Sunday, September 30, 2012

+DEV+ Mosaic

Date: September 30, 2012 10:17 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Mosaic


 "To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy " (Jude 24)
Scripture Focus: Ephesians 2

There is a church mission statement I love from a Los Angeles church called Mosaic: "We are a community of followers of Jesus Christ, committed to live by faith, to be known by love, and to be a voice of hope. The name of our community comes from the diversity of our members and from the symbolism of a broken and fragmented humanity which can become a work of beauty under the artful hands of God. We welcome people from all walks of life, regardless of where they are in their spiritual journey. Come to Mosaic, and discover how all the pieces can fit together!"

What a fitting metaphor for the Christian who has known brokenness and sorrow. The next time you see a mosaic, see yourself in one of the broken pieces. Maybe you feel discarded and trampled on, or perhaps you think you have little, if anything, to offer. My prayer is that it be God's will to put the pieces back together again. May we acknowledge that He is restoring and renewing us, ultimately presenting us without fault as the bride of Christ.

Insight: Take Time To Thank God For The Diversity Of People In Your Church And Ask Him To Give You A Glimpse Of The Bigger Picture.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

+DEV+ Broken Pieces

Date: September 27, 2012 8:44 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Broken Pieces

Broken Pieces

"A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice."  (Isaiah 42:3)
Scripture Focus: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

Anyone who has visited ancient sites in the Middle East, Central Asia or the former Greek and Roman Empires will have seen wonderful examples of the mosaic art form. What inspired the first mosaic artists to assemble together broken stones, shells and pieces of clay that others would have discarded or trampled on? Perhaps they could see what others had missed: though something is broken doesn't mean it is useless. Even if it cannot be restored to its former state, the hands of a true craftsman combine it with other broken things to make something of beauty and even great value.

God, the Ultimate Craftsman, takes great delight in restoring us from the brokenness brought about by sin. However, the damage caused by the ravages of everyday life leads to further need for His restorative care. He has called us to be part of the church, the body of Christ, where we find ourselves side by side with other broken people. Together we make a work of art of great value... so valuable that God gave all He had to purchase us.

Remember That "The Lord Is Close To The Brokenhearted And Saves Those Who Are Crushed In Spirit" (Psalm 34:18).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

+DEV+ Knowing is not Enough

Date: September 26, 2012 9:32 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Knowing is not Enough

Knowing is not Enough

"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."  (John 8:31B-32)
Scripture Focus: John 14:15-31

Does what we know about Bible have real value in our lives? I know in my head that God is perfect, His Word is true and His promises are faithful. But sometimes knowing is not enough. I know that "God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3) and "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18). I know Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Peter encourages us to "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7), yet sometimes knowing these things is not enough.

There comes a point when the believer in Jesus Christ needs to put all of the head knowledge to work in the heart. A preacher once said that Growth=Knowledge+Application. However, knowing the formula is not enough either. It is of utmost value to know the truths of the Bible; but it is the Truth of Jesus Christ reigning in your life - changing you from the inside out - that sets you free.

Insight: Stop Wrestling With All The Knowledge You Have Of Jesus Christ, And Put On The Love And Character Of Jesus Instead.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

+DEV+ Weeping May Last for a Night

Date: September 25, 2012 8:28 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Weeping May Last for a Night

Weeping May Last for a Night

"For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."     (Psalm 30:5)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 30

Identifying the root causes of my depression was a challenging job. Exhaustion was quickly pinpointed as both a symptom and a cause. My life was hectic. Time off from work allowed my body to recover from some of the fatigue.

The healing of the mind, however, is more complicated. In the early days, church was an uncomfortable place to be. I would deliberately arrive late and leave early. But dear friends allowed me to weep through songs and sermons, asked with genuine concern how I was, and had the wisdom to say very little while communicating much through a smile or a touch.

Job's friends wept with him for days, a gesture that offered more comfort than their long speeches trying to make sense out of Job's desperate condition. Soon enough Job discovered that the words of God Himself were the only ones to stand by. We have those words, too, spoken by and lived out in the person of Jesus Christ. Hold onto them through the dark night of your suffering until rejoicing comes in the morning.

