flawed transgressor, who has been forgiven.    I must live the example that God has shown me to love others and draw others near to him.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your conviction of my unforgiving heart.  I pray Lord you would continue to work on me and help me to remember not to focus on trangressions but to focus on forgiveness and love.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Loving more than "These"

Loving more than "These"
S - John 21:15 (NASB)
15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said* to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He said* to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You."

O - The context of Jesus asking Peter this question comes after Peter had already denied Christ 3 times, and the disciples had gone back to some of their old occupation to fish.   The risen Jesus had appeared to them a few times and yet they still did not fully understand that they were to build Christs' church.  We have witnessed God's extravagant love for us in that Jesus died for us on the cross , even while we were still sinners.  Now he comes to Peter, and ask how much does he love Him.  From one perspective this is a great opportunity for Peter to overcome his previous denials of Christ.   In the context of of the bible study "Reckless Faith"  we can contemplate/discern some lessons from this question of things that we must not love more than Jesus in order to follow him.  As Pastor Kevin Harney helps us parse out - These could be:   Material things - the fish they just caught, money ,   Security - The boat and nets - a career that can sustain you,   Friends and associates - the people you have that are close to you that give you comfort,   Other peoples love of Jesus.

A -  The application for me is to understand my own love for Jesus and how in each of these area's the barriers to my following Jesus in Reckless Faith need to be understood and overcome.    For material things it has gone from a love of material things for myself to a desire to be able to provide material things for my family.  My love is diminished when I am not trusting in the Lord's provision, and the freedom that comes in loving and trusting in His provision is powerful.   For security -  I have recently wrestled with my career in the Navy and my service to the Lord.  I have a strong desire to serve the Lord with all that he has created and equipped me to be.  As retirement approaches the thought of leaving the security of working for the Navy  has given me pause, to think about the financial future of my family,  and it has likely given me pause to the extent of my love for Jesus and willingness to follow Him, or as he asked Peter to Tend my sheep.   I must continue to place all of trust in Him and his love for me, and trust him for my eternal security and not the temporal security that I crave.     I must love Jesus more than my friends and family - this goes with the commandment love God and then love your neighbors.  It is out of our fullness of love for God that we are overfilled with sufficient love to love our neighbors.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this study of your word and its support of me learning to recklessly love you so that I may also recklessly love the people of the world you are trying to reach through me.  Help me Lord to love you more that all of these things, so I may fully love you, love my wife, love my children, love my family, love my co-workers and love the people you bring into my life.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Justified by faith

Justified by faith
S - Romans 5:1-5 (NASB
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;5 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

O -  God has always justified by faith, crediting to those who simply believe and trust in him.  With Abraham,  Moses, David, and finally Jesus we have great examples to follow.   This scripture in Romans reminds us to not only hope in glory of God during times of blessing but during times of trial.  Because out of trial we grow our faith and hope in God and not in our own abilities.   We begin to trust in His promises and learn to follow His Holy Spirit which He has given to us.

A -  The application for me is to recognize how it is easy to get away from the example of God's extravagant love and grace upon us.  That he requires nothing of us but our trust.   He doesn't even require our love, for He died for us while we were still sinners.  We cannot  take on any part of our salvation for ourselves, and we must be careful to not put on any further requirements for others when we share God's love.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your gift of love and grace.  I pray Lord that you would help me to share your love with others in a way that does not burden them but draws them to you.  I pray Lord that you help prepare the soil of their hearts to receive, and give me courage to share even when it is not apparent the soil is ready.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Reckless Love

Reckless Love
S - Mark 12:28-34 (NASB)
28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?"29 Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! the Lord our God is one Lord ;30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart , and with all your soul , and with all your mind, and with all your strength .'31 "The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself .' There is no other commandment greater than these."32 The scribe said to Him, "Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is one, and there is no one else besides Him;33 and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength , and to love one's neighbor as himself , is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God."

O -  This scribes question came after a few more hypocritical Sadducee asked Jesus leading questions to trap him to say something blasphemous regarding resurrection of thee dead or even against Caesars leadership in the region.  Because of Jesus authoritative and wise responses it encouraged this scribe to ask a  a genuine question one which would provide a theologically simple principle in which we are all to live by.   Jesus distilled all the commandments down to two things (though the scribe asked for the greatest , he gave a more complete answer).   That we are to love God with all that we are, and we are to love those around us. This was God's original design for us that we would be in complete fellowship with Him.  He gave us companions to share this live we and he designed us to care for one another.

