Author Archives: Jim Gavigan

About Jim Gavigan

Business Development Manager at Logical Systems, LLC jgavigan@logicalsysinc.com

I John 4-5

Scripture:

 19We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

I John 4:19-20 (NIV)

Observation:

Both I John 4 and 5 address love and how we should love God and one another. It also deals a lot with how our relationship should be with God, with the world, and one another.

Application:

19We love because he first loved us.

God loved us first and foremost. This should be the centerpiece of our faith. He loves EVERYONE. There is not a person that you have ever met that God hasn’t loved. Period.

20If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

I think the term “brother” here means anyone else we know in the faith, and may even stretch to neighbors, coworkers, acquaintances, or that person who took the last parking spot at the mall. This could literally mean brother or sister, but friend, or like John’s post yesterday, even our enemy. God commands us to love others as we love Him. This is extremely difficult and is one of the hardest things to follow in the Christian faith.

I think many times, the 2nd part of that verse, where John talks about how if we don’t deal well with something that we can see, touch, smell, hear, etc., then how can we deal with something we cannot see, touch, smell, or hear?

21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

MUST, not “should,” or “ought to.” MUST love his brother. This is not a choice.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, I am sorry if I have ever missed an opportunity to love someone I should have. I especially pray for conviction now for me or for anyone reading this post who is struggling with this. If I have turned away from someone that I should love, then I am sorry and change my heart. If there is someone right now who you need me to love and I am ignoring your command, then please reveal that to me. Let me not miss this command of yours.

Amen.

Jtgavigan

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1 Thessalonians 1-5

Scripture:

 16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

Observation:

Such  simple verses, so hard to put into practice. There was so much in 1 Thessalonians to pull from, but this just jumped off