Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Devotions 30-01-08 (Eph 5:33)

" Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband."

This is really the summary of Eph 5:22-33 but I want to think on this a little before I started getting into the details of what a wife and a husband should do.
Since a husband is to love his wife she should do all she can to encourage him in his love for her. In the same way the husband should do all he can to encourage her to respect him. There must be a close and committed involvement with each other to fulfill the God given role's God has for us to accomplish.

Often the husband gets to concerned about his wife not doing all she should and he fails to focus on the responsibilities that he has. The wife is often seeking for more love from her husband and she is not respecting him as she ought. We must work hard at what God has given us to do and to pray for our partner to do what God wants them to do.

The background of all this is Eph 5:1-2 to be at work in our lives. We must be busy at imitating God and living a life of godly love. When I am doing this the roles God has for me are not that difficult to perform. If I am not working at imitating God then these roles are nearly impossible to perform.

Lord, thank You for the clear roles that You have for both the husband and the wife. We are not left to figure out our roles but to obey you in the roles You know is best for us. Lord, help me to lead and to love my wife in a way that would bring glory and honor to You. Help me to pray for my wife to be the helper I know she desires to be for me. I am so grateful for the mate You have provided for me.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Devotions 29-01-08 (Ps 29:10-11)

"The Lord sat as King at the flood; Yes, the Lord sits as King forever. The Lord will give strength to His people with peace."

Oh the wonder of the sovereignty of the Lord. He is King over all things and will be forever. This Lord who loves me is also King over my life and I have been so blessed by His goodness. There are just 79 days and a wake up and we will be leaving Estonia for the USA. Thank You Lord for these marvelous days living in this land of the Estonians. We have made deep friends who have become our sons and daughters and we love them so dearly.

Lord, we need Your strength and peace as we wind up our 7+ years and begin our remaining days with our family and friends. So many have prayed for us and given so generously to us so we might be Your servants around the world. Lord give me an ever grateful heart for all You have done for Lou and I and our family.

I just want to spend this day in Praise for all You have done in my life and through my life. Protect me Lord from all the distractions that are around me and guide me in doing what You want Lou and I to do in these remaining days here. Thank You Lord for Your Grace and Kindness to me and my family.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Devotions 25-01-08 (Eph 5:21)

"and be subject to one another in the fear (reverence) of Christ."

This was the closing instructions after a list of other instructions we need to follow. Another way of saying this might be "Be accountable to one another knowing that Christ sees all."

Church should be this source of accountability but we often are not that close to many in a large church. Maybe it is a small group that you can share what God is teaching you from the scriptures and others will keep a check on you and help you out. Possibly the ideal is an individual that you are close to and he or she will keep you on track to do what you want to do in your life.

I know that I need accountability with a close friend and even then we both get busy and sometime fail to check on each other to see how we are doing in our desire to obey scripture. Above all it appears that God is telling me that it is not good to be alone in my walk with God. I need others who will correct me in love and hold me to what God tells me. Prov 27:6 says "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy." I need others that are faithful to me and be honest with me in love. In this submitting to each other we must be ever conscious that Jesus Christ is our Lord and He knows my attitude and spirit in which I relate to others.

Lord, how wonderful it is to have a friend that I can always share my needs and fears with and know they will pray for me and be ready to help me in any way that they can. I am grateful that my wife is such a friend. Thank You for other friends that You have given me as well. I am not sure I utilize their friendship as much as I should. Lord, help me to be subject to others that You bring into my life for my good and protection.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Devotions 23-01-08 (Eph 5:20-21)

"always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ."

Always giving thanks!! I Thess 5:18 says "In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

I think it is important to God that we learn to give thanks for things that happen to me and around me. I must do it for "all things" and "everything". There are no exceptions listed. Why is this so hard to do? I think it is because of my lack of conviction that God is sovereign in all things. He is the blessed controller of all things even my silly or stupid blunders. My sin and failures that bring suffering to me and others.

I am to give thank in the name of the Lord Jesus to God, even to the Father, who is my Father. God is not some unloving God but a God who is also my Father and who loves me more than I can even imagine. If I really believe this deep in my heart than I would express more thanksgiving to God my Father in the name of Jesus who died and gave me salvation by Grace.

I guess it is hard to be grateful in an ungrateful world. That is not really an excuse but it is a factor that hinders me from being as grateful as I ought to God and to others. Regardless of how others may not be grateful to me I must be grateful to them and to God. I have written this application so many times in my devotions and in my bible studies and I pray at some time it would truly become a part of my life and character. I so admire and respect a person who is always grateful for what others do and for the events of life that is controlled by God. Lord, help me to be grateful for all things and everything today and all my days.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Devotions 23-01-08 (Eph 5:17-19)

"So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit speaking to one another in psalm and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord "

Do I understand what the will of the Lord is for me today? I must be careful that I do not get so busy that I do not stop and pray and consider carefully what He wants me to do today. Not that I waste my day waiting on God to reveal His will to me but I must do some serious thinking and praying and make my decision on what is revealed to me.

