Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

They cannot deny your life!


Scripture Read: 1 Peter 2:13-17 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,  [14] or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.  [15] For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.  [16] Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.  [17] Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

Application: The power of living right. How true this is. So many times we waste our time trying to argue down foolish men. But the very words used – ignorance & foolish – expose what a waste of time this is. In fact others watching may get a bad taste from your testimony. It appears God’s way is to just live and let your life shut the mouths of fools. With someone reasonable you can reason – 1 Pet 3:15 – but with a fool – you not only gain nothing, but you actually lose. Why then do we still have to debate? Our pride gets wounded. Lord this is a bad reason to waste time with a fool. Help me to be careful and not fall into that trap. Let me walk in such a way that fools will – in your time – be exposed. Thanks Lord!

Lusts VS. Soul


Scripture Read: 1 Peter 2:11-12 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.  [12] Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. 

Application: This hits me where I am at, but do I know how this works. How do my lusts wage war against my soul? 1. They keep me thinking on the non-spiritual level. My soul desires to live in the spiritual realm, but cannot if my lusts are ruling. 2. The desire of the flesh is to please itself; this is detrimental to the condition of my soul. Selflessness brings growth. These desires even pervert that which is good for the soul. My soul loves sex and is edified by it if with my wife. But if my flesh lives in lustful fantasy about other women or even drives me to porno – then sex is perverted to something damaging. If I enjoy different foods, my soul rejoices in the gift of taste buds from the Lord, but if I glutton out – then food is perverted from being nourishing and enjoyable, to being enjoyable to the point of killing my health. This goes on in every area of life. So I must re-evaluate each and every item on a regular basis and make sure my soul is the one being pleased, not the flesh. God keep me close and help me be disciplined.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Healthy Balance


Scripture Read: 1 Peter 2:[4] And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God,  [5] you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  [6] For this is contained in Scripture: "BEHOLD I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone,  AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." [7] This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, "THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” [8] and, "A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE"; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.  [9] But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  [10] for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. 

Application: This has a real principle to it. Here I see the free will of man (disobedient) and the Sovereignty of God (appointed) This is how it is, I do not fully understand all the mechanics – or which one comes first, etc. But that really is not important. I know what I can do – free will – and I know God will do what He will do – appoint. So I only need focus on my part and leave the other to God. Help me Lord to focus on exercising my free will to obey, the rest I will leave to you!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Arrival Guaranteed – Quality I Affect


Scripture Read: 1 Peter 2:1-3  Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,  [2] like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,  [3] if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord

Application: The idea of growing in respect to salvation is one that really gets me thinking. This really speaks to the issue of working with your salvation not for it. The salvation is already a possession, but you can make it grow. What part grows? Certainly not the destination. Only the quality of your deliverance, not the security of your deliverance. Heaven bound you are, but what your trip will be like along the way and what will you arrive with is really up to you. That is why your salvation can grow.  Again look at the key – the Word of God. I really need to focus on this more. Help me Lord!

Friday, December 24, 2010

You can never over eat some things


Scripture Read: 1 Peter 1:22-25 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.  [24] For, "ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,  [25] BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ABIDES FOREVER." And this is the word which was preached to you. 

Application: When we think about the concept of being born, we must consider that there are certain things that must be for the birth to take place. We must be getting those things – food, water,  air – to be born, and even more importantly we must continue in those things if we are to live and grow. Now if I take that concept and apply it to this section of scripture it leads me to the conclusion that my birth took place from the Word. Which also points to the fact that for me to live I need to continue in the nourishment of the Word. How true this really is. I need the word to keep that which is from above to continue to grow. How much damage I do when I neglect this. Help me Lord to stay in the Word!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Just Passing Through


Scripture Read: 1 Peter 1:17-21 And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth;  [18] knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,  [19] but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.  [20] For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you  [21] who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 

Application: I find it interesting how the scripture speaks about our life here on earth. Many different descriptions: Soldier, Ambassador, Not of this world, etc. But this one is really good. “your stay upon earth”. So temporal in it’s thought. We are not “living” here. This is not our “home”. Residency is not implied, in fact the opposite is here. “Your Stay”. Like a hotel. Just passing through. Unpack – yes, get familiar with your surroundings, but don’t think in terms of permanency. This is just a stop along the way. An important stop yes, but only a stop. Men who stayed on battlefields, men who stayed on the moon, men that stayed in a certain place for college – but none of them looked at that stay as something permanent. How do I live? Am I building a home here or just “staying” while learning and investments are made? Am I approaching this time here with more RR than battle in mind, or do I know that my stay here is primarily going to be battle time? Lord help me to not set roots in this world. Let me be real and helpful in this world, but let my roots be found heavenward. Thanks you Lord.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Out of sight – out of Mind?


