Light and Darkness

Date: January 31, 2010

Title:  Be the Light

Scripture Readings: Exodus12:14-13:16, Matt 20:29-21:22, Psalm 25:16-22, Proverbs 6:12-15

ODB (Our Daily Bread) Eph 5:8

S – Scripture:

You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord Walk as children of light. Eph 5:8

Click here to read the entire ODB devotional

A friend of mine has the opportunity each winter to attend the Super Bowl as a journalist. His job is to garner interviews with Christian athletes and National Football League staff for a faith-based radio program.

When he first started covering the big game a few years ago, he grew disillusioned with the self-serving, pleasure-seeking atmosphere during Super Bowl week. “I found it to be a very dark place,” he says.

One day he told a former NFL player, a Christian, how he was feeling. The athlete looked at my friend and said, “Brother, you are being light in this dark place.” That comment reminded my friend why he was there, and it helped renew his excitement for serving God in a place where the light of the gospel is needed. It spurred him to shine his light.

Perhaps you work in a setting where God is not acknowledged, faith is mocked, and godless living is applauded. Maybe you feel that you are going into “a very dark place.”

Why not be a light (Eph. 5:8)—through your smiles, kind words and deeds, and diligent work. Ask God to bring opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ. You may be the only light a co-worker sees today.  — Dave Branon

Click here to read the entire ODB devotional

O – Observation:

ODB gives a great devotional on how one’s outlook on life is directed to selfishness and looking inward, while Christians are taught to give and look toward Christ. It’s easy to have the feelings that the reporter had in this devotional on how he felt the “darkness” surrounded by his Superbowl interview assignment. While others are cheering and hyped for a football game, he was mourning the souls of the many players who did not know Christ. Yet we are reminded that in many circumstances where we would like to flee from being surrounded by darkness, if that be people, job, family, friends, or environment, we are reminded that in the pitch dark, if someone where to shine a flashlight, the room would light up – wherever we walk, we are to shine our light, even when we are not comfortable in the situation, we need to be children of light.

A – Application:

Whatever circumstance the Lord allows in my life, I am to shine my light, which is the light of Christ that dwells in me. I am to do my best not to flee and allow others to remain in darkness but to share the love of Christ by planting seeds. I may not “close the sale” but if I allow Christ to work in me and share his light, the Lord will do all the rest, as I wrote in my journal entry yesterday, Mt 19:26 But with God everything is possible. I can’t do anything on my own, if I do, I get my reward; if I allow Christ before me, His will be done.

P – Prayer:

Father I thank you for the fellowship with others. With both Christians and non; that we may be able to uplift others in their walk with Christ and shine our light unto others who don’t yet know you. I ask for your forgiveness of my sins. You are the great provider, healer, teacher, my strength, and my peace. Thank you Lord for going before me and I know that you are the Light of the world.

In Jesus name, amen.

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Storytelling Secrets

Today’s Date:  January 19, 2010

Storytelling Secrets?

 

Reading: Gen 39-41:16, Matt 12:46-13:23, Psalm 17:1-15, Proverbs 3:33-35

S – Scripture:

Matthew 13:10-13 (New Living Translation)

10 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”

 11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets[a] of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables,

For they look, but they don’t really see.

They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.

O – Observation & Interpretation:

What is a parable? Basically it’s a story.  Jesus told stories to his disciples so that they would have a better understanding of his teachings. When his teaching was met with ‘unbelief’ he began teaching in parables so that whoever heard his teachings would have a better understanding and increases their knowledge.

For a detailed definition click this link to Smith’s Bible Dictionary online: http://tinyurl.com/bible-parable

Here’s an excerpt from Smith’s:

For some months Jesus taught in the synagogues and on the seashore of Galilee as he had before taught in Jerusalem, and as yet without a parable. But then there came a change. The direct teaching was met with scorn unbelief hardness, and he seemed for a time to abandon it for that which took the form of parables. The worth of parables as instruments of teaching lies in their being at once a test of character and in their presenting each form of character with that which, as a penalty or blessing, is adapted to it. They withdraw the light from those who love darkness. They protect the truth which they enshrine from the mockery of the scoffer. They leave something even with the careless which may be interpreted and understood afterward. They reveal on the other hand, the seekers after truth. These ask the meaning of the parable, and will not rest until the teacher has explained it. In this way the parable did work, found out the fit hearers and led them on. In most of the parables it is possible to trace something like an order.

A – Application:

In doing my devotions I am able to pray first to ask the Lord to better understand His direction. I am able to understand the Word of God based on stories (parables) that Jesus and his disciples have written. I can use bible commentaries and messages to gain understanding and use the same teachings I have learned through to share with others so that they also may come to understand God’s truths.

P – Prayer:

Father I ask for your forgiveness for my sins. I seek your knowledge and understand in your Word. I ask that you guide me through prayer, your Word, messages from your messengers, and the Holy Spirit that lives within me. Thank you for your grace and mercy. In Jesus name, amen.

