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A Moment With God: Year 2

A Moment With God: Year 2

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A Moment With God: Year 2

Lunghezza:
478 pagine
7 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
May 28, 2014
ISBN:
9781310384783
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

This is the second in a series of Christian Devotionals and is based on excerpts from my daily journal, which generally includes a few verses from scripture and my continued processing of the verses, working them into my understanding. It journals my daily walk with the Lord and is hopefully helpful to those seeking to deepen their relationship with the Lord as well.

This devotional can be used daily, although there are not entries for every day of the year. I used daily devotionals early on in my walk with the Lord and found them helpful to bring up topics and ideas I had not yet discovered on my own. I was amazed at how often the devotional entry for a particular day would relate exactly to what I was experiencing, and I hope that this journal will be so used by the Lord.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
May 28, 2014
ISBN:
9781310384783
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Born in Minnesota and migrated to the Kansas City area, I have been walking with the Lord for 30+ years. I am married to the most amazing women in the world, and have 2 awesome children, and a beautiful daughter-in-law. I have been writing a prayer journal for almost all of those 30 years, so these first three books represent just a small sample of my history with the Lord.

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Anteprima del libro

A Moment With God - Samuel Hall

A Moment With God – Year 2

Samuel R. Hall

Copyright 2014 By Samuel R. Hall

Smashwords Edition

ISBN:  9781310384783

Title: A Moment With God - Year 2

Author: Samuel Hall

Publisher: Smashwords, Inc.

All Scripture Quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NIV (New International Version)

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Dedication: To my family, my friends and most importantly my Lord, with whom

all these conversations occurred. May these encourage you all in your own walk and relationship with our loving Savior.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction – Establishing a Moment With God in Your Life

