Monday, June 19, 2017

receiving the fullness of Gods love

S-1Tim 1

5 The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. 6

O- Paul lays out for Timothy the purpose of hearing the gospel and studying God's word.  So that we might be filled with God's love.     In order to make room fully for God's love in our life our heart, mind and soul  need to be clear and pure.  Over time in this life we become weighted down and calcified by sin and our experiences that our wounds and scars begin pushig out  room for the fullness of God's love.  But we see that in Christ we are made new,  able to break the bondages of the past and live in the freedom and fullness of a future with the fullness of God.

A -  The application for me is to reach back for the fullness of God that I have once had, but even more importantly reach forward to to the fullness of God's love that He has waiting for me.   I can relate very much to the character Mackenzie from the Shack who had many past scars and hurts that were preventing him from  receiving and understanding God's love.  But love always finds a way and never gives up.   Today I am choosing to forgive God for allowing my past hurts to occur, and reaching out a hand to receive the fullness of His love... because He is a good good father, that's who He is.

P - Dear Papa, thank you for breaking through to a scarred and wounded sinner like me and saving me from myself and my sin.   I confess the season of struggle and sadness has surrounded me for far to long and have been mad at you for allowing me to go through it.   I trust in and love you Lord, and ask your forgiveness for my past sins, and that you would show me the fullness of your love.  In Jesus name, Amen.     Love Joe

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Triple braided cord

S - Ecclesiastes 2
7 I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun. 8 This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, “Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?” It is all so meaningless and depressing.

9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

O - I  am so thankful God has gifted me with wife and kids.  Solomon points out this blessing here in ecclesiastes which at  times can be a little negative but he really points out to me that life is meanigless without anyone to share your life with and without people to live for.  Secondly he points out that the strength of having someone who has your back and is standing for  you is so much better than being alone;  even more so is three braided cord for it is not easily broken.

A -  For Abby and I this is the image we have of our marriage, a triple braided cord in which Christ is the third cord that helps strengthen us.    This truth is proven over and over and of recent when I felt like a weak strand,  and the strength of Christ helped hold us together,  and Abby strength to back me up and wait patiently on me and Lord has helped us through a valley season.   My heart has had trouble seeing the positive in cirumstances of late, and this scripture helps me understand that God is with me, I am blessed to have Abby by my side, and that I should hang on to this important triple braided relationship.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, please help me see things through your eyes,  my heart and mind are not seeing clearly in many circumstances and i so desire to see things your ways, so I may rejoice in what you are doing, instead of disparing over what is not happening.   Plant this wisdom in my heart, and change my mind, so that I might embrace and celebrate the triple braided cord.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Learning who God "is"

S - Deut 4

29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

Psalm 36
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
    you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light we see light.

O-  My observation is influenced heavily by the imagery and story of "The Shack".   I realize that God has given us his word and many examples in the bible of who He is and how much he loves us.    The movie helped me colorize the picture that I have of God, and how my own past hurts influence this picture I have.    God is...  there is no changing who He is, however we all have so many different perceptions of who He is and what He should do,  we can have a unclear or even false picture.  This scripture exorts us to seek the Lord with all our heart, and He will reveal himself to you.   David is the psalm proclaims how priceless God's love is ,  he knows this because he has spent his life seeking him.

A -  The application for me is to recognize that I must continue to seek the Lord and be transformed into the understanding of who He truly is, and not hampered by the hurts, sins, and lies of my past.   God is the same,  only I am changing in my understanding of who He is.  I can trust though in His unfailing love, and goodness,  and must wait on the Lord to continue to do a work in my beautiful mess of a life,  always asking the Holy Spirit to help me weed and sow, and nurture what is of God. 

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 heal and reveal to me who you are, and help me to life and love with an understanding of who you want and need me to be.  I pray  all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Serving confident in Gods provision

S- Mark

17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
“Twelve,” they replied.
20 “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
They answered, “Seven.”
21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

O-  My observation is to see myself sitting in that same boat with the disciples having toured with Jesus, in the moment of wearniness and trying to understand why Jesus said beware the yeast of th pharisses.    The yeast of the pharisee is thinking of what is good for you and worrying about your own needs, vice giving thanks to the Lord and trusting in His provision.   Jesus point to the disciples is to remind them of this more than bountiful provision god.

A -  the application to me is to never forget again the abundant provision the Lord has given me, and not allow my thoughts and actions to be driven by a fear of not having something, or comparing my provision with someone elses's.     My attitude should be to be that of a servant wherever God's has me.

P - Dear heavenly father, thank you for you provisio and for your grace.  I recognize how much you have provided in my life and my hearts desire is to steward it well.   Lord give me the mind of Christ, so I might process things through His eyes.  In Jeus name I pray.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Correcting back to love

S  - 1 cor 13

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.

