Posts

Showing posts from 2010

A Cry for Fellowship

“Do your best to come to me quickly...” Paul (2 Tim. 4:9)
“At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.” -Paul (2 Tim 4:16)

What is probably his last letter to everyone, Paul writes in the previous chapters some great theological teachings that have become the foundations for our faith today. But for some reason, the most intriguing words of this book come from the last few paragraphs, where most bibles title this section, “Personal Remarks”. Here he bears his soul just a little. He shows the personal Paul we don’t hear about too much. In this section we see a man who is hurt by betrayal, burned by others, and someone who craves for deep relationships. We don’t see teacher Paul here, but the man who in many ways is just like us.

We crave for fellowship from other believers. Or maybe just in people in general. Everyone does. Even God. He has perfect fellowship in the Trinity. Jesus shows the example in the 12 Discipl…

The Example

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” -Jesus (John 13:13-14)

Washing people’s feet back then must have been pretty gross. It’s not like today where we have shoes and socks, outside of the smell; it’s not all that dirty. Back then people’s feet must have been caked with dust, dirt, and sweat. Washing the feet was an ultimate sign of servant like attitude. Peter even refused to get his feet washed because of the posture it took. It took a servant to do the dirty work. But Jesus set the example that we are to serve others with humility and be willing to serve those who are below us.

To do this is hard, because we humans are incredibly selfish. I say this as a Christian, thus it proves that I am far from perfect. I must take Jesus’ words and apply it to my heart. But it goes against the grain. It goes against my nature. But that is what God has called u…

Hard Core!

So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him (Jesus)” -John 11:14
Thomas is pretty crazy. Either that or he was extremely stupid. The danger of Jesus returning to Jerusalem was eminent. He was a marked man with a price on his head. But Thomas knew the danger and said, Let’s do it! Somehow, I get the feeling that he knew. Thomas knew. He knew of the danger, he knew of the circumstances. But he stared in it and said, “Let’s go die!” What boldness.
These disciples confuse me, at times they show great boldness and then at times they are complete cowards. In this case I am seeing the more better side of what Thomas is really know for is, “the doubter.” For now though in this moment he shows great leadership. It’s pretty inspiring if you ask me. The lesson here is that we all should have this kind of boldness that Thomas has when the Lord commands us to do things. Often times God gives us a command, then we just kind of le…

Know when to bend...

But Neco sent messengers to him, saying, “What quarrel is there between you and me, O king of Judah? Is is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house with which I am at war. God told to to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.” -2 Chron. 35:21

Pride sucks most of the time. As you can see here Josiah was pretty prideful to go up against Neco. Even though he was warned that God was with Neco, Josiah went up against him anyway. I have no idea what Josiah was exactly thinking, but can kind of see what he could be thinking. You see there was war during this time and the Neco, the Egyptian King was asking for free passage, to make war against Babylon, now not too sure why Josiah just didn’t allow it, but for what ever reason he opposed to it. The commentaries say that either possibly he had an alliance with Babylon or he wanted to assert the independence of Judah. For both reasons, he should not have done it. When you oppose God you are just aski…

Making God Happy

How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? -Jesus (John 5:44).

What was most important to Jesus? Is to make sure you are getting praise from God. In Jesus’ life there was only one opinion that mattered. He did not care if his disciples approved of him or if the religious leadership accepted him, his main concern was to ensure that God was pleased with him. There was nothing that Jesus put before himself but God. God was first thought not the after thought.

Today is a good reminder that everything that I do must be focused solely upon God. I must strive for His approval. If we do not strive for His approval first then our lives will be in utter turmoil. Like the religious leaders who Jesus was addressing, they did not seek the approval of God first. They loved to be in the religious spotlight and their number one goal was to get approval of others. There are a number of times where the one thi…

His Ways

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
This is an amazing verse from the Lord.He basically lays it out and says that we cannot comprehend how awesome His ways are.We do not have the capability to even think along the same lines as He can.Here God puts His stamp down.HE IS GOD.We cannot understand Him, we cannot comprehend how great and awesome He is.We cannot see the world like how He can; we cannot plan and think it all out.He truly has the whole world in His hand.
As I read this verse, am just soaking in how big God really is.It forces me to look at me and say, I am puny.I am nothing compared to God.I am but a speck, a small piece of dust as compared to the greatness of God.I am truly humbled by what I am finding of myself.I need God.I need to tap into the source, the thinker, and the one who can show …

Make it sure

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. -2 Peter 1:10

I know Peter isn’t talking about salvation, but what he is talking about is that since we are called by Christ, let us work hard to make sure that we are certain of it. Our life is our response to Jesus. Our response to His sacrifice for us is the way we live our lives. We must ask the question; “How much has Jesus’ sacrifice changed us?” Much of the time our lives are a pale reflection of his sacrifice and we do not embrace living in the power of Him. Sometimes we have to get to the very raw center of the sacrifice that Jesus did. His sacrifice should move us, our salvation did not come cheep. Our life needs to be a little more reflective of his sacrifice for us.

