Hebrews 6:12 2/5/16

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Hebrews 6:12

“We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”

Observation/Interpretation: This verse is encompassed in an exhortation to not fall away from the love of Jesus Christ. This verse opens with “We do not want you to become lazy.”

The writer of Hebrews is encouraging the Hebrews to take a proactive stance in life. In order to imitate those he is encouraging the Hebrews to imitate, those “who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised,” the Hebrews CANNOT just sit back in hopes that that will be enough to attain what has been promised. The verse before the writer of Hebrews writes, “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.” He is very proactive minded, which as a lazy procrastinator, I appreciate the emphasis. For if I am lazy, I will NOT inherit what has been promised. What has been promised? I continued reading to see if the writer shed any more light on this “what has been promised business.” He goes on to talk about Abraham and how he was promised blessings and decedents like the stars. So Abraham got what HE was promised. I love it; verses 13-20 go on to talk about the certainty of God’s promises. This part of chapter 6 has always got me good. The reassurance once again that God WILL fulfill his promises is always comforting to me. Hebrews 6:19 I have held onto. It is a verse that a lot of people love to put on their body along with t-shirts and memorabilia accompanied by a sick looking anchor. The first half of the verse says “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul firm and secure.” People like to say, “Yes Hope is the anchor for our soul.” But the truth is its much more than just hope. It is the hope in the certainty of God’s promises. That what he promises YOU and ME WILL come true. The second half of the verse continues in saying “It enters into the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,” continuing into verse 20, “ where our forerunner, Jesus has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Jesus is our high priest. He is the one who intercedes on my behalf. He already has with His sacrifice for my life! He WILL fulfill what he has promised? So what has he promised me? I feel I have had many experiences with the Lord in which I can say he promised me things, but I don’t want to just say one. I want to reflect, take time to think and ponder and remember the times in which I have felt the Lord give me promises.

Application: Now to do what I have just expressed, I need to be proactive and seek the Lord and ask Him to reassure and remind me of those promises. I can’t just sit there and hope for it to be done. Unfortunately I have an innate ability to lazy really well. Waking up in the morning is a serious struggle I deal with on the daily. The alarm rings, I hit snooze, I realize how comfortable I am, the gravity around my bed is 10 times stronger, I want nothing more than to roll over and fall back asleep. As a result of this, many times I have to rush through my devotions and time with the Lord to fulfill the tasks of every day. I am unable to wait with patience to hear from the Lord.

How: So tomorrow I will wake up at 5:30, and actually wake up, not hitting the snooze button even once, so that I will have more than enough time to seek the Lord and through faith and patience so that I may be reminded of and inherit what the Lord has Promised me.

Psalm 16:8 2/4/16

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Psalm 16:8

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

Observation/Interpretation/Application: I keep my eyes always on the Lord. Always. What does that mean? “Always” is constantly, continuously, permanently, and eternally, never-not. “Always” is a word used by many on a consistent basis. Whether compliment, or contemptuous complaint, “Always” is a word with deeper meaning than most intend in the use of it. Keeping my eyes always on the Lord should be a picture of steadfastness, although many times, it is not. And why on the Lord? “I keep my eyes always… on the Lord.” Why doesn’t it just say “away from evil” or “on things that are good.” Well not only does this verse go on to give me good reason to keep my eyes on God, but the Lord encompasses both of those things I just mentioned. By keeping my eyes always on the Lord, evil will be but a passing whisp of wind and I will be gazing steadfastly at the definition of good. “Always” for me is unfortunately a conviction instead of lifestyle. Every stinking day I forget to keep my eyes on the Lord, always. I have an adversary that preys on me like a roaring lion just waiting to kill and destroy me. The very moment that I take my eyes off of the Lord is the very instant he will strike. I’ve seen this in too many situations in my life. Whether it has been with relationships, terrible thoughts, or unfortunately, and especially, after a great spiritual victory. I can recall times when the Lord has used me, in a way that only he could, because I know it couldn’t have been me, but after the apex I start to overpower the Lord in my head. Beginning to believe that it was me, all me. That without me, how could what just went down had happened? Wrong. That is the instant in which the enemy has struck. He has decimated and demolished me. Those are the instances in which I look back and say, “What was I thinking?” Well, Its simple really, I wasn’t. I have the God of the Universe on my team why would I not throw Him the ball. I’m sick of rejecting the rope as I’m drowning; disregarding the greatest help and salvation that anyone could ever accept. David goes on to say in this verse “With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” With God, my father, my friend, my savior, at my right hand, I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. I think immediately of Matthew 7. In verses 24-27 Jesus compares two men, both of which are building houses. However, there is a distinct difference between the two. One man is building his house on the rock and the other, on the sand. I like to think of myself as the man who builds my house on the rock. That when rain and storm come, I can stand firm because I have fixed my eyes on Jesus and seek to listen to His words. But, too many times I am a guy who builds my house on the rock but when the winds and rain come, I jump out the window and into the other little house I have built on the sand with the false pretense that it will hold better than the house I have built on the rock. What is that?! With the Lord at my right hand, I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. It doesn’t say by the power of MY right hand, it says by the power of the Most High God AT my right hand ready to fill me with HIS power. In doing so, I will NOT be shaken. I’m sick of acting in my own strength.