Good Friends Don't Always Need To Know The Right Things To Say. Often Just Being There Conveys More Than Spoken Words

Monday, September 24, 2012

+DEV+ A Land as Dark as Midnight

Date: September 24, 2012 8:54 PM
Topic: +DEV+  A Land as Dark as Midnight

A Land as Dark as Midnight

"Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up."  (Psalm 71:20)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 71

For many Christians, depression is a taboo subject, one we just don't like to talk about. But the troubled, fearful, grieving soul is nothing unusual in the Psalms and throughout the Bible. Similarly, depression and despair are never far from our lives today. In 2004 my friend was diagnosed with depression. he said he was grateful to both a family doctor and a counselor who didn't judge him, but did all they could to help him put one foot in front of the other and find a way forward.

The righteous man Job in the Old Testament sunk deep into depression and misery as he saw his family, home, possessions and health fall from him. "It is a land as dark as midnight, a land of utter gloom where confusion reigns and the light is dark as midnight" (Job 10:22, NLT). I know that personally to be a good description of depression.

Thank God I also know that Jesus is the light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. We may not understand His timing, but He promises to shine His light upon us and yet again bring us up if we continue to look to Him.

Insight: Just As Sure As Night Follows Day, We Are All Likely To Know Times Of Darkness. However, Don't Despair - The Dawn Will Come Again!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

+DEV+ Broken, in Need of Repair

Date: September 20, 2012 11:52 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Broken, in Need of Repair

Broken, in Need of Repair

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  (Ephesians 2:10)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 139

Recently in the UK there have been several TV programs about building restoration. Some are relatively small-scale projects where a derelict barn, workshop, or warehouse is converted into a family home. However, there has been an annual series in which the public votes on which ancient building is restored to its former glory. Apart from funding, the greatest challenge is finding suitably qualified craftsmen to accurately and sensitively carry out the work: there aren't too many medieval stonemasons and such around these days!

God is the architect, designer, master craftsman and creator of each and every one of us. He holds the patent and the copyright. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:13-14). Unless we return to the original builder, then we are entrusting our souls to unqualified, unskilled and ultimately incompetent hands. May our creation in Christ Jesus spur our broken spirits on to a life rich in praise for Him.

Insight: If You Are Feeling Broken And In Need Of Repair, Put Yourself In The Hands Of The Craftsman Who Made You, The Creator And Lord.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

+DEV+ The Good Shepherd

Date: September 19, 2012 11:50 PM
Topic: +DEV+  The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."   (Philippians 4:19)
Scripture Focus: John 10:1-18

The LORD, David's own shepherd, restores his soul, we read in his 23rd Psalm. David knew from experience that a shepherd must protect the flock from predators, lead them through dangerous terrain and tend to their needs. The lessons he'd learned as a boy would be applied to his battles as a man.

David acknowledges that the LORD, his shepherd, has provided for all his needs. He has been brought to a peaceful, green valley with a gentle stream running through it. He has been made to lie down and rest. However, it is more than a renewal of his physical strength that is given; it is restoration for his soul that he receives.

Not only does our Great Shepherd provide for our daily physical needs, He is passionately concerned about the state of our souls. It is only in looking to Him for protection from the enemy, allowing Him to lead us through hard times, that we will find our souls repaired and renewed once more. The glorious riches of Jesus will fill up even the most destitute and impoverished soul.

Insight: Since Our Good Shepherd Has Given Everything To Save Us, Even Laying Down His Life, Let's Rest And Be Restored By That Good News.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

+DEV+ Can a Soul be Restored?

Date: September 18, 2012 10:45 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Can a Soul be Restored?

Can a Soul be Restored?

"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake."  (Psalm 23:1-3)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 23:1-3

Psalm 23 is a much loved, oft read piece of poetry from Scripture. Its comfort has been real to the joyful as well as the troubled.

The psalmist was the shepherd who became king. However, the true author and inspiration is the King who is The Great Shepherd. Our focus this month will be on one phrase from this beautiful psalm: "He restores my soul."

