Friday, August 29, 2014

August 29, 2014

Who has your back?

Proverbs 27:17

Iron sharpens iron,
And a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

Personal Challenge...

This is such a true statement. Those few times in my life that I have had this kind of friend have been rewarding and growth-filled. Why is it so difficult for us, especially us men, to develop deep relationships with others? Relationships where we can share the deep thoughts and secrets of our lives and know that we will will be sharpened by the other as a sword. Is it because we have become such individualist that we strive to live this life on our own? Is it because we are so focused on ourselves that we cannot find the wherewithal to invest in another's life? Is it because we are so busy with the busy-ness of life that we cannot slow down and be in a relationship? David had Jonathan. Jesus had the twelve and especially the three that He was closest to. Even God Himself has the Trinity. Oh Lord, my God, I long for a Jonathan, or a Peter, or a John in my life so that I can be challenged to be more like you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 27, 2014

Living in hopeful anticipation...

Psalm 46:1 (45:2 LXX)

God is our refuge and power;
A help in afflictions that severely befall us.
Encouraging Words...

We still live in a fallen world. In this world there is illness, deterioration of old age, calamity, discord, and just plain brokenness. We do not have to succumb to all of this in hopelessness. To the contrary we have a hope in our Lord and our God that He reigns victoriously over all of creation, that He has trampled down death by death, and that He will come again some day to establish His new kingdom that will have none of these fallen traits. What a blessing to know this and to know that He is with us in this fallen world now. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 26, 2014

You want me to do what?

1 John 3:16

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Personal Challenge...

We go through our lives as Christians saying that we want to be like Christ, saying that we want to be godly and righteous men and women. How do we really do this? Through love of others. Loving them so much that we would be willing to give up our lives for them. This is a pretty radical way to be like Christ. But it is what He did for us and therefore if we are to be like Him we must do the same. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014

Life built on a foundation of love.

Colossians 2:6-7

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Encouraging Words...

How is it that we have received Christ Jesus the Lord? He came so that He, and He alone, could be the foundation upon which our lives could be built. What is the core, the substance, of that foundation? Love! "For god so loved the world...". If we live our lives with Jesus (Love) as the foundation then everything that we do will be from a heart, soul, and spirit of love. Glory be to God!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 24, 2014

Active repentance is required...

Joel 2:12-13

Now says the Lord your God, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting and wailing and with mourning; rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate. He is longsuffering and plenteous in mercy and repents of evils.

Personal Challenge...

Sin, missing the mark, is done by all of us because we still live in the fallen, broken world. Even though we can learn to sin less because of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us we will still sin. Here we are admonished by the Prophet Joel to turn to our Lord to confess our sins and repent, or turn away from them. He reminds us that confession and repentance are not just saying a prayer but a physical act of being mournful of our wrongdoing, whether voluntary or involuntary, committed in knowledge or ignorance, and fasting so that we are reminded that we are to thirst and hunger for our Lord alone. These physical acts start in our hearts but progress to actual actions so that we are completely engaged in our confession and repentance. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

August 22, 2014

Producing offspring...

Proverbs 23:18

For if you keep these words, you shall have offspring,
And your hope will not depart from you.

Encouraging Words...

Wisdom, our Lord Jesus Christ, informs us through this verse that if we spend time with Him, keeping Him in our hearts and minds, then we will have offspring in our lives. What kinds of offspring? Virtues! Virtues like prudence, justice, temperance (or restraint), courage, faith, hope, and love. From these virtues sprouts a life that is righteous and godly, which then produces additional offspring...people in our lives who desire to know the Lord this way as well. Glory be to God!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August 21, 2014

Life in two realms...

Psalm 31:1-4 (30:2-5 LXX)

In You, O Lord, I hope; may I not be ashamed forever;
In Your righteousness deliver and rescue me.
Incline Your ear to me;
Rescue me speedily;
Be to me a God who protects me,
And a house of refuge to save me.
For You are my strength and my refuge,
And for Your name's sake You will guide and sustain me;
For You will bring me out from the snare they hid for me;
For You are my protector.

Encouraging Words...

