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Archive for October, 2010

October 28, 2010

ScriptureHe looked around at them in anger and deeply distressed….  Mark 3:5

Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?  Mark 4:38

Observation: Jesus is angry when the ‘suits’ can’t care enough even to answer His question.  But, He acts out of His nature—which is pure love.  When the disciples are terrified, and certain they’re about to die, they turn to Jesus with what sounds and feels like an accusation: Don’t you care?  Jesus answers without a word (to them), by acting out of His nature—pure love.

Application:  When I turn to Jesus (in prayer), is it with the knowledge and trust that He always operates out of His nature—pure love?  I believe that Jesus loves me.  But, fear and self-interest fog my mind—and I easily lose sight of the fact that Jesus always acts out of His nature.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, help me to always remember just how much You love—so much that You restore the withered hand of a man that the elite does not care about and calm the stormy sea on a lake which few outside of that part of the world even knew existed.  Even when I’m afraid, may I, like The Twelve, turn to You—always—assured that You can do something, even if it ‘only’ means showing me the fullness of Your love.  Help me trust You, Lord.

October 27, 2010

ScriptureBut we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.  Acts 28:22

Observation: Word of ‘The Way’ had reached all the ways to Jews in Rome, and it was not good.  Those who argued against, and who started riots, had spurred this venom.

Application:  Many again (still?) are opposed to Christian faith (Jesus?), or how they interpret it.  For some, it affects their livelihood (Ac. 18:25); others, their power or status is taken (Ac. 21:28); still others, would have to change their lifestyles.

I am called to live so people will listen, seek the truth, be open to the testimony I bring.

Prayer:  Lord, there are still many who would crucify, or destroy faith in You, all over again.  You threaten them, their lifestyle.  But, You want only the best for them.

May I live so I am a credible witness—not to cause offense, but to create soul-searching.  May my compassion and witness cause others to come to You.  In Jesus’ name.

October 22, 2010

ScriptureBarnabas took Mark and sailed for Cypress, but Paul chose Silas and left….  Acts 15:40

Observation: Paul is an excellent example of how a (Christian) leader needs others, how men need brothers.  Paul had a mentor—Barnabas.  He had a partner—Silas.  He had a disciple—Timothy.  He had supporters—Lydia, Prisca and Aquila, Onesimus.

Application:  I need mentors and partners and disciples and supporters.  Jorge and Craig are mentors.  Deb, the Discernment Team, the SLA gang are partners.  Supporters include Txxx….

But, who will I coach?

Prayer:  Lord, I am so grateful to learn this principle—that every leader needs coaches, teammates, players and fans—that I need coaches, teammates, players, fans.    Now, help me to continue to seek coaching, put it into practice, and pass along what I learn to others.  In Jesus’ name.

October 21, 2010

ScripturePaul and Barnabas…(spoke) boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.  Acts 14:3

Observation: By teaching and signs and wonders, many are convinced and come to saving faith in Jesus.  Christianity was so powerful that the lame walked and the dead lived and the religious elite were scared, so they rioted.  Now, the lame limp and the dead sleep and the religious elite are comfortable.  Everywhere Paul went they rioted.  Wherever I go, they serve tea and cookies.

Application:  So where is the power?  Has God grown weak?  Are we not holy enough?  Do we expect too little?  Have we grown too comfortable?  Are we lazy?

Am I not holy enough?  Do I expect too little?  Have I grown too comfortable?  Am I lazy?

Prayer:  Lord, make Your church bold and powerful.  Give Your servants courage and strength.  Make Your grace sufficient in every weakness, every situation, every challenge.  In Jesus’ strong name.

October 20, 2010

ScriptureActs 12:6  The night before Herod was to bring (Peter) to trial….

Observation:  God is often a last-minute God, providing what is needed when it is needed, and not a moment before.  Food for 5,000.  the coin for the tax in the mouth of the fish.  Words from the Holy Spirit when the trial begins.

Application:  Each day may have enough troubles of its own, but it also has enough grace.  So, why worry?  God’s provision will be on time.  His time.  Never late.  Never early.

Prayer:  Lord, if Peter can trust You with his life, what do I have that I could not trust to Your care?  When I get nervous, remind me of manna each day in the wilderness, and of water from the rock.  Bring to mind the stories of armies turned away by the rustling of the wind, and an enemy routed by a couple of companies carrying chamber pots and band instruments.

Your grace is sufficient.  Tell me again.  In the name of Jesus.

October 15, 2010

Malachi 1: 12 “But you dishonor my name with your actions. By bringing contemptible food, you are saying it’s all right to defile the Lord’s table. 13 You say, ‘It’s too hard to serve the Lord,’ and you turn up your noses at my commands,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Observation:  The prophet Malachi understands what it is to honor (hallow) God’s name, and what it is to dishonor the name of God by how we live.  It is far more than just the language that we speak; it is every bit as much the life that we live.  Food not fit for one’s dog cannot be offered to God and claim to honor, respect Him.  Ignoring God’s commands, for any reason, disallows our claim to love and obey Him.

