Saturday, January 26, 2013

Page 26 of 365: Small Things Can be Bigger Than You Think

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No matter how small the seedlings we sow, we will reap great harvest from it.
-Our Daily Journey
During the time that my church here was about to start the first phase of its building expansion project, I thought, "They need a huge sum for this." But thank God that the expanded main hall was finished. How? Despite situated in an area where the source of income of most of its constituents is their allowance, many were touched by the Lord to give to the project.

As what I heard from a preaching a few months back, no matter how small your offering is, it's generosity. Even if it's a million or just two cents, like the case of the poor widow in Mark 12:41-43 and Luke 21:1-3, as long as you give it to the church, God will be pleased. I believe God is touching me after reading Haggai 1:1-10, that I, a Sunday School alumnus, should help in improving our Sunday School, one of the focuses of the second phase of the church expansion project. Here's my answer to Jesus Christ: I'm in!

Also read Exodus 35:4-29

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Spiritual Birthday Special: On Being a Leader and a Follower

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To be a successful group, each member must embrace his role.
Today, I remember the time I accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. However, someone shared me this problem. For my special 13th SB post, I'll try to answer this concern based from the Scriptures. Note: This is based on a true story. I altered the names to protect the privacy of the people involved.

Here we go! Guy A is the leader of a group where he and Guy B are a part of. However, Guy B finds Guy A a little bit too strict; too strict that B has had enough of A, especially when A told B to do some things and not to do some others. B is upset to A and even if A wanted to apologize for his "harsh" actions, B can't simply accept it.

Here's my advice. For Guy B, just follow Guy A; no more if and buts. If there's a reason why he's strict, that's because he and even the other members want order and organization in the group. The leader knows what is best for the welfare of the group. His strictness is only there when  you're at work. But outside of it, he is (and should be) very friendly. As they say, "Walang personalan. Trabaho lang." If he thinks he was too harsh, he will apologize. Also, accept his apology and apologize to him. For Guy A, on the other hand, being a leader, you must be sensitive to your comrades' needs. Like Guy B, some of your members can be too sensitive when they get some sermons. Talk to your sensitive comrades and tell them that it's just for the betterment of the organization. Also, if you have new members, brief them why you're doing this and that. If your members find problems, don't hesitate to help them.

To sum it up, an old saying goes like this: To lead is to follow and to follow is to lead.

My advice can be encapsulated in this verse: John 15:13 (KJV)-Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Page 19 of 365: Flashback

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A simple play in ultimate made me recall my past near-death experiences.
One time, at a game of ultimate (i.e. Frisbee), I collided with my teammate while trying to steal the disc from the opposing side. While he hurt his right arm, I had a more painful "knockout". Aside from hurting my rib cage and left pectoralis, I didn't feel my heart beating for a couple of seconds. And it was like, "Wow! Am I going to die?" Well, I survived, went on to finish the game, and doing this article right now.

All of a sudden, my two near-death experiences flashed back. "Is this the real feeling of dying?" I thought. It's almost eight years already, but I remember what I posted in 2011, when TLIMC was still part of my sports blog. Having my third life is in itself a miracle from God, so I have to cherish this one.

You see, our lives in itself is a miracle from the Lord. God gave us life so that we could experience His majesty here on earth while He prepares our permanent home in heaven. It was through the miraculous hands of the Lord that we see injuries healed, lives restored, etc. Let's thank Him for what He has done and what He is about to be done.

Read Daniel 4 and Genesis 50:20.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Page 18 of 365: Massive Temptation by Jennifer Schuldt

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ice cream
"I was driving down a busy road when an 8-foot ice- cream cone approached in the oncoming traffic lane and then sailed past me. I blinked and checked my rearview mirror. The towering tribute to mint chocolate chip, an advertisement for a local restaurant, definitely tempted my sweet tooth!

No stranger to temptation, Jesus challenged His followers to stay alert and pray so that they would not give in to it (Matthew 26:41). He also reminded them that although “the spirit is willing . . . the body is weak.”

Jesus knew all about the weakness of our physical bodies, having endured a time of solitude and fasting in the wilderness (Luke 4:2). After 40 days of hunger, He was challenged by Satan to change a stone into bread. But Jesus used Scripture to resist the devil’s ploy (Luke 4:4).

