Saturday, May 29, 2010

Completed Joy Presentation

Below is the presentation, that I gave last Thursday, based on the post Completed Joy.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Meditation: The Powerful Voice of God

Lightning 14.07.2009 20-42-33

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Passage
Psalm 29:4

Context
This is a Psalm of David celebrating the glory, majesty, and power of God.

Key Words
Voice, Lord, Powerful, Majestic

Message
I must admit that I feel a disconnect with this verse.  My experience with God's voice more resembles a quiet whisper that I have to strain to pay attention to than the majestic thundering that breaks cedars or shakes the ground.  I do not mean that to be irreverent I am just stating my experience. 

I can think of one moment in my life when the Glory of the Lord was revealed to me.  It was a awe inspiring experience.  It was a dream and in my dream I heard the "thundering voice."  I awoke gasping for air. I felt a tingling throughout my whole body and a warmth. As that feeling left me I began to feel an intense shame for all my sin so intense that have never felt before. I began to weep for the shame that I had brought to myself. Next I heard a small quite voice say �you are forgiven� and immediately the shame was lifted.

So the question that comes to mind for me is do I spend the rest of my days trying to find the thundering voice or do I simply put my trust in the fact that God is there. 

Ascribe to Yahweh, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to Yahweh the glory due His name; worship Yahweh in the splendor of His holiness.
Psalms 29:1-2 (HCSB)

I think this is the answer.  David is clearly saying to ascribe to God Glory, strength, Glory due His name (Yahweh), Worship, splendor and holiness.  Time for worship.

Bless You all!

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Meditation: Put Off the Old

Passage
Colossians 3:5-11

Context
Paul is discussing the new order of things when a Christian has given their life to Christ. 

Key Words
Put to death, Worldly, Once walked, put away, put off, put on

Message
Putting to death the things of the flesh seems like a perfectly natural thing for a Christian to do.  However, there is nothing natural about it what so ever.  It is a spiritual discipline through and through.  If you attempt to do as some sort of works based religion you will not succeed (See Romans 7).  With that being said there is work to be done.  Putting these things to death requires your active participation.  The Spirit of God does not merely wipe this away in one sweep.  Though I believe at times we would prefer that He did.  No there is a active putting to death, putting away, and putting off of the ungodly.  This list is a good starting place of things that we ought to put off.  It is time to take the old off and put the new on.  It also seems that this is a process rather than an event.  Interestingly the old self is referred to in the past tense (perhaps Paul is helping us how to see to it that we are putting these off).  However in verse 10 he writes "You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator."  It seems to me that this process is on going to accomplish it's purpose of being renewed into the image of God.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Meditation: A Vow of Integrity (Part II)

Passage
Psalm 101:5-8

Context
David continues to express his vow.

Keywords
Destroy, Secret slander, Cannot tolerate, Haughty Eyes, Arrogant Heart, faithful, way of integrity, deceitfully, lies, wicked, evildoers

Message
The second half of Psalm 101 is hard for me.  I am neither in the authority nor the position to do what David is vowing to do here.  So I wrestle to understand how this passage applies to me.  Never the less God always has something He wants us to learn from his word. 

This passage shows me the seriousness of the lack of integrity from God's perspective.  David is saying he has no tolerance for those that do evil.  The list is: slanderers, snobs, arrogant, deceitful, liars, wicked, and evildoers.  These are the ones that have no place in "the LORD's city" nor in the dwelling place of David.  As I think about this list I imagine what would happen to me taking a vow of integrity while not avoiding these type of people.  If I am around slanders am I not participating in some way even if I do not speak a word?  If I hang out with snobs or arrogant people is not a passive approval of them looking down on others?  If I interact with deceitful people and liars don't I risk becoming hurt by their ways?  If evildoers and wicked are with me then don't I stand against God and his righteousness?  Or worse do I not become like them? 

A vow of integrity is a break from personal evil, but also a break from external evil as well.  This seems a very difficult (dare I say impossible) thing to do as we live in an evil world.  I can scarcely imagine that David went through and destroyed anyone that ever engaged in these things.  If he had then he would have had no one but himself left.  So what is this getting at? 

