Romans 12:16 3/9/16

IBS

3/9/16

Romans 12:16

“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”

Good morning Lord thank you for new breath and mercies this morning. Please reveal to me the knowledge in your word.

Romans 12:9-21, the passage of scripture that this verse falls in, is all about love in action, practical love. Paul talks first of sincere love. “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” He goes on talking about hospitality and blessing those who persecute you. Then comes our verse. Paul starts by saying, “Live in harmony with one another.” This is a command. It not a “oh if you can” or “if they aren’t being difficult.” No this is in all things. No matter who they are. Paul continues with an explicit example. He says don’t be too proud to associate with those who are deemed “of low position.” Be willing to associate with those people, because inside they are no different than me. We are both sinners, equal at the cross of Jesus. For me, this isn’t as difficult for me on the outside as it is on the inside. I can much easier be hospitable and “love” someone on the outside than have a pure heart in that love. Too often I don’t have the right heart and motives. I’m not saying I have the outward love down every time either. I know I don’t, but I know for me, it’s a lot harder for me to have the right heart. Sometimes the Lord asks me to show love to certain individuals who I really have a hard time doing so. Whether its because I deem myself better or because I don’t deem them worthy of my love it’s a sick twist thought process. It’s embarrassing to verbalize this out loud but it’s the truth. The Lord has shed some serious light on certain areas of my life showing me how imperfect I am. So many times I set these really high expectations for myself and then get bummed when I fail them. I so want to do things perfect that often times my actions don’t match my heart. Why do I want to be perfect? Because people will see. Because I want praise, I want rewards. Too often my actions are connected to a wicked heart seeking affirmation from man instead of actions that are driven because Christ’s love compels me. I want to be perfect. The Lord has wrecked me with this revelation. Though it has wrecked me, I’m so thankful for it because he has given me a counter revelation as well; that I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to be this flawless person that always does the right thing. I don’t have to walk this slack line constantly being afraid of failing. I don’t have to be perfect, because Jesus is! The less I worry about myself and focus on allowing the Lord to fill me with his Spirit that is when the Lord fixes my heart to match my outside actions. Those are the moments where I am able to abide by this verse. Not because of me, in fact it’s the opposite. Only when I force myself out of the equation and allow myself to be used as a conduit can the Lord fully use me to convey His perfect love. The Lord is the only one whose love is perfect. I am only able to purely love those “in low position,” anyone for that matter, if I allow the Lords love to flow through me.

Application: I cannot love on my own. I need the Lord Jesus’s love in order to love anyone

How: Today I wrote love on my hand to constantly remind me to get out of the way and let the Lord love others through me.

Lord, please fill me with your pure and beautiful love for I cannot love on my own.

 

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1 John 1:5-7 3/8/16

IBS

3/8/16

1 John 1:5-7

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

John starts off with a powerful statement: God is light. Where God is, there is no darkness. Darkness cannot dwell with Him or within him. He is the antonym of darkness. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Every good thing is from him. The “Father of heavenly lights” James calls him. The sounds like the complete opposite of darkness to me. “… all that we have accomplished you have done for us” Isaiah 26:12 says. I am a filthy sinner. I cannot do anything good in it of myself. That’s exactly what Paul is talking about in Romans 7:18. He says good itself does not dwell in him because of his sinful nature. “For I have the desire to do what is good, but cannot carry it out.” This perfectly describes my struggle. I know the good I aught to do but don’t do it. John continues with a powerful convicting statement. “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” I claim to have fellowship with God. But how many times am I subconsciously recanting that statement with the thoughts and actions that I do. When my sinful nature becomes evident in the disgusting thoughts and harmful actions I commit. I am not living out the truth of the gospel. But, John continues, if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another and we are purified by the precious blood of Jesus. I don’t want to walk in darkness. It is a dark and perilous road to go down. It is not the road Jesus wants me to walk down. I want to live in the purification of Jesus. I don’t want to continue putting Jesus back up on that cross with the sins I commit. I want to live in the light, because as John says, “he is in the light.” Because God is light, darkness cannot be in his presence. If I am living in darkness, how can I walk with God? That thought scares me. To be walking in darkness, alone, absent from the presence of my God. Jesus, help me live in the light. I am sorry for my sins. Thank you for your forgiveness Lord. May I show you the gratitude I have for you in the way I live.

Application: To live in darkness is to live without God. I want to always be in God’s presence. I want to constantly be reminded that God is with me. I want to live in the light. I’m tired of getting drowned in my dark thoughts.

The greatest weapon I have against the enemy is the awareness of Gods presence.

How: Today I wrote on my hand “Presence” as a reminder that the Lord is with me to help me fend off the fiery arrows of the enemy.

Thank you Jesus for never leaving me.