A - The application for me is a reminder to keep it simple.   I am to love God with all that I am and in all that I know how to do.  I still have some growing to do in learning how to love God and look forward to that journey of growing in my knowledge of how I can love God.  In that same way, I am to love those God places in my life.  I am to love them how I know how, but also ask God to help me learn to love them well in the ways he loves them.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray  Lord that you would help me to love well with all that you have given me to love with .  Help me to know how I  can love you more fully,   and help me to love others,  my wife, my children, my family, my friends, and those I am running into daily.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The work of the body of Christ

The work of the body of Christ
S -Acts 6:7 (NASB)
7 The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

O -  This verse comes right after the apostles appoint 12 people to be in charge of the ministry to the widows.  Their justification was so they could focus on the prayer and the ministry of the word of God.  The effectiveness of this seems to pay off as we see the increase in the disciples as the apostles were able to focus on the delivery of the Gospel to the people.  Of course it didn't mean the the church didn't care for those who were followers it was simply showing that the entire body of Christ could function to reach the world and that together they could accomplish God's great commission.

A -   The application for me has been a bit of a struggle of late, as a struggle to not be too introverted with my faith and an being exhorted to be reckless with the spreading of the good news.  I receive the encouragement that I must be more willing to share God's love, grace and good news whenever opportunity arises.  This scripture also reminds me that we each have a place in the body to serve and enable the gospel to move forward.    I believe it is likely not a one or the other thing, but a both/and.    We are to serve where we can help, but always be willing to share the good news of Jesus.

P -  Dear heavenly father, I pray that you would help me discern and resolve how reckless you want me to be in sharing my faith in you.   I pray for a breaking of any strongholds that are holding me back from trusting in your love and your ways in my life.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Revealed by God the Father

Revealed by God the Father

S - Matt 16:13-18 (NASB)
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah ; but still others, Jeremiah , or one of the prophets."15 He said* to them, "But who do you say that I am?"16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."17 And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona , because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.18 "I also say to you that you are Peter , and upon this rock[14

O - Peters confession of who Jesus is,  was perhaps one of the first evangelistic statements spoken.  Up to now only Jesus had been proclaiming who he was through his actions and his words.  As we can see though Peter also did not come up with this conclusion on his own, but it was revealed to him by God in Heaven.  And this is perhaps the path for all of us.  While we may witness Christianity in the flesh, and receive the truths of the Gospel in our heads, it is God in heaven through His spirit that reveals his plan for our salvation to us.

A - The application for me is to recognize I need to follow Jesus' commandment and example to deliver God's message of salvation to all people, but trust that it is God himself that will reveal himself to people.    He is preparing people hearts and we can participate in the harvest if we are willing to share His truth others.

P - Dear heavenly Father I confess I struggle with sharing my faith with others.  I can encourage them in things I have knowledge of , and help them think through their decisions, but I fall short on having a willing heart to share the truth of your Gospel to those I might push away or feel would reject it.  Help me Lord to to be open to sharing, and trust that you are preparing the hearts, and that your love for me and these other people are not dependent on my performance.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

God cause growth

God cause growth
S -1 Cor 3:5-9 (NASB)
5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field , God's building.

O - As I have been reading about in the book Reckless Faith,  as Pastor Kevin Harney might put it, we are to spread seed recklessly (with abandon) because we really don't know the soil it will land in.    Paul's argument here to the Corinthians is similar, saying it really doesn't matter who plants or who waters, because ultimately God is in control and he is the one who causes growth.  

A - As a Christian this helps me to remember that I can't over think the gospel and evangelism.  I am simply to share God's love, God's word, and God''s grace wherever I go.     I must not try and seek out rich soil, or more likely in my case figure out if the soil is ready for the seed, but rather share what I know about God and let him cause the growth.

P - Thank you Lord for your love, your grace, and your patient understanding of who I am.   I pray Lord that you would help me act in boldness when spreading your good news.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Transformed by God's love

Transformed by God's love
S - Mark 12:28-31 (NASB)
28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?"29 Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! the Lord our God is one Lord ;30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart , and with all your soul , and with all your mind, and with all your strength .'31 "The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself .' There is no other commandment greater than these.

