Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The seed that bears kingdom fruit.

LUK 13:7-9, 18-21 NASB
And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?'  And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer;  and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'"    
So He was saying, "What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it?  It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the  air nested in its  branches ."    And again He said, "To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?  It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened."

O -  I find these two passages being great parables of how God views us here on earth, as well as a view of the kingdom of heaven (on earth as it is heaven).    Jesus is speaking to the people of Jerusalem and likely particularly at the Pharisees and religious leaders and saying, God has planted you here is to lead His people but year after year there is no fruit coming from this group leading God's people.  Time and again he has sent folks to dig around and fertilize the tree of Israel and time and again they become fruitless.   The Jesus says, the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, because it is the true beginning of the kingdom of heaven, it grows large and becomes a tree and many will be affected by this small seed.  Where there is no Mustard , grows a weed, whose seed is not of heaven.

A - The application for me is to recognize that God has plowed, and fertilized me, cultivated me to produce fruit.  Because of this, and because the kingdom of heaven now resides in my heart,  I am called to produce fruit. I am called to grow and bear fruit of and for the kingdom of heaven.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would continue to prune, and cultivate me to bear much fruit.  In  Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Store up treasures in Heaven

S LUK 12:15 NASB
Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."

O - Jesus is teaching a rich man the paradigm shift he is going to have to face in order to inherit the kingdom of God, and not simply build up a kingdom on Earth.  We all will face this daily decision that leads to an eternal decision.  Jesus goes on to tell the story of the farmer who tears down his barns to build bigger ones and store up grain , so he can eventually just relax and kick back enjoy his spoil.  Jesus then ends by telling the rich man to sell everything and follow him.  And there it is the paradox of give up everything and serve others, so that you may have everything you need from the one who provides all.

A - The application for me is to correct back to the heart of Christ.  To not get wrapped up in the wants and perceived riches of this world, but to continue to look for those Jesus wants me to serve.  I must trust in his provision and be like Paul, learning to find confidence, joy, and peace in both times of plenty and time of trial.  Today I am blessed to build the house of the lords provision, to provide for my family, but I must not slow in my service of the Lord while I build.   

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank  you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord for a correction of my spirit and attitude that is enjoy the riches of this world, causing me to store up here on earth and not investing more in the kingdom of God.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The daily ask

S LUK 11:8-11 NASB
I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.    "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.  Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?

O - I know context is important in scripture.  The context of this scripture in Luke , is that Jesus is speaking to his disciples and answering the question "teach us to pray" (like you do Jesus).   After teaching them how to pray for their daily sustenance, and delivering themselves from evil, he must of sensed something like,  "Jesus that prayer is to easy , it must be harder than that simple prayer"  So then he tells the parable of the the man who has a visitor who is his friend but comes at an inconvenient time.   He explains that a persistent friend who asks will receive.   If more so in the case of a son or daughter, a father will give what is asked for and needed.   This all of course is to describe the character of God, our friend and Father, but also to remind to us to be persistent friends, sons, and daughters.

A - The application for me is a quick reminder to not abandon my prayer life.   I tend to fade away in a few situations.  When things are  going good.  In long seasons of challenge.   I need to remember that daily communion with the father, through His word and through prayer,  through listening and through asking is needed to be in alignment with God's plan in and around my life.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this revelation through your word to revive my prayer life, specifically the asking and the listening.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Faith it!

S LUK 1:5, 18-20, 34-38 NASB
In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Zacharias said to the angel, "How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years." The angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time."

   Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God." And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

O - In two cases,  Gabriel, and angel from the Lord came to deliver God's prophesy and truth.  In the first case, Zacharias responded with doubt, demand for certain how this could be that his old barren wife would have a child.   Now Zacharias was acting High Priest at the time, was in service of the temple to enter the Holy of Holies, and therefore had sufficient training and understanding to know who God was and how he operates.   On the second case a young teenage virgin girl, is visited by the same Angel with a similar proclamation and her response is one wonder, amazement and submittal to the truth of the word.    In one case Zacharias is muted for his unbelief. In Mary's case it testifies to why God has chosen her for her faith in the Lord.

