Monday, March 16, 2015

Fear and Trust the Lord

Fear and trust the Lord

S-PSA 40:3-4 NASB

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the L ord . How blessed is the man who has made the L ord his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.

O -  This is a psalm of David who has known the ups and downs of life, and the ins and outs of a relationship with the Lord.  His wisdom was not the same as Solomon's who seemed to have an uncanny knowledge of all things.  David had a wisdom and insight (heart) to know how to relate to God.  In this same we are exhort to rightly fear and trust the Lord, and to be wary of our tendency to begin to trust the proud.

A -  The application for me in this season (and probably for many more to come ) is to put my trust and fear in the Lord.  In work and at home this means,  to fearfully follow what God has told an shown   me I need to be doing, leading and loving my wife and daughters,  serving and loving those at work, and seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  I am to avoid those with proud ideas of right living or right leading that is apart from the values and commands of Christ.

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 reveal your ways, and help me o fear you and trust in you and you alone.   i pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Faith that satisfies

Faith that satisfies
S -GAL 3:2-5 NASB

This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain-if indeed it was in vain? So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?

O-  I just caught that Paul is scolding the Galatians because they were starting to change the gospel by leaning on the law and works.   They were forgetting how they were actually saved, and likely as they lead themselves began to lean back on the rules of the law to maintain their "goodness".  They also likely began spreading this slightly adjusted gospel to those they were witnessing to.   But Paul, the former man of the Law, a Pharisee's Pharisee,  reminded them, that like for himself, the law never saved anyone,  god's grace, through his son Jesus, because of the promise to a faithfilled Abraham,  saved us, from ourselves, and our sin. 

A -  The application for me is to understand that grace rules!   That my own tendency to be comfortable with the law and my ability to earn my place or to earn my promise is real.   I can be driven internally to please someone , myself , or those who lead me, and once I know the rules I simply have to be disciplined and follow the rules.... but how often I am disappointed by this process.  It makes sense to me but it never satisfies.  The only thing that satisfies completely is the undeserved love and acceptance of my Father.  This brings peace, comfort, and satisfaction.   The application for me is to work and serve out of the abundance of this satisfaction and not in order to earn this satisfaction.

P - Dear heavenly father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord you daily replenish my pool of satisfaction so that i might abundantly love and serve you and the people you have placed in my life.  I pray all this in Jesus name, amen.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The only two commandments worth struggling to follow

The only two commandments worth struggling to follow
S -DEU 10:12-13 NASB

"Now, Israel, what does the L ord your God require from you, but to fear the L ord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the L ord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the L ord ' s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?

O - It is funny because I realize that Jesus really did know the scriptures in a way that we struggle even today to know and have command of them.   When the pharisee asked Jesus what is the most important commandments he was able to distill scripture, which had been provided in great detail and volumes on our instructions on our relationship with God.  In the end Jesus said (me paraprashing) ,  I will make it easy for you (because you can't do it),  I will die for your sins so you never have to fall short of your sacrificial requirement to atone for your sin so you can have a relationship with the Father, then all you have to do is "love the father with all your heart and soul"  and "love your neighbor".  

A -  Our ability to miss the point and focus on the statutes and commmandments and miss the heart of God is  part of our human nature.  I need to surrender my control of my ability to retain a relationship with God through favoritism and discipline to his statutes, but instead abandon my  heart and soul to Him.   To walk daily in this abandonment , and to in turn abandon my right to be right.  To love others not because they deserve my love, but like God loves me,  because people are God's creation, worth loving, and He has asked me to do so unconditionally.

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this message , may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would help me to walk these two principles, today.   I will return tommorow and ask for the same favor because of my nature, so thank you in advance for your grace.  I pray all this in Jesus name Amen.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

God's victory, not our glory

God's victory, not our glory
S - DEU 9:4 NASB

"Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has driven them out before you, 'Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,' but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you.

