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Throw it off...

“Therefore since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race that marked us for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

The writer is making a very good point here. In his last closing chapters in Hebrews, he challenges the readers to endure the hardships of life and think of Christ. Knowing that Christ suffered much for our sins the beckons the readers to put things in perspective of our lives. Nothing is more important then the life dedicated to Christ, and that He won the battle and now let us run like no other. To “fix our eyes” is an indication the he writer wants the readers to focus in upon the things of Christ. That is to focus in and hone in on what is important. To focus in upo…

All or Nothing

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” -Jesus (Matt 10:39)

This verse above follows some of the hardest verses when asked about discipleship. In these set of verses Jesus uses the illustration that a true follower of Christ puts everything behind himself except Jesus. Your family, your friends, your loves, your desires, your dreams and your goals, all are secondary to Him. Jesus commands nothing but the ultimate. He demands we pledge Him everything. Then after we give everything, He asks us to take up our cross and follow. The cross we bear are things we may not want to do, but for His Kingdom’s sake, we do it. We do it with out complaint, with out sorrow, without a nagging attitude, we do it with our whole heart and mind in it. Though this seems tough, and though it does not seem fair, Jesus gives us a glimmer of hope, that if we loose our life for Him, we will find it.

Working for a church I always hear about how much someon…

You SUCK!

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Cor. 7:10

I like this, it’s the politically correct way of saying, YOU SUCKED! YOU WERE TERRIBLE, YOU WERE LOSERS. I like it. Paul here explains that sometimes it is good to make people sad, not in an evil malicious way, but if done in a caring, Godly, and holy way, God brings you to sorrow it is good! I mean it is good. Prior to this in his previous letter to the Corinthians, Paul at some points of his letters basically tells them “hey you are doing terrible. You guys are not following, you are bickering, you guys suck!” But int his case, it swings the Corinthians to action. They become more keen to the areas that God needs them to be sharp in. Since they were offended and hurt they were able to have their eyes open. They were able to see what is good and what is not so good. They were able to see where they thought there were righteous, but were so wrong to beg…

Action and Reaction

“But by the grace of God I am what I am , and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary , I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but God’s grace with me.” 1 Cor. 15:10

Paul here in one sentence shows us how to work with God in our lives. Yes work with God, not God work for us. Paul also talks about how grace is good, but he shows us that though you may be saved by grace, and God may be moving in your life, it is important that you just don’t let His grace sit there. While you are saved by His grace but that you are moved to action, and moved to take His grace and impact the world around you. God’s grace isn’t supposed to be just a one time thing but a starting point for your life to move.

Paul’s lesson here is quite unique. I am quite frequently a Christian of stillness. I sit rather than move. I am a slouch. I rest in the past and not moved to move. But here Paul refreshes me and says that God’s grace should move us, it should compel us, it should be…

Not for Themselves

“I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we told the king, ‘The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.’” -Ezra 8:22

Here in this situation Ezra was a bit ashamed to ask for the king for protection, so what he did was he asked the people to fast and pray to God for Him to be their protection. Their purpose was not for them to be safe, but their journey was necessary for the temple to be built and for God to be praised. The Persian king, Artaxerxes, told the to go and build back in Jerusalem, and he sent them off in the name of God. He sort of recognized that God was their God. So going out and asking for the kings protection did not seem like a viable option. The name of the Lord needed to be praised. Ezra knew that.

What is most interesting here is that Ezra was not doing this to proclaim his name or make himself famous, he was doing all this in th…

Being a Fool

“But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?” Luke 12:20

At first glance after reading this little parable, you think, “What is wrong with building storage sheds for extra riches?” Really there isn’t anything wrong with that. I was always taught that this passage says for you not to be greedy, which I just accepted as truth. But after reading this specific phrase, “You fool” does this begin to make sense. According to a commentary the word fool is not referenced to some one who is of low intelligence or stupid, but it is a direct reference to someone who does not obey God. So the issue of being rich was not the issue, the issue of storing up wealth wasn’t the issue, the issue was that God gave a direct command to this individual and he did not follow it. Instead the scripture said, “He reasoned with himself.” He talked himself out of God’s will and therefore paid a hefty price for it. It’s not a matte…

Constantly Serve

When he (King Darius) had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel. “Daniel, servant of the living God, Has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Daniel 6:20

Here it is King Darius comes with great concern for Daniel because of a order he gave while listening to his other men. It is kind of weird that a pagan king had great concern for Daniel. From what I can observer I see that it isn’t impossible because of the one phrase that is in this verse: constantly serve. Daniel served God throughout his life and did not falter form left or right. He didn’t give in or give up on God. His life was a living example of what is to be a man devoted to God.

Now seeing his life I am inspired to want to be like Daniel. However in reality I know that it is difficult for me to do things like this. But the difference between Daniel and others, he followed through. He followed through in the difficult…

Careful Review...

