Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? – Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

No matter your status in life, there is no fulfillment without God.  I wonder this about people all the time who claim not to have "religion."  Having religion or not, having God, accepting God, is fulfillment.  It does make the day easier, the work more joyful, the food taste better, the drink quench the thirst.  Solomon had everything in the world, and yet was unfulfilled in his soul as he wavered back and forth in life and in God.  

I know what it is like to be unfulfilled in my soul.  To wonder why I'm doing this or that.  When I accepted the rich forgiveness of Grace, it changed my day to day gratefulness.  Everything is better.  When we are grateful to God for what he blesses us with, no matter what it is..... there is satisfaction.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hebrews 11:24-26

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. – Hebrews 11:24-26
The writer of Hebrews gives us an interesting twist: Moses suffered for Christ. But Jesus hadn’t been born yet! Yet how could a murderer like Moses interact with God? Only through grace! Jesus was in the burning bush, the cloud by day and fire by night. When Moses chose allegiance to God over the pleasures of Egypt, he was guiding all of us to our Savior. Even if that choice causes suffering, there is a greater value in the grace that Christ gives than anything the world can provide.

Today’s commentary by:
Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org

Friday, August 27, 2010

1 Peter 3:15-16

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. – 1 Peter 3:15-16
Have you ever met a Christian who was prepared to correct everyone around them but didn’t have gentleness or respect for those who disagree? In an age of reality TV we have lost the art of respectfully disagreeing. One of the things that I have come to realize is that it’s my job to answer those around me who ask about Christ, but it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to win their hearts. This keeps me from taking on the pressure to be right or win the argument. We can win the battle but lose the war for someone’s soul. Sometimes the greatest statement is how we endure ridicule or slander. Remember Jesus, who when He was slandered didn’t retaliate. Sometimes it’s our suffering that becomes our greatest witness.

Today’s commentary by:
Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org

What a great scripture and this preacher's commentary is right on.  Respectfully disagreeing is a lost art in today's world.  It's probably a lost art in my world.  I still harbor great anger toward some people who ridiculed and slandered me. I have great THOUGHTS of retaliation for things people have done to me.  If I followed Jesus example, I would put those thoughts away as He often explained that our thoughts can rule us if we let them.  God grants us the ability through him to release our disagreement in a gentle and respectful way with a clear conscience.  May God clear my conscience and bless me with better gentleness in the future. 

John 15:18-19

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. – John 15:18-19
One of the hallmarks of the Christian faith over the ages is that many Christians have been vilified for their convictions. When the Christians were thrown to the lions of Rome the spectators cried out, “Kill the atheists.” To proclaim allegiance to Christ was to be in rebellion to the deity of Caesar. This Christ allegiance compels us to engage our culture, but in doing so we expose the separation that the world around us has from God. That exposure is rarely met with open arms. At some point in our Christian faith we must draw the line and stand for something that will infuriate people. It is happening now in India, Malaysia, China, Iraq, Iran and, at a lesser level, even in the United States. But this is the path that Jesus took and He calls us to follow him. He chose us to break the holds of worldly conformity and to bring us into significance. We are chosen out of the world into our true citizenship; the Kingdom of heaven.

Today’s commentary by:
Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org

This is so hard.  To be called out.  It's tough to be hated, so this scripture if very comforting to me.  I have been watching Creflo Dollar lately and I'm so impressed with his ability to call out sin as to what it is..... sin.  He's been doing it in a way I haven't seen in YEARS.  He is not placating or making nice, he is quoting scripture and calling out people.  He will be hated, because Christ was  hated.  When you call people out for their sins, they have a tendency to want to get back at you.  They want to stone you for not believing the way that they do.  They want to break your belief, find sins in your life that show you to be a hypocrite, which we all are.  They want to tear your eyes out.  But a few want to know......

I have been given the talent of encouragement and encouragement is a great thing.  But, it is very difficult when you have to encourage someone to leave a sin behind that they don't want to leave.  How to walk away when they hate you for pointing out and encouraging a new way that needs to be taken.  How to be there for them if they decide to change.