I must not use wine or any other stimulus to get my mind moving but it is God's Holy Spirit who must fill and control my being. He dwells in me and wants to lead and direct my life so I must turn to the Word of God and spiritual songs to stir up my thinking. The will of God should bring joy and thanksgiving to my soul and not a fear or drudgery.

Lord, I go though many days not understanding the will of God for my life. I do not consider carefully enough what You want me to do. I am sure that is why I have many non-productive days. Lord, I do not want to waste my days doing foolish things but to do what is your perfect will. Guide me now to know what I should do with this day and the hours you have given me to do what is truly important. I ask for Your wisdom. James 1:5

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Devotions 22-01-08 (Eph 5:15-16)

"Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil."

God urges me to think more carefully on how I am living life. There are lot of folks that are unwise in how they live life and I must not allow them to influence me in following their ways. I must evaluate what I want to spend my life on. Is it eternal values are on temporal values. The world around me does not want me to take any time for God and His work in the world but to use my life for my pleasures and the temporal pursuits of the things of this world.

These are evil days and there is more evil and it is more easily accessible to young and old alike. It is so crucial for me to be wise in all I do. I need to draw more upon my son's and their knowledge that they have gained while working in the world and being in the midst of world matters. I must weigh world thinking against God's ways and discern appropriate was to share the good news of Christ with those in the world. I need wisdom in knowing how to encourage them in their walk with God and what God is teaching them where they are.

Lord, thank You for all you have done for me and all You have taught me over the years. I know prayer must be more of a vital part of all I do. I know You give wisdom to those who listen to You and seek Your counsel. Thank You for all I am learning as I study the book of Ephesians. I really need to be wise in my finishing up these remaining days in Estonia.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Devotions 21-01-08 (Eph 5:11-13)

"And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light for everything that becomes visible is light."

Another translation says: " Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But when the light shines on them it becomes clear how evil these things are"

I am afraid that my TV and other media gets me in trouble in this area and I watch things that I would not do other wise. I must be more diligent in turning away from watching evil because it does have an effect on my mind and my emotions.

Lord, I am grateful for Your cleansing Word that helps me to realize what I am doing wrong and guides me in truth. I know I must not watch evil going on because it pollutes my mind and emotions. I want to have a pure mind and a heart that pictures holy and good things and not evil.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Devotion 18-01-08 (Eph 4:1-3)

"I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

I wrote on this passage of scripture on 06-12-07 and it is here in my blogg. I have been impressed to speak on this passage at church this Sunday. So I have been drawn to this passage again with an emphasis on humility. It is first in a list of
seven qualities we must consider.

Why is humility so important in this list of qualities we need to foster unity in our church or ministry. I think it reduces pride which is such a major barrier to the work of God. The work I do is not my work anyway but it is God who is using an available person to do His work. A person once said that the biggest task for God is to answer our prayer and to get the credit for it. We seem to find all sorts of ways to give glory to others, including ourselves, but we often seem to leave God out of the picture.

Humility is the foundation to build gentleness, patience, tolerance in love and to work at unity and peace. I need these qualities in my life so very much and so desire to do my part to see them to become a part of my character. It is only God who can produce these in my life as I seek to serve Him and to honor Him.

Lord, thank You for the many opportunities to learn from You and the situations You bring into my life. I have been a slow learner and not as attentive as I ought. Thank You for your patience and gentleness with me and the great love I am aware of every day of my life. Help me to communicate what I ought concerning these truths tomorrow.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Devotions 17-01-08 (Eph 5;6)

O"Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience."

If you want to know what "these things" are that are mentioned in the above verse go to yesterday's blogg or read Eph 5:5 in the bible.

I think this verse is interesting even without listing what God does not want us to do. First He warns me of people who will try to deceive me with empty words. They do not know what they are talking about but dump words on me that really have not value. If I listen to these empty words and miss the important words of God I can be in trouble. This is where the listing of what God does not want me to do becomes important.

What God says I must obey and I know what God says to me is for my best interest. Of course, I must know God to really believe this, which I do. I must also realize that to disobey God has consequences that are not good and are not for my best interest.

