Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Jesus' Example of Obedience

Mark 1:38

And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”

Now there was much to do here in this town. Jesus was preaching and healing, so people were coming all over to see him here in this town. But all of a sudden, after a quiet time in the desert, Jesus tells his disciples, “Let’s go.” I’m sure the disciples were thinking what we are all thinking, “WHY?” But what see is the right thing to do is not necessarily the thing to do. Jesus knew what His mission was: to please the Father and do what He called him to do. Obedience, to the call and to pleasing the Father, that is what Jesus modeled. He knew his mission on earth was to call the sinners to repentance, be the sacrifice for all, and therefore it will bring glory to God. It seems that he does this at every level here. From the get go he was obedient to God and stayed true to the calling that God had on his life. Jesus knew what to do, when to do it, and how to accomplish it. Being obedient to God was the thing that was of most importance. So when God said “go” Jesus did exactly what he was supposed to do, go.

So what does this mean for the rest of us. I need to follow the example of Jesus and obedient to God. We need to have a better understanding that the main reason we exist is to bring God glory and how we do that is through obedience. Knowing that fulfilling the will of the Lord is of most importance. That is what God wants us to do. Each of need to live our lives is first of all concentrated to bring God glory. Therefore whatever God ask us to do we need to do. Follow Jesus no matter what. In life sometimes the more popular thing or what seem the right thing to do is one way but God is asking you to go the other way. Though it may not seem right, that is where we need to head to, following the Lord.

Jesus help me to follow your example to please the father and do what He calls.

Friday, September 26, 2014

When God comes after you

Haggai 1:3-4

Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of host: Consider your ways.

You know when God says something along the lines above, you forgot to do something. Here it seems that the Israelites were taking care of themselves going on in life, but it seems they forgot that God called them back for a purpose. To set up His temple. So what does God do, he summons Haggai to call them to order, making them step it up. Stepping it up consist of becoming who God called you to be or to do what He called you to do. Now I don’t blame the Israelites, they are building their city back. They are building their houses, their farms, their lives. It’s not a small nor easy task. So therefore God understandably gives grace, however, when the time has past that after the set up is done and they are beginning to try and make money or become profitable, that’s when He calls. He calls them back to not forget why they are there. The forgot that they are there because of God. This is a big “oops” moment for them. But maybe, they just forgot or got caught up in life, but it’s not a bad thing, they just needed to be reminded. Now He is calling.

Yesterday I saw the movie “The Equalizer”. The movie has a scene where the main character talks about the book “The Old Man and the Sea”. He describes a part of the book where the old man is chasing the fish and eventually catching it, was the biggest prize because the fish has to be the fish and the old man must be the man. A great respect was given for each, but each knew what they were called to be. Sometimes I forget who God called me to be. Between last night’s movie and this bible verse I am just reminded that God assigned me to do something. The above verses reminds me of the things God called me to. Hey I admit, I get distracted. I really do. Life has a way of doing that. I must make many decisions through out the day and there are times at the end of the day, I look back and go, oops.. I forgot to do that. But what I must not forget that I am created for His purpose and meaning. I may forget sometimes, but it’s okay, God calls back and gives me a reminder. Now, I must respond.

Lord thank you for this reminder. I know there are times where I forget why I am here. But I know Lord that I am here for Your purpose.

Monday, September 1, 2014

"Squirrel!"

Ezekiel 16:30

‘How weak-willed you are, declares the Sovereign Lord, when you do all these things, acting like a brazen prostitute.’

Being weak willed is not exactly a compliment. Especially since when God is in your corner. Being weak willed according to the dictionary means to be easily swayed, to be easily distracted. I can’t help but to think of the Doug the Dog from Pixar’s movie Up. Smart intelligent, but has the really funny moments where he is distracted by a what he thinks is a squirrel. It became termed as “squirrel!” moments. Truly funny to watch in this movie, but in real life, not so much. What God is communicating here is that the Israelites are like that, focused then all of a sudden “squirrel!” off to another thing . Maybe they might come back maybe they won’t. What is certain here is that God did not want his children to be weak willed. To be swayed by other things. He wants His children to be focused in upon loving Him and Him alone. To follow Him and Him alone.