Monday, August 23, 2010

2 Corinthians 4:18

 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:18

Our world is filled with unsolved mysteries. How did the universe begin? How can it expand infinitely? What are sub-atomic particles made of? Science can only go so far until it collides into things that are not measurable. According to Scripture, we live in a miraculous world that ultimately defies explanation. Jesus tells us that there is a place where rust or moth can’t destroy our treasures. C.S. Lewis stated that every person we see is immortal. God gave us the Scripture and prayer because we need eternal reference points to navigate in a world that is passing away. Both the despair of our struggles and the ecstasy of our successes are temporary, so keep your eyes on that which lasts forever – the Kingdom of God.

Today’s commentary by:
Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org
I find this scripture, amazing, perplexing, comforting, enchanting and completely overwhelming.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Titus 1:15

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. – Titus 1:15
This passage is revolutionary in how we perceive the world around us! Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Does everything around you seem corrupt? Maybe the surroundings are not the issue. According to this Scripture we view things according to the condition of our heart. That is why we must guard our heart with all diligence, for from it the issues of life flow.

Today’s commentary by:
Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org

I really like this scripture and commentary.  I had a point in part of my life where everything was corrupt including my heart and nothing did seem pure.  I scoffed at things that even sounded like they might be pure.  After all, I was SURE, I would never be guilty of the very sin I was committing.  If I could be corrupted, everything was corrupt.  However, once I gained and grasped, Grace and forgiveness, I began to see things purely.  Joy returned and so did my clean heart and view.  I love that God views me through Jesus eyes with compassion, forgiveness and purity.  Despite my impurities! 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Proverbs 12:2

Proverbs 12:2 A good man will obtain favor from the Lord, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

I have a hard time with this one personally.  I don't like to be reproof-ed.  No one does.  It's how we learn the best lessons that we appreciate in our lives, but going through it is so tough.  I would rather have God's favor.  Afraid I wouldn't recognize it if he also didn't proof me at times. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Revelation 3:17-18

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. – Revelation 3:17-18

Prior to this passage the writer John calls this church lukewarm. How did they get lukewarm? By trusting in their wealth. They thought that money brings security, but they are advised to purchase things that money can’t buy; the fire of refinement, the white clothing of righteousness, and vision that only God can provide. We are not to confuse what the world calls wealth with what God calls wealth.
Today’s commentary by:Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor

In other words, don't love what you have.received, love that you received and blessed to be abl e to give it away.  I remember my parents doing this once to a bunch of stranded teenagers in Texas.  They were hitchhiking it across Texas and got caught at night with no ride and no clothes for the sudden cold snap.  He brought them into our garage for the night, set up pallets, heaters and snacks for them.   The next morning they fed them a huge pancaked breakfast and sent them on their way.  It was a great lesson for me.  

Another missionary told a couple friend of ours that they couldn't show the filmstrips they were sending because it was based on VCR and TV.  The person went over to the wall, unhooked his TV and VCR and sent it with the man.  It's a luxury to us he said.  Not to those people who might hear the word.  He could afford to get a new TV and even save up for one.  The mission was money strapped and if they had money, they wouldn't have sent for a TV. 

I learned my generosity from my parents, sometimes tooo generous.  But generosity is a gift God has blessed me with.  Using it wisely is the part with which I struggle.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Job 2:2

And the LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.” – Job 2:2
In the midst of our struggles we can forget that we have an enemy that we don’t see. In this classic passage from Job, Satan identifies his stomping ground – the earth. We are in a battlefield that has weapons that are not seen, yet are very real. One of the roles of prayer is to step into spiritual warfare. Satan is prowling around like a lion, yet in Jesus Christ we have the authority to stop him in his tracks! Take some time today to pray and expose Satan and his schemes in our lives.

Today’s commentary by:
Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. – 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
This is a challenging Scripture, yet what an opportunity! For many people respect doesn’t come from the thrill of adventure, but the day-to-day life of industry. Are we seen as those who make our communities better, or those whose constant diversions make us a burden to our neighbors and co-workers? Make it your ambition to let your life speak louder than your words!

Today’s commentary by:
Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor,

This is a difficult subject and at the same time so simple.  When I was younger this scripture was use to get people to avoid political things. Live quietly, don't make a ruckus.  I guess some of that can be true, but living a quiet life of God is not timid.  It is boldly going forth with God.  Quietly doing God's will which at times is quite bold!  I should earn my own keep having something to do with my hands to keep me busy and not given to idleness which leads to other problems such as gossip, and envy.  You can win the admiration  of those not in Christ by going about your life in Christ.