So what can I do? Is there a check off list? I know what I can do; it i…

To Crave...

Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation. -1 Peter 2:2

Crave; it means to ask for earnestly, to want greatly, to have an inner desire for something. Cravings, most of the time, is viewed in a very negative light. However, in this case, cravings are good. The reason for it being good is that to crave spiritual milk is essential for Christian growth. Crave spiritual milk, that is what Peter is saying here. Why? It is a necessary stepping stone to growing in Christ. To grow in Christ you need to have that inner most desire to have nothing more than to know Him better. That should be our core desire of our heart. Deep within the heart there needs to be a burning desire to get to know God more and more. Though this message appears to be for young Christians, it does not negate that this should be for every Christian. Crave Jesus.

I got up this morning and I just felt an uneasiness in me. It is hard to describe, but I felt as if som…

Are we that selfish?

When you ask, you do not receive; because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. -James 4:3

Is it true? Do we sometimes ask things from God for the wrong reason? However, when you think about it, often the only time we really pray to God is during crisis. We ask God to provide, basically to make our life easier. James here just tells it exactly how he sees it. James implies that wrong motives do not work with God. God only desires that your motives are not selfish or craving after something God gives your neighbors. Knowing that God knows your motives, it should be enough for us to keep our cravings in check. However, it does not and the cycle continues.

James again here is just straight out. Be honest with yourself and see that wrong motives do make a difference. I look back on my life and see that I also am not immune to this. I am not going to lie, I prayed, sometimes all night, and at the end of the prayer session I realize that it wa…

We are all bad...

But each one is tempted, by his own evil desire; he is dragged away and enticed.–James 1:14
I love it how blunt James is.James just tells it how it is.Here in this opening chapter James goes straight to several points.This point he tells how evil we are.We humans are great at making idols of anything.We can make the most innocent thing to an idol.The warning James give is that we humans are inherently evil.We tend to slight to the most malicious things possible.We often will do evil if we can get away with it.Human nature is not aligned to do the right thing.We are often tempted not by outside forces but the desires of our own heart, which makes us idolaters.We love ourselves far beyond anything else.We often put ourselves before God.Though we may profess to love Him, James states that our actions speak louder than our words.Later on this chapter James writes about being a doer of the word, meaning to apply the lessons of Christ to your life and live in such a way that it is a si…

Simply Faith...

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

Faith. It’s such a simple word, but the implications behind it is far more reaching they we will ever know. When I read this passage I am always blown away by the power of faith. However, faith comes at a price. With faith there is trust and suffering. Trust in God is absolutely necessary with faith. Trusting in God’s plans no matter how crazy it seems. The example the writer gives is of Rahab who trusted that the Israelites will spare her family from invasion, which was a leap of faith and trust. When you follow God many others around you may not see it as following God. The writer here mentions Noah and the ark. Imagine building an ark in the middle of land? Yes it is crazy. The writer here makes no mistake on what he says that faith is “being sure of what we hope for a…

The Need For Perseverance

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. -Hebrews 10:36

The writer of Hebrews just wrote on this chapter on how Christ sacrifice was once and for all. He also a warns that if we take Christ’s sacrifice and continue to deliberately live as a sinner then we are in for a fearful judgment. But he also talks about how the audience addressed in Hebrews is great when persecution came. They stood their ground and held firm to their faith. The writer is asking here is to persevere. The audience is being asked to keep your faith in God no matter what happens. For the time will be coming where it will get tougher. But the author asks for them to focus in the will of God for there is a reward that is coming.

