Psalm 139:23-24
Posted: Apr 30, 2011 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

S – Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. – Psalm 139:23-24

O – I have often asked myself why of all the people in the Bible, David was the one who was given the title of “Man after God’s own heart.” Don’t get me wrong. David did a lot of great things. He was a pretty good king. He killed Goliath. I don’t doubt that he sincerely loved God. But he was a terrible father. He also committed the grievous sins of murder and adultery. How does a man like that get the title man after God’s own heart? I think there are several factors to this but this verse highlights one of the main ones. More than anything else in the world, David wanted to be close to God. Here was a man who literally had the world at his fingertips and yet he still said, God show me if there is anything in my life that offends you. People have been trying to hide from God for centuries. He we see David saying, “God I don’t want to hide from you. If there is anything……anything at all in my life that offends you. Point it out so that I can fix it.”

A – This verse convicts me greatly. While I have no idea the pressures that come from being the king of an entire country, I certainly know what it is like to lead people. In a world where spiritual leaders live double lives, it is so important for me to practice what I preach. Of all the responsibilities that I have, there is none more important than being a child of God. I need to be so aggressive in my relationship with God that I go to Him each and every day just as David did. I need to be willing to say, “God, I am not trying to hide anything from you. If there is anything in me that offends you. If I have any blind spots. If there is just the smallest little thing that 999 out of 1000 would never even notice. Show me.”

P – God help me to desire you as David did. I know that I am not perfect. I know that I still have a long way to go to be all that you have called me to be. Help me to desire you so strongly that I come to you each and every day asking you to show me things in my life that I may not see. I desire to be an authentic, genuine follower of yours. Help me in my areas of weakness and give me the strength to be as bold in my requests as David was.


Matthew 15:5-6
Posted: Apr 28, 2011 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment |

S – But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, “Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.” In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the Word of God for the sake of your own tradition. – Matthew 15:5-6

O – Jewish culture is extremely family oriented. The take extremely seriously the commandment to honor your father and mother which was one of the 10 commandments. They believed that it was the child’s responsibility to care for their parents as they got older just as their parents cared for them when they were younger. Apparently, some religious leaders had told their parents that they could not provide for them because they had dedicated their money all to God and had no more left to give to them. Initially, that sounds noble until you look deeper to see what was really going on. In saying “we give all our money to God,” what they were really doing is keeping the money for themselves. They would save all their money and say to themselves, “I am keeping all of this in case God ever asks me to give it.” They had no intention of giving that money to God. It was all lip service designed to get them out of a responsibility that they had while at the same time trying to make themselves look more spiritual.

A – This kind of thing still happens today. I need to be very careful to make sure to allow God to test my motives. It is always a temptation to try and make yourself sound spiritual. God always looks at the heart and He cannot be deceived. He knows why I do everything that I do. He knows why I give what I give. Why I serve where I serve. He knows it all! It is so important to stay connected to God so that I can learn how to hear His voice. I don’t want to be guilty of saying I am doing something that God told me to only to find out He had nothing to do with it.

P – Oh God please help me to guard my heart. I do not want to get caught in the trap of religion. I know this has affected so many. Help me to pursue you with everything inside of me. Help me to live my life not for the praise of onlookers but for the audience of my maker. Purify me and make me more like you!


Psalm 142:7
Posted: Apr 27, 2011 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment |

S – “Bring me out of prison so I can thank you. The godly will crowd around me, for you are good to me.” – Psalm 142:7

O – This was David’s prayer after his epidode in the cave with King Saul. Saul had been chasing David throughout the entire country of Israel due to jeolosy. David found refuge in a cave in En Gedi which is in the southern part of Israel. David had the chance to kill saul and be done with him once and for he chose not to. Even though David had the legal right to due away with his problem, (Saul) he believed that God could handle his problems far better than he could himself. David had spent years running. He had no idea who he could trust. His prison was fear, insecurity, doubt that God could take care of him and loneliness. In God’s time, He delivered David out of that prison.

A – I find it very interesting that the first thing David thanks God for after God busts him out of his “prison” was godly friends. We have no idea just how valuable it is to have people in our lives that have our best interest at heart. So many times, we can feel as if we are on an Island. We feel that no one cares or notices what we are going through. I’m sure David felt that in His life. But once David learned to rely on God for everything He needed, God sent him what he craved………friends. We can see the goodness of God in the people that He brings along the way who help us and give us a shoulder to lean on.

P – Lord Jesus, I ask for your help in 2 things. 1st of all, send people into my life that will be a source of strength to me when I go through challenging moments. 2nd of all, help me to be that friend to someone else. Thank you that you send people to me when I need them the most and also for allowing me to be the answer to the prayer that someone is praying for friendship. Your grace is amazing and it overwhelms me everyday.


