Archive for August, 2009

Pursue Gentleness

Daily God Walk for Monday, August 31, 2009

 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.   –  1Timothy 6:11-12

 When we come to Christ we are not automatically transformed into the exact image of Christ in the world today. Our faith has opened the door to right relationship with God, but from the point of justification forward we must passionately pursue the Lord if we are to become mature believers.

Paul addresses the fruit, or evidence, of the Spirit working in us in Galatians 5. Peter instructs us that if we are going to be productive in our walk we must add to our faith (2 Peter 1). And in this passage Paul instructs Timothy, his son in the gospel, to pursue a mature faith.

Throughout this month we have looked at three words that have similar meaning. They are gentleness, humility and meekness. Some have judged those traits to be signs of weakness, but we have learned that they are really a reflection of strength and conviction.

How do we balance gentleness with fighting the good fight? How can we be gentle yet be in a fighting posture? A key to understanding that is to realize our fight is not against flesh and blood but against principalities, and powers and spiritual forces of darkness in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). The reason we cannot fight the good fight of faith without the virtues we have discussed is because without the Holy Spirit working in us we have no power in the spirit realm.

I challenge you to seek the face of God until he reveals his heart, then continue to seek him for wisdom and direction for your faith walk. Just as Paul was instructing Timothy to pursue the virtues of righteousness we are being challenged to do the same.

Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

 Principle: We fight in the spirit realm and we are gentle in the human realm.

 Affirmation: I can be gentle yet fight the good fight of faith.

 Prayer: Lord, help me to stay focused on our enemy and not to deal with people on the human level as I would in the spirit realm. In Jesus name, amen.

 Bible Reading: Psalm 12 – Isaiah 57-58 – Proverbs 31

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Stephen Was A Meek Martyr

Daily God Walk for Friday, August 28, 2009

  While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”When he had said this, he fell asleep.   – Acts 7:60

 Stephen was not an apostle; he was not a prophet; he was simply a young man who was passionate about God. He was among the seven chosen to serve the body of believers so that the apostles could be free to pray and minister the word of the Lord.

The first mention of Stephen is in Acts 6:5 when he was mentioned as one of the seven. His introduction is simply, “They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.” Wouldn’t it be a good thing if when we were  mentioned it would be as a person full of faith and of the Holy Spirit?

God honored the sincere heart of this young man by confirming his preaching with “great wonders and miraculous signs” (Acts 6:8). Stephen held nothing in reserve but gave himself entirely for the gospel. When the elders of the synagogue heard of his following they questioned him and when they could not dispute what he was teaching they got false witnesses to tell lies on him.

The entire chapter seven of Acts records the message Stephen spoke and the charge he laid against the leaders of Judaism. It was his charge that they had murdered the Christ that angered them to the point that they took him outside the city and stoned him, thus Stephen became the first martyr of the faith.

It was when Stephen was being stoned that we learn just how meek he really was.  As they were stoning him he fell on his knees and prayed, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” He was not angry and he did not ask God to avenge him against these evil people. He was more concerned about how their actions would affect their relationship with God than he was about what they were doing to him.

Stephen meekly endured stoning and still had compassion for others.

 Principle: Meek people are more concerned with others than with themselves.

 Affirmation: My focus is on the needs of others rather than my own desires.

 Prayer: Lord, Stephen is a hard model to follow. Grant me the passion and conviction to proclaim your word even in the face of opposition. Amen.

 Bible Reading: Psalm 101   – Isaiah 51-52 – Philippians 2 – Proverbs 28

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David Knew The Secret Of Being Meek And Gentle

Daily God Walk for Thursday, August 27, 2009

  My son, who is of my own flesh, is trying to take my life. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today.   – Numbers 16:11-12

 David was certainly a rare breed. His son, Absalom, had worked a coup and had taken the throne, now he is being cursed by one of his subjects, yet he did not respond and granted grace. It is hard to believe that this is the same man who slew Goliath and led many campaigns against the Philistines, but now, he runs from his own son.

Most men would have quickly put down the rebellion, and would certainly have executed a man who would come at him throwing rocks and cursing him, but David was not most men. Rather than respond with pride and seeking vindication for his ego, he granted grace. He was truly a meek man.

