Jesus Is Your Role Model

1.2 – Jesus: A Role Model –

 S – Scripture: “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too, am working. I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.” – John 5:17, 19-20        Reading: Experiencing God Unit 1 – Day 2 Jesus Is Your Model

O – Observation:

In today lesson, Blackaby describes the “Bible as Your Guide” and “What is God’s Will for My Life.” It’s true that we often hear people say, “Why should I follow the laws of the bible, that’s so old fashion.” Or, “What does the bible have to do with what’s going on in my life today?”

As Christ followers God called us to be one of His followers before we even knew his name. When God calls people to follow him, he most likely won’t give you all the details of what your future will be. I know for myself if he did, I probably wouldn’t like what I’m hearing, or I may think, “How can I do any of what he needs me to do?” That’s where faith comes and the Lord knows that we lack faith and understanding when we first come to him that comes with time and studying his Word.

We study his Word, the scriptures, the Holy Bible, so that we can know God’s will and receive His guidance. God actually tells us everything that we need to know through the lives of those who came before us. The bible is a guide, our instruction book to life here on earth and all that we are to do.

If you look at the workbook, Blackaby mentions several scriptures which describe God’s call to men to follow Him, without being given the “full story” of what his expectations were of them. Here are the scriptures and the people mentioned:

  1. Matthew 4:18:20 – Simon Peter and Andrew
  2. Matthew 4:21-22 – James and John
  3. Matthew 9:9 – Matthew
  4. Acts 9:1-20 – Saul and Ananias

One of the most profound statements that I received the first time I studied Experiencing God – was the that we should not be asking ourselves, “What is God’s Will for My Life?” But we should ask ourselves, “What is God’s Will (period).” That’s all, because this is not about us; it’s about what is God’s will and for me to adjust my life to Him.

Through the entire study and throughout the years it the one most quoted section that I remember. I even wrote, “eye opener” in my workbook, back in 2001 when I first read it.

A – Application:

I will apply this to my life by remembering that it is not, “how can I be used for God?” but where is He at work and getting involved in His will.

P – Prayer:

Father I thank you for your love, kindness, and mercy. Show me your will and your ways so that I may adjust my life to you. In Jesus name, amen.

Today’s Date: March 15, 2010

© elehua808 – 2010- All Rights Reserved

Advertisements

Marriage is a Tool and a Test

Love and Respect:

“Marriage is a tool and test, to draw closer to Christ.”

~emerson eggerichs


This teaching is for every married couple and singles who are thinking about it – Why did God create marriage on earth, if there’s no marriage in heaven?  If you have just begun…  or you think your marriage is over… give yourselves one more chance… the Lord wants you to hear him once more.

Why we need “Love and Respect” – Marriages today face a mountain of challenges. Busy schedules, family-of-origin issues, work expectations, addictive behaviors, affairs and dwindling romance all conspire against healthy marriages. Often the mountain of marital problems seems insurmountable, prompting too many couples to give up and consider divorce as their best option. (from loveandrespect.com)


Deny Yourself

Today’s Date:  January 25, 2010

Deny Yourself

Reading: Gen 50 to Exodus 2:10, Matt 16:13-17:9, Psalm 21:1-13, Proverbs 5:1-6

S – Scripture:

Matt 16:24  “…Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

O – Observation:

People’s New Testament (commentary):

Mt 16:24 If any man will come after me. Compare Mt 8:34-38 Lu 9:23-27. The conditions of discipleship are presented.

Let him deny himselfLet him be prepared to say no too many of the strongest cravings of his nature, in the direction more particularly of earthly ease, comfort, dignity, and glory.

Take up his cross. Luke adds daily (Lk 9:23); not once, but all the time. The cross is the pain of the self-denial required in the preceding words. The cross is the symbol of doing our duty, even at the cost of the most painful death.

And follow me. To follow Christ is to take him for our master, our teacher, our example; to believe his doctrines, to uphold his cause, to obey his precepts, and to do it though it leads to heaven by way of the cross.

A – Application:

Often we hear of people who say you must bear your own cross, or “take up your cross”.   In applying this scripture in my life I am reminded that taking up my cross daily is (as Wesley’s Notes) “let him in all things deny his own will, however pleasing, and do the will of God, however painful.”