O - In this verse, Moses is getting ready to send the people across the Jordan and he is preparing them to have the right mindset before going in.  He tells them in prior versus that the people of the land are strong, tall, and fortified, but it will be the Lord who goes before them.   Then is this verse he is reminded them that it is not because of their righteousness that the Lord is giving them this land, but rather because of God's promise.  His promise to make a great nation of Abraham,  his promise to judge the wicked, and his promise to delivery His people from slavery unto the promised land.

A -  The application is one of humbleness.    When you are on the winning team, we have a tendency to become arrogant and entitled.   God knows this.   The message of the cross is one of what God did because we couldn't.   We couldn't defeat sin,  He did.   We couldn't restore fellowship with God on a personal level,  Christ did.     So when we receive this gift of salvation, and begin to walk in this gift, our flesh once again grows complacent and has a tendency to forget the undeserved and unearned gift that we have, and begins to feel it is earned and deserved.  For me, I am convicted today that I need to correct my attitude and posture daily.  That God has given me Grace, I have not earned it,  that God continues to set me up for his purposes and not my exaltation.  

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 scrub my heart from any and all arrogance.  Help me Lord to honor you with my words, attitude, and actions.  I pray all this in Jesus name,  Amen.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Remember who I am in Christ

Remember who I am in Christ

"Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.

O - This comes from Moses as the Israelites are about to posses the promised land.  Moses was trying to both give confidence and heed a warning to the people to recognize they are a chosen people, called by God, saved from slavery by God,  provided for by God in the desert, and given an inheritance the promised land by God.  God has given them His statutes so that they may live and not be separated from God again.

A - The application for me is heed the warning of Moses to "keep my soul diligently" never forgetting the very personal things God has done for me and my life.  He has saved me, through his son, from a life that would never be satisfied and constantly longing for love and acceptance.   He has provided for me a wife, family, home, occupation, and calling.   All these things have clear stories of how He personally stepped in, guided my way, provided and saved me from myself and the world.  

P -  Dear heavenly father, thank you for today's message, may it be sealed to my heart  I pray lord that you would continue to lead and guide me as I walk out your calling on my life.  Lord help me never to forget who you are and what you have done in my life.  All this I pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Be a cheerful giver

Be a cheerful giver

S - MRK 12:1-7, 9-10 NASB

And He began to speak to them in parables: "A man planted a vineyard and put a  wall around it , and dug a vat under the wine press and built a tower , and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey.  At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers.  They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed.  Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully.  And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some and killing others.  He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'  But those vine-growers said to one another, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!'  What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others.  Have you not even read this Scripture:  'T he stone which the builders rejected ,  T his became the chief corner  stone;

O - Jesus explained to his disciples that the parables where describing kingdom of God principles and those not called by God would not understand.   After reading this parable many times today God has shown me this is his perspective of His creation.   He created Earth as this fully provided for vineyard with all that was needed to live abundantly.   He had very little expectations of his creation other than that they would have a greatful heart and would honor the creator periodically with a small return on the creation and provision.  But we see that here the vine growers who have lived and flourished rent free won't even honor the owner of the vineyard with a portion of the harvest.    God then sent many servants time after time to give the people a chance to honor their provider, this was in the forms of leaders and prophets which he sent to Israel, and despite that they eventually dishonored and rejected these folks.  Eventually getting down to sending his only son, whom they also rejected and even killed.   This describes for me how sad God must feel when His creation honors Him in this way.   The parable ends with how God feels about those who have had a chance to know Him and rejected Him.   This is why Christ formed the New Testament church, because even the old testament church of Moses eventually rejected Christ.   

A -  The application for me is to understand that I can be like the Israelites and the renters in the vineyard and reject a chance to honor God with a portion of what he has provided, out of a grateful heart.   I can get prideful and start to think I earned it and worked hard for it, why should I give it away, when all along from the beginning it was a provision from God without which there would be no abundance.  Today I reflect that opportunities to give to the church and honor God's servants I can't be reluctant or stingy, but give with a cheerful heart.