How: Every time I feel my flesh taking over I will lean on Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” to remind me that I need to rely on the Lord and not my own strength.

Colossians 1:11 2/3/16

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Colossians 1:11

“…being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,”

Observation/Application/Interpretation: In verses 9-14 Paul is writing an exhortation to the people of Colossae. He writes to them telling them how he has not stopped praying for them since he heard of their faith in Jesus. He lists all the things in which he is praying for them for. He comes to the prayer in which he is asking the Lord to give them strength. And not just any strength as he says “according to his glorious might.” It’s the strength of the Lord. Immediately I thought of my own life, and how a lot of times I rely on my own strength. I think I can do it on my own but much to my dismay, I fizzle out at the end and end up not doing as well or being as successful as I had hoped. Why is that? Well because I am depending on my own strength! Paul is praying in verse 11 that they may be strengthened with all power according to THE LORD’s glorious might, key words, THE LORD’s, because why? So that they may have great endurance and patience! On my own strength, I cannot and will not last. I am not patient, rushing into circumstances thinking I can do it on my own. But in the Lord’s strength, I will have great endurance. I will finish! I can have a transcendent peace that allows me to wait on the Lord, acting in His strength in even the most menial of tasks.

How: I will put on my bunk bed a piece of paper that says “Not mine, but Yours” to daily remind myself when I wake up to operate not in my own strength but in the strength of the most high God, creator of all things.

Colossians 1:9 2/2/16

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Colossians 1:9

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding the Spirit gives,”

Observation: Paul is writing to the people of Colossae. He tells them he hasn’t stopped praying for them since he heard of their faith in Jesus. In his prayers, Paul says he is asking God to fill the Colossians with the knowledge of God’s will through wisdom and understanding that only the Holy Spirit gives. This verse states that the Holy Spirit is the one who sheds light on the knowledge of the Lords will through the wisdom and understanding he reveals in the lives of those who follow Jesus.

Interpretation/Application: First off, I thought to myself, do I have people in my life that are praying for me in regards to the things Paul is talking about here in Colossians? I contemplated for a moment and thought of several of whom I am blessed to have in my life and so thankful that they are praying for me in that way. Sometimes however, I get frustrated in feeling unknowledgeable about God’s will. I want to know what the Lord wants me to do! For the past 4 or 5 years I have been praying for direction. My prayer has been, “Lord, I want to do what you want me to do but I don’t know what that looks like. Show me and I’ll do.” I was frustrated for the longest time feeling like I didn’t know what the Lord wanted me to do or what “my calling” is. I went to college after high school, because that’s what people do, I studied business because I had no other idea what I wanted to study. I was stuck; in a boring routine called life feeling like my existence was unbeneficial. I still loved the Lord. I still wanted to do what He wanted me to do, I just could not figure out what that looked like. Before I went to Montana for a month to serve at Selah Fellowship, I went to my cousins wedding in Massachusetts. I had a conversation with a cousin of mine at a family reception after the main reception that really helped wake me up. We talked about how I love serving God, helping people, and traveling (my cousin isn’t exactly saved mind you) and she was just asking me why I was going to school for business. Why, if those are the things I love, I was going to school and studying something that I have no passion for. Fast forward a couple weeks I was in Montana in July. The opportunity to go to Ignite was then presented. I didn’t choose to go right away, I didn’t feel the need to. But, as the month went on, I felt the Holy Spirit giving me, as the verse says, wisdom and understanding through the Bible and the people I was with. It was one night I was talking with Christian, that the Lord blew the doors wide open and I felt like the Holy Spirit had filled me with the knowledge of the Lords will changing my “show me and I’ll do mindset” to a “do it and I’ll show you” mindset. I then knew Ignite was a step of faith that the Lord wanted me to take in my life. It was such a freeing feeling after many years of prayer to feel like I knew the Lords will for my life. The crazy thing was it wasn’t a grandiose idea or calling for the rest of my life, it was only for the next year. Even still, I experienced a great peace about deciding to go. I can look back at that decision and relive the experience that I had being filled with the knowledge of God’s will through the wisdom and understanding only the Holy Spirit can give. I can look back and remember what an experience it was and this encourages and reminds me, as so many times I forget, to keep seeking! Not to get frustrated and dejected when I can’t seem to “figure out” God’s will for my life but to take it day by day. Loving God and seeking Him, loving others, and asking for wisdom and understanding that only the Holy Spirit can give.