S.O.A.P
Posted: Apr 27, 2011 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment |

Several months ago, I taught at West about the importance of reading the Bible every day. For many people, the Bible is a bit difficult to understand……..at least that is what they tell themselves. There is this huge block that seems to be at the forefront of the minds of believers especially those who have made a relatively new commitment to Christ. They tell themselves, “The Bible is boring,” or “I can’t understand it,” or “How in the world does this apply to my life here in 2011?” Most people think that way either because that is what they have always been told or because they really haven’t given the Bible a chance. Think about it this way. If the Bible really and truly is the revealed mind of God to mankind today, don’t you want to understand what that means for you?

I love the quote that says the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Sometimes reading the Bible is that way. It is absurd to think that you will understand everything about the Bible in just a few weeks. I have been reading the Bible for 15 years and I still don’t understand everything in there! My goal every day in reading the Bible is to understand a little more than I did the day before. The more you read and apply to your life, the closer to God you will become. You will also begin to learn the heart and nature of God which will help you to understand why some things happen the way that they do.

The Bible study method that I use is called S.O.A.P. It is very simple and for the next week, I will share some of my entries with you. I take my Bible reading schedule from www.youversion.com. The specific plan that I am on is Life Journal. This plan takes you through the OT once per year and the NT twice per year. If you go to West, you can follow along with this plan on the back of the bulletin each week. I read the selected readings for the day, choose 1 verse to write about and then apply the S.O.A.P method. Here is what S.O.A.P. stands for.

S – Scripture (Write down the verse word for word that stood out to you that particular day)

O – Observation (What is something you observed about that verse that you maybe never thought of before. Consider who wrote the verse, who they were writing to, etc.

A – Application (perhaps the most important part of this process. Here, you write down how this verse can apply to you today.

P – Prayer (You simply verbalize in written form a prayer that seals what you just observed and applied to your life)

Over the course of the next week, I will share my soap entry for the day on this site. Hopefully, this can give you a bit of an insight as to how this works. This is NOT difficult. I guarantee that this will take your devotional life to another level. After all, isn’t life all about our pursuit of God? This will make you a better pursuer……:)

I will share my S.O.A.P for today a bit later on.

With Expectancy!

Corey


Lesson from King Saul
Posted: Apr 14, 2011 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment |

Those of us who have grown up in church and are fairly familiar with the Bible have heard the story of King Saul before.  Saul was a man from the tribe of Benjamin which was the least of the 12 tribes of Israel.  The Israelites had been complaining to Samuel the prophet pleading with him to ask God, on their behalf, for a king.  All the neighboring countries surrounding the Israelites had kings to rule over them.  Israel wanted to be like everyone else.  When this was brought to God’s attention, it was met with rebuke.  God’s reasons for not wanting Israel to have a king were very simple; He wanted to be their King.  Even though God knew it was in the best interest of the Israelites for them to not have a king, He granted them their request.  God will let us live in our disobedience if that is what we choose.  Why?  Because He has given us free will.

God tells Samuel to go to the land of Benjamin and find a man named Saul who’s father’s name was Kish.  When Samuel Got to Saul’s hometown, he was amazed by the sheer size of the future king.  The Bible says that Saul stood head and shoulders above the rest.  Picture Shaquille O’Neil walking into the back of your church this Sunday morning.  Everyone would know he was there!  When God initially chooses King Saul, it seems to be working out just fine.  Saul is a well respected man.  He was good looking, had good leadership characteristics and seemed to suit the job just fine.  In fact, on top of all of those things, Saul was godly.  Those of us who know how the story ends for Saul may find this fact surprising.  The Bible says that Saul even prophesied during the beginning portions of his reign.

This is where King Saul’s lesson comes in to play.  When Saul was anointed king, there is a very interesting verse  in I Samuel chapter 10.  Remember, it was the Israelites who clamored for a king in the first place.  This was not God’s plan.  He gave into the wishes of the Israelites and anointed a king to grant their request.  Listen to what verses 26-27  have to say about what happened to King Saul just after he arrived home from being anointed king.

“When Saul returned to his home at Gibeah, a group of men whose hearts God had touched went with him. 27But there were some scoundrels who complained, “How can this man save us?” And they scorned him and refused to bring him gifts. But Saul ignored them.”

So God grants the people what they request.  He gives them a king against His wishes.  Many people are excited and follow Saul and are supportive.  But there are some who just absolutely refuse to get on board.  They boycott the gift giving ceremony of the new king.  And what does Saul do about it?  Nothing.  He completely ignores them.  Remember, Saul was good at this point in his life.  The spirit of God was with him.  This was not a group of “godly” people who were boycotting because they followed the current Christian trend of picketing.

There will always be people that want to be critical of you.  They will talk about you, be negative towards you and won’t understand why everyone else doesn’t share their opinion.  So many times, we focus too much on the people that are critical of us and little too little on the ones that are supportive.  Saul made some very bad decisions at points of his life.  This is one that he got right.

With Expectancy!

Corey