We live in two worlds, two domains, at the same time. Our physical body is in this earthly domain and yet at the same time there is the spiritual domain around us as well. Our Lord, our God, dwells in both realms. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords in both realms. And it is He who surrounds us and protects us. It is He who is our refuge, our guide, our sustainer, and our protector. We must yield to Him, submit to Him, and humble ourselves before Him so that He can guide us through our time here on earth. Glory be to God!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 20, 2014

Constantly under His watchful eyes...

Psalm 33:18 (32:18)

Behold, the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,

Encouraging Words...

One of the many blessings of being in that stage of life where I have had children and now have grandchildren in my life is that I can see the description of God's love for His children in verses like this one from the perspective of a parent. As my children were growing up, and now with my grandchildren, I watch them like a hawk, especially when out in crowded spaces. This watching comes from love and a desire to protect them. This is what God, our Father, does for each of His children. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 19, 2014

Partakers of the divine nature...

2 Peter 1:2-4

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Encouraging Words...

"That through these you may be partakers of the divine nature..." By the grace of our Father and the work of our Lord Jesus Christ we have been adopted into the family of God. Through this adoption we may partake in the divine nature. Just as children take on the traits and characteristics of their parents so can we take on the image of our God. We cannot become Him, but we can become more like Him, which is what we mean by theosis.

As Cyril of Alexandria stated: "We that are made worthy to participate in Him [the Holy Spirit] through faith in Christ are brought to perfection as participants of the divine nature, and are said to be born of God, and on that account are given the title gods, not flying up to the glory above us by grace alone, but as already having God indwelling and taking lodging in us, according to what is set forth in the Prophet, ‘I shall dwell among them and walk about in their midst’ (Lv 26:12; 2Co 6:16)"

Glory be to God!

August 18, 2014

Living in true freedom...

Galatians 5:13

For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Personal Challenge...

By the grace of God the Father, the work of God the Son, and the presence of God the Holy Spirit in our lives we have been set free from the shackles of the law. In this freedom, this liberty, our sins are forgiven and we are no longer constrained. In this freedom, however, we are admonished to not use it for our own good, meeting our own fleshly desires, but to use it to love our neighbor and seek their good.

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 17, 2014

Thirsting for our Father...

Psalm 42:1-2 (41:2-3)

As the deer longs for the springs of waters,
So my soul longs for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before the face of God?

Personal Challenge...

Shouldn't this be the desire of our every thought and long for our God and thirst for Him above all else? As we progress on our journey through life and in our growth in theosis our desire to be with God should grow more deeply and pervasive in everything we think and do. As we grow this way our actions will reflect Him more and more. Glory be to God!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

August 16, 2014

Living in the arms of my Protector.

Psalm 62:6-7 (61:7-8)

For He is my God and my savior,
My protector; I shall never be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
He is the God of my help, and my hope is in God.

Encouraging Words...

We do not need to rely on our own capabilities or resources to make it through life. We do not need to rely on others or institutions either. We can rely on God who is our protector, our salvation, our glory, our help, and our hope. Through Him and His presence in our lives we will know how to make it through times of bad as well as good and how to deal in godly ways with others and the institutions that we share our lives with. Glory be to God!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

August 15, 2014

Submitting to the Alpha and the Omega...

Psalm 62:1-2 (61:2-3 LXX)

Shall not my soul be submissive to God?
For from Him is my salvation.
For He is my God and my savior,
My protector; I shall be shaken no more

Personal Challenge...

We live in an age where everything is temporary and thrown away. It is so easy then to put our trust into these temporary things; our job, our knowledge, our pension, you name it, and look to the temporary for permanence. All of this will some day be burnt up as chaff. It is our God, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end that is the only one that we can put our trust in and give our submission to.

Friday, August 15, 2014

August 14, 2014

Diamonds in the rough...

Proverbs 25:4

Beat drossy silver,
And it will be made entirely clean.

Personal Challenge...

Silver is a beautiful, precious metal when it has ben purified and all of the dross, or foreign material, pounded out of it. We humans, formed in the image of God, are beautiful, precious beings and must also have the dross, or in our case, sinful passions, pounded out of us. We are not totally depraved. We are beautiful diamonds covered in the slime and muck of sin and impurities from living in a fallen world. Our Lord is the perfect silversmith, or diamond cutter, who is constantly cleaning us up and chipping away at the dross in our lives. We can do our part in this refinement as well by being spiritual athletes, running the race, and practicing by prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and loving our neighbor. Glory be to God!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August 13, 2014

He wants us to have a humble heart.