Satan tried another tactic: lying. After showing Jesus all the world’s kingdoms, he said, “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them . . . because they are mine” (Luke 4:6). Huh? I don’t think so. Jesus is and was clearly in charge of the world (Colossians 1:16). Consider what He said about Satan and his lying ways (John 8:44).

Still, Satan exaggerated his power to try to coax Jesus into worshiping him. God’s Son resisted, saying: “You must worship the Lord your God” (Luke 4:8). After another failed attempt, Satan “left Him until the next opportunity came” (Luke 4:13).

Satan is always looking for His next chance to tempt us as well (1 Peter 5:8). That’s why we need to guard against weakness and isolation through accountability with fellow believers. We can also memorize Scripture that will help us face and defeat temptation. Then we’ll be equipped to resist the devil and send him packing (James 4:7)."

Read Luke 4:1-13, Genesis 3:7-19, and 1 Corinthians 10:12-13.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Page 17 of 365: Blessings in Disguise

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Storms will come, but Christ has already weathered them.
Everyday, we are faced with challenges. They can come in the form of direct problems (kinda hard exams, too much errands, etc.), but they can also come in the form of things not going your way. Take the family of Mike Wittmer for example. In his article in Our Daily Journey, Wittmer wrote that because of a storm, they had to delay their planned vacation. If I'm Mike, I would really not like it.

But think about it. The Lord could be speaking at these trials. In the case of the Wittmers, God wants them to be safe, so He's telling Mike to thwart their plans for the meantime. Maybe the Lord is telling us something while we're experiencing our own trials. To cut the long story short, Christ wants us to hold on to His plans. He will never harm us. In fact, we will prosper because of Him (Jeremiah 29:11). All He wants is for us to trust Him on why He's delaying our provisions, postponing our plans, or allowing the trials to come our way.

Back to the story of Mike Wittmer, God kept them safe by telling Mike not to push through with the vacation and move it to the next day. When he called the airline ticketing office for the decision, guess what he got: five round-trip tickets to a place of his choice! It's a simple evidence that trials are blessings in disguise! Just hold on to God's plans, because He has already overcome the world (John 16:33).

Read Psalm 104 and Matthew 6:25-34. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Page 16 of 365: Enemies by Tim Gustafson

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David Spares Saul's Life
"Don't kill him. He is still our king."
I am forced to preach under something of a handicap this morning,” said Dr. Martin Luther King on a November day in 1957. His physician had instructed him to stay in bed, but King insisted on speaking.

Paraphrasing the words of Jesus, he declared to the congregation at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama: “You have heard that it has been said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.’ But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-45).

As an African-American living in the southern United States, which was stained with the sin of racism, Dr. King preached under an even more virulent handicap that gave his words all the more validity. “How do you go about loving your enemies?” he asked. “Begin with yourself. There might be something within you that arouses the tragic hate response in the other individual... When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it.”

As we consider our enemies and the animosity we harbor toward them, we’re wise to remember that we were once enemies of God! (Romans 5:10.) But now, as we have believed in Him, “our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God” (Romans 5:11). We now have the “task of reconciling people to Him” (2 Corinthians 5:18). That’s why God tells us not to avenge ourselves, but rather leave it to God who says, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back” (Romans 12:19).

The way to defeat our enemies is to show them the astonishing, Spirit-filled love of God.

Source: Our Daily Journey

Read Matthew 5:38-47, 1 Samuel 24, and Romans 5:10

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Page 15 of 365: Just a Shade by Tom Felten

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In the movie Inception, technology allows people to tap into others’ minds by dream invasion. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), the flawed hero in the flick, lost his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard) when she committed suicide due to the delusional effects of memory inception within a dream state. Mal, however, keeps vividly appearing to Dom when he’s in a dream state. Finally seeing the need to let this pseudo Mal go, Dom says to her, “I can’t imagine you with all your complexity, all your perfection, all your imperfection.... You’re just a shade of my real wife.... I’m sorry, you are just not good enough.”