“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” Lamentation 3:40

The focus on this verse makes sense. Here the writer is making a case for the people to examine their ways. Look at their problems. Look at what they have done. And after they realize what they have done. The call is to return to the Lord. You need to take a careful analysts of yourself and see what is going on with your life and see what areas you need to give over to God. This is easy to say but difficult to do.

So how does this apply to me. Today’s verse beacons me to examine all the areas of my life. I know that I am not perfect. But what God desires is for us to grow closer and closer to Him. In many ways I need to be able to draw closer and closer to God. It seems to be able to see how I am doing is that I need to take this verse to heart. Examine my ways, which requires me to take an inventory of my life and see what areas are God’s and what areas are mine or areas I am not sure of…

Rejection

When Jeremiah finished telling the poeple all the worlds of the Lord their God- everything the Lord had sat him to tell them- Azariah son of Hosiahiah.... and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah “You are lying! The Lord our God has not sent you to say ‘You must not go to Egypt to settle!’” Jeremiah 43:1-2

Here we go again. This book of Jeremiah, full of examples of what NOT to do as a believer of God. Here Azariah out right rejects God and chooses to take the people the other way. No one here listens to what God is trying to explain to the believers. The crazy thing is that they begged Jeremiah before to pray to God and get an answer on what to do. Now, they get their answer and they do on to listen. Talk about being not obedient. This is a flat out rejection of the truth. But here Azariah fully believed that Jeremiah did not tell the truth. For whatever the reason, it stands here that Azariah was deceived to think that what he was doing was the right thing, though we know t…

He hates us!

“Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring-those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” Revelation 12:17

Wow, the devil is raging a war against us. Kind of a crazy though. But, it’s not like I didn’t know this. After studying the bible and hearing enough sermons you know that the devil hates us, with a passion. But for some reason or another it just doesn’t sink in. The enemy is very real, but he does such a great job hiding to make us guess if he really is real. Good strategy. Fade into the background and pounce on your prey when you least expect it. Sort of cowardly if you ask me, but really I guess the devil has no choice.

So knowing all this how does this verse apply to me? If someone hates us Christians that much you know that each and every one of us that are believers in Christ will be attacked in some way, shape, or form. The enemy will come after us with great intensity and shoot to kill…

When God Breathes Life

“But after three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them and the stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.” Revelation 11:11

What can be said about this, evil thought they had won, evil thought that the had defeated the living God, evil thought that salvation was done. But God’s ministry was not complete. He it was not over. God brought it back much more bigger and better then when they died. God brought the ministry back stronger then ever. Kind of a crazy thought but it seems like when God breathes new life back into something, it takes on a life all it’s own. God reinvigorates it and makes it stronger then ever.

So what does this mean for me? I know in many areas I feel as if it is dead. I feel as if a relationship is dead, a situation is dead, or dream is dead. It could be my love for a particular individual, or a particular passion. But because of the hardness of life it had died. The dream is nothing but a thought, the bridges of certain …

Throw that heart...

“Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” Ezekiel 18:31-32

The great mercy of God is shown here, that if the Israelite just turn and repent, then He will forgive and heal. But what do the Israelites do, they go in the opposite direction. Crazy talk, but hey that’s the way things go huh. God beacons us back to Him but what do we do? We run away. Though there are many verses in the Bible that shows us the wonderful mercy of God and how He gives us chance after chance. Which is a great thing but all the more, why do we not turn?

You know after reading this day after day, I began to think: What is going on here? Why are they not turning back to God? I begin to realize that humans are humans. I am one so I know, that though it is the had knowledge is that you must turn back, it is the heart that is wha…

Heart full of Idols

Then the word of the Lord came to me, “Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and up wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all?” Ezekiel 14:2-3

Pretty bold move to ask what God thinks after putting idols in your heart before the Lord. That is kind of crazy. It makes no sense that they do that. It’s like they are trying to do the religious tour. I can see why God would be mad. I wouldn’t want to be inquired of if they are listening to lies. The leaders of Israel are making big mistakes here in these verses. God through out this book of Ezekiel has shown that he wants their total hearts, and when there is something else in it like an idol. It makes it impossible for God to work in there. Not a good move for the leaders, not a good move for anyone who wants advice from God. To make matters worse, it’s not like they do not understand that it is wrong, it is like they choose not to do the right thing.

So much to learn from …

The darkness

He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, ‘The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsake the land.’” Ezekiel 8:12

In the darkness we do a lot of things that are not honorable. Under the covers, behind closed doors, hidden in the corner is where our true nature comes out. Being in the darkness it is comfortable, it is quiet, it is welcoming to those who want to keep things hidden. But the thing is we cannot run from God. God can see in the darkness. Nothing is hidden from Him. That is good. But really is the darkness bad? At night if you see stars, you need darkness. For sleep, you need darkness. Darkness at times is peaceful, but it is what you do in the darkness is what is important. Being in the darkness is not sinful, the purpose and things you do in the darkness determines if it is sinful or not.

