Friday, January 29, 2010

The flesh or the spirit?

Galatians 6:7-10 -Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Tonight, Pastor Mike taught us a great lesson that we will live according to what side of us we feed more. People can see by our lifestyle whether we are feeding our flesh more, or our Spirit. Often we say that we want to be close to God and grow spiritually, but we continue to feed our flesh. We naturally want to feed our flesh, and it is not natural to feed our Spirit. It's hard to feed our Spirit, and it takes a long time to get the results we are looking for. Most of us treat getting 'into shape' spiritually just like we treat getting into shape physically. We go at it all out for a week or two, maybe even a month; but when we don't see big enough results fast enough, we get discouraged and quit. Romans 12:2 says 'And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. We should never be done growing spiritually. It should be a constant process that continues throughout our whole life. Every day we should be transforming our lives in every area to be closer to where he wants us to be. No, it isn't easy. it is something we need to purpose in our hearts, and stick with it no matter what our flesh tries to tell us. Hebrews 11:25 says 'Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater than the treasures of Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.' Giving in to the flesh is easy, and it gives you an instant reward. Feeding the spirit is hard, and it takes a long time before you reap your reward; but when you do, it is so worth it!

Someone said, 'Ten years from now, we will be where our devotions are today.' That is why it is so important to stay focused on God, and continue to pray, read God's word and have daily devotions, and memorize Scripture. Even when we don't think it is doing any good, and we really want to quit, if we are diligent, we will reap the rewards. He that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

This lesson was a huge encouragement to me. Since I have gotten serious about growing close to God, and following his will, I have found myself getting frustrated because I wasn't seeing any results. I need to remember that it is a constant process, and thank God that he will always be there to help me when I get discouraged.

Hebrews 12:1-2 is a really encouraging challenge. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2 Corinthians 9:6 - But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Mr Anderson quoted this verse in church tonight, and it really got my attention. It's a good verse that I can apply to both my physical life and my spiritual life.

The more effort I put into everyday life, the more i will get out of it. the harder I work, the more I will get done. The more hours i work, the more I will get paid. The more I give back to God, the more he will bless me with. Financially, I have really been struggling this past year in particular. I worked 12-15hours, 6 days a week all summer, but no matter how hard I worked, I could never keep it in the bank. If I wasn't breaking my truck, something else was happening that I had to spend it on. I've had several people tell me that God was trying to tell me to get rid of my truck, but as I look back on this past year, I have realized what the problem is. i have not been faithful in my tithes and offerings. How can I expect God to bless my labor, if I am not giving it back to him? I need to turn focus from from trying to get money for my own benefit, and focus on asking God what he wants me to do with what he has already given me.

Spiritually, the more I seek God, the more he will bless me. i cannot expect to grow in leaps and bounds if i am not seeking him all day, every day. I need to have God, his word, and his will in my thoughts and in my actions all day all.

Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.'

Hebrews 11:6 'But without faith it is imposable to please him:for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.'

My prayer is that I will seek God with my whole heart, thoughout every single day.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Devotions January 25, 2010

Today I read Proverbs 25 for my morning devotion. Verse 4 says 'Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the refiner.' Dross is the impurities that are mixed in with the silver. Before a silversmith can make anything out of raw silver, he must first purify it. People are the same way. Before God can mold us the way he wants us, we need to remove the 'impurities' from our life. There have been times when I have tried to grow closer to God, and seek his will, but it just wasn't happening. I wasn't growing, because I chose to ignore some issues in my life that I knew were wrong, but I wasn't ready to give them up. If I want to grow close to God, I need to start working on removing all of the garbage that I know is wrong before I can expect him to work in my life....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What am i doing for God?

I just read a friend's blog about her life as a christian,; and that she did not really start growing until a few years ago. It really hit home to me.

I have been saved for 3 1/2 years, but I never started growing until this past fall, and it wasn't until November that I started seeking God for the right reasons. When I Came to Hawaii for the first time, I was at the end of my rope. I had made some serious mistakes, and I was trying everything I could think of to grow closer to God with little, if any results.
For as long as I can remember (when i was a little kid, b4 I was saved), I have always been afraid that God would want me to preach or work in a ministry that involved public speaking, and I would have to say no because I as afraid of talking in front of folks. I have fought with it for years, and refused to surrender my life to God, simply because I was afraid of what he might want me to do. My first Sunday at Ohana Baptist Church, i finally gave up, and surrendered my whole life to God; even if that meant becoming a preacher. I cannot begin to describe the peace God has given me since that day! When I surrendered, God showed me what he wanted me to with my life to serve him. He didn't tell me to go to Bible college, or preach, or even teach a Sunday school class. He told me to serve him full time in my everyday life. All day, everyday, i should be focused on him, and seeking ways to glorify him with my everyday life. It isn't as easy to do as you might think, and there are so many issues in my life, that I start to get overwhelmed. Monday, i was talking to Jerome about a lot of different things. One thing we talked about, was that I was not as strong of a christian as I wanted/needed to be. I'll never forget what he told me. 'Just keep trying, it's all you can do. Keep trying, and God will do the rest.' If I keep God in the center of my focus, and keep trying to please him with my whole heart, he will make me stronger. No, it wont happen overnight, but the stronger I get, the faster I will grow. I can't wait to see what God has in store for my life!