Psalm 101:6 (YLT) I think holds the key.  David is saying his eyes are on the faithful of the land.  It seems that our heart is drawn to those things that we put our eyes on (Job 31:7).  If I surround myself with the ungodly then my heart is drawn to the ungodly.  If I set my eyes on the faithful then my heart is drawn to the faithful.  What is more who I sit (dwell) with will affect my behavior (Ps 1:1, NKJV).  David chooses those that are choosing the way of integrity.  Those are the ones that serve God with him. 

So then the condemnation of the wicked is not so much standing is place of judgment as it is a statement of self-preservation.  God desires that I take my vow of integrity seriously which would include eliminating influences that would lead me to break my vow.

Thank you Lord for Your Word.  Even those passages that are hard.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit which will guide us into all truth.  In Jesus Name AMEN

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Meditation: Integrity Between the Message and Messenger

Passage
2 Corinthians 4:2

Context
Paul is sharing the context of the gospel to his generation.  He is explaining that the gospel is veiled to those that do not believe, but the veil is removed for those that do believe.  He adds that he is a minister of this message. 

Key words
Renounced, Not walking in deceit, not distorting, commending, open, truth

Message
Paul is saying that they have renounced those things that are evil done in secret.  Secret sin destroys the messenger and makes them unavailable to share the message of Christ.  He also is saying that the Gospel is an open book.  There is not a need for marketing, deception, or distortion to get people to believe.  What is needed is a commendable messenger to bring the open message.  It is a display of God's truth that the world needs not cleaver argument or persuasive words.  If the messenger and the message do not match then there is something seriously wrong. And most will reject the message without giving it a second thought.  What is more they will remain veiled to the truth and the lack of integrity of the messenger will be another layer on that veil.  We have a high responsibility to live holy lives.  Others depends on it.  Fortunately we have the spirit of God that will empower us for this glorious mission. 

God Bless You

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Meditation: A Vow of Integrity

Passage
Psalm 101:1-4

Context
A Psalm of David during one of his "high points" of his life.  He is making the commitment to God to live a life that honors God.

Key Words
Sing, Pay attention, Integrity, worthless, Hate, involved

Message
Psalm 101:2 has "the way of integrity" (tamin derek) the namesake of my site.  It is important that we pay attention to this way.  At times we casually walk along in life without paying attention to where we are going let alone where we are stepping.  David starts with a song.  Praise and worship of God is a good starting place to walk the way of integrity.  There is something about a praise and worship song that centers the soul and brings peace to the spirit. 

Integrity is an inside to outside phenomena.  A person may have an appearance of integrity that fools most if not all people.  However, that person is internally in turmoil and certainly does not fool God.  "I will live with a heart of integrity..." in Psalm 101:2 seems to capture this idea.  From the heart must flow this integrity.  It has to be a heart change, a repentant heart, and a committed heart that leads to integrity.  It makes me think of the definition of integrity that I heard once.  What I believe (in my heart) aligns with what I say aligns with what I do.  Integrity then is measured to the degree that these three align. 

Lord break my heart for you (Ps 51:17).  Take my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).  I long for Your integrity in my heart (2 Chronicles 19:9).

Integrity means making some choices to put away and avoid certain things that this life offers.  It starts with what we put in front of our eyes.  What we look at must not be worthless.  The measure of worth is from God.  Does this think honor God.  Nothing no matter what pleasure it may bring us is has worth if it displeases God.  A man of integrity will honor this truth.

Breaking God's Law is also not an option.  It must not even "cling" to you.  We must shake disobedience off like a poisonous scorpion that has climbed up on our garment. 

If God is gracious enough to give us a heart of flesh filled with integrity then we must guard it from perverting and crooked desires of the flesh.  This must be far from us. 

This is our commitment Lord "I will not be involved in evil."

May God richly bless you and grant you a heart of integrity.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Meditation: Waiting on the Lord

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Passage
James 5:7-11

Context
James the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ and leader of the Church in Jerusalem is writing those Christian Jews that have gone abroad.  The Church was undergoing great persecution and so he is offering this word of encouragement to the believers of that day. 