At times, the Jesus we have in our minds is just a shade of His true reality. Instead of experiencing the power of His presence within us (1 Peter 1:5; Colossians 1:27), we grasp for Him merely when we’re in a state of fear or need. Instead of living with “great expectation” (1 Peter 1:3) of being with Him forever, we experience a dull and persistent dread as we encounter the imperfections of life.

Peter provides some words to snap us out of our dreamlike state and to help us embrace the reality of life in Jesus: “[We] love Him even though [we] have never seen Him. Though [we] do not see Him now, [we] trust Him” (1 Peter 1:8). Through our “faith” (1 Peter 1:5), we experience a moment-by-moment “joy” (1 Peter 1:8) that comes from knowing Jesus and walking with Him. When we face trials (1 Peter 1:6), we’re not alone. Jesus allows us to be tested by the fire of difficulties so that our faith in Him will be purified and perfected (1 Peter 1:7). And one day, our “reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of [our] souls” (1 Peter 1:9).

Don’t simply exist in a shade of Jesus. By faith, experience His true reality today.

Read 1 Peter 1:3-9 and 1 Corinthians 13:12

Monday, January 14, 2013

Page 14 of 365: Life in the Vine by Winn Collier

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Most people say I look like my father. When I was in the third or fourth grade, a young girl looked at my dad and me and exclaimed, “Look, twins!” Like most sons, I was eager to grow taller and gain some muscle. I wanted to grow up and be like my dad. There wasn’t much I could do to make it happen, however. I hoped and wished and did my best to eat all my vegetables; but for the most part, I simply had to wait.

Immersed in a culture familiar with vineyards, Jesus used the imagery of grapes growing on vines to explain how those who follow Him are to receive life and grow to full maturity. The characters in the vineyard are set. Jesus is “the true grapevine,” the “Father is the gardener,” and “[we] are the branches” (John 15:1,5). The roles are straightforward, but much trouble ensues whenever we confuse them.

Life flows to the branches through the vine. The vine consistently and freely provides all the nutrients the branches need in order for fruit to flourish. The branches simply soak it up, stay nestled in their restful place, and allow fruit to be produced. Jesus makes His point clearly: “A branch cannot bear fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me” (John 15:4).

To remain is to stay, to rest, to dwell (or live). In other words, our job is to live obediently in Jesus and then see God’s life flow through us, causing beautiful and luscious fruit to appear. On our own, we will only whither and die. Without God, we will be useless because “apart from [Jesus, we] can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Want real life that produces lasting fruit and glorifies God? Remain in Jesus.

Read John 15:1-17

Page 13 of 365: Sound of Silence

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Peter was rebuked by God when He sent an angel to tell him that he should
spread the Gospel to the Gentiles too, like Cornelius.
I went home to Metro Manila to be with my mom, who spent the weekend there. After I brought her to the airport for her trip back to Puerto Princesa, I went to Mandaluyong to attend the 4 PM service of Victory Pioneer. I never thought, however, that it will be a message that will pierce our hearts.

We, the jampacked congregation, listened to the Word of God, and we were silent for a moment when Pastor Robert Hern spoke that the Holy Spirit clarifies our wrong mindsets. Why are we so silent? That's because we have a lot of wrong mindsets that could make us misinterpret what the Bible says. Yes, the Holy Spirit will give me specific instructions and will remind me of the Scriptures, but about correcting the misconceptions about the Word of God, I was totally rebuked and corrected by the Lord there.

My challenge is that if we want a clear direction this year, let's listen to the Holy Spirit carefully. Let us not make our own conclusion about the verses. Let the Lord tell you what you should do. Let the Holy Spirit give you the divine guidance you need.

Read 1 Timothy 4:6-5:2, 2 Timothy 1:1-7, and Acts 11:1-18

Page 12 of 365: Will They Really Come?

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For the past week, we prayed, fasted, and believed for our breakthroughs to come this year, but there will come a time that we begin to ask questions like "Why are they taking too long, Lord?" We all claim the promise that God will supply us all our needs (Philippians 4:19), but still, we ponder if they will come.