Scripture Read: 1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, [7] that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; [8] and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, [9] obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. 

Application: Sometimes I wonder if I really love Him the way I should. I wonder if I saw Him how different my expression of love would be? Is it out of sight - out of mind, or is it just plain old sin. Sometimes I sense Your presence so clearly it is like I can see you. Other times I doubt my own faith. I know other men of God that were far greater than I will ever be have had this struggle. Does this mean I really do not love Him like I should? I know I fail in my love for You Lord. The truth is I do not think any of us will ever understand fully the weakness of the flesh. I know how my inner man I delight in the Lord. I also know how often the outer man fails. For that I am very sorry. Please help me to continue to fight for disciplines that lead to a closer walk with you. Fill my heart with Your presence Lord and thank You for Your loving patience!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Joy of Trouble


Scripture Read: 1 Peter 1:[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  [4] to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,  [5] who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  [6] In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,  [7] that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

Application: I wonder where I come down on this issue. Do I deal with my troubles in a way that brings Christ glory, or do I shame Him. Whenever I am put in the fire of testing do I see it only as a burden because that’s the way it feels or do I accept those feelings yet see beyond them and experience the opportunity they bring to bring Him glory? Lord I so desire to spend my life building that which really counts – faith, character, maturity. But I am such a man! God as I go through fire, help me to cling to you and watch you lead me through it. Help me to stand firm in you. Deliver me from using trouble as an excuse to sin. I am so weak Father – but I know what I desire to be deep inside. Watch over me and strengthen me.

Monday, December 13, 2010

It’s a mindset not a mind game


Isaiah 26:1–6 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; He sets up walls and ramparts for security. 2 “Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter, The one that remains faithful. 3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. 4 “Trust in the Lord forever, For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock. 5 “For He has brought low those who dwell on high, the unassailable city; He lays it low, He lays it low to the ground, He casts it to the dust. 6 “The foot will trample it, The feet of the afflicted, the steps of the helpless

Application: The idea of steadfastness of mind is so important. We must stand mentally firm, that is where the war is, isn’t it? This is a discipline I find a real dichotomy in my life. On the one hand I have refused mentally to settle for anything less in my life’s calling that is not according to God’s direction. In spite of very hard things that have happened and how some in the body have treated me - I won’t allow myself to quite. But when it comes to sin issues, I find myself being far too circumstantial. I know what is right, but if I am not alert I will blow it. I find a truth from that Steve Green song “I repent” – Though the love for You is in me, it doesn’t always win me when competing with my sin – Until my mindset is fully committed to standing against sin I will continue to play games. Father I want to have that steadfast mind in all that I am. Perhaps I need to be more deliberate in my thought life. God continue to guide me so that I will stand firm mentally in all things, and therefore live in your peace.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Heart of the Matter


Scripture Read: Proverbs 16:1-9 The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.  [2] All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives.  [3] Commit your works to the LORD, And your plans will be established.  [4] The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil. [5] Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.  [6] By loving kindness and truth iniquity is atoned for,  And by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil.  [7] When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. [8] Better is a little with righteousness   Than great income with injustice.  [9] The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. 

Application: This is a scary thought for me. Knowing I have a Jer 17:9 heart, how do I know what my true motive is? I understand that we always see our self as being right, how to I know if my motive is pure or not. When I become defensive and I am shown that I am wrong – that is easy to identify, but how about those things that are not clearly evil. I want to be successful in ministry – but why? How do I know it is not an ego feed? I want my kids to do well, why? For me or for them? I want to make love to my wife, why? For my pleasure or hers? I believe the only way to deal with this is to begin right here – always remembering that my heart is as the Word describes it. From there I must see that this is one of the reasons a moment to moment walk with the Lord is so important – only the Spirit can illuminate the truth to me. That’s why Paul stated he judged nothing – not even himself – I need to let the Spirit keep me accountable. I guess I really don’t trust my feelings in this Lord. Holy Spirit, please continue to weigh my heart and illuminate me to the truth. I don’t want to live a fake life. I want to be real, yet in some ways I fear the pain that comes with that. It is difficult to have the light of Your Spirit show me what the real man in the mirror is thinking! Still – after I face it – You are always there to hug me and show me how to change it! Thanks Dad.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The two paths that are really one!


