Thursday, July 29, 2010

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 me everything.  I am stubborn sometimes.  I mean come on, get to know GOD where the entire source of life, wisdom, and salvation comes from.  Today I really need to tap into God more.  I must tap into the source.

Lord thank you for the reminder.  I need it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

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 is just reflect, marvel, and just soak in the love God has for me. Through that I can grow closer to Him, and He will teach me and show me areas were I need to change, need to adjust, or need to just get rid of. Knowing God is not easy, it requires a life that is focused and reflective, obedient and loving, strong and sincere. But here Peter says that if we do pursue self-control, godliness, perseverance, then we are on the right path. As the old saying goes, Jesus gave us life; our gift back to Him is what we do with it. So the question that I have to ponder is what am I going to do with my life?

Lord thank you for the subtle reminder that your sacrifice was great and now you call me to answer You when You ask what I did with mine.

Friday, July 23, 2010

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 something was missing. After going throughout much of the day I began to realize that what was missing was that I needed to go see Jesus. I needed to go hear from Him. I recognized this feeling from past experiences, but today it was pretty intense. Today reminded me that I need Jesus more than anything else. It was as intense as being hungry. But it was a gentle reminder of how much I need Jesus. I really want to dig deeper into my faith. I want to know God more. This though is not easy. Knowing God takes a tremendous amount of effort and discipline. Because of my nature, I am easily distracted and sometimes I don’t see things clearly. But, as today serves as an example, knowing God is so much more beneficial then anything else. God, there is Him and really everything else is worthless.

Lord I pray for this feeling to stay with me, continue to light my fire for You.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

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 was a prayer with the wrong motivation. The prayer was full of selfish ambition, pride, and the fear of not “keeping up with the Jones’”. Now, I know that this shouldn’t be the case. But I am human. I desire things. But the things are not sinful; it’s the cravings for the things is what is bad. Basically you desire thing so much that you are willing to use God as a genie in a bottle. I bet God hates when I do that. He’s not a genie, he is God, and He deserves more honor and praise.

Lord I know you like to provide, help me to hare the right heart.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

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 significant difference then what we were living in before.  To do that it takes our daily dying to ourselves and to accept what God says and to be obedient and discipline to His following.

Often I get extremely frustrated while driving.  Sometimes you see the most selfish things done just so someone can drive faster, or get a few inches further.  Yesterday, as I was pulling out of a driveway a car from the other side drives over and cuts me off as I am pulling out, leaving me in the middle of a road.  Just as that is happens the light across the street turns green, and as I am stuck in the middle of the road as cars go around me giving me the “stink eye” all the while I am thinking all you need to do is let me through.  Then as this a person on a bicycle rides up and also passes me in the all while calling me a very colorful name.  When I finally pulled on the street to drive I was so mad.  I was complaining to the Lord asking, “WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT!” But as I was venting frustration to the Lord, He gently reminded me that I can be as foolish and selfish as these people were.  God reminded me that I too have placed idols in my life and I have blazed over friendships, people, relationships, and to get what I want.  That to God is my “evil” desire.  Even though it may be a good thing, I can turn it into an idol.  I can blaze ahead and not think of others as I strive towards that.  I pray that God continue to expose in me the sin that entangles me and draws me away from Him.  I want my life to totally focus on one thing, loving Jesus and following Him.  Make everything in my life all about Him.  Throwing aside the idols of my life and striving towards Him.

Lord thank you for the gentle reminder that I make many things idols.  Help me to strive for your pleasure, your love, and your approval only.  Thank you Lord.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

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 and certain of what we do not see.” Following God has its price, but the reward is so much greater.

Now what gets me irritated is what I hear too often I in Christianity, and it goes a little something like: “If you have faith then your life will be blessed,” or “if you do this then God will bring you this.” As if we can control God. I hear too much sometimes, on how to rid our life of suffering, and that God intends for us to live a life that is stress free, healthy, and rich. That is a load of crap and is very much unbiblical. What often is not preached is that your faith in God will produce suffering, and more often then not, you do not see the reward of your labor, as it is stated in Hebrews 11:39. The reward that has been promised is not for this Earth. The reward of our faith is for what is to come. How often do we (myself included) think that what has been promised to us is in the form of a monetary riches, heath, or a good life. Is that what Christ came to earth to do? Give us a comfortable life? I often have to pinch myself to remind me that the life that I live, in order to have the meaning it was intended to have, is to live in such a way that my life is all about Christ. It may mean that I will suffer greatly, it may mean that I may live a life that is not what others see as successful, it may mean that I may do things that many, including my Christian friends, will not understand. But in the end, if all that I do is rooted in Christ, and I am obedient to his will, then it will all be worth it. True faith in God is not always easy, but true faith will enable to give strength to press on despite of all the suffering that is around.