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© elehua808 – 2010- All Rights Reserved

The Have and The Have-Nots

Date: January 18, 2010

Sharing a Piece a Candy

Scripture Readings:Gen 37-38:30, Matt 12:22-45, Psalm 16:1-11, Proverbs 3:27-32

S – Scripture:

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”  – Proverbs 3:27-28 – NLT

O – Observation & Interpretation:

How many times have you seen someone holding a cardboard sign that said, “homeless” or “need work” or “hungry” – interestingly since moving to this city, I noticed mainly homeless men, will go person to person in parking lots asking for “change”.  In today’s society there’s a large concern for safety. Just watch the news and you wouldn’t want to step outside of your home. I go by instinct, if I feel led I give, if I don’t I move on.  There have been times the Holy Spirit tells you, by the urging of your spirit, go back, don’t turn your back, buy a meal or share whatever you have.

If I’m in my car and someone approaches me I try to give food if I have it, or carry McDonald gift certificates with a few dollars so they can buy a meal. I’ve learned never to give cash, if possible, and I don’t have much anyway, so if they are truly in need they would appreciate the food. All that aside, if I have something or someway to help then the bible says I should help, not send them away.

A – Application:

We have started to gather clothing to donate and I’ve found a local agency that gives donations directly to the homeless so there’s no “sales” of donations and then helping others with the money from the sales. http://www.ourm.org/ – I was listening to the radio and found the Orlando Union Rescue Mission.  When we have extra funds, I try to have a few gift cards on hand in the car to hand out. When we drive long distances we often have snacks and packaged items with us – which we can hand out. In addition, we all know times are challenging for many of us, but we usually have a little more than someone else. I’ve tried to give of my time when I don’t have money to spare and that’s been a blessing.

I wrote about the homeless child in India that had two pieces of candy and offered me one, just because he wanted to say thank you for visiting him. I think about him often and God knows that little boy has made such an impact on my life.

P – Prayer:

Father thank you for providing and blessing us with our daily needs. Thank you for the abundance that we have where we can share with others. Thank you for the internet that can teach others how to give and share your love. Amen

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Don't Let Sin Build-Up

Today’s Date: January 14, 2010

The Sin Buildup (ODB)

Reading: Gen 30-31:16, Matt 10:1-23, Psalm 12:1-8, Proverbs 3:13-15 & Our Daily Bread (ODB): II Corin 4:7

S – Scripture:

We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. —2 Corinthians 4:7

O – Observation:

The daily devotions from ODB made me think about asking for daily forgiveness in a different way. Here’s an excerpt: “God has provided a way to clear the accumulation of sins from our lives. First John 1:9 reminds us: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” But unless we do that often, we’ll be running on diminished power. That’s because the power for living comes from God and not us (2 Cor. 4:7). When we try to live the Christian life in our own strength, we’ll feel defeated—like windmills robbed of their energy.” (See ODB link for full story)

A – Application:

I can apply this scripture to my daily life by not just knowing that God loves me and forgives me, but that I need to look at my thoughts and actions to correct that which needs to be changed and ask (confess) my sins to the Father. P – Prayer: Father I thank you for your grace, forgiveness, love, patience, understanding, discernment, humility and so many other things you have given to my life. I ask that you forgive me for my sins. Help me to be humble, to admit my sins, when I am wrong, remove the stubbornness that often is crippling until I let go and let you take over. Help me to trust in you and obey your commandments. I hate to argue and want peace, yet those who provoke I need to know if I am to just forgive and let go or do I need to clarify so that we grow from the experience of just move on. Life is so short. Everyday thousands of people die. Some expected, some not. Yesterday a devastating earthquake hit Haiti and an estimated 100K people maybe dead. Many are missing and no communications is possible. Father help those people. Help their families who are desperately trying to reach them, to know that they are safe. Provide for the relief. Let this be an opportunity for those who don’t know you, to know your love and peace. In Jesus name, Amen.

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© elehua808 – 2010- All Rights Reserved

Honor God with Your Best

Today’s Date:  January 12, 2010

 Honor the Lord

 

Reading: Gen 26:17-27:46, Mt 9:1-17, Psalm 10:16-18, Proverbs 3:9-10

 S – Scripture: 

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.” Proverbs 3:9-10

O – Observation:

Proverbs 3:9-10 are verses that show further benefit of God’s Wisdom.

While listening to Jon Courson’s commentary on www.blueletterbible.com I was enlightened to hear about (Proverbs 1-3 – Jon describes) Psalms and Proverbs as a balancing act – Psalms deals with worship and Proverbs in the area of work. Psalms is to be read on your knees, Proverbs is to be read on your feet.

We are to “honor” the Lord with whatever we have. Wealth can be defined as, “abundance of valuable material possessions or resources, the state of being rich; affluence.” What’s interesting in one culture a person or people group can be seen as poor – yet in another culture – that same person or people group is seen as wealthy.  Why is that? What does that mean for me? Only when we travel and/or learn about how others live, do we realize that no matter what we have or don’t have, there is always someone who has less then we do.