God will answer all of our prayer requests this year, but they could not come in the form of yeses. Here are the possible answers:

1. No-The Lord can veto our prayer requests. The best reason is that it's not according to His will. Yes, He's willing to answer our prayers, but check out the root word: will. Meaning, it's His will that prevails. He says no to our prayer because either you're not yet ready to do it (you need to continually grow in the faith) or He has a better plan (His plans are ALWAYS better than ours).

2. Wait-The Lord can also train our patience by putting our blessings on hold for a while. More likely, God is saying, "Yes! I will give to you your provisions, but it's not yet the right time." He's telling us to persevere more.

3. Yes-And of course our favorite answer. If it's according to His will and timing, they will come.

To sum it up, if your prayers are in line with God's plans and time, expect the Lord to give them to you. For the meantime, continue seeking Him.

Read Matthew 21:23-46 and Genesis 3:1-6

PS: To inspire you more to believe God for your breakthroughs, here are some of the prayers answered during the prayer and fasting week: Stories from the 2013 Prayer and Fasting

Friday, January 11, 2013

Page 11 of 365: Prayer Life Doesn't Stop in the End of Fasting

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Praying should not stop after fasting.
The fasting period comes to a conclusion today, but that doesn't stop me and the rest of my crew to believe for the breakthroughs this year. There are three things we must remember as we are about to break the fast.

Firstly, we must pray continually. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, the apostle Paul reminded the Thessalonian church to never stop praying. That should be our goal this year too. Secondly, we should persevere. Just like how Jacob persevered when he literally wrestled with God to get his blessings, we must hold on to His promises. And lastly, we should be expectant... Oh wait! The better term is ANTICIPATING. Although expectation and anticipation are synonymous, there's a difference between the two. In expecting, you are looking forward to a certain event, whether it's positive or negative, but in anticipating, you're optimistic and positive that the breakthroughs will come.

The fasting period may be finished, but I hope that our prayer life will continue.

Read Acts 12:1-17, Exodus 17:11, 12, Genesis 20:17, 18, Genesis 32:24-28, Judges 13:8-13, Luke 2:21-24, 39, Deuteronomy 4:5-9, Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Page 10 of 365: WWJD?

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As we are about to finish fasting, we are starting to feel the Holy Spirit moving in our lives as we believe by faith for our breakthroughs, but I know that there are times that you think, "Will God really answer my prayer?" Whether you're a baby Christian or a believer for more than a decade like me, we just can't deny that we worry if God will answer our requests or not.

But God's Word earlier tonight really moved me as I continue to hold on to the Lord's promises. I was reminded that God never breaks His promise. In fact, He already swore to us like how He swore to Abraham. We are reminded that the Lord is greater than everything here on earth. He can answer all of our prayers willingly. Also, He will never change. The Lord "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)" Also, even "if we are faithless, He remains faithful... (2 Timothy 2:13)"

The question: WWJD or What would Jesus do? Everything! What we can do is that we should "not be afraid or discouraged... For the battle is not yours, but God's. (2 Chronicles 20:15b)" Also, be reminded of James 5:16-The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Do what Colossians 4:2 says too-Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Lastly, even if we haven't received our breakthroughs, remain in faith that God will answer them all.

Read: Colossians 4:2-6, Luke 4:22, John 4, John 8:3-11, Acts 16:24-34, Psalm 118:5, 2 Chronicles 20:15-20, James 5:13-16, Hebrews 6:13-18 especially the Message translation, Romans 11:33, Luke 18:27, Psalm 108-4, Hebrews 13:8, Psalm 102:25-27

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Page 9 of 365: Being at the Middle of the Fast

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Page 9 of 365: Being at the Middle of the Fast
We may feel tired right now, but let us not stop consecrating
ourselves not for people but for God.
We have come to a point where we feel the hunger. Even I, who am doing a Daniel fast (fruits, vegetables, and liquids), feel the urge to eat meat and rice. This is the time in which we are considering giving up. But we still stand firm in consecrating, i.e. setting aside, ourselves for the Lord's revelations.