The Neil's lesson on soul winning really hit home too. If we aren't doing something to further God's kingdom, then there is no reason for us to remain on this earth. We are here for 2 reasons; to glorify God, and bring souls to him. i have never even given someone a tract before. I really have a lot to work on, but God is faithful, and he will guide me path. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I need to seek God daily in his word, and he will guide me...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Well I just found out that I need to Trust God more than ever, and make myself believe that he knows best, and wants the very best for me...

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart, and lean not on thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Devotions January 17, 2010

For starters, thanks Cody for telling me that you are going to ask me what I read, otherwise, I would have skipped devotions tonight.

Today's Devotion Came from 1 Timothy 4:11-16. Verses 12 and 13 really jumped out at me. ' thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.' Lately, I've really been struggling with some things, and trying to figure out how to deal with them, and what God wants me to be doing right now. These 2 verses give me a few things to do, regardless of where God takes me, or what he wants me to do.
First, I need to make my life a living example to everyone around me. verse 12 points out particular areas that I should be an example.
Second, verse 13 tells me that I need to stay focused on reading God's word, Exhorting others, and doctrine.
It's amazing to me how God always gives me just what I need every single time I search his word! If I would just be faithful in my devotions every day, God would be able to give me what I need to carry me through that day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Devotions January12, 2010

Today's devotion came from Luke 12:22-34. In this passage, Jesus is telling his disciples not to stress over all of their earthly needs, because if they are focused on God, he will take carer of him. v. 24- Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap: which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? v. 27-28: Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If God then so clothe the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? God knows what every plant, and every animal needs to survive, and he provides for them. How much more will he provide for his children, who he created in his image? verses 29-31 says- And seek not what yea shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. We don't need to worry about food or clothing, because God knows we need them, and will provide. All we need to focus on is God, and what he wants us to be doing. We all get too wrapped up in our careers, and trying to get ahead in this world, when we should be focusing on God, his word, and serving him. Verse 34 says- For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. If focus on earthly goals, and not God, our heart will be in this world, and not on him. Hebrews 12:1-2 says- Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
All we need to worry about, is focusing on God, and running toward him.

This devotion has been a special blessing to me As I continue work down here in Hawaii, I know I am right where God wants me. I pray that God would draw me closer to him, and some me his will for my life when this job is done. Luke 22:42b- nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done. Regardless of what I want, I want God to put me right where he wants me. He wants to give me the very best, all I need to do is let him :-)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Devotions January 11, 2010

2 Cor. 5:7 For we walk by faith not by sight. How often do we truly walk by faith? It's easy to say that we walk by faith when things are going good, when we have a job, and money in the bank for a rainy day. But what would happen if all of our earthly 'security' were taken away? Would we still be able to say that we are walking by faith? The level of our faith is revealed when God allows us to go through difficult times. Remember, faith is believing and trusting God. He knows what he is doing, and he wants the very best for you, no matter how difficult life may get at times. If we truly have faith, we will continue to trust him, not matter what...

My memory verse for this week is Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

It's been a while since I've posted. Coming to Hawaii made things really busy, so I havent had time to get on here after my devotions. Friday and saturday I went to a singles conference at Ko'olua Baptist Church. It was incredible! The theme was keeping your focus on God. I learned alot, and found some things that I really need to work on. Pray for me, that God would give me the strength, and determination to seek him, and make him the true #1 in my life every day.

I've only been in Hawaii for 3 days, and I can honestly say, that they have been the most encouraging, yet challenging 3 days since I left on Christmas eve. I know that this is where God wants me to be, and it's an awesome feeling! I don't know what all he has in store for me over the next 24 days, but I can't wait to find out!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I hope this blog has been a help or a blessing to someone. I started it as a way of helping myself stay accountable to my daily walk with God, and to try to get more out of what I am reading by writing it all down. If you read this, I hope that God blesses you as much as he has blessed me :-) Please pray for me, that I will remain faithful throughout the year!

Devotions January 5, 2010

Proverbs 5 Is a warning to flee sexual sin. Verse 8 says 'remove thy way far from her,' God warns us to stay as far away from sexual temptation as we can get. There are few sins that I know of that can be as addicting, and as damaging both to yourself, your family, and your friends. Verse 5 says, 'Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.' Sexual sin is not something to mess around with.

Two Rivers' devotion comes from 1 Cor. 3:1-15. Paul is telling the Corinthian church that every member is individually responsible for their own relationship with God, as well as pulling their weight in their local church. A lot of times, we go to church because it is 'the right thing to do.' Sometimes we'll even go to church to learn something; but how often to we go to church to be a blessing to others? Verse 10b says 'But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.' Every christian is building on the foundation, Jesus Christ (v.11). The question is, what materials are you using; gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble (v.12)? Verse 13-14 says 'Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.' What materials are we building with?

Ohana's devotion is from 1 Cor. 13:1-8. Verse 2 says, '...and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.' Why is charity so important? I really don't know the answer to this one. If anyone has any extra insight, I could sure use the help today :-)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Devotions January 4, 2010

Proverbs 4:23 says, Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. It's really easy for me to let my heart get carried away and lead me down paths I shouldn't go. It's not that I intend for it to happen, but I certain ideas to get stuck in my head, then off we go. I am an all or nothing kind of person. As soon as I decide I want something, I want all of it and nothing less. It is a great attitude to have, as long as the things I want are in line with God's will. Verses 24-27 tell us how we can help keep our hearts in check. 'Put away form thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn on to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.' If we want to keep our heart, we need to keep all of our focus on God and his word.

Two Rivers' devotion came from Psalm 71. I read the whole chapter, but I was stuck on the first verse. In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be put to confusion.' This month, we have been studying faith in Ohana's devotion. Faith is trusting and believing God. This is just one more verse that tells us to trust him :-)

Ohana's devotion is from Luke 17:11-19. This is the story of Jesus cleansing the 10 lepers. When they cried to Jesus in verse 13 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.' Jesus told them, 'Go show yourselves to the priests.' The thing that has always stood out to me is their faith. in verse 14 it says, 'And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.' As soon as Jesus told them to go, they went, even though they still had leprosy. It was not until they were well on their way that God healed them. Most of the time we don't want to do what God tells us to do until we know every last little detail. The simple fact of the matter is that in order to have faith, we need to trust God, and believe that he knows what is best for our life. If we do that, we will be able to do whatever he asks us to do, without worrying about all of the details surrounding it.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Devotions January 3, 2010

Proverbs 3:9-10 says, 'Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.' This past year, I have been thinking a lot about the future. I'm at the point where I want to stop being a care free kid, and start live life as an adult. To do that, I feel that I need a home, and a means to take care of a family. Unfortunately, I tend to get too wrapped up in trying to figure out how to make money, and a lot of it, so I can build a house, and support my future family. In these two verses, God makes it pretty simple. If we honor him with what he has given us, then he will bless us with more than we need. I need to remember that everything I have comes from and belongs to God.

Two Rivers' devotion comes from Hebrews 12:5-11. It is reminding us that God loves us, and because he loves us, he will chasten us. When God chastens us, the first thing that we think is 'why me? I don't deserve this.' We start throwing a pitty party for ourselves right away, and start wondering why a loving God would make us suffer. Verse 11 does a pretty good job of explaining it, 'Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.' No, chastening is never fun, but God does so we will grow in righteousness, and closer to him.

Ohana's devotion came from Luke 17:1-6. In verses 1-4, Jesus is telling his disciples to be ready and will to forgive. Verse 4 tells us how often to forgive, 'and if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying I repent; thou shalt forgive him.' Turns out that the disciples were human just like the rest of us, and had trouble forgiving people. In verse 5 they said to Jesus, 'Increase our faith.' Once again Jesus had to give them the 'If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed' speech. We learned yesterday that faith is not only believing and trusting in God but simply trusting God (thanks Cody)! If we believe and trust God, and follow him, forgiving others will be second nature for us!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Devotions January 2, 2010

Probverbs 2:1-5 My son, if you wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. Almost every christian you ask, will tell you that they want to be close to God, but very few are will to put the effort into getting there. it takes a lot more then just a pray every so often, and going to church on Sunday and Wednesday. It takes a lot of time, and dedication on our part to truly grow close to God. If we really want to find and understand the knowledge of God, we need to seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures.

Two Rivers' devotion came from Romans 1:8-18. Verse 16 really jumped out at me. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek. I don't know how many times I have been around unsaved people, and have not told them I am a christian. If they were to ask me, I wouldn't hesitate to tell them, but I rarely volunteer the information. We are here to seek and save the lost. How can we do that if the lost don't even know we are Christians?

Ohana's devotion came from Mathew 17:14-21. This was the story about the boy that was possessed with a demon, and the disciples could not cast it out. They could not, because they were not relying and trusting God to cast the demon out. Jesus told them If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say to this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Faith is believing and trusting in God. We need to stay focused on God, and what he says, and not on our own skills or abilities.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Devotions January 1, 2010

Today, I started off the new year with the Proverb of the day. Verse 33 really jumped out at me, 'But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil. This verse is talking about wisdom. If we seek wisdom, and listen to it, then God promises that we will be safe, and will not fear evil...
Two Rivers' devotion came from Phil 3:7-14. Here Paul is talking about things that were a personal gain, he counted a loss for Christ. In verses 13b-14 he says 'but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.' No matter what we've done in the past, we need to keep our eyes focused forward, and press toward the mark that God has placed before us.
Ohana's Devotion came from Joshua 14:6-15. Caleb was one of the twelve spies originally sent to see what they would be up against when the time came to take over the promised land. He was one of only two spies that had the faith to say 'let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.' (Numbers 13:30) Because of his faith, he was given all of the land that he had covered on that first trip (Joshua 14:9). If we follow God 100%, we will reward us beyond our wildest imaginations!