Rituals of Religion

Scripture: Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”  But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided. John 9:16 NIV

Observation: This passage made it clear to me that some people love the created more than the Creator. In this case the created being the rituals of religion. What does God want, clean hands from proper washing procedures or pure hearts from truly changed lives? I know the answer. The writer aineo from my notes section wrote “Which Are You?”, it makes the point perfectly.
“This made me think of how religious we are sometimes. Ask yourself, if some out of town strangers in an old beat up car were in a bad accident in front of your church right before the service, would your church members dirty up their clothes to help? Would the service be postponed or canceled in order to help those in need? There are all kinds of scenarios that could be painted, but the ultimate question is the same – are you someone that loves people, or are you religious like the Pharisees?”

Application: We need to examine our hearts and know that we are where God wants us to be.

Prayer: Father, help me to know that I am where I should be according to your will. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen

Doug

Bring Honor, Not Shame

Scripture: May those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me, O Lord, the Lord Almighty; may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me, O Lord.  Psalm 69:6 NIV

Observation: The Psalmist is crying to the Lord to not be the cause of disgrace for him or other believers.

Application: That is my prayer, to not be the cause of disgrace for God or his church.  I owe it to my God, my wife, my children, my church and my coworkers to be consistent in my words and my actions.  If I fail that I bring shame upon myself for hypocrisy.  That hypocrisy is transferred to all believers; the church is harmed and God’s commission is stymied.  We have seen in the recent past how the sins of Christians, specifically famous church leaders, has translated into a “Christ-bashing fest.”  I can think of no greater insult to the Lord than to bring shame upon him and his church because of my sin. I pray that I never bring shame to either the Lord or fellow believers.

Prayer: Father, help me to live out the truth that I proclaim. Don’t let me ever be the cause of shame for you or the church. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

 

So That No One May Boast

Scripture: But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NIV

Observation: Paul explains how God uses the weak to humble the strong.

Application: This is how Jesus conducted his ministry. He always went to the wretched. He said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor…” Mark 2:17a NIV Jesus made the point that the weak in spirit need the Lord just like the elites. By ministering to them as the “high and mighty” leadership looked on he illustrated God’s plan to be all inclusive and to bring all men to himself through Christ.

Prayer: Father, thank you for wanting me so much that you sent Jesus. I pray that I am worthy of you and of Jesus’ sacrifice for me. Amen

Doug

I Believe

Scripture: Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:28,29 NIV

Observation: Jesus answers questions from a crowd of followers.

Application: Have you ever wondered what sort of “works” God requires? “Give to charity or volunteer your time and effort,” “do good to others.” Yes, but those are results of our changed lives through faith in Christ. The one “work” that God demands is simply “to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:29b

Prayer: Father, thank you for sending Jesus. I believe in his sacrifice for me. Amen

Doug

Be Like Moses

Scripture: Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. Numbers 12:3 NIV

Observation: Miriam and Aaron began complaining about Moses as the only one that God would communicate through.

Application: Moses was once a son of Pharoah; a ruler of Egypt. He was called by God to lead the Israelite nation out of slavery. This was a man destined for greatness in Egypt and yet when called by God he said, “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.” Exodus 4:10 NIV Moses was such a great man God told Miriam and Aaron after they were caught grumbling against him, “…When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face,clearly and not in riddles…” Numbers 12:6-8a NIV We should make an effort to humble ourselves and be like Moses. That humility just may make a difference to someone to whom we are sharing Christ.

Prayer: Father, help me to be humble in all that I do so that people see you when they look at me. Amen

Doug

God is Holy

Scripture: The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
Leviticus 19:1,2 NIV

Observation: God is Holy.

Application: I’ve read through Leviticus and I’ve not really been expecting to get any good instruction from the book. For the most part it’s a book of “dont’s.” Yesterday I had an occasion to sit and talk awhile with my lead pastor and his wife about our daily reading; we are all reading the same passages daily as a church. We laughed about some of the “silly” do’s and dont’s in Leviticus. I know that much of the book is written to keep the Israelites from harm but I’ve thought it’s a bunch of antiquated rules that no longer apply…or so I thought. After we had some light-hearted talk about the book my lead pastor became serious. He told us that because God is Holy, He cannot be in the presence of sin or imperfection. It’s impossible for Him and imperfection to exist together. It can’t happen. Leviticus is a book given by God to man to make it possible for us imperfect beings to fellowship with Him. Whoa, the boring, sometimes almost laughable book of the bible was written for a noble purpose, to bring King and subject together. The Levitical list is specific and detailed and it leaves no room for error. Unfortunately we, man, don’t have the ability to adhere to the vast list of regulations. God saw that and so He sent us Christ to bridge the gap between himself and us. Christ’s blood covers our inability to be perfect, it covers our sin. Now, we too can have fellowship with God. Today God verified my lead pastor’s words and showed me in the first two passages of verse 19 why Leviticus was written. It was written because we are sinful and God is Holy. It’s a book that is a reminder of how much God loves us. He sent Christ to accomplish the “unaccomplishable” and make it possible for us to be with God.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for showing me how much you love me through the book of Leviticus. Thank you for Christ who covers my failings and allows me to come into fellowship with you. I love you. Amen

Doug

Prayer is Power

Scripture: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Observation: The attacks brought on by Satan are subtle and constant.   Only through our Lord Jesus Christ  and the power of his shed blood at Calvary and his ability to conquer death do we as Christians have the power to push back and tear down Satan’s strongholds.   Our salvation, self-control and freedom from sin is obtained and maintained through our conversations with God through prayer.

Application: Prayer is power.  In his name we claim the promise made at the cross and found in his shed blood. We must pray without fear. Sometimes when I pray only a moan comes out; words are difficult and that’s okay. The Lord sees the inside, he knows our thoughts. We don’t have to be eloquent.  I praise him that we are not graded on our grammar or expression.  The Lord is a God of specifics…details. He wants our prayers to be full of confidence, believing that freedom, healing and salvation are already on their way. So lift your voice without fear and claim the destruction of Satan’s work. Pray with confidence!  Pray to break down the thoughts and habits that keep you away from your Savior and the relationship he wants with you. “Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.” Psalms 19:13

Prayer: Lord, I claim your authority over all things natural and supernatural. Through your power and word I take captive the thoughts and actions that keep me away from you.   Satan I resist your temptations.  Lord break down any strongholds the enemy has in my life.   Lord I know you are working in my life and I pray that you bring my every thought and action into obedience to you.  Amen

Laurie

Daily Priority

The following blog entry is compliments of Pastor Leon Hiebert, Community Care Pastor of Generations Church, Andover, KS

Scripture: Numbers 28:23 Prepare these in addition to the regular morning burnt offering.

Observation: Nothing could replace the regular morning burnt offering. Those offerings offered on the special days were always in addition to the daily burnt offering. This verse is speaking of the Passover offerings. And as is repeated over and over in this chapter, the offerings for each special day were not to take the place of the daily offering.
How we need to understand that success lies in our daily habits. It is the daily routine that sets the priorities and pattern for our live. The special event should support the daily pattern, not take its place. Too often the opposite is true. We fashion our daily lives to support the special event rather than vice versa.

Application: I do not believe I can survive by eating only one meal each week; neither should I think I can get by on what I get on Sunday in church. It is being faithful in my daily prayer and Bible reading that brings growth and strength in my spiritual walk. I make time to feed my physical body each day, how much more should I make time to feed my spirit.

Prayer: Lord, Thank You for allowing me to live in a time and country in which the Bible is so readily available. Forgive me for the days I ignored You and Your Word. Amen.

Judgmental? Not Me…

Scripture: Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”   The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?  Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?  Luke 13:14-16 NIV

Observation: The Church leaders, Pharisees, and people in the temple that day were quick to accuse Jesus of “breaking rules” or  not doing things acoording to what they thought was right.

Application: This really saddens me.  This truth is still one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the church and believers today.  We spend way too much time being critical of what other Christians are doing.  The way is narrow and scripture tells us that many will be left behind, read Luke 13.  Only the Father has the authority to judge and correct us.  Therefore set your sights on knowing and sharing all about our Savior;  let the Father do the judging.

Prayer: Heavenly father look within me and show me the areas of my life where I am judgmental instead of encouraging.  Lord teach me how I can affect your kingdom by loving and encouraging others to seek and know you.  Amen

Laurie

 

Unforgivable Sin

Scripture: And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Luke 12:10 NIV

Observation: I’ve often wondered how a person can blaspheme the Holy Spirit and not be forgiven. I went searching in the “Notes” of my YouVersion bible and I found the following. I hope that it helps you understand too.

Application: “Unforgivable Sin” by karensigman

“I have never totally understood the unforgivable sin. When I read verse 10 I got out my life application bible and looked to see what it said. “Jesus said that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable. This has worried many sincere Christians, but it does not need to. The unforgivable sin means attributing to Satan the work that the Holy Spirit accomplishes. Thus it is deliberate and ongoing rejection of the Holy Spirit’s work and even of God himself. A person who has committed this sin has shut himself or herself off from God so thoroughly that he or she is unaware of any sin at all. A person who fears having committed it shows, by his or her very concern, that he or she has not sinned in this way.” This helped me a lot. I hope it helps someone who is reading this.”

Prayer: Father, I pray that I never sin against any part of your character. Amen

Doug