Like Doug the dog and the Israelites, we all can easily be distracted. We can easily be distracted and not be focused in up on what God wants us to do. We can be easily swayed into loving other things or be on the wrong path just because we are human. We need often times makers or things to set before us everyday to keep us focused. I don’t want to be weak-willed but often times I am, but I want to be strong but often times I am just so distracted. So what I learned to do is that what I need is to set boundaries that keeps my focus in upon HIm. One boundary is my daily devotional time with God. This time is not only essential for growth but very a much needed time to refocus in upon God. It helps keep me on track. I know that I need this. I want to please Him, therefore if daily devotions is a boundary, then the option for ending up weak-willed diminishes.

Lord thank you for showing me this. Help me to focus in upon your will.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lax in God's work

Jeremiah 48:10
A curse on him is is lax in doing the Lord’s work. A curse on him how keeps his sword from bloodshed.

This is what we to need recognize, that doing God’s work is not only a necessary thing to do but we should not be lax in doing it. The Moabites should have been focusing on doing God’s work. It’s pretty obvious here that they were not walking closely with God. Therefore this warning takes place. The word here though is not disobedience it is lax. Lax according to the dictionary means not careful enough, not strict enough, not firm, vague. It’s not disobedience, they just let things slide. It’s like they did not clean up their mess after they cooked dinner, they just left it. They got lazy, they got content, whatever you call it, they just let it go. But now the Lord is calling out on them. But I’m sure this did not do that overnight, it must have been  a slow decline, a slow fade. It’s like becoming out of shape, you don’t notice it till you have hike a hill or walk a very long distance.

I know becoming lax is possible, but I wouldn't think it would happen to me. But after reading this verse and just sitting on it for a bit, I realized that in many areas in my life I have become lax. I have let it go, and just didn’t tend to certain things the way I should have. However here, I hear a resurgence of what God is calling me to do. But not only for me, but everyone. He calls us to intently follow Him, with great intensity and with great zeal. Doing God’s work requires hard work and putting your hand to the plow. God calls all of us to do His work, but not haphazardly, but with great intention and zeal. Boy I needed this reminder, lately I have been just been getting by with certain things. So this is a fresh word to just get my butt in gear and do the Lord’s work.

Lord thank you for this word. Help me not to be lax, but to follow you all the way.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Living with the opportunity

Matthew 25:14-15

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability.”

This passage has been such a difficult thing to figure out. It has been something that I have been dealing with and something that I have been longing to understand. Many people see that as that God gives you talents and you got to take your talents and live for God. But what are talents. It has been explained talent to be either your real talents, or money, or something God gives you. However, there is a distinction between talent and ability here. After reading this commentary (http://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/matthew/living-dangerously) it seems that things make more sense here. Talent, the way we know talent, according to this passage is ability, and talent as referred to in this setting is opportunity. The property owner (God) gives each of us an opportunity (talent) to do His work according to our ability. What we do with this opportunity is our gift back to God.

This changes the way I look at life. You see, now as I look back things begin to make sense. The commentary brought up that if God really wanted to he our “bad breaks” or what some called, “a series of unfortunate events” and even our “lucky breaks” “golden opportunity” all comes from God. What we do with the opportunity is what God looks for. I have the opportunity to do God’s work, then I should go for it. Whatever the opportunity comes before me, I need to barnes that opportunity for the Lord. I need to give it all to God. That is what the Lord is looking for. He is looking for us who are given the opportunity to do it. If you have much, much will be expected. God gives opportunity. What we do with is our gift back to God.

Lord thank you for opportunity. Help me to see it and double it to bring glory back to You.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Steadfast love of God

Psalms 106:1

Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

This is a crazy kind of love. It is the kind of love that does not let go. No matter how unfaithful or how terrible it is, God will not let go of Israel. I read a commentary saying this is what the Hebrew word “chesed” which refers when God talks about his people Israel. It is a covenant word, between God and His people. Which is sort of crazy. If you think about it, it is crazy that He even loves us. It is His nature to love us, but it is also in his nature to be holy and just. We are not allowed in His presence due to our sin, but because of His love for us, He provided a way.

This is very amazing and at the same time, just unbelievable. It just doesn’t make sense. The more I ponder this, I just find it unbelievable. I mean we are all crazy people. We ignore God, we betray Him, we do our own thing, we never get it right, but for some odd reason, He sent His son who died for us so that we could be with Him forever. That has got to be love. If you sit down and just think of this logically, it makes no sense. When you think of His steadfast love for us, then it is the only reason why this would make sense.

Lord, this concept of your steadfast love is absolutely mind boggling. I cannot fathom it. I’m sitting in awe of it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Slipping

Deuteronomy 4:9

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

Big command from Moses. Do not forget what God has done for you. We know what he is saying, but guess what, we are human and as humans tend to forget. I like the word Moses uses here, he says to not “let then slip”. The thing about slipping is that it’s so unexpected. This past winter has been pretty crazy. Though the snow is nice, what I don’t like all that on is that the ice on the road and on the walk ways. It makes walking pretty dangerous Most of the time you can’t see it, you walk and the next thing you know is that you are on your butt. You have to be careful you have to be always aware that you can slip anytime and that it could be dangerous. When I read this verse here from Moses, I think of that. Slipping. Something that can be easily done.

Going back to the our ice on the walkways, the only way I was able to overcome this is to prepare and do the right thing. I got some shoes that had good grip, I always looked out for the non ice spots, and I treaded carefully. I can’ say but this is what I believe Moses is trying to convey to the Israelites and to us. Be careful, tread lightly. Be prepared. Now how can I do this in my walk with Jesus. The first step for me is to make sure I am fully aware that slipping is very possible, very likely if I am not paying attention to it. So to pay attention to my walk with God. Cultivate it, spend time with God. Like any other relationship. There are other things that I am sure that needs to be done, but let me start there.

Lord I love you, I don’t want to slip. As I draw closer to you, please draw closer to me.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

True Heart (Ash Wednesday 2014)

Mark 12:33-34

“‘...To love Him (God) with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.’ When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’”

To set up this situation, the teacher of the law asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. Jesus replied to paraphrase, “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.” But what this teacher of the law did was that he got it and went further. He concluded in his mind that to loving the Lord is above sacrifices and burnt offerings. What he concluded that loving God is above the things you do for God. Yes there is action, but your action must not be above loving your God and neighbor. He was able to distinguish that because of your love for God your actions will follow. Not your actions first then your love for God.

Now, I’m guilty of this as anyone. Loving God can be difficult. Sometimes it’s easier to just go to church, volunteer, give money, and do the church thing. But this Ash Wednesday, I want to do what this teacher has grasped. That loving God is above all the most important thing. That is what is needed. When you start to love God there ministry comes alive and where God really starts to work. When we realize that God is first then everything else is second that’s when amazing things happen. Loving God is the start of everything.

Lord thanks for the word. May my heart love You above all things.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Desperate

Mark 10:48

“...and many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Let’s set this up. Earlier in this story, Bartimaeus was begging for healing from Jesus. He was in Jericho, Jesus was on His traveling through and the crowed was following. Bartimaeus was a blind beggar and he was desperate. And when we mean desperate he was desperate. But wouldn’t you be? I mean what is the likelihood of Jesus coming to your town? Jesus passed by, and Bartimaeus was not going to pass up this opportunity. He did not want to just have Jesus pass by. He knew, he knew that this was his only chance that Jesus was coming by. So with all his strength he shouted for Jesus. He did not care, he was not ashamed, he called up at the top of his lungs for the savior to stop and hear him. And Jesus did.

Sometimes I think life takes us in directions where we become desperate like this. But often times, I settle. I settle in on life that is expected. I settle in on doing routine, and day after day, things are the same as the next. Oh how this story reminds me to keep that heart of desperation for Jesus. To know that I can do nothing without Him. That I can not accomplish anything without His guidance and blessing. My heart needs to be like Bartimaeus and be on the look out for Jesus, and where He is working, then to call out to Him.

Lord, thank you for the reminder that my heart needs to be in position to long for you.