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Wealth

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.  Then He will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.”   Prov 3:9-10

I went to a morning men’s gathering last week and the speaker talked about wealth.  He said if we had a hot shower that day then we were considered wealthy, since most people in the world don’t even have that luxury.  So how do I honor You with wealth?      Obviously, by giving it away to further the work of your Kingdom I am honoring you.    I’ve got to figure that expenses are tied up in the verse as well.  How are Anna & I spending the wealth that you provide?
Jesus talks so much about money.  He basically says that we will either worship God or money.  Neil Atkinson said it well in his book, The Shrewd Christian.
“What is the major obstacle to living the life we want and developing relationships with others?  Money.   What is the minor obstacle?  Money.  That is why Jesus talked about it so much.  Without the correct use of money, our discipleship, marriages, families, and lives will be impaired.   We will end up living okay, and finishing mediocre.”

Prayer:  Daddy, help me to honor you today with money.  Both with how we give it away and how Anna & I spend it.  We want to live life to the fullest, and we know that using our wealth properly is a big component of that.  Lead us Lord.  Amen

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Why do you hide?

“Oh Lord, why do you stand so far away?  Why do you hide when I am in trouble?” Ps 10:1

I love the Psalmists.  I appreciate their honesty, and I appreciate that they give me permission to be upset and pissed with you God.  At times it seems like You are so far away.  What is that?  I echo the Psalmists question today.  You hide when I am in trouble and you give me no indication that you are going to show up.  The Psalmist goes on to write, “They seem to think that God is dead.  Yet they succeed in everything they do.” (v5).  I would like to say the Psalmist it out of line here, that he has crossed over the line in his complaints, but he is right.  Those who don’t follow You succeed and those who do end up hanging on for dear life, waiting on You to come through.   Oh wait, that’s the way you like it; dependence, trust, belief.  You will only settle for being first in my life, nothing else will do.  And, you will stop at nothing to get my attention and allegiance.

Prayer: God, have mercy on me.  So often I want things to be easy.  I want everything mapped out and want to be the one that determines my future.  Help me to submit to You.  I am yours.  Amen

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The Lord will show up

“But suppose I can’t find a young woman willing to come back with me?(servant) …You will, (said Abraham) for the Lord, in whose presence I have walked, will send his angel with you and your mission will be successful.” (Gen 24:39)

The servant is anxious, worried and unsure of his mission. Abraham is sending him back to their homeland to find a wife for Isaac, his beloved son. Abraham has absolutely no doubt that the Lord will provide a wife. He is not sure how or who, but he knows the Lord is going to come through. My guess is that he remembers back to Mt. Moriah where the Lord provided a ram in place of sacrifice for his son. This man has unwavering faith.

The three “will’s” in this verse are the practical steps of faith for Abraham that day. “You will (find a wife), the Lord will send his angel, your mission will be successful.” Abraham doesn’t know for sure that any of this will happen, but after walking in the presence of God he is confident of the outcome.

Prayer: Lord, help me to walk in your presence today. Give me the unwavering confidence that you will provide, that you will show up, and that my mission, whatever you have for me today, will be successful. Amen

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“The Lord will Provide”

“Abraham called the name of that place Moriah, which means, The Lord Will Provide” (Gen 22:14)

I remember where I was sitting in class when I heard that story.  Even though it was a well known story, it was as if I was hearing it for the first time.  When the teacher said, “So Abraham called the name of the place Moriah, which means, The Lord Will Provide”, I heard that strong voice of the Lord say, “That is to be your daughters name.”  I love getting to read that story again this morning, and getting to reflect of the Lord’s provision.  When He spoke and I came home to tell Anna, I thought the name was simply about Him providing a daughter after trying for a few years.  Anna helped me unpack it further and pointed out that provision, belief, trust is something that I would often freak out about.   In spite of the Lord’s provision over and over again in our ministry lifestyle, if I couldn’t see how it was going to all work out I would begin to panic.  I would like to say that the Lord has shifted my thinking in this regard.  Having Moriah running around each day helps a lot.  I think I am more at the place of “Lord I believe, help my unbelief”.  The reality is, however, that the Lord will provide in His perfect way and in His perfect time.