The older I get, I am find out more adults suffer from attention deficit disorder. Not in a medical sense, but we are getting more and more distracted by so many things. Some blame the Internet; some blame the stressful ti…

Diligence

We want each of you to show the same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. –Hebrews 6:11
Diligence is a trait that is so often ignored by many people.  Here the writer of Hebrews says that he wishes people to have diligence in serving the Lord.   He teaches that diligence helps build our confidence.  While it does not bring us salvation, it gives us other benefits.  Diligence teaches us persistence and determination.  Diligence also helps build character and helps us grow in our faith.  There is so many lessons that diligence teaches that it would make total sense for it to be placed here in the book of Hebrews.  Diligence is one of those things that if you do it will benefit you, if not, it will be a determent to your life.
One of the lessons that I feel is being taught over and over in the bible is that power of diligence.  One book that I read titled, “The Richest Man that Ever Lived” showed the life of King Solomon and how what he taught was to be dilig…

The power of the Word.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. -Hebrews 4:12

The writer of Hebrews speaks here of the power of God’s word. It cuts and it divides. It provides insight to our attitudes and our motivations. When God’s speaks He reveals. He gives insight and corrects our motivation. When you apply Biblical teaching to your life it seems as if everything moves. Things become alive, things change, people’s lives are changed. Take away the core root of all Bible, it falls flat. God’s word provides us with an unbelievable knowledge, it deepens our understanding of Him, it grows us in ways that we need growth, and provides us with guidance that we need.

I always knew that you needed God desperately, but this verse gives me renewed vision on how much I need God. I need to gain more of His knowledge so I know when I am in His will. I need …

When God ask you to do something crazy...

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Dibaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. -Hosea 1:2-3

Now this is kind of a crazy assignment. It’s not like he says go and build a church, or go preach to the people, or fast for the nation. No, God told him to go take a WHORE for a wife. It doesn’t even sound Biblical. But that is what you see, God giving a very different task. Hosea’s first assignment, marry a whore. God asked Hosea to do something crazy. But what you see here is that Hosea, he DOES IT!. Without question, he just does it, he is very obedient to God. Though it’s sort of a strange situation, I am encouraged by Hosea’s obedience.

Now, I don’t know about you, if one of the first big assignments God gives me is to go out and marry a whore, not sure how I would take that. …

Build Yourselves Up!

“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.” Jude 20

The background on Jude is interesting. Full of heavenly beings, prophecy, and all kinds of end times kind of things. While we can argue much on the heavenly things that are happening here, what we should not forget it is the message that Jude is trying to convey over to the believers. The message to watch against teachers who do not understand what they are teaching (verse 10) and also use what they teach to build themselves up for their own glory (vs. 12). The warning is to watch out against these teachers by doing the very thing that believers need to do, is to build themselves up in faith and prayer. That is what they need to do to not only recognize these false teachers, but to be able to rescue people away from the false teaching.

Build yourselves up, is what God is asking. I was recently at a bible study, and not to put down anyone, but one person in our bible study, Jak…

The Almighty and His Glory...

“Praise the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.” Psalm 104:1

Oh the majestic beauty of God, this entire Psalm is dedicated to the beauty and the wonder of God. It’s pretty amazing to just absorb how great God is. The content in this Psalm just speaks of the beauty and the awesomeness of God. It’s refreshing sometimes to see how very great God is. To see how big He really is. In fact the words even in these Psalm does not do God any justice on how glorious He is. There is no word for Him, there is nothing that can depict how great He is. God is just that God.

You know a few days ago, I ran across a few videos on Youtube on how we humans originated on this earth. Of course we had the big bang evolutionary theory, then we had design theory, and there was also this weird theory where we were originated from aliens from another planet. While some made sense (well, sort of) most of it was pretty confusing and some just plain …

My nature, our nature, and being wise.

“Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” –Paul (Ephesians 5:15-16)
The study and the application of Ephesians 5 is something that no Christian should take lightly, but at the heart of the matter you need to realize how far it stretches to the core of each person. Here is what we know about human nature, we all are prone to evil. Our human nature loves to do things that are evil (Matthew 15:19). Our very nature is full of selfishness and conceit. Most of the time we mask it but a lot of what we do is to pleasure ourselves. That’s the curse. Our nature or sometimes referred to as our flesh and our flesh wars against our spirit. I am not an exception. There are many times where I just love to not do the right thing. Not the illegal thing, just not the right thing, things such as putting my focus upon possessions, having lustful thoughts. The verse here explains our war against our own des…

Prudence

“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” Proverbs 27:12

“Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever and a crown is not secure for all generations.” Proverbs 27:23-24

These verses above make you evaluate what you are doing and then it just hits you at the core. As there are rules to physical things in life, there are rules to the spiritual things in life also. Here we are not to overlook the importance of awareness. Prudent people see the danger in advance and take action; prudence also sees the importance of knowing where you are in your life situation. Prudence in this definition means one who is sensible, shrewd. So the along with prudence comes wisdom. They go hand in hand. In these verses it stresses that those who are aware of their surrounding situation have the ability to see when they are headed in the wrong direction. When the are aware o…