Scripture Read: Proverbs 3:13-26 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding.  14] For its profit is better than the profit of silver, And its gain than fine gold.  [15] She is more precious than jewels;  And nothing you desire compares with her.  [16] Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor.  [17] Her ways are pleasant ways, And all her paths are peace.  [18] She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who hold her fast.
 
Application: What exactly does this mean. The paths of wisdom are those avenues that not only have knowledge, but also know how to use it. Peace is that sense of calm no matter the circumstances. In every circumstance there is more then one path to take, but the one that uses wisdom is the one with peace. This applies in all cases. Confrontation – what does wisdom say to do? When attacked – what does wisdom say to do? When disappointed what does wisdom say to do? I believe the key here, is knowing how to mentally slow down in order to find that path. Even if your response must be immediate, there must be a way to slow down inside and think. To be in a prayerful attitude all day will go a long way to serve this end. Help me Lord to pick the path of wisdom!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Loving the law provides Peace


Scripture Read: Psalm 119:161  Princes persecute me without cause,  But my heart stands in awe of Thy words.  [162] I rejoice at Thy word, As one who finds great spoil.  [163] I hate and despise falsehood, But I love Thy law. [164] Seven times a day I praise Thee, Because of Thy righteous ordinances.  [165] Those who love Thy law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble.  [166] I hope for Thy salvation, O LORD, And do Thy commandments. [167] My soul keeps Thy testimonies, And I love them exceedingly.  [168] I keep Thy precepts and Thy testimonies, For all my ways are before Thee.
 
Application: Loving His law brings great peace. Loving God’s law produces righteousness. But how do you love a law. It is different than loving a person. The interesting thing here is that unlike a person – the law is what it is – emotions do not affect it. That’s what makes this important. By seeing that your life is better with the law than without it – you treasure the truth it brings to your life. It should grieve me when I break His law, which in turn will rob me of my peace. Notice this does not say that we will not walk on various kinds of roads – it states NOTHING will cause us to stumble. So it does not matter if the road I am on is slick with temptations or rocky with trials – if I have His law it my heart – it’s truth will keep my feet safe! How important is that? What a peace this brings – just learn His truth and no matter the circumstances you will be able to stand! Lord teach me to keep your law and learn to love it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Atmosphere of Peace


Scripture Read: Psalm 85:8-13 I will hear what God the LORD will say; For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; But let them not turn back to folly.  [9] Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land.   [10] Loving kindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.  [11] Truth springs from the earth; And righteousness looks down from heaven.  [12] Indeed, the LORD will give what is good; And our land will yield its produce.  [13] Righteousness will go before Him, And will make His footsteps into a way.

Application: I realize true peace comes from God. But I find it interesting how it is linked to righteousness in this text. Perhaps that is the real key to having peace. Since the sense of calm which is real peace flows from within the soul, not from without then the condition of the soul is the issue. No matter how bad the outside circumstances are, the inside can remain constant. Since the Holy Spirit lives within us, then only an atmosphere which He finds acceptable would allow Him to give us His calm. Righteousness is the natural atmosphere of the Holy Spirit. So if I am in sin, peace will allude me because the Holy Spirit is not comfortable in that environment. I need to live righteous and peace will be there. Help me O Lord to learn this truth!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Peace is a Blessing based on His Power!


Scripture Read: Psalm 29:1-11 Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.  [2] Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in holy array. [3] The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; The God of glory thunders, The LORD is over many waters.  [4] The voice of the LORD is powerful,  The voice of the LORD is majestic.  [5] The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;  Yes, the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. [6] And He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, And Sirion like a young wild ox.  [7] The voice of the LORD hews out flames of fire. [8] The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; The LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. [9] The voice of the LORD makes the deer to calve, And strips the forests bare, And in His temple everything says,"Glory!" [10] The LORD sat as King at the flood; Yes, the LORD sits as King forever. [11] The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace.