January

The Things of God and Our Actions 2013-01-02

The Faithfulness of God 2013-01-03

Cleansing a Home of Sickness 2013-01-04

Dead to the Law, In Christ 2013-01-05

Loving In All We Do.. 2013-01-07

Life is in the Blood 2013-01-08

Hearing More From God 2013-01-09

Offended at God? 2013-01-11

A Tongue Of Fire 2013-01-12

The Unchanging One 2013-01-13

Come and Listen 2013-01-19

Baptizo With The Holy Spirit 2013-01-20

Unity In The Spirit 2013-01-21

The Lord's Correction 2013-01-22

Deeper in Love 2013-01-25

Faith, Free-Will and Salvation 2013-01-26

Of Fear And Anxiety 2013-01-27

The Simple Call 2013-01-28

Ever Increasing Glory 2013-01-29

Sin and Responsibility 2013-01-30

Marvelously Wonderful 2013-01-31

February

You Died, Live Your New Life! 2013-02-01

Cleanse the Temple, Healing Begins 2013-02-03

In His Arms 2013-02-04

Welcoming The Holy Spirit 2013-02-06

Responsible Leaders 2013-02-07

Faith - Accessing Eternity 2013-02-08

Our Call 2013-02-10

God Is Speaking 2013-02-11

Eyes on the Lord 2013-02-12

Our Family Inheritance 2013-02-13

Love and Perseverance 2013-02-14

Times in the Desert 2013-02-15

The View From The Desert 2013-02-18

Chosen, Called and Sent 2013-02-19

Remember the Lord's Love 2013-02-20

Of Mercy and Judgment 2013-02-21

Reflection on Psalm 141:1-4 2013-02-23

Mining the Introduction 2013-02-24

Grace, Truth and Freedom 2013-02-25

Welcoming Trials - Yikes! 2013-02-26

Yada, Yada, Yada 2013-02-27

Sorrow and Joy 2013-02-28

March

Clothed in Virtue 2013-03-01

Released Into Our Destiny 2013-03-03

The Word That Brings Faith 2013-03-04

Biblical Understatement 2013-03-05

Our Choice 2013-03-06

The Apple of God's Eye! 2013-03-08

A New Song 2013-03-11

A Prisoner of Hope? 2013-03-12

Wealth and True Riches 2013-03-13

Joy and Endurance 2013-03-14

Open Eyes, Mind, and Spirit 2013-03-15

When Under Attack 2013-03-16

Praying For Our Enemies 2013-03-17

The Shining Church 2013-03-19

Our Life's Pursuit 2013-03-21

The Church, the Bride 2013-03-23

The Blood of Jesus Opened the Way 2013-03-24

His Account of Forgiveness 2013-03-25

Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus 2013-03-26

The Atoning Blood of Jesus 2013-03-27

The Blood of the New Covenant 2013-03-28

His Precious Blood 2013-03-29

For Love... 2013-03-30

An Easter Meditation 2013-03-31

April

Post Resurrection - Important Things 2013-04-01

Our Marching Orders 2013-04-02

Confirming His Words 2013-04-03

Three Critical Truths 2013-04-04

Morning Praise and Remembrance 2013-04-06

True Love Isn't Blind 2013-04-07

His Heart Beats For Me 2013-04-09

Of Sinners and New Wine 2013-04-10

Spring Storms 2013-04-11

Weakness and Power 2013-04-12

On Giving and Blessing 2013-04-14

The Light of Love 2013-04-15

Working Out Our Salvation? 2013-04-16

God is Able 2013-04-17

Choosing God's Plan 2013-04-18

Our Rock of Refuge 2013-04-19

The Great Treasure 2013-04-21

A New Thing 2013-04-22

Faith and Action 2013-04-23

Love and Mercy Towards All 2013-04-24

Blessing and Submission 2013-04-25

Action and Passion 2013-04-28

Love Is Core 2013-04-30

May

Religion vs. Relationship 2013-05-01

Children and The Kingdom 2013-05-02

God Reigns Over All 2013-05-03

A Basic Prescription 2013-05-12

Revelation of the Father 2013-05-13

God Knows Our Thoughts and Still Loves Us 2013-05-14

Reality Check 2013-05-15

God's Patience 2013-05-16

Choked vs. Fruitfulness 2013-05-17

Integrity On Display 2013-05-18

My Experience of God 2013-05-19

Sharing In His Glory 2013-05-20

A Distorted Gospel 2013-05-21

Looking at the Old with New Perspective 2013-05-22

Mercy Trumps Judgment 2013-05-23

Signs That Point To Him 2013-05-29

Sowing Wind or Sowing Seed? 2013-05-30

Rags to Riches 2013-05-31

June

God Blesses, Provides and Restores 2013-06-02

Jesus Our Mediator 2013-06-04

Pursuing Our Dreams 2013-06-06

People of the New Covenant 2013-06-07

Natural Actions, Spiritual Reactions 2013-06-08

Devoted to Prayer 2013-06-09

When Waiting On God 2013-06-10

Do Unto Others With a Twist 2013-06-11

Our True Source of Hope 2013-06-12

Thieves & Brawlers In The Church 2013-06-13

Committed Marriage 2013-06-14

Freedom vs. Religion 2013-06-16

Of Fathers... 2013-06-17

Seeking Judgment? 2013-06-19

Humility in Ministry 2013-06-20

Paul's Preaching of the Gospel 2013-06-21