Using all your rights

But Paul said to them, “They beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” Acts 16:37

Paul could have gone away quietly, but he chose not to. Here he makes a stand. He was beaten publicly, literally for no other reason then spreading the Good News. Falsely accused and made to look guilty, the authorities here just wanted to sweep him and his companions under the rug. However, Paul had different plans. He chose to make a stand, a stand that would not only clear his name but also clear the conscience of the people. He knew that he was a missionary in a place that was not welcoming to them. So by doing this he announced to the people that not only was he not guilty of doing any crime, but he also tells that as a Roman citizen, it was okay to believe in Christ.

I just can’t get this out of my mind, that here Paul embraces that he will use all that he …

Identity Crisis

“Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show they make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.” -Jesus (Luke 20:46-47)

Do not be deceived. This is the message that Jesus is after. He is saying, what looks good isn’t always good. In this case the teachers of the law has become so engrossed by their own selves they forgot what they were about. The teachers of the law fell in love with power, fame, fortune, all at the expense of God. Their motives were to gain all that the world had to offer. It appears that they forgot what their purpose was. They forgot what God was trying to do. The forgot who they were at the core of themselves and got lost in the things that don’t matter. In short the priest had an identity crisis. The reason they existed was to push…

God Moments: Day 2 and 3: The bookstore rendezvous.

Okay, after one day I already renamed it, but God Moments seemed more appropriate then saying “miracle”. But God moments can come in the form of a miracle, a lesson, or things situations. Jesus can show up at anytime to teach. Anyhow, I hope you get the point. Moving on...

As I recount the lessons in the next few days I am constantly reminded how God stitches together the lives of others all around you. I was bored at one point, I had just finished work and I really did not want to go home to watch a video, or read a book, or even exercise. I wanted to go out and have some fun. One problem, no one I knew shared my desire to go out. But on an whim, or maybe a push from God, I was moved to go to the bookstore. Ah, yes the safe book store where you can read books. I know I said I didn’t want to read, but if I am going to read at least there are people there and you never know who you might bump into. Low and behold, I did. As soon as I got out of my car, as I was making my w…

Miracle Day 1

I was honestly looking for a miracle, but it was difficult, I was in the store trying to find God’s handy work somewhere. So I resorted to what I do well, complain. Boy, I was complaining, but instead of bickering about my life, it morphed to “how the heck am I going to find a miracle.” Then lo and behold, I found it. I think God made it easy for me. But in a little refrigerator at the supermarket, I saw the miracle. In a form of a bottle labeled in white, it read “Pepsi Throwback: Made with Real Sugar”. I just nearly lost it. You know how long I prayed for this?! Literally, this was a miracle. For years I have longed for soda to go back to using sugar. Even though on the label it said “For a limited time.” I didn’t care. Here was the miracle. Real soda using real sugar.

I dislike high-fructose corn syrup, with a passion. I longed for years to have soda in the real form, with sugar. So tonight it was going to happen. What a special occasion this night was turning ou…

Restart... Sort of...

Up until now, this blog has pretty much been my daily devotions. Which has seem to be going well, however, often times during devotions I get called into acton. Today was one of those “action” days. What was supposed to have been a time of reflection and spending time with God, quickly escalated into one of those “woe is me” sessions where I began to express grief over some of my “hardships”, and “misfortunes” (In reality, things are not that hard for me). I began to act like my three year old niece: “How come this...” “Why not that...” “It’s not fair...” To tell you the truth, looking back on it now, it was pretty disgusting. But at that time I didn’t care. I felt cheated out of life and I wanted to let God know about it. This went on for almost an hour. Towards the end of my bickering, as I was shopping at a local food market, God just let me have it. What is cool about God is that He smacks you on the head sometimes and beckons you to do something. This time, through…

Half Hearted...

In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. -Genesis 4:3-5

At first glance at this text my initial reaction was, “Why God?” But after rereading it again I began to realize that there are some strong reasons why God did not look upon Cain’s offering as unacceptable. As it appears Cain brought an offering to the Lord, but Abel, brought an offering that was far superior. Abel brought his best to God first. Fat in those days was a precious commodity. So for Abel to bring not only fat, but fat from the first born was an act of total trust to God. Cain brought what appears to be leftovers, or “some” as compared to his brother who brought his best.

Besides the lesson of giving God our best, the second lesso…