Archive for December, 2004

We all dream of what could be. We want to live in a perfect world we have created in our minds. This perfect world can be called a Vision of a preferred future. When the Israelites returned from captivity and came to the land of Cannan they had a vision of a preferred future. This vision included rebuilding the land back to its former greatness. It included wealth, health and prosperity. However, this vision did not include (at least it didn’t remain included) being eternal children of the Lord God. The people of Israel could not keep their eyes on what mattered. Any great visionary will tell you vision only becomes reality when you put first things first, and go for it with everything you are and have. In the case of Israel, putting God first was the only way to accomplish the vision (One could argue this is the only way to accomplish any vision worth accomplishing). Yet, Israel did not do it then and they have not done it today.

Dear Heavenly Father,

You are the source of vision, guidance and direction. You are the source of all that is worthwhile. I love you and ask for your continued direction and vision. Help me to serve you and through you others each and every day. Amen.

My Bad – Ezekiel 17-19

We make choices each and every day. We have the ability to freely make any choice we would like (sure there are deeply rooted societal and psychological restraints, but in the end we can go beyond them). Of course, with each choice is consequence. In Ezekiel 18, God makes it clear that we will reap the consequences of our own choices. A father should not be punished for the choices of his son. A son should not be punished for the choices of his father. All too often we do visit punishment on the innocent one. We determine a child is no good because his father is a drunk. We determine a father must be lousy because his adult son did not turn out “right.” Yet, we must remember in the end the father and son had their own free will. You can raise a child right and they can still rebel. A child can turn out to be honest and just even if the parents are not.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Help me to look at each person a your creation. Help me to give them a chance based upon their action, not that of a relative. Help others to judge me on myself and not my friends or family. I love you Lord and thank you for grace. Amen.

Ezekiel 16 discusses how the Israelites are a dispised people. Part of me would like to write a ranting review of the people and nations of this world and how they have treated the nation of Israel and Jews horribly. However, the Word of God clearly tells the Jewish people that they will suffer strife and pain due to their idolatry against the Lord God. Instead of ranting at the world, it would be better to use this as a lesson of how we (Jews and Christians) must obey God and follow his percepts (piece, justice, love, mercy, grace, etc.). Here is the questions. If they Jews showed the whole world that they truly loved the Palestinian people, who they have the problems they have today? I am not suggesting that I have the answer.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Why is it we as humans cannot accept what is fair and just? Why is it we must despise some people and favor others? Why is it we cannot be people of peace? Lord, help me to be a person of peace. While I believe your Word says Israel will never see peace before your return, please help them and the Palestinians find Christ. I love you. Amen.

A Road – Isaiah 34-35

In Isaiah God is talking about the judgment he will bring upon all nations for their wicked ways. However (as usual) he provides a way for the righteous to be free from this judgment. Isaiah 35 talkes about a road that will be available to the righteous that will have no dangers on it. It will be a road of safety and security. I look at this and think about our safety and security we have in God. It is true we are not guaranteed a life free from heartache, pain, or trouble; but we are guaranteed that God will provide what we need under all circumstances.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for loving us some much that you do not protect us completely from the truth and pain of this world. Thank you for loving us so much that you never let this world completely overwhelm us. Thank you for your undying love. I love you. Amen.

We all deserve to be judged and rather harshly at that. Even those who do not believe in the judgment of God, do have to agree they have made so many bad mistakes they deserve to be judged. In fact, I think this is one of the things that makes Jesus so amazing. Here we deserve to be judged and he extends forth mercy. Even in the Old Testament when you read about the judgment God called upon his people for their betrayal and sin, you see his mercy within it. He always leaves a remnant. He always tells us about the safety and blessing that will be given to the righteous. He always shows us the true mercy that is available through him.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We do not deserve mercy, yet you give it. We do not deserve grace, yet you give it. We deserve to be shunned by you and never to hear from you again, but you continuously reach out to us. Thank you. I love you for who you are. Amen.

