Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Do you think of God, what do you think of? Do you think of this all powerful being who is so enormous that you are so small compared to him? Do you think of a God that is terrifying and almighty or do you think of a God that is full of love and compassion? These are all great questions but sometimes we think of God in favor of one over the other.
Today, people focus on the love of God. It’s not a bad thing but we make God seem like a hippy sometimes. He just loves us and wants to take care of us. He will never hurt us or harm us. This is not a bad thought, but many people take it to an extreme. I sometimes find myself taking it to an extreme. This aspect of God can completely be taken advantage of. It takes away from who God is. Thinking that God as only love makes him seem like a sissy, and a sissy is someone we can take advantage of because he loves us so much. We think we can do what we want.
On the contrary, we don’t serve no sissy God. If you read the bible you will see another side of God and this is what I want to challenge you with today. Look at the stories of how God dealt with his people Israel. Look at how they feared him. Take time out of your day and really think about who this God is that you serve. I can tell you this. If you are serving my God, You ain’t serving no sissy God, and this not so sissy God has my back. Does he have yours?
Friday, October 15, 2010
When you had a long day or week, business can completely overwhelm you. Sometimes you get so tired and overworked that you leave out God. It is like you are taking on the world. Slowly you begin to feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. The weight of your job, school, finances, security, illness, (you fill in the blank) creep onto your back. While this happens it seems the relationship with God begins to suffer. You know what you need to do, you know that you need to keep seeking God out. However, it is a hard task when all this “stuff” is happening.
While God gets put on the back burner life gets difficult and the stress begins to pile up, but when you finally get the courage to put everything aside, even the simplest verses can seem so refreshing. It is like a hot shower after a long day with a sore body; the water seems to rush over your body with the illusion that it is seeping through your skin. It is rejuvenating. It can also be like that much needed sleep after that over worked day. You lie in bed feeling the cushion of your mattress catch your body. God does something that none of these can do. He can refresh the soul. He helps satisfy that eagerness and restlessness that some things can’t cure. He can do it by the simplest means. Look at Ephesians 1:13 “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, having believed, you were marked with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,” Is not that verse something special? It just talks about how by just believing we are a part of Christ. The verses found before these talks about God’s grace and how he loved us. He chose us and adopted us as his sons and daughters. Just thinking about that thought alone seems to take away that weight of the world. It seems to release the burden and realize I am a child of God.
What is the whole point? I think the point is that we are not meant to take on the world. We are also refreshed when we get to cast everything aside; it is something we were meant to do. When we seek him out we can find rest. After all, he is the master of comforters. He tells us things that are really cool to think about like the thought about being a child of God. Why am I one? What does that mean? These thoughts can lead us to an understanding about God and can bring us peace. It is something cool to think about. Would you rather think about being a child of God or all the junk your stressed out about? It’s your choice, but I already made mine. I challenge you to just try it and seek him out today. Life is short.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
1 Corinthians 15:35-58
This section is so poetic. It is about our heavenly bodies. Paul is answering a question about what our heavenly bodies will be like and how it will come. His response is awesome. I know I can’t really give his words any justice by trying to describe what he said.
He stated that nothing is comparable. We are like a seed; when the seed dies it grows into something completely different from what it was sown from. The seed of a redwood tree is completely different from the Redwood itself. You cannot compare it with its origin. Paul was saying something similar to this concept. Our earthly bodies are made up of flesh and bone. They deteriorate and have many weaknesses. We are walking bodies that are constantly decaying. When we die something new is given to us. Our bodies now are perishable, but when we are sown they will become imperishable. Our bodies now are from the earth, but we will be given bodies from heaven. 42. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body and is raised a spiritual body.
Now does that now sound so cool? He goes on to describe the imagery of this transformation. Then he goes into how death will not be able to touch us in these bodies. He quotes from Hosea 13:14 where, oh death, is your victory? Where, oh death, is your sting? It is really a cool concept to think about. Will I have a six pack? Will I be completely unrecognizable from what I am now? Is it really like the seed of a redwood vs. its actual tree? Just think about that.
What is the point of it all? The first point is that it is only because of Jesus that we have this. It is from none other (verse 57). All glory goes to him; however, there is even a more important lesson to pull absorb from this passage. It is the last verse. We need to endure and keep moving forward. We need to fully work for the LORD. When we work none of it is in vain. In other words, DON'T WASTE YOUR LIFE.