Key words
Patience, Wait, Suffering, Endure, Compassionate, and Merciful

Message
"You want me to wait?  But I don't have time!  What is more I don't want to.  Never mind I will take care of it myself!"

I am not so sure that any of us would say such a thing to God with our mouths, and yet we tend to say it with our actions.  Let's face it we do not like to wait.  I like this passage it uses three pictures to help us to understand waiting. 

The first picture is from agriculture.  A farmer works the ground, plants the seed, tends the crops, and then reaps a harvest.  His waiting is a act of trust and of work.  Crops do not produce themselves.  they are not instantaneous.  They require and investment of work and they require that the farmer wait for the right season to harvest.  I wonder what I have missed because I have not waited or been willing to invest in God's plan. 

The second is a picture of prophets of God.  It makes me think of this passage:

And what more can I say? Time is too short for me to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the raging of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength after being weak, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead-they were raised to life again. Some men were tortured, not accepting release, so that they might gain a better resurrection, and others experienced mockings and scourgings, as well as bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they died by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated. The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and on mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised,
Hebrews 11:32-39 (HCSB)

When I consider the suffering that other have endured for the name of the Lord my light affliction seems insignificant.  What more can I do to faithfully endure when surrounded by such incredible feats of faith, devotion, and love.  Lord forgive my whining. 

The third picture is of Job.  Job was a man that was afflicted by the Devil himself.   In the book that bears his name the account is given of how he became increasingly afflicted and eventually lost everything except for his life.  In the end he was restored and God richly blessed him.  He had to wait and endure great hardship to get to that place. 

If I ever become anxious or despise that I have to wait, then I would do well to remember the farmer, the prophets, and Job.  When I do my waiting does not seem so difficult a thing. 

Bless You

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Meditation: Longing to Be Clothed in Life

Passage
1 Corinthians 5:2-3

Context
Paul is providing his insight as to way he does not fear death and suffering.

Key Words
Groaning, Desiring, Dwelling, Heaven

Message
What can I say.  Oh to be home with the Lord.  It seems that this type of thinking could lead to greater suffering if the though leads us to reject what is our present circumstance.  However it can be a great source of comfort if we recognize that this groaning produces an eternal good.  Not long from now (from eternities perspective) we will be home.  Mortality will be swallowed up in life (1 Corinthians 5:4).  Now in this life God has given us this moment to live.  And live it we must.  To its fullest potential even as we groan naked longing to be clothed in eternities garb.  One thing we do have.  The Holy Spirit of God given as a promise and a taste of eternities light (1 Corinthians 5:5).  So I long for the next and aim to please in this my moment given by God to accomplish his purpose in this world. 

Bless You

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Meditation: Overcoming Suffering with the Power of God

Passage:
2 Timothy 1:8

Context
Paul encouraging Timothy.

Key Words
Testimony, Lord, suffering, Power of God.

Message
In this life I am invited to suffer for the cause of Christ.  Shame brings a type of suffering, but in this case not one that is in the power of the Lord, but in the power to avoid pain.  It is deceptive though because the pain is not really avoided at all.  It is merely denied.  Have you been ashamed of gospel, others that suffer because of the message, or perhaps at your own suffering.  Search your heart.  The pain is still there with all covering of denial.  Solution?  Embrace suffering, receive the moment from God as a gift.  Sure if it helps your theology you can say, "God does not intend for it to be this way."  Never the less receive the moment of suffering for Christ and trust in the power of God (The Gospel of Jesus Christ). 

Have a Blessed Day

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Meditation: Blessing in Persistence

God's Glory

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Passage:
2 Timothy 1:3-6

Context:
Paul is writing a word of encouragement to his friend and young pastor Timothy.

Key Words:
Thank God, Remember, Filled with Joy, sincere Faith, keep ablaze, gift of God, power, love, sound judgment (sound mind in other translations)

Message:
God shows me that there is a blessing in persistence.  Paul is being persistent in his prayer and he is asking Timothy to be persistent in his calling.  Ministry is tough.  There are always trials that would lead one to want to give up.  There are fears within and conflicts all around (2 Corinthians 7:5).  However God reveals to Paul and Paul to Timothy, now to me and you, that God does not intend for us to live in that place of conflict and fear!  No He has given us something much greater, a "Spirit of...power, love and sound judgment.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

How to Beat the Doldrums

Yesterday I did a presentation on overcoming those times of stagnation and dullness that come in life.  Below is the slides for that presentation. 