How: Today I will take at least 20 minutes to read my Bible solely seeking knowledge and understanding on God’s will for my life from the Holy Spirit.

Luke 21:19 2/1/16

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Luke 21:19

“ Stand firm, and you will win life”

Observation/Interpretation/Application: What is standing firm? I immediately thought of trying to stand when the waters of the ocean are washing over your feet, whether it’s the tide going back out to form another wave or a ripping current that tries to take you sideways. To stand in that water is a challenge. I likened this to my life, as the second half of the verse says “and you will win life.” At first I thought it was saying that if I stand firm I will win at life, like I’m doing it right. I win life. But as I looked at it more, this is obviously not talking about life here on earth. Most of chapter 21 is talking about end times. Jesus is telling his disciples that in the end times there will be persecution. Terrible things will go down. He tells the disciples of these things and that if they bear testimony to the Lord’s name, standing firm in tribulation, verse 15 says Jesus will give words and wisdom that no one can stand against. In doing so they will win life. Not life on this earth but eternal life in heaven. I thought of this in context to my own life. Trials, fears, and lies all try and take root in my life constantly. It is a constant battle, every day. From when I wake up to when I wake up the next day. No seconds off. If I’m not thinking in the offence constantly, that is the exact moment in which the enemy will capitalize on my lazy mindset. The waves will sweep me away into the see. Standing firm to me is keeping that spiritual battle mindset. Seeking the Lord and keeping my faith in Him regardless of if I feel deserving of God’s love, because the reality is, it doesn’t matter if I feel worthy of love or not because Jesus has already paid the price for me. Following Jesus is standing firm. Submitting to His will is standing firm. Becoming like Jesus is standing firm. Being in the world and NOT OF the world is standing firm. Holding fast my faith in Jesus is standing firm. In turn, this and only this grants eternal life.

How: Tonight I will pray with Sean specifically asking the Lord for a warriors mindset so as to not be caught on my heels and taken advantage of by the devil.

 

2 Corinthians 1:12 1/28/16

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2 Corinthians 1:12

“Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.”

Observation/Application: Paul starts off this verse pointing us towards what we should be proud of, how we conduct and handle ourselves in the world; specifically in the cases of integrity and godly sincerity. He goes on to say that if you are able to do so it is not because of worldly wisdom or your own strength, but because of God’s grace. This is a prayer of mine for my own life. I so desire to be like Jesus, yet fall short so many times. This is a continual reminder to me to be thankful for the grace in which God allows me to live in. Growing up, I was always the good kid. I did what I was supposed to because I knew it was right. Unfortunately this began to become my identity. I struggled with the reason behind doing the right thing. Was I actually doing it because I knew that is what the Lord wanted of me, or to simply maintain an appearance that had started to become my identity? As a result of this battle, my integrity suffered. It became harder and harder to stay focused on why I was doing the “right things.” A battle of pride waged and still wages within me. Do I do what I do to please man, or to please the Lord? Because of the Lords constant reminders and not giving up on me when I have neglected to seek him, He has allowed me to break free of the expectations that I feel others have on me, and find my identity in being His. Though the war still wages, the Lord has given me victory. Once you know whose you are, you know who you are. The Lord is continually reminding me who I am, His child, and this has helped solidify my identity in him.