Amos 3:3 3/7/16

IBS

3/7/16

Amos 3:3

“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?”

Alright Lord, this verse seems pretty simple. Teach me please.

Why would two walk together if they are in disagreement? I would not want to be with, walk with or operate with someone who constantly disagrees with me and goes against what I say. It’s way easier to walk along side someone who agrees with what you’re saying. I like to think that God and I are like the first of those two scenarios; that we constantly agree and that it’s easy to submit to what he says all the time. Unfortunately I fall under the latter of the two scenarios most of the time. And most of the time it’s not out of malicious intent that I disagree and disobey the Lord. The majority of the time it’s because I’m self-centered and neglect Him. I look to my own strength, my own knowledge, and my own plans. This renders disagreement between the Lord and I (only because of me, not Him by any means, He is God Almighty). Looking back at this verse I can see clearly that when I do this, I am in fact not walking with the Lord. “Do two walk together unless they have agree to do so?” The agreement is up to me. God has his way, his plan, and his truth. If I disagree its all on me. That is convicting. God lays out the way he is walking and if I “disagree” or choose my own way I am choosing to not walk with the Lord. Short and sweet.

Application: How can I walk with the Lord if I choose my own way constantly?

How: Tomorrow I will fast breakfast and spend intimate time seeking the Lord.

Luke 12:37-40 3/4/16

IBS

3/4/16

Luke 12:37-40

“It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Lord what do you want to show me? Reveal to me the secrets of your word. Thank you for being my friend.

In these verses Jesus gives an analogy. He likens himself to the master as well as us to the servants. The idea is that as his servant, I need to be busy about the things of the Lord. I’m not just talking about just practical acts of service or love that can be observed, I’m talking about my intimacy with Jesus. Jesus says we should be awaiting his return. Revelation 19 speaks of Jesus return on a white Horse. It describes him as the one called Faithful and True. His name is The Word of God. In John 1, John writes “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and, the Word was God.” Jesus is the Word. He is coming back! The latter part of the verse explains how if the owner of a house knew at what time a thief was going to break in, the owner would do all he could to prepare for that time, as well as take every precaution to not allow that thief in his home. Then Jesus says, so it is with the Son of Man. He will come at an hour unbeknownst to us, one when we do not expect him. It’s so easy to be consumed by the things of this world and forget that the master is coming back any second! The demands of this world can cause stress and anxiety. Often times I get wrapped up in the emotional and physical demands of this world that I lose the joy of my first love. The joy that the Lord is in my life. I am alive. I am living in Guatemala studying the Bible everyday surrounded by others who desire to serve the Lord too. Jesus died on the cross for my sins. He has forgiven me for every wrong I have and will commit. He is in heaven preparing a place for me. He is coming back for me! That is the joy that I need to continue to remind myself of every day.

Application: Jesus is coming back for me. I need to be ready and watchful for his return. Thank you Jesus for the joy of my salvation. Help me grow in you. Remind me constantly of the importance of abiding in you as you are the vine and I am but the branch. It is from you that I receive anything.

How: Today, I will read John 15 to remind myself of the importance of abiding in the Lord.

 

John 15:15 3/3/16

IBS

3/3/16

John 15:15

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends for everything that I learned from my father I have made known to you.”

I am a friend of God. Me. A filthy sinner. One whose mind often runs where it shouldn’t. One who acts in ways of my flesh. One who speaks hurtful words. Thank you Jesus what an incalculable blessing. As this verse says, I am not called servant. Though it is my duty as a follower of Christ to serve both him and others, I am no longer just a servant. This verse makes a very clear distinction on what a servant is compared to a friend. As it says in the beginning of the verse, a servant doesn’t know what the master is doing. The master doesn’t fill in the servant on all his plans and ambitions. But a friend, a friend of the master is one who the master shares with. The verse says instead of being called servant, or slave, Jesus calls me a friend because everything that he has learned from God the father he has made known to me! I am not in the dark about the Father’s business. He has made it known through His word. Through the quiet times that we share. Through words of encouragement from others. The Lord shares with me his plans and ambitions and allows me to take part in them! What an incredible blessing.

Application: The Lord calls me friend. Jesus has made everything that he has learned from the Father known to me. Sometimes I don’t feel like God’s friend. I feel like I am crying out to Him without reply, when in reality I am doing very little to actually seek Him. I hate that feeling. I am sorry Jesus. Thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you that you want to be my friend even when I neglect your friendship.

How: Because I have felt like death for the past week, my morning devotions have suffered. Tomorrow I will wake up at 6, without hitting snooze, to make the time to spend with the Lord.

Luke 17:7-10 3/1/16

IBS

3/1/16

Luke 17:7-10

“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come alone now sit down to eat?’ Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ ”

Lord what are you trying to show me through this verse?