A -  The application for me is to recognize that my own faith can grow.  In fact my own faith may be like the tide, come and go,  but God remains the same in who He is.   The key for me to understand is when God speaks to me through His spirit that is in me,  doubt only seperates me from Him, and faith draws me closer.   So as my friend Rod Shimabukuro might say,  if I have doubts I should just "Faith it"  when it comes to following God.

P - Dear heavenly father, thank you for your words, and your promises, and your truth.  I pray for a growing faith.  I pray my doubts and fears would be muted in comparison to my trust in you.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

God's present and perfect provision

S- REV 22:1-3 NASB
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 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;

O -  I was just reflecting how this last chapter in the last book in the bible compares to the first few chapters in the bible.   In the garden of Eden , Adam and Eve lived, in the presence of God, with His perfect provision.  Here in the end,  we see God on Earth, as it is in heaven,  the curse from the fall is lifted, and humanity is once again fully restored. 

A - The application for me is to understand how much of a still fallen, under a curse world I live in.  In good times and bad, God is on His throne.  What I am reminded of though is that even in good times here now, in my daily life, God's provision, while more than sufficient for me to live and serve Him, falls far short of His perfect provision in the end.   I need to live in service and satisfaction of God, but in the promise of things to yet come.

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the reminder of how temporary my circumstances today are, and help me regain perspective on my life,  and your provision today, and your promise for tomorrow.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, September 15, 2014

On earth, as it is in heaven

S - REV 20:4-6 NASB
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 their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark 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 - There is an order, even in heaven.   For some reason I think we (me) all tend to think of heaven is the perfect place where we are all equal.    Revelations reveals this is not so.  In heaven we are all forgiven and loved,  and have a restored relationship with the Father. But here in revelations we see the first resurrection is that of those who in the last days did not receive the mark of the beast (the last shall be first) and those beheaded fro their testimony of Jesus and the word of God.   I believe the Apostles sat on the thrones in judgement in end times as well.

A -  So what application could there be , besides get beheaded in the name of Christ to be in the first resurrection.  No, quite simply my take away is that our rewards in heaven, is one of service to God and His kingdom.  The level of responsibility and authority we get will be our responses and actions here on earth.  Because "to whom much is given, much is expected".  If on earth we a have done much with our salvation in serving God, then much responsibility in heaven will be given to us.

P - Dear Lord, I pray that you would help me to steward my salvation well.   Show me, and give me courage to serve you at work, at home, and at New Hope.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Correcting back to the One True God

S - EZK 37:3-10 NASB
He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O Lord God , You know." Again He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the L ord .' Thus says the Lord G od to these bones, 'Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord .'"   So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord God , "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life."'" So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

O - Ezekial is prophesying of the restoration of the exiled nation and tribes of Israel.   After many words of justice and consequences being prophesied,  the Lord shows his character of Grace, and trustworthiness in His promise.    God's people have a tendency to forget over time He is the Lord of lords.  They begin leaning on there own understanding, and adopting false gods and listening to false prophets, vice seeking the Lord.    So the Lord through this prophesy is about to show them he is Lord over even these dry bones, and with His word and His breadth he can restore and give life.

A - The application for me personally is to recognize my own tendency to slowly wander away from the Lord and to begin to put my ideas before His plans, and begin to dedicate my efforts to lesser things (my personal gods) and not focused on His Kingdom things.   I need to self reflect on my current situation and correct back to a daily thought and decision life which is not based on my feelings, emotions, fears, and accolades, but on the very word of God and prompting of the Holy Spirit.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion.  Thank you for answered prayer, that I might restore and reconnect my engagment with your word and with your Holy Spirit.  I pray for a correction back to your ways, and your things for my life. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.