O - The scribe came and asked this question seeking to see if Jesus was speaking truth from authority and had true knowledge of the scriptures.  Jesus answered with a a pair of commandments that encompass all that God desires of us.  Quite simply to love him and love one another.   All our actions can be properly guided if we let these commandments guide us.

A - The application for me is to understand that life is complicated and full of many details and distractions. But God created me to do two things,  to love him and to love the people he has placed in my life.  My imperfection and sin draw me away from his perfect creation and purpose.  Daily I must scrub my heart and realign my compass to put my eyes on Him and love Him with all my heart mind and strength.  Out of the abundance of this relationship can I draw the love to treat others with the same tender, firm, and fair love that God treats me with.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would be help me to fully receive and comprehend your love, be transformed by it, so that I might love others the way you love me.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Power perfected in our weakness

Power perfected in our weakness
S -2 Cor 12:7-10 (NASB
 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults , with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

O - Paul shares how God has given to him a thorn in the flesh to keep him from exalting himself.  I can only speculate, but I suspect as he described he was brought up to the third heaven he saw things unimaginable on earth but was not permitted to share of them or boast of them.  Perhaps he was even able to see future revelations of the victory of Christ in all humanity (much like John's own revelation).   The thorn really was the tormenting by Satan of Paul to use this knowledge for personal safety, gain, or exultation.   Whether this was exactly it is irrelevant, what is relevant is that God taught us (via Paul) that His grace is sufficient to overcome these thorns, and that power is perfected in weakness.  He reflects that it is in these weakness that  that he can show his true strength in Christ.

A - The application for me is relevant to the past and to today.  That I do not enjoy my thorns and weaknesses, and like Paul have prayed to have them removed from me.   But it is through these thorn seasons that God's strength in me is being developed and hopefully being displayed.   I must remember God's grace is always sufficient to help me endure the thorns, and reflect his power and light.  So I must continue to humble myself and boast of my weaknesses, and insufficiency to do things without the power of Christ in me.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's message, may it be sealed to my heart.  I thank you Lord for all the men and women of God, including Paul, who you have put in my life to help me to know you and your ways.  I pray Lord that you continue to strengthen me through trying times to reflect Christ in all that I do.  I pray Lord that you help me to especially do that with my wife, who you love.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Boast in the Lord, He will boast in us

Boast in the Lord, He will boast in us

S - 2 Cor 10:17-18 (NASB)
17 But he who boasts is to boast in the Lord.18 For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.

O - Paul , in speaking to the Corinthians is both making a point for his case of having permission to speak words of truth into the lives of the Corinthians church.   He states previously that while his words in writing may be strong, his spirit in person has always been humble and gentle.   He is making a case for this to be o.k. because his authority comes from God, and that he is following God.  In this verse he points out that the person that spends his time reporting their accomplishments and authorities are not necessarily approved by God.

A - The application for me is to understand that I can not spend time trying to ensure my name is uplifted, but rather I must follow and serve God, well and give him all the glory for the works of my mind and hands.   I have had time of concern and worry that I wasn't put myself out there enough to ensure I was known and accomplished.   The Lord in once circumstance humbled me when I did attempt boast in myself.  Since then I have tried to stay focused on serving with excellence and let the commendations come from the Lord.  I  know now that I must continue to serve humbly, but also increase in my boasting of the Lord, for what he has done in my life.  I must trust his timing in commendations and promotions, and wait patiently in seasons of  demotion or little commendation from those around me.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your wisdom, and grace in leading me through the journey you have me on.  I give you all the glory for the the things in my life that I have accomplished, from even before I knew you.     I pray Lord that you would help me to have the strength to continue to serve your will in my life humbly, and trusting in your strength and plan for promotion .  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Resisting the devil and temptations of the world

Resisting the devil and temptations of  the world
S -Matt 4:8-11 (NASB)
8 Again, the devil took* Him to a very high mountain and showed* Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;9 and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me."10 Then Jesus said* to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your Godand serve Him only .' "11 Then the devil left* Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him

O -  Just prior to Jesus ministry time he was led off to the wilderness by the Spirit to be tested by the devil.  This testing had a purpose to build strength an endurance for the challenging ministry season Jesus faced ahead of him.  The devil ultimately tempted him with authority over all the kingdoms on earth if he would simply worship him.   But this is the test I, we, all must pass  while in this world, to resist the devil and worship and follow God only.   The devil can offer us nothing in comparison to a relationship with God, and membership in the kingdom of heaven.  Following the devil in this world, leads to separation from God and ultimately death.  Following Christ , leads to salvation and restoration with God the father, and ultimately eternal life in God's kingdom.