Paul then uses the words “godly sincerity.” This made me think of the life of a Christian in contrast with the ministry of Jesus. Many a times people have gotten a bad taste in there mouths from twofaced Christians. Claiming the relational aspect with Jesus yet neglecting the relational aspect of the actual conversation their having. Sometimes it becomes a job. Got to tell this person about Jesus. Ok good did it, check. It can be a task on a list of things to carry out. What so many Christians neglect is the aspect of Godly sincerity. Think of Jesus in his ministry. All throughout the gospels Jesus’ ministry is focused on people. Conversating with them, caring for them, loving them. The woman at the well, the centurion, the woman who was bleeding for 12 years, the lepers, I could go on and on. Jesus was relationally invested in all those he spoke with. This was why he made such an impact on so many lives. Not only was he working in immeasurable ways, but he was SINCERE. A word that is failing to maintain its meaning in todays culture. How many times have I said “ok we’ll hang out, text me” or “lets go here or there” and neither of which have came to pass. And that’s with people I know! It’s even easier with people you don’t know. Act all personable and sincere when the whole time you are somewhere else or you’re just waiting to get your point across. Even if it’s with good intentions, like sharing Jesus with someone, without being relational, you are so much less effective. In a world where so many people are only concerned with themselves, people are so taken back when you share with them that you care for them. As Jesus so cared and loved on all those he talked with, so do I need to treat others with godly sincerity.

How: Today and/or tomorrow I would like you guys to keep my accountable, if I seem to be insincere in conversation, tell me! So that like Jesus, I will not act in worldly wisdom but by the grace of God live in integrity and godly sincerity.

 

James 1:5 1/27/16

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James 1:5

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you”

Observation: Obviously some, if not all of us lack wisdom in aspects of our lives; whether its Christianity, relationships, or choices in general. A lack literally means a deficiency, a shortage, an absence. The verse states that if anyone asks the Lord for wisdom He will give to all generously! Generously is speaking of the abundance in which the Lord wants to give us wisdom. Now, why does it say that He gives generously without finding fault? Because I know sure as I’m alive that I am nowhere near “without fault.” So how does that work? Because of Jesus’ I AM seen without fault. Jesus’ righteousness has been imparted to me as a result of his sacrifice. So now, because of Jesus, when I ask for Wisdom, God gives it generously to me without seeing me for the filthy sinner that I am.

Interpretation: I know for me personally I feel that I lack wisdom when it comes to the Lord’s plan for my life. However, this verse states that if I ask the Lord, he will not hold back from giving me wisdom. Because I do desire to do what the Lord wants me to do, my prayer has been for the last 4 or 5 years, “Lord, I know I want to do what You want me to do but I don’t know what that looks like, please show me and ill do.”

 

 

Matthew 11:19 1/25/16

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Matt 11:19

“ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

Observation/Interpretation: The Son of Man, Jesus, came to earth. The people He chose to spend his time with were tax collectors, sinners, the least of these. It says he came eating and drinking. Culturally, meals were the most effective times of fellowship. You broke bread with those who you desired relation with. Jesus broke bread with those who weren’t “desirable” and looked down upon. He put his time and energy in those who other wise would be forgotten. This to the outsider looking in looked extremely odd, especially because of who Jesus claimed to be, the Son of God. It looked foolish to those looking on. To others, it was wise to stay away from those who Jesus spent his time with. This brought me to the end of this verse. “But Wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” Jesus was definitely not deemed wise by those who believed to be wise themselves. But as the verse says, wisdom IS proved by her deeds. Jesus came not to cater to the “healthy” but to heal the sick. He came to find those who are lost, save those who are drowning, catch those who are falling. His act on the cross, proved his life to be filled with the most wise of deeds. Those same tax collectors, sinners and least of these were transformed, not because they could only look on the outside of Jesus’ life, but because Jesus put himself in theirs. I also am changed by Jesus not only because of the example Jesus set for me, but because of the way he has shown up in my life too!

Application: Wisdom, in the end WILL prove herself by her deeds. I can’t let myself, in my pride and fear, get in the way of the deeds I know the Lord is calling me to do. I don’t want to be like the self-righteous who thought themselves to be the wise ones, condemning Jesus for spending time with those who needed him most. Jesus let his actions prove themselves wise. I know personally some people, some of who I call my close friends that are lost and grasping for things to fulfill them. Often times I act as the “they” in this verse, thinking it wise to stay away because I am bitter towards them. Frustrated at the decisions they have made in their life. Just wanting to give up on them. The Lord used this verse to convict me. If I claim I want to be like Jesus my heart should break for these friends and I should be praying for them and investing them, loving them like Jesus has loved the filthy sinner in me!

How: Today I will make a physical list of those friends to remind me to pray for them and invest in them regardless of my bitter feelings for them. If Jesus can love me, I can love them.