Should a master thank a servant for doing his duty of serving? I think yes, but the point is, serving is his duty. He isn’t necessarily going above and beyond by serving, for it is his obligation.

It is my duty to serve the Lord, to serve others. In a sense, I’m not really going above and beyond by serving Him because as a Christian, it is my calling to serve the Lord. Now, thankfully I serve the greatest of masters. And I get the privilege of feeling him reassuringly smile at me from Heaven. It says in Matthew 25 the Lord will welcome in those who have served him faithfully saying, “Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom (speaking of Heaven) prepared for you since the creation of the world.” Now there is a duplicitous aspect of my service to the Lord. It is not just what I am called to do, it is a privilege to serve the Creator of all things. God doesn’t need me to further his Kingdom. Christ has been preached well before I was born and will continue to be preached after I am long gone (hopefully he comes back before than). It is a privilege that I have the opportunity to serve God. It is an honor that he allows me to be apart of His glorious master plan. Here is the thing also, because His work doesn’t need me, God is more concerned what I allow Him to do in me rather than through me. Because he doesn’t need me, but rather chooses to use me, the focus isn’t on what I can do on this earth, but how the Lord can work in my own life. I love that. It’s not about what I do. It’s about what I allow the Lord to do in me. And that will overflow into the lives of those around me in service to Him. I think of the verse Isaiah 26:12, “Lord you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us.” I absolutely love this verse. I have held on to it for a while. It is a beautiful reminder that it’s not about Sam. Everything that I have accomplished has been the Lord. Everything I will accomplish is the Lord. All I need to do is present my self to the Lord as an empty vessel ready for service. That is when the Lord will use me most. Not when I am focusing on all that I can do practically for Him, but as I grow in intimacy with Him, He will then open up opportunities as he sees fit for me to serve. If I can keep a healthy perspective of this concept, it is freeing. To release all control to the Lord is freeing, to not worry because God is sovereign. After telling us to not worry Jesus says in Matthew 5:27, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” It is pointless to worry when I serve a God who always only has my best interest in mind. It’s not always easy to do though by any means. I am constantly having to remind myself of these truths. The focus should be on the Lord, not myself. With all that said, I will serve Him with all my heart and all my soul as it says in Joshua 22:5. Thank you Jesus for allowing me to be apart of your work here on Earth. Please keep my eyes off myself, as it is from you all blessing flow. Please keep me humble in my service to you. Keep my focus on you.

How: Today during servant time, though I am feeling sick and exhausted I will serve with a smile, and without a complaint, keeping in mind that it is a privilege to serve the Lord.

John 12:26 2/29/16

IBS

2/29/16

John 12:26

“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will also be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

Thank you Lord for your Word. Please reveal to me what you want me to learn from this verse.

Well, the verse starts out by saying, “Whoever serves…” What does serve mean. It’s carrying out the needs of someone else. It is to esteem someone else before you, fulfilling the needs of that individual. Now the verse says, “Whoever serves me…” This is Jesus speaking. What does it look like to serve Jesus? James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” So basically, caring for those who can’t care for themselves, and not becoming contaminated by the appetitive and carnal things of this world. What does it look like to serve Jesus in caring for those less fortunate? In Matthew 25, Jesus tells his disciples that, “… whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” So, in serving those who are in need, you are serving Jesus. Now the next part of James 1:27, “not being polluted by the things of this world.” The opposite of being polluted is what? Being pure and undefiled. The only way to be presented as pure and undefiled is through Jesus Christ, because I am a dirty sinner. So the opposite of being polluted by the world is to remain pure in Jesus. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” It is through the continual renewal of my mind that I am made pure in Christ. Back to the study verse; so serving Jesus is aiding others and seeking him rather than the things of this world. John 12:26 goes on to say that “Whoever serves me must follow me…” It is easy to get so caught up in ministry that you forget who you are ministering to. It’s easy to serve practically. But it is much harder to purposefully seek the Lord. So in a sense, I am saying it is easy to slip into a lifestyle of serving the Lord but forgetting to actually follow him. But Jesus is saying here, in order for that service to work to its full potential, the servant must be seeking and following Him. Jesus says in doing so, serving Jesus and following him, that the servant will be where he is. And where is Jesus? He is in Heaven! Here is another promise of heaven by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The verse finishes by saying, “My Father will honor the one who serves me.” That is pretty self-explanatory. Jesus wraps it up with a little bow for us. God will honor those who serve Him.

It is easy, in service, to grumble and complain because I see it as serving people. But if I look at it as serving Jesus, directly, my attitude shifts. It becomes much easier knowing that by serving whomever it is I’m serving, I am serving Jesus directly.

How: Today, in whatever service I am called to do, I will neither complain nor grumble, and do each task to the best of my ability, seeing out its completion, having in mind that I am not just serving man, I am serving God.