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.