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.