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

God the Forgiver

Scripture: Now Joseph gave these instructions to the steward of his house: “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s silver in the mouth of his sack.  Then put my cup, the silver one, in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the silver for his grain.” And he did as Joseph said.  As morning dawned, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys.  They had not gone far from the city when Joseph said to his steward, “Go after those men at once, and when you catch up with them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil?  Isn’t this the cup my master drinks from and also uses for divination? This is a wicked thing you have done.’ ”  Genesis 44:1-5 NIV

Observation: Joseph, number two to Pharaoh in Egypt, set up his brothers to appear to be thieves and get a little pay-back  before he acted as an agent of God to create the nation of Israel.

Application: Joseph was Pharaoh’s second in command in Egypt. He was tasked with ensuring that all of Egypt would survive a world-wide famine.  He was put in that position, by God, through his brother’s deceit, to give guidance to Pharaoh and to save Egypt from the famine.  Ultimately, his place in Egypt set in motion the creation of the nation of Israel.  Joseph knew that God had a plan for his life but knowing that truth didn’t stop him from putting his brothers through fear and dread before he revealed himself to them.  He was a dictator. While he saved Egypt, his family, and surely countless others, he was a man, with a memory, and he made his brothers suffer before he provided for their needs.

This is where my thoughts would not come together.  Mom and I talked and she finished this devotional for me.

Dad ask me to put together some feelings about today’s reading.  He was having trouble putting into words what he felt the Lord had to say.
The real issue with Joseph is that he was unable to truly live out forgivenss as Christ does with us.  Let me give an example, someone hurts you deeply and as a Christian you forgive them, you even go to them and tell them they are forgiven.  Your relationship is repaired.  Time passes and that person has a hardship. Down deep inside you think that they have gotten what they deserve.  The joy you feel in their suffering doesn’t feel right to you, hopefully.  We need to strive to forgive as Christ does, when he forgives, he forgives forever.  He sees us pay consequences for sin or be hurt…and He never thinks for a nano moment it’s what we deserve–instead he weeps.  We as humans lack this ability, if we say it’s not true we’re lying to ourselves.  We have Christ on our side.  We need to give these feelings, one by one, to him and let him help us truly forgive!

Prayer: Heavenly Father with all my heart help me to learn your way of forgiveness.  I acknowledge it will take me my earthly lifetime to get a handle on these feelings and release them to you. Amen

Doug and 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

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

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

Feed the World

Scripture: He replied, “You give them something to eat.”  Luke 9:13 NIV

Observation: Jesus’ words to the disciples are words to us as well.

Application: Jesus was literally telling his disciples to feed a multitude of townspeople.  His words to us are to figuratively feed, “therefore go and make disciples of all nations” Matthew 28:19a.  We are to share the word with those in our sphere of influence. We are to mentor young Christians as they grow in their faith.  We are to grow in our faith and as we grow we are to guide others to the Lord.  We are to lean on the Lord for our strength and teach others to do the same. We are to spread the word, the “good news” of Christ. Go feed the world.

Prayer: Father, help us to carry out our great commission. Help us to feed the world your gosple. Amen

Doug

God Knows

Scripture: For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.  Luke 8:17 NIV

Observation: God knows and sees all.  He knows before you even admit. He’s the ultimate lawyer–without the lying!

Application: Wow, how many times do I grumble, lust, act hatefully, or just plain hate, and then think “Oh how clever am I?, I can sin and get away with it. All I have to do is repent?”  God will not be mocked and my sin/repent, sin/repent act can wear a little thin.  God deserves better from me than a little worldliness here, a little God there.  This is difficult for me to write because that scripture convicts me.  I struggle with much sin in my life and always seem to sin knowing God will forgive–that’s dangerous!  I (we) must intentionally put God’s desire for my (our) life ahead of my (our) own worldly urges. James 4:7, “submit to God, RESIST the devil, and he will flee from you.”. That scripture must become part of my (our) being, my (our) character.  I (we) owe it to God and to myself (ourselves).

Prayer: Father, help me to put James 4:7 into my heart and help me to make it part of who I am. Forgive me for the sorry Christian that I truly am.  Amen

Doug

God’s Value System

Scripture: I tell you, among those born of woman there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”  Luke 7:28 NIV

Observation: God’s order of things is all backwards according to man’s standard. Doesn’t he get it?

Application: Look at our lives.  I’ll bet some of the greatest influences on our faith have come from those of a “lower station” in life. God has blessed me with a Godly lieutenant, two Godly privates, a beautiful God-fearing wife, and now a wise pastor for a son. All of these people, and they are just some of the great influences in my life, have been “lower” in the food chain. But, God in his wisdom uses, and has since the beginning, people of lesser station to teach us “high and mighties” his true plan. Maybe it’s us that just don’t get it. God’s value system is AWESOME!!!

Prayer: Father, thank you for teaching us worth as you use any and all of your valued children to share the good news of Christ with us. The Pharisees had nothing on many of our churches of today–but, those churches are US. We all have worth and value in your eyes Lord, help us to remember your truth that “the last will be first.” Amen

Doug

Love Your Enemies

Scripture: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.  Luke 6:32 NIV

Observation: We are to love our enemies.

Application: As I write this the local news is on. A story about the killing of Dr. Tiller has just run. This passage speaks to me of the hatred for his enemy which drove Reoder to murder being in direct contrast to the Lord’s teaching.  While abortion is wrong–the punishment for that crime is the Lord’s to give, not ours. Our responsibility is to pray for Tiller’s heart change, not ending his life.

Prayer: Father, help me to love those who hate you and me.  Amen

Doug