What God wants me to avoid are self- destructive practices anyway and even common sense tells me not to do these things. It is the rebellious world around me that tempts me to do what I really know is not good for me. God in His love wants to protect me from evil and doing what will harm me and ruin my life and the life of those I love. Thank You Lord for Your great love for me and Your concern for my life.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Devotions 16-01-08 (Eph 5:5)

"For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God."

These are some pretty strong words with some severe results. He is writing to believers who know this is wrong but it is made even more clear that this is not excused by God in any way. Why do believers make excuses and violate this truth today so much?

Immorality, impurity and covetousness are made equal with idolatry by God. An idol is a man's idea and created by a man to make him profit and it has not an ounce of power in it. Yet, men and women worship it and seek strength from it. Immorality, impurity and covetousness are also a man's idea so it is reasonable to equate them all to idolatry.

My inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God is based on God's purposes and ideas and not anything that man has to offer. It is my obedience and worship of God that is the basis of my inheritance. In fact it is all a faith issue and nothing that I contribute to at all.

Lord, thank You for forgiving my immoral and impure thoughts and my covetousness toward others. I do not want these things in my life at all. I do not want anything to be an idol that takes me away from my worship of You. Thank You for reminding me of the tricks and lies of satan to get me distracted from all that You have for me now and in the future. Lord, I do want to be a man who is pure and holy before You because I have obeyed Your word and have put my faith in Jesus as my Savior and Lord.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Devotions 15-01-08 (Eph 5:3-4)

" But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks."

As I have been reflecting on this statement I said to myself, "Do I realize how the secular world would respond to such a statement." They would say such a standard is impossible to follow in the world in which we have today. It is an old idea that just does not apply to life today.

The problem is that even the Christian world does not hold to these standards very well either. Yet these truths are timeless and were true when they were written and they are true today. There are many godly folks that are still following these standards. I have made this my standard for living the past 54 years and it has brought be such joy and strength to obey the ways of God.

Immorality and impurity is a big wide door that leads folks into all sorts of evil. Once you have a taste of immorality you are trapped and it is only the power of God that can deliver you and set you free. I have seen it happen to many good men and I have had the pull myself but by God's great grace He has spared me from being caught.

God is very clear when He says "Do Not" and "there must be no" sensual talk that leads folks into sin. God created sex for a very beautiful relationship and it is not a toy to be played with but something that is holy and pure and bonding in a marriage relationship.

Lord, help me to realize the treasure You have given to believers and to help believers to follow Your Word and do as You have spoken. It is not an option to follow but it is a clear command to obey. How I must pray for my children and grandchildren to be able to resist the world in which they live and the sensual ways of the world that is destroying our world. Lord, thank You for all the protection You have given me over all these years. Guard my heart and my life as I seek You daily in Your Word and Prayer.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Devotions 14-01-08 (Eph 5:1-2)

"Therefor be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma."

Mary Lou and I just finished spending the weekend with Piret and Stella (our key disciples of the past 6+years).Sat was full of fun and games and ended with the traditional Estonian sauna. Stella treated us with this weekend because she is leaving for Sweden in a week and will be gone four months. She even arranged for us to have some special treatments at a local health spa that was very invigorating and refreshing.

On Sun morning we spent three plus hours going over some studies we have been doing in the book of Ephesians chapters 1-4. We reviewed the content of the chapters and discussed our applications from those nine weeks of bible study. It was a very meaningful time for all of us and it will be a memory that I will never forget. God is so very good.

With all this as a background I read the above verses this morning in my devotions. It is amazing how fresh the scriptures can be to you when you have had
such a wonderful time with close friends in the Lord and with the Lord.

My response to the above verse is "Yes" I do want to imitate my God to the best of my ability and I know He will help me to do this. I do want to live a life of being loving to others. Those who are close to me but also to strangers and those who are far from God. I do want to be like Jesus and make sacrifices to God with my time, ability or whatever gifts He has given me to honor and please Him. I felt our weekend was a little bit of this but I need to do it every day of my life.

Lord, thanks for a very special weekend to be with our dear friends and with You. Your presence with us and in us was the key to such a memorable time and You deserve all the honor. Lord, help me to truly live a life of love and to give myself to others so they might know the wonder of Your love and grace. I know this must require sacrifices on my part but You turn these sacrifices into wonderful gems of special memories and invaluable blessings. Thank You Lord for all You have given to all of us during this time. Thank You for laying this on Stella's heart and all she did to make this special weekend become a reality for Your Glory.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Devotions 10-01-08 (thoughts on contentment)

Hebrews 13:5-6
"Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?"

This is a truth that we must hang on to all the time in the process of living life. But this is especially true if you are traveling or moving and may be out of your comfort zone or surroundings. Since I am currently in the latter I need to pay especial attention to this truth in my life. I Timothy 6:10 says " For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a sorrow."