Prayer: Lord I do believe that you can do this, all of the “this’s” in my life today.  You are the God that absolutely loves to be trusted.  Help me to trust you.  Amen

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The God who sees me

“Thereafter, Hagar referred to the Lord, who had spoken to her, as ‘the God who sees me'” Gen 16:13

Hagar was freaked out because Saria came to her originally and told her she could sleep with Abram.  After she slept with him she turned on her mistress Sarai, and Saria turned on her, the result:  Hagar ran away.  Now she is homeless, jobless, pregnant and seemingly without hope and God shows up.  “The angel of the Lord said, ‘Return to your mistress and submit to her.’ I will give you more descendants that you can count” (v. 10).  The angel of the Lord goes on to to her the name of her son, what he will be like and about the future.  I love it!  Just when all hope seems lost God shows up and meets Hagar in the midst of her hopelessness.  And I love her reaction, “I have seen the One who sees me!” (v 13)  Response to God’s initiation, that’s what Hagar modeled that day

Prayer: Lord, so often I want to be the initiator, I want to have everything figured out and I want to be reponsible for my own salvation.  Help me to respond to your saving work, and to recognize you each day as the God who sees me.  Amen

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True Wisdom

“Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Prov 1:7)

Fear – having reverence for, letting something take over your thoughts, putting something at the forefront of your mind.  My tendency is to fear men, to wonder what he/she thinks of me over what God thinks of me.  To fear God is to care what He thinks of me, to be passionately indifferent about all things except Him.   That is fear, and the result is receiving true knowledge.  In the past year of reading the one-year bible and journaling about it, You have been revealing true knowledge.

“…but fools despise wisdom” – since true wisdom comes from You, this would say that fools don’t read the Bible, don’t get wisdom from You.  “…and discipline” – sucking it up and doing what it takes to follow You, to know You intimately.

Prayer: Father, thank you for discipline.  Teach me to be more disciplined.  As you say in Hebrews, discipline reveals peaceful fruit of right relationship with You.  Poor your wisdom out on me.  Have mercy on me.  Amen

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“…in whom I am well pleased”

This is the Son of me, my Beloved, in whom I am well pleased”  Matt 4:17

Jesus hasn’t done anything that should warrant God being pleased with him.  His ministry hasn’t begun, no miracles performed, no healings, no significant relationships that we are aware of, no cross, and yet God calls him Beloved and says he is pleased with him.  Next vs, “Then Jesus was lead into the wilderness to be tempted”, what were these temptations really about?  I think they tie in with Matt 4:17.   Jesus already had his Father’s approval, and now he was being tempted with a core human issue, to get our worth from other people/things instead of from God.

“stones to bread” – get your worth from what you do

“jump from the temple” – get your worth from what others say about you

“I will give you all these things” – get your worth from your possessions.

Wow, that sounds familiar.  I am tempted by those things every day.  Tempted to get my worth, my value from what I do, what others say about me, and from what I own.  In the midst of that God is saying the same words to me that he said to Jesus, “Shawn, you are loved, I am pleased with you.”  I love that God said those words to Jesus before he DID anything.  That gives me hope that I am loved simply because of who God.

Prayer: Jesus, you were tempted by Satan to get your worth from what you did, what others said about you and what you owned.  I am tempted by that too, every day.  Give me your wisdom to recognize when that it happening, and remind me often that I am loved.  Those words from Matt 4:17 are for me too, I too and the beloved of God.  Help me to lean into that reality.  Amen

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Jan 1, 2009

October 17, 1998 I listened to a tape (cassette of course) of a guy who talked about spending time with Jesus every day.  He had been at it for 42 years, hadn’t missed at day. WOW!  He recommended trying it for 30 days straight, gave the format and encouraged his listeners to give it a shot.  I finished my 30 days, and decided I was in.  So, for the past 10 years and I have been getting time with Jesus every day, and as Robert Frost said, “…that has made all the difference”

It’s year 2 of the one-year bible for me.  Last year was rich!  Each day I would pick one verse from the reading for the day and write a page or so in my journal about it.  Planning on doing the same this year.  I’ll post these journal entries a few times during the week.  I wouldn’t have suspected that my first blog post would include “naked”, but its the verse that stuck out today in Gen.

“Now the man and his wife were naked, but they felt no shame.” Gen 2:25

Sin had not entered the world yet, Adam and Eve were whole, exactly who God created them to be, living life to the fullest in the garden, and they felt no shame.  I wonder what that felt like, no shame.  How often does shame take over and keep me from being who God created me to be.  After the apple debacle, God showed up on the scene and Adam’s first reaction was shame (fig leaf).   Shame: hiding from God.  There are so many ways I  hide from God, whether it is blatant or subconscious, hiding from God is so easy to do.  The serpent wanted Adam to feel shame and he wants me to let it take over my life too.   It’s a conscious decision today for me to live out of the freedom of Jesus, to not hide and not live out of shame.

Prayer:  Oh Daddy, help me to be exactly who you created me to be: strong, confident, courageous, full of belief, without shame. Amen