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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Brother Doug's DISCLAIMER

Brother Doug’s DISCLAIMER

Here’s the Brother Doug’s Devotions first of the year DISCLAIMER:

All “QUIET TIMES” and “SONG SERIES” blogs are a candid glimpse into Brother Doug’s personal daily quiet time and the studies he puts together for his worship team. 

The devotionals (with the exception of SONG SERIES) are in no way developed with any particular person or group in mind. If at any time the reader feels that the blog is aimed or written specifically for him/her, and that Brother Doug somehow discovered or became privy to the reader’s personal information, it is simply not so and purely unintentional on his part. 

However, if these little bible studies help the reader grow more aware of what God is speaking to his/her heart, please feel free to “Like” the blog and pass it along accordingly.

Christ First and Foremost,

Brother Doug

Quiet Time: Why Be Sad

Why Be Sad

"If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." 
– Genesis 4:7

Sin makes us sad.

We are happiest when we do well, right, and follow the light.

Mastering anything, according to Robert Greene, author of the book Mastery  says the secret ingredients to becoming a world master at something are “desire and time”. Perhaps this helps us understand why Christ followers often find themselves overcome by sin. 

There are two desires within every Christian, the flesh and the Spirit (Gal. 5:17) therefore, we must determine to desire and allocate time for the things that build up the Spirit’s ability to work within us.

A Christ follower is happiest when following Jesus and sad when he sins.Why be sad?

Monday, December 30, 2013

Quiet Time: Covenant Marriage

Covenant Marriage

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 
– Genesis 2:24

When I married my wife I committed to love her for life.This commitment is called a covenant, which simply means an alliance, or in today’s vernacular, a contract (Prov. 2:17).  I personally like the term “alliance” because it reminds me that I chose to begin a life-long friendship with my wife.

As an ordained pastor I sometimes have the privilege of marrying couples. One of the first questions I ask is, “Why do you like him/her?” The reply is often, “I don’t like her; I love her.” Now, upon first blush, this sounds like a good answer, but let me tell you, if the person we’re planning to marry is not our friend first, the last thing we should do is commit to live and love them for life.

Perhaps God gave us marriage so that we could better understand our relationship with Christ. We see that we don’t commit to a list of rules and regulations, although that is part of any monogamous relationship; like marriage, we covenant or form an alliance with a person to love Him and be His forever friend.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Queit Time: Listen; Just Listen

Listen; Just Listen

They sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great. —Job 2:13

Yesterday I met Mike. Within twenty minutes I knew more about his life than the men I’ve worked with for more than twenty years. He was bringing in the shopping carts for one of the big chain stores when I asked him if he wanted the cart I’d just finished using. He said sure and then asked, “How was your Christmas?” Before I could answer he said, “I was off work for Christmas but…” 

The next several minutes, while standing in that parking lot, I listened without saying a word to Mike as he described, in rapid staccato, a life filled with relentless pressure and pain.

Here’s what I learned about Mike:

  •   Forty years old
  •  One sibling, a sister, whom he loves
  •  Doesn’t drink or smoke
  •  Single, never married, and no prospects
  •  Living paycheck to paycheck
  •  Drives an old car that’s ready to break down at any minute
  •  Had to fend for himself by age 14
  • 8th grade education
  •  Believes in hard work and no hand-outs
At this point in the conversation, it got personal….
  •  Father and mother are alcoholics and as far as he can remember, have always been
  • They drank and smoked away any money that may have helped maintain the household
  • Mike doesn’t visit them and didn’t see them Christmas; too depressing
  • Mike got nothing for Christmas
  • The last gift he received was a pair of socks from his dad several Christmases past
  • He thinks Christmas is all about getting not giving; and it certainly has nothing to do with Christ
  •  He sat around and did nothing Christmas day.
  • No one called him and he called no one.
  • No one cares
Now, let me be candid, people don’t often open up to me like that. As a matter of fact, I’ve been told by friends and co-workers that I can be a bit intimidating. That’s a laugh. Besides, like most people, I usually try and avoid the Mikes of this world. But, for some reason this guy felt free to talk to me, and I felt free to listen. 

Now that I think about it, may-be it was due to the bible verse from my personal quiet time yesterday (Job 2:13) that made the difference.  I asked God to help me be a better listener, and He did. 

It's sobering to think how many Mikes I may have missed in the past just because I didn’t care enough to listen.

Here are some more verses that come to mind:
(James 1:19) Quick to listen (Prov. 17:27) Restrain your words (Prov. 16:32) Be a patient person

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Quiet Time: I Beg to Differ

I Beg to Differ

Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. – Philippians 3:15 NLT

I disagree. 

When did this two word sentence become wrong?

I am a fundamental, bible believing, blood bought Christ follower who understands that the bible teaches many explicit doctrines, many more implicit truths, and an even greater number of not so clear stuff, to which my best answer is, “I don’t know.” This view neither hinders me from searching the scriptures to better understand God’s heart, nor does it keep me from hanging out with those who see things differently.

One thing I see is that the church is changing. Many things are accepted today that would have never been allowed in the past. More bewildering; fundamental doctrines are now being reshaped by some very popular teachers, possibly, for the sake of reaching an ever larger audience. 

Realistically, most of us will never be in a position to talk one on one with a rock star preacher, but there's no reason why individual believers can't sit down with their local pastor, as well as, small group bible studies and reasonably search the scriptures together, agreeing and disagreeing graciously. I see little hope of the body of Christ growing in grace and truth, let alone, being of one mind and spirit serving the LORD (Phil. 1:27) until we do. 

“I disagree”, should not separate but instigate further study and dialog. 

Dig deeper – listen longer – speak slower - practice patience