Love My Creation

Scripture: What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?  You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.  You made him ruler over the works of your hands;  Psalm 8:4-6 NIV

Observation: God created and we are to care for his creation.

Application: God created all things and by him all thing were created. He made us, man, a little lower than the angels. We are to care for all of His creation. Not just the trees, not just the unborn babies, not just my car, your house, or my friends–ALL things, even our enemies.  This is especially hard for me. Jesus had enemies. He had people that tried to twist his words so that they could accuse him. He had people that lied to him and about him, stole from him, and set him up. He had people that chose a murder and thief instead of him to be spared from crucifiction. He had the people that flogged him and killed him.  Yet, he still loved them and cared for them. Even with his last breaths, he asks God to forgive them. How much more of an example of caring, loving, stewardship do we need?  There are many groups of people that want nothing more than to belittle, dismiss, and harm Christians just to silence us. God created them too and we are charged with caring for and loving them just like we love helpless unborn babies.

Prayer: God, give me the strength to care for and love your creation as you expect me to do. Amen

Doug

What Have You Done With What the Lord Has Given You?

Scripture: While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.  He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return.  So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas.‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.  “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ ” ‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’  “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’  “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’  “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth.21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’  “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow?  Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’  “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ ” ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’  “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.  But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them–bring them here and kill them in front of me.’ ”  What have you done with what the Lord has given you?  Luke 17:11-27 NIV

Observation: Jesus tells us a parable to demonstrate how God wants us to use what he gives us to further his kingdom.

Application: I need to look at my life closely and identify all the Lord has done and given to me.   Am I taking full advantage of these blessings?   Have I turned them back to him with a marked return on his investment in me?  Have I kept it “safe,” afraid of risking for my savior? Maybe I think believing is enough.

Prayer: Father, most of the time I feel inadequate as your child.  Probably because I don’t invest enough time culivating what you have given me spiritually.  I have to know you in order to increase your investment in me.  Lord, I surrender my time and life to you.  Please help me to use all you have given me and to be diligant in knowing you more.  Amen

Laurie

Our Brother’s Keeper

Scripture: Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come.  It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.  So watch yourselves.
Luke 17:1-3 NIV

Observation: Jesus is instructing his disciples on their responsibility for another’s actions.

Application “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9 NIV Cain’s question to God is answered in Luke 17.  Jesus’ admonition about bringing sin behavior to another clearly reveals that, yes indeed, we are our brother’s keepers. We have a mighty responsibility to conduct ourselves above reporach.  Remember that we have but to call upon the Lord. We call upon him, we take on his attributes, we become Christ-like, and we will be above reproach. The possibility that we would bring sin upon another, cause another to sin, is no longer a possibility.

Prayer: Father, help me to be Christ-like in my daily life so that I never cause another person to sin against you.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit that guides my actions and attitude. I pray that I honor you daily and that I protect my “brothers” from harm. Amen

Doug

Missed Opportunities

Scripture: “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’  Luke 16:25,26 NIV

Observation: The rich ruler was in hell and he was begging Abraham through Lazarus for relief from his agony.

Application: It could be misunderstood from this passage that because he had a good earthly life the rich man was being punished with eternal damnation. Likewise, because Lazarus had a bad earthly life he was being rewarded with heaven. Wealth and/or the lack of wealth is not the issue. The issue is what each did with the gifts that God gave them. What do we do with the gifts God gives us?  What do we do with our salvation? Do we keep it to ourselves or do we let others in on the secret? What do we do with our wealth?  Do we hoard it or do we share it?  The ruler implied two things in his agony. First, he was all about himself which was most likely the way he lived his life. Secondly, he implied the Lazarus was a giver. It can be deduced that Lazarus thought of others before himself during his life. That’s why the ruler asked Father Abraham to please let Lazarus dip his finger into water to quench his thirst. The rich ruler squandered his opportunities in life to be a blessing to others–Lazarus apparently did not.  What will you do today to be a blessing to someone else? Don’t squander your opportunities in this life.

Prayer: Father, thank you for loving me and allowing me to bless others. I don’t ever want to look back on my life and regret missed opportunities. Amen

Doug

Our Protector

Scripture: Then they set out, and the terror of God fell upon the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.  Genesis 35:5 NIV

Observation: Jacob and his family, servants, livestock, and possessions were in a country that was hostile to them. His oldest sons had just defended the honor of their sister and the people of the area could seek retaliation for what they had done. However, the Lord promised them protection.

Application: Wow!  When we are God’s people, his possession, we are protected by the creator of the universe. He made a mountain and he promises to protect me, “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 35:5b What do we have to fear?  He is with us in all that we do.

Prayer: Father, thank you for protecting us. I ask that you watch over all of my wife and kids today in whatever they are involved.  Bless their day and give them success as they work, study, and play. Amen

Doug

Greed…Out-centered or Self-Centered?

Scripture: Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  Luke 11:15 NIV

Observation: Are we not the most materialistic beings God created?  We judge our life on what we have, cars, home, toys, even our appearance.  It takes money to have “perfect” eyes, nose, hips.  We covet what others have and will go to extreme means to get “it.”

Application: Re-evaluate your life, priorities, goals.  Are they worthy of  God?  Do they further the kingdom?  Are they out-centered or self-centered?  Are they full of “wants?”

Prayer: Lord help me, I need to change my focus.  Why do I want what others have can I not be content knowing, serving, and following you?  Lord have you not provided all I could ever need?  Lord help me identify my greedy thoughts and give them to you because laying them at your feet is the only way to let go of them.  Amen

Laurie

Don’t be a Pharisee

Scripture: “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.” Luke 11:43 NIV

Observation: Pomp and ceremony, the adoration of others, all of the best that could be had, those were the things that were important to the religious leaders of whom Jesus spoke.

Application: I don’t know what to write today without becoming offensive. I have many aspects, good and bad, of many congregations of today, flying around in my head. To call any one out could and would be hypocritical of me–me personally.  There are churches that are more interested in their appearance in their community than winning souls for Christ; more interested in carpet and stained glass than ministering to their neighborhoods. Who am I to criticize?  I am them–I am the church. I too have been given a great commission from the Lord. What have I done with my charge?  As I write this I realize that not until I started this daily devotion and sharing had I done much of anything to reach out to others for Christ. I’ve always been pretty content to set back and be a Pharisee, enjoy a little bit of church without having to put myself too far out there. I’d attend, I’d fix s thing or two, here and there, but I wouldn’t really try to do more, to become more involved, to go further out on a limb for the Lord.  I know that I’ll never be a Billy Graham, God doesn’t want me to be, He already has one of those. God wants me to be willing. Willing to listen to Him and share a truth now and then. Willing to go out on a limb for Him. The truth is if we aren’t careful we will all neglect our calling, our great commission, and we will become very much like the Pharisees.  I pray that I am no longer like a Pharisee.

Prayer: Father, forgive me for being a Pharisee. Put it on my heart to desire to reach out to others with your truth. Amen

Doug