Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Devotions 31-10-07 (II Peter 1:4)

"For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust."

Yesterday I saw that it was through the true knowledge of Him and His calling me by His own glory and excellence that I received power to live a life of godliness. Now Peter tells me that it is by these I also have precious and wonderful promises. The bible is the record of all these wonderful promises. If I will only take the time to reflect on them I can be blessed from them. Some require for me to do something and others are just for me because of His love for me.

These promises are given so I can become a part of His divine nature which also delivers me from the corruption that is in the world from lust. Lust is greed, I want this now and I want all I can get. Lust and greed will destroy those who practice it. God's promises will protect and deliver me such evil.

If you want a good verse to memorize and meditate on this is one. It has been such a blessing to me these 40+ years I have known it from memory and spent many hours meditating on it and using it to live life and to share with others.

It has been good for me to meditate on these verses again and to chew on them for a deeper application to my life and ministry. Lord, Your promises are so very wonderful and great; they truly are precious and magnificent. Help me to hang on to these promises and believe them with my whole being.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Devotions 30-10-07 (II Peter 1:2-3)

"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence."

Since biblical knowledge is more than information but is a heart grasping truth. This is truly intimacy with God which multiplies my blessings. I gain multiplied grace and peace. Do I know what this means? I have much more grace and peace than I could ever imagine when I maintain an intimacy with my Lord.

I will also be able to see what His divine power has given to me; everything that pertains to life and godliness. As I think on this for awhile I am overwhelmed by God's love to me. I have been given all the power I need to live a productive and joyful life. I also have the power to live this life in godliness; free from the sin and corruption all around me.

Peter reminds me again that it is through the true knowledge of Him who called me by His glory and excellence. It is not a casual knowledge or an acquaintance but through an intimacy with Him. Spending much time alone with Him and getting to know Him and desiring to obey Him in everything.

Lord, I sometimes rush through my times with You and I fail to have the grace and peace that You desire for me to have. I do want this intimacy with You because I need Your power and strength to live my life honoring You. It is only Your power in me that allows me to live a godly life that brings You glory. Lord, help me to see the urgency of this intimacy for my good. Thank You for Your love for me!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Devotions 29-10-07 (I Peter 5:10-11)

"And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen"

I had a great time meditating on these verses and while editing it I hit the wrong button and erased it all. I do not have the time to do it all again so I will sort of summarize what I learned.

I did some thinking on what does it mean that He perfected, confirmed, strengthened and established me. I think there are some wonderful thoughts in these words. I like the phrase just before this when He said that He Himself would do this work in my life. He takes personal responsibility to do this work in me.

He is the God of all grace who has called me and wants me to be perfected and established for His glory.

I pray that I would cooperate with Him and allow Him to do this for me so I would be able to accomplish all He has sent me to do. What a wonderful and loving God who takes personal responsibility to do an eternal work in me. How I must praise Him in all I do and seek to do only His will and not mine.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Devotions 28-10-07 (I Peter 5:8-9)

"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary,the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world."

There are some things I must be serious or sober about in my walk with God. One is that I have an enemy who hates me and desires to destroy me. He is always busy trying to find someone, anyone to destroy. He is not choosy but will attack anyone no matter if he is great or a little child or whether they are good or bad. His name is the destroyer and that is his character.

He cannot harm me when I am in fellowship with my Lord and under His protection. I must fight him as God instructs and not fight him in my own strength. So I must resist him being firm in my faith and being strong in God's Word because that is where my faith is strengthened.

I must be aware that I am not the only one fighting the enemy but my brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world are in the same fight. I must not feel sorry for myself but allow God to be my refuge and strength. He is well capable to deal with the enemy whom He has already defeated.

Lord, I want to be a wise disciple or follower of Yours. Help me to be alert and attentive to satan's plans and tricks. Help me to be serious about prayer and the word and making it a priority in all I do. I have not grasped the seriousness of all this as much as I think I have. Lord, bless our day with Piret and Stella and guide us in all we do and discuss. Lord give me wisdom to speak and teach Your Word.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Devotions 27-10-07 (I Peter 5:1-3)

"Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock."