O-  I know our devotions go to this love chapter for a reason, and Paul goes here for a reason as well.  Love is God, and God is love, and in love lies the perfect plan of God.   It is here that Paul reminds us of the attributes of love, because we are God's instruments of love and need to behave accordingly.  Not just to discipline ourselves to do the things of love, like being kind, not easily angered,  not keep record of wrongs,  etc,  because this is both the character of our God and the character our hearts should desire to portray.

A -  I confess I lost sight of God's love for me and my love for others according to the scripture.  I would start with my wife and kids, and move outward to members of the church and into the workplace and the world around me.    I confess I have let envy, self seeking, anger,   and keeping records of wrongs to taint my perspective of life and my attitude toward others.

P - Dear lord,  forgive me for having wandered from the love you have shown me, and not carrying forward in my love of others.  I pray Lord that you ignite the fire in me o be a agood and faithful follower who loves my wife, kids, friends, and those in my life well.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Sabbath revealed

S -
Number 15
32 While the Israelites were in the wilderness, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, 34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. 35 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” 36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Mark 3
4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

O -  Here we see two opposing views of the Sabbath, and it often forces me to ask am I too emphathetic to the man in numbers who is stoned for gathering wood on the sabbath, and yet the pharisees are continually try to catch Jesus working on the sabbath, and Jesus intentionally uses this a learning moment.  The truth in scripture says God/Jesus are the Lord of the Sabbath, and they determine what is righteous and what is not.   The Lord created the sabbath for man, for rest and reflection.   Only God can judge the hearts of men to know the intentions of mens hearts.  In the case of the numbers wood gather, the lord assessed the intentions of the mans heart and determined it was not for good and therefore judged him righteously.   In the case of Jesus,  he realized mens hearts had been hardened and become too religious because they would literally see God at work, and yet condemn the works of the Lord on the sole basis it was on the sabbath.

A -  The  application for me is to bring my hearts intentions on the sabbath before the Lord and test my own intentions and be ready for correction and direction.  I  have probably become complacent in my love of the sabbath without utilize it for a time of rest and reflection on what the Lord is doing and saying, and simply using it for my own recreation.

P -  Dear God, help me honor the sabbath, in a way that honors you and your intent for the sabbath in my life. In Jesus name, amen.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

wait on the Lord

S- Acts 27
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?
    the Lord will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Lord;
    lead me in a straight path
    because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
    for false witnesses rise up against me,
    spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

O-   Davids psalms always set the example for me.     In times when my faith is strong and life is good they are words that embolden me to walk in confidence in the Lord's plan in my life.   In times of uncertainty or despair, they are words and truth to hold onto, the lord is my salvation and stronghold and is working to lead me and clar the path for His ways in my life. 

A -  The application for me is to recognize that I am coming out of a season uncertainty and to some extent despair, but it is clear the Lord has been making the way before me,  and I need to remain confident that I will continue to see the goodness of the Lord , if I continue to wait on Him.

P - Dear heavenly father, I pray no for strength to press through today and the next few months hanging on to you, I pray for an encouragement and strengthening of my heart to move forward with confidence and faith in the road ahead.  Lord heal me of my doubts, protect me from my fears, and help me keep my eyes on you.  In Jesus name, amen.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Following the Holy Spirit - ministry Jesus' way

S - Acts 28

But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us in many ways; and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.

O - Paul's testimony even to those on the island of Malta where he was shipwrecked followed the direction Jesus had taught the disciples.  Go into a community and if they welcome you, show them what God can do.   And it this case it was a ministry of healing that Paul provided through the holy spirit. 

A -  The application for me is to use the spirit of God in me to guide me in where he is moving.  Rely on the hospitality of those you serve and the presence of the Holy spirit.  For me this is at work today and especially a word for as I travel to Puget. 

P-  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for todays word, may it stir in me a service unto you and unto thse you place in my life. In Jesus name,  Amen.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Confession - a reset opportunity

S - Ĺev 26

40 “‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors—their unfaithfulness and their hostility toward me, 41 which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.

O-  Confession is such a big part of having a relationship with God.  This passage is a message from God to the people of Israel after he has brought them out of slavery in Egypt.     He see's that even under those awesome circumstances of salvation the people have a wandering heart, and sinful hands.    Part of what he has set up so He can live amongst them and lead them, is a means for them to get right with God, and this in part is understanding and admitting where they have departed from God's way and gone their own way.  

A - The application for me is to recognize I need to continue to examine myself, confess my sins when they occur, and as he describes, even confess the sins of my ancestors  before me.   That means to me that though I have been saved and filled with God's spirit, I am still sinning in my heart, and even with my hands.  Today my sins are not serving my wife and children well, giving into to idols such as t.v.  From my family I believe I carry the sin of unforgiveness, a propensity to not honor the marriage covenant well.

