Sunday, January 31, 2016

Meditations on Hebrews 11:13-22

Meditation on Hebrews 11:13-22

LORD God, creator and redeemer, help me to desire your kingdom and righteousness more than simply the treasures of this time.  Help me to be a stranger and exile here that my heart might fully be committed to your eternal kingdom.   You have prepared a perfect city for me and are not ashamed to be called my God.  

Help me to live by faith in your promises in the Messiah Jesus.  Help me take actions that make sense only because your gospel is true.  Let me see what actions today the gospel demands of me to make if I live this day by faith in your sacrificial love.  

Let the words of my mouth, the deeds of my hands, and the attitudes of my heart be governed by faith in your promises of your redemptive kingdom coming to all the earth.  Lord give me a vision of your love, power, and plan.  Allow me to live by faith in that vision, power, and plan.  Lord have mercy now.

Revive us, renew us, restore us, and reform us for your glory, our good, and that we might be of some good to those who are in need in our lives.  Amen

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Meditation on Psalm 55

Meditation on Psalm 55

Lord, creator of heaven and earth and redeemer of repentant souls through the sacrifice of your blood, now have mercy upon me.  

The enemy of my soul, the dark lord of darkness, comes upon me to oppress me, and I need you to be my shelter from the waging storm and terror of hard circumstances.

Destroy the plans of the world, the flesh and the devil and replace their lies with truth and their cursing with your blessing. 

Lord, save me from the wolves in sheep clothing and if possible, convert the wolves to be true disciples.   Take from them the heart of stone and give to them the heart of flesh.  Cut out evil from their hearts and put the HOLY SPIRIT in its place.  

Lord, save us now.  Deliver us out of our own deceptions. Defeat the one who kills, steals, and destroys so that you may be glorified when you redeem me in the middle of this battle.  Come now and rescue me!

Lord, I give to you my burdens.  You fully understand them.  You now their weight crushes me.  Help me not be moved from my trust in you.  Increase my faith and hope.  Draw near to me.  Be my helper this day.

Lord have mercy, Messiah have mercy, Lord have mercy.  Amen

Friday, January 29, 2016

Is Winning More Important Than Truth?

Is truth telling more important than winning?

"He who speaks truth tells what is right, But a false witness, deceit. There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips will be established forever, But a lying tongue is only for a moment. Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy."  Proverbs 12:17-20

"Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." Pilate *said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and *said to them, "I find no guilt in Him."  John 18:37-38

"Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, "JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS." Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews'; but that He said, 'I am King of the Jews.'" Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written.""  John 19:19-22

"As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,"  Ephesians 4:14-15

I.  It is important that we care about the truth of things in an age given to denial that there is any TRUE TRUTH.   This is the most important battle for the soul of our culture. 

II.  Our politics is filled with propaganda from every side.  This is because many people put winning over telling the truth. 

Propaganda is information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view:

Seven Methods of Propaganda[1]

“Name Calling
Using negative or discriminatory words, propagandists arouse suspicion and prejudice. The goal is to create an overall dislike of a group of people, so verbally attacking their beliefs, institutions, leaders or religion is fair game. Name calling is often used in ridiculing cartoons or writing.

Glittering Generalities
Using slogans or simple catchphrases, propagandists make generalized statements attractive to their audience. Usually these statements involve ideas of love, honor, glory, peace, family values, freedom, patriotism--anything general enough to inspire pride. These statements usually say very little, so they cannot be proved or disproved.

A transfer associates a revered symbol with an idea the propagandist wants to promote. If an idea can be linked with, say, a flag, it has a greater chance of winning popular approval. The stir of emotions makes it difficult for people to clear their minds and think critically.

A testimonial makes an association between a respected or authoritative person and the cause. The hope is that the respected person will lead others to follow his ideas. It is similar to a celebrity endorsement of a product.

Plain Folks
The goal of this technique is to convince the audience that the spokesman is like them and shares their woes and concerns. Using plain language and mannerisms, he is able to build trust by his followers.

This technique capitalizes on the human drive to be part of a crowd, a member of the winning team. By creating the illusion that widespread support exists, the propagandist hopes those who are on the fence will join the cause. If they refuse, this technique seeks to make them feel isolated.

Card Stacking
By using only those facts that support their ideas, propagandists can make it seem that their way is the only correct way. The aim of card stacking is for the audience to assume these facts are conclusive. By "stacking cards against the truth," propagandists can control the beliefs of their audience.”

III. How de we stand for truth in a deceptive age?

A.  Check facts, especially when information comes to you that gives support to a cause you believe in.

Resources for checking information

B.  Take time to think and research before we set forth something as true.

C.  Aim to educate by showing all sides instead of just the side we would support.

D.  Be careful and if you make a mistake admit it.

Meditation on Galatians 5:13-25

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (ESV)
Lord, you have called me to freedom. Free not so I can rebel. Free not so I can reject you. Free not so I can be self-centered. You have given me the freedom to love. Freedom from rebellion, freedom from rejection, and freedom from self-centeredness. Keep me from wanting to use others for my goals and instead, seek to have loving others as my goal. 

Holy Spirit, come and rule my lifestyle. Allow me not to be driven by unbelieving and self-centered passions. Such dark motives are against YOUR LOVE and YOUR LOVE is against such dark motives. Lead me now HOLY SPIRIT in every decision and emotion this day. Dominate my inner life and outward actions. Because of your LOVE for me, I am not under the condemnation of the law. 

Lord, deliver me from the darkness of this unbelieving culture and give me a hunger and thirst for righteousness. Put to death in me the actions of unbelief and self-centeredness. 

HOLY SPIRIT, create in my YOUR LOVE. Let this love express itself in joy in your love for me, inner peace with you and seeking peace with others, patience with myself in growing into grace and with others who are struggling, showing compassion through deeds of kindness, recognizing the fragile nature of human souls and the need of a gentle touch in my relationship with others, and able to have YOUR LOVE govern over my actions so that I control what I say and do, seeking to have it be an expression of your grace and care. 

Messiah Jesus, I belong to you. YOU have bought me at infinite cost. Put to death in me that which is selfish, unbelieving, and dark. Allow the HOLY SPIRIT now to live in me and dominate me entirely. LORD Messiah Jesus, have mercy and make this a growing reality in my life day by day. 

Lord have mercy, Messiah have mercy, Lord have mercy. Amen

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Meditation on John 6;16-27

Meditation on John 6:16-27

Lord, help me not be afraid this day. I find myself in rough waters. Change seems to be on every side. It is dark and cold. The wind of life seems to blow against me and it takes a lot of effort to just make it through each day. 

Help me hear your voice saying to me today to not be afraid because you are with me. Come now to me and be with me during this storm. 

Lord, help me seek you not for what you can provide for me. Allow me to seek you because you are worthy of being sought. In YOU, Lord Jesus, is the gift of eternal life, a perfect union and communion with God forever. 

Help me not value temporary things as more important than eternal reality. Permit me the insight to be heavenly minded this day. Help me not drown in the struggles of the storm but to be lifted into the glory of your eternal throne. Lord have mercy now and meet me where I am at. 

Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy. Amen

Meditation on Hebrews 10:11-25

Meditation on Hebrews 10:11-25

Lord Messiah Jesus you have made a single, complete, and absolute sacrifice for all time for the sins and moral failings of your people and even now are at the right hand of God the Father, awaiting the time when every enemy of your redemptive kingdom will be overcome. By means of your single offering on the cross, you have made your, people free of guilt and condemnation forever. 

Lord, Holy Spirit, now help us be in touch with the transformation of our hearts you have made by placing the principles of righteousness into us and transforming us from the inside out. 

Lord Jesus, how can we ever appreciate or thank you for our total forgiveness and the removal of the account of our lawful deeds. 

I come before you confident of your love and acceptance of me for you have sacrificed everything for me. 

High Priest Jesus, pray for me today and help your perfect will be done in my life. Sing to my conscience your song of grace, love, and pardon that I might not condemn myself. Allow me to hold steady my confession of you as the Messiah all the days of my life. You are faithful and will keep your promises to me. 

Lord, stir me up inwardly to hunger and thirst for righteousness. Let me seek to see your will to be done on earth as in heaven. Allow me to be an encourager to others to seek YOU as well. Grant me a desire to fellowship with other believers that we may encourage each other. 

Lord, revive, renew, reform, and restore your Church. Fill us with the Holy Spirit and know how to reach this generation with your love.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Meditation on Psalm 45

Lord Jesus, you are the ideal King.

Your beauty of heart, soul, and character is one dominated by unconditional love. 

Your words are full of wisdom, truth, and compassion.

King Jesus, your power makes you infinitely more powerful than all the mighty ones of history. Open my eyes to your splendor and majesty!

Come now into history and bring victory to the truth, the oppressed, and set right now all that is crooked, LORD, make all things straight. 

Take from my flesh, the world, and the dark lord of lies their power and cripple them. Do awesome deeds now and push back the darkness with your perfect light and love. 

King Jesus, God the Son who became the Son of God, your kingdom is one of righteousness and hatred of that which kills, steals, and destroys humanity YOU, have been anointed Messiah that we might be made glad and united to you in love. 

Open now the ears of the Church, your bride, and help us to forget the teachings of the unbelieving cultures of our upbringing. Allow the heart of your fellowship of believers bow before you with loving adoration and loyalty. Help us with joy and gladness of heart come before your presence before the throne of YOUR grace. 

Help us make disciples of all nations. Let us build a culture of truth, righteousness, beauty, and compassion to glorify your name before all creation. LORD, build your Church and destroy the gates of hell. May all nations see your glory revealed and reflected in your people who claim your name. 

Lord, revive us, reform us, renew us, and restore us. Fulfill your promises to your people in our times. Pour out your love and compassion upon us and through us. Allow us to see things greater than we could ever imagine or hope could occur. 

We are desperate LORD. Hear us!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Meditation on John 5:1-18

Meditation on John 5:1-18

LORD Jesus, you lived in a world very different from my world. In your world, people believed in God's power to heal and would wait for the stirring of water in the hope to be healed by divine power. Yet, this did not happen often. So miracles were rare. The needs, however, were desperate just as they are today. Perhaps in many ways, my time and culture are not so different. 

LORD Jesus, I need you to speak words of power, change, and transformation into my world even as you did the world of this paralyzed man. The transformation I need today is not physical healing but the power to see people I love radically changed by real true repentance and faith. I need them "saved", converted, and made true disciples. This is an eternal healing as opposed to one that only lasts for a season in this life. Only your command can make this happen. Begin by giving them a knowledge they need spiritual healing and a hunger to gain this healing of the soul. Lord, have mercy upon them and grant them this true and eternal healing. 

Lord, forgive us our legalism and self-righteousness. When you work among us there is always a tendency to judge what you are doing. To want it to be neater and in accordance with our traditions. Rather than seeing the desperate need or the wonder of your divine power transforming, we easily get consumed by lesser matters and controversies. Lord, save us from this type of religious insanity. 

Lord, give to us a hatred and right estimation for rebelling against your will. Provide us with the insight that sin kills us. Give to us a love and thirst for righteousness even as you forgive us our sins by your sacrifice on the cross. 

Help us to see you, Messiah Jesus, more clearly as the ultimate and personal revelation of God in the flesh, come to save us at great cost, so that we may love you more deeply and then follow you more nearly, this day and every day of our lives. Lord have mercy now. 

Speak your word of power and revive us, renew us, reform us, and restore us. Lord Jesus have mercy. Amen

Friday, January 22, 2016

The most important thing

“The most important thing in your life,” Dallas said, “is not what you do; it’s who you become. That’s what you will take into eternity. You are an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe.” Huh? “You are an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe. That’s the most important thing for you to know about you. You should write that down. You should repeat it regularly. Brother John, you think you have to be someplace else or accomplish something more to find peace. But it’s right here. God has yet to bless anyone except where they actually are. Your soul is not just something that lives on after your body dies. It’s the most important thing about you. It is your life.”

Ortberg, John (2014-04-22). Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (p. 23). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Parable of the Keeper of the Stream by John Ortberg's Soul Keeping


"There once was a town high in the Alps that straddled the banks of a beautiful stream. The stream was fed by springs that were old as the earth and deep as the sea. The water was clear like crystal. Children laughed and played beside it; swans and geese swam on it. You could see the rocks and the sand and the rainbow trout that swarmed at the bottom of the stream. 

High in the hills, far beyond anyone’s sight, lived an old man who served as Keeper of the Springs. He had been hired so long ago that now no one could remember a time when he wasn’t there. He would travel from one spring to another in the hills, removing branches or fallen leaves or debris that might pollute the water. But his work was unseen. 

One year the town council decided they had better things to do with their money. No one supervised the old man anyway. They had roads to repair and taxes to collect and services to offer, and giving money to an unseen stream-cleaner had become a luxury they could no longer afford. So the old man left his post. 

High in the mountains, the springs went untended; twigs and branches and worse muddied the liquid flow. Mud and silt compacted the creek bed; farm wastes turned parts of the stream into stagnant bogs. For a time no one in the village noticed. But after a while, the water was not the same. It began to look brackish. The swans flew away to live elsewhere. The water no longer had a crisp scent that drew children to play by it. Some people in the town began to grow ill. All noticed the loss of sparkling beauty that used to flow between the banks of the streams that fed the town. 

The life of the village depended on the stream, and the life of the stream depended on the keeper. The city council reconvened, the money was found, the old man was rehired. 

After yet another time, the springs were cleaned, the stream was pure, children played again on its banks, illness was replaced by health, the swans came home, and the village came back to life. The life of a village depended on the health of the stream. 

The stream is your soul. And you are the keeper."

Ortberg, John (2014-04-22). Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You (pp. 13-14). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.