I want to focus on my responsibility to shepherd the flock of God that I am among. I want to do that here in Estonia but I have been thinking about my older children and their children. Am I being a good shepherd to them. Should I retire and be closer to them and minister to them as I have strength? Would that be pleasing to God?

As a shepherd of a flock of God I am to have oversight over them but it must be done voluntarily. I must do it according to the will of God and with eagerness. I must not be a ruler over them but be an example to them. It must not be done without any thought of any evil or deceiving ways to make money or take advantage of anyone.

Lord should I retire and do this with my family as a shepherd to them? Would they want me to do this? I think they would but I must be very careful in talking this out with them. Communications must be very clear so there is no room for misunderstanding and no way for satan to come in and cause problems.

Lord, thank You for these thoughts and help me know how to apply them to my life. I really want the closing years of my life to count for my family especially but also to be available to those we have ministered to over the years. Which would include those who have been our donors over the years we have been in ministry. Oh, Lord to be an example to others for Your praise and glory.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Devotions 26-10-07 (I Peter 5:6-7)

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you."

I can ask God to give me humility and He will brings things into my life that will humble me but there is still something lacking. God wants me to see the value of humility and for me to do it on a volunteer basis. When I humble myself before God and others it is clear that I understand the value. Maybe I need a clear plan on how I am going to do this. Then I can follow that plan and not get sidetracked by my feelings or emotion.

In order to humble myself I must be able to cast all my anxieties upon God knowing and believing that He truly cares for me. There can be many anxious thoughts when I honestly humble myself before God and others.

Lord, what is the mark of true humility? Is it doing a few things well but not trying to impress others? Is it a quiet confidence in God who sees everything and will guide me in what I should do. Is it connected with prayer and believing God is able to do much without my leading a charge. Lord, I need Your grace to do what I desire and what You desire even more. Humble my self before You and others.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Devotions 25-10-07 (I Peter 5:5)

"You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

Since I am no longer a younger man, I will let the younger ones apply the first phrase to their lives. I will begin with the "all of you" since I am part of this. The task is clothe myself with humility toward others. God gives a little incentive to this statement saying that He will oppose those who are proud but will grace to the humble. It would seem we would want to do the humble task rather than having God opposing us. It is amazing how we resist the humbling of ourselves.

I think it may come from our lack of knowing God for who He really is. His love and care for me and His desire to see me succeed. I get impatient with God and so I take things into my own hands and the trouble begins. The truth is that He wants to exalt us if we would only cooperate with Him and follow His wisdom which is far greater than mine.

I can be opposed by God or I can be given His Grace. What a choice! God fighting against me or His giving me grace which is the power to do His will. Anyone would be foolish to turn down His mighty Grace. Yet, I often do this when I let my intimacy with God to be disrupted.

Lord, I choose Your Grace today and humble myself before You and others. Lord, I want to be a servant to all so I might show them Your love and power to give us Your marvelous Grace. Lord, I know this is not easy to do because my flesh will want to resist this but I want to obey You more than anything. Lord, help me to be Your humble servant today.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Devotions 24-10-07 (I Peter 4:19)

Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right."

I may not always know why I am suffering but I must entrust my situation to a faithful Creator who always does what is right. His ways and purposes are far beyond what I can understand or perceive. I have felt many times over the years that what I was going through was the worst thing I could imagine. After it was past I was able to see the goodness of God in delivering me from something worse or opening a door for my good and His glory.

There are many Christians living in California who are losing their homes in fires and it seems that all that they have is lost in a single day. They can either get mad at God, which would be foolish, or they can entrust themselves and their family to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. It is easy for me to sit here and say such a thing but it is not my words but God's.

I do not know what the future holds for me and my family but I trust that when I suffer according to the will of God I will entrust my soul to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. I think all suffering is according to the will of God even in my rebellion toward God. There could be suffering that is because I am fighting against God and purposely doing evil and that suffering is just the results of my evil deeds. Even in this many times God will use this suffering to bring a person to Christ if he will soften his heart and cry out to God for mercy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Devotions 23-10-07 (I Peter 4:12-13)

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as through some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation."

I know I should not be surprised at hard times but I do not react to hard times as well as I should. They generally come when I least expect them and when I am not prepared at all for them. That is why it is a test or trial but I still tend to complain and say why now Lord or even worst why me Lord. It is hard to get it in my head that the all wise Lord knows I have need of this.

