Friday, March 27, 2009

Temporary Posting Slow-down

Due to having the flu, being exceedingly busy, as well as the lack of visitation to this blog has caused me to drop the number of postings I will be doing. I will be working on some new ideas soon.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Luke 7:1-36

What is Great Faith? Today Pastor Rob spoke on this topic using the story of Jesus and a Centurion who requested healing of a servant of his by Jesus. There are several points that illustrated the Centurions strong faith which lead to Jesus having love for this leader and healing the servant as he requested. First we see that great faith is not self centered. The fact that this Centurion who would have been able to do nearly whatever pleased him, yet would care so much for a slave that he would seek help spoke volumes about his character. It showed that he cared for others and recognized that he didn't have the power to help his servant. Second great faith is Christ-centered. The centurion recognized Christ's power and authority and believed that Christ was the one who was able to do what no one else could. Thirdly, great faith humbly trusts in God. Everyone, no matter what their position in this life, is still well below the superiority God, one day even Kings will bow before the Lord. The centurion felt unworthy, to the point of not even wanting to bother Jesus to come to his home but instead to just say the word. He knew God owed him nothing, let alone a personal visit, yet is willing to seek out the Lord and make his request, no matter what the outcome. Jesus is impressed with the centurions faith and character and answers him by healing the servant from afar. Finally, great faith stirs the power of God. We can expect God to show up in a mighty way when his people are active and pursuing Him. How great is your faith? Sure, doubting is natural, but overall do you live life to help others, keeping Christ in the center and trusting him to do what he promises? Pray that the Lord will create in you the kind of faith the centurion had.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A River Part 2

Psalm 51:2
Today is the next part of my object devotions on rivers. Yesterday, I spoke on the life-giving properties of rivers and their similarity to God. The next attribute of a river I was thinking about is its life-altering abilities. The canyon I sit in is slowly being carved, shaped and transformed by the constant flow of water through it. In fact, each rock, including the one I was sitting on, are under continual change which made it quite comfortable to sit on unlike other rocks higher up the canyon walls. Years of water flowing over it had removed sharp jagged edges, polishing the surface. Over the course of our lives God polishes us, working to make us more like Christ. It is a gradual process just like polishing a stone or carving a canyon, as the Lord is merciful, shaping and refining us in a careful, planned way. If things were to go too quickly, like when the river floods, there would likely be devastation setting the whole process back. So day after day the work continues at just the right pace moving us towards perfection. With the process comes cleansing. Just as the river carries away debris cleaning itself and the area around it, so God removes our impurities in the purification he is putting us through. The old is washed away so the new can be revealed. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin (Psalm 51:2 NIV).

Friday, March 20, 2009

A River

Revelation 22:1-2
I spent the afternoon yesterday sitting beside a river. It didn't take long before all kinds of images and symbolism about water came to mind. I decided to focus my thoughts on the life giving power of rivers which reminds me so much of God. That whole canyon of mesquite, palo verde, and a myriad of other plants would die without its nourishment. That doesn't even account for all the animal life relying on its presence. The book of Revelation paints a similar scene we will encounter in heaven. "Then he showed me the river whose waters give life, sparkling like crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Through the middle of the broadway of the city; also, on either side of the river was the tree of life with its twelve varieties of fruit, yielding each month its fresh crop; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing and the restoration of the nations (Amplified Bible). A river and trees bringing life and healing to all those blessed to gain access to its splendor. It's amazing to believe God has prepared a place more beautiful than this canyon in which I relax. Yet, Revelation describes crystaline waters and trees with multiple kinds of fruits growing on them. Wow! Why not? Our God can create anything! With all the majesty here on earth its overwhelming to realize God's saved the best for the next life! Finally, as water is critical to our survival in this state, there would be no life now or hereafter without God, the ultimate Creator and Sustainer of all things. Give glory to God for all that he has graciously provided.

The song to go with today's devotional is "River" by Chris Tomlin. (Not an exciting video so listen carefully to the lyrics and imagine yourself alongside your favorite river.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Small Creatures

Psalm 136:1 & 25
Today's devotion is actually a reflection on my day at Sabino Canyon as I took time to enjoy some of God's smallest creatures going about their daily routines. The full reflection can be found on my blog Sacred Spaces Travel.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Speed Limit Sign

Exodus 20:1-17 (click here to get the scripture from: Bible Gateway)
No, I didn't pick this object for today's devotion because I got pulled over, but I was just out driving and the idea came to me (No, I'm not lying, that would be a bad thing to do - well since this is a Christian devotional ya know). Kids I work with always have this idea that it will be great when they're grown up because then they can do whatever they want. That looks to be true - they just miss that when you're an adult some rules go away, but are quickly replaced by new ones. A good example is that mom won't call and yell at me because I stayed up all night blogging, my bedtime as an adult is whenever I want it to be. However, when I was a kid I didn't have to worry about obeying the speed limit (try as I might, my bike wouldn't go that fast!) which I now have to be concerned with. The point is no matter how old you get there will always be rules for you to follow. Some rules have no age boundaries, the 10 Commandments apply to all of us, for life. While there are many who try to rebel and not follow the rules, the thing they fail to see is that they were created for our own good. When you're a kid you have a bedtime so you get the sleep you're growing body needs and you don't sleep through school. As adults we have a speed limit on the road to follow so we hopefully don't harm ourselves or others when we're driving. God gave all of us His rules so that we would live in harmony with Him and with each other and life would go well for us. Since breaking rules leads to undesired consequences it is to everyone's advantage that we do our best to follow them. Just think what the world would be like if everyone followed the rules. So, I've said goodbye to my younger rebellious days of speeding around in my Eclipse humming, "I Can't Drive 55", and do my best to follow societies rules and God commandments, which is what Jesus would do. Let us all pray that the way we live our lives will be an example to others. Then, not only will we be moving on towards a more perfect, Christ-like life which God desires, but we will also be doing our part in creating a better world.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Clover

1 John 5:7
Top of the morning to you! I had to go with a St. Patrick's Day theme for today's post. The clover can be used to remind us of the Holy Trinity (as long as it's not a 4 leaf clover). It's three leaves that are generally of equal size as each part of God is of equal importance to us. As, the Trinity is a difficult subject even for Christians to fully explain I am going to provide a few solid sources I have found on the internet that present an excellent discussion on it.

1. Dr. Brown is a Messianic Jew and does an excellent job in explaining the Trinity in this video on YouTube. He also has a great website discussing Jesus as Messiah at Real Messiah .com
2. The website Bible Knowledge also has an easy to understand explanation of the Trinity

These give a lot of help in understanding that we worship one God who has three distinct personalities or natures, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Each is co-equal and co-eternal. While the word "Trinity" is never used in the Bible, there are multiple places where each person of the Godhead is present. We see it when Jesus is baptized and scripture states the Spirit came as a dove upon him, and that the Father spoke from heaven: 16"As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.' (Matthew 3:15-17 NIV)" John also mentions the three in one: "7For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1 John 5:7 KJV)" Our God is wonderful and not easy for the human mind to comprehend. Thankfully he gives us a glimpse at who He is, but we must remember that for now we see a dim reflection like a mirror, only in the next life will we fully see (1 Corinthians 13:12).