P -   Lord I confess all these things so that I may once again be right with you, and able to hear your voice and follow your ways for my life.  I have battled the depression which makes me vulnerable to satan's attack, and have allow myself to be vulnerable by isolating myself from others, I know this is wrong. I pray Lord that you would heal my depression, and show me your ways, and once again revitalize the spirit in me of love, and service unto you and others.  I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A psalm for trying seasons

S - Psalm 25New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 25[a]
Of David.

1 In you, Lord my God,
    I put my trust.
2 I trust in you;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
    who are treacherous without cause.
4 Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
    for you, Lord, are good.
Good and upright is the Lord;
    therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
    and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
    toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
11 For the sake of your name, Lord,
    forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
12 Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?
    He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.[b]
13 They will spend their days in prosperity,
    and their descendants will inherit the land.
14 The Lord confides in those who fear him;
    he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the Lord,
    for only he will release my feet from the snare.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
    and free me from my anguish.
18 Look on my affliction and my distress
    and take away all my sins.
19 See how numerous are my enemies
    and how fiercely they hate me!
20 Guard my life and rescue me;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
    because my hope, Lord,[c] is in you.

O-  Davids psalm is both encouraging in that we see a man who is both vulnerable in front of God admitting his own feelings and weaknesses, but confident in the Lord that He hope.   He describes how many of us feel...  in love with God, but desperate in our current situations,  aware of how great is our God,  but still fearful of our current circumstances.    This psalm is the cry of our hearts and the hope of our mind, that whom we belong to is greater than what we face.  

A - The application for me in this season is to recognize the challenge I am facing is my own personal grind with habits, thoughts, and ways I have grown to be are beign paintfully chiseled away in a way that makes me feel helpless, naked, and  vulnerable in this world.   I know I had expected after 10 years of following Christ, to have been through the major issues, but the truth is God has allowed me to face only what I can handle, and now is continuing his good work in me.    My hearts desire is to this Psalm 25 perspective in this season, and model my thoughts and behavior after David,  to express my pain and fear, but speak the turht of who God is.   To grow in patient endurance, because God is good and faithful and has never left or forsaken me and and prepared me along the way. 

P -  Dear heavenly Father thank you for your continued work in me.   I struggle to feell thankful all the time,  and pray for your continued grace and comfort along the way.   Like a dentist,  I don't enjoy the time that you are drilling out my cavaties but I know you are a good physician and  are helping me life a healthier future by healing my cavities today.   I ask Lord for forgiveness for doubting you, for being angry with you for being so slow,  and for allowing the hurt and pain in my life.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Thankful for restoration

S - Acts 20

10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.

O-  My observation of this passage where Paul heals a dead man,  is juxtaposed to the Leviticus passage of priestly uncleanliness and the limitiations if a priest came in contact with the dead or unclean.   I was praying through the scripture in Leviticus asking God to reveal to me why there were some many rules and restrictions.  He answer by explaining the results of sin and separation from the time off Adam and Eve , who had few restrictions,  resulted in the a world that had perverted Gods creation.  The rules provided needed guidelines for protection and safety of Gods people.   When Jesus came, and took away the consequences of sin, and restored those who followed Him, the less restrictive lifestyle of Adam and Eve is being restored.   Here we see Paul seeing the dead as not something to be avoided, but guided by the Holy Spirit something to be healed, and used to testify the to God's glory.  In fact he was not ceremonial unclean as a result of touching the dead, but just the opposite was able to celebrate witht the people.

A - The application for me is to be thankful I live , redeemed and restored by Christ and it is not a burden at all to follow Him.  In  reflection I am to live knowing that I live in a world filled with sin, that produces things far from God plan for us, and therefore must remain under God's umbrella of salvation in order to survive the content of the sin society around me. 

P-  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the message of hope and restoration you have given me.  Lord I pray that you would guide Abby and I in this season for preparation and restoration.  Restore our marriage to its wholeness,  restore our leadership of our home and children, and prepare us for the season ahead.    Embolden me to lead once again, with your love and your wisdom guiding us.   In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The real and living God - our Father in Heaven

S - Acts 17
. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[b] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[c]

O-   This is  Pauls testimony to the people in Athens, who had many statues and temples to various Gods.   Inspired by the Holy Spirit Paul realizes these are people who do believe in the concept of a god , but they have a more cold detached feeling of who this God is.  So he began to describe the one true God, who created man,  in His own image, and therefore he is not like a rock or statue,  but He even came in the man Jesus and was with us, died for our sins and was resurrected from the dead.    He also explains God is not some far away God, but one that is near and available through Jesus Christ.