God wants me to trust Him and to keep on rejoicing because He is God and He is my loving Savior. He is a good God and always does what is good! These test are to help me to get a firmer grip on this wonderful truth. If I look around just a little I will quickly find others that are going through more difficult times than me but I tend to focus on those who are not having it as bad as me at least from what I see.

I must have memorized this passage 40 years ago and God has encouraged me from this passage through many difficult times. I keep thinking I have learned how to handle difficulties until I reach the next one and I am once again surprised. Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness to continue to reveal to me how I must continue to trust You through all the difficulties of life. You have never forsaken me and I know You never will. As Lou and I face our big move back to the USA and getting reestablished while in our mid-seventies help us to trust You with great joy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Devotions 22-10-07 (I Peter 4:11)

"Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."

There are two things we do most in living life. We speak and we serve. God tells me how I should speak and how I should serve. There is a third thing I do and that is who gets the glory for what I say and what I do. God tells me Jesus Christ should get all the glory.

When I speak I should speak as if it were God speaking. How do I do this? The best way is to use the Words of God because the scriptures are the Words of God. Even as I use my words I must be conscious that what I say reflects on God because I am His child and He is my Father.

When I serve the Lord I must likewise give Him the credit for the strength and the ability He has given me. Especially as I get older I realize how limited my strength is and how He has given me strength all along. It is harder to do things in the flesh so I must secure His strength if I am going to be able to do something at all.

Now who should receive the glory? Of course the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords should receive the glory. Why would I ever want to claim this glory for myself? Why would anyone want to do this? This is the pride of man that is always getting us into trouble. It is my flesh and my natural man who is resisting the truth of God.

Lord, I do want to speak and serve in such a way that Jesus Christ is given all the glory. I do not want these to be just words but the deep conviction of my heart and soul. Give me insight and wisdom in how to do this so this is evident to all. Forgive me Lord for all I have done in my life where I have taken Glory that did not belong to me at all. Thank You for allowing me to speak and to serve You with the life You have graciously given me.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Devotions 21-10-07 (Titus 2:15)

"These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Another translation, The Message, says the same thing in a little more informal way. "Tell them all this. Build up their courage, and discipline them if they get out of line. You're in charge. Don't let anyone put you down."

I would put it my own words like this. "Talk to others about what I have said and encourage them to speak to others about these important biblical truths. If they disagree with these truths explain to them why they are wrong. Don't be bothered by those who disagree with you. They are not disagreeing with you but God. Stand on what God says in His Word and do not back down because what God says in His Word in right and truth."

This is our assignment as believers. I need to be busy doing this all the days of my life. Others have taught me and encouraged me and now it is my turn to teach others. The Christian life is never boring if we will just obey the Lord in this verse. If I will step out in faith to do this He will be with me and use me for His glory.

Lord, Your way is the most fulfilling way to live. Help me to follow these simple but profound truths in Titus 2:11-15. Verse 15 is my assignment and I must prayerfully seek to do this with God's strength and power. Thank You Lord for Your patience and love for me and for the whole world.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Devotions 20-10-07 (Titus 2:14)

"Who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession zealous for good deeds."

Jesus Christ died for us so He might buy us out of a life of sin and lawless deeds. I still have the pull to lawless deeds. I do not want to follow rules that keep me from doing what I want to do. I want to be free from laws or rules so I can be a slave to my emotions and my ever changing desires. I do not want to follow rules of godly living but free to be a slave to chaos and disorder and those things that will destroy me. It does not make much sense does it?

When Jesus redeemed me He purified me and gave me a desire to follow His rules because He has loved me so and continues to love me. I now belong to Jesus and His desire is for me to do good deeds. This requires obedience to His way which is the way of real freedom. I am no longer a slave to my selfish and prideful ways but am willing to serve others for their good. I become zealous for good deeds to God's glory and His grace. How wonderful to be pure and clean by His redeeming love.

Lord how wonderful You are and how wise You are. You know what I need far more than I could ever know. What a privilege to be involved in doing good deeds and be free from all the lawless deeds that are destroying people all around me and destroying the world in which I live.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Devotions 19-10-07 (Titus 2:13)

"Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus..."