Compassion at Our Core 2013-06-23

God's Intimate Love For Us 2013-06-24

Built Up In Love 2013-06-25

Humility In Relationship 2013-06-27

The Father's Love 2013-06-28

July

A 'How Much More' Father 2013-07-01

Sent To The Sinners 2013-07-03

Testifying To The Gospel 2013-07-07

And All Were Healed... 2013-07-08

Unconcerned Worship 2013-07-09

Salvation, Forgiveness AND Healing 2013-07-10

Power Flowed Out of Him 2013-07-11

God's Counsel and Protection 2013-07-12

A Fount of Life, Healing and Salvation 2013-07-14

Increasing Glory 2013-07-15

The Invitation to Know Him 2013-07-17

A Testimony of Experience and the Word 2013-07-17

Judgment and Favoritism 2013-07-21

Our Awesome God 2013-07-22

A Mystery Revealed 2013-07-23

Born Anew 2013-07-24

Come Follow Me 2013-07-25

Pursuing More 2013-07-30

August

Jesus Protects His Own 2013-08-01

Intro to Eternal Life 2013-08-02

Set Faith To Flight 2013-08-04

Eternal Life - Part 2 2013-08-06

Delighting in the Lord 2013-08-08

Asking the Right Question 2013-08-09

Relationships: The Proper Foundation 2013-08-10

Be Silent and Listen 2013-08-11

Heaven and Eternal Life Pt. 3 2013-08-12

Accepting God's Help 2013-08-15

Memories of Harmony Youth Camp 2013-08-16

Four Character Traits to Pursue 2013-08-18

Overcoming Labels, Discovering Our Significance 2013-08-18

Unswayed by Opinions 2013-08-20

A Beginning Study on Covenant 2013-08-23

Covenant Study - Part 2 2013-08-23

Covenants - Part 3 2013-08-26

Covenants 4 - The New Covenant 2013-08-27

How to Respond to Celebrations of Indecency 2013-08-28

A New Day, New Compassion 2013-08-29

Shepherding the Church 2013-08-30

September

Hymn of Praise 2013-09-06

One Body 2013-09-09

Thoughts on the Good News, Sin and Punishment 2013-09-10

Beliefs Affect Our Actions 2013-09-11

He Welcomed Them All 2013-09-12

Basics of the Kingdom 2013-09-13

Basics of the Kingdom - Part 2 2013-09-15

The Church and Judgment 2013-09-16

Basics of the Kingdom - Part 3 2013-09-17

Reflections on John 3:34-36 2013-09-19

Praying For Unity 2013-09-22

Gifts Reflect The Giver 2013-09-23

The Gospel and Doctrine 2013-09-26

Jesus and Sinners 2013-09-26

We Are A New Creation In Christ 2013-09-30

October

Eternity And Doing Good 2013-10-01

He Rended The Heavens And Came Down 2013-10-03

Feasting On Romans 12 2013-10-06

We Are Foreigners Whose Citizenship Is In Heaven! 2013-10-07

The War In Our Minds 2013-10-08

A Prophetic Dream and Related Word - Restoration and Acceleration 2013-10-10

A Song of Restoration – Zeph. 3 2013-10-11

Unity and Dying to Ourselves 2013-10-12

Spiritual Fruit Stands 2013-10-13

Faith and Love, Not Works 2013-10-14

God Speaks, Are We Hearing? 2013-10-15

A Faith Question 2013-10-17

A Day of Judgment and Eternal Destiny 2013-10-18

Work AND Minister 2013-10-21

God's Heart for the Lonely and Bound-up 2013-10-22

Amazing Realities 2013-10-27

Love and Forgiveness 2013-10-28

Of Sin and Sickness 2013-10-29

Suffering and God's Will 2013-10-31

November

The Trees Sing 2013-11-01

The Law Set Aside By Jesus 2013-11-03

Pursuing God's Promises 2013-11-04

The Benefit of Good Role Models 2013-11-05

Seed Principle - Growing in the Lord 2013-11-07

Old Ways of Thinking 2013-11-08

Promises, Permissions and Provisions 2013-11-11

He Finishes the Good Work in Us 2013-11-12

God Is A Genius 2013-11-14

Our True Identities 2013-11-15

Participating In God's Nature 2013-11-16

Meditation on Psalm 97 2013-11-17

Speaking the Truth in Love 2013-11-18

Be Like God... 2013-11-21

Right Pursuits 2013-11-24

A Simple Blessing Has A Profound Effect 2013-11-24

Life That Is Truly Life 2013-11-25

Holy Spirit - Fill Me Up 2013-11-27

Ministering the Truth in Kindness 2013-11-30

December

Submission...? 2013-12-01

Listen, Forgive and Act 2013-12-02

Restoration and Blessing 2013-12-03

Merciful and Kind to All 2013-12-05

Living Like Sons and Daughters 2013-12-06

Reflections on the Lion's Den 2013-12-08

Build Ourselves Up...Extend Mercy 2013-12-09

Knowing and Glorifying the Father 2013-12-11

Grace for the Call 2013-12-16

Living to Please God 2013-12-19

Relationship Versus Religion 2013-12-20

The Vine and Relationships 2013-12-22

Jesus the Shepherd 2013-12-23

The Wonder of Christmas 2013-12-24

Peace Instead of Anxiety 2013-12-29

Being Found In Him 2013-12-31

Author’s Note:

