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Archive for July, 2010

July 23, 2010

ScriptureTo this you were called, …that you should follow in his steps..   1 Peter 2:21

Observation: Peter points out that Jesus accepted suffering even though He had done nothing wrong.  We, too, slave or free, are counseled to be willing to do the same.  That is our calling.  We are to answer our critics, not be defensive.  We are to be humble, not attacking.

Application:  What does this look like in my life, when true persecution and suffering is not likely?  Charles Sheldon’s classic, In His Steps, challenges us to think about our lives from Jesus’ point of view.  If we follow faithfully, what should we do?  What should we say?  How should we live?  The shorthand for that way of thinking and living is “What would Jesus do?”

So, I pray for the mind of Christ.  I would think as Jesus thinks, love as He loves, live for His purposes, speak with His wisdom.  To this I (and w) have been called.

Prayer:  Lord, continue to shape me so I may think, love, live, and speak more like Jesus.  May I follow in His steps—not, perhaps, in the way of suffering.  But, may I give up my will for Your will, my way for Your way.  In the name and spirit of Jesus I pray.

July 22, 2010

ScriptureTherefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.   1 Peter 1:13

Observation: Peter notes that the prophets speak of Christ, not for their own sake, but for the generations to come.  In particular, they write and speak to us.  We need to understand what we need to do; then take the necessary steps to be prepared.  All the while, our hearts and our hope are fixed on Jesus who gives us grace at the time it is needed.

Application:  I need to get my mind around what I need to do to be prepared for Jesus’ coming.  1) I need wisdom, strength, and the tools and weapons of the Holy Spirit.  2) Train with them—daily, with purpose.  3) Become expert at their use.  4) I am called to help raise up an army.

Prayer:  Lord, prepare my mind and heart to be a faithful and successful soldier of Christ.  Cause me to desire discipline of my spirit so I am trained and expert in the weapons of the Holy Spirit, the armor of God.  Help me find others who will fight for this cause—Your Cause and Your Kingdom.  May we assault the gates of hell—in Your power—and bring them down.  In Jesus’ strong name.

July 21, 2010

ScriptureBe strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him.  With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.   2 Chronicles 32:7f.

Observation: Sennacherib, king of Assyria, attacks with a huge army and a massive ego and an even bigger attitude.  Nothing will stand in his way, especially this god of the Hebrews.  King Hezekiah, who always honors God, goes to the Lord in prayer.  He also consults the prophet, Isaiah.  And God answers.

Application:  When I am in trouble and need help, or confused and need direction, from whom do I receive answers?  To whom do I turn for strength, courage, deliverance?  Too often, I trust in my own ideas and plans, rather than praying and listening to God’s answer.

Prayer:  Lord, I am getting better about coming to You first, and not waiting until I am in dire straits.  I want to be more like Jesus, who prayed often; who consulted You regularly; who listened to Your voice, and not that of people.  Remind me to pray first, and to listen twice.  In Jesus’ name.

Pure Joy

July 17, 2010

ScriptureConsider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2

Observation:  Some in the church to which James writes have experienced tests and trials unlike any I may ever face.  I might fear ridicule, or derision or even disdain.  Yet, I’ll probably never face beatings or torture or death for Christ’s sake.  Still, all trials develop perseverance.  And if one hangs in there long enough (with Jesus), maturity comes.

Application:  I have been hanging in and hanging with Jesus for nigh onto 40 years.  There have been barren seasons, and there have been ‘seasons of refreshing.’  Most of the former have been when I didn’t stay plugged in to God.  But God has always been at work, whether or not I cooperate.

Prayer:  Lord, I don’t like tests, and trials sound painful.  I just want to have fun.  Sort of.  I also want to become more like Jesus.  Develop me, I pray.  Make me mature and complete; for You and the sake of the world who needs You so desperately.  But, please, be gentle.  In Jesus’ name.


July 15, 2010

ScriptureIf you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline) then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.  Hebrews 12:8

Observation:  Discipline produces character, strength, focus, results.  What you go through impacts who you become.  It is the tough times that mold our hearts, minds, souls.  Fathers rarely discipline someone else’s children.  But, because they want the best for their own children, they discipline them.