A -  The application for me is to acknowledge the wisdom of Paul to share the message of Jesus in such a way that the people he was speaking to could relate.  And how special and warm he shows our relationship with him can be,  i.e.  he is our spiritual Father, in heaven, who cares for us, and all we need to do is reach out to him.    For me I must remember to find relateable but real ways to describe who our God is , in ways that brings knowledge and hope to those that don't know him. 

P -   Dear heavenly father, thank you for your word and your spirit, they both call me and remind me who you are and who I am in Christ.   Thank you for being  approachable and warm,  and thank you for your grace when I am not the best son.  I pray Lord that you would fill me with your spirit to deliver your love and hope to those you put in front of me.   In Jesus name I pray.  

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Gods instrument in the Gospel is us

S acts 16
13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us

O -  Paul was on his missionary trips to various cities outside Jerusalem, and where he went he preached the Gospel not always knowing who would respond.  He began by preaching in public places, the Gospel,  and the Lord did the work of helping to open people's heart to the message.  We see that in this case, where Lydia who already worshipped God , but had never heard the Gospel.  

A - The application for me is to be open and intentional like Paul to preach the Gospel where ever I am.   I must be sensitive to where the Holy Spirit is leading me, and even perhaps leading me away from, because God has a plan for those he calls to know the Gospel and receive his grace and forgiveness.    I must not worry about transforming their minds on the subject of God , but know that is His role, mine is to be obedient and share.

P - Dear Lord thank you for the Gospel, and great example with men like Paul.   Lord I confess I feel unqualified and unworthy to  be a instrument to deliver the Gospel, but I trust in your love and Paul's example, that it is not about me but those you are trying to reach.   I pray for strength and courage to carry out the call you have for me.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Gods grace

S -Acts 13
Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

O -  The observation is that feeling of relief and thankfulness for it is by God's grace we are saved.   Grace being undeserved favor and forgiveness.   This is a passage from Peter speaking amogntst the elders in the church as to whether the gentiles had to first become jewish (more specifically circumsized) and then they could be saved.  In God's wisdom he had given Peter the experience with having spoken the Gospel to the gentile family that sent for him, and they accepted Christ, and the Holy Spirit came upon them.  

A -  The application is first for me to be grateful for the grace of God.  As at times I sit identifying my own sins and shortcomings,  I can still receive God's grace  and love.  I know I am not to live in my sin, but the weight and burden it lifts knowing I am not perfect and make many mistakes,  and God still loves me and is with me.  

P - Dear Lord, thank you for you love and grace.  I pray Lord that your love and grace would continue to transform me into the man you have created me to be and are calling me to be.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Choosing to grow to be more Christ like

S Acts 8
18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”

O - We are called to grow and be shaped into the image of Christ.  We see in this scripture the story of Simon a new believer but one whose heart may not have been in the right place,  for he desired to buy the powers of the Apostles to heal and give the Holy Spirit.   But this is an imature thought of how we are to grow like Christ.  In the process of salvation we are forgiven our sins, and begin a relationship with the Father through Christ, however the effects of a life affected by sin, we have habits, thoughts and beliefs that still need to be transformed.  The process of becoming like Christ is sanctification and is the process of allowing the holy spirit to guide and for you to make effort to transform your old self into the creation God intended you to be.  In the case of Simon it was an imature thought that he might skip to being like the Apostles instantly.  Instead His decision needed to be to simply follow Christ, and allow the process of sanctification to occur through his learning, and doing what the spirit is leading him to do.

A -  The application for me is the same as Simon.   As a new born Christian, I have had different rates of growth,  from new born observer of what it means to be a Christian, to active learner, to active participant.   Each phase was different and shaped me.    In this current season I find myself back in the active observer mode, and am waiting patiently on the Lord for the tug on where to jump back in and be an active participant.   I sense the spirit is leading me back to being an active participant in my family, with my wife and girls.   The foundation of our lives in Christ could use some strengthening and reinforcing.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson.  Lord give me the the strength to overcome the inertia of being an inactive observer in my family, to being an active participant, and follower of your spirit especially in the area of leadership of my family.  I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Becoming like Christ

S acts 7
6 God spoke to him in this way: ‘For four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’[b] 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.
51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”

O -   We are people who have been delivered by a promise from God, that began with Abraham.   However, over the years from the promise we as a people have been through many experiences, including 400 years of slavery,  release from that , a journey toward the promised land, and were given commandments to live by.    Despite these promises over time our minds become distracted from God's purpose for us to live for Him, and to live like Christ.   God gaves us the rules but he could not give us the hearts and character to become who He designed us to be... up until Christ came and removed the sin from that separated us from God.

A -  The story here being recapped by Stephen before His stoning is a reminder that we can be given everything by God and still fall short or wander from His ways.   It is only through Jesus, our salvation, and a willingness to follow the Holy Spirit he is provided that we can continue to be transformed more and more into the image of Christ.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank  you for this lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you help me in this restoration of who I am in Christ to begin once again living to honor you and become more like Christ.  Starting with my wife and kids, expanding out into my workplace, and local church, and to all those you place before me.   In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Fellowship with the local church body

S - exodus 15
Acts 2
The Fellowship of the Believers
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

O - The early Church shows us a model of the what Christian fellowship is.   God in the old testament had shown how his people are to live together, by causing the descendants of one family , Abraham to be the seed from which God's family was birthed.  They were connected by bloodlines, and give leaders like Moses from within these lines, to give out the commandments for how they were to live as a family.     The principles of love God, and love your neighor as yourself is the foundational guiding principles.   After many years of trying to live that fellowship out,  God continued with his promise and expanded His family to all those who believe in follow in Christ.  And we see this new relationship with God and believer formed in the early church.  Not surprisingly they began to act like family even if they did not share direct bloodlines.   

A -  The application for me today is to be reminded of my call and commitment to be a member of the family of God and live in a manner that my relationship with the church is that of a family like commitment.    

P - Lord, thank you for your Holy Spirits guidance and the reminder of whose family I now belong to.  I confess I have wandered from family, and pray you would guide me back to a centered relationship with the body of Christ.   I have grown and learned so much through that relationship, and now that I am coming out of this season of separation I need your help to come back.  I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A new perspective - born again to Christ

S - Luke 24
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.

O - The followers of Christ, the messiah,  had not recognized completely the promises of who Jesus was and is.  Likely stricken with grief after watching him arrested, taken away, punished, and then crucified, they had little reflection on the message he had given them when he was with them.   They showed up at his tomb and when they didn't see his body they wondered who stole him.   Quickly God's angels came and reminded them what has happened;  not only was he not stolen, but he has risen in flesh and fulfilled His promise to them.  It was once the angels reminded them that they remembered his words.

A -  The application for me is recognize that though I have the knowledge and benefit of knowing the God's word, God's plan, and know the victory that has already been won in Christ,  I often live as if I forgot those truth's.   I am a child of God,  reborn into His family, by accepting the gift of salvation given to me by Christ.  I know live a new creation, with the Holy Spirit in me, and therefore the circumstances around me come with a new perspective, that of an eternal perspective and recognition I am part of a bigger family now, God's family.   Periodically I need God's word and Holy Spirit to remind me of this so I won't lose perspective of the circumstances around me.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's reminder of who I am in Christ.  I pray that the Holy Spirit would help me filter my world view to be that of your world view, to see circumstances around me from a Christ centered perspective.  I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Waiting on the Lord in times of despair

Waiting on the Lord in times of despair
S- exodus 6
6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’”
9 Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.

O - Often times our response to God's promises in our lives, is to look away from them when circumstances around us seem to indicate God's promises are far away or seem like they will never come.   In this case the Israelites who have been enslaved for several hundred years, had forgotten God's promise to their forefathers,  Abraham and Issaac.  They had forgotten how God changed circumstances for Joseph so that he might save His people from the great famine. And here presently he has sent Moses to set His people free and they just can't believe it.   Being people of God means we know Him, and we know He has never forsaken His promise to us.  He desires for a future where His people are free to be in communion with Him as it was in the beginning.   He has taken the biggest step already to send His son to die for our sins and therefore close the gap between God and man that sin had created.   We are to recognize this in all circumstances, despite our feelings of our current troubles, that God is with us and for us.

A -  The application for me is to restore my faith to the core values Jesus has taught me, that He loves me,  and has plans for me.  I faced a time of emotional separation and trial that had caused me to question my faith.  My feelings of closeness with God had faded, my sense of His presence had faded, and the troubles of this world seemed to surround me.   During this period of emotional separation God continued to provide for me, continued to have a plan for me, and always was there despite my feelings.  I must remember this even as I come out of this season, that God is with me, even when I feel separated, and that my circumstances are neither evidence that He has left, or somehow I have separated myself,  for nothing can separate me from the Love of God.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for continuing to work on me and my faith.   I want so desperately for this season to be over, and continue to pray for victory over depression and restoration of the spark I once had.   I do recognize though your ways are better than my ways, and trust you have my best interest as well as the best interest of my family in mind.  I thank you for your constant love and presence in my life.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Seeing God work all around us.