I am so blessed that you have taken time to even dip your toe into this book, my second in what I hope is a long series. These come directly from my time before the Lord and are excerpts from my prayer journal. I pray they are encouraging, possibly enlightening, and hopefully they draw you deeper into relationship with Him.

I will take a moment to say that I am not a theologian, nor have I been formally trained in pastoral ministry. I am a husband and father and I work in the telecommunications industry. I have been journaling and taking personal prayer, for the most part daily, since the early 1980s and have stacks of journals. I am so grateful for the ability to electronically journal, as it allows me to search and review themes with ease. These journals reflect the daily interaction and conversations I have with the Lord. I have left the original dates of the entries, as sometimes the date is important to the body of the entry.

As I normally take my prayer time early in the morning (5:15am is the rule these days) my mind is often not fully functioning, so my writing suffers, but hopefully it is understandable. Also, as this is a prayer journal, often times my expressions to the Lord do not flow out in perfect English, but rather in heart felt language. So I ask that you forgive my lapses of correct English and occasional fragment or run-on sentence. I decided to leave them in, for I know the Lord doesn’t mind. He is after my heart not my writing.

Finally I ask your pardon for another slight of proper English. Throughout my journals I always try to capitalize You or He, or their variants when referring to the Lord. It is a form of respect I started many years ago when journaling by hand, and I find it a habit I choose not to break.

May God Bless you and reveal to you His intimate love for you and your significance to Him!

If you are interested in following the next nook in the series as it is being written, my blog can be found at: http://amomentwithgod-srh.blogspot.com/.

Sam

Introduction – Establishing a Moment With God in Your Life

It is God's desire that we each have an intimate relationship with Him.  John 17:21  I know it’s amazing to think that God would want a relationship with you, but it is VERY true.

So the question is whether it is possible to have a real relationship with God?  By real relationship, I mean talking, sharing, communicating - the same things that make up a normal human to human relationship.  For a relationship to work there must be two-way communication, and time together.  I like to think that if God wants us to do something, He will provide the way.

History is full of people who talk about prayer time, prayer, quiet time, and their conversations with God. It is here that we find examples of how to have a relationship with God!  For all of these people, you will generally find four things in common:

They know how to quiet themselves

They talk to God in their own words

They read the Bible (God's written Word)

They know how to listen and discern God's voice speaking into their lives at that moment

So how does one start all this?  Simply develop these same four things in your life.  Start simple, dedicate a little chunk of time and try these steps.  Establish a moment with God in your daily life.

Learn how to quiet yourself - turn off the TV, Computer, Cell-Phone, etc.  Try to stop the constant flow of thoughts for just a few moments.  It takes a little practice - but is worth it!

Some people feel awkward praying to God in their own words, having been taught to pray in church by reciting rote prayers.  Others feel weird talking to God at all.  I like to think the conversation internally - imaging the words I would say.  God can hear our thoughts, so that is just fine with Him.  Whatever you do, God is not worried about how you might sound, or the words you might say - He wants to know what is on your heart!

Start reading the Bible even a few minutes every day. When I started reading the Bible, I was in 9th grade and would read maybe a paragraph a night, right before going to bed.  I would recommend starting with the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).  One other technique I use is to just open the Bible and start reading.  I am amazed at how often what I read is directly related to something I just prayed to God about! 