In being content with what I have there is a great defense against being drawn toward things which I do not need but sometimes may think I do. I end up buying so many things that I do not need and then wonder; why did I do that?

The comfort in this is that God is for me and will protect me and will provide for me what I truly need. I must grab this truth and hang on to it when I am away from my routine of life and vulnerable to the lies of the enemy.

Lord, I have known these verses for many years but I need a stronger grip on what You have said in Your Word. I am so grateful that You are my helper and I can trust You to guide me in all I do. Lord, help me to meditate on these truths and continue in prayer about all that I do. Lord, forgive me for my lack of focused prayer for those things that I face and must make wise decisions on every day.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Devotions 09-01-07 (thoughts on goals)

Eph 3:20-21 "Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."

The second verse in our goals has to do with asking God to do big things far beyond what our small faith can imagine. He does answer most all our prayers in such a way but we often fail to see the extras He does.

I pray we could ask God to do big things in faith with a greater confidence in His desire to do great things for us. Things that would bring Him glory among His people and in Christ. This would go down through the generations as God's great act of love and faithfulness to those who seek to serve Him and honor Him.

Lord, I need Your strength to think and plan and pray what You have in mind for us in this move. Lord, would you make it so very clear that we should move to Colo Springs or San Diego or just where You would want us to be. Provide for us the home of Your choosing that would be a great encouragement to us and provide for us all the facilities and rooms that we need for our family and also folks that we will be ministering to in the years ahead.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Devotions 08-01-07 (thoughts on goals)

Yesterday I shared some goals for 2008 and I would like to elaborate on those a little.

Our main goal this year is to move from Tallinn, Estonia to the USA and finish up our years of ministry in our own country. We have basically lived in Europe the past 15 years. Five years in St Petersburg, Russia and two years moving out of Russia and getting settled into to Tallinn. In the early '60's we lived in Europe in Italy and Germany for about 4 years. I was in the US Air Force during those years.

There is a two fold purpose in this move of '08. The first is to make the move and second is to make it with a greater dependence on God than we have before. So it is both a physical event and a spiritual event. I would say in general we have always sought to make the Lord a part of all we do. I think this year we want to focus on this a lot more.

The first verse is Phil 4:6-7 and it is about not being anxious about things but instead to pray about them and let God direct us in what we should do. Our first item is our airline tickets which we scheduled for April 16 th, yesterday. We need to buy them tomorrow if that is what God want us to do.

Lord, help us to be alert to what You are leading us to do. Help us to not race ahead but neither to lag behind in the items we should do. This is just one example of what we long to do and which would bring You honor and Glory in this move.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Devotions 02-01-08 (New year goals)

I have been thinking some on things I truly want to accomplish in 2008. The biggest one is our move back to the USA after living in Estonia for 7+ years. We have made many moves in our life time but I would like to do this one better than I have done most moves. There are four verses of scripture that I want to focus on in the process of this move.

Phil 4:6-7 "Be anxious for nothing but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Eph 3:20 "Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen"

Heb 13:5-6 "Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever Forsake you," so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?"

Eph 4:32 "And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."

These are not new thoughts to me but I want to focus on these as I go through all our shutting down our living in Estonia for the past 7+ years and starting out anew in our own country that has changed an awful lot during this time. I truly want to do better in my prayer life as I make this move. Lord, thank You for giving me these verses to hang on to as we make this move to the place You have for us. We are now on the count down to our leaving and each day must be used the best we know how. Lord, help me to not be anxious about anything but I would pray about everything and trust You to guide me in what to do. Help Lou and I to truly honor You.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Devotions 01-01-08 (Eph 4:30)

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."

I think to grieve someone is to hurt them emotionally. I do not hurt them physically but I wound their emotions. I generally grieve someone I love or appreciate very much. The Holy Spirit is my comforter and the one who keeps me safe until I am fully redeemed at the return of Jesus the King.

God is appealing to my heart to not do things that do not honor the Lord or the Holy Spirit who has and is doing so much for me every day. The Holy Spirit is my teacher of Truth and guides me in ministry. I am powerless with out Him and I should be so very careful not to grieve Him.

Today is the first day of 2008 and what I begin to do today will affect what I do the rest of this year. So I must seek the Lord and make Him my focus all the rest of the year. I must be a person of prayer today so I might grow in prayer the rest of this year. Holy Spirit forgive me where I have grieved You and disappointed You in what I have done with my time and how I have ordered my life. Continue to be my teacher and comforter and guide me in following Truth in the days that are before me this year, 20008.