Application:  Do I bring God my very best?  Do I offer my whole self—heart, soul, mind, and strength?  Do I live in a manner that shows with my actions that God is my King and Ruler?  Do I kill time, waste time, spend time, or invest my time to God’s glory (including what I read, watch on t.v., time on the internet, “free” time)?  Do I blow money, waste money, spend money, or invest my money to the honor and glory of His name (including whether or not I help myself only, or help others; give to God’s work?  Do I talk trash, curse others, speak wholesomely, bear witness to His grace (what comes out of my mouth when no one is around)?

Prayer:  Lord of Heaven’s Armies, I pray that it will not be said about me, what You spoke concerning Israel: You dishonor my name with your actions.

Help me to honor You with my time, my giving, and my words.  May my life reflect my love for You, my respect and honor for You.   Forgive me when I am frivolous with my time, selfish with my giving, and careless with my language.  Hallowed be Your name in my life; I pray in Jesus’ name.

October 13, 2010

ScriptureActs 2:17  I will pour out my Spirit on all people; …your old men will dream dreams.

Observation:  God poured out His Holy Spirit on every believer gathered then and there—and promises to do the same here and now.  God’s Spirit enables those who often lose the ability to dream (old men) to dream—to see into God’s preferred future what no mind can conceive; to see more than we could ever imagine….

Application:  God enables us/me to imagine a church where sin is forgiven, minds are changed, hearts are softened, lives are changed.  Imagine a town where alcoholism is abolished; addiction annihilated; children loved and wanted; the hungry are fed; the sick are tended; the elderly are respected; the unlearned are taught; the homeless are sheltered.  Imagine a world where Jesus is followed and honored; shalom is lived; holiness of heart and mind are present….

Prayer:  Abba, pour out Your Spirit on me so I can imagine such a church; dream such a dream; envision Your preferred future—until it becomes reality.  In Jesus’ name.

October 12, 2010

ScriptureNehemiah 7:2  (Hanani?) was a man of integrity and feared God more than most men do.

Observation:  Nehemiah picks Hanani (his brother) or Hananiah (the commander of the guard) because of his character.  His competence is not mentioned.  The skill sets needed are not mentioned.  His work ethic is not mentioned.  Only his integrity and his fear of God are brought up.

Application:  What are the aptitudes necessary for a man of God?  Well, one should probably own or have access to a Bible.  Being a reader and a learner would be a good thing.  Quick to listen, slow to speak comes to mind.  But, attitude matters most—integrity and fear of God need to be my hallmark.

Prayer:  Lord, may it be said of me, as it was of Hanani, “MiklColt is a man of integrity; and he loves and fears God more than most.”  Work in me.  Shape me after Your will.  Make the grace of Jesus, and the spirit of holiness shine through me.  In Jesus’ name.

October 9, 2010

ScriptureLuke 22:42  Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.

Observation:  Within hours of the Cross, separation from His Father, and death, Jesus prays for deliverance.  Even more, He prays to do God’s will.  He has prayed this before, teaching it to His followers (11:1).  His food is to do the will of the One who sent Him (John 4:34).    He seeks to please the One who sent Him (John 5:30).  He has come from Heaven not to do His will, but the will of the One who sent Him (John 6:38).

Application:  My job?  “As You wish.”  Do I have desires and wants?  You bet.  May I express them?  Yes.  But, at the end of the day, I am a servant of the most High God.  I am designed, created, equipped, trained and sent to serve Him.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, may I pray with You these words:  “Not my will but Yours be done.”

Hate You

October 8, 2010

ScriptureLuke 21:17  All men will hate you because of me.

Observation:  There have been seasons and places where to follow Jesus was costly.  Rome and Israel way back when.  China, India, Middle East today.  But, not here.  Not now.  Will it come again?  That is likely—only the when and where and why is clouded.

Application:  Early on, the Church was in favor with the people, if not the religious establishment.  What could happen that all (non-Christians) would hate us?  Would it be taking a stand against sin (immorality, greed, slavery, paganism), perhaps?  Living quiet lives would not, it seems.  But, is that a witness to Jesus and His life-changing love?  If I am liked and respected, does that mean I’m not living my faith?

Prayer:  Abba, I am not hated.  I don’t know that I should be—yet.  Will there come a day in my lifetime when to follow Jesus will bring derision and hatred?  You alone know, O Lord.  I only know that I desire to be faithful to You; to do Your will; to be part of bringing in Your kingdom.  Keep me faithful.  Help me bring many to You.  And then You clean ‘em up, and wash them whiter than snow.  In Jesus’ name.