Finally, learning how to discern God's voice, as He is speaking to you, is probably the most difficult.  The good news is that God REALLY wants you to learn, and will help you.  When I first started, I found God's voice pretty easy to pick out - it was almost like He was shouting.  I would read from the Bible and a sentence would almost jump off the page, or I would silently pray something, and within a short period of time I would hear someone repeat my thoughts with an answer.  God is very capable of speaking, we just need to be aware that He is speaking.  The more we practice the better we get.  The Bible is full of God speaking to people, sometimes in dreams, sometimes visions, other times with an audible voice (I haven't had that experience yet), sometimes through other people, or through His written Word.  One thing that is very constant - God is always speaking!

A couple of encouragements:

Start simple and easy - maybe 5 Minutes a day

Don't give up, try to develop this into a habit

Don't think it has to be all spiritual, candles lit, darkened room, etc.  I take my time with God in the morning, with a cup of coffee, sitting on the couch

The more time you take, the more you will want to spend - a relationship with God is live changing and life giving!

God does want a real relationship with you!

Blessings! Sam

The Things of God and Our Actions

2013-01-02

This morning I am reading from the book of Joshua, and specifically the story of Achan, and the defeat of Israel at the hands of the people of Ai. The defeat was the result of disobedience to the Word of the Lord, and Achan had claimed things for himself, that were devoted to the Lord. Here are a couple of the verses that are most critical:

Joshua 7:1, 10-12 NIV

But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things ; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.

[10] The Lord said to Joshua, "Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? [11] Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. [12] That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.

I think there are important points here that we must not miss. First, those things devoted to God are His alone and we dare not try to hold onto them or own them. This also relates to praise and worship, glory and honor, His people, His words, everything that God has specifically accomplished by His own hand. How quickly do we want to personally profit from our relationship to God, or grab onto things that are His for our own pleasure or benefit.

Our approach must be to recognize the source of all we have, everything good, and give proper honor to God in all. He is the source of all provision, and Life. He should receive all the praise, adoration, worship, glory and honor, for all the awesome things we see! We are merely administrators of His grace and mercy, compassion, healing and signs and wonders. It all originates with Him, it all comes from Him.

Secondly, one person's actions within the body of believers can have impact on all the members of the body! In this case, the sin of one man caused the death of 36 of his people. Thankfully, under the new covenant of Jesus' Blood, all our sins are already paid for, and we are forgiven, as we come to Jesus. He has already born the punishment for our sins, so we do not experience the Lord's punishment in our lives, yet our sins can still affect others. There is often fruit born out of decisions we make that are not in line with what God desires.

As Paul writes in Galatians 6:7-8 NIV: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. [8] Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

So, as we are in relationship with others in the Body of Christ, they will be impacted by our sowing and reaping, because they are connected in relationship. When one suffers in the Body, all are affected. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:26 NIV: If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Let us be mindful of those things that belong to God, and give to Him all the is due Him, and let us be aware of our actions and how they impact those we love, or families, and those we are connected to in the Body of Christ. Let us sow into the things of God that we, and those we love, might be honored, blessed and reap eternal life.

The Faithfulness of God

2013-01-03

This morning I am reading out of Romans 3:3-4 NIV:

What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? [4] Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge."

As I read this first verse, I thought of the reality that God's real character is unaffected by our actions. As the church, we present God's character imperfectly to those around us, but His real character is unaffected by our mistakes, misunderstandings and wrong beliefs. Thank God that is the case! For how else could He be the rock on which we stand?

I am also mindful of a flow of secular humanistic thinking that God is not needed in our lives, and is somehow even a affected by our unbelief. There are people that boldly proclaim their unbelief, as if in some way they are laughing at the idiocy of believing in a God that is greater than us, and that somehow their defiance of God weakens Him. The belief was that the Greek gods required praise from the people to have strength and power, and the reduction in worship for an particular god would affect their ability to act in the world. This reminds me of the story of Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, where she needed people to believe in Neverland, so that she could regain her strength.

