Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2 Timothy 2:3-6

3 Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. 5 And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. 6 And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor.

I am to share in the sufferings of others as a soldier with noble character belonging to the Messiah, Jesus. When I am fighting like a soldier in war I don't gets entwined with the regular practices of this life, in order that I might please the one who picked me. If also I compete in an athletic event, I will not receive the crown of victory if I don't conform to the rules that govern the competition. If I am farmer that works the ground to exhaustion then it is absolutely necessary that I get to take the first share of the crops. 

I Corinthians 10:13

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

Trials of temptation have not laid hold of me since I am no longer of human kind. On top of that God is true to His word, He will not permit the trials of temptation to be above or beyond my ability but will create alongside the trial a way to get out from under it to something better - the ability to suffer through it.

Luke 6:43-45

43 “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 44 A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. 45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

God is the gardener of my soul. He waters the soil and tenderly picks out the weeds. He prunes the dry and dead branches to help me grow more fruit. This gardener of my soul should also be my roots, the source of all nourishment in my life. If I do this then all the fruit that comes from my life will be pleasing to my gardener.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Luke 6:6-10

6 On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching. 7 The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.

8 But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” So the man came forward. 9 Then Jesus said to his critics, “I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?”

10 He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! 11 At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.

Jesus was able to see the hearts and thoughts of these teachers of the old law - so He called them out on there hypocrisy. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." (Psalms 139:23-24) Because he knows me better than I know myself I am glad that "... the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words." (Romans 8:26)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Galatians 5:16-25

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

I have concluded to by the Holy Spirit to complete the race and not consummate the inordinately passionate desires of my body. My selfish flesh passionately desires to completely tear down the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit completely tears down the selfish flesh. They are irreconcilably opposed to one another so that I am unable to do the good things that I desire to do. If I let the Holy Spirit lead the way then I am not under the authority of the God's old covenant with the Jewish people shown in the Pentateuch.

Indeed it is clearly visible when selfish carnal desires are brought to completion - these are pornographically surrendering my sexual purity, making myself impure by getting mixed up with things that are diseased by sin, violent and spiteful unrestrained disrespectful behavior, making anything into something that I worship instead of God, taking drugs or performing witchcraft, hating my enemies, being in love with controversy enough to cause arguments, boiling over with the heat of the emotional moment, following the strong impulses towards rage filled anger, seeking to make friends through gifts or ambitious / selfish competing, trying to create pointless divisions between people, choosing to be part of religion sect, embittering myself with a jealous envy, getting drunk or riotous partying that leads to unbridled sexual immorality and anything else like these. I was told in advanced over and over again that putting things of this kind into my routine will keep me from my heavenly inheritance in God's kingdom.

In contrast, fruit grown in me from the Holy Spirit is to love as God loves, joyful awareness of God's grace to me, having the peace of being complete in God, being able to wait sufficient time before expressing my anger, making me useable for meeting real needs in God's way, intrinsically goodness that comes from God producing moral excellence within me, divinely being persuaded to have confidence in the Creator of all, expressing the power God has given me with a reserved gentleness and gaining mastery over my flesh with God's help. Nothing can tear these things down, not even in God's old covenant with the Jewish people shown in the Pentateuch.

Indeed I belong to the Messiah, Jesus, so I have hung my fleshly self on the cross with all my strong emotions and passionate desires. If I live by the Holy Spirit then to the Holy Spirit's path will I strictly walk, keeping in step with Him.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Luke 5:4-7

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.

Simon was reluctant to do what the Lord asked of him because he thought he knew better about the situation based on his experience that day. My faith needs to be able to look beyond what I am going through or have experienced and faithfully follow the commands of my Master. Doing so will bring surprising results.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Luke 4:22-24

22 Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips. “How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”

23 Then he said, “You will undoubtedly quote me this proverb: ‘Physician, heal yourself’—meaning, ‘Do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum.’ 24 But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.

Here was one of the local boys speaking the words of God to those who used to be friends and neighbors. They just couldn't get over the fact that this was little Jesus the carpenter's son. He knew that even if miraculous works were done there, no change would be made in their heart and they would be unable to accept Him as the Messiah. Even though I have been bought into the family of God and am now Jesus' brother, may I never lose the wonder and awe that is due to Him as God.