Saturday, January 26, 2013

H.O.S.T (Part 2 of 5)

H.O.S.T (Part 2 of 5)

H.O.S.T. is a five part devotion dealing with our attitudes towards God, how we approach Him and the resulting impact on our character and in our lives. Our ultimate goal should always be to honor and glorify God in all we do (thoughts, attitudes, desires, actions and words).

Part 1 was posted on January 19, 2013. Reading Part 1 will provide an overview of this five part series and cover Trait 1 – Humble.

Trait 2 – Obedient

Definition – To comply with all instructions from God as revealed in His Word and the prompting of the Holy Spirit. To do so regardless of the uncertainty of the results and any perceived consequences (positive or negative).

  • Luke 23:33 (Christ was obedient) And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
  • Samuel 15:22 (Scripture tells us to obey) And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 
Results – Increased faith and maturity for obedient Christians due to active participation in accomplishing God’s will. Learning to surrender the results of obedience to God. Your life becomes a powerful testimony of God’s faithfulness. God blesses obedience.
  • Isaiah 1:19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 
  • Don’t be obedient to the wrong things:
    • The Lust of the Flesh – Confusing ungodly desires with leadings or promptings from God. 
    • The World – Don’t let the enticements of this world draw you away from God. If you obey the norms of the world, you will find yourself in direct opposition to God. 
    • Satan – The devil can appear as an angel of light. You have to know God and His word for His Holy Spirit to give you spiritual discernment and avoid being deceived. 
  • Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 
Connections – Obedience can be very difficult: it means giving up control. As you become more obedient (give more control of your life to God) you will become more humble (Trait 1). Ongoing obedience helps build and maintain a proper perspective regarding your relationship to God.
  • 1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 

Father, You know my heart. You know that when things look like they are going to be easy, or will turn out best for me, I find it easy to obey. I pray that You will give me the wisdom, courage and strength to obey You regardless of my perceptions of how things may turn out. I am not responsible for the results of what You tell me to do. I am responsible to obey. Guide me with Your spirit in humility and obedience to You above all else. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

H.O.S.T. (Part 1 of 5)

H.O.S.T. (Part 1 of 5)

H.O.S.T. is a five part devotion dealing with our attitudes towards God, how we approach Him and the resulting impact on our character and in our lives.  Our ultimate goal should always be to honor and glorify God in all we do (thoughts, attitudes, desires, actions and words).

In Parts 1 – 4 of this devotion, we will examine four specific character traits.  For each character trait we will discuss:
  • A simple Definition of it.
  • Specific Scripture related to it.
  • The Results of it in our lives.
  • Cautions with regards to it.
  • Connections between traits.
Part 5 will deal with how these character traits work together to achieve what I call Self-Reinforcement.

Trait 1 – Humble

Definition – Recognition of our standing before God (who He is, who we are, what He has done for us).  The absence of pride (elevating ourselves) and arrogance (looking down on others) in our approach and attitude towards God.  Understanding that God is in control, not us.

  • Philippians 2:8 (Christ was humble) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
  • Romans 12:3 (Scripture tells us to be humble) For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Results – Proper reverence for God.  Representing God well.  Treating God and others with respect.  Humility results in blessings from God.

  • 1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
  • Weakness – There is power in the word of God (the truth).  There is power in understanding our relationship to God.  Humility does not equate to weakness.
  • Waffling – Don’t become indecisive.  Don’t refuse to take a stand for what is right.
  • Fake Modesty – You can try to fake humility, but it won’t work.  God knows your heart.  Others will see it to.
  • Insincerity – Humility that is not sincere will not endure during trials and temptations.
  • Being Afraid – Giving up control can be frightening.  But guess what, God is in control.  Find a measure of freedom and peace in His sovereignty (but don’t neglect your responsibilities).

Connections – Humility is the foundation upon which the other character traits will stand.  Without humility, we will never have the proper attitude toward God or others.
  • Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
In this verse, fear means reverence, respect and awe.  Wisdom begins with humility before God.  Understanding comes from knowing God.


Dear LORD, as I bow in reverence before You, I ask You to give me a humble heart.  May I never forget that all good things in my life, as well as all my strengths, abilities and blessings, come from You.  Guide me to true humility by the Power of Your Holy Spirit, the Truth of Your word, the Peace that comes from Prayer, and the Love You give so freely.  Your Grace is amazing.  In Christ’s name, Amen.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Faithful Fitness

Faithful Fitness

Making healthy choices on a consistent basis is a significant challenge for most of us.  The world offers many temptations in the form of food (comfort), entertainment (distractions) and substances (escape) that can degrade our physical, emotional and spiritual health.

Unfortunately, many Christians struggle with these issues just as much as those without Christ.  We will never achieve sustainable victory over these temptations if we battle them in the strength of our flesh. 

The real issue here is a spiritual one!  We seek comfort and satisfaction in ‘things’ that will never fulfill our deepest need: intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

Faithful Fitness is a Christ centered approach to making healthy choices.  The primary focus of this approach is to honor God by taking care of the body He made for each of us (Psalm 119:17). 

Three Biblical principles form the basis of this approach to healthier choices:

Tending the Temple
  • Our bodies are a gift from God. As Christians, God indwells our bodies and He expects us to take care of them.
    • How would you feel if someone came into your church and painted graffiti on the walls? As sacred and wonderful as our church buildings are, they are just that, buildings. 
    • Our bodies are the temple of God. Each time you defile your body, you are defiling the living temple of God. There are serious consequences for mistreating our bodies. 
    • 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 
  • Tending the Temple means remembering that our bodies are not ours. They belong to God and He has warned us of the penalty for not taking care of ourselves.

Demonstrated Discipline
  • When we commit to doing something that will honor God, He expects us to do it. 
    • The wrong approach to honoring God is to rely on our own will power, determination, strength, etc. We are to submit to God and achieve victory by His grace and power (2 Corinthians 12:9). 
    • We must be disciplined in our pursuit of God and our commitments to Him. God will reward your faithfulness (Hebrews 11:6). Be disciplined in obeying God to avoid Him disciplining you. 
    • James 5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. 
  • Demonstrated Discipline means doing what you commit to do: no excuses.

Reasonable Restraint
  • God created us with the capacity to experience great pleasure. Yet, some things are strictly forbidden by God, while partaking of other things in excess is not allowed. Satisfy your cravings in Christ. 
    • The problem is, once we experience a small ‘taste’ of pleasure, we do not keep a God honoring view of what is reasonable and what is excessive. 
    • It is OK for most people to enjoy occasional, moderate treats (special desert or snack, extra portion of a food you love, etc.).   The key is not going overboard and/or getting off track. Each person, based on their relationship with God, must determine their limits (Romans 14). 
    • Proverbs 25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. 
  • Reasonable Restraint means prayerfully setting God honoring boundaries for any permissible indulgences: and then staying within those limits.
Keys to Success
  • Rely on God for success, not yourself.
  • God is sovereign: but you are still responsible.
  • Pray, read your Bible, be held accountable by another Christian: then repeat and repeat …
  • God does not compromise.  Don’t you!
  • Set reasonable goals and boundaries.

 Dangers to Avoid
  • Vanity.  The healthier you get, the better you look. The better you look, the more you will focus on yourself rather than God. 
  • Taking breaks from your commitments.
  • Getting discouraged when you fall short.
  • Letting stumbles become an excuse to quit.

Father, with all my heart I pray that You will guide me, strengthen me, deliver me, and give me victory by the power of Your Holy Spirit.  My desire is to honor You and to take care of this temple, my body, that You created and gave to me for Your glory.  Protect my heart and mind from vanity, from gluttony, pride, from discouragement, laziness and lame excuses.  Give me peace and confidence in You, Your word and Your promises. In the weakness of my flesh, I will fail.  In You there is victory. I love You and thank You for loving me first.  In Christ name, Amen.

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

Most of us associate the New Year with a chance to start over, a time for resolutions, or another opportunity to get things rights. The Bible contains many accounts of God giving people a fresh start. Let’s look at one example.

Three Strikes – Are you out?

1st Strike: Prostitute – A forbidden way of life.
  • Leviticus 19:29 Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness. 
2nd Strike: Canaanite – A people under a death sentence from God.
  • Deuteronomy 20:16-17 But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: 17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee: 
3rd Strike: Resident of Jericho – The first city in the Promised Land captured and destroyed.
  • Joshua 6:21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. 
Who are we talking about? Rahab, the harlot from Jericho.
  • Joshua 2:1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there. 
Joshua had sent two spies into Jericho to evaluate the situation before the Nation of Israel invaded. Why did the spies stay with a prostitute? The bible doesn’t say exactly why, but we can reason that Rahab’s home was a convenient place to observe what was going on and to get away quickly if needed (the Bible does tell us her house was in the wall of the city) and because she was a prostitute, strangers coming into her home would not be expected to raise suspicion.

Despite her lifestyle and circumstances, Rahab had come to faith in God. She had heard about the parting of the Red Sea. She had heard of Israel’s previous military victories. Scripture clearly declares her faith in God.
  • Joshua 2:11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. 
  • Hebrews 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace. 
And what were the results of her faith in God?
  • Her family was saved! 
    • Joshua 6:23 And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel. 
  • She became an ancestor of King David and Jesus Christ!!! 
    • Ruth 4:21-22 And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David. 
    • Matthew 1:5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; 
Note: Don’t let the different spellings for Rahab and Boaz confuse you. This is very common due to the Old and New Testaments being translated from Hebrew (primarily) and Greek, respectively.

God has used (and will use) the most unlikely people in the most incredible ways. A Canaanite prostitute from Jericho became an ancestor of our Lord Jesus Christ because of her faith in God and making the right decisions when God gave her the opportunity.

Our God loves us with an amazing love. He wants us to have faith in Him. He gives us the opportunity to make the right choices and experience His blessings. Make a new beginning. Trust Him. Allow God to use you for His Kingdom purposes.

If you are a Christian that has fallen away, run back to God’s arms. If you have never accepted Christ as your savior, find a Christian to show you scripture (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8 and 10:9-10) and explain the meaning of the prayer below. Then pray for God to save you by His grace. Find a Bible believing church in your area. Get involved! Serve God with all your heart.

Prayer for Salvation (The Ultimate New Beginning)
  • Jesus, I know that I am a sinner that needs a new beginning. I understand that my sin has separated me from You. I believe that You (God) came to earth and lived a sinless life as a man (Christ) so You could die on a cross to pay the debt for my sins. I understand and believe that You rose from the dead to defeat death and bear witness to eternal life in Heaven. Father, I beg You to forgive my sins, I accept and confess You as Lord and Savior of my life. Come into my heart. I want to be Your child. I trust and accept You. In the name of Jesus, Amen. 
Closing Prayer
  • Father, no matter where we are in our walk, we all fall short of the perfection You demand. I thank You that through Your Son Jesus, we can be made perfect in Your sight. I confess the sin in my life and ask You to wash me clean. I am so thankful for the many new beginnings You have provided as You continue to transform my life. I love You and praise You. In the name of Christ, Amen.