Friday, 29 December 2017

I Timothy 1:12-13 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

As Paul is writing this letter, he recounts his past. Though he used to be a blasphemer a persecuter and a insolent man, or in other words violent man, he obtained mercy because he did these things out of ignorance. He now recognizes that he has been enabled by Christ to be a faithful minister entrusted with the ministry that God placed before him and all of which by grace.  Reflecting on this scripture in light of some events that just took place, it highlights all the more how foolish I have been. I have not been acting in ignorance but in full light of what the ministry I'm under has done for me and even more so what Christ has done for me. I had been entrusted with a responsibility to be a part of a ministry that is touching the lives of others and I had lost sight of that. Not conducting myself as a faithful servant and not holding myself to a higher standard. Not fully wrapping my head around the fullness of the situation that I'm in.

Application: I will write on a piece of paper "Honor the Lord by honoring those who sacrifice themselves by sacrificing yourself for others" and keep it in my pocket for at least a week to remind me not only the sacrifice that Christ made once and for all but to remind myself of all the hard work and sacrifice being done for the kingdom of God and to be more directly relatable to remind me of those that are laying their life down for me.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Romans 1:16 NKJV For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

This verse is very powerful and carries a lot of weight and when I find myself with a lack of boldness, this verse has a way of piercing into my soul. The Word is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. This verse to me makes that so much more real to me. Speaking the words "I am unashamed of the Gospel of Christ" sparks a fire in me and I pray that I would allow this Word to sink deeper into my heart. For it is the power of God.. Takes this verse to the next level. It takes virtually all responsibility off of me. All I have to do is allow the Lord to use me and He does the rest. It's the Power of God, not of Kenny. All I have to do is allow the Spirit of God to move within me to lead me and guide me and He does the rest. I don't bring salvation. It is the power of God. I lose sight of that and think too often that there is some sort of formula I must follow and I end up over complicating things. I just need to be a channel in which the power of God may flow.

Application: I will write on a piece of paper "For it is the power of God" and not the power of Kenny and keep it in my pocket for a week as a reminder.
Ezekiel 3:17‭-‬18 NKJV “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man  shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.

This is quite a strong exhortation and a huge responsibility to keep. This puts a fresh perspective on what it is we are called to do as those who follow Christ. We are to bring warning to those who are perishing. Those who are enslaved to sin and are walking on the path of destruction need Jesus and we are called to bring the Good News to people even if we think we know they're going to reject it. It's not up to us to decide whether or not a person will receive the Word of God. If the Lord places upon my heart to speak a Word to someone I must be willing to deliver that Word to them because it's truly life or death. I don't always have that perspective and I don't always recognize the severity of the wrath of those who don't walk with Jesus will face. I need to be more open to what the Spirit of God may need and step out of the way if the Lord has a Word for someone even if I think they may not receive the Word.

Application: I will share this IBS and Pray with one of my teammates
Ezekiel 3:4 NKJV Then He said to me: “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them.

In this time the Lord is calling Ezekiel to his prophetic ministry, but the Lord gives him some insight into the people he's going to be speaking to. The Lord tells Ezekiel that the people of Israel will not listen to him. The Lord even tells him, "for you are not sent to a people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language for they would listen" (paraphrase). Ezekiel was sent to his own people and God knew that they would not listen but he must do it anyways. I look upon the lives of the people back home and see the same thing. Even in me before I received Christ, I did not listen apart from Devine intervention. I cab understand the pain Ezekiel must have went through bringing God's word to people and then just rejecting it. Seeing little to no fruit. The discouragement and heart ache he must have had to go through seeing his brethren rejecting the Lord. This truly opened my eyes to the opportunity I have being in a foreign land. The people truly do listen and hear what we say and I've overlooked that until the Lord reveiled it to me in this chapter.

Application: I will seize the opportunity I have to reach out to the people I meet and speak boldly the Gospel of Christ to those around me.
I Peter 1:6,7 NKJV

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 

In this letter, Peter is writing to encourage suffering believers in Asia Minor who are quite often being persecuted. Given that their sufferings through persecution and many other trials are far beyond anything I'm going through right now, non the less, there are still various trials that I and my team are facing on a daily bases. I can say that these trials surely test my faith in a large way. The past few days have been quite difficult in that I just really don't want to continue doing some of things I'm required to do. Some days I am tired and just down right not up for it . After reading these verses and digging a little deeper and just looking to understand what the readers of this time were going through encoureges me to press on. Given that I am not going through anything close to what some of them have endoured and God provided His Spirit to strengthen them, how much more capable am I with the help of the Holy Spirit to press on in my current trials. Knowing that the genuiness of my faith is being tested by fire and I just pray that it will be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. With that light being shed upon my life and the daily struggles I endure, I know that it is far beyond worth it to continue to press on and press into the tasks that are layed before me.

Application: This week as I find myself in the midst of trial I.E frustration, lack of desire to do certain things or whatever else my flesh may plague me with, I will look to this verse and know that my faith is being tested and seek God and ask for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Nehemiah 1:4 - So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

Pryor to this verse, one of Nehemiah's brethren came with some other men from Judah, and Nehemiah asked about the wellbeing of his fellow Jews. Their response was less then pleasant: “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and it’s gates are burned with fire.” Nehemiah’s heart burned for his brothers. His love for them and the people of Jerusalem was evident and it wasn’t his words that spoke so loud but his actions. He didn’t just weep for them and move on but he began to fast and pray, and not just for a day but it says many days. Nehemiah’s self-sacrifice, placing those he loved above himself is what I believe qualified him for the task that was to come next. His passion for the people of Judah and Jerusalem was so evident that the king he was a cupbearer to, noticed that Nehemiah was upset and said to him “ What do you request?” Before responding to the king, Nehemiah prayed to our Heavenly Father and then began with this request; he wanted to leave and go help his brethren, and the king granted him this. The love that Nehemiah had for his brothers is something that I can say I admire, and I pray that I develop a sense of love and compassion not only for those that I’m growing close to, but those that I don’t even know. There’s people all around the world that are in distress whether it be poverty, family issues, health issues, spiritual issues or all of the above. I want to develop a heart for people all around that are struggling, that are misguided and have lost sight of God or maybe never had Him in their sight at all. I want to have a love like Nehemiah, a love that drives me to action.
Exodus 14:13,14 - And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."

To give a little bit of context to these verses, the Egyptians are in hot pursuit chasing down the Israelites and it comes to the point where the Israelites are facing a seemingly impossible situation. They are backed up against the Red Sea and there’s nowhere else for them to run. The Israelites are so frightened, they start to cry out to God, then they turn to Moses in their panic and ask an obviously sarcastic question: “Did you take us out to the wilderness to die because there were no graves in Egypt?” Now lets take an account of what’s going on. God tells Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, and in the process of this happening Pharaoh decides to take his massive army to chase after them. The Israelites end up backed into a corner with an army nipping at their heals ready to kill them all. Now, Moses is looking at this impossible situation and to add to the problem he has the pressure of his fellow Israelites upon him. If I were in that situation, I can’t be too sure I’d react the way Moses did.“Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Moses remained calm and responded in faith. Moses did not panic because he knew that the Lord was going to provide a way for them. Moses fully trusted in the Lord even though all odds were against him. Moses did not shrink from the occasion because he knew that his God was bigger than any problem he could face. After Moses told the people to be still, God spoke to Moses with further instruction and through Moses’ faithfulness, God parted the Red Sea and allowed the Israelites to pass on dry ground and crushed the Egyptians behind them. That’s a picture of what God did for us through Jesus. As the Israelites passed through the Red Sea, leaving behind the old life they were living, the life of slavery, the life with the Egyptians, that’s just like us leaving behind our old life. Our lives that were once enslaved to sin are no more. Just as Moses put his faith in God, put our faith in Jesus allowing us to walk through the Red Sea and God crushes our sin behind us as we continue to walk forward in the grace that He provides. This opens my eyes to a whole new view of the extent of God’s grace. Sometimes I don’t recognize the gravity of what Jesus did on the cross, and I don’t recognize the absolute destruction that awaited me apart from God’s grace.

Application: Given that I don’t always recognize what I’ve been delivered from, I will write a note reminding me of what I’ve been delivered from and keep it in my pocket for a week.
Hebrews 12:5-7 - And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?

Hebrews 12 as a whole is a challenge; a wonderful exhortation. Prior to these three verses the author of Hebrews challenges us to lay aside our sin, to run a race of endurance and points us to Jesus to gain not only our strength but to understand the example of how we should be running our race. The author of Hebrews exhorts us telling us we have not yet fought against sin to the point of bloodshed. but I know we have a High Priest who has, and we have His spirit living in us to strengthen us in any circumstance that comes our way. As we step into verse five, we see how we are identified as sons to the Living God. “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” I tend to lose sight of the fact that I’ve been adopted into the sonship of a heavenly Father who loves me and wants nothing more than to have a relationship with me. As I write this I can’t help but feel His Spirit testify to the truth of that fact and in the moment I pray that I allow the Spirit to continue to stir and kindle the fire and set me ablaze full of His spirit. It’s so easy even being in ministry to allow these thoughts to just flee. To just move on so quickly and not allow these truths to deeply penetrate our thoughts, to not allow these truths to saturate our spirit and thus overflow into our ministry. Looking into this verse and what it means to be a son of the Living God is something special and may come with a lot of trials and I know there will be more times of chastening but with all that in view, it’s so worth it to be considered a child of God, the creator of the heavens and the earth and I just pray that I can make my Heavenly Father proud. I pray that I don’t take the sacrifice His one and only Son made for granted anymore than I already have and I pray that I allow the truth of God’s word to permeate in my mind, to fill my thoughts and to saturate my Spirit.

Application: I will grab at the least one of my teammates and talk about what it truly means to be a Son of God, and the weight that it carries to be a Co-heir with Christ Jesus and afterwards pray that the God’s Spirit will continue to Stir within us and not allow this to be a fleeting thought
Hebrews 12:3-4 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.

It's easy to become tired of doing the norm, the every day tasks, those tedious tasks that just tend to suck it out of you. It's easy to become tired of listening to those who are over you, or tired of always having to be nice and making sure you say hi to people when really you just don't want to see anyone. It's easy to become tired of fighting against what your flesh desires. With all of that being said, I can let all of that eat me alive or I can set it all aside, laying it all down at the feet of Jesus looking unto Him who endured so much more then I ever will. Looking unto the One who loves me so much that He was willing to endure the pain, endure the shame, and ultimately take my sin upon His back and carry it painfully to the cross. Being seperated from the father which had to be the most painful of all. I have not resisted sin, no had been striving against it to the point of bloodshed. Looking back at the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus knowing what was ahead of Him, asking the father if the cup may pass from Him, even sweating blood from the thought of what was to come, and submitting to the will of the Father even though He wanted so bad to not go through what He did. He layed His life down so that I may have forgiveness of sins. I can look to that for endurance, lest I become weary.

Application: I will write down the verses from Luke 22:39-45 and as I go through out the week, if I become discouraged or frustrated or anything of the likes, I will have these verses to reflect on.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore we also since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy set before Him endured the cross despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I love reading these verses and then looking around to see my brothers knowing that as I read "surrounded by so great a cloud of witness" they are just that- a great cloud of witnesses and I'm blessed to be able to call them my brothers. With that being said, I have people who I can trust that Imay confess my sins and my shortcommings to allowing me to lay down the sin, casting it before the Lord as Iconfess it to my brothers. By doing so Iam able to run the race that is before me free in Christ with endurance. Iknow I must look to the Lord who is the author and finisher of my faith to gain strength and to just look upon His life to gain understanding and instruction that I may continue in this race running strong. The Joy that was set before Him was to be back with the father, but Ialso believe part of that joy was to restore us to the Father as well. Iknow that Ican look to those things as motivation to keep me pushing looking forward to the joy of being with the father and the joy of being with my brothers and sisters in Christ spending an eternity with them in the presence of our Lord.

Application: I will share with someone what a blessing it is to be surrounded by so many people that follow the Lord.