Sunday, March 30, 2008

Anyway, just thinking...

I've been thinking lately about our rewards... or should I say meditating on the idea of rewards... or maybe God has been talking to me about rewards.

Anyway, in the First Book of Samuel David said, The LORD rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness,(1Sa 26:23)He said this right after he DIDN'T kill Saul, even though he could have.

Then in Hebrews it says that without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Heb 11:6)

Just based on these two scriptures it seems that our rewards are tied directly to us responding to God and not much else.

There are things that I want... not selfish things... kingdom things. There are things that I would consider to be great rewards, things outside of myself but I am thinking that it is predicated on these scriptures and on what Jesus says in the Book of Matthew... seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Mat 6:33)

So now comes the real questions, the real focus of my meditations... do I believe he rewards those who seek him, am I seeking him, am I being faithful, am I being righteous, am I drawing near to God, am I wanting Him more than the reward?

I guess if I am focusing on the reward than I would be focusing on the wrong thing. These scriptures seem to say that our focus needs to be on the rewarder not the reward and that the reward is simply the natural outflowing of a Good Father loving on his child. Again, it comes back to intimacy with Father, always, it returns to this.

I like these versus out of Matthew again where Jesus makes it clear the Father's heart toward his children... Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Mat 7:7-11)

Here again though it talks of relationship. A father to his child. Not a stranger to another. If God is a stranger to us... yikes! I guess there are bigger problems than a reward.

So the ending thought is this... maybe the true reward is having an intimate relationship with our Father in Heaven. Maybe He is the only reward we need.

Anyway, just thinking...

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Here is something to think about...

Sleep is the ultimate form of trust.

-- from Sweden

Monday, March 10, 2008

A quote

Here is a quote that I am meditating on... more or less... ok, a little less than more but still, I am thinking about what I think about this:

In the end, everything is OK.

If everything is not OK then it is not the end.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Notes and Thoughts from Joe on Sunday 03-09-2008 Missions

I posted this on my home group blog and thought that it deserved repeating here.

This week Doug talked about ... missions... and how it really comes from abiding in Christ.

No fruit will come if there is no root in Christ... without the root, there is no fruit.

“Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”

This statement is reflected in the individuals prayer closet. If we don’t have an active prayer life, we are doing something apart from Him and it will bear no fruit.

If we try to have intimacy without abiding we end up living in principle without the person of Christ which is a fancy way to say we are Pharisees.

2 Corinthians 2:14-17
Apostolic Ministry
2:14 But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession26 in Christ27 and who makes known28 through us the fragrance that consists of the knowledge of him in every place. 2:15 For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing – 2:16 to the latter an odor29 from death to death, but to the former a fragrance from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?30 2:17 For we are not like so many others, hucksters who peddle the word of God for profit,31 but we are speaking in Christ before32 God as persons of sincerity,33 as persons sent from God.

Intimacy will never really happen where there is no love of God.

Here is an interesting verse. 1 Corinthians 16:22 says, Let anyone who has no love for the Lord be accursed (anathema). Our Lord, come!

Pronunciation: an-ath'-em-ah
1) a thing set up or laid by in order to be kept
1a) specifically, an offering resulting from a vow, which after being consecrated to a god was hung upon the walls or columns of the temple, or put in some other conspicuous place
2) a thing devoted to God without hope of being redeemed, and if ananimal, to be slain; therefore a person or thing doomed to destruction
2a) a curse
2b) a man accursed, devoted to the direst of woes

Definition 2a is particularly sobering... to think that you can be devoted to God without the hope of redemption.... yikes!

2 Samuel 6

This is the story of Uzzah and Ahio. These were sons of Abinadab, whose house contained the ark for 20 years.

So as David was bringing the ark back …
2 Samuel 6:6 says, "When they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and grabbed hold of 13 the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 6:7 The Lord was so furious with Uzzah, he killed him on the spot for his negligence. He died right there beside the ark of God.