You know I like being in the dark. For me it is fun and it is rela…

The teachable heart...

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground” Psalms 143:10

David is a great person to learn from. Here in his song to God he tells of how he cries out for mercy and how his desire is to really server the Lord. Here he says for God to teach him to do his will. It is a powerful thing to say. Being open to be teachable to God. If there is anything that is important that is to be open to God and what He wants to do. Despite his hard life David dedicated his life to God and had an open teachable heart. It is something to be inspired about.

Now how can this apply to me. No matter what goes on in life I am inspired by David because no matter what happened he stuck to God and tired to live his best for him. I aspire to have this kind of resilience to hold on to God and no matter what. It’s not that I don’t know what is about me but sometimes I struggle to be this type of man. It is not easy. It is easier when you have things against y…

Ministry Importance

“It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.” 3 John 7-8

It was good that Gaius whom John was writing to in this letter showed great love for the missionary brothers here. It’s not easy to be someone who is spreading the word for of God and get any kind of support. There was this missionary couple I witnessed at a church who testified on their constant struggle to reach this certain group in Thailand, and every time they came back to see Christian bothers and sisters they felt refreshed. They felt loved and energized. Much like here how Gaius is supporting the brothers. I also like how John said, that we all work together for the truth. No matter where you are in the mission field, we are all on a mission to forward God’s love to all.

So no matter where I am in the mission field, if I am on the front lines or if I am on the working lines, it is…

Be ready to be called on...

Jeremiah said. “The word of the Lord came to me, Hannamel son of Sallum your uncle is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth, because as the nearest relative it is your right and duty to buy it.’ Then, just as the Lord had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me in the courtyard of the guard and said, ‘Buy the field at Anthoth in the territory of Benjamin. since it is your right to redeem it and possess it, but it for yourself.’ I knew that this was the word of the Lord; so I bought the field...” Jeremiah 32:6-9

Now I guess it was custom for a family member to offer the land to be purchased by another family member first before offering it to the public. Which is a thrifty thing to do. Keeping things all in the family. But that’s not the lesson here. The lesson that can be learned is that it is important to be able to hear God and follow through. To add on to that, you have to be ready. Here is the example that Jeremiah not only was listening to God, he had the resour…

Do well anywhere

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters, find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage... In crease in numbers there... Also, seek the welfare of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:5-7

This is not exactly the message I would want to hear if I was exiled in a city I did not want to be in. But this is the message that Jeremiah delivers to the Israelites. If I were them I would want to hear the message of freedom not one of settling. It must have been frustrating to see hear this from God. But, God through Jeremiah encourages them through these times. Here God wants them to do their best even if they do not like the situation they are in. Then to make matters worse for them God ask the Israelites to pray for the city they are exiled too. The Israelites must have puked after hearing this. That’s like asking …

Fused faith

“Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from HIm in shame at His coming.” 1 John 2:28

According to some commentaries John was addressing the Gnostics here and was rebuking their teaching. Basically John was doing some full on apologetics here. But what also is interesting and what you see here is how much John incurs that your faith must be totally fused with your life. In order for that to happen you must be in the mindset that everything is spiritual. But also John so far specifies on how much of your fellowship with God is linked to your obedience to Him. That is where the rubber meets the road. Faith and life must be tied together.

Now the concept of this is not difficult to understand, it is the action. John here shows me that it is very important to have your faith and your deeds to be one in the same. Christ was a living example of what our lives should be shaped like. Now granted, we can never attain perfe…

Distractions

When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” John 21:21-22

Peter is so human it’s awesome. In the midst of a risen savior, a given assignment, and the prediction of his death, he still ask about John. For what ever reason, if it was out of curiosity, concern, or he was just being nosy, Peter asked about John. Then Jesus sharply rebukes him, basically saying, “Never mind about him, follow me!” Jesus told him to do not be concerned of what happens with John, just stick to your assignment and keep focused and do what you got to do. Peter just got a distracted but Jesus made sure that the focus was upon the assignment that was given, and the life that Peter was to live.

Now I can read this and say, “Peter, what an idiot!” But really I am no better then him. My life is full of examples of how I was given an assignment and then I got distracted. At times I feel as if I ge…

Following Hard...

“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the men of Judah and the poeple of Jerusalem, ‘Will you not learn and obey my words?’ declares the Lord. ‘Jonadab son of Recab ordered his sons not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me.” Jeremiah 35:13-14

Looking at this verse I say poor Israel but then again poor humans. If you think about it, how many times do we as humans sink into our sin because of our inability to do listen and obey. Sometimes out of pure fear we listen, but why can’t we be like Jonadab, listen once and then obey. That is the mark of a man who is persistant, a man who is dedicated to the cause. Though it seems weird, he stuck to it for generations. This is the kind of obedience God is asking for. The type where we listen and we obey simple as that.

Now, not that I do not obey, but o…

Righteous Benefits...

“Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.” Psalms 112:1

The great thing about this chapter is that it has the whole explanation of what it means to be a man of God and all the benefits of living for Him. So what are the benefits of living for God in a righteous lifestyle: your children will be mighty, you have wealth and riches, darkness does not over take you, you do not fear bad news. Characteristics include someone who follows the Lord’s commands, fears God, is generous with his wealth. The benefit outweighs the the loss.

As I write this I am in local 24 hour restaurant here. I got placed here on the counter. At first I wasn’t exactly too thrilled to be here. But as it turns out this is exactly where I need to be. God has wonderful ways of teaching lessons. At first I was complaining in my head about my location. But after I started this devotion I just stopped complaining. Then in a moment I was given the chance to j…

A foot wash...

Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” John 13:10

Here Jesus washes his disciples feet which is symbolic of service to each other. The whole thing of washing your feet is kind of gross. It’s not like today where we have shoes and paved roads. These guys had sandals and dirt roads. So foot washing was kind dirty. But here the beautiful symbolism is that we are to serve or brothers and sisters in Christ, because if we are all walking together then we will get dirty, we will get dirt on or feet. But we don’t need to be cleansed each and every time. We just need Jesus to wash or feet and continue our journey. The washing of feet energizes you, it makes things clear, and gets you ready for the next leg of the journey.

There are times in my journey with Christ that I feel like my feet are tired and dirty. There are times where I just need a little pick me up. It’s good to kno…

The shortest verse in the bible...

“Jesus wept.” John 11:35

This is the shortest verse in the Bible, but it’s impact is pretty powerful. What was going on in the back story was crazy. A close friend of Jesus, dead. People crying and weeping all around. There were questions being asked, “Why did you come so late Jesus?” or other questions such as, “Let’s see what He does now?” With so much happening all around, Jesus here at this moment did exactly what I wouldn’t expect. He cried. He cried for the people who were lost, who were so caught up in the here and now that the death of Lazarus was seen as an end on itself. He cried for the hearts of those who did not understand this, and plotted to kill him. He cried for those who did not see that the salvation of the world was right in their midst. He cried for the death of a friend. At this time we see Jesus who is very God, be very human all at the same time. This is an amazing thing that happens where God show how much He loves us. Then in the thickness of the d…

Doing His Work

“As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent me. Night is coming when no one can work.” John 9:4-5

Jesus sets the example of what we need to do with our lives. Here we need to do the will of God. No matter what. We need to complete God’s work. We need to do all that we can as long as our lives permit. I like how Jesus phrases it, “As long as it is day...” It seems like He is saying, “As long as you are alive...” As long as you breath you are to do God’s work. It’s funny because that would mean that God’s work is 100% of the time. There is really no time to rest because God’s work is always happening.

What I am learning from Jesus is that He really loves God and is willing to do His will, 100%. The bar Jesus gives is us so hard. But I know that He wants us to be there one day. He wants me to be completely in His will and constantly working to God’s kingdom. The work of the Lord is never easy and is never ending. But from what I am learning from Jesus is that He…

How do I look?

“Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment” John 7:24

Here the poeple were either confused, mad, or just doubtful. Here Jesus just did several miracles and yet still most people did not get what Jesus was saying. The heart of the matter is what is real here. We have people that either are just playing around with God. I know that it might be kind of hard to take at face value, but come on man. God has shown them miracles and still really the are making judgments.

Now I’m not better either, because do I not also suffer what these people have, but also that I know what happens at the Bible. Jesus wins. He conquers sin and death. So I should be excited over this news. But in reality I walk away from the Gosple just as eaisly as the others. I begin to ask question, I begin to change my thinking. But really, God is eternal and I must choose him daily.

Lord I thank you.

Getting out...

Jesus later found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who made him well. John 5:14-15

Interesting statement made by Jesus. Here he says for the paralyzed man to stop sinning. Now I have no idea why Jesus would say this being that the scriptures are not clear on what exactly the man did. However, what can be deduced is that the man who was healed came right back to the place where he was paralyzed. The command that Jesus gave him was to “Get up and walk.” Well the man did, but after opposition he came right back to where he started. It is almost the same as a sinner that returns back to one’s old ways after God has brought them out of such a bad life. The Israelites did it all the time. The rebelled against God then came right back to the ways of sin. Here the man was saved then came right back to the place. Why do we do that? Why do we return …

God loves you that much...

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” John 4:7,9

Talk about getting your attention. When God grabs your attention he does it in a big way. From our other reading in 2 Chronicles 33 Manasseh’s kingdom gets taken over by Babylon before he cries out to God. Here the Samaritan woman gets asked by Jesus to give him a drink, a big taboo in Jewish culture during that time. Both of these occurrences, God calls, and the people respond. That is what God wants, when he sees things that need to be either fixed in our lives, or if he wants to use us to accomplish his plans, He calls then the people must respond. It’s amazing how much though he loves us. In each of these stories he appealed to the individual knowing exactly what was needed to get their attention. He catered to the individual. God loves us each person that much.