We will examine the richness, complexity and power contained within these words as we ask God to bring them to life in us. Just breaking down that sentence grammatically shows us the focus of the act of restoring our souls. "He" is the subject; "restores" is the action; "my" tells "whose"; and "soul" is the object. Looking closely at these will reveal the very heart of what Jesus Christ has done for us: living for, dying for, and redeeming our souls. It's no surprise to God that our souls are in need of restoration. The challenge for us as individuals is to acknowledge our need and accept Christ's restorative healing for us.

Insight: Restoration For The Soul Is Available To All Who Seek It From The Lord, Our Shepherd.

Monday, September 17, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus, the Evangelist

Date: September 17, 2012 9:10 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus, the Evangelist

Jesus, the Evangelist

 "'I, Jesus... am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.' The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty... and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."  (Revelation 22:16-17)
Scripture Focus: Rev 22:13-21

Let your mind see Jesus and the Holy Spirit and Jesus' glorified bride, the church, standing beside a flowing river. With one voice they say to all who are weary and hopeless, "Come. Come to the river for cleansing and renewal. Come to the trees that produce fruit to nourish in every season. Come to the trees whose leaves are marvelous for the healing of the nations. There is no disease of the spirit that some leaf of grace cannot heal." Can you imagine that glorious sight? All is prepared. And - how marvelous the thought - all is free and mercifully available day in and day out. This is what we have to look forward to! Is it any wonder John says, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus"?

Jesus offers the appeal, the Holy Spirit urges belief and the host of believers who make up the Bride offer clear and convincing testimony to the fact that nothing has been left undone. Believer, put your trust in Jesus. Fall before the Lamb, as John did, and allow the fullness of Jesus to flow into your life, moment by moment.

Insight: "The Grace Of The Lord Jesus Be With God's People. Amen." (Revelation 22:21)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus, the Source of Life

Date: September 16, 2012 9:44 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus, the Source of Life

Jesus, the Source of Life

"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb..." (Revelation 22:1)
Scripture Focus: Revelation 22:1-13

As Revelation opened, John obviously had many questions, all good ones. I assume he was concerned about what would happen in the future in light of the trials of the moment. As the Lamb broke the seven seals, John's questions as to when went largely unanswered. The revelation focused not on a time, but on Jesus Christ Himself, the Lamb of God. We have now come to the end of the revelation and, once again, our attention is drawn, not to a timetable, but to the Lamb.

From the throne and the Lamb a virtual river gushed out. Our mind goes back to when the soldiers pierced Jesus side, producing a rush of His life blood and water. That river of salvation ran down the center of main street, offering cleansing, refreshment and renewal.

Its properties were marvelous. No matter how many sins it cleansed or how many sinners bathed in it, it flowed on as clear as crystal. Furthermore, it continues to gush forth with power and determination without interruption, ever fresh, ever new for you and me today.

Insight: May The Life-Giving Water Of Grace Flow With Power Into Our Parched Plots To Turn Our Deserts Into Gardens Of Delight.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus, the Living Water

Date: September 12, 2012 12:51 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus, the Living Water

Jesus, the Living Water

 "It is done... To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life." (Revelation 21:6)
Scripture Focus: Isaiah 55

Isaiah portrays Jesus as a water seller. I've become so used to water coming to my home through pipes that it's hard to imagine someone (especially Jesus!) carrying water, crying, "Come, buy!" Yet it would have been common in the past when the wells ran dry.

Jesus knows we need spiritual water to survive, so He went to great lengths to obtain it for us. We can never calculate its cost, for He bought it with His own blood. Think of what heaven went through to make the Living Water available. But for God, no cost was too high.

Jesus offers us the water of life. What will it cost us to get it? Actually, we cannot afford one single cup of it. All our accumulated merit could not buy a drop, let alone a daily supply. Hear the voice of Jesus as He approaches your house: "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy...without money and without cost" (Isaiah 55:1). It's grace unlimited for thirsty sinners like us. The Living Water is free.