Application: The word “bless” really caught me here. Peace is a blessing from a powerful God. The verses here testify of His great power and ability to cause tremendous calamity. They make it clear that He is the one and only King and they also make it clear that He is the source for peace. Only He can withhold calamity, restrain it, stop it, pull you out of it or take you through it. As it is with all of God’s blessings we should be living in a way that would open the door to receive those blessings. So as I am seeking peace and rest from Him I must realize my own part in that equation. Lord help me to live holy to open the door of blessing that I might have your peace. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Ball is in My Court


Scripture Read: Psalm 34:11-14 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.  [12] Who is the man who desires life, And loves length of days that he may see good?  [13] Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit.  [14] Depart from evil, and do good; Seek peace, and pursue it.
 
Application: What does this involve? How do I seek and pursue peace. Eternally I have peace with God through Christ, but what about that sense of peace each day from Him. If two nations desire to have peace with each other – they do not do the things that lead to war. Since God has done all that He can and is waiting on me – then the issue lies on me. Am I doing things that lead to war with God or peace. The issue here is how proactive am I to do the things that please Him. Ministry life is not the issue with me – it is my personal walk. Time in the Word, Time in Prayer, Just loving to be with God. Control of appetites. I must focus and pursue the life style decisions that lead to pleasing God. The more I please Him, the more I will sense His peace. Thanks Lord!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The REAL Thing


Scripture Read: Psalm 28:3 Do not drag me away with the wicked  And with those who work iniquity; Who speak peace with their neighbors, While evil is in their hearts.

Application: Here I see the principle of speaking about peace with no real substance. I realize this passage is talking about someone speaking about peace toward someone else. But there is still a principle here. I can talk about possessing peace, but if it is only talk then it will show. The difficulty is drawing the line between normal human nerves and no peace. Many times the peace we talk about is no more then an attempt to console ourselves. This will not settle the heart. So what must I look for to make sure it is not just talk? What do I think about when my mind drifts? How is my sleep? Appetite? Especially when I am alone, am I as confident about things and restful as when I am in public. Help me to continue to examine this Lord. I need to have the real thing, not a cheap imitation of it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Knowing Peace instead of Feeling Peace


Scripture Read: Psalm 4:6-8 Many are saying, "Who will show us any good?" Lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us, O LORD!  [7] Thou hast put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound.  [8] In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For Thou alone, O LORD, dost make me to dwell in safety.
 
Application:  The peace in this passage has to do with God’s oversight – not man’s circumstances. Many of us feel at peace when we have all that we “need”. We need to remember that “feeling” at peace is not real peace. But what happens to that peace when hard times come? I don’t like difficult times anymore than anyone else. I – like many – can become complacent when times are good and all my physical needs are being met. That can lull me into a false peace. When those difficult times come that is when I get a reality check. It is at that point that the peace that flows from God over rides circumstances. Because I know he watches over me I can have peace no matter what. So when it comes to what decisions I make in life – where I live, what work I do etc., the issue needs to be what God is directing to do, not what do circumstances look like. As a missionary, I have seen many others deal with this when support level is bad. Do I leave the field because of direction or because of concern over support? If God is taking care of me I need to sense His direction and then I will have peace, fully supported or not. This truth needs to penetrate into every facet of our lives. We will always be affected by our circumstances – we are human – but the more we allow the Spirit of God to reveal how we can trust Him no matter the outward circumstances, the less we will deal with the emotional sense of peace when circumstances turn bad. When our sense of peace is founded on what we know about Him the less effect that emotional sense has on us.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A False Peace



Scripture Read: Deut. 29:14-21 "Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath,  [15] but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God and with those who are not with us here today  [16] (for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed.  [17] "Moreover, you have seen their abominations and their idols of wood, stone, silver, and gold, which they had with them);  [18] lest there shall be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; lest there shall be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood.  [19] "And it shall be when he hears the words of this curse, that he will boast, saying, 'I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart in order to destroy the watered land with the dry.' [20] "The LORD shall never be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the LORD and His jealousy will burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will rest on him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven.  [21] "Then the LORD will single him out for adversity from all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant which are written in this book of the law. 
Application: There appears to be a peace that is not a peace. Circumstances surrounding us are calm so we assume we are ok. It must be that at some point a man living in open sin can convince himself that due to the fact that God is not actively punishing him, that he has peace. Even though he has no real connection any more, but because he has quiet, he believes he has peace. Then when bad times come he realizes there is no peace, or as in this case he becomes belligerent about how he can do what he wants (“Well my sins are forgiven!” or  “Everything is going alright so I must be okay”) At that point God actively gets involved to teach him he is wrong. What kind of peace have I been nourishing? It is so easy to think that outward circumstances reveal where you are with God. That is the danger – we forget that that picture of the bird resting very comfortably underneath a raging waterfall best portrays real peace. I am sure I get sucked into the same wrong sense at times. That is why the key is the inner life – not the outer. If I know I am living right my spirit will be at peace with Him. I need to seek only His peace, that alone will come through obedience and desiring what God desires. Help me Lord!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Trusting even when we know!


