Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Notes to the Lord:Law and Grace

1 Timothy 1

8We know that the Law is good, if it is used in the right way. 9We also understand that it wasn't given to control people who please God, but to control lawbreakers, criminals, godless people, and sinners. It is for wicked and evil people, and for murderers, who would even kill their own parents. 10The Law was written for people who are sexual perverts or who live as homosexuals or are kidnappers or liars or won't tell the truth in court. It is for anything else that opposes the correct teaching 11of the good news that the glorious and wonderful God has given me.

Lord Jesus--The law is an objective standard that remains to line up my obedience to the law of love toward You and toward those who surround me. It does not change. In so many ways I live in a time when the standards have been forgotten, and the wreck and rubble of those decisions surround me. Broken lives and hearts, it cuts across roles and reason.

It is easy to blame the liberals or for that matter the conservatives, or the talking heads on the video, but the reality is the state of the culture that surrounds me is result of the rejection of objective values for the subjective of how it feels,
or what seems to be right.

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord. He has given me the strength for my work because he knew that he could trust me. 13I used to say terrible and insulting things about him, and I was cruel. But he had mercy on me because I didn't know what I was doing, and I had not yet put my faith in him. 14Christ Jesus our Lord was very kind to me. He has greatly blessed my life with faith and love just like his own. 15"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." This saying is true, and it can be trusted. I was the worst sinner of all!

Lord Jesus--Paul is pointing to the personal in juxtaposition to the law. You are the connection between the objective and the subjective. You make it possible for me to have relationship with the Father...it is your death and your sinless life that provided a means for my salvation. Mercy came for me right where I was at...just like you did for Paul on the Damascus road. You found Paul, you found me, and you still are on a seek and save miss
ion to this day.

16But since I was worse than anyone else,God had mercy on me and let me be an example of the endless patience of Christ Jesus. He did this so that others would put their faith in Christ and have eternal life.

Lord Jesus--It is so easy to make life about “them vs. us.” You remind me this morning that there really are only those who need your grace. Remind me the next time I am getting that “them vs. us” feeling. There are only people who have experienced grace extended, and those who are still looking for it. There is really nothing more.

17I pray that honor and glory will always be given to the only God, who lives forever and is the invisible and eternal King! Amen.

In this day that is dawning around me lead me toward more of your grace lived out in my context. Help me to bring glory to your name in this day.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Notes to the Lord:Important Things

1 Timothy 1:3-7

3When I was leaving for Macedonia, I asked you to stay on in Ephesus and warn certain people there to stop spreading their false teachings. 4You needed to warn them to stop wasting their time on senseless stories and endless lists of ancestors. Such things only cause arguments. They don't help anyone to do God's work that can only be done by faith.

Lord Jesus--It is so easy to get side tracked and focused on things that really don’t make any difference. How many angels can balance on the head of a pin...or whatever the topic of the day is.

So what are the things that I need to be focusing on? Things that need to be focused on are the things that really matter. Things like love expressed in action...things like showing our commitment to You in ways that make the mission concrete. Expressions like...generosity, grace extending itself.

5You must teach people to have genuine love, as well as a good conscience and true faith. 6There are some who have given up these for nothing but empty talk. 7They want to be teachers of the Law of Moses. But they don't know what they are talking about, even though they think they do.

Lord Jesus--The law is summed up in simple terms unable to be missed.

Matthew 22
37And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.40On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Why do I make it more complex than it needs to be? It is simple do the next right thing in front of me. You will put it there. I will not be able to miss it without side stepping or stumbling over what you want me to do. So many times, I sidestep without noticing and I stumble and stub my toes and wonder about the injustice of it all.

Lord Jesus--Help me to look at it all as coming from your hand. Help me to live on this simple and concrete command today, in my thoughts, my words and my actions. Be close Jesus today you know the way I am...so easily distracted, calm my
Attention-Deficit Disorder of the soul.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Notes to the Lord: On Peace

1 Timothy 1

1From Paul. God our Savior and Christ Jesus commanded me to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, who gives us hope.

Lord Jesus--There are commands that are given by you. Things that just need to be done...things that can’t not be done. Sometimes difficult, always at the edge of what humanly can be accomplished. Until I am beyond that edge, there is no room for faith to work. More than getting any job done what you want to grow within me is the calm knowledge of a faith root in dependence on the divine.

