It’s God’s

Scripture: “ ‘May another take his place of leadership.’ Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.  Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.  Acts 1:20b-26 NIV

Observation: The apostles took it upon themselves to choose Judas’ replacement.

Application: Jesus chose his followers, his apostles. I believe that God was in the process of choosing Judas’ replacement, the thirteenth, Paul. The choice of Matthias by casting lots, by rolling dice (gambling), was another example of the apostles not getting it. Many times when Jesus was still with the apostles he asked them “are you so dull?” They had difficulty understanding at times. When men choose to do things their way and ignore God, they fail. Matthias ministry never truly existed.  He never made an impact. Paul on the other hand took the gospel to the Gentiles. Through his ministry you and I have been included into God’s chosen people, we’ve been grafted in. FYI, we received a large portion of the New Testament of our bible because of Paul’s writings.  Instead of waiting on the Lord and following his desire, the apostles gambled–and they lost. We should learn from their impatience, it is God’s ministry, it’s God’s message, the gospel, and we are subject to his wishes as we take it to the world.

Prayer: Father, give us the patience to wait on you for guidance as we minister to others. Amen

Doug

Why are we so hardheaded?

Scripture: But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.  Exodus 10:20 NIV

Observation: How many times did the Lord have to demonstrate his authority to Pharaoh?  Horrible things were happening to the Egyptians, yet Pharaoh refused to acknowledge God’s soverignity over all creation.

Application: How many times do I just forge ahead without the Lord’s blessing or how often do I face a challenge and think I can handle it without going to the Lord first?  On a whole worldview, how many world tragedies have to happen (in specific locations around the world) before we acknowledge the Lord’s purging of evil from his creation?  Notice how we think we can pickup the pieces with our good will organizations yet those, often times, are usually as corrupt as can be as well and evil endures.

Prayer: Lord certainly your return to earth is coming soon.  You are sending strong messages that sin will not be tolerated.  Lord help me to speak your truth without fear and help me to acknowledge your power over my life seeking your will first in all things.  Amen

Laurie

Go

Scripture: So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”  But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”  And God said, “I will be with you.”  Exodus 3:10-12a NIV
Scripture: Moses said to the Lord, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”  The Lord said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord?Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”  Exodus 4:10-12 NIV

Observation: Moses was sent by God to Pharaoh to demand that he release the nation of Israel from bondage.

Application: God sent Moses and told him that he would give him the words to speak.  Moses didn’t go down easily, he didn’t go down without a fight. He gave excuse after excuse as to why he shouldn’t be the one to be sent. Still, God intended for him to go. Much like Moses, many times we are hesitant to go.  We are meant to go into the world and minister to it.  Yet we find every reason under the sun as to why we can’t or why someone else would be a better choice.  We, like Moses, are scared to go. God reminds us that he will be with us, he will give us the strength, and he will give us the words–we have but to go.

Prayer: Father,  give us the courage to go into the world as you desire. When we are weak, make us strong. When we are mute, give us the words. Amen

Doug

My Lord is my Lord…Today…Tomorrow and Forever!

Scripture: “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.  Luke 21:32-33 NIV

Observation: Joy, peace, and wonder; sometimes, strife and tragedy, come and go;  still life goes on!  However, the Lord and His Word are eternal!

Application: As we go through life each of us will experience struggles, tragedies and even abuse so subtle that people around us can’t see our hurting soul inside.  No one and no circumstance can take away the Lord!

Prayer: Lord my soul will never have enough of you!  You are the one constant in my life.  Even as I grow older and can’t keep up with the demands of this life you are there loving me and accepting me just as I am.  Thank you for the gift of your written word where I can find you and learn of your plans for me.  Thank you so much Lord for giving me so many ways to see and know you.  Amen

Laurie

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

The Rocks Cry Out

Scripture: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”  “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”  Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”  “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”  Luke 19:38-40 NIV

Observation: All creation will proclaim that Jesus is Lord.

Application: Our responsibility to Jesus is to acknowledge him before men. That’s our great commission.  “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.'”  Mark 16:15 NIV.  Jesus is the good news. If we don’t tell the world about him, our trees and rocks will.

Prayer: Father, thank you for Jesus. Help me to boldly proclaim him before men. Amen

Doug

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

My Righteousness

Scripture: Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High.  Psalm  7:8 NIV

Observation: David was a man after God’s own heart and it was that chasing after God that made David righteous.

Application: Are we ready to be judged based on our righteousness, on our integrity?  I’m not sure that I am. I feel very unrighteous and unworthy most of the time. I don’t question my integrity but my past haunts me. Satan knows that about me and he uses it to get me to call into question my standing with the Lord, my righteousness. Praise God that Jesus is my righteousness. I can never be worthy on my own. It’s Jesus’ righteousness that makes it possible for me to be deemed righteous.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for standing in for me and for being my righteousness.  I could never be considered worthy without your sacrifice. Help me to honor you in my daily life as I interact with others and always behave lovingly and with integrity. Amen

Doug