Month: November 2017

Tuesday Devotional: Nehemiah 2:11-20

alone

Read Nehemiah 2:11-20

The faith you have in the Lord Jesus will not strengthen itself. There is no autopilot. There is no cruise control. Faith in the Lord is developed, strengthened, evaluated, assessed, shared, challenged. It is a living and breathing life of faith. This requires immense focus, devotion and perseverance. The moment we become complacent and ignore the weaknesses in our faith is the moment we ignore the words of our Lord Jesus to, “abide in me.” This is a guarantee. This will happen. Perhaps this is already happening. The living God is a God of mercy and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of grace. However, be careful how much grace you give yourself. Never hold yourself to a standard of perfection because only Jesus, only the living God is perfect. But never allow yourself so much leeway that it creates in you a weakened believer with a license to sin. Ask yourself the tough questions. Do I love Jesus? Would I lose everything to have him? Do I devote my strength, time and industry to furthering the Gospel of Jesus in my own mission field and ministry? Ask yourself these questions in the presence of the Lord that he might reveal the truth to you. Humble yourself as he speaks and reveals to you the weaknesses in your life and faith as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Then act. Change. Repent. This is life or death. His instruction is not recommendation or opinion. He is directing you into repentance, into holiness and into eternal life. This will require change and the change will create friction between you and this world. The world will not accept the gravity you place upon your faith. It will mock and jeer at the level commitment you have to Jesus. It will see you as delusional, naïve, stupid, childish. But Christian, these are not the words of life nor are they the words of your Creator Father in Heaven. Never allow these words to follow or torment you. They are lies and they have no weight to them. Escape the temptation to devote energy to defending yourself from persecution or assimilating to the world so as to not be made uncomfortable. Your energy is precious and it must be used to strengthen your faith. This is a good endeavor. This is a worthy endeavor. This is the only true endeavor.

Tuesday Devotional: Ezra 8:15-36

footsteps

Read Ezra 8:15-36

22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.

 Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

How often do you fast? Do you understand fasting? Do you believe in fasting? What is fasting?

How often do you silence the world and yourself in order to hear what God is saying? Before doing are you quick to stop and devote your entire attention and being to being still and knowing the God is God. The living God is a deliberate God driven by purpose and objective. He has ordained your steps and each of those steps has been laid out for a purpose to achieve a particular objective. We must deny our nature to move before we know and speak before we think. Stop. Be still. He has called you into a life with eternal ramifications and consequences. This is a blessing but a responsibility. This is bigger than you. You are a disciple commanded to teach others about Jesus. You are a missionary called to a mission of making Jesus known to the people in your respective mission field. The task upon us is exponentially larger than we could ever imagine. It is God’s grace and mercy that we are not made aware of the entire job tasked to us.

Do you know this? Do you believe this? Are you aware of this?

How then can you accomplish any of what God requires of you without remaining close enough to the living God to hear his voice and see his feet moving just ahead of your own. Be still and know. God is with you and he is making a way right now. He is speaking.

Do you hear him?

The world we live in creates a formidable obstacle between us and the Lord but we are not called to silence the world. Regardless of what we do the world rages on at unbearable volumes we cannot control or contain. No, we are called to silence ourselves. Be still and know. Deny yourself. Fast. Give up that which creates an internal obstacle between you and the Lord. God is making a way but he needs you to hear and understand what comes next. Say no to the flesh and say yes to the Lord. Fasting is a proclamation of faith. It establishes priorities. It is not magic. Nor is it a commandment. However, we are all commanded to communion with the living God and communion requires communication. Prayer is our ongoing dialogue with the living God and fasting is a choice. It is a decision. It is a moment where we can proclaim our heart’s desire to be still and know nothing but God.    

Tuesday Devotional: 2 Chronicles 21:4-20

Praying at sunset

Read 2 Chronicles 21:4-20

7 Nevertheless, because of the covenant the Lord had made with David, the Lord was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants forever. 

Grace and the Gospel are inseparable. In light of the promises of God you cannot have one without the other. You cannot divorce the two. In embracing the Gospel of Jesus Christ a person is embracing the transformative power of amazing grace. We have not done enough. We can never do enough. We exist in between two realities. Our past behavior does not prove our righteousness and the reality or our fallen nature determines that at no point in the future will we ever be deemed righteous enough to coexist with a perfect and holy God. Apart from Jesus, this diagnosis is hopeless and crushing. Apart from Jesus we are left striving for something we will never attain. But the Gospel of grace is not the proclamation of our goodness. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The reality is that you are a sinner. Present tense. You do not make wise decisions as you should. You are tempted by ungodliness. You are not Holy as he is Holy. But the promise of the Gospel was not a promise that at a certain point in time man would become righteous and able to earn his way back into God’s presence. The promise of the Gospel was that in spite of man’s sin and wickedness, by grace, the living God was preserving the house of David to make way for the lamp. The light of the world. Jesus. Although God has bestowed great love and mercy upon his people, his people have never proven that they deserve it. On the contrary, his people, we, have proven that we do not deserve it. However, he has. By grace. God’s love for his people is so great and beyond our comprehension that in not wanting any to perish, he waits. He waits and continues to speak, continues to protect, continues to provide, continues to love. Look upon the cross. See Jesus. Experiencing the grace of God. Let is transform you from the inside out. Let it transform how you see yourself and the world. Self-righteousness will always create a calloused heart unable to love as God created us to love. Submission to the gospel of grace will break your heart, mend it, transform it and then allow you to carry with you the light of the world shining brightly within you proclaiming that Jesus and only Jesus saves. Amen.

Tuesday Devotional: 1 Chronicles 9


bricks

Read 1 Chronicles 9

Restore. Equip. Release. Restore. Equip. Release. This is a relational rhythm and tempo represented in both the Old and New Testament. As a result of sin, God’s people must be restored. There is a debt. There is transgression. There is the weight of sin that destroys God’s original creation that must be acknowledged and restored. Israel needed restoration. WE need restoration.

Romans 3:23-24

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

We cannot begin to equip or consider our release into this world representing the Gospel of Jesus until we have been restored. By the death Jesus died on the cross and by grace we have been restored. But we must accept this restoration. We must believe in this restoration. We must see this restoration as the life-saving act that it was. Without it, there is no life. Without it, there is no hope. Without it, you are dead.

Following God’s restorative act of grace we are not left to bide our time until Jesus’ return. We are called to live. Having been born again we must learn to walk.   We must learn to talk. We are born again, so we must learn to live again. God has a task for you in your new life and in this world. You WILL be used. You ARE desperately needed. Learn. Wait. Listen. Let God reveal his purpose for you in the time you have remaining in this world. Let him train you into your calling. You are a member of Christ’s body and the entire body needs you.

1 Peter 2:2-3

2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

As you come into the revelation of your purpose and calling God will not keep you from the world. He will release you into the world. You are his hands and his feet administering healing to the sick and to the oppressed. You are the city of Christ’s light on the hill bringing life-giving light into the darkness. You are the broken vessel containing the bread of life and living water for the hungry and destitute. You were restored to have life and God has raised you up to bring life to the dying. The world we live in is overflowing with empty words and false hope. Jesus, however, is the living word of God and is our eternal hope that will never fail us. The world needs him and the Church is his body. The world needs you.

1 Peter 2:4-6 

The Living Stone and a Chosen People

4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,

   a chosen and precious cornerstone,

and the one who trusts in him

   will never be put to shame.”

1 Corinthians 12:27-31 

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.