Application:  I have certainly known seasons of discipline.  Some of it has been a result of my poor choices; others have been God molding me, as a potter shapes the lump of clay until it is fit for its intended use.

Prayer:  God, continue to shape, hone, polish me so that I may be fit for Your use and purpose in my generation, in this place.  Use Your chisel, sandpaper, polishing stone gently, I pray.  But, never give up on me, for I would not want to be an illegitimate son.   In Jesus’ strong and loving name.

July 13, 2010

ScriptureThe law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming….  Hebrews 10:1

Observation:  In this life, we see the realities of God through a “glass darkly” as the King James Version puts it.  We see the shadow cast by the thing, and not the thing itself.  We smell the aroma of the barbeque, but don’t get to eat the rack of ribs.  We hear the echo of God’s voice, but never the voice itself.  We feel the breeze of the Spirit as it blows by, but never feel the touch of the Spirit herself.  We brush the hem of his garment, although we long to hold His hand, kiss His face, collapse in His arms.

Application:  We are built for Heaven, and designed to be in the presence of God.  And our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Him.

Prayer:  Lord, I want more than shadows and odors, faint echoes and fleeting near-misses of Your hand.  I don’t want to  settle for the “almost” of Your grace.  I want the real thing.  Even a vision, a dream, or a heavenly messenger is a mist in comparison to Your real presence.  Come, Lord Jesus.  Marana tha!  Come into my heart.  And draw me close to Your heart, I pray.

July 5, 2010

ScriptureThere is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.  There is only cursing, lying and murders, stealing and adultery; because of this the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away.  Hosea 4:2

Observation:  Hosea’s description of Israel could well be said of the U.S., Europe, and the West.  While there are pockets of faithfulness, they are small pockets.  Faithfulness, love of God, honoring God are rare commodities in Israel as Samaria falls, and in the U.S. as unfaithfulness rises.  The land mourns.  The people waste away.

Application:  I am called to be faithful, to love, to honor God; and to call my people to do so as well.  Do I mourn for the land?  Do I waste away because of the increase of sin?  Does cursing (God), lying, murder, stealing and adultery drive me to my knees?  If I am honest, occasionally.  But not often enough.

Prayer:  Lord, break my heart for the things that break Yours.  Break my heart for those who break Yours.  In the name of Him who wept over Jerusalem.


July 2, 2010

ScriptureHow can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?  Psalm 116:12

Observation:  God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  The heavens and the earth are His.  The sky and the sea are under His control.  He has given us life and breath.  In Him we live and move and have our being.  Total that up, and look at the tab.

Application:  I have been blessed with a God who loves me so much that He sent His son to die that I might have life.  I have the Holy Spirit who guides, comforts, accompanies me each and every moment of every day.  I have a loving wife, 4 incredible children, 2 precious daughters-in-law, and 2 beautiful grandchildren.  I have been deeply honored to be called into the ministry of the Lord Jesus.  I have plenty of food, comfortable shelter, good health, and a sharp mind (most of the time).  I have loving friends—both old and new.  I live in a free nation with God-given rights.  When I total all that up, then reach in my pocket, gather everything out of my bank account, and look in every corner of the safe….  How close do I come?

Prayer:  Lord, I can never begin to pay a fraction of the interest on all You have blessed me with.  I can only offer my thanks and my undying love.  I praise You for Your extravagant generosity to one like me.

June 30, 2010

ScriptureTitus 2:7b-8a In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned….

Observation:  Integrity is when your life matches your words.

Seriousness includes a passion or burden (to use an old word) for souls.

Sound speech is when one speaks the truth.

Paul warns Titus to speak the truth, with great passion; at the same time, he is to be a living example of his message.

Application:  Me, too.  My deeds are to match my words.  My behavior is to prove my beliefs.  This includes a passion for souls (compassion for sheep without a shepherd).  And, it means preaching the truth: Jesus Christ of Nazareth, crucified and risen, who wants to save us, sync us, shape us, and then send us to help save others, sync others, shape others, then send others to save others, sync others, shape others, then send….

Prayer:  Lord, keep me focused on telling the truth and living the truth.  May I live the truth out loud; in the strong and loving name of Jesus.