A -  The application for me is to recognize that I am susceptible to the temptations of the devil and distractions of the world.  I must use the spirit in me and knowledge of God's truth and promises, to reject those temptations and seek first things of the Kingdom of God.   Doing so will build my strength and endurance to run the race in a way in which I will finish.

P - Dear heavenly Father thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord for the continuing strengthening of my heart, mind, and soul.  I pray that you would continue to guide me in this endeavor to be a useful and lasting member of your kingdom  that I would resist the devil and follow you.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Preparation for following God

Preparation for following God

S - Acts 7:35-36 (NASB)

35 "This Moses whom they disowned, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and a judge?' is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush.36 "This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years

O - This is Stephen's recount of what all of God's men had done throughout creation, and how God had a plan.   What is notable in Stephen's dissertation is that each man of faith, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, John the Baptist,  and Jesus were men set aside by God to deliver His people at the appointed time.    Each had gone through periods of running in with God's own people,  direct revelation and guidance from God, and a period of separation and preparation.  Each acted according to God's plan and did not necessarily gain complete favor and following of God's people until after the deliverance had been accepted by them.  In a sense it was a testimony to God's faith to his promise to Abraham, as well as our resistance and ignorance to often times that which is God's very provision for our salvation.

A - The application for me is to recognize how God works with those who follow him in faith.  I must recognize the early connection and commitment he made to me as I made that commitment to follow his son Jesus.   There will be periods of trial and perseverance, and growth of character which are preparing me for the time when he needs me to be bold and follow him in his plan for his people's salvation.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this message today through your word.  Thank you for continuing to invest in me and prepare me so I can take part in what you are doing here on earth, to bring redemption to your lost people.  I pray Lord that you continue to sustain and fill me with your spirit during this season, so that I might discern where to walk,  be encourage to act and speak boldly.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Denying ourselves and following Jesu

Denying ourselves and following Jesus
S -Matt 16:21-27 (NASB)

21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.22 Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You."23 But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God 's interests, but man's."
Discipleship Is Costly
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.25 "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.26 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?27 

O - Jesus example to us during his ministry on earth continues to show us perspective on how to live our lives following Him.  We find two juxtaposing verses regarding Peter's wisdom and discernment as a follower of Christ.  Just prior to verse 21 , Jesus gives Peter a great praise for recognizing him as the son of God, the Christ, and promises to build His church on the rock of Peter.   But as Jesus began to reveal God's plan for him as the Christ,  Peter leaned not on what the spirit of God was telling him but his mind and flesh and thus tried to rebuke Jesus.  But Jesus did not only deliver a rebuke right back to Peter, but set a clear picture for all disciples that follow that there is a cost to following God's plan and following the Christ.   A disciple must be willing to deny themselves, pick up their cross and and follow Christ.

A -  The application for me is recognize I have that same decision to make .   Will I deny myself, pick up my cross, and follow Jesus.     At times that answer has been an easy yes, and my life was full of contentment in doing so.  In this season of my life, I believe the answer to be yes, but am sure if I am following him, or denying myself appropriately.   I think my distraction around things of the world , circumstances, other peoples actions or opinions has caused me to focus too much on myself and not focus on the things God wishes me to do, even if that means denying myself. I must go back to trusting in seeking and following him in all things.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the revelation of your word, and the gift of Jesus.  Jesus thank you for setting the example for me to follow, and giving me your love, peace and strength to be able to deny myself, pick up my cross and follow you.   Lord I ask that you help me filter out and reject the distractions of this world, or the attempts of satan to distract me from following you.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Faith that heals

Faith that heals

S - Luke 8:43-48 (NASB)
43 And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone,44 came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak , and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.45 And Jesus said, "Who is the one who touched Me?" And while they were all denying it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You."46 But Jesus said, "Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me."47 When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.48 And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."

