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Showing posts from August, 2009

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…