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Meditation: Repentance

I do not have a specific verse for this mornings meditation.  I have more of what God has shown me through His word, though observation of others, and through personal experience. 

Repentance is not...

Wanting to change thinking about change
hoping for change feeling bad about something
guilt remorse
sadness changing behavior
trying harder praying more
reading the Bible more going forward in church
saying "I'm sorry" promising to do better

To be sure all these things may be involved in repentance, but in and of themselves they are not repentance. 

Psalm 51:4

In order for repentance to occur one must be first aware that repentance is needed.  There is change that is most definitely needed in the life of a person.  Others may see the need for change, but until the person themselves is aware they cannot repent.  What is more often we push this awareness away from our conscious mind.  The recognition that a change is needed is too painful and so we push that awareness away.  We can also deny that a change is needed in the face of insurmountable evidence to the contrary.  It is amazing to me the level of denial that a human mind can come up with when all else points him/her in a different direction.  This denial keeps a person away from repentance.  Whether through ignorance, avoidance, or denial a lack of awareness that one needs to repent will keep one from repenting.  Awareness that a change is needed is not the same as repentance.  It is simply the first step in making a change.

How does one become aware that a change is needed?

  It is clear to me that God's word and his Holy Spirit are needed to make one aware of sin. 

Paul explains it this way,  "...sin, in order to be recognized as sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that through the commandment, sin might become sinful beyond measure (Romans 7:13)."  God's word helps us to recognize when we have missed the mark.  Sin is just that "missing the mark."  We are imperfect and have many flaws leading us to miss the mark.  If a person says they do not sin then they are ignorant (1 Corinthians 15:34) or they are lying (1 John 1:8).   God's word removes ignorance and forces out of self deception.  When sin is in a person's life often a devotion to God's word is the first casualty. 

The Holy Spirit plays a role in making one aware of sin (John 16:8-9).  The Holy Spirit convicts regarding sin, righteousness, and judgment.  Without the calling of the Holy Spirit our natural inclinations would be to go astray (Galatians 5:16-18).    In fact no one is drawn to the Father (God) except by the work of the Holy Spirit (John 6:63-65) and the Spirit does this at the bidding of the Father.

At this point the person is at a crisis of faith.  He/She either believes the Word of God and the conviction of the Holy Spirit or she/he denies the need of repentance.  It is a sorry thing when a person refuses to repent.  The immediate consequence is a removal of the peace that God desires to give.  The long term consequence is the removal of God's blessing and protection.  The eternal consequence for the unbeliever is separation from God.

All this to say that recognition of the need for change is a prerequisite to repentance. 

Change of Will

Once a person has this recognition they have to take the next step which is a change of will.  To repent you have desire the change.  Being aware that a change is needed is well and good, but if you do not desire to change then your repentance will be short lived.  There has to be a change of desire that occurs in the innermost part of your being.  This desire is a restoration of hungering and thirsting for righteousness. 

For consider how much diligence this very thing-this grieving as God wills-has produced in you: what a desire to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what deep longing, what zeal, what justice! In every way you showed yourselves to be pure in this matter.
2 Corinthians 7:11 (HCSB)

Desire to clear, indignation, fear, deep longing, zeal, and justice.  Those are powerful words.  Meditate on them.  Let them sink into your soul.  Let them spark spiritual life into your mind, body, and action.  These things grant inward repentance.  Transformation that is inside out. 

Change in Direction

Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other.
Isaiah 45:22 (HCSB)

Repentance is a change in direction.  It is a change from worthless things to God (Acts 14:15).  It is a change from self-centeredness to God (Proverbs 18:1).  It is a change from "I got to have it" attitude to God (James 3:16).  Repentance is a change from a passive attitude about sin to a recognition of sin as God sees it (James 4:8-10).  Repentance is seeking God's Glory over the glory of men (John 5:44).  In short repentance is an about face from all the selfish desire and attractions of this worlds to a forward facing devotion to God and his kingdom (Matthew 6:33).