P – Prayer:

I pray that I will have the faith, patience, grace, and understanding to deny my own desires and my will to do God’s will. Father help me to be a good servant, student, and example of your ways. In Jesus name, amen.

###

© elehua808 – 2010- All Rights Reserved

What is a Yoke?

Date: January 16, 2010

Tired? Be Yoked with Jesus

Scripture Readings: Gen 32:13-34:31, Matt 11:7-30, Psalm 14:1-7, Proverbs 3:19-20

S – Scripture: Matt 11:28-30 Then Jesus said, “come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

O – Observation:

Jesus said he would give, ‘rest for the weary.’ What is weary? What is a yoke? A ‘Yoke’ means a bar of wood, constructed to unite two animals, enabling them to work the fields. http://bibleseo.com/christian-life/yoke-bible-definition-word-study/

In the various commentaries and bible dictionaries I’ve searched – figuratively, “Yoke” is a symbol of submission (see link). In these verses, Jesus is saying to take “his” yoke. If we unite with him, he will teach us. Can you imagine having a ‘yoke’ connecting yourself and Jesus, plowing fields, drawing loads, going through your daily life. As he is the knowledgeable one, the other person (like the two united animals) who helps bear our burdens. Jesus is so kind to say that his ‘yoke’ is easy, because he will help and not allow the ‘yoke’s bar’ to chaff on us, because he is right along side of us. We don’t need to carry burdens (loads) of stress, work, oppression, bondage – we can cast our cares to Jesus. We can be freed from this. I Peter 5:7 ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.’

A – Application:

I have read this scripture countless times, over the years, yet I am often amazed that as I go before the Lord in my quiet time, that new wisdom is revealed. I knew what a yoke was, I had heard this passage taught by many teachers, yet today it’s the Holy Spirit teaching again, that Jesus is with me. That I can be linked up with Jesus and I don’t have to or need to, carry any burden on my own. Too often I say, “I can’t do it, it’s too much, I’m so overwhelmed.” Yet the bible clearly states I don’t need to carry burdens alone.

Today’s devotion for me is as if Jesus is telling me, “Fool! How many times do I have to tell you, stop doing things on your own? That’s why you’re tired, overwhelmed, depressed, and moody! Snap out of it!”  Well, that’s how the Spirit of God has to speak to my spirit sometimes, so that I listen, I’m a little thick skulled at times. Always thinking and thinking and thinking – how to do this, that, and whatever, yet I need to go to Jesus first. Hey, if we’re yoked together, he’s not far. And since the Word of God says, in Jesus words himself, “Come to me.. I will give you rest… take my yoke… learn from me… you will find rest for your souls… my yoke is easy and my burden light.”

These verses also remind me of:  II Corin 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?  – Is this true for marriage, friendships, work? You can look into that. I believe definitely for marriage. I believe that those we spend the most time with, have an influence on our Worldview. It’s a challenge to spend large amounts of time with people who don’t have the same biblical foundation as yourself. Think about it this way, do the people you spend time with challenge you ‘towards’ God or away from him? Most of us will need to work in the secular arena. Most of our children will need to attend public schools, vs Christian or Home School. However, we do have a choice with our thoughts and actions in our “down” time. After work, we don’t need to get a drink with the gang. After school and during breaks – do we have gossip talks, and/or do things that are questionable in God’s eyes? Seek God Mt 6:33

P – Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank you for being with me every step of the way. Even in times when I think I am alone, there you are, right next to me, yoked along side – saying you’re trying to guide and I’m pulling in another direction. Thank you for your patience, your forgiveness, your love and understanding. Help me to know and do your will, so that I’m not pulling in the wrong direction as I stay ‘yoked’ along with  you. Amen.

Side Notes:

Here’s an excerpt from the Definition of Yoke in the Bible:

Yoke in the Bible (NT):

  • Mt 11:28-30, Acts 15:10, 2 Cor 6:14, Phil 4:3 etc
  • Gal 5:1: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”
  • Paul in Gal 5:1 and Peter in Acts 15:10 talk about yoke of bondage that the Law brings, the yoke that no one can carry. The requirements of the Law are beyond our capacity!
  • Rom 8:2 – “Because through Christ Jesus, the law of spirit has set me free from the law of sin and death.”
  • Christ Jesus has set us free from the yoke of bondage through the law. Jesus took upon himself the yoke of Law and fulfilled it. Therefore, through him, we can be set free from the yoke of sin and death.
  • Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
  • Jesus invites all who are under the yoke of Law or sin and offers the true rest for their souls.
  • We may visualize this as Jesus being the master or a farmer and us being yoked with a lighter load. But that is NOT the right picture.
  • Farmers used to yoke the young ox with the old experienced ox to train them. The old ox will take the major load and the young one will be walking along and learning from him. If you read this verses in light of this, it makes more sense.
  • What a wonderful picture, Jesus is giving to those who are exhausted, weary and burdened from carrying the load by themselves! What a comfort, peace, joy and rest it is to know that Jesus is right with us, walking with us, teaching us and strengthening us side by side!