I always look forward to a special event that I know will be good. There is no greater special event than when Jesus returns and sets up His Kingdom. This is our blessed hope!!! But even greater is the glory of His Presence. His glory will fill the heavens and the earth.

Notice that Jesus Christ is our great God and Savior. He is coming a second time and will again change the course of our history on earth. Things will never be the same after He comes and establishes His Kingdom.

We can endure a lot if we know there is a special event coming. We look forward to graduation or a wedding and especially if you are the one getting married. Our Savior and God is coming for us.

Lord I want to be busy doing Your Work when You come to establish You rule over all things. It is such a privilege to know You and to be part of all You are doing in all of creation. Thank You for Your great plan of salvation and Your plan for eternity.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Devotions 18-10-07 (Titus 2:12)

"Instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age..."

Remember, yesterday "For the grace of God appeared bringing salvation to all men..." It is this grace that is instructing me to do something; first is to quit doing two things and second to do three things. These I am told to do right now in this present time.

First I must deny ungodliness. What is ungodliness? It is denying God or being disobedient to Him. Simply do not do this! Second I must deny worldly desires. This is a little harder to figure out. Eating is a worldly desire and that is not wrong because that is important to live. To eat too much and be a glutton is a worldly desire beyond my need and that is sin. So I must determine what is my real need and not to overdo or go to the extreme in meeting that need. I must be sure I am not disobeying God while seeking to meet my worldly desires. My focus must be God and not on the temporal things of the world.

The things I must seek to do is to be sensible, righteous and godly. Sensible is using my senses and reason in line with the character, love and kindness of God. Righteousness is doing what is Right and avoiding what is Wrong according to God's standard. Godly is of course acknowledging God as God and seeking to follow His ways and truth.

I must do this in this present age. It is for now and not sometime in the future. These things are always the right thing to do so I must get a good hold of them in my mind and heart and do them.

Lord, thankYou for the clarity of Your Word and the simplicity in which You give instructions and guidance. The hard part is the denying and doing what You say. I know You give Your Holy Spirit to help me and I must rely on His presence and Your grace to give me the strength and ability that I do not have.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Devotions 17-10-07 (Titus 2:11)

I am writing on Titus 2:11-15 the next few days. I have memorized these verses years ago and just recently spent some time refreshing my memory concerning them. I wrote on these verses back in Aug 27-28. I have done considerable meditating on these since then and I want to record what God has taught me.

Titus 2:11
"For the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all men..."

The coming of Jesus Christ was accomplished by the wonderful and amazing Grace of God. We did not do anything to deserve or merit this wonderful revelation of God's love. God did it because we had no other hope and only He could make us into new creatures through His Son. This wonderful salvation did not come just for me but for all men. Yes, all men who would acknowledge they are sinful and need a Savior. All who would respond to His appearing by faith.

How can I burn this into my mind and being and praise God and be Thankful to Him all the days of my life and on into eternity? How can I turn my gratefulness into actions that would help others to see what God's wonderful Grace has brought to me.

Lord may these words ring in my mind and heart all the days you have given to me. Help me to be more diligent in sharing this with all who are around me wherever I may go. I pray my life and my family's lives would reflect this truth from their lives as well. I pray this for my family in Christ around the world who You have enabled Lou and me to encourage and guide into a deeper walk with You through Your marvelous Word. You have done it all Lord and I have been only Your messenger and servant. I give You all the Praise!!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Devotions 12-10-07

Ephesians 1:3-14
Verse 3 "Blessed be the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing." The rest of the verses 4-14 tell of the specific spiritual blessings God has given to us in Jesus Christ.

I would like to summarize what these blessings are in a few words or sentences. You can read it all by reading verses 3-14. I think the issue is Praise to God for all He has done for us. If you think seriously about all we have in Christ it is absolutely amazing. I will make my list and change the pronouns to personal pronouns. He has done all this for me.

1. In Christ I have been made holy and blameless before God my Father.
2. I have become a son of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
3.I have redemption and forgiveness of my sins through the blood of Jesus Christ when He died on the cross.
4.He made known to me the mystery of His will for generations to come.
5. He is preparing to sum up all things in heaven and earth in Christ.
6. I have an eternal inheritance given to me in Christ.
7. I am sealed with the Holy Spirit as a promise of my inheritance in Christ.