Change in Fruit

Repentance is a change in actions.  The actions in and of themselves hold no real power to repentance.  They are merely evidence of the change that has already occurred on the inside.  Often people will seek to do great works as a way to undo or compensate for the wrong that they have done.  This type of change is not repentance, but rather is works based religion.  The fruit of repentance is cultivating those things in your life that lead to genuine spiritual growth. 

In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can't produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit.
Matthew 7:17-18 (HCSB)

What is this fruit?  Here is a good list:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 (HCSB)

A person growing in these with consistency demonstrates the Spirit of God working in him/her.  A change of fruit demonstrates the change of heart.  That is repentance.  

Have a blessed day!

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

A mother plays the guitar while her two daught...

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Proverbs 31 is an acrostic using the Hebrew alphabet.  It is instruction on how we (men) are to honor our wives.  It also says a good deal about motherhood.  I rewrote the Acrostic using the English alphabet and modernized it.  Hope you enjoy!

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth more than jewels

Broad is her husband's confidence in her
He is a blessed man!

Continually she is good for him
Guarding him from pitfalls of life.

Diligently she seeks clothing
She makes certain her children are clothed

Every week she seeks out deals.
Buying groceries she never tires or gives up.

Food is always in the refrigerator.
Her family is never hungry.

Going and going she is always at work,
Her endurance lasts until evening and then into the night

Happy is she when she seeks and finds a good price
Her talent for this is beyond words

Investing time and money in her family,
She never quits or gives up.

Juggling her many chores and responsibilities
She gives her all and then continues.

Keeping busy, the laundry never ceases
The dishes do not wash themselves.

Load after Load, wash after wash
And yet she does this without many complaints

Most of the time she opens her doors
To what seems like all the neighborhood children.

Needy children she helps
To poor families she extends her hand.

Outside in the winter her children are not cold.
She ensures that they do not leave without their coats.

Pulling sheets off the bed and replacing them
In spite of her work she is always dressed in fine clothes

Quick are others to point out,
the benefit of such a mother and wife.

Reliable is she when she works
Her employers give her praise.

Strength and dignity belong to her.
In loyalty and good character she is not lacking.

Today, hopefulness is in her eyes
She does not despair for the future

Unending are her wise statements
Her good advice refreshes the soul.

Victory belongs to her home
She never ceases in guarding her family

Wealthy is the woman whose children give many thanks
And when her husband cherishes her great worth

Xerox produces many cheap copies
But your wife and mother are priceless and irreplaceable

Young beauty fades, Charm is shallow
But a woman that follows Christ should be praised

Zealous in giving her honor, we should be.
We should honor her in public as well!

Happy Mother's Day!

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Meditation: Guarding Your Heart and Mind

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7 (HCSB)

Context:  In this passage Paul has finished discussing the theology of Christian living and now he is giving practical advice of how to live out that theology. 

Key Words:  Rejoice, Graciousness (Gentleness), The Lord is near, Don't worry, Prayer, petition, thanksgiving, Peace of God, guard heart and mind, in Christ Jesus

This passage is full of truths.  I think I should stay on it for a few days.  Yesterday God was showing me that I needed to me more gentle.  Today my meditation is that the peace of God guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus.  I especially note that my heart and mind need this guarding and that my position is in Christ when this occurs. 

 

Have a Blessed Day. 

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Meditation

God has put it on my heart to share some of my meditations with you.  I wrote a post a while back on the subject of meditation.  I will be posting for the next little while what God is showing me through meditating on His Word. 

Now we ask you, brothers, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you, and to regard them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are irresponsible, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 (HCSB)

The context of this passage is a letter to the Church in Thessalonica. Paul is concluding his letter with a exhortation to the members of that church in how to live godly lives. 

Key words:  Recognition of those that labor, Admonish, Regard, Peace, Warn, Comfort, Help, Patient, Pursue Good.

God shows me that I need to recognize and honor those that minister to me.  I also see that ministry is not simply for the minister, but that I have an active role to play in being at peace with others, warning, comforting, helping the weak, having patience.   All of these ministries can be summed up with pursue what is good for others. 

Have a Blessed day.

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