S Luke 19
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

O - My observation is that we are all susceptable to not recognizing when God is working in and around us.   God is genuinely pursuing us, and we see here through Jesus eyes, that it makes him sad when people don't recognize His good works.  This case is when Jesus is arriving in Jerusalem on a colt and many of the people are giving praise for His arrival as King and savior, yet the pharisee's are asking Jesus to rebuke these people. 

A - The application for me is to be sure I am seeking the kingdom of God all around me, I recognize Jesus came to reveal himself, and now reigns in heaven at the right hand of God.  I know he has saved me from my past sin, and yet at times I still miss what He is continuing to do all around me.  He has blessed me with a wife who is after His own heart, children that are growing and learning to love him, and a mission field that is ripe for the harvest.   I simply need to see what He is doing all around me and join in.

P -  Lord help me to be once again courageous and jump in with you in the ministry all around me.  Begin by opening the eyes of my heart to help me see what you see, and then join in.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

trusting in Gods plan

S - gen 45
4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.[a]

O -  The message of Joseph's experience and God's promise to Abraham and then Israel to make a great nation of them,  shows that God has a plan,  and plan not for our destruction but for our salvation.  I think up until his brothers coming back to Joseph for a second time, did Joseph truly understand this plan, but He faithfully served God, and held on to God through all the experiences that led Him to this point.  I think it is the same for us, we have to remember God's truth , he has a plan for us, the end in mind is not the path to that end, but the end itself.  Only God's wisdom can weave together a path that shapes us and prepares us for our future. 

A -  The application for me is to recognize the struggle I have with the path.  Along the path in my life have often felt like great defeat, but in retrospect where preparing me for a different future that God has planned for me.   Understanding this and surrendering to God's plan is the ultimate lesson.  I must continue to offer my life surrendered to the Lord's plan, and trust in His ways.

P - Father, thank you for your truth, I pray for strength and wisdom, and even faith enough to follow your path.   I need help strengthening the trust I have in you, by seeing your good in the events in my life, and how you got me in your hands.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Morning devotions

S psalm 5
3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.
4 For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
    with you, evil people are not welcome.
5 The arrogant cannot stand
    in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
6     you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
    you, Lord, detest.
7 But I, by your great love,
    can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
    toward your holy temple.

O -  This psalm simply reminded me of my time with the Lord in the morning doing devotions, reading his word, journaling and praying.   It is an affirmation of His presence with me, His heart for me, and my role to trust and wait patiently on Him.   God is trustworthy, because he created us for his pleasure, but also as evidence by His love for me over my life.  He continues to wait on me to pursue Him, and He offers all that He is when I come surrendered.

A - The application for me is to continue to be encourage and rebuilt through my morning devotional time.  I am reminded that it is in the time following that that I can trust in His love and plan while waiting on His plan to be revealed to me.   

P - Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for showing me your love and grace.   As I recover in this season, I feel  you rebuilding me brick by brick, and I ask that you give me patient endurance, and healing of past wounds that may bind me.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Steward well the gifts of God

S  gen 39
But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

Luke 16
10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

O - These are both acccounts of how God looks at our stewardship of what He gives us.  In the case of Joseph,  we see that Joseph is entrusted with things after he faced great adversity, being sold into slavery,  and put in a dugneon.   Despite this he was trusted with the stewardship of Potiphers household, and even to the prison wardens daily runnings of the prison.   He did not let the power and priveledge of each position destract him from serving honorably his master and His God.   In the very same way Jesus teaches us in Luke that  God will give us things to steward.  The way we steward them will define us and our roles and trusts both here on earth and in heaven.

A - The application for me is to remember that God is with me,  but he wants me to grow in my trustworthiness of the resources he has given me, and the people he was put in my life.  I am to steward well the marriage, the finances, and the roles of father, son,  leader, worker.  I am to honor Him and represent Him in these jobs.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this teaching, and reminder.   I feel I have lost sight of my steward all the resources you have given me for your kingdom and your glory.  I must treasure my wife as you treasure her, I must raise my children in the ways they should go, growing up to know and love you,  and I must steward the finances and roles at work in a manor that honors you.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Understanding and obeying the Lord

Understanding and obeying the Lord
S Luke11
5 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

O-  My observation here is that I can relate to the Pharisee's perspective here that in trying to follow the Lord's commandments they lost the heart behind the author of these commandments.   Jesus is frustrated by this because he is incarnate God, pooring out His love on earth, and yet they don't recognize Him and what He is doing.   Instead they over many generations have chosen to judge others on their committment to the commandments of God, but by adding their own restrictive interpetations of the laws.   No I am not saying there is room for broad interpetation, I am saying we need to read scripture from the totality of who God is, and not look narrowly at a single line and try and interpret it as a stand alone.   

A -  The application for me is to continue to do my best to read the bible and study who God is and what He desires, what pleases Him, and how he wants me to live and serve.   In this specific case of the Sabatth,  I believe the Lord desires to give us the gift of the sabath to rest and reflect on His glory.  Obeying it honors Him and has many great returns for us.   God also wants us to love others as ourselves, and therefore when conflicted as to whether to show love to someone or to rest,  I believe God expects us to use wisdom to do both in a way that honors Him.   Great acts of love are authorized,  but so is rest for our weary souls.  

P -  Dear heavenly father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you might give rest to my tired and anxious mind, and heal me from the depression completely,  but your will be done in my life Lord.   In Jesus name I pray , Amen.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Do Not Worry

S- Luke 12
Do Not Worry
22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[b]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

O-   If I put the bottom line up front from this teaching of Jesus it would be Don't Worry, just seek the kingdom of God, and all you need will be provided.    In another scripture from Phillipians,  it says be anxious for nothing,  but in everything through prayer, petition, present your request to God and his peace will fill you.    

A -  For those who face anxiety and depression, these are truly words to stand on.    To replace the fear and aloneness with hope and oneness with God, is the answer.   He loves us, and knows the daily challenges we face.  We see them as big and daunting, He sees them with empathy but also with power because of His glory.  He know the plans He has for us for our prospering and not our destruction, and therefore we should share in the peace that comes from knowing He is in control.

P - Dear God, thank you for today's reminder of the peace that I can live in if I present my anxieties to you, and seek your plan and your kingdom.  Lord replace my anxieties about work performance, and moving to Puget, and my house with your plan and your glory.  I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Knock and He will answer with His best for you

Knock and He will answer with His best for you
S - psalm 4
Tremble and[d] do not sin;
    when you are on your beds,
    search your hearts and be silent.
5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
    and trust in the Lord.
6 Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
    Let the light of your face shine on us.
7 Fill my heart with joy
    when their grain and new wine abound.
8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety

Luke 11
So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

O - The message from the psalmis, and then from Jesus to us,  is that we have a great God, who desires us to seek him, and ask.   Then trust that He is a loving father who hears our prayers, knows what good things we need, and gives us exactly what we need (not necessarily deserve).   In the psalm, David again, helps us to express our emotion to the Lord, but to tremble and wait, but do not sin in your waiting.    Put your trust in the Lord to fill your needs, both physically and spiritually.  To have a full heart is as important as a full stomach, and only the Lord can provide for both.

A -  The application for me is to remember once again that if I focus on meeting my physical needs and desires, rather than seek the Lord, I will find myself in a familiar place of emptiness internally.  I need to seek His provision, and recognize how blessed I am to have received what He has provided.  He loves me and knows what is best.

P - Dear Lord, thank you for your reminders today, and thank you for always listening to my prayers, and answering in a way that is best for me.  Lord thank you for loving me despite my shortcomings, and holding on to me even when I wander far from you.   I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Repentance and waiting on the Lord

Repentance and waiting on the Lord
S - psalm 6: 1-4 (NIV)
Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
    or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
    heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
3 My soul is in deep anguish.
    How long, Lord, how long?
4 Turn, Lord, and deliver me;
    save me because of your unfailing love.

O - First off I am encouraged ever time I read a Psalm like this , which I believe to be David's psalm,  because it come from a man who is after God's own heart.  I see despite the blessings, and love God has shown David,  he goes through different emotional high's and lows just like me.   The difference we see in David though is he confesses and reveals His feelings to the Lord, and speaks God's truth into His requests.

A-  The application for me is to assess myself and see what lessons I can glean from David's confessions and prayer requests.   First off I recognize that setting aside my pride and confessing my anguish, and seeking God's mercy is a big step.  At times I feel if I continue in a season of anguish that God does not care and therefore I need to handle it on my own.  When God's time doesn't meet my wants to be delivered I can distance myself from Him, though he does not distance Himself from me.   

P -  Dear Lord thank you for David's example.   I cry out to you now for deliverence from this season where my faith has flagged, and my passion for following you seems to have faded, and my responsibilities to steward my wife, family, and possesions has not been what you have taught me.   I pray for deliverence from the distractions of the enemy, from depression, and from desire for things of this world that distract me from your ways.  I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Eternal perspective, in following Christ

Eternal perspective, in following Christ

S Luke 9:23-26 (NIV)
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

O - Jesus, said this to a number of people who had come to see him, heard His teachings, and were eager to follow Him.   I believe He did this not to rebuke them but to ensure they fully understood what it means to follow Him.   Some may have been caught up in the moment of meeting Christ, but yet had not truly counted the cost of being His follower.  They had things they would have to give up, mostly the non eternal things of this world, but in some cases even the close relationships in family would have to be set aside in the short term to follow Him.