Thi…

My soul finds rest in God...

“My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress I will never be shaken.” Psalms 62:1-2
I never really paid attention to this Psalm until I the praise song by Shane and Shane. Then after giving this a little study, this is an awesome Psalm. It is written by King David, and the brief commentary says that David in this psalm expresses complete trust in God and that he believes that God will bring him out of this situation at that time. Apparently David has enemies coming at him at every side. Jerusalem is on the verge of being attacked. But David expresses his complete trust in God. Salvation comes from no one but God. This is unbelievable how much he trust God. David rest in God, his salvation comes from God, and he cleaves to God and God alone.
There are so many lessons to learn here from this passage. Besides the obvious, that we need to trust in God alone, but that of having faith in God and knowing He…

Shape us...

“Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are they clay. You are the potter; we are all the work of your hand,” Isaiah 64:8

We are all clay. Modeable, to something that is awesome by God and God alone. We never realize that it takes a lot of energy to make something out of clay. I know that God must really love us in order that He wants form us and shapes us to be something better than before. God is in the business of change. We just have to be willing to be molded. In order to be molded we have to be willing, and it all starts there.

One of the hardest thing to say, and hardest thing to do is when you are all in. My biggest fear is that I will not be all in for a part of the time. Going out for God is tough, yet it is what he commands. In order to be molded we first have to willing to be molded. When we get to that point, God is gong to take us and then mold us to be awesome. However, the clay has to stay molded and has to be able to be ready to be molded. Tough work, but lik…

Come to God

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” 2 Peter 3:9-10

Here Peter explains to everyone that God really wants all of the people to come to repentance. God wants nothing but good for us. He wants us to prosper, He wants us to live with Him forever. He wants us to have that abundant life that Christ talks about in John 10:10. But in the subtle but serious tone, Peter explains that God is patient with you, He is willing to walk you through your sins and bring you back home, but He is not foolish and one day it will come. Like Peter says, “like a thief.” Meaning it will come quick, it will come unexpectedly, it will come, that is for sure. God will bring us back home, He will la…

Drop the Past...

This is what the Lord says-

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19

What an awesome passage. A promise from the Lord that there is a new thing that is rising up. Even though Israel was unfaithful God still wanted to make things new. This is amazing. I am just at awed on how God loves his people so much. He is will ing to forget the things of the past and make things anew. What caught my attention is not so much that there are things that will pop up new. That is awesome, however what caught my eye is right in the middle where God ask the Israelites, “do you not perceive it?” That is what he ask. Do not dwell in the past and look out for the new thing. I wonder how much the Israelites were not looking out for the new thing God is doing because they were too stuck in the past. Their eyes were too much stuck in the …

Waiting... Trusting...Hopeing

“Yet those who wait upon the Lord will gain new strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not grow faint.” Isaiah 40:31

This verse has been with me all my life, but I haven’t really put total effort in to pondering about this verse till some one pointed it out to me today. It is a verse that is so true, but it’s meaning can be lost in so many ways. Here it ask that we need to wait upon the Lord. Which also could mean, those who hope, those who trust, those who eagerly await, those who earnestly trust. The concept of total trust, total reliance, total dependence on God and God alone. The trust in the Lord is totally dependent upon this, it’s me trusting him completely. Total trust.

So in reality how much do I really trust the Lord. Often I have the Lord’s Plan, then the back up plan. But if you truly trust in the Lord, there is no back up plan. There is only one plan, His. Though he says it will be a perfect plan…

Let it all out.

“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, so not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.” James 3:14
I love what James is saying here, “Don’t cover it up, just admit it!” If you have anything evil in your heart don’t what is worse and try to cover it up. God is calling all of us to be transparent with one another. Especially in areas of jealousy and selfish ambition, we need to have accountability. These traits can easily become poison to one’s soul. It can easily become poison to one’s heart. Thus in turn it can affect the whole group, the whole congregation, the whole Christian community.
I am human no doubt, there are times were I am jealous, where I am selfish. Often what I do is, I hide in a corner, and say very “Christianess” things. Like, “Oh, I am so glad God is blessing you!” or “Wow, Jesus does reward hard work!” First of all, I get a good practice at acting, because inside I am extremely jealous. Often inside, I’m like, “Why not me?!” o…

The Whole Law

“For he who keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” James 2:10
James makes a great point here. If you stumble in one part of the law you are guilty of all of it. It means that you have to reap all the consequences, even if you just stumble over one small section. So even if you keep most of it, it doesn’t count. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you didn’t keep the law at all. This is a humbling verse, because truly it says that we are powerless without Jesus. It also means that we cannot do anything under our own strength to get salvation, because essentially we broke the law. We break the law all the time. We cannot ever see God’s face without the savior.
You know at the same time this verse tells of our utter doom, but it also frees us from trying to go overboard. It doesn’t discredit the fact that you still need to have faith and works but what it does , it frees us from trying to cling to salvation with our own s…

Don't forget what you look like..