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (verse 58)
Father please doesn’t let me waste it. Let me live and work for you.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
2 kings 5
I have always found it strange when God works. He dabbles in the affairs of this world very often but in peculiar ways. A lot of the times, he works in ways that we would not expect. For example, in this chapter, it involved the heathen warrior Naaman. That statement is strange in itself. Why would God help someone who was in charge of attacking the people of Israel? So that fact alone is unexpected; however, this Naaman was also helped in an unexpected way. At least he did not expect it.
This warrior Naaman had a severe case of leprosy. Leprosy is when you skin gets so diseased that it practically falls off. It is excruciating and very painful. Well Naaman wanted to get healed, so he went in search for the prophet Elisha. He wanted him to call on the name of God and heal his leprosy. Well he found the prophet, and the e prophet told him that he needed to go to the Jordan River and wash seven times. In doing so, he would be healed of this afflicting disease. Naaman did not expect that; quite contrary, he expected Elisha to heal him by calling on God and wave his staff over Naaman’s afflicted body. Naaman wanted a spectacular show. So he walked away upset and went to the Jordan river grumbling and complaining about Elisha. The story ends with his healing and he is so overjoyed that he commits himself to following God for the rest of his life.
Many times we imagine the same thing in our lives. We dream that God is going to help us in this mighty way. Maybe you picture that God will send his army of angels and hand you money to pay your bills. Some people imagine hearing the voice of God in a with your own ears. Jesus told the religious leaders of the day that their problem lied in that. They expected some astronomical impossibility in order to prove the authority of his heritage to God. He was already healing people in front of them. See, God does not really work like that. Actually, he usually works contrary to what you are expecting. It’s like when you intensely pray, what you pray for does not usually get answered in the way you expected. For example, you are praying for someone that gets cancer and suddenly they actually get healed. Many of us don’t expect it to actually happen.
God is so good and I Just wanted to encourage you to keep on the watch to how God moves in your life. Never doubt in the things that he can actually do. You will notice the unexpectedness of God. Watch how he moves in others also. I want to encourage you to keep praying and never define God. What I mean is do not put God in a box. Do not say that God can only work like this way or that. If you do, you might be shocked in how God actually works. He is not confined by our boxes, he is so much more
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
2 kings 4
What your about to read is something you might think is naïve. It does not seem possible to accomplish and honestly, you do not see many people who have this quality. I know that I lack it and everyone else I know of lacks some of it. The “it” is confidence.
The fact is that we see this all throughout the Bible. This chapter is about Elisha, but you also see it in every book of the Bible. There is this quality of assurance that these Bible heroes have. People like Elisha, David, Peter, Paul, etc. All these figures obtained this state in life. In this chapter, Elisha is doing all these miracles and almost seems non chalant about it. I imagine him just walking around with not a care in the world. He sees people hurting and I can picture him saying “Hmmmm, your son is dead? Ok (says a little quick prayer), all better.” I can imagine him with this great attitude and great assurance that God is going to take care of him and use him to meet the needs of others.
Do you have this type of confidence? When we look at the world around us, this characteristic seems like a rarity. We are constantly worrying and complaining day to day. Now granted, I know that we all go through tough times and our faith gets tested. However, so did all the heroes of the Bible. Each one went through tough times and some even doubted and worried; however, in almost every case, all of them knew that God was going to take care of them. Look at king David. There were a couple of times he got CHASED out of his kingdom and one of these times was by his own son. Then to top it all off, his son slept with his fathers’ wives. Now that is something to really wrestle with; however, David had this confidence in God that he would make things right and did not have one worry about it.
That is a good point, it is the confidence in GOD that these people had. That is so powerful. Today, Christians still lack that. Imagine if you walked with the same attitude as David? Imagine if you walked with the confidence of the apostle John. John was hunted down and thrown in boiling tar, yet he still had confidence in God. Nothing shook him.