But Jesus warns us to not use this prayer and fasting period for glory-hunting. In sports, glory-hunting refers to the act of ending your support for one team looking for a strong team to support just to make you happy. Simply speaking, glory-hunting refers to the act of looking for means to brag yourself. Jesus calls those who just do the good deeds to seek approval from the other people as hypocrites. Christ is just telling us that we should not tell the world, "Look! I'm participating in the prayer and fasting!" just for their approval. In the first place, we can't please everyone. The Lord already knows that we're doing it to glorify Him, and He's delighted in that.

As we brace for the latter part of our fast, let us remember that we don't need to brag ourselves to others. God is already happy that we put Him at the center of our lives.

Read: Matthew 6:1-18, Mark 7:24, Proverbs 27:2, Acts 10:24-48, Acts 16-31, Luke 19:8-10, 1 Corinthians 16:15, 1 Timothy 2:3, 4, 2 Timothy 1:5, Joshua 24:15

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Page 8 of 365: Who's to Obey?

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We ought to obey God rather than men. -Acts 5:29b, NKJV
One of the first challenges Jesus' disciples had to hurdle after His ascension was preaching the Gospel despite the opposition of the religious leaders. Peter and John, after making a lame man walk, were arrested. But the leaders didn't know what to do because they also saw how the disciples healed the man with the power of the Holy Spirit, so the leaders asked Peter and John not to preach in the name of Jesus. But the two, together with the rest of their group, were bold to say that they "ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29, NKJV)."

The NIV translation of the verse serves as a challenge to us: "We MUST obey God rather than men." Larry Crabb, the author of Encouragement: The Key to Caring, wrote in the book that he found his first time praying in a congregation too difficult that he swore at that time that he would never do it again. But a fellow church member encouraged Crabb and even gave his 1,000 percent support. Why? Because the church member knew that Crabb was obeying God. Even if in our standards, what we are doing to obey Him is unsatisfactory, the Lord is still delighted with that, because He knows that we are willing to obey His commands.

If you have a friend who has a hard time obeying the Lord and is keen on doing what people say, take time to encourage him and help him to accomplish the thing Jesus wants him to do. That's obeying God too. Let me declare it again: We must obey God rather than men.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Page 7 of 365: The Cool Thing About Fasting

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As we fast, we are telling the Lord that we are giving up our physical habits
like eating just to deepen our relationship with Him.
In our church, we set a period, usually the first week of January, to commit to fast and believe for God's calling for us this year. This year, we focus on believing for something beyond the normal. That is, we believe for the extraordinary breakthroughs for 2013.

It reminded me of Ezra and the people of Israel when they set their journey from the Ahava Canal to Jerusalem. Ezra asked the people to fast as they pray that the Lord will grant them the protection. You may think, "That's a usual prayer request." But check this out: Ezra did not ask for the king's army to protect them. In fact, the only ones who were tasked to protect them were each other. Ezra believed in faith as he and his people fasted and prayed. And God protected them!

It's OK if you don't have the feeling to fast. God will answer our prayers even if we don't fast. But fasting is a gesture of giving up everything just to be with the Lord. Fasting goes beyond not eating. You can opt to do an online fast (no internet, no computer games), no gimmick fast (the only places you can go are your home and office/school), or any non-food fast you can. As long as you're bold enough to tell the Lord, "I'm surrendering to You," you can fast. Fasting will also help you understand God's Word more. Ask God too that He will let the Holy Spirit fill you as you feel the physical hunger.

Prayer and fasting are complimentary to each other. As we fast and pray, we should remember that God will speak to us in a mighty way. Prepare your hearts and be like Ezra, who strongly believed in the power of the Lord.

Read: Ezra 8:15-36, Acts 1: 1-14, 21-2:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19, Romans 12:9-12, Psalm 133:1, Psalm 70:1-4, 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Page 6 of 365: That Place Called "There"

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Kerith Ravine
If God asks you to go to a place like this, will you go? Elijah actually did, and
he, believe it or not, received unlimited blessings here.
As we embark on the journey called "2013", we may ask, "Where am I going from here? How can I receive the things I needed?" They're the same questions the prophet Elijah asked to the Lord when Israel was under a famine. The Lord's answer: Go there... to the east! At that time, the eastern part of Israel was not a healthy place to live.