A – Application:

All that I have belongs to God. Whatever I give to honor God is the best of what I have, not the scraps or that which is blemished or thrown away. I need to give God my first fruits. (“First fruits” were a time of thanksgiving for God’s provision.)  I need to remember to be thankful for the smallest to the largest – gifts from God. Only when I give back the best to God, will I receive an overflow. Some might say, I don’t have anything to give or I’m poor, what can I honor God with? For most it’s easy to give when we have an abundance. The difficulty comes when we have little and God asks for our first fruits.  We are to “honor” him always. Even when we have no possession to give, we have resources that we can offer to God, our time to help others, our skills, our knowledge – all to honor Him.

P – Prayer:

Father thank you for your love and understanding. Thank you for giving and providing. Thank you that no matter what, I am able to honor you in wisdom and truth, with both possession and resources.

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What Is Your House Built On?

Today’s Date:  January 09, 2010

Building On Solid Rock: What’s Your House Built On?

Reading: Gen 20- 22:1-24, Matt. 7:15-29, Psalm 9:1-12, Proverbs 2:16-22

S – Scripture:

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” Mt 7:24

O – Observation:

Jesus says to “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are vicious wolves (v15).  If we build our foundational beliefs on God’s Word, which is solid like a rock and not on ‘sand’ so when the flood waters (v25) and winds beat against us we have nothing to stand on and are washed away.

A – Application:

I want to be wise v 24, not foolish (v 26) one who ignores the Lord’s teaching and builds on sand, which has no deep roots to ground themselves (their house). I do not want to collapse with a mighty crash (v27). I need to stay in God’s Word, apply his teachings to my daily walk so that my foundation remains (maintenance) in solid rock.

P – Prayer:

Father thank you for your Word which is freely available to me. Thank you that I can build a solid foundation and that I am reminded that if I don’t have a solid foot in your Word, if my foundation is not grounded in bedrock (v25) then anything that may come my way, without the Holy Spirit of discernment and your Word that dwells in me, I could waiver and wash away. I pray that I will always have a solid rock foundation, based in God’s Word.

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What's this About?

Daily Devotions – Reading & Journaling Thru the Bible

This blog is a journal of my entries for the year of 2010. Using New Hope Oahu’s online devotional from Today’s Life Journal Reading. You can learn how to understand the importance of growing in Christ, hearing Him speak to you, guide you, and strive to live, grow, and share your faith with others by learning How to Journal.

II Timothy 3:16

“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

On Dec 31, 2009 –  I watched a movie called, “Julie and Julia” – the story of a woman (Julie) who began a journey to discover herself by blogging and cooking from Julia Child’s cookbook.  Be warned that her blog has strong language and the movie is strictly secular  – it was a light-hearted movie by Nora Ephron. I majored in Communications for my undergraduate degree and wanted to get back to writing. The movie motivated me to begin a blog again. I kept a blog a few years ago, while traveling a month in India.

Since we’re starting a new year, I thought a perfect time to BEGIN again and this will help me to be consistent, not just in my daily reading of devotions, but also for journaling again.

In the beginning of 2007, I attended a conference called, DCAT (Doing Church as a Team) in Honolulu, Hawaii. We were given a book as a gift called, The Divine Mentor, by Pastor Wayne Cordeiro. I had been reading my devotions and journaling, but not consistently for about ten years. After reading the Divine Mentor I felt I had a greater understanding to do both daily. It was easier for me to read my devotions by reading the paper version of The One Year Bible, New Living Translation, however you can get the reading plan online.  I would encourage others to use whatever bible version that helps keep them in the word, and use other versions to study and expand on what you’re reading. I found that reading a paper version was better for me at the time. I still go back and forth between looking up devotions online and reading my paper bible.  I also found that going back and forth in the bible wasn’t as simple as using the One Year Bible, so I stuck with that.  The readings online are not in the same order as the Life Journal that’s on New Hope’s website, so this year I’m going to start using New Hope’s online version.

So let’s begin our journey, feel free to comment, write or start your own. Even if you don’t want to start your own journal online, I encourage you to get a notebook and start. Follow the How to Journal instructions and you’ll see that it’s not that difficult if you schedule time daily for God. He gave you His son, His life, I’m sure we can start off with at least fifteen minutes of our day and go from there. I’m always glad I did and I’m planning on doing this blog to keep me in consistent.

Often times we wait til we need something from God before we go to Him. I’d like to go to Him daily, so that He can guide and give me something to recall when I need Him.  Enjoy the journey.

p.s. this note is for hb – if you notice a typo, grammatical error, or any other type of error – get over it 😉 then send me a msg and tell me which post, paragraph, etc and I’ll get to it as soon as i can.

p.s. p.s – if no one reads this but me, that’s cool, cause I’m doing this between me and God – if anyone else stumbles upon it, then fine, just try not to be too judgemental – just remember the second part of that word is “mental” LOL – lighten up, I’m trying to learn lessons here, not win the Pulitzer. pfft!

© elehua808 – 2010- All Rights Reserved