God is gloriously not like this! He loves our affections, our faith, our praises and our worship, but He doesn't need them to maintain His throne and His power! His Word and His Power are eternal, and unchanging. I am reminded of an early creed statement found in 2 Timothy 2:11-13 NIV:

Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; [12] if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; [13] if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

I am so grateful that His promises are true and I can depend completely on Him, always. His gifts to us are always available, the righteousness bought for us by Jesus sacrifice is always available. The payment or atonement for our sins has already been made and is always available to us! It is our faith that opens our lives to these irrevocable gifts and blessings available in Him. Regardless of our faith, or faithfulness God is faithful.

Lord, help us to turn to You, and return to You if necessary, our Rock, and let us embrace and experience Your faithfulness!

Cleansing a Home of Sickness

2013-01-04

This morning my meditation went a very different way than normal. Hopefully this in encouraging to those that are experiencing sickness and disease this flu season. The following is a direct extract from my journal...

It seems like a lot of sickness is going around, and people are under it. Lord, we pray that You would bring healing and health to our friends and families.

It’s interesting that I was just thinking about the homes, and people sick within them, and I sat down to read scripture. I thought I heard 1444, and spent a bit of time looking to see if there was a book with a 14:44, and Leviticus seems like the only one. Anyway, this particular section has to do with the cleansing of a house from disease, mold or mildew. The original Hebrew word is the same as what is translated leprosy in the body, but for the home it can mean mold, mildew, or some other plague of sickness.

Leviticus 14:48-53 NIV

But if the priest comes to examine it and the mold has not spread after the house has been plastered, he shall pronounce the house clean, because the defiling mold is gone. [49] To purify the house he is to take two birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop. [50] He shall kill one of the birds over fresh water in a clay pot. [51] Then he is to take the cedar wood, the hyssop, the scarlet yarn and the live bird, dip them into the blood of the dead bird and the fresh water, and sprinkle the house seven times. [52] He shall purify the house with the bird’s blood, the fresh water, the live bird, the cedar wood, the hyssop and the scarlet yarn. [53] Then he is to release the live bird in the open fields outside the town. In this way he will make atonement for the house, and it will be clean.

I was reading the Matthew Henry commentary about this and was interested in the symbolism of the birds, the cedar, the yarn and the hyssop. The blood of the first bird, is as one would expect, a prophetic symbol pointing towards Jesus death and atoning sacrifice. God said the life was in the blood, so this is bringing life into the house. The cedar wood is very resistant to any rot or molding, and is symbolic of a new wholeness and resistance to disease that is long lasting and even permanent. The hyssop produced a fresh fragrance that rid the house of even the scent of sickness or disease. The scarlet yarn is indicative of life and wholeness returning, as leprosy turned the affected areas white, the yarn signifies the return of wholeness and wellness (think rosy cheeks). Finally the second bird is released into the air, and this is symbolic of the new life and freedom that is evident once sickness is lifted and purged from the house.

This whole process was one of temporary atonement. Jesus provides for us the only permanent and everlasting atonement. Romans 3:24-25 NIV ...and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. [25] God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood---to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness,.... Concerning the permanence of Jesus' atonement, the author of Hebrews writes: Hebrews 7:27 NIV Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

So, if cleansing and purification is available under the old covenant, how much more is it available under the new covenant, with Jesus as the perfect sacrifice. The old testament provides insight into the fullness of God's promises that are available through Jesus, and clearly that which He accomplished is better and eternal.

I believe that Lord wants to encourage those of us who are experiencing sickness and disease in our homes to look to Him and to lay hold of the promise of a purified, sickness-free home. Lord, come and cleanse and purify our homes, our families and our lives.

Dead to the Law, In Christ

2013-01-05

I felt like reading from Romans 7 this morning.

Romans 7:1-2, 4-6 NIV

Do you not know, brothers and sisters---for I am speaking to those who know the law---that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? [2] For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him.