A -  The application for me is to remember the cost I had already agreed to give up, my previous needs and goals, for Christ's desires and goals.    Over the past few years I may have forgotten some eternal perspective on my life, and that I have had a desire to be a slave to Christ.   This eternal perspective is important as the decisions each day in light of eternity and mission of Christ, is often times entirely different.

P - Lord I pray for a refreshed perspective of my life in service to you, in light of your eternal purpose and the daily events that are going on in my life.  I pray this in Jesus name.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The attitude of those who Christ is calling to Him

The attitude of those who Christ is calling to Him

S -  Luke 6:17-21 (NASB)

A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.
20 Looking at his disciples, he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
    for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
    for you will laugh.

O - There is something comforting about Jesus here as he begins ministering to the lost and broken.   His compassion and his power shown throughout these passages in look begins to draw people to both hear Him speak, because His words alone were comforting and healing, but also to be physically healed.    Jesus here in the beattitudes explains who the lost he is calling to Him.  

A -  Reading God's word again, here in the gospel of Luke, has made me hunger and thirst again for God's healing power of my damaged heart, mind and soul.   I feel drawn to once again come to the foot of Jesus, humbly listen, and seek the spirits healing power to my soul.   I

P - Dear Jesus, thank you for never leaving me, and helping to restore my attitude toward you.  I ask for continued support in and miraculous healing of the damage already done, and the restoration of my spirit.  I pray for protection from the works of the enemy that might seek to drag me back down.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Going humbly before the Lord

Going humbly before the Lord

S  -  Luke 5
12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.[b] When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.

O -  The man with Leprosy shows us the posture  and faith of someone coming to the Lord.    It is a notable posture because when we approach Jesus with the right posture and attitude He is just and willing to heal us.    By asking if you are willing , the man is saying if it is your will God,  and not demanding healing because of the known healing power Jesus had.

A - The application for me is to remember to posture myself the same before the Lord.  I enjoy a Holy communion with God through my relationship with the Jesus, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life.  This gives me a degree of familiarity and comfort in being with Him,  what however I want to never forget is the lesson of the man with Leprosy, that when I come before God asking for protection, healing, wisdom, etc,  that I come humbly, seeking God's will in my life and not just what I want. 

P - Dear Lord thank you for the reminder today to come humbly before you.  I know Lord you know all things in my life, past, present, and future and I continue to ask for prayers of salvation from my sin,  my afflictions, and to guard and protect my future.   I pray for healing and protection from my depression, and guarding of my mind and heart from the attacks of the enemy, and I humbly ask this in Jesus name, Amen. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

S -  Luke 4:
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

O -   My observation is that, though Jesus is God,  he faced the trials that we do, understands our human condition.   Jesus didn't just fast for 40 days but was tempted by the devil.  In the end He felt hunger the same as we do, and yet shows us where His strength to resist comes from.  The  word of God is how He responds to the devil's temptations.

A - The application for me is this time of my own fasting is to recognize I will be tempted and distracted by the devil, to think and do things that would break down my faith in the Lord, and keep building separation between God and I.   I must follow Jesus' example and not run from the temptations but rather seek the word of God to face my tempations and fears.  

P - Dear Jesus, thank you for your word, your spirit, and your gift of salvation.  I ask for you steadfast protection during this season of fasting and restoration.  My hearts desire is to draw nearre

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Restoration back to God's love and design for His people

Restoration back to God's love and design for His people

S -  Genesis 8:15-17 (NIV)
15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 17 Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.”

Luke 3:4-6
 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
    every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
    the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’”[a]

O -  A fresh new start,   after a period of darkness and fading from God and his ways.  These are the two common themes we see here with Noah and John the baptist.   In each situation God had provided a foundation for which to stay close to Him, and to live in His Holy ways in communion with Him.  In each case over time there was a drifting away from the Lord.   In each case God, despite his disapproval of how His creation was living,  found a method and means for their salvation.   This is the character of our God, who loves us, and seeks for us to live in Holy communion with Him.

A -  The application for me is that I confess I too have wandered from God and His ways.   While yes, I have attempted to stay near enough, I have allowed my relationship with Him to grow in distance from a level of closeness I once experienced.   This has resulted in changes in my relationships with my wife, kids, friends, and acquaintances.    But the loving God I serve, and claim my salvation from remains available for me to draw back to.   In this next season,  it is my solemn prayer, and hearts desire draw closer to him.  

P - Dear heavenly father thank you for your redemption and you love.   I know your word and Holy spirit reign over me and I ask that your holy spirit work in me to help me walk this path set before me.  Holy Spirit please transform my mind to see not the negative that the devil would have me focus on and thus distancing myself from God, and focus on your heavenly perspective.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen