Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It's MY MONEY!

Do you ever feel like you give God 10 percent and you get to do what you please with the rest? I have felt that way. Verses like these in Deuteronomy say something different...


Deut 8:17 You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." 18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.


Truth is, without God we have nothing. He gives us the ability to produce wealth. Every penny we have is only by God's grace. So why wouldn't we give it back to Him with joy?



I never want to come across as hungry for money or as begging people as though God doesn't have the resources to take care of His purposes. But lately I feel as though I have shyed away from talking about money openly with God's people. And it really shouldn't be something that we fear. It's all His anyway.



Lord, help me to give with the same joy that I have when I receive your blessings in my life. My I never forget that it's all yours.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Blessed are the Pure

God does it again. When I think there is no other way to understand a certain passage, God enlightens me again. Purity. What do you think of when you hear this word? Clean. Absence of dirt, filth, etc... What does a pure person look like or even a pure heart?

God rearranged my thinking once again yesterday. Purity is not just about being clean it is mainly about having a single mind. It is about being focused on one thing. That one thing is God. What's the greatest commandment?
Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'

Notice the "all" in the above verse. Purity is singleness of heart and mind.
James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Notice the problem with the people who needed purification -- they were double minded. You can't be pure if your focused on God and something else. You can't serve both God and money. You can't serve both God and anything. You can only serve God if you want to have a pure heart. Stay focused. Keep your heart fixed on Christ.

Here's a quote from someone whose heart was hungry for God...
Psalm 57:7--"My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed" -- David
.

Thank God for Mercy.

In my devotions this morning...

Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. 31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.
I'll never understand it, but I'm so thankful for God's mercy. His willingness to so often NOT give us what we deserve. He is a gracious and compassionate God. He will abundantly pardon.

Lord, help me seek you today with all my heart and all my soul. Help me to never stop chasing you.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Faith Works

I started my devotions in Deuteronomy today. And then something really hit me pretty hard. Faith works. I think sometimes when I speak of imagining faith I think about stepping aside and watching God put on a show. But when we look at the scriptures faith often involves someone taking a risk. Someone taking action.

In Deuteronomy 1 we see God's promise - to give Israel it's own land - would only come to pass when the people were willing to act in faith. Their fear and their lack of faith in God prohibits them from taking hold of God's promises. Maybe they thought God was going to send them the deed in the mail? He expected action on their part.

Ultimately, God would do the work. God would bring the walls of Jericho down, but the people still had to take action. They still had to walk around the walls and they still had to fight when the walls came down.

I hope this isn't "spiritualizing" the text too much, but I'm afraid I'm often like the 10 spies. I know what God says, but I'm not sure I'm bold enough to act on His promise. I'd rather just sit back and watch the show.

So think about this...

Peter had to take that first step out of the boat.
Moses had to pick up that snake
Elisha had to throw out the stick to for the axe head
Abraham had to tote his promised son Isaac up the mountain
David had to sling the stones

Just how many of the great examples of faith are also examples of great action. Saints working out their faith with fear and trembling of the Almighty, but also in great boldness. Maybe we should change our thinking just a bit. You've always heard - "Let Go and Let God." Maybe we should be saying "Take Hold and Let God."

Of course the hardest part is knowing whether it is God speaking or just your own ambition. After Peter initiates the idea, Jesus says come. The Lord told Moses to pick up the snake. The Lord told Abraham to carry his son up the mountain. When we are sure it is God speaking, I think it makes it much easier to act in faith.

Lord, help me to discern your will even in the smallest of things that I may act in the boldest of ways when you call. I want to act, I want to take risks for your kingdom, and I want Your Name to be hallowed.

100 Posts.

Can't believe it! I actually hit 100 posts. I guess it's pretty sad when you post about posts! :) Nevertheless, I have lasted longer than I thought I would. So I guess maybe I better post something somewhat worthwhile.