Is this enough to create in my heart a sense of awe and praise to God? Do I really believe that God has given me all this in Jesus Christ? I say Yes to both of these questions.

Lord, help me to praise You more often and to meditate more on all You have given me in Christ. I get so busy living life and working with other people's needs that I miss the focus I must have on You. Help me to grow deeper in my Praise of You.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Devotions 11-10-07

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Further more if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?. And if one can over-power him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

A few days ago I wrote a few words about our 48th Anniversary. I think this is another passage of scripture that Lou and I have shared at times concerning our marriage. I think it applies to more than a marriage but it definitely has truths in it that a good marriage must have.

There are three issues mentioned in this passage. 1. When I am seeking to produce something lasting I need to have someone helping me that is committed to me. We all tend to stumble in what we are seeking to do and I need to have someone help me when I stumble. When building a family it requires a mom and a dad that work together to produce a godly family. 2. The second is a matter of companionship. We all need to feel loved and often we hit problems that make us feel alone and cold. In a good marriage my wife should be that personal friend that brings warmth into my life. 3.We all need protection against those that want to harm us or just discourage us from what we are attempting. The bonds of marriage and commitments are God's design to enable us to do what we could never do alone.

In summary let me try to give these three item a brief sentence.
1. I need a loving spouse who is with me and supportive of me in God's task for us.
2. I need my spouse's warmth to be my companion and friend.
3. We can protect each other as we seek to do God's will for our lives.

Sometimes when I am writing my blog I just cannot seem to say what I really have in my mind. Today is one of those days. I think I have captured the main idea but I wish I could say this better. I think this passage is so great and has so much good advice and I really want to remember and to apply to my marriage. I think I am in measure but I trust I can improve greatly in the months ahead.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Devotions 09-10-07

Genesis 2:24
"For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh."

Mary Lou and I just celebrated our 48th Anniversary of oneness a few days ago. It was on Oct 6th. We got away to a nice hotel and just enjoyed two nights and nearly three days just being with each other. We had our breakfast in the hotel which was included in with our hotel room and went out to dinner a few times. On our wedding night we went to a special dinner and recalled our previous anniversary celebrations over the past eight years here in Estonia.

It was then that I began to think of what lessons I have learned about marriage in these 48 years we have had together. At least what are some new highlights I am appreciating at this time in my life. These are not in order of priority but just as they come to my mind.

A life partner is a marvelous gift of God. I am 74 and Lou is 72 and we so appreciate each other and have so much enjoyment together. We have so enjoyed serving the Lord and others during most of these years.

To have a good marriage requires work and sacrifice to keep it fresh and beautiful. Without much prayer and working at learning how to relate to one another it will not be what God intended it to be.

God must be at the center of our individual lives and the focus of our lives together. Colossians 1:18 "He (Jesus Christ) is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.". Jesus Christ having first place in our lives is a vital key to a beautiful marriage and one treasured by both.

Anniversaries are a time to have have a honeymoon and reflect on all God has done for us both. Life gets us so busy that we fail to remind ourselves of how much we truly love and appreciate each other. This of course can not be done unless I am working on the items I have mentioned all year long.

Our goal has not been to make the other partner improve but to improve my own life and pray for the other. We have learned to appreciate the differences God has given us and seek to be all God created me to be. As I grow in maturity and as I am able to love more unselfishly it is amazing how my partner begins to change. So I have learned to be more attentive to my sin and weaknesses and not be critical of my wife, my friend, my lover and c0-servant of Christ.

So have we had any problems? Yes, we have but we have done so without attacking each other or saying emotional things that we would later want to take back but cannot. We have learned to ask forgiveness and to give forgiveness freely. We recognize that we are both sinners that has needed God's forgiveness and we still need His forgiveness as we seek to live a life pleasing to Him. As we are before God so are we before each other. God is kind and gracious and loving to us in spite of our sin and so we must use God's help to be the same to each other as well.

So we give God all the credit for all He has given us. Even our working at being loving and kind to each other is to His credit because He gives us the grace and strength to do what we are so weak at doing.