Sunday, May 1, 2016

Isaiah 58:11

Isaiah 58:11

“The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do no fail.”

The Lord has always guided me better than I could guide myself. When I have tried to come up with my own strength to get through a drought in life, I have always been left unsatisfied. Deuteronomy 8:3 says, “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” God has brought me through a drought to get me to realize this. Without Him, I am living in vain. Nothing I do on my own strength is going to satisfy my soul in drought. The Lord will satisfy my soul in drought if I believe that it is He who guides me continually, and it is He who strengthens my bones.

Often I find myself having multiple spiritual deficiencies every day. I find myself anxious because I fail to believe that the Lord really does guide me continually, and it is Him who will satisfy my soul in those times, and He is the one who strengthens my bones. All of this is a promise if my motives are on loving the Lord and loving others. When I have dual motives, I become anxious and unstable in all of my ways. When I surrender to the Lord daily any ulterior motives I have and ask for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit, then I am satisfied no matter how mundane the task.

I want to continue living in God’s peace, knowing that He is guiding me and will satisfy me in drought. I need His strength because my flesh is weak. I don’t want to be like the person in James 1:23-24 who immediately forgets what he looked like when he walked away from the mirror. After spending three months in Guatemala, God taught me so much. It became a daily habit to go through the day reflecting and meditating on the word of God after my devotion with Him in the morning, but it’s been so difficult to do that on tour because of the changing on the schedule.

Application: Tomorrow, the first of the May, I am going to challenge myself to seek the Lord every day, expecting that He is going to speak to me in my devotions and throughout the day, wherever it is He has me.

Ecclesiastes 12:1

April 15, 2016
Inductive Bible Study

Ecclesiastes 12:1

Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them.”

Sometimes I stop and think about just how good life is for me. I have no health problems, I’m young, I have energy, I don’t need a ton of sleep, I have a sharp mind, and my whole life is ahead of me. But the belief that life is great and my whole life is ahead of me is an illusion. There is no guarantee that I’ll live to see old age. Not even my next minute is guaranteed. The way I have thought in the past is that while I am in my youth I should go and do whatever I want just because I can but wisdom says differently.

In Ecclesiastes 11:9-10 it says, ”Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity.”

What this verse is telling me is to live with the consciousness that God will judge me for my actions and that when old age comes I will see that the things I did as a youth didn’t produce anything. Nevertheless God wants to see me enjoy my life. If I walk with God while I am still young I am going to be sustained when the difficult times come. But for so many people, they resist God until it’s late in life. It may not be too late, and there’s no condemnation for coming to Christ no matter how bad your past was, but the sooner I remember my Creator, the longer I will live in fear of Him. Living in fear of Him is what’s going to make all the difference in my life.

Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of your life will be added to you. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, and if you scoff, you will bear it alone.”

Application: I have come to discover about myself that I have a problem of worrying about the future. I prevent myself from living how God would have me live today because I am so caught up in what I want my life to be 10 years from now. What I am looking for is something to sustain me or to keep my focus on so I have the motivation to get through the times of difficulty when they come. But as Ecclesiastes 12:1 points out, I need to simply remember my Creator when those times come. Looking to someone or something else besides God is vanity. I need to look to my Creator, and not to a counterfeit, and enjoy my youth while I have it but with that knowledge of God.

How can I let go of this fear of the future? Today I am going to pray and seek the Lord that He would make me to know that He will provide and that He would teach me how to enjoy my youth the way He intends for me to live it.

Colossians 2:5

April 18, 2016

Colossians 2:5
“For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.”

Since leaving the environment of Guatemala a few weeks ago and going into a new environment that is constantly changing, I have faced a major challenge. That challenge is what Paul says is, “to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.” It has become increasingly easy to go throughout my day without spending any time in the word. I have become lazy in my devotion to the Lord. As a result I have started losing a sense of self awareness in how I have been treating others and directing my actions according to the Word of God. The environment I had in Guatemala promoted so much spiritual growth and getting in tune with God but being back in the United States has thrown me back into a culture that is spiritually dead. I have seen and heard of so many people who have gone from mountain top experiences with God but overtime have fallen back into a state of disconnection from Jesus. I don’t ever want to be out of communion with God again. I want to fall even more in love with Jesus. I was once in a place where I absolutely needed God but right now I feel so full and blessed that I don’t feel like I need Him as much as I did. There was a time where I looked to Him in the mornings as my sufficiency, but I have been looking to others things and have begun to put them above God. Things like sleep, caffeine, relaxation, and breakfast have become idols that I have allowed to take over my mornings and turn into a barrier between me and God.

Application: When I return home to Vancouver, Washington, in the fall, I want to be found by my pastors, as Paul wanted to see, being in good order and steadfast in my faith in Christ. I know they are here with me in spirit, although absent in the flesh, and they will rejoice to find that I am abiding in Jesus. I know that it’s not about pleasing them but pleasing God. Out of the grace He’s had on me, I want to get to know Him more and this is a step I feel I need to take to get and of this sluggishness of faith I have been experiencing.

How? I am going to fast from caffeine while making it my goal to wake up at 5:30am to pursue the Lord in scripture and prayer before eating.