These two sons knew how to treat the ark. But they grew to accustomed to the presence not being in it’s rightful place. And out of irreverence they steadied the ark and were smote (nice word... smote). Obviously, today there is Christ and things are a little different. BUT, we are still the same and too often irreverent and used to the presence of God not being in it’s rightful place in our lives.

They lost the love and respect of God and it caused them to take it for granted and not reverence it. The lack of respect and reverence is just as common today. It becomes intellectual, principle-oriented and not intimate reliance on God.

We get cold and act like we don’t need mercy any more; that somehow we are better off than we think we are, that somehow we have enough of God. But Jesus said if you have broken one commandment, you have broken all of them. We love little because we think we have been forgiven little, but in reality, we all have been forgiven much.
We need to be grateful, which is being warmly, deeply appreciative of his kindness.

Isaiah 12
12:1 At that time you will say:
“I praise you, O Lord,
for even though you were angry with me,
your anger subsided, and you consoled me.
12:2 Look, God is my deliverer!
I will trust in him and not fear.
For the Lord gives me strength and protects me;
he has become my deliverer.”
12:3 Joyfully you will draw water
from the springs of deliverance.
12:4 At that time you will say:
“Praise the Lord!
Ask him for help!
Publicize his mighty acts among the nations!
Make it known that he is unique!
12:5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done magnificent things,
let this be known throughout the earth!
12:6 Cry out and shout for joy, O citizens of Zion,
for the Holy One of Israel acts mightily among you!”

It won’t be Good news to others, if it is not Good news to you.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Meditations on Matthew 4 and Hebrews 12 (Follow the Links - It's FUN!!)

Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

I think in meditating on Scripture I think it is important to pray it, say it aloud and think about it.

Anyway, in Hebrews 12 it says That we should see to it that no one becomes an immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that later when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no opportunity for repentance, although he sought the blessing with tears.

I think in some way this has always bothered me because he sought repentance with tears and yet he couldn't find it and was rejected.

Then you have someone like David who commits adultery and murders a guy, which most people would consider a little worse on the human sin scale, and he can find repentance and even favor with God.

My meditation on repenting this brought me to thoughts on humility. It seems to me that Esau couldn't find repentance because he wasn't humble and sought restoration for the wrong reasons. He wanted what was coming to him even though it meant so little to him before. He tears were more for himself than for denouncing his heritage and the name of his father.

David on the other hand humbled himself before his heavenly father. Even though he had done despicable things to other people David says to God said in Psalm 51 Against you and you alone have I sinned. Later David goes so far as to ask God for words to say to make things right. You see very little of David's pride here and a lot of his humility.

Proverbs 24 says that by humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life.

As long as my feet walk this earth, as long as God continues to see fit to give me the gift of one more day, I choose humility and life or arrogance and death.

Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


So, I am trying to take up meditation, which is harder than one might think.

Wikipedia says.. Meditation is a discipline in which the mind is focused on an object of thought or awareness. It usually involves turning attention to a single point of reference. The practice may engender a higher state of consciousness. Meditation is recognized as a component of almost all religions, and has been practice for over 5,000 years.

The word meditation comes from the Latin meditatio, which originally indicted every type of physical or intellectual exercise, then later evolved into the more specific meaning “contemplation.”

I don’t think it is something that is done in mindless repetition of sayings or sounds, but more the contemplation of an idea or thought.

In the Book of Isaiah it says, …My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

I read recently that the secret of effective meditation is quoting Scripture back to God with the spirit rather than the mind. This means that rather than trying to intellectually understand God’s truth, we discern it by His Spirit speaking to our spirit. In the Book of First Corinthians it says that “the things of the Spirit of God … are spiritually discerned”

That is my point. Not that I can attain the understanding of God’s thoughts… I mean I know that if I meditate on God, or Scriptures with my mind I would undoubtedly become proud and “puffed up”. BUT if I meditate on God or Scripture with my spirit and in my heart, then God or Scripture evaluates me and my heart. In that way I am humbled.

So, I am trying to meditate on a verse a week. The verse I have been mediating on this week is out of Matthew 4 where Jesus begins his ministry with “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”


for the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Kingdom of Heaven is near.