Scripture Read: Genesis 15:13-15 And God said to Abram, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.  [14] "But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve; and afterward they will come out with many possessions.  [15] "And as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. 

Application: Abram could die in peace – even though he knew the future was not good for his people. How is this? Abram was able to fully entrust God with the future even when he knew it would be bleak. This is the faith walk. Trusting even in spite of circumstances that you know are not good! I do not know my future so there is always hope. When I take that hope and place it at the feet of an all-loving God I can rest in that trust. What happens if I am placed in the situation that Abram was – knowing what will happen and that it will be bad? That is the way it is for the future of this earth and the church. I do not know when but I do know that at the end of the age the world will forsake God and even the church will be luke-warm. Should I now live not caring or uncommitted because I know whatever I do in the end the world will still run after the Anti-Christ? Not at all! I know that God has promised that whatever He brings into my circle of influence is an opportunity to bring Him glory and see fruit for His name. I will see growth in my character and experience the joy of seeing God change lives. I can only deal with God had brought my way – the world is too big for me to handle. I need to deal with only the part of it He brings my way.  We can rest in the truth that God will always do what is right, whether I see it or not – because I do see Him. I know Him and have experienced His love and mercy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chain Reaction


Scripture Read: Hosea 2:[21] "And it will come about in that day that I will respond," declares the LORD. "I will respond to the heavens, and they will respond to the earth, [22] And the earth will respond to the grain, to the new wine, and to the oil, And they will respond to Jezreel.  [23] "And I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, And I will say to those who were not My people, 'You are My people!' And they will say, 'Thou art my God!' "

Application: The chain reaction is what catches my mind here. I realize this is not the way the Lord always works, but it is interesting to see that many times He does. He begins something and allows it to cause a chain reaction – a clear ripple effect. How true this is in many of His movements – whether it be to a person or a group. When a part of my character responds to the Lord, then all my character is affected. When the Holy Spirit illuminates  truth to my heart – my mind, emotions and actions are also impacted. Reach one segment of society and all society is affected. This is also the way sin works. I cannot have just a little sin – it affects all of me I must keep that truth in my mind. Lord help me to not open the door for this chain reaction to take place in my life with regards to sin. Help me instead to see your chain reaction take place in my heart, family, and ministry. I love you Lord!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The True False god’s


Scripture Read: Hosea 2: [8] "For she does not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the new wine, and the oil,  And lavished on her silver and gold,  Which they used for Baal.  [9] "Therefore, I will take back My grain at harvest time  And My new wine in its season. I will also take away My wool and My flax  Given to cover her nakedness.   [10] "And then I will uncover her lewdness  In the sight of her lovers, And no one will rescue her out of My hand.   [11] "I will also put an end to all her gaiety, Her feasts, her new moons, her sabbaths, And all her festal assemblies.  [12] "And I will destroy her vines and fig trees, Of which she said, 'These are my wages  Which my lovers have given me.'  And I will make them a forest, And the beasts of the field will devour them.  [13] "And I will punish her for the days of the Baals  When she used to offer sacrifices to them  And adorn herself with her earrings and jewelry, And follow her lovers, so that she forgot Me," declares the LORD.

Application: This is a powerful concept. How much of what God has lavished on me have I used to serve other god’s. My talents and gifts used to serve my ego? My imagination to serve vengeance and sex? Even my body. Serving the pleasures of food and lust? Why do we so often read a verse like this and quickly dismiss it. Yes we have no wooden idols in most cases, but that does not mean we are not using what God has given us to serve other gods we have set up in our lives. I am sure that I have squandered much of what You have given Lord. For that I ask Your forgiveness. Fill me with your Spirit. Let me look again at what You have given me and make sure I am honoring You with how I am using it. This may be painful now, but in the end it will be better to honor You rather then remain complacent and lose an eternity of investment. Thank you Lord for your Grace and Patience with me. I love you. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In Pursuit of Things


