Love the Lowly

Scripture: On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17 NIV

Observation: Jesus is instructing on his ministry. Jesus came to earth to cleanse and sanctify sinful people and to provide a means for those same sanctified sinners to live forever.

Application: When Christians look critically at Christians who “associate” with the dregs of society or have ministries that are out of the norm, aren’t they behaving like the Pharisees or like all of the people, Jew and Gentile, who shunned the Samaritans? Today at church we had a guest speaker. He spoke about this very subject. He taught from John 4:39a, “many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony…” His premiss was that the very Samaritan woman that Jesus spoke to at the well; the very Samaritan woman who shared her testimony in her hometown and caused many to believe, could be indirectly responsible for my faith. If Jesus had shunned that Samaritan woman and not cared and shared–she wouldn’t have cared and shared, her neighbors wouldn’t have believed, they wouldn’t have cared and shared, Christianity wouldn’t have spread and I may never have come to know Christ. It was a truth I hadn’t really considered before, my belief in Christ could be tied to a biblical character, especially a lowly character like a Samaritan, but it was a truth none-the-less. And it was a great reminder to me that ALL people are loved by and important to the Lord.

Prayer: Father, thank you for caring for the lowly. Help me to share you with others. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

God Wants You!

Scripture: ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ Matthew 20:12 NIV

Observation: Jesus tells a parable about workers in a vineyard.

Application: I have repeatedly compared myself to Christians whom I know and respect and I’ve always found myself lacking. As I think about this parable I believe that Jesus is telling me that my little contribution to Christianity is as important to God as Billy Graham’s. God doesn’t want two Billy Grahams. He wants one Billy Graham and he want me and he want us both to love him and he wants us to want others to find and know and love him too.

Prayer: Father, I pray that my efforts to share Christ are worthy. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

Be Child-like

Scripture: Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4 NIV

Observation: Jesus teaches the truth of humility in God’s kingdom.

Application: God not only wants to be our daddy, he wants us to be meek, child-like, and humble. I believe that when we have those attributes we are more willing to be led and more able to learn.

Prayer: Father, help me to be child-like. Teach me as I marvel and learn. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

Model Consistency

Scripture: When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.  Matthew 13:53-58 NIV

Observation: Jesus returns to his hometown and teaches in the synagogue.

Application: I have been given this message in the past as I read these passages I realized that as Christians, our pasts can haunt us. Whether we are in the position of son, brother, father, or coworker, what we were before we became Christians can impede our testimony to those that know us best. I believe that I must pray for consistency in my walk so that my current life speaks louder than my former.

Prayer: Father, help me to model consistency in my walk so that my family and friends know that there is something different in my life that they want to partake in. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

Trust God

Scripture: Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) Genesis 13:10 NIV

Observation: Abrahm and Lot part company.

Application: As I read today I was initially struck by the fact that Lot knew what “the garden of the Lord,” Eden, looked like. I wasn’t really sure what lesson that fact would teach me so I decided to read on and ponder. As I continued to think about this passage I realized the obvious, Lot jumped at the chance to seize the “best” and let his uncle have the left-overs. How often do we do the same thing? Instead of asking for guidance from God, we latch onto what is the most pleasing at the moment only to find disaster in the end. Lot lost his family and his possessions because the “best” ended up being the worst and God destroyed it all in the end. Abrahm trusted God, took the left-overs and ended up being the father of God’s chosen people. We shouldn’t trust in our fleshly desires; just like Abrahm, we should trust in the Lord.

Prayer: Father, help me to rely on you and not on my earthly urges. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

Judge Not

Scripture: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1,2 NIV

Observation: I found an entry in my Contrib section of the on-line bible written by DilaHanim. It is entitled “Judge Not.”
I am sure we have all heard the scripture “Judge not, that ye be not judged”
When I read this scripture I think of those who have made critical judgments about us, directly or indirectly. This type of judging has a spirit of criticism and those individuals that condemn others in this way have no intentions of forgiving or understanding that person. Ephesians 4:29 says “… Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear…” Instead of finding ways to build them up, encourage them, or point them in the right direction… they would rather judge and put them down, when the Word clearly asks us to build up instead of tear down. The Bible also tells us that in the same way we judge others, we will also be judged and standard that we use in judging is the standard by which we will also be judged.. Anyone remember reading a part in the Bible where it asks why we worry about the speck in someone else’s eye when we have a log in our own? Are we not being hypocrites? How about we get rid of the log in our own eye? I think we all forget that one day, we must all be in that judgment seat before God and as 2 Corinthians 5:10 states… “each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil”
Another thing that really grinds my gears is individuals never letting the past be the past. Although I have an issue with this myself when it comes to letting past failures or hurts go… but when it comes to judging others according to their past, truly irritates me. Would you want your past to interfere with your future? So why continue to throw stones at an individual in regards to their past. I have made some great friends in the last several years but if I were to judge them off of the things I have heard about them prior to meeting them, I would of missed out on some awesome friendships. Who am I to condemn someone for a bad decision made in the past. I think everyone has heard of the story of the woman in the Bible who had sinned and people of that town wanted to stone her because that is what the Law of Moses instructed them to do. Jesus responded and asked everyone in the crowd if there is an individual that is without sin, they are allowed to come up and be the first to throw a stone at her. Was she ever stoned? No.. she was forgiven and was told to sin no more.
If our Lord, Jesus Christ can forgive this woman… and forgive you for the sins of your heart… who are you to judge and not forgive others?
With that said, if you have any negative individuals in your life that constantly bring up the past and throw it in your face making it harder to move forward with your life… let those individuals go. You do not need them in your life. Once you have let them know that you have recognized your past mistakes, learned from them, and repented… they do not have the right to continue to bring you down to their miserable level.. Let God deal with those individuals and continue on the path that you were meant to be on! You are not here to please people… you are to please HIM.

Application: Amen

Prayer: Amen Father, Amen!

Doug

Be Sincere

Scripture: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Matthew 6:1 NIV

Observation: Jesus continues to teach.

Application: Jesus clearly states that we are not to publicly fast and pray–right? No! We are not to publicly fast and pray “to be seen by others.” If we pray before all meals, whether at home or at restaurants to appear holy, we should just not bother! God would prefer no prayer from us rather than one given under false pretenses. God only wants our sincere love and adoration.

Prayer: Father, I want to always sincerely live my life before you. I love you. Amen

Doug

A Dad’s Discipline

Scripture: Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Revelation 3:19 NIV

Observation: Jesus is talking of the church at Laodicea. This is the luke-warm church that is about to be “spit out!” They are neither hot nor cold. He is closing his words to John about that church with a reminder to learn from discipline when it is administered.

Application: If a parent loves his child he will discipline him instead of letting him learn that running into traffic is dangerous by allowing him to actually be hit by a car. The difference is teaching a valuable lesson and a trip to the hospital or worse. I am not a Theologian but I do know that there are occasions throughout scripture where God’s name must be translated as “daddy.” In this passage I believe that he wants us to know him as “daddy” and he wants, just like our earthly fathers, for us to heed his discipline and know that it is given for our own good.

Prayer: Daddy, thank you for loving me so much that you will show me when I sin and allow me to make amends and learn from my mistakes. Amen

Doug

Merry CHRISTmas

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 NKJV

Doug

What Power!

Scripture: Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”  John 20:21-23 NIV

Observation: Jesus visits the disciples in the upper room before ascending into heaven.

Application: When we receive the Holy Spirit we receive great power. We are able to forgive or not forgive another’s sins. That’s a tremendous responsibility.

Prayer: Father, I pray that I don’t misunderstand or misuse the power of the Holy Spirit. My wish is to honor you in all that I do and to humbly display your love to others. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug