Sunday, January 25, 2009

Be Ready

“This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feat and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.” Exodus 12:11

It is the last day, and God knows it. He knows that the Israelites are about to set out in the desert. He knows that this is going to be a crazy time where all kinds of things will be happening. He knows that without preparation the people will not know exactly what to do. God knew this and sent warning to the Israelites to be ready.

It is cool to read how God is getting the Israelites ready and on the move. He spells out the exact thing you are to do. However, often times I read stories like this and I say, “Oh cool! Wish God would do that in my life.” Well quite often he does, but not always in such a way like how the Israelites know it. However, God says stuff like, “get ready” or like, “prepare”. Yet sometimes I ignore it or just set it off to the side. Learning more about God you see him work in ways that is very direct. When he says get ready, get ready. When He says do this, do it. He loves obedience. But more so, we should do his commands because he loves us and knows what is coming around the corner.

Lord, though foresight may be an awesome gift to have, it is only useful if it is applied. Help me heed to your calling and your commands. And help me to see that I should follow them because You love me and know what is coming around the corner.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Secret Member

“Now there was a man named Joseph a member of the Council, a good an upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. he came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.” Luke 23:50-53

This is interesting. Joseph, a member of the Council, who disagreed with them came and buried Jesus. Here it is that someone was a secret disciple. It doesn’t mention it here, but this is exactly what John, and Matthew refereed him as. Joseph was a secret follower of Jesus but was not open about it. He fought for Jesus, but not in the realm where it was obvious. He was not really like all the other disciples who followed him around and was very public about it. He was very private about it but when it came down to it. He came out and finished the job. Funny you would think all the other disciples would have come out and bury Jesus. They were all gone. The scattered. Here the only one who came out of hiding was the one who couldn’t contain the secret much longer. The one who fought for Jesus at levels we don’t know about, the one who probably standing up for him in closed door council meetings, and the one who was casted the lone dissenter vote. The secret disciple, Joseph.

Though very little is said about this guy, Joseph makes a big statement here. He makes a statement that he believed in Jesus. Despite the fact that everyone else fled in fear. The guy who was at first afraid to step out, he said YES, and finished the job. This to me is extremely inspirational. He came out when it counted and came through when it was most important. When everyone was left, Joseph came out and took care of it. What I learned from him is that, it’s not so important to come out when the times are good, but when times get rough, and people bail out, it is when you must stand by your conviction no matter what.

Lord thank you for the lesson from Joseph. Help me to hang tough when things don’t go well.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Broken Expectations

Moses returned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.” Exodus 5:22-23

Must have been very interesting to be Moses right at this time. I mean we already know the end of the story, and yes, the people did get let go but, here we see that at this moment nothing is happening. In fact what is happening is opposite. Instead of the great miracle Moses was expecting, he was faced with a unshakeable Pharaoh who did not want to give in. Instead seeing an instant miracle, Moses was then charged with a long and lengthly process for the freedom of Israel. But maybe something needed to be learned or an expectation or a plan needed to die. Maybe the process was for Moses to give up what he was expecting and then let God do what he needed to do. It comes to the point where Moses even questions his role in what is going on. But through this Moses’ character was built, his leadership was solidified, and he came out stronger through the trials. What if God didn’t allow it? What if the miracle was quick? I wonder how different Moses would have been.

Why did God bring this lesson to me? It’s kind of funny, there is something that I am in desperate need of a miracle, but some reason or another, God is not providing miraculously, instead it is becoming a difficult struggle. But looking at what Moses is learning, maybe there is a lesson here. Instead of looking at the struggle, I should concentrate what God is trying to teach me. Instead of looking at the problems, I should see God working through this. Moses grew through trials, so why shouldn’t I?

Lord trials and tribulations are difficult, and maybe there is a task. Help me too keep my eye on the goal and not give up no matter what.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Persistence through prayer.

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1

From here on out Jesus talks about an unjust judge, who grants justice to a woman who hounds him constantly. Imagine that, bothering someone into getting what you want. It’s not unheard of, you see it with everything in life that if you stay persistent then something will happen. And at the end she got what she was asking for. The lesson Jesus gives is to be in steady persistence in prayer. It seems as if God desires that your prayer be hardcore and constant. And that you don’t give up. You keep on, you press on, till you get the answer.

So what does that mean for me? In reality there are many things that I want to pray for and there are many things that I feel as if needs to be done. But how really how are my prayers? I usually pray for something then I forget, and then I move on. I need to really be persistent in my prayers and I need to really dig deep and pray hard and really ask God. Often I just pray and then I just forget. I move on, I use prayer as like a quick email to God and then I move off into something else. That’s is not what he is asking for here. Here he is asking that we pray hard, we pray more, and we are most of all consistent in our prayers. Then he will answer and then he will show, and then He will open the gates and grant us the answer we need.