Love this passage Lord, grow me in the ways that will show the error of my ways, and give me faith so that one day what You had planned will be made perfect.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

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 times, some blame the economy but we all get distracted from doing our assignments from God. I know it happens to me. My focus strays constantly. For example I am here at writing this journal and I am thinking of twenty other things that I could be doing, not to mention I am in a coffee shop, so that just makes it worse, with all the meetings, conversations, and other things that are going around in this environment. Though this is a small example, this is sometimes the story of my life. I may start on the path that God intends for me but soon I find myself on a path that is distant from where I intended to go. Here the lesson is to persevere, to focus in upon the goal, to have a heart that is focused totally on fulfilling the will of God. Not an easy thing to do, but it is of extreme importance. So therefore the character trait of perseverance is necessary for me to develop.

Lord help me to develop more perseverance.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

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 diligent in all that you do.  There is something that the Lord appreciates when you are diligent and consistent.  Now the lesson that I need to learn from this verse is to build my diligence.  Often I fall into the category of getting way too excited about things and go wholehearted into the event or whatever it is.  But what happens more often than not is that I fade out.  It’s one of those slow declines into nothing.  I am not proud of that.  Surely I do not want that to happen to my faith.  To have diligence in my faith is very important for the growth of my faith.  In fact diligence to everything that I do is important.  I don’t think my life cannot afford to do without it.  However, what it will take is for me to do make some changes, lifestyle changes.  But it is a good thing.  It is something that needs to get done so my faith can grow into a faith that makes my hope sure.

Lord I pray that you give me the diligence to do the right thing.  I pray that my life be a reflection of you.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

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 to dig deeper into the Word so I can get to know Him better. I need the His wisdom like no other so I can guide my life, my ministry, my future in the right direction. Today I am reminded that I am nothing without God. I am nothing without his Word. His Word is power. I want to rest in that power.

Lord give me the guidance I need to rest in your Word. Teach me, give me strength, but most of all Lord, help me to obey.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

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. Imagine that? I’m trying to put myself in Hosea’s situation and the more I think of it, this is a crazy assignment. But our God does things that we can perceive as crazy but to God it makes total sense. What I can learn from Hosea is that to be obedient to God. Obedience to Him is what He desires the most. Total trust in God. When we have obedience, he is capable to use us in ways that seem strange to the world, but it will fulfill his plan. For me, I would love to do some crazy things for God, but do I have the obedience it takes to allow Him to use me. I struggle with the wanting to do the me thing, or the thing that my friends are doing which hinders me from doing the crazy God thing, because it is a me thing. But God is in the business of doing radical things for His glory. If I want to be part of it, I must have that radical obedience. Do do this I know it starts small, doing the small things and being obedient to that. So I must daily remind myself to be obedient in the small things, so He can use me to do the radical things. Hosea’s obedience is one to marveled at. I pray one day I can have that kind of obedience.

Oh Lord help me follow the example of obedience by Hosea. May my trust in you grow more and more each day.

Friday, July 2, 2010

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, Jake, was contemplating leaving the group for this reason: “I don’t feel like I’m being fed. I really want to dig into the Word and learn more. But I don’t feel like I am being fed.” I listened for a while but after the constant nagging of how much our small group is just too social, and too topical. The argument Jake was saying sounded legitimate, until I asked the question, “Jake, how many times during the week do you really get into the Bible yourself?” The answer: 3 times, at best. I sat there in shock. I followed up the question with “How many hours a day do you pray?” Answer: “I pray in the car, I pray along the way to things.” I was now flabbergasted. I saw why Jake was hungry for God. Out of 168 hours a week, Jake dedicated (at best) 4 hours a week to God! I then proceeded to tell Jake, you really need to dig into the Bible and learning things of God for yourself. Jake said, that it still does not change the fact that he’s not being fed, he’s hungry for the Word and we aren’t doing that for him. Then I thought of this wonderful saying Pastor Wayne Cordeiro says, “Hungry? FEED YOURSELF!” The implication is that the only one responsible for spiritual growth is YOU. Only you can put can learn about God more, only you can spend more time with God and get to know Him better. No one else can. Only you.

During this week I have been tasked with all kinds of responsibilities, but what I need to make sure is that I continually pursue God. I must be continually in His word and I fall down on my knees daily to hear Him. So Lord, help me to pray for my friend Jake, and to pursue You with all my heart. Don’t let me forget that when I am hungry, to feed myself.