“But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it- will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:2
I love what James is saying here. He says that those who actually look at the law and studies it intently and does it routinely and applies the law to his heart will be blessed by what he does. The key phrases is “intently” and “continues to do this”. The law scans the heart of a man and if one who surrenders to it’s principles will become fruitful, but the ones who do not and continue to not take it to heart will eventually falter.
Funny how this came about, I was doing an antivirus scan on my computer as I was reading this verse and the image of the virus scanner and the bible came to my mind. It is a perfect example of what devotions and studying the bible should do to my heart. I for one know that the most effective way to not get viruses in your computer is to scan it every day. Just like…

Endurance

"Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as a son. For
what son is not disciplined by his father?" Hebrews 12:7

Here the writer makes it pretty straight forward. God disciplines his
sons and there is a hint in it that we should be celebrating. It is
good. Though that God is making us better. It isn't easy. The
author wrote on how it is difficult and sometimes painful. But in the
end there is great reward. There is great reward in what a discipline
can teach us. But let me tell you it's not easy.

This cannot be more true of me. I am truly one who believes in
discipline, but when it is done to me, I don't like it. It is hard to
take sometimes. It is painful it rips at my insides. Sometimes I
feel like I want to just give up. It isn't easy. But it is a good
thing. I have to take that attitude like it is a good thing. But it
isn't easy. I know it is difficult. I just need to lean in on God
more for this. It isn't …

The faith of those before us

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40

This verse struck me because of what was being said. It is awesome that we get to take part in God’s plan this side of the cross. Here the faith of these mentioned in Hebrews 11 had not yet received what was promised but they lived as if it was. They knew what James says to us, “faith with out action is dead.” They lived out their faith in God. They lived out what was promised and did what God commanded them to do. They lived in the freedom of faith and the action carried it. The benefit for us, is that we get to see their example and through God’s plan we are saved.

The people mentioned in this chapter inspires me to take bold leaps of faith for God. I often trade bold faith for com…

The Law

“For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things can never by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year make perfect those who draw near.” Hebrews 10:1

Nothing like the Law to show you how to live. By all means it is a good thing but this verse just reflects how flawed our thinking can be in regards to the law. Yesterday I was able to attend a church that talked about the Law. The pastor there taught on how the law was great but was not ever meant to take the place of faith. Most of the laws that are in place was to make sure there was civil order. Here the writer of Hebrews makes the same case. The Law cannot save you. In fact He later goes on to express, “Do you think the blood of a bull can save you?” It obviously can’t. The only thing that can save us is Jesus. We have to put our faith in Jesus.

Now for me this is a freeing concept. In fact, nothing can save us unless we have our faith in Jesus. Yester…

Finish what ya start...

“For the Lord God almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” Isaiah 14:27

This is amazing to hear. God once he starts the ball rolling, no one can spoil His plan. No one can turn it back. Once he gets things in motion the only person who can stop God is God. This can be encouraging or discouraging depending what side you fall on. For those that fall on the favor of God, then really you have so much promise right in your hands. However, if you fall on the other side, things will be pretty bad.

So besides wanting to find favor with God, how can I apply this to me. For one, it’s not that I didn’t know, but God once He starts something, only He can stop it. Once he starts rolling on a plan, only He can stop it. This is a wonderful promise. A promise that God no matter what, will finish what He started. That is I have to learn, to complete things and stop at nothing to complete it. It seems that often in my life, I tend …

God's Plans

“Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted’ propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us.” Isaiah 8:10

The message is simple, the message is clear, if you have a plan and it isn’t in God’s will, it will fail. No matter how good or how effective your plan is, God’s plan is so much more better. But you know how it is crazy that we think we can out plan God. Today it is so easy to do that with so much advice of, do this or do that, or get rich quick. Today, God is calling me to complete the call.

I was able to hang out with some interesting new friends. They were young, youthful and full of life. However, I was able to learn from them is how much they trusted God. Many of them had no idea on what their next plans are but what they had was an willingness to trust God above all else in their lives. Their lives was a reflection of what was to come. A life who’s focused in on God’s voice and His following.

Lord help me to be focused in upon Your call and not to be…

Remember, but I forget...

“My people, remember what Balak king of Moab counseled and what Balaam son of Beor answered. Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.” Micah 6:5

Here through the prophet Micah, the Lord is calling out to His people saying, “Remember!” Remember what the people are saying, remember what happened, remember what the Lord is saying for you to do. He is calling his people to not forget, not to ignore, all the things the Lord has done for them in the past, so that they will not fall away. Israel however, failed to remember.

