Blessings Under Fire

Today’s Date: Jan 5, 2010

Reading: Gen 11 – 13:4, Matt 5:1-26, Psalm 5:1-12, Proverbs 1:24-28 NLT

Title: Blessings Under Fire

S – Scripture: Mt 5:11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. v12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven…”

O – Observation: Matthew 5:1-10 recalls that Jesus saw crowds gathering and went up to the mountainside and sat down. Then his disciples gathered around him and he began to teach them (the blessings of God). There are many times in our life that we will be judged. No one promised that when we gave our hearts to the Lord and accepted him as our Lord and Savior that our lives would be at peace and we wouldn’t have any problems. Accepting Christ is a choice, God gave us free-will. With that said, it’s a challenge to have people mock us for being Christ followers. v11 says that “God blesses you” when people do bad things against you, just because you are a Christian! Then he says we are to be happy about it? Yes, that’s what it says, yet we all know it’s not as easy done as it is written. Many Christians are persecuted by their own family and friends, some are disowned and some killed. What can we do in situations like these?

A – Application: There’s no one simple answer for me. However I am fortunate that I live in a country that allows me to freely worship Jesus Christ. I see the mocking and persecution affecting me in several ways – verbally, physically, and spiritually. Words, I could ignore. Lies, I would want to defend my honor. Physical attack, I would want to self-defend. These can all contribute to what the devil really wants, which is the fight for us to turn away from God. Living the ways of the world is easy compared to living a life based on Biblical Worldviews (See Truth Project links below)*. This is why some people go back to the ways of the world, and worse yet live a façade, giving the impression to people that they are Christian but they make life choices, often behind closed doors, that are easier for them, and are what the bible calls, “lukewarm”, however God would rather we be one or the other, not both. The reason I have continued to choose Jesus is that I know my reward is in heaven. This is my calling. I have been chosen as one of the King’s kids. The bible says that I am not to retaliate, vengeance is his, says the Lord. Mt. 5:16 says that “I should let my good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise my heavenly Father.” I need to watch my words and actions as they reflect who I am as a follower of Jesus.

P – Prayer: Father, thank you for choosing me to be one of your followers. I want to know you and do your will. Help me to turn the other cheek, to live by Biblical values and truths*, and never be ‘lukewarm’ in my walk with you. Help those who have chosen to follow you and are being persecuted for their faith. Protect, guide, and strengthen those of us who know your Truth yet are challenged by the world to seek ourselves instead of Mt. 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

I pray Romans 12:2 – God’ will – I strive to, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

*The Truth Project, Biblical Worldview, What is WorldviewDr. Del Tackett

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Problems that require us to go through a process

How to recognize some problems require us to go through a process

Reading:Gen 5:1-7:24, Matt 3:7-4:11, Psalm 3:1-8, Proverbs 1:10-19

Message from: Luke 18:1-8

Title: Recognize Some Problems Require a Process

S – Scripture: “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18: 7-8

O – Observation: Luke 18: 1-8 talks about the Parable of the Widow. This is a story that Jesus told about a woman who wouldn’t give up. According to Luke, Jesus told the story of a persistent woman in order that we could learn v1 that ‘men always ought to pray and not lose heart’.

A – Application:  I will continue to pray, be consistent and persistent. Whatever I do, unless I receive a clear Word or sign from God that I am going in the wrong direction and need to refocus, I need to not give up.  In Hawaiian we say, Imua, Imua, a Lanakila which means forward, forward to victory. As long as I am in line with God according to His word, through prayer – whatever I’m praying or working towards is all in God’s time, not my own. Although I can set timelines for myself and strive to hit those goals, I need to remember that I shouldn’t give up what God has asked of me. If something isn’t happening at my time or place or whatever, I just need to know that it may not be God’s time.

P – Prayer:

Father thank you for your Word. Thank you for bible teachers and leaders who are an example of daily devotions and seeking you to teach others. Help me to know and do your will. Mold me and give me direction.

–         Prayer for others:

–         Stan and his family as he lost his father yesterday.

–         Prayer for Kim, thankful that doctors were able to remove all of the cancer and now that she’s going thru chemo and/or radiation to make sure there’s no more growth, also prayer that you comfort her as we’re coming to the one year anniversary of her husband Kevin, who went home to be with you after many years of service to your people and his battle with cancer.

–         For Truman & Elizabeth as they follow Your call.

Notes:

In today’s American Society of fast food, disposable everything, quick fix – it’s all too easy to say; “I tried that, it didn’t work,” and that would be the end of the story.  Often times if we pray and seek God and the answer isn’t instantaneous, or when “we” want it, we give up and say, “It must not have been God’s will.”  We also need to remember that it may not be God’s will for what we’re praying for “right now” but in His time. Or it could be we are suffering a consequence for sin. Or it could be we need to go through the process of whatever it is we are going through so that we can grow, build character, AND then and only then would God be able to use us to glorify His kingdom.

I often think about the “process” when my mom was very ill, she had spent months in the hospital, came home briefly, only to return to the hospital again and then went into a semi-comatose state and went home to be with the Lord on Thanksgiving Day 1993.  I wondered if I were to ask God, “why?” if that would make me seem like I didn’t have faith in Him. Well, maybe I’ll write about this another time as that’s a whole story in itself.  However, for this post I’ll note that if it were not for the “process” that my mom went through, I would not have been able to have the one conversation that has carried me through everyday of my walk with Christ. I’ll make this short as to say I went to my mom’s bedside as I felt God prompting me to ask, I didn’t want to as I stated before I felt like I was showing a lack of faith, however God knew what I needed to hear. I sat beside her, held her hand, trying to hold my tears back, and said, “Mom, do you ever questions God?” She looked at me and said, “No, I trust my Jesus.”  We sat in silence for a while, as I knew that God had used her to teach me, that no matter what, I too, could trust in ‘my Jesus’. Everything for a purpose and God’s timing.

Last night we went to church and the pastor talked about Revolution vs. Resolution for the New Year.  Although I read my daily devotions before going to service, often times I hear or read other scriptures and want to journal on those instead so that’s what I did for today. I also liked the five points that the pastor talked about which I will summarize here for my future reverence.

New Year’s Revolution – when people normally make new year’s resolutions to the problems they want to correct or improve, the pastor spoke on making a revolution. Here’s his five points from this weekend’s message:

1. See your problem as a problem. – Amos 3:1

2. Compare your problem to God’s purpose. – Phil 3:14

3. Submit your problem to God’s power. – I Corin 12:12-25

4. Recognize some problems require a process. – Luke 18:1-8

5. Remember everyday is a great day to start a revolution. – Hebrews 3:7

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