[4] So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. [5] For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. [6] But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

I guess that I have read these verses before, but there was something about the simplicity of verses 1 & 2 that caught my attention today. Paul is talking about a spiritual reality here that we have a hard time grasping and appropriating in our lives. The fact that in Christ, through His death and resurrection, we are set free from the law and its requirements because we have died and risen in Him, is simple to write, and nearly impossible to fully grasp. The grace, favor, life and power that is actually available to us because of this reality is far beyond what we generally experience.

This is a spiritual reality that should have affect in the realms of our body and mind as well. Our problem is that we are so in tune to our mind and body, we often miss the spiritual reality available to us. My prayer is that I will learn to live as much in the spiritual reality, as I do the others. I want to learn to serve in the new way of the Spirit, learning to appropriate into my life all that is available to me, through Jesus my Savior.

Loving In All We Do..

2013-01-07

This morning I felt that thinking about love would be good. I was reading Paul's famous chapter on love ad thought that he should have swapped the order of the verses, because he gives the definition of love after talking about operating in love. Here are the same verses, just in a different order, to help us logical thinkers follow his thought:

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 [changed order]

[4] Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. [5] It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. [6] Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. [7] It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. [8] Love never fails... [1] If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. [2] If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. [3] If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

In verses 1-3, if I replace love, with the definition of love given in verses 4-8, I find a very interesting meditation on our call to be loving in all we do. Verse one would read something like this:

If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but am not patient, kind, humble, honoring, seeking the best for others, peaceful, unwilling to hold a grudge, rejoicing in the truth and speaking only good things, protecting, trusting, hoping and persevering, then I am only a resounding gong or clanging cymbal. Etc.

Oh Lord, help us to be truly loving in all we do, at all times.

Life is in the Blood

2013-01-08

Yesterday Tina and I were talking about Kosher meats and the command to drain all the blood from the meat, due to the fact that the hamburger I used recently had been weird, when I defrosted it all the blood drained out. Anyway, last night I opened up my bible to read, turned right to Leviticus 17, the particular chapter where God forbids the eating of meat with the blood still in it. So I figure there must be something about this that the Lord wants to impart.

Leviticus 17:10-11 NIV

" ‘I will set my face against any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who eats blood, and I will cut them off from the people. [11] For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.

Burton Coffman writes this in his commentary:

The reason for Israel's avoidance of eating blood is set out here more fully than anywhere else in the O.T. F8 It is clearly the religious significance of blood as being the device by which God procured atonement for sinners, not only under the O.T., but under the N.T. as well, that lay back of the prohibition. It should be remembered that this prohibition PRECEDED the Law of Moses (Genesis 9:4-6), and also that it was not relaxed even under the liberty and freedom of the New Covenant (Acts 15:20). The fact that a great many Christian people are not aware of this, coupled with the light esteem that some have for Divine regulations, makes it appropriate to explore the reasons back of this remarkable commandment a little more fully.

ON EATING BLOOD

Right here in this short paragraph lies the basis for the Jews' insistence upon eating only that which is kosher, even to this day. The reasons for God's requirement in this particular are easy to see.

(1) It created and cultivated in the people of Israel a reverence and respect for their sacrifices, many of which required the shedding of blood.

(2) It was a perpetual reminder to them of the means of forgiveness and salvation. Even under the law, Without the shedding of blood, there was no remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22).

(3) It was designed to direct their attention to the Holy One, even Christ, who in the fullness of time would make an atonement for the sins of all people by the shedding of his blood.

(4) It was to provide a wall of separation between the Israel of God and the pagan world of unbelievers whose sacrifices included the eating, even the drinking, of blood.

(5) Also, By refraining from eating flesh with blood in it, a man is honoring life. F9

Invariably, the loss of the blood is loss of the life, and it appears here that by the prohibition of eating blood God inculcated a respect for all life. Life is indeed a unique gift from God, and the sacredness of life is recognized and honored by this Divine regulation.