You may now have an idea about the sixth installment of my TLIMC Project 365. Sometimes, "There" can be a place that you ought NOT to go. But remember: the Lord's way is not our way, and His way is more effective than ours. Even if Elijah knew the Kerith Ravine was not a good place to go, he went on, because he knew the Lord will meet him at his faith there. Guess what. The blessings were there! The water in the brook, which can only flow through rain, was flowing as if it was raining everyday. The food even came from the unlikeliest of deliverers, ravens.

The Lord moves in surprising ways. You never know what lies ahead in that place called "There", but rest assured that He will lead the way. How? Continue doing what God commands you to do in There. As Paul wrote the Galatians (6:9b), " the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." If you want to go There-bound or if you're already in There and you ask, "Where's the provision?" Just stay humble before the Lord and fear Him, because they "bring wealth, honor, and life (Proverbs 22:4, NIV 1984)." Also, let the Holy Spirit fill you and continue to live by the Holy Spirit.

Read: 1 Kings 17:1-6, Galatians 5:16-26, Galatians 6:1-10, Proverbs 22:1-16, John 7:37-39, Ephesians 5:17-21

Saturday, January 5, 2013

On Being Creative

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This is my first non-365 Project post here on TLIMC this year, but this will tackle more on being creative. I'm standing firm on what the Lord says through the apostle Paul in his epistle to the church in Rome: "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. (12:2)" The Lord urges us to be creative in such a way that we will glorify God. If you think the most common way to accomplish a task will veer you away from God's plans, ask God for another way. As long as God is pleased with what you're doing as you let Him lead the way, do it! 

Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)-"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

Page 5 of 365: Moral Compass by Tom Felten

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Get God’s “Garmin” to find your way through the wilderness. Get in-
to His Word to find true moral direction. -Tom Felten

If you’re a hiker who depends on a trusted compass to find your way through the wilderness, it might be time to invest in a GPS device. Why? The earth’s magnetic field is changing. According to scientists, the magnetic poles are “sliding towards Siberia at 34 miles per year at a speed that has accelerated 36 percent over the past 10 years.” A compass, which relies on magnetic north, can no longer be trusted. The good news is that fluctuations in the magnetic field have occurred throughout history. Just get that Garmin and you’ll be fine!

It’s obvious that there has been some serious “sliding” in the way people view morality. We could definitely use a moral compass fixed on a true north. That’s what the writer of Hebrews presented to his readers in chapter 5. These fluctuating believers, likely from house churches in Rome, were “spiritually dull” and needed to be taught once again “the basic things about God’s Word” (Hebrews 5:11-12). The writer wanted them to step up their intake of “solid” Scripture so that they could “recognize the difference between right and wrong” (Hebrews 5:14).

God’s Word provides the unchanging instruction we need. It’s our moral compass to navigate life in a way that glorifies Him. Take a few moments and read through some of the Bible’s clear directions:

• Exodus 20:1-17: God’s great commands to obey.

• Mark 7:20-23: Jesus’ partial list of immoral things to avoid.

• Ephesians 4:17–5:21: Paul’s contrasting of morally right and wrong behaviors.

If we don’t take the time to feed on and consciously apply God’s truth to our lives, we’ll remain spiritually dull. The fixed point of our compass will simply move with the masses. Get God’s “Garmin” to find your way through the wilderness. Get into His Word to find true moral direction.

Also read: Hebrews 5:11-14 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Think About This: Why do some people feel they don’t need a moral compass? What’s one area in your life that needs the application of God’s moral instruction today?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Page 4 of 365: #AmASinner

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Tower of Babel
Like how the Lord did not allow the Tower of Babel to be completed, He does
not want us to assert our own will over His.
I have been a Christian for more than a decade now, but the devotional I read today in Our Daily Journey rebuked me a lot. God reminded me that there are times in which I disobey Him, especially when I ignored His plans and go on my own. Every time I think I made something wrong, the barrenness comes. It's as if God is way too far from me. But just like how God spared Noah and his family from the Great Flood, He loves me so much that He never cursed me for my wrongdoings. He even made the way Himself to cleanse the evil inclinations in my heart when He Himself came down to earth to take the form of a human to be crucified. In fact, God is just awaiting for us to repent from our sins. Once we humble ourselves to the Lord, He will take over from there.