Lord, forgive me for not being constantly persistence in prayer. Lord allow me to begin my journey into persistent prayer with you.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Reaching the others through your stuff

“I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with very much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with very much.” Luke 16:8-9

Normally when I hear this verse it is a combination of what God wants for us and how we need to be a better steward of our money. While yes, that is true, it seems here that this verse implies that we use money and our wealth to get others to come to the Lord. Weird but I see how it is true. Jesus here seems to be implying that we need to have an openness about things that we need to use whatever resources we have to reach the Kingdom. God has trusted us with a certain status of wealth, or skill or whatever, but we need to use that to reach others and touch lives.

This is a little tough for me. I have to understand that whatever I do, whatever I get, or however it comes by that I need to promote the Kingdom through my stuff. And that means anything. I have to use the given resources that I have to promote everything to God. I have to use the things that was given to me to bring glory to the Kingdom. Often I forget that I need to do this and I get consumed with either making more money, or building storehouses, or whatever. But it’s not about that. I want to participate in a plan that brings glory to God. Starting now.

Lord let it begin in me, let the fire rise within me to use all that I have to glorify you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Solider, the Athlete, the Farmer

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.” 2 Timothy 2:1-6

After hearing a sermon regarding this passage, I was moved to do this journal to analyze exactly how this applies to my life. Also upon hearing this sermon I was also moved to study this passage more in depth. After all that studying and all that research. I walked away with so many lessons. Here in this passage, Paul is writing what becomes his final letter he writes to him, because he dies not to long after. In this passage Paul draws upon the analogy of three distinct individuals. A solider, an athlete, and a farmer. Each whom need to have great discipline and endurance to do what they do. The solider has a single mindedness about him. Complete the objective. The athlete must train and compete in a certain way in order to win. That takes diligence. Finally the hardworking farmer, who gets up early to tend his field, relies totally upon the Lord.

Often times in my life I do not apply these principles in my life. I tend to pray to God and just hope that things get better. This was kind of a reminder that the life is not easy. It is tough, and it takes a lot of endurance, discipline, diligence, and a total reliance on God in order to make it work. A wise preach once expressed the idea is that it takes two to make life work, you and God. You have to work, God will take care of the rest. Simple as that. Follow the Lord with all your heart and work with all your strength, and pray that God brings the rain.

Oh Lord, I pray that you help me learn this lesson of diligene, discipline, and trust. Help me be single minded, discipline, and diligent. Help me not be a lazy farmer.

The message that brought me to reflection on this comes from here called ‘2009 Part 1

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's not always fair

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13

Good gifts. God gives us good gifts. Even though we don’t deserve. Today’s devotion also led me to read from Genesis and how Jacob took away Esau’s both birth rite and blessing. And God still blessed him very much. And he didn’t even deserve it. Jacob was a pretty sneaky guy to take all of Esau’s blessing away. Now, granted Esau should have taken his blessings and birth rite more seriously, it doesn’t negate the fact that Jacob conned his way into getting it. But still God blessed him.

There are many things that I don’t deserve, and it is only because of God’s grace that I am at the point where I am now. However, sometimes I feel as if God doesn’t really distributes gifts correctly. I ask sometimes, why this person has this and that person has that. Kind of silly. But really, does God have a formula on how to give blessings? The more I study and the more alive I become in Christ, ti all boils down to trust. Trusting that God has our backs, trusting that God knows what he is doing, and most of all trusting that God wants the very best for us.

Lord I know trust is one of the hardest things to do with you. But it is the one thing you require. So I rejoice Lord, knowing I can trust in you.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Choosing what is better

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

Choosing what is better. That is the lesson here. It’s not that Martha was doing anything wrong, it was that it it wasn’t the best thing at that time. Jesus didn’t rebuke her, or discount what she was doing. All He said was that Mary chose the better thing to do. See what Jesus did was he stripped it down to what was most important. He took it down to what was the bare minimum, sitting there and fellowship with Jesus. To be fair, maybe it was Martha’s love language to be of service, or maybe she was really trying to please God through what she was doing and by doing so she asked help from Mary. It’s not like Jesus was stopping Martha, all he said was that ONE thing is needed.

You know this verse makes me pause and think. In my life as I try to walk, am I missing the one thing that is needed. The one thing that if I do will not be take from me. Are the choices that I make “better”? I love it how sometimes the Bible just screams at you and gets your attention. Am I doing what is better? Choices. God boils it down to choices. I feel as if up to now, my choices could have been better. Maybe, like Martha, I got caught up in the whirlwind of the moment, and I lost focus of that one thing that is needed. Now back to the crossroads, back to the drawing board, but this time I would like to follow the example of Mary, and choose what is better.

Lord, your love is great. Help me choose what is better, help me see what is truly important. Thank you for your patience.