It is human nature to want to rely on ourselves. It is human nature to want to rely on military might, economic growth or human power structures. It is God’s nature to tell us and show us how truly fragile these things are. As a Christ-follower, I need to always remember to put my trust and faith in God. My trust and faith must not be in my pocket book, my friends, my job, my connections or even my family. It must be in the only true source of strength, mercy and wisdom, The Lord God Almighty. If you are wondering Israel tried putting their trust in someone/something other than God on numerous occasion and the outcomes are detailed throughout much of the Old Testament.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for being there for me when I need you and even when I don’t think I need you. Thank you for loving me so much that you have promised to never leave me nor forsake me. Help me to serve you every day. You are my God and my Lord. I love you Lord. Amen.

1 Peter is often reviled by women because of passages that talk about women being subservient to their husbands. However, this is being taken out of context both by those who use it to subjugate women and women who use it to say the Bible is sexist. However, the whole passage relates to helping your spouse on their spiritual journey so they can find their way back to God. The spouse (if you read the whole passage you realize this is talking about husbands and wives) is called to treat their partner with the utmost respect and love so that they will be a gateway to faith and not a hindrance. This passage has nothing to do with subjugation, but everything to do with showing true love and caring for your spouse. Who would not want the one they are closest to in this world to not share the same amazing faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for teaching us the ways we should treat our spouses so they will see Christ in us. Thank you for loving us so much that you forgive us for using your Word improperly. I love you and ask for divine wisdom each time I open you Word. I love you Jesus. Amen.

We live in a world filled with “spirituality” and “religiosity”, but a world largely without faith. People want to say they are spiritual, but they define this in so many nebulous and self-centered ways that there is not true spiritual growth involved in it. It is much more about making oneself feel better than it is about making the world and others better. In 1 & 2 Peter we are told about this. Paul warns us that there will be a lot of “spirituality” without the Spirit of God. We need to be careful we don’t get caught up in this meaningless pursuit and instead we need to seek hard after God.

Dear Jesus,

My heart becomes sad when I think of all those who are earnestly seeking something and fill it with useless ideas and pursuits instead of you. Help me to always look to you for my source of meaning, strength and direction. Thank you for always being that source in the past. I love you Lord Jesus. Amen.

We live in a world filled with “spirituality” and “religiosity”, but a world largely without faith. People want to say they are spiritual, but they define this in so many nebulous and self-centered ways that there is not true spiritual growth involved in it. It is much more about making oneself feel better than it is about making the world and others better. In 1 & 2 Peter we are told about this. Paul warns us that there will be a lot of “spirituality” without the Spirit of God. We need to be careful we don’t get caught up in this meaningless pursuit and instead we need to seek hard after God.

Dear Jesus,

My heart becomes sad when I think of all those who are earnestly seeking something and fill it with useless ideas and pursuits instead of you. Help me to always look to you for my source of meaning, strength and direction. Thank you for always being that source in the past. I love you Lord Jesus. Amen.

The book of Lamentation talks about how the world did not think that Israel would fall to the might of other nations. Israel was a mighty nation ruling from “Dan to Berthsheba.” However, Israel did fall and became subject to other nations. The Lord used these other nations to teach Israel the lesson of obedience and faithfulness. When Israel was obedient and faithful to the Lord God, they were strong. However, there real strength did not lie in their military or economic might, it was in the Lord God Most High. When Israel turned there back on God they might left them. Sure there were times they controlled the same amount of territory and had great economic times, but they were faithless. They did not have the protection of God. In fact, they had the wrath of God. You cannot expect to be taken care of by God when you ignore him.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your protection. Thank you for always being there even when we don’t see you. Thank you for forgiving us and welcoming us back when we repent. Help me to be with you each and every day. Help me to keep my eyes focused on your Kingdom and not the things of this world. I love you Lord. Amen.