What was David’s hope in this? “May be that the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today.” David knew that when he was following the Lord, though the circumstances would appear otherwise, God will repay faithfulness.

When we are trying to do God’s work our way it is very difficult to take the humble path. All too often we interpret our ambition as God’s purpose and allow our ego to drive us rather than to surrender to God and wait for his timing. David knew the value of allowing God to fight his battles and he was not going to fight his own son for the kingdom.

How often have we, in matters of much less consequence, insisted upon our rights only in the end to discover that the outcome would have been better if we had allowed God to take care of the issue in his own way and in his time?

David is a model for us to follow. The way we respond to being unfairly assailed with false accusations, will demonstrate what we are on the inside.

 Principle: The way we respond to unfairness shows what we are on the inside.

 Affirmation: I practice being meek and humble in my response to others.

 Prayer: Lord, I don’t think I could be as gracious as David was. I need your help  to respond to unfairness with love and grace. In Jesus name, amen.

 Bible Reading: Psalm 71   – Isaiah 49-50 – Philippians 1 – Proverbs 27

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God Called Moses The Meekest Man

Daily God Walk for Wednesday, August 26, 2009

 Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth. – Numbers 12:3 (KJV)

 It is hard to imagine the man who had to flee to the dessert after killing an Egyptian soldier as the meekest man on earth. Something surely transpired in the 40 years between fleeing to the dessert and the time God appeared to him in the burning bush.

Time and experience, when handled appropriately, will work patience and humility in us. Many years of herding sheep in the wilderness helped the brash young Moses mature into a meek and humble man that could be used of God to bring Israel out of Egypt.

There was more to the change in Moses than time and experience though. Something happened in him at the burning bush. There before the Lord, barefoot and spiritually naked, Moses went through a transformation.

When God spoke to him of his purpose for him Moses replied, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” God’s answer, in so many words, was that it wasn’t about Moses – it was about God and the children of Israel. God had been preparing Moses for this job since he was born and now he was revealing himself to him.

God said to Moses, “I will go with you.” Then Moses asked, “Who will I say sent me?” God replied, “I AM who I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I AM has sent me to you.” It was this meeting with the great I AM that forever changed Moses.

Humility and meekness is not measured by ability or achievement. These character traits cannot be measured by standards men use to measure success. They are shown in the life of men and women who are committed to the purposes of God. These are people who have stood before the great I AM with their own burning bush experience.

Is God calling you to take off your shoes and stand before him?

 Principle: Standing before the Great I AM will transform a person.

 Affirmation: I am humbled to stand in the presence of the great I AM.

 Prayer: Lord, I have heard your call, but I have been slow to respond. It is not easy to surrender my ambitions for your purposes. Help me to do that. Amen.

 Bible Reading: Psalm 41   – Isaiah 47-48 – Ephesians 6 – Proverbs 26

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The Apostles Were Gentle Among Believers

Daily God Walk for Monday, August 24, 2009

 As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. – 1 Thessalonians 2:6-7

 As we rise in position it is only human nature for our attitude to change toward those of lesser position. We tend to think of ourselves as needing to be served by others because our position demands so much of us. That is not sinister, or particularly evil, it is just human nature.

The opposite seems to have been true among the apostles. In passing, Paul makes reference to the importance of his position as an apostle. As a valued leader in the faith, he could have asked more of the people by way of personal support, but he chose not to.

We who are believers in the Christ must be careful lest we begin to think of our position in Christ as one that elevates us above others. When we begin to think that way we start to look at others differently. We look at the unbeliever as having less value and we begin to look at other believers as people who should be like we are.

Paul is giving us an example of the attitude we should have toward others. He compares the attitude of the apostles to that of a mother caring for her little children. Though a mother’s position is certainly one of greater responsibility than her children, she knows that her children come first. She nurtures and cares for her children at the expense of her own comfort, and often at the expense of her own health.

If we are to affect the world as the apostles affected the world we are going to have to adopt the same meek and gentle attitude as the apostles. We were attracted to the Lord by the Christ we saw in others and the world must see that same Christ in us if they are going to be attracted to the Lord.

Here is a challenge. Ask yourself this question, “Who do I know that would say I am a meek and gentle person?” Hint: your mother doesn’t count.

 Principle: Our life must demonstrate the same Christ that attracted us.