###

Will You be Liked, if you Deny Christ?

Today’s Date:  January 15, 2010

Will You be “Liked”, if you Deny Christ?

 

 Reading: Gen 31:17-32:12, Matt 10:24-11:6, Psalm 13:1-6, Proverbs 3:16-18

S – Scripture: “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.”  Mt 10:32-33

O – Observation:

Jesus said if we acknowledge him on earth, he will do the same in heaven. But if we deny him on earth, he will deny us before our Father God. That’s easy to read and understand. It’s scary though, when we are put in a life or death situation – would you still admit you are a Christ follower? Or how about a “like” or “dislike” situation? Will my family and friends still accept me for following? Mt 10:40 Jesus says, “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.”

A – Application:

It’s challenging to hear these words. Often times we want to please others, we just want to be “liked”. There are probably more situations of people who will deny Christ to be “liked” than those who will deny him to escape death.  As one becomes stronger in their faith it’s easier to say, “I choose Jesus.” It becomes more challenging as friends and family – “disown” and don’t want to associate with you for being a follower of Jesus, so sometimes we compromise. How you may ask? We don’t stand up and share our faith openly. We laugh or stay quiet when those around us are speaking or acting in ways of the world – negative, derogatory, swearing, etc – or we don’t hold others accountable for their behavior. Even other Christians will desire to be “liked” by those on earth, than honor their faith in Christ – so we’re left with a few friends, instead of many. The bible says that we are to fellowship with one another. We are to encourage each other in our faith. Even if they (friends, family) both Christian and non-Christian – put us down for acknowledging Jesus or being “too” opinionated, or “too religious”. This is not about being religious; this is about a relationship with Christ. This is about not wanting to be denied by Jesus, when we come before the Throne of God and will Jesus say, “Father, I know her, she did not deny you on earth.”

There’s a great research article by The Barna Group, that’s quoted in The Truth Project – Lesson 2: The study asked the question, “How many Americans have a biblical worldview? The answer: General American population: 4%, “Born-again” American population: 9% – …and we don’t act that different from the world… I choose to be different from the world. I need to have a biblical worldview.

P – Prayer:

I pray that I am not put in the situation of a life or death in claiming my faith in Christ – like so many who live in countries who are not free to worship Jesus Christ.  I pray that those who risk their lives to bring others to Christ are protected and provided for. I ask the Lord to help me to be strong when I am placed in situations where I may be tempted to deny or “water down” my belief just to “get along” – that God will protect me in those situations and guide me to be a light for him. When I come before the Lord I want Jesus to say to our Father in Heaven, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

###

Are You Open to Discipline?

 

Today’s Date:  January 13, 2010

Are You Open to Discipline?

 

Reading: Gen 28 – 29:35, Matt 9:18-38, Psalm 11:1-7, Proverbs 3:11-12

S – Scripture:

Proverbs 3:11-12 “My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.”

O – Observation:

I think this scripture is self-explanatory; however I’d like to share a story. I was thinking the other day about something that happened when I was a kid in elementary school. I was playing softball during P.E. and I was at bat. I hit the ball and it flew – great hit – only thing, instead of dropping the bat, it sorta slipped as I was swinging back and flew out of my hands and across into the bushes – at a great force! Well, I started to run and the teacher said, “foul ball”. I looked at her and said, “Why, the ball was in field?” and she said, because someone could have gotten hurt when you didn’t hold on to the bat, so you’re out! I was disappointed to say the least, but I knew I was wrong.