You know every time I read verses like these, I think, “That’s easy, I won’t forget. Who can forget about God.” I often never relate to the country of Israel because I don’t even think of them as someone who I can get lessons from. I read about them and say, “Those guys are such idiots! I won’t do that!” But more often then not, I am just like the Israelites. God does great things in my life, but I just end up sl…

Odd Illistration..

“Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.” Hebrews 6:7-8


Okay on the surface this is a great proverb type, but when you read this verse in the context of where it is written, it’s like a...“huh?” I mean, this proverb that pops up in the middle of two ideas that are vastly different. Maybe during this time the writer of Hebrews took a break and when he/she came back it was an “a-ah” moment. But in between the idea of disgracing God (vrs 4-5) and serving with diligence (vrs 9-12) where does this fit in? You could basically pull these verses out and have a seamless transition, but some reason, God wants us to read them. Maybe they key is in the phrase “land that drinks in the rain....”

So what does this mean to me? Land that drinks in the rain implies to me that it i…

Constant Use...

“By solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:14

Though we are not sure who the writer of Hebrews is, I know this, this dude was pretty smart. On surface this verse is easy to read, and if I’m not careful I will miss the full effect of what the writer is saying. I almost bypassed the most important part of this verse, “who by constant use”. The writer gets the audience’s attention by essentially saying, you know why solid food is for the mature, because they took what they learned and used it so they can move past the milk and into the meat. But they acquired a life of consistency. A life of building slowly but surely an immovable fortress in God’s word.

The illustration that comes to mind for me is the that of baseball. When I was a kid I learned the basics, how to throw, catch, hit, run the bases. All the things that you do in baseball. But after I learned the basics, it’s not like I was ready to be in …

Choose God

“But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell all of your deeds.” Psalm 73:28

Who ever this guy is that wrote this Psalm has great knowledge and a great conviction towards God. Here he states how he sees the wicked prosper and how sometimes he asks, “Why?” Then he finds out that God is just and he brings down the wicked and that those who follow the Lord and obey his commands will stand. The awesome thing is that he chooses to be near God. He chooses to be close to God. Rather than wait go with the flow like everyone else. This writer chooses to be near God. He chooses to have faith in God. You must choose.

This verse so applies to me. I know that sometimes I do not choose God. Sometimes see my friends and how successful the are finacially, and I wonder. I wonder, how come I serve God but are not blessed financially, but my friends who could care less, are successful. My dentist friend, my distributer friend, my doctor frie…

God's Delight

“For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6

We as humans can get caught up in all those crazy customs of religion. I mean it’s not out of the ordinary. I totally understand that I sometimes want feel like I am part of something. I sometimes need to feel do rather than just know. But here God says that He is much more happy that we are loyal to him rather than if what we do. This verse states God rather us be completely into him rather than we be religious in our sacrifice. He would rather us get to know him much more rather than get we offer things to him.

So what about me? How am I to relate to this? Well for the longest time I have been very good in doing the things for God, but not knowing God. It takes a lot to change a mindset. But this verse speaks to me to be more obedient to knowing God more rather then just doing stuff for Him. In a way, where is the love in just doing things for someone rather …

Drifting: To easy to do do.

“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Hebrews 2:1


I like how the writer of Hebrews makes it totally certain here. We must pay more careful attention. Note the word “more”. He asks the readers to be very intentional to what is going on. To be very precise, to be very aware. But just not somewhat aware. You must be “more” aware. I guess that is why he states you can just “drift away.” The image that comes to my mind is like surfing. Sometimes you are waiting in the water for the set to come and what happens is that if you are not careful you can drift out of the surf spot. Not because you want to, but because the current is strong and it just takes you someplace. You just drift. You got to be make a conscious effort to stay in the same spot. Just like you need to make a conscious effort to stay with God.

I like these choices of words. To me it means that I have to be more aware of my surroundings, who I am with,…

God's crazy request..

When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, "Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD." So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. - Hosea 1:2

Okay this seems kind of crazy. Go marry an adulterous wife! In some translations it says she was a prostitute, whore, or the girl who “got around”, or some scholars believe it was a temple prostitute for another religion. To bring it to a modern time you could say she was either hooker, a stripper, a cheating woman, a “drinkie drinkie” girl, or “massage therapist.” This is not exactly the girl you want to bring home to meet the family. I know a few, and they are nice people but really, their moral compass is a little off, among other things. Imagine this request being made to you. I mean, what if God says, “Go marry a call girl, forget the Proverbs 31 woman. Go f…

The clean and then the call...

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8

This chapter in Isaiah is one of the most interesting things I have read in a long time. Here Isaiah witnesses the awesomeness of God and like what most people do, the are just awed by it. I mean God is so awesome. Then what happens God comes down and cleans his lips. Instant clean. Then what I like the most is how Isaiah responds. God asks the question, “Whom shall I send.” Isaiah says, “ME!!!!!”