 Affirmation: I regularly examine my life looking for characteristics of Christ.

 Prayer: Lord, I tend to be just a bit judgmental of others. Help me to be gentle with those I am called to serve. In Jesus name, amen.

 Bible Reading: Psalm 130   – Isaiah 43-44 – Ephesians 4 – Proverbs 24

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The Apostles Were Gentle Among Believers

Daily God Walk for Monday, August 24, 2009

 As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. – 1 Thessalonians 2:6-7

 As we rise in position it is only human nature for our attitude to change toward those of lesser position. We tend to think of ourselves as needing to be served by others because our position demands so much of us. That is not sinister, or particularly evil, it is just human nature.

The opposite seems to have been true among the apostles. In passing, Paul makes reference to the importance of his position as an apostle. As a valued leader in the faith, he could have asked more of the people by way of personal support, but he chose not to.

We who are believers in the Christ must be careful lest we begin to think of our position in Christ as one that elevates us above others. When we begin to think that way we start to look at others differently. We look at the unbeliever as having less value and we begin to look at other believers as people who should be like we are.

Paul is giving us an example of the attitude we should have toward others. He compares the attitude of the apostles to that of a mother caring for her little children. Though a mother’s position is certainly one of greater responsibility than her children, she knows that her children come first. She nurtures and cares for her children at the expense of her own comfort, and often at the expense of her own health.

If we are to affect the world as the apostles affected the world we are going to have to adopt the same meek and gentle attitude as the apostles. We were attracted to the Lord by the Christ we saw in others and the world must see that same Christ in us if they are going to be attracted to the Lord.

Here is a challenge. Ask yourself this question, “Who do I know that would say I am a meek and gentle person?” Hint: your mother doesn’t count.

 Principle: Our life must demonstrate the same Christ that attracted us.

 Affirmation: I regularly examine my life looking for characteristics of Christ.

 Prayer: Lord, I tend to be just a bit judgmental of others. Help me to be gentle with those I am called to serve. In Jesus name, amen.

 Bible Reading: Psalm 130   – Isaiah 43-44 – Ephesians 4 – Proverbs 24

Would you like a printed copy of the Daily God Walk for the Whole month?  http://newhopeministryresources.org/dailywalk.html

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Peter Was A Gentle Apostle

Daily God Walk for Saturday, August 22 2009

  When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “feed my lambs.” – John 21:15-16

 Peter is the disciple who is remembered for more things than any of the others in the original 12. It was to Peter that Jesus gave the keys to the kingdom; it was Peter who attacked the soldier who came to take Jesus; It was Peter who just a few hours later denied Christ three times; and it was Peter who was first to stand on the day of Pentecost and declare Christ to all who would listen.

It was just a few days after Peter denied Christ, not long after the resurrection, when he said to the other disciples, “I’m going fishing,” and the others followed him to the lake. They fished through the night, casting their nets first here, then there, yet the nets kept coming up empty.

Left with empty nets and troubling thoughts, Peter was weary. All at once there was a voice from the shore calling, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find [fish]” (verse 6). They did and caught so many fish that they couldn’t bring them all in.

 Squinting into the early morning Sun Peter tried to make out who it was that hailed them. Suddenly one of the disciples declared, “It is the Lord!” Peter, ever the zealous one, dropped his outer garment, jumped into the water and swam to where Jesus was.

Then Jesus challenged Peter; “Do you love me?” Not once, or twice, but three times he asks. Totally humbled Peter replies, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” All of his failures and impetuous acts flashed before his eyes as he considered the question himself – did he really love Jesus?

Peter never failed again. Beginning at Pentecost he became a voice boldly declaring the works of God and the gift of salvation through Christ. Peter had finally learned that meekness is more than bold declarations and acts, but meekness is being committed and submitted to a higher principle.

 Principle: Loving Christ means we follow him with meekly and gently.

 Affirmation: I show my love for Christ by meekly following him.

 Prayer: Lord, I, like Peter have failed you in many ways, yet, I know that I love you. Grant me grace to meekly submit my will to you. In Jesus name, amen.

 Bible Reading: Psalm 119:57-64   – Isaiah 39-40 – Proverbs 22

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Paul ”Hope Preacher” Smith

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