I often think about kids who for whatever reason say, “That’s not fair.” And we as the adults think, ‘yeah, life’s not fair.’ In sports there are rules, for many reasons, which are why it’s great to have children play sports because they learn discipline and sportsmanship, along with working hard, perseverance, and team work, etc.  However when we don’t follow rules in sports we are “disciplined” with penalties.  If we keep breaking the rules, our team could lose, we could get hurt, etc – there are always “costs” to breaking rules and not following guidelines that were set up by people who usually are wiser than ourselves.

Well, what’s that got to do with anything or even the scripture verse I started with?  When a child is growing up it’s important that they follow their parent’s rules and guidelines. The child may not know why in every case, and some may not be able to have totally comprehension of why their parents are instructing them – one way or another. A good example is one of a toddler who walks wherever they want because they are learning to walk and it’s fun and exciting for them to get their steps of freedom away from their protective parents. Unfortunately these same protective parents may not have disciplined their child to ‘listen and obey’ – or the child is ‘strong willed’ or whatever the reason. Maybe its child’s fault for wandering on to a busy roadway and when their parent yelled, “stop” and the child didn’t understand why they had to obey their parent, cause they thought they knew better – what could happen? We often times don’t know what’s in front of us. However God knows. We often times feel or think we know better than God our Father and we do our own thing. We don’t obey a Word or guidance that He’s given us, because we feel we’re mature and knowledgeable enough to do our own thing.  Being disciplined at any age is tough. I know when someone corrects me with love, I can receive that wisdom with gratitude because they may know more than I – other times we feel we just need to learn the “hard” way.

A – Application:

I will apply this scripture to my life and remember that God knows more than I. I will be open to correction and discipline and when my spirit wants to be oppositional and retract – that the Holy Spirit would immediately correct me again so that I hear God’s correction and get back on the path that I need to be.

Just in case you’re wondering, I continued to play softball into my adult life – and you know what? I always kept a solid grip on the bat and even in the height of excitement at bat – I always dropped the bat (nicely) to my side before taking my base. Yup, I learn lessons; hopefully I get it the first time, just like that foul ball all those years ago.

P – Prayer:

Father I thank you that you love me. You love me enough to correct me and even though I have not always been obedient, you have been consistent to get after me and redirect me with love. I receive your grace and am blessed to be your child.  Amen

###

© elehua808 – 2010- All Rights Reserved

Get Over Yourself

January 11, 2010

“Get Over Yourself”

Reading: Gen 24:52-26:16, Mt 8:18-34, Psalm 10:1-15, Proverbs 3:7-8

S – Scripture: “

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” Proverbs 3:7

O – Observation:

“Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.” If that don’t slap you in the face! Basically, ‘get over yourself.’ This is how I read this verse. It’s funny cause often I hear people talk about themselves and they’re so impressed with their knowledge that everything is about themselves – some call it call it self-promotion. How else would people know what I’m doing so that I can be promoted or get business or get attention. I don’t think it’s wrong to tell others about what you know, it’s called “sharing knowledge” – if it’s done in a way to help and edify others. However if all a person does is talk about how great, smart, etc they are – then they may be saying, “I don’t need God cause I know everything.” This proverb is saying, fear God – you aren’t that wise! When we do things on our own and succeed, it’s easy to say, it’s cause I know what I’m doing. It’s easy to say I trust in God when you have money, training, head knowledge to do something you believe God lead you to do. But it takes faith to move a mountain that you know you can’t do on your own.

A – Application:

I love my long-term missionary friends. They are truly people of faith and servants of God and His people. The many people who I have met through the years who live on very little in foreign countries, where they may or may not know the language, don’t know where they will sleep or when they will eat – they are just called to do God’s work by serving others –  these same missionaries also never say, “look at all I have done” – they say, “look at what God is doing.”  I’m humbled and reminded that these missionaries could have had a much easier life if they just said no, I was trained to do such and such so why would I go to a foreign land and serve people who won’t know who I am or what I sacrificed for serve them.

It’s one thing to be book smart, another to be street smart, but do we promote ourselves a little too much?  I think as long as it’s done with humility, not overly boisterous, then I’m striving to do as this proverb is instructing us to do.

P – Prayer:

Father I ask for forgiveness of my sins. That I never feel that I am better then others. That I am humbled by your servants example to me and that I be a servant to you Father God. That I be given an opportunity to be a witness for you. That you are a shining light within me.

Help me to sow the seeds of righteousness, Proverbs 11:18b (Experiencing God Devo)– Amen

###

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.

###

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

###