Insight: The Secret Of Living The Revived Life In Jesus Is To Receive, In Full, All That God Offers Us In Jesus.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus, King of Kings

Date: September 10, 2012 11:46 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus, King of Kings

Jesus, King of Kings

 "On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." (Revelation 19:16)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 2

Apocalyptic literature certainly does stir the imagination. I try to apply some meaning to every "horn," "beast," etc. that make up the kaleidoscope of symbols in Revelation. Rarely does John interpret a symbol for us. The text creates an amazing flow of images, something very "other worldly" yet close to home at the same time.

After all Revelation's battles, scourges and complicated intrigues, after the numbers have been set out, the story reaches its climax: Jesus Christ is King of all kings and Lord of all lords. His reign knows no end. Remember, the Lamb was not declared King because He overcame all other powers; He overcame all other powers because He was and always will be King of kings!

It may have looked to John as though Caesar was more powerful than the Lamb. But when all the "Caesars" on the earth are forgotten, when the new heavens and earth appear, we will see Jesus as He is, unchanging forever. Let's grasp that truth with John and live in its glorious hope, even in this world of sin.

Insight: Live Today In Light Of What You Are Sure Of Tomorrow. The Reign Of Christ Is Eternal; We Who Believe Will Reign With Him Forever.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus Transfigured

Date: September 9, 2012 11:00 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus Transfigured

Jesus Transfigured

"His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance." (Revelation 1:16B)
Scripture Focus: Matthew 17:1-8

Before going up to Jerusalem for the last time, Jesus took John (and Peter and James) to a mountain where the glory of God lit His face as the sun in its brilliance. Moses and Elijah appeared. Then a dazzling cloud enshrouded all, and God's voice was heard. "This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." John and his friends fell facedown to the ground when Jesus came to them with a touch and "Do not be afraid." Just think of it: the glorified Son of Man put a hand on John with a touch that revived his spirit.

Next came the devastation of Jesus dying on a Roman cross. John saw Jesus transfigured again, not by brilliant light but by His own blood and the darkness that covered everything for three dreadful hours.

John on Patmos was passing through yet another time of disturbing darkness. And once again he saw Jesus, exactly as He was on that mountain years ago, now shining brighter than all the suns in the universe. Jesus still shines in brilliance today for us through our darkest times.

Insight: Recall When Passing Through The Dark Valleys What You Saw While On The Mountaintop.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus' Powerful Word

Date: September 6, 2012 11:26 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus' Powerful Word

Jesus' Powerful Word

 "and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters."  (Revelation 1:15B)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 119:1-16

Again John heard the voice of Jesus, the one he'd listened to intently for over three years as a young man was still powerful, continual, fresh and, above all, dependable. Sometimes when we are going through the dark night of trials, the Word seems dull, if not dead. The promises that we cling to sting us in our despair. The cry of a revived believer calls out desperately to hear a word of assurance from the Lord.

As we repent of our unbelief, we see Jesus again and wonder how we could have possibly doubted every word or promise that Jesus spoke. This is the Jesus who loved us so much that He died for us. Did He promise something that He cannot fulfill? Perish the thought! We melt in repentant faith: "I doubted for a moment, but I now believe - every word."

The words of Jesus are as powerful today as on the Mount of the Beatitudes or in the Upper Room before the crucifixion. And His words after the resurrection pound in our ears: "Go and make disciples of all nations."

Insight: It Was No Accident That John Declared Again And Again That Jesus Is The Word Of God. Let Me Prize It Above Life Itself.

+DEV+ Jesus Knows Suffering

Date: September 6, 2012 1:38 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus Knows Suffering

Jesus Knows Suffering

"His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace..." (Revelation 1:15A)
Scripture Focus: Hebrews 12:1-7

I have walked through many a "blazing furnace" in my time. Passing through fires of affliction is no fun. Three young Hebrews found that out in Babylon where they were literally thrown into a furnace, one so hot that it killed any who came near it. But for these three, their feet were not even seared because "Someone" entered the fire with them. They were saved from certain death. Look at this amazing "Someone," His feet "like bronze glowing in a furnace"!

Jesus passed through the fires of suffering when He atoned for our sins on the Cross. He suffered anguish in spirit, soul and body in His sacrifice of self. His feet were in the fire. Now, with those same burnished feet, He walks beside us through a world of sin and destruction. "When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze" (Isaiah 43:2).

Your own suffering has eternal meaning because Christ suffers with us. Walking with Jesus in revival is a fellowship of suffering as well as unspeakable joy.

Insight: When I Find Myself Resisting Any Test Of Faith, I Repent Of That Unwillingness And Accede To The Perfect Will Of Jesus.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus Sees it All

Date: September 5, 2012 1:15 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus Sees it All

Jesus Sees it All

"and his eyes were like blazing fire."  (Revelation 1:14)
Scripture Focus: Exodus 3:1-11

John witnessed Caesar declaring himself God. He saw churches raided by executioners, sent by that dreaded Emperor. John saw blood flowing from martyrs, the sheep of his flocks. What he saw cried out for explanation. "Doesn't God see the distress? Doesn't He care that His sheep are being slaughtered? Has God fallen asleep while we suffer?"

Along with John we must look into the face of the risen Jesus. Consider those eyes full of blazing light. Jesus never sleeps. He never blinks. He sees everything, a thousand times more clearly than we do. Look again at those eyes. They burn with wrath as He sees the evil in this world. They are seared by pain as He sees the blood of every martyr and the sorrow of every widow. Look carefully, and you will glimpse the flow of tears from those eyes. He sees and feels more deeply than you or I can imagine. Jesus is your all-seeing Lord and Savior. He knows the state you are in, and He loves you more than words can tell. These truths would comfort John and us as well.

Insight: Revival Means Entering A Rest Where There Is No Doubt About Jesus' Love. In All Things We Can Say With Certainty, "For This I Have Jesus."

Monday, September 3, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus is Almighty

Date: September 3, 2012 10:49 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus is Almighty

Jesus is Almighty

"and among the lampstands was someone dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest." (Revelation 1:13)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 24

When I see a golden breastplate, I envision a Roman Emperor. This breastplate was not for protection, but was a dazzling sign of the authority and power of the Emperor and the Empire. Yet John wasn't seeing the Roman Emperor in his vision; he saw "Someone" who served God and the saints day and night. Was the "Someone" reminding John of Jesus' words heard some 60 years earlier? Before He was taken up in the clouds, Jesus declared, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Matthew 28:18).

Thinking of the wrath of the Emperor falling with fury upon the defenseless Christ followers, John must have questioned who held all authority, Caesar or Jesus? Life with Jesus is a walk of faith, not of sight. When all evidence cries out that what Jesus said is not true, a humble child of faith sees Jesus as the Almighty One despite argument to the contrary. The "Someone" with the golden sash of authority is Jesus Christ, the One to whom all authority has been given. We can bank on that!

Insight: Walking In Revival Means Seeing Through The Distractions Until The Eye Of The Spirit Focuses, Again, On Jesus.

+DEV+ Jesus is on Duty

Date: September 3, 2012 12:09 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus is on Duty

Jesus is on Duty

“And among the lampstands was someone dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet" (Revelation 1:13)
Scripture Focus: Hebrews 9:23-28

John saw "Someone" moving about in the heavenly tabernacle, tending lamps, putting living bread on the table, interceding for people, offering sacrifices to atone for sin. At first John saw the priest as only a "someone." Then it became clear He was Jesus!

I, too, often take Him for granted or ignore Him as other things crowd in. Theoretically, I do not doubt that He is there, but too often He is only a concept or a memory. As my eyes focus on my hurts, my disappointments, my sins, my religious rituals, my friends, etc., Jesus becomes a "someone," and I have no idea of what He is doing in my life.

I can get on without seeing Jesus, but then there is no spontaneous, infectious, surprising joy in me. God must get my attention, somehow - maybe by suffering - to show me that the "Someone" is my life is my all in all. He is Jesus Christ, and He has one thing in mind for me: fellowship with the Father, without sin, guilt, shame or remorse. He died for that and lives forever to revive my spirit.

Insight: As We Look Away To Jesus, We See Him Diligently At Work On Our Behalf. Should Not That Vision Revive Our Souls?