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First Thing Is First

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SCRIPTURE

For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. - Ezra 7:10

 

OBSERVATION

Everything in life has a proper order. The correct sequence is crucial whether it’s a baby first learning how to crawl, then walk and finally to run. When a constructing a building one sets the foundation first, then the walls and roofing and then the interior details. First thing is first. Ezra understood this. He first set his heart to study the Scripture. Notice that it is with the heart, the wellspring of life that Ezra directed his affection and desire to do. What defines our lives is not so much what we think as it is what we love. In his love for God, Ezra ordered his heart to study God’s word. Secondly, he resolved to obey Scripture. He did not study to teach—he studied to obey. He applied God’s word to his own self first then he taught. The purpose of study is self application not knowledge in of itself. Thirdly he taught God’s statutes. There was an outlet for the application and knowledge i.e. there was a ministry of the word. A minister ministers the word of God that he first ministered to himself. As a result of his skill in the Scripture, “the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him” (7:6). In other words, the favor of God was upon him.

 

APPLICATION

Point of obedience:

  •  Direct my affection to study God’s word: Have my heart renewed, my soul refreshed and my spirit strengthened by God-breathed Scripture.

  • Study in order to apply it to myself first: Watch for the danger of studying only to preach without first being examined and changed by God. 

  • Teach and preach from a place of application: Not only will it result in a stronger conviction and more depth in preaching but I am transformed into Christlikeness which is the end goal.

 

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, 

Thank you for being a God of order. Please forgive me for seasons of studying to preach instead of studying in order to be changed. Please bring me back to my first love of knowing you through your word. Especially in this season of busyness and studying for my master’s I need your grace to study for the sake of applying your word to myself first. I need your anointing Holy Spirit to teach with conviction and power. I love you.

Posted by John Danganan with 0 Comments

Bearing Fruits in Repentance

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SCRIPTURE

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. - Luke 13:3-5

 

OBSERVATION

Sin is sin. No matter how we slice it or dice it sin is sin before God. Whether it’s the garden variety sin of lying, not loving God, or coveting; or to “sins leading to death” like murder or theft—the solution is the same. Repentance, the act of grieving over sin, turning away from sin and running to God is the panacea to all the ills of sin. Jesus makes it explicitly clear that unless we repent we will perish. It’s interesting to note that immediately after this teaching in repentance, Luke juxtaposed this parable of a barren fig tree needing to be cut after three years of fruitlessness. It typically takes about two years for a fig tree to bear fruit. The gardener said to dig around the tree, fertilize it and if still doesn’t bear fruit after another year to chop it down. John the Baptist in Luke 3 says that we are to bear fruit in repentance. 

 

APPLICATION

Is there the fruit of repentance in my life? Or do I simply ask for forgiveness and repeat the same habitual sin in my life? God is so patient and long-suffering in his love for me. Psalm 103:10 says, "he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” I want to repent and live in the freedom, joy and abundant life in Christ Jesus.

 

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

I love you so much. Thank you for your loving patience and kindness that leads me to repentance. May I never take for granted or dishonor all that you have accomplished for me at the cross. Please continue to strengthen me with your spirit to repent so that times of refreshing may come. Maranatha!

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