I want to encourage you with a question; Do you have confidence? I know I lack it, but do you? We are called not to worry about anything and God will take care of us. He tells us that we are more valued then the animals that he takes care of. He tells us that we are his children and that he will love us unconditionaly. He tells us he will protect us, listen to us, lead us, teach us, etc. So the question is why don’t you walk in confidence? Remember, you do not hold God up, God holds you up. Today I want to challenge you to walk with confidence in God and see where it takes you.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Do you remember the church song so many of us used to sing? It went something like this: “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine; Let it shine; Let it shine.” When I read these verses that were written by Paul it reminded me of this song. We all have a calling and Paul is really so clever in how he puts it. We need to be “People of Light”. It’s not about race. Personally when I hear this phrase I think of knights slaying demons and dragons. They are destroying the darkness. My thought is not far off from Paul’s meaning.
What does a lamp do when you turn it on in a dark room? Well, it lights up all the dark corners of course. God calls us to do the same thing. This little light of ours needs to be shined. This little light is actually not that tiny. It is huge and powerful it is the light of Jesus. Paul describes us and tells us how to shine this way: “You used to be like people living in the dark, but now you are people of the light because you belong to the Lord. So act like people of the light and make your light shine. Be good and honest and truthful, as you try to please the Lord.” (5:8-10). to translate this further, Paul is saying that we were all dark; however, now that we have Jesus, we are people of the light. We are God’s children. The way we shine is to do things to please Jesus. That’s all we have to do. Paul goes on to say that we should avoid worthless things that are being done in the dark. In verse 12 he mentions how disgusting they are. Think about that for a second. We all know things that are done in the dark and the perverseness and stupidity that lies in it. Think of how perverted pornography is; there are genres that include senior citizens. How about drug usage or even alcohol? Have you ever seen a person stoned out of their mind? They act so dumb. Almost all of us have seen a drunk, and they can’t even walk straight and seem “slow”. “But the light will show what these things are really like.”-vs. 13 it’s interesting, having Jesus is like having a filter. We see things for what they really are. Think about this fact throughout your day.
Like in all the medieval movies and shows darkness is appealing, but it always ends with a dark twist and almost always kills. It’s the same thing in real life. If you give in to darkness you are killing yourself. Sometimes this death is physically (by slowly killing your body), but it is definitely always spiritually. That is why we feel the need for more darkness because we want it to make us feel alive. Are you following?
I know this little devotional can be confusing; it is mostly my thoughts all jumbled world. Let’s show people the darkness that they are really engulfed in. Remember, it is not in a judging way because Paul also talked about love. We need to do all this in love. There are numerous ways we can shine. For example, verse 19 talks about meeting together to sing songs and worship with all your heart. We can pray together and all this light will build with such a magnitude that it will burst out from us and spill out to the dark corners that surround us. I challenge you to shine today. As Paul says in verse 16, “These are evil times, so make every minute count.”
Sunday, October 3, 2010
2 kings 3
Today, I wanted to share a story with you. This tale is about the faithfulness of God and how he looks after those who love him. The story takes place in the dark times of the Middle East. It was the time when Israel had kings with its 11 tribes. Judah also had its set of kings since the huge split from Israel. This time was a time of war and Israel was in a state of rebellion. The people of Moab, who were the subjects of the Israelites, rebelled and refused to listen to Israel’s king. The Moabites stopped paying tribute and began to fortify their towns.
Now the king of Israel was a wicked king. He did very defiling and immoral acts. It ranged from prostitution to murder. This king declared war and began to march with his allies. His allies were the king of Edom and the King of Judah, whose name was Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was the only king in love with God. He did great things to keep his people on the right path. God did not like his alliance with the king of Israel, but God loved him. Well, the King of Judah began to march with Israel.
God turned his back on Israel because they were lost in their sin and rejected, but since Jehoshaphat was with them, he helped Israel out. Let me state it a different way. God’s wrath was on Israel and he was teaching them a lesson, but because of Jehoshaphat he decided to help Israel defeat the armies of Moab. That is something very interesting and intense. God loved Jehoshaphat so much because he was a man of faith and he was seeking God out always that He turned away his wrath for the sake of his child
God loves you so much and is faithful to you if you are faithful to him. He will help you in your times of needs and trials. If you ask him, he will even help out the people around you. He will help out your friends, family, and your enemies. He will help the people that stand in your way because you are faithful. I learned a long time ago something incredible about God. No matter how much you serve him, he will always out serve you. You can give all your possessions away and go to the mountains of Russia to serve God, but in some way or another, he will meet your needs in such a miraculous way that it makes your act of sacrifice seem small. Try it out. God will be faithful to you, his child.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
There was a famous song in the 80’s that talked about the message of love. Actually, he asked “What is love?” Love is so important to the Christian walk. You hear pastors and church leaders talk about it all the time, at least I hope you do. Honestly, love is probably one (if not the one) of the most important central concepts in Christianity. In today’s world, there are so many doctrines. There is the Health and Wealth that talks about how God will bless you. There is the fire and brimstone that talks about judgment and how you are going to hell. There are doctrines about saints, the trinity, demons, gods, legalism, etc. If you can imagine any strange concept, there is probably a doctrine that follows that.
In Ephesians 4, Paul discusses all these “ideologies”. “We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place.” (Eph 4:14). Paul here states that there are false teachings and that we need to be wise and mature, but how do we do this? There are so MANY teachings that exist in our society. How do we weed out the garbage? Paul even gave an answer to this, and the solution is with love. “Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head of the body. Christ holds it together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong BECAUSE OF LOVE.” (vs. 15, 16) Love is the filter that we should put all these doctrines into. If something does not have love, it is definitely a false teaching. If it hates anyone like gays, murderers, Mormons, Muslims, etc, it is definitely not from God. This is an amazing way to really see what is from God.
There is also something that Paul says that is really awesome. In Eph 4:25-5:5 he talks about how we should be. The “Rules for the new life”, or in other words, “How to be a Christian”; this whole section is all about love. It goes into loving others, helping the needy, saying the right things to others, and even loving yourself. The last part is what really gets me. A lot of us beat ourselves up when we screw up; however, Paul does not believe that. Paul talks about doing as God does. That incorporates so much. Would Jesus be a racist? Would he hate gay people? Would he beat himself up? I don’t think so. We need to love all of these people. If we don’t then we are not worshiping God we are worshiping idols. We are going against God. This battle that is raging will be a losing one. The solution is that we need to mimic Jesus. It is an impossible task but Paul says something that brings hope. In vs. 30 he says “Don’t make God’s Spirit sad. The Spirit makes you sure that someday you will be free from your sins.” So don’t give up hope; the work in you will one day be completed. Have joy and continue to love.
Friday, October 1, 2010
2 kings 1
Ignoramus is such a peculiar word. Personally I find the sound of it kind of funny. It probably honestly has nothing to do with what I am going to talk about today. I just have another story to share about another king that followed the path of other kings and truly missed out on what God had for him
There was a king named Ahaziah. He was a small king and ruled an even smaller land. This land was Israel and like his father, he made a huge mistake. He completely ignored God. He even fell through a roof and severely hurt himself. All the medicine people in the land could not help him, but he had a brilliant idea to look to God for help; however, it was not the God that led people out of Egypt, and it was certainly not the God that saved his land and even his father many times. No, it was the God of the philistines, who was actually Israel’s enemy. His name was Baalzebub. He went to him and completely ignored God. He did not even try to seek out God’s help. It was like he pretended he was not even there. So what happened to this tiny king? Well, the story is brief; Ahaziah did not get better but much worse. The fall that happened to him ended up stopping his heart.
Now Ahaziah was not to smart, but my question for you is: are you any smarter? We might not be on our deathbed but how long does it take you to seek God out when you are going through problems? Is he your last option or your first? The answer for many of us is that God is our last option. When a problem arises and we can’t fix it, we tend to look to others and when they can’t help we tend to go to the next option, then the next, and so on. God is sometimes, if not mostly, the last option we use? My question is why? Why do we wait till the last minute? Why do we not seek him out first? Are we any smarter then Ahaziah? I can honestly say that in my life, I have done the same fatal mistake of completely ignoring God in my struggles. I might have not died but I have suffered immensely for it. I have felt the pain and depression that comes from facing almost innumerable odds.
It’s like having a huge migraine and refusing to take Advil. It’s like getting surgery and refusing anesthetics. It just does not seem smart and it tends to lead to a lot of pain. I want to encourage you to START with God. When you go through something, seek him out first. He should be our FIRST option and not our last. If you are truly seeking God out, he will never let you down.