You encourage and grow me to the place where I can trust you that where you lead, you will sustain. You are the source of the command and you are the source of the hope. You will not leave me alone. From you flows the command and the resources to complete the command.
You have always provided in the past, why would that change now?

2Timothy, because of our faith, you are like a son to me. I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind and merciful to you. May they bless you with peace!

Lord Jesus--A common faith is what forged a relationship over time between Paul and Timothy. The leader of the church was seeing the future before him in this young pastor. His prayer for him is for kindness, mercy, and the blessing of peace. Those are good requests to ask for and are requests that are given within a context.

Lord Jesus--In this time of relative peace that we are experiencing I pray that you would bless this group at LSCC with peace, mercy and kindness. May we be known as a place where kindness and mercy are experienced and grow within a context of peace lived out in the everyday.

Today Lord Jesus speak to your church with clarity and power.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Notes to the Lord:Invitations and Nudges

2 2 Thessalonians 3
16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
Lord Jesus--I invite you into this day with me. Join with me in my thoughts and meditations. You be the lead in my mind. Nudge me and gently direct me in this day. May this be a day when I follow you knowing that I do not walk alone.
Remind me that while you are nudging me, you are using me to nudge and leave your impression on those that surround me. Let me leave Jesus shaped impressions on those that I met today.
No matter where I am, I can have peace, and a sense of you leading. Thank you for the way that in the middle of this walk that you are forming me and making me into the person that you would have me to be.
Romans 8
27All of our thoughts are known to God. He can understand what is in the mind of the Spirit, as the Spirit prays for God's people.
Speak Holy Spirit thought out this day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Notes to the Lord:Keeping Busy

2 Thessalonians 3
6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 4For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example.
Lord Jesus--The example and the teaching is to be busy with the Lord’s work. To engage in the world that surrounds me...to give with open and outstretched hands to those that are in need. There will be always more that is available to do. The call is still the same: to use these hands, this mind, this heart, this time at your direction , Lord Jesus.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
As long as the work keeps coming, it is a sign that I am headed in the right direction. Thank You, Lord Jesus for the opportunities that you have given me to be used at your direction.
We were not idle when we were with you,8nor did we eat any one's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate.
Lord Jesus--This is this is the tricky part isn’t it? The goal is to be used by you and at the same time be a model for what it is to be yours in this twisted and beautiful world.Today help me to be what you would have me to be, and to show you shining through my day.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

2 Thessalonians 3
1 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith.
Lord Jesus--This is the prayer that needs to be on my heart...the message to spread rapidly...so often the church takes a laid-back, beachfront approach to the gospel. Forgive me Lord, for the long-sighted view I have taken at times.
Here, Paul is on the edge of his seat waiting for the Lord to work praying...knowing the evil surrounds and yet need to be kept away from the work.
3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. 4 We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command.
Lord Jesus--You are faithful. Strength for each day comes from you. Your strength infuses and protects at the same time. I can have confidence in you that your strength will sustain, protect and encourage me in the middle of the battle that surrounds me.
Sometimes this battle is overwhelming and sometimes it is just plain boring. Protect and guide through all of it.
5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
Lord Jesus--This journey, this battle at times to follow you home is only accomplished with your strength and with love that comes from the Father.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Notes to the Lord -Stand Your Ground

2 Thessalonians 2 13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

Lord Jesus-There are so many reasons to be thankful. There are those who you have brought into my life who are examples of your work and the power of the Word to save. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that people are brought to a saving relationship with you.

Thank you for the way in which you have worked...and thank you for the people who you will bring to yourself in the coming days. I am looking forward to what you are going to do in this co
ming days. Lord Jesus continue your work.

14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus--You have called your people for a purpose...to share your glory. That is the goal, work toward that goal in this week that starts in just a few moments. In this week, lead in ways that I may not be aware of until after the fact.

15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God o
ur Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

Lord Jesus--Paul is giving the marching orders to the troops. Stand your ground...practice what you have been taught. Live out the life of faith in the face of everything that life throws at you. Live it, because you know you are not alone.

Paul reminds me this morning that you are the one who is doing the encouraging and who is engaged in this battle with me.
It is on your strength that I face the day that is in front of me.

You are the one who will lead every step, every day in this week that is just waiting to start in front of me.
Lead on Jesus...