My challenge is that I will ask the same question Winn Collier asked me, "In what areas of your life are you tempted to be disobedient to God? How do you see barrenness resulting from your disobedience?"

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Page 3 of 365: Face-to-face by Regina Franklin

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Today, I share to you a different view about prayer. Regina Franklin, a contributor for Our Daily Journey, thinks that prayer should not be relegated to a text message and should be used to help build a face-to-face relationship with God. I quote...

"Throughout the day, my husband and I text each other. Some texts consist of requests for information or reminders of a to-do list. Oftentimes, though, a brief message conveying our love does wonders to boost our sense of closeness in an otherwise busy day. A quick text, however, can only accentuate what has already been formed in the larger context of the time and energy invested in our relationship. To expect our marriage to live on texts alone would not only be foolish, but would also speak volumes about the value we place on intimacy.

Prayer is our means of communication with Jesus— the One who loved us enough to selflessly bear our punishment on the cross. If perceived as a requirement, something outside the context of love, prayer can easily become a series of words rooted in works. Just as a marriage will falter when communication becomes obligatory, so too our relationship with Jesus can become awkward and stilted if we don’t understand the true heart of prayer.

More consistent than any human could ever be Psalm 27:10), God is our true refuge (Psalm 27:1-3). Prayer, however, is much bigger than our telling God what we want. When we expect Him to answer our cries for help and then respond with a “text” message to His work, our concept of prayer becomes small and self-serving. Quick prayers have their place, but only when the foundation of invested time and intimacy has been laid. Prayer is a discipline—a skill we grow in over a period of time. Even the disciples—after seeing Jesus preach to the multitudes, heal the sick, and leave the Pharisees speechless—saw prayer as an area in which they needed to grow in understanding (Luke 11:1). Do we see prayer in the same way?"

Read Psalm 27, Isaiah 56:7, Matthew 21:13, and 1 Corinthians 6:19.

Reflect: What happens to our natural relationships if our communication never goes any deeper than surface-level responses? What does it mean to be face-to-face with God?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Page 2 of 365: Song Review-Viva La Vida

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One of Coldplay's greatest hits, Viva La Vida, somehow told the story of the
Israelites when they were conquered by Babylon.
In the second day of my daily reflection series, I decided to take a glimpse around what was the center of the topic: Viva La Vida by Coldplay. The song, officially released in the middle of 2008, is about someone who was once living the king's life but all of a sudden lost everything.

I find it strange that instead of making it a slow emo-ish track, the entire band went upbeat with some accompaniment from the opera. I guess this was done to make it interesting to the ears of the listeners. I also think the song was inspired by the book of Lamentations in the Bible. Lamentations is a collection of five poems made by Jeremiah depicting the picture of Judah during his time. Reading the first chapter would make you realize that the lines are somewhat similar to the lyrics of Viva La Vida. I agree as well with the ODJ article writer about the ironic sense of having Viva La Vida, long live life in English, as the title of a track which talks about someone who has a wasted life.

The meaning of the song is that you have one life to live and you should not waste it. Also, you should stay in the direction God has made and not swerve to other directions as depicted in a context of the song.

Read Lamentations 1 and Isaiah 42:8-13.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Page 1 of 365: As We Wait for the Day

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In line with the imminent return of Jesus Christ, how should we live our lives?
Thinking of what to do with my new journal for the new year, I decided to look for Our Daily Bread. However, I bumped to its "sister" book, Our Daily Journey. With the devotionals specially designed to help you go deeper in your relationship with the Lord, I bought ODJ instead. Because of the eighth item on the "How to Use ODJ" part, I decided to show to you all of the things I learned in my daily quiet time. First up: the end times!

I made an article about the end of the world last December 20, the day before what everybody feared was the day. But in the article by K.T. Sim, the lives that we should live come the day was tackled. Here are some of the things we should live come the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ, which we all know will happen by surprise:

1. Repent, i.e. turn away, from sin and clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:11-14).
2. Be self-controlled and put on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:1-10). To add to that, put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).
3. Live a holy and Godly life. Make every effort to be spotless, blameless, and at peace with Jesus (2 Peter 3:3-15).

For more, read Luke 21.