O - This woman's healing by Jesus is as many where a healing because of faith that Jesus could heal them.   Deeper than that I believe they had a true faith, one that not just believed Jesus was a healing man, but that he was the son of God and desired to heal people.   This woman's affliction had been on her for 12 years and she must have tried in many ways to be healed.   Upon hearing of Jesus she pursued him, for who he was , a healing man from God.

A - How can I have this type of faith.  One that with a touch of Jesus robe, or a word from Jesus through a whisper from the holy spirit, or  a word read and received from the word of God, can be instantly transformed.   I must "faith" it instead of fake it, in my life as a christian, I must continue to grow a seed of deeper and deeper trust in who Jesus is , in me.

P - Dear heavenly Father thank you for your daily reminders of your truth.  Help me Lord to grown my faith, so that I may quickly receive your truths and power, by faith, and not by my own strength or wisdom.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Trusting in God and his instruction

Trusting in God and his instruction
 S - Genesis 17:23 (NASB)
23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all the servants who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s household, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the very same dayas God had said to him. 

O - As God was making this new covenant with Abraham, whom he renamed, and was about to provide a son Isaac to for generations to come.   While Abraham may not have been patient on waiting on the promise of God when he had a child with his wife's maid, he shows great faith and obedience in acting that same day in the commandment of circumcision.  

A - The application for me is to seek great faith like Abraham to act immediately when God is asking me to act.   So often times I hear God's direction and then think it through for the perfect time that fits into my idea what seems right.  I am encouraged and not condemned that to have great faith simply means trusting in God's word and timing, and acting without fear or worry knowing it our God loves us and has good plans for us.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for bringing me to Monterey for your purposes.  I pray Lord that you would reveal to me and encourage me to be obedient to those things you are asking me to do in this season.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Acknowledging Christ in our life

Acknowledging Christ in our life

S - Luke 5:8-9 (NASB)
 But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken;

O - This is Peters response to first meeting Jesus and catching a large load of fish following a night of no luck at fishing.   This humble response came from an understanding of just how great this man Jesus standing before him was , that he was from God, and a deep reverence came over him.  

A - How much more should I be in reverence for all that Jesus has done and revealed to me, and is doing in my life today.  I must be awakened by Peters response that the every day miracles reveal God's love for me and his power and glory and I am but a sinful man, undeserving of his attention, but yet He chooses me.   My attitude of gratitude is what I will endeavor to cultivate as a result of this scripture recognizing their is nothing I can do to earn or repay what God has done and is doing in my life.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this day's reminder of your truth and your love.   I pray that my heart would receive the truth of your amazing love and humbly and gratefully now down before you acknowledging you for all things in my life.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Checking your fruitfulness

Checking your fruitfulness

S - Luke 3:9-14   (NASB)
Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 And the crowds were questioning him, saying, “Then what shall we do?” 11 And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.” 12 And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.” 14 Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.”

O - The audience here is those that John the Baptist was speaking to that came to be baptized.   He knew some of them were true in their repentance and genuine in their intention to reconcile with God and follow Him.  Others he knew such as the Pharisee's and scribes had come to see who this John the Baptist was and they likely had unrepentant hearts and had not bore the fruit of God and his kingdom to come.  So John answered their question what are they to do (to bare fruit) and gave them some acts of kindness and humbleness that would be hard for the prideful and set in their religious ways to uphold, thus separating the trees to be cut down from those that are to bare fruit.

A -  The application for me is to watch my own tree for the fruit it is baring.  If I see the fruit I can walk in confidence that the Lord will not have to cut me down.  If I find a lake of selfless to share my possessions with others, greediness to collect more money than I deserve, or abuse my authority over those I lead I must repent and seek God's forgiveness.   In this season I sense I do have the fruit of a Christian, though it feels like a winter season of little production I must trust in the surety of my relationship with God, and wait patiently on Him for the next season of abundant fruitfulness.   

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart I pray Lord you would continue to guide and motivate me in this season to keep looking forward to your plans for my life and up to you for strength and peace, wisdom and discernment.  I pray all this in Jesus matchless name, Amen.