Psalm 51:17 (50:19 LXX)

A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit,
A broken and humbled heart God will not despise.

Personal Challenge...

God desires that we offer up to Him our heart more than the works of our hands. It is from the humble heart and the broken spirit that our true actions come. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 11, 2014

True trust...

Isaiah 12:2

Behold, God is my Savior and Lord. I will trust in Him and be saved by Him. I will not be afraid, for the Lord is my glory and my praise. He has become my salvation.

Encouraging Words...

Just as Isaiah could call out to His Lord in praise thousands of years ago so can we today for He is the same God from ages to ages. The difference is that we have the hope that Isaiah looked forward to in the incarnation of God as man...Jesus Christ. We have the hope realized in God as man and are a part of the new covenant with God our Father. Glory be to God!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 10, 2014

He hears our prayers...

Psalm 4:2

You heard me when I called, O God of my righteousness.
You strengthened my heart when I was in distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.

Encouraging Words...

God is always there for His children. Even in the midst of trials, tribulations, and even persecution, He is there. Since we live in two worlds His presence may not change the situation or condition of our physical world, but it does change the spiritual one. Glory be to God!

August 9, 2014

Blessings being poured out...

Proverbs 10:22 (10:23 LXX)

The blessing of the Lord is upon the head of a righteous man;
It enriches him, and grief of heart will not be added to it.

Encouraging Words...

We often slip into the frame of mind that trying to live a righteous life is all about doing things. In reality it is more about the state of our heart and mind, for it is from there that righteous acts come willingly. We do not do what we do to earn God's blessings, but we do them because we are blessed by God.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August 7, 2014

Loving and compassionate is our God!

Psalm 51:1-4 (50:3-6 LXX)

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your great mercy;
And according to the abundance of Your compassion, blot out my transgression.
Wash me thoroughly from my lawlessness
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my lawlessness,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You only have I sinned
And done evil in Your sight;
That You may be justified in Your words,
And overcome when You are judged.

Encouraging Words...

Our God is a loving and compassionate God. He is not judgmental as He is often depicted. He does judge, but this judgment is that of a loving Father desiring to discipline and correct His children. It is not surprising that as people build their religious practices around a judgmental god that the result is hostilities and divisions. Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Friday, August 8, 2014

August 6, 2014

Dedicated to Billy G's Clock Shop...

Psalm 30:11-12 (29:12-13 LXX)

You turned my lamentation into dancing for me;
You tore up my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
That my glory may sing praise to You,
And not be pierced with sadness;
O Lord my God, I shall give thanks to You forever.

Encouraging Words...

Our Lord is so good to us. We must be patient and stay close to Him so that we can see His hand of healing at work in our lives. This passage is so appropriate for me today as we approach the last leg of our journey home from my parent's home in California. I have been gifted with the jewels of my father's workshop (Billy G's Clock Shop as it has been affectionately christened) and given the charter, the privilege, to keep his memory alive by continuing his legacy. God has given me a chance to build upon my father's legacy and to not only have my lamentation turned into dancing, but hopefully to use this opportunity to bring healing and hope to the rest of the family as well. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

August 5, 2014

Help running the race...

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Encouraging Words...

We are not alone in our journey and struggle through life. Those saints who have gone before us and are continuing to petition our Lord on our behalf. Our Lord is at the core of our journey paving the way before us and supporting and nurturing us along the way. Glory be to God!

Friday, August 1, 2014

August 1, 2014

Our foundation and our refuge...

Psalm 71:1-3 (70:1-3 LXX)

O God, in You I hope; may I never be put to shame.
Deliver me in Your righteousness, and set me free;
Incline Your ear to me and save me.
Be to me a God for protection
And a strong place for salvation,
For You are my foundation and my refuge.

Encouraging Words...

Once again the Psalmist reminds us that even in the midst of a world going bad around us we have the Lord, our God, that we can put our trust in. He is our salvation. He is our foundation, He is our refuge. The challenge is that it is often difficult to remember this in the midst of our challenges. Nonetheless we can turn to Him and run into His protective and loving arms.