Scripture Read: Hosea  [2:1] Say to your brothers, "Ammi," and to your sisters, "Ruhamah."  [2] "Contend with your mother, contend, For she is not my wife, and I am not her husband;  And let her put away her harlotry from her face, And her adultery from between her breasts,  [3] Lest I strip her naked And expose her as on the day when she was born. I will also make her like a wilderness, Make her like desert land,  And slay her with thirst.   [4] "Also, I will have no compassion on her children, Because they are children of harlotry.  [5] "For their mother has played the harlot; She who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, 'I will go after my lovers, Who give me my bread and my water, My wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.'  [6] "Therefore, behold, I will hedge up her way with thorns, And I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths.  [7] "And she will pursue her lovers, but she will not overtake them; And she will seek them, but will not find them.  Then she will say, 'I will go back to my first husband, For it was better for me then than now!'

Application: How deceitful the want of things is. We are deceived about their importance and the source that provides them. We make ourselves believe we need all of them – some we do – food, water etc, but not all. So then a desire has been labeled a need and we will drive for it no matter what the truth is. We also make ourselves believe these things can be attained outside of God. A job, a person, or a government will give us these things. Later in life, after much pursuit and wasted time we will come to the realization of the truth – but by then it will be to late. We will have lost the greater part of our life in pursuit of things that don’t really matter. God help me to stay balanced. Seeing needs as needs and desires as desires. Realizing that all of it comes from you – no matter what the surface provider might be. Some times I do look to other things as my source of pleasure or esteem or purpose. Help me remember Lord, that although you use many other things to meet my needs and make me feel fulfilled – in the end – it all flows from you!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Silence is not always Golden!


Scripture Read: Colossians 4: 7. Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts.

Application: This is most likely the most frustrating issues to me about the body of Christ today. Communication is not a priority. Either we are so task oriented we come across as a detective  – "Just the facts ma’am"  – or we only communicate one side of the matter which makes it either all bad or all good – or we do not communicate at all. Consistently I find in the scriptures a flow of words. Especially when it comes between man and God. Should we not learn the lesson. Could not God have just told Job to shut up and eat the trials? He did not. He chose to begin a dialogue to help Job come to a point of reality. I am amazed with the techniques and manipulations we employ to silence people. The whole issue of prayer is that dialogue helps bring about resolution. I am amazed we can so easily tell someone to go pray about a situation, yet in the same breath try and restrict their need to share and bounce back and forth with another brother or sister their feelings about that situation. We also try to do too much political style damage control to either protect our image or God’s. I don’t see Paul doing this. He is sending someone deliberately to update the situations that were going on and help his family in Christ know what the real scoop is. I realize balance is needed, but I find far to often that the pendulum swings in the direction of people who desire control – not a clear understanding of the truth.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Real Boss


Scripture Read: Colossians 3:18. Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19  Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 20  Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21  Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. 22  Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25  Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.

Do I live like these slaves were told to0? Do I approach each task as if I were serving the Lord? The answer is no. At times I become sloppy. I do not do the best I can do and more importantly I fail to remain consciously aware of Who I am serving. I need to be aware of that always. Help me Lord in my times of leisure and work to remember that at the end of the day I want to please You! No others, not even myself – because when the truth is realized – when I please You I will be in that place where I am truly pleased because I have Your peace in my life. If the world is upset at me for pleasing You the peace You give me will enable me to stand. Thanks Lord for reminding me that whether it be work or play – when I do it the way You would I will maximize the result.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Best Measuring Rod!


Scripture Read: Colossians 3:13  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Application: This creates a very clear measurement I can use to decide what my thoughts and actions should be. I realize it gets sticky in areas of liberty – video games, movies, amusement parks, etc. – but I am still obligated to try. This helps a lot with the big issues. I do need to struggle very much if I am honest. By checking if Christ would act, think or say something it makes it rather easy on the weightier issues of life. As far as the liberty areas – this still brings the best balance to these things. I must take the time to measure what I am doing and that gives the Holy Spirit time to help me evaluate my actions and motives. Help me Lord to be honest enough to do all things in light of the name I am using to represent what I am doing. Thank you for your guidance to me oh Lord.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Letting is the Key to the Heart


Scripture Read: Colossians 3:12. Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Application
Application: I find this really fascinating. Two important “lets”. His peace should rule, His word should dwell. The idea of ruling is tied to authority. What rules my life? Fear? Lust? If it is God’s peace then a different kind of calmness is the authority of my life. If I have this calmness I am empowered to move ahead with God boldly. My timidity flows out from me when that calmness is not there. The key is to yield to that peace. Maybe that is why the next statement has to do with His word. From it comes the ability to keep that calmness intact. His word gives me the principles and directions to live by. By staying inside those boundaries I sense His peace. This frees me to move at an incredible pace, instead of stumbling and groping through life with so many doubts. Thank you Lord for your kindness. Help me to “let” what I need into my life. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Unity of Love



Scripture Read: Colossians 3:12. Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Application
I wonder if I really have taken the time to understand Biblical love. It is highlighted over all. In 1 Cor. 13 Love is called the greatest, and it will never cease. Here in Colossians it is the glue to the fruit of the Spirit. So what is humility without love, or compassion without love. I can see how they function apart yet it appears that the idea of love stands on it’s own. How can I forgive without love? Paul calls all these things virtues and then states that over these things we are to put on love which binds them together. For God so loved – obviously that carries with it compassion and forgiveness. I know that love is not completely separate then these other virtues, but it seems to function as some kind of qualifier. Am I loving Lord? Does the quality that is described in Scripture live in me? There is much here I need to consider. I also need to really study more about this quality. Help me Lord to understand all that I can and then allow it to thrive in my life. Let me commit to make a study of Love this year and have a clear understanding of this fruit. Thank you Lord for your Word

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Inside – Out


Scripture Read: Colossians   3 1. Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6  Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7  You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11  Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Application
This is an interesting text. Here after listing a lot of the sins we need to rid ourselves from Paul gives us the real method. Take off and put on. But he goes even further and shows how the new self gains it’s power – “which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.  This is where I fall into trouble. If the new man is to succeed he must be renewed. The only way for that to happen is if I keep feeding knowledge of my Creator in. This happens through the Word and Communion with Him. Why do I keep trying to change my insides from without? I need to re-examine my habits of word and communion. If I do not keep a steady flow of knowledge about Him, I will never see the new man really live in victory. God help me to meditate on this all day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Flesh Cannot Beat the Flesh


Scripture Read: Colossians   2:20  Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21  "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22  These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23  Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
Application

Application: This is a great principle. You cannot control sensual drives through sensual disciplines. This is the natural step that we would normally head to. This is a subtle way though for the flesh to keep it’s power. You appear to be moving toward holiness but in reality you are doing nothing more then moving back into fleshly living. This does not appear that way because the direction of the move appears toward God. That’s the deception! In reality you are functioning in the flesh, not faith. To overcome the flesh we must yield to the Spirit. Only through the channel of faith can we empower the new man to avail himself of the power from the Holy Spirit. This is more difficult. It would be easier to try to develop holiness through fleshy disciplines. This does not mean that the spiritual battle for the flesh will not involve discipline to the body, it will. The issue here is how do we approach that? It must be by faith through the power of His Spirit to our spirit. Help me Lord to live this principle.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Faith Walking


Scripture Read: Colossians   2:16. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18  Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19  He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. 20  Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21  "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22  These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23  Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Application
I see two facets of faith here. One expressed by how we live, the other descriptive of what we should be. The first one is so applicable for today. The idea that the person talks about what he has SEEN. How appropriate for today’s church. That’s all that is talked about. A life of sight, not faith. God has to prove Himself with signs. What a step backwards the church has taken. The inward change and transformation that God works is not important. Only what we can hold, smell and taste. Sensual Christianity. Not faith walking. This ties right into the next thought. The church grows – notice – as God causes it to grow. We say it, but do we believe it. If we did we could relax and just focus on being faithful. This is hard to do. Relaxed does not equal inactivity, or laziness. But far to many times I think I live in such a way that I believe the work depends on me. I realize there is a balance here, but not so much in whether or not the church grows, but more in how. Am I going to play a part in it or not. Which really makes my own personal faithfulness to Him the key, not my gifts or talents. This is hard Lord, but with your help I can find that balance. Let me walk by faith and focus on being faithful.

Friday, September 17, 2010

What Channel Are You On?