Okay not that I am Isaiah, but I do know that when your eyes are opened. Then there is an amazing thing that happens. You become aware of the awesomeness of God. Then you (well I) will be motivated to be following God with such vigor that you when God asks to do something, the answer is immediately YES! But the road isn’t easy, God asks Isaiah to do something that didn’t really quite make total sense. But Isaiah did it regardless. He stayed thro…

Building blocks...

“But you dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” Jude 20-21


About the only thing I really remember from Jude is how to deal with spiritual warfare. But here, this verse just popped out at me. Here Jude says to build yourselves up in most holy faith. That means that you have to actively move and actively grow. You have keep up with the building. You have to build yourselves in God’s faith.

You know sometimes it takes a lot to build something, it takes consistent effort, constant drive, and just being diligent. Diligence is something that is learned and applied daily. This is something that i have to learn. I have to be able to keep it consistent with everything. Build myself up in the faith daily. The thing is that, it isn’t easy. It isn’t easy to be in walking with the Lord all the time. Often I get distracted and th…

Flee from all this...

“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance,and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you mad your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Tim 6:10-12


Paul instructs his young disciple Timothy to run away from the desires of money. He instructs him to pursue the good things in life. Not so much in riches but in character and love for God. It’s kind of interesting there that right after Paul says that money is the root of all kinds of evil, he immediately says to pursue righteousness and all the other qualities. Not saying that money is bad but he suggest that it can consume you. You can make it all about money and then at the end of your life, nothing. I can see though that money is a stron…

Stay True

“If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great errors to rest.” Ecclesiasties 10:4

This is an interesting verse, here you have a situation where there is great stress, but Solomon here says that under great stress remain calm and think with your brains. Now this is nothing new, you hear this all around today. Be calm think it through. But what I think Solomon is getting at here is that emotions can get the best of you. In tough situations you or in situations where something shocking happens, we all tend to either get angry, become afraid, or in most situations, just tense up to what is going on. It also doesn’t get a lot to get us frazzled also. It could be anything, our boss yelling at us, unexpected news coming in, traffic, heck even a hot girl coming up to talk to you. It takes something that will send us over thinking with our emotions rather then thinking with our brains.

Think it through and stay straight. Okay for me this is easy to s…

Work the Land

“He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.” Proverbs 28:19


Here the wise man is offering that those who work the land will have abundance of food. You must work the land you have to get out there and put physical labor, hardship and pain behind the production. You have to do this daily, you have to do this constantly, you have to do this right. All three must be considered in order for this to work right. Contrary to that those who just plan, or just dream up a project, or just hope that it will happen. It isn’t. You need to work the land to produce fruit.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to plan. I love to think up of things but often what I forget is that if I want my dreams to pass, or if I want things to get done, well, I have to actually have to work, and work hard. Recently I read an article about Kobe Bryant and how his absolute goal and dream was to win the NBA Championship this year. But besides dreaming ab…

Know Your Flock

“Be sure you know well the condition of your flock, give careful attenion to your herds for riches do not endure forever and a crown is not secure fo all generations.” Proverbs 27:23


I like what Solomon is saying here. Know well the condition of your flock. Not only to know it you makes it a very important point, “BE SURE”. This is stresses that it Solomon highly regards this as important. Take every percaution to know what is going on in your financial life. Be sure that you know exactly what is going on so that you can make wise decisions or you know that nothing crazy is going on.

So what does this mean for me. For years I have been dogging the responsibility of being a wise steward. Yes, I know kind of what is going on in my financial situation. But often I just ignore it. Just waiting for a check or waiting for what is coming up next. Only till recently I have been doing well in this area. Today is just a reminder. Know exactly what is going on in your financial life.

L…

Different Levels of Faith...

“One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.” Romans 14:2

Wussy. Nah, just joke. But what Paul is talking about here is some of the practices that were probably going on in Rome. What was common during that time was that the Romans would offer food sacrifices to their various gods hoping that the gods would show them favor. However, what often would happen was that the cleaners of the gods would turn around and sell the food in the market place for a profit. Kind of resourceful if you ask me. But I guess with certain Christians who had issues with those eating the meat from sacrificed idols, the did not find this practice approving. They were probably super offended at those who did such a thing. But I love this verse, it shows much more then what is said.

Contrast this to today. Okay, there is one movie that I really want to see this upcoming week that I know that we have to sneak around and see. Not that the movi…

The Calling of Wisdom...

“Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech.” Proverbs 1:20-21


Everyone wants wisdom. Everyone wants to have the “secret” to life that will bring happiness, success, and fulfillment. However, the calling of wisdom is tricky. Here the wisest man of all time allows us to see the characteristics of where wisdom calls. He gives three distinct places. Wisdom calls us out in the street. She calls us in areas of public, in areas we are familiar with, in an area that is all around us. She calls us out at beginning of the street, in fact she cries out. She also cries out at the gateways of the city. The place where people come in and out. Three distinct places, three distinct situations.

Now those places could be anywhere. But from what I gather, I think these places could be three distinct places in our lives. The street is our everyday life, our …