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.