Scripture Read: Colossians   2:9  For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10  and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11  In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12  having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14  having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Application
Faith again shown as the channel. The way I received identification in His resurrection is through faith. The object of my faith is the power of God, but faith is still the channel. This is how the rest of my walk must function. The only way to see the power of God in my life is through faith. It is not my faith that is the issue, it is the power of God that is the issue. However, my lack of faith in that power may restrict and control what I am able to experience of it. So, the question I must ask myself is how am I doing with my channel. Am I placing myself in the place where God must do it if it is going to get done? Is the vision I have one that I can easily attain? This is not a way to be lazy. It is not saying to God I will do nothing so you will have to do it. This is stating: Lord this vision is from you. I will do all I can to see it happen, then you must carry me the rest of the way. Each time I place myself in that position, I am going to see a widening channel that will allow me to see and experience more of God’s power. Remember though – the vision must be His, not mine. If it is mine I have no right to expect Him to complete it. Help me Lord to widen my channel. Thank you God for your faithfulness. I love you

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Don't Leave Grace


Scripture Read: Colossians   2:4. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. 6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

Application
I received Christ by Grace through Faith. Is Paul exhorting us to continue in both of these? I understand and have always seen how faith fits into this formula, but not how grace works. I am to walk by faith and allow Him to produce more of the same. But grace is God’s work toward me. It must mean that I am to continue to acquire all that I have via God’s work toward me. This takes away all ego. I am not mature because of how I have worked to grow, but how much by faith I have allowed God’s work to grow me. This makes sense. The fruit is the Spirits’. He can reproduce it in me, but it is His work. Only through faith can I see this fruit. Once again we see faith as an action word. It involves effort. Knowledge of the Word is illuminated by God (His work) and through faith I believe it. I must ask the question - have I been trying to hard to produce this sanctification? I must acquire it via faith. It will feel the same as far as effort, but with a different mindset. Help me Lord to continue to walk in Grace through Faith. Thank You for Your love and kindness oh God.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Responsible for all

Scripture Read: Colossians   2 1. I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2  My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Application
Two items touch me here. Again the emphasis on the idea of possessing “full” knowledge. Maybe I need to do a study on this idea of fullness. Perhaps this is where the church has failed most. We owe it to those we have been called to serve to place before them all of the truth, even the parts that make us uncomfortable. What the people do or don’t do with that truth should not be our focus. Yes we can be concerned, but it should not dominate our focus. We must see beyond results and consider our responsibility to enlighten in total. That is our part. The growth or lack there of is That person’s and God’s concern. The other item I find interesting is notice the name of this fellowship – Laodicea. Is it possible that this is why they are so rebuked in Revelation. Did this fellowship settle cheap in it’s desire to know you Lord? Are we responsible for producing many lukewarm fellowships because of our inefficient way we teach the truth? Lord protect me from this mistake and teach me how to immerse the disciples you give me in the whole truth.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vision

Scripture Read: Colossians 1:24-25  Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.   I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness-- 26  the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27  To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28  We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29  To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

Application: This passage just leaped out at me. This is the scriptural version for the vision that God has given me. The world can no longer afford to receive only portions of the Word (Usually those that are most important to the teacher to support his particular view concerning something) We, as believers, owe it to the world to teach the Word in fullness. More and more each day I feel the weakness I have for self serving dissipating while the urgency to follow God’s lead becomes stronger. I feel myself losing control of my destiny while I am pushed and moved by a force I cannot see. My own desires do not seem nearly as important as they used to, I sense a much more important purpose than I had ever imagined before. Please God, continue this work and grant me the grace to see it through. I am excited to see a single focus evolving in my ego, I pray that I can continue to maturity. Thanks God.

Monday, September 13, 2010

? ? ?

Scripture Read: Colossians   1:21  Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22  But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-- 23  if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. 24  Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25  I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness-- 26  the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27  To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28  We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29  To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

Application: Again, this concept of God putting on flesh is hard enough, but that He also died is beyond me. How can He that is one and eternal become temporal and experience separation (death)? I am still convinced we have terribly underestimated the sacrifice of Christ. I am disturbed Lord by how much I take what You have done for granted. I do not do this consciously, but I do it. I want to keep before me this incredible truth. The death of your body. Please Holy Spirit continue to open my mind and heart to this truth. What did you mean when you stated that God had forsaken You? Did Jesus the Son separate from the Father. Or did Jesus the divine separate from Jesus the man? Was relationship broken or just fellowship? How did sin penetrate He who is perfect? What did You mean when You Forbade Mary from touching You. What did You do when you ascended after the sacrifice? Help me to continue to learn. I want to know You in depth – not just the surface stuff. I do not want to know to appear smarter – but to know You so that I might be wiser and bring You the honor that is due You. I love You. Thank You for your death – thanks for sparing me from having to experience the wrath that You took.