In the light of this, God intended that every man, upon seeing the blood of an animal, even slain for his food, should behold a reminder of the cost at which he himself had been cleansed. It was not a light thing in those ages for a man to despise the blood. Therefore, mankind was instructed to honor it, even the blood of an animal, because that animal's blood was typical of the blood of Christ himself, the only means of human redemption.

Note, in the verses above, that all blood was considered sacred. Even the blood of a creature unfit for sacrifice was to be covered with dust, as a symbol of the inherent respect due to all blood. Even under the current dispensation of the grace of God, the ultimate sin is that of despising the blood of Christ:

"A man that set at naught Moses' law died without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:28-29).

I was just thinking about this all, in light of the fact that Jesus' blood was poured out for us. In the O.T. understanding, the life of all creatures is a gift of God and His to give and His to claim. Upon the sacrifice, the blood, symbolic of the creatures life is returned to God, by pouring it onto the altar. It is also in this act that atonement for sins is extended to the one who offers the sacrifice. So in this model, the blood of every creature is God's and given back to God, by the people. With Jesus its God's blood that is given to us. Jesus himself gave the cup of His blood to us to drink (Matt 26:27-28). He is literally giving us His blood, His life.

That will take a while to unpack and understand.

Lord, I pray that You will help me to understand the full significance of Your Blood, given for me!

Hearing More From God

2013-01-09

This morning I am reading from Mark's Gospel, chapter 4.

Mark 4:21-25 NIV

He said to them, Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? [22] For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. [23] If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear. [24] Consider carefully what you hear, he continued. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you---and even more. [25] Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

My focus was drawn to verse 23 and 24. Verse 23 is the operative focus of the remaining verses, and here Jesus is speaking about hearing. In verse 24 the Greek is even more specific. Jesus says that we should pay careful attention to what and who we hear. He also says that with the same measure we use to measure, more will be measured out and added to us (speaking about what we are hearing).

I think sometimes we read things like this and just pass on by without grasping the significance of the statement. Jesus is saying that its by our measurement, that we hear more.

I think an analogy is in order - if you walk into a QuikTrip or 7-11 with a tiny cup and get a refill, you will only walk out with a tiny cup full of your choice of beverage. If you walk in with a 5 gallon container, you will receive a 5 gallon refill. With the measure we choose and bring, it will be measured out to us.

Putting it into the hearing context, if we are satisfied with one new word a month, that will be the measurement of what is given to us, in addition to what we have now, one new word a month. Jesus says to pay close attention to what and who we are hearing or listening to, for this is significant and important for our lives.

I believe that He is encouraging us to look at our lives, and consider who and what we listen to throughout the day. The level of our desire (measure) to hear more will determine how much we receive from Him. If we are satisfied with little, we will be given a little more. If we are only satisfied by gallons, then gallons will be given. It is our choice what measure is used to fill us up, and He is talking about His words.

At one time in my walk with the Lord, I did not take much time to listen and when I did I was easily distracted, and did not really remember what I heard. I was always happy when I heard something, but just did not have an understanding of the principle lined out in these verses. At one point I distinctly heard the Lord say to me that if I wasn't going to listen, He was going to stop talking. His encouragement to me was to take my time with Him seriously, and to write down what He said, so that I would remember. That one encouragement completely changed my relationship with the Lord, one could say that I chose a new cup to have filled with hearing His word that day. Throughout my life, since that time, I have been constantly trading out my old cup, with a new bigger cup, for my desire to hear more from Him keeps increasing.

Lord, I pray that You will increase our desire for You and Your Word. That we might be constantly desiring and hearing more!

Offended at God?

2013-01-11

This morning I am reading from Luke 4-5. I am reading Luke 4:14-29 NIV:

[4] Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. [15] He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. [16] He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, [17] and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

[18] The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, [19] to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

[20] Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. [21] He began by saying to them, Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. [22] All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. Isn’t this Joseph’s son? they asked.

[23] Jesus said to them, "Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you

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