P -  Dear heavenly father, thank you for today's parable, may this lesson be sealed to my heart.  I pray father that you would help me to trust you and your provision and to be free from the hording of resources but be a cheerful giver.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The greatest among us must become servant of all

The greatest among us must become servant of all

S MRK 10:42-45 NASB

Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.  But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;  and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

O - Jesus is saying this to the disciples because how the leaders of the people of Israel , namely the Priests and servants in the temples began to Lord their position over the people.  This was never God's design.  When God split the inheritance of the tribes of Israel all but Aaron and the Levites received an inheritance. They were called to serve and not be served, but God's provision for them came out of their service.  Jesus at this point has be training his disciples how to do God's ministry on earth by going place to place and ministering to those in need and teaching them the Truth.   As their confidence began growing because of their training, calling, and even annointing they began competing with one another (who gets to sit at Jesus' right hand in heaven, and then off course which disciple is the greatest).   Jesus needed to flip the script on them and show them the paradox of leadership in the kingdom of God.  Those among you who is the greatest will serve the most.

A - The application for me is one I have not completely figured out. I can relate to the tension that comes from being elevated in leadership positions.  The tension is that your heart starts off wanting to serve the organization and the people of that organization, but quickly you begin recognizing near the top people will just do what you ask of them.  This becomes a weakness because rather than do what needs to be done on your part which is often time external to the people, you begin to ask more of them to meet the objective at hand.  The solution is to daily humble yourself, and seek God's guidance on where you are to serve today.

P - Thank you Lord for today's devotion, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would daily plant in me where I am to serve.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Godly covering as husband and father

Godly covering as husband and father

S NUM 30:3-5 NASB
"Also if a woman makes a vow to the Lord , and binds herself by an obligation in her father's house in her youth, and her father hears her vow and her obligation by which she has bound herself, and her father says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand and every obligation by which she has bound herself shall stand. But if her father should forbid her on the day he hears of it, none of her vows or her obligations by which she has bound herself shall stand; and the Lord will forgive her because her father had forbidden her.

O -  These instructions are for a young nation of Israel now following God by pillar of fire and cloud.  They are a nation who has chosen to follow God but struggled with trust issues.   God has agreed to be with them and even speak directly to them, but they have asked Moses to intercede for them.  They desire provision and to be cared for but they want to name the terms with God.  This is all context of this paragraph in scripture which for someone like me seems extra ordinarily detailed as to girls and woman's vows.  I recognize it as likely necessary because of our nature, so I recognize their is ultimately wisdom that God is bestowing on his people.

A - The application for me is for the leadership of my daughters and wife.  For my girls I recognize I have an obligation to not be a passive father, who pays no attention to the commitments my girls are making.   As for my wife, we are one, but I can have a tendency to want her to have her independent voice.  I realize I am called as her husband to be the head, and as her partner in life to be connected and supportive of her.  I must in both case, daughters and wife, be confident and committed in my role of father and husband,  attentive and decisive.  I must make biblical principled decision, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would shape me in your image as father and bridegroom, to lead my daughters and wife like you have lead your church.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Trusting in God's provision

Trusting in God's provision

S - Mark 7:15-21 (NASB)
 "Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." 16They began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread.17And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? 18Having eyesdo you not see? And having earsdo you not hear? And do you not remember, 19when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?" They said to Him, "Twelve." 20"When I brokethe seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?" And they said to Him, "Seven." 21And He was saying to them, "Do you not yet understand?"

O -  Jesus statement here comes right after the feeding of the four thousand and they get into the boat with only one loaf of bread.  They travel through cities in which signs he is from God are demanded.  Then he looks at his own disciples who are traveling with them and asks why they do not understand who he is.  

A  -  Now while I can relate to Jesus being disappointed in His disciples for not understanding I am more convicted that I am like the disciples.  I, despite the things God has done in my life, forget and have  found myself wishing and praying my circumstances where different.  I lose my trust in God's  ability to change my circumstances and in many case for His ability to supply my every need. today's  lesson is for me to remember to trust in God's provision in all circumstances, He is sufficient.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your provision and your reminder today.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.