Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Life Journal 5-8-2013

How I want to be known

(S) Scripture
2 Samuel 16:23 (NIV)
23  Now in those days the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel's advice.

(O) Observation
Even though Ahithophel's advice seems strange to us Absalom and David took it as Godly advice.

(A) Application
As I read this scripture my thought was, "That's how I want to be known." I want to be known as one whose advice came only after inquiring of God and His Word. If that is the basis of the counsel I give then I will constantly be connecting people with the Lord and He can handle any issue they might be facing. If I am just giving my own advice then I am just blowing so much smoke that may or may not be from God or helpful at all. Today I want to saturate any counsel I give in prayer and the Word.

(P) Prayer
Lord make me quick to listen and slow to speak. Let me offer advice only after I have sought you and your Word. Amen

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Life Journal 05-01-2013

Misused Scripture

(S) Scripture
Matthew 18:20 (NASB77)
20 "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst."

(O) Observation
This verse comes in the context of conflict resolution. When we gather to resolve conflict in Jesus' name he is there with us.

(A) Application
Far too many times I find myself using this verse to give some kind of encouragement and authority to people coming together for prayer. Often this verse is used by others to do the same. As I reflect on this I wonder if it does not give the impression that He is not with us at other times of prayer. I would never say that because I know it is not true but am I saying there is more of Jesus present when more than one gathers? No, we have all we need being in His presence. Today I will remember that I have all of Jesus I need every moment of every day. I will also remember that it is His presence in a group that gives authority to resolving the conflict in a way that pleases God.

(P) Prayer
Lord help me to remember that you are all I need and that I have full access to you each and every moment of every day. It is my desire to live in your presence and to experience life as you intended it to be lived. Amen

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Life Journal 11-29-2012

There is More than Joy, Prayer and Thanksgiving

(S) Scripture
1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 (NIV)
14  And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
15  Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.    

(O) Observation
Most Christians are real familiar with the verses that follow these. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

16  Be joyful always;
17  pray continually;
18  give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus

These verses (16-18) deal with me and it is interesting that we neglect or skip over verses 14-15 that deal with how we are to treat others. Just how wrong headed is it for us to neglect how we are to act toward others and focus only on God's blessing in our lives. Can we really rejoice, pray and give thanks while at the same time ignoring the needs of the people around us?

(A) Application
These five verses describe how God wants me to live my life. Today I will focus on how I can live out verses 14-15 while I continue to rejoice, pray and give thanks in all things. It is interesting that these verses close with "this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Today I want to be aware of when I can warn, encourage, help, be patient with, and show love to others today. I want to live life the way you intended it to be lived.

(P) Prayer
Lord, make me sensitive to and aware of your leading in my life today. Give me opportunity to live out these verses. Amen

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Life Journal 11-28-1012

Who is Your Target Group

(S) Scripture
Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)
18  Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

(O) Observation
This is Jesus' charge to his followers. As we are going we are to be making disciples. It is a continual process that should be as natural to us and as constant as breathing. The command is to go into all the world or "'til the whole world knows"

(A) Application
I have been to many church growth seminars that encourage you to identify a "target" group and then fashion all you do to reach that target. That sounds reasonable until you put it against what Jesus said. My friend, Roger Adams, who has planted two churches in WV, just bristled every time he heard that advice. We don't need to identify a target group, God has already done the targeting. The target is everyone because the message of Christ is for "whoever calls on the name of the Lord" (Romans 10:13).

I am also reminded that this Great Commission must be undergirded by the Great Commandment to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. As we seek to make disciples we cannot neglect the Great Criteria of "unto the least of these brothers of mine" that Jesus has called us to serve and reach for His sake.

I suppose for me today it is a reminder that every person I see today is one that needs to be discipled. My target group must be the people God brings across my path and not some artificial criteria that I set up.

(P) Prayer
Lord let me see the people around me today with your eyes and your heart. Break down any artificial criteria I have set up and let me be truly committed to the Great Commission as you gave it. Amen

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Life Journal 11-27-2012

God's Presence Surrounds Me

(S) Scripture
Psalm 125:2 (NIV)
2  As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.    

(O) Observation
The Lord protects his people like mountains protect a city. Being from West Virginia and somewhat familiar with mountains, I am aware of the protection they provide. As rugged as they may be to cross they provide great shelter and protection from many troubles.

(A) Application
Today I am aware and thankful for the protection God brings to my life. I am safe because He surrounds me with His presence. Can there be a safer place to be than surrounded by God's presence? I think not! I need not fear what others might say or think about me or how someone might act toward me because I am safe with God. This does not mean that I am exempt from times of trial and trouble. It does mean that His presence and protection are steadfast and sure and in them I am safe and need not fret. Today I will trust in His presence because I am His child.

(P) Prayer
Lord, surround me today as you have promised. Let me sense and experience your presence, protection and power. Amen

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Life Journal 11-22-2012

What Are You Talking About?

(S) Scripture
Matthew 12:34b
For the mouth speaks out of that which fill the heart.

(O) Observation
Jesus says that if you want to know what is first on your heart listen to what you talk most about. That is an indictment for most of us.

(A) Application
When I listen to what I talk most about or how I speak too often it is not very consistent with what I say is most important or first in my life. Today, though, is Thanksgiving and I can begin today by making it truly a day of giving thanks to God for every part of my life. Today and every day I want my speech to reflect my commitment to the Lord.

(P) Prayer
Lord help me to get my focus off myself and on to You so that my speech might be pleasing to You and reflect my love for you. Thank you for loving, saving, providing for and protecting me. Amen

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Life Journal 11-20-2012

Yes and No

(S) Scripture
Matthew 5:37 (NASB77)
37  "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; and anything beyond these is of evil.    

(O) Observation
Jesus recognized that the people were putting so many qualifiers into their agreements that it would not produce good results. People used these conditions and qualifiers to wiggle and squirm out of doing what they said. They also used to swear by something to show they really meant what they were saying. Jesus says this is unnecessary fro righteous people. Just say "yes" or "no" and then do what you said.

(A) Application
Too often I find myself putting these kinds of qualifiers in my statements and I am reminded that those qualifiers are from the evil one. Today I simply want to say "yes" or "no" and mean what I say and follow through. I want to be known as a man of my word.

(P) Prayer
Lord don't let me off the hook of using qualifiers. Help me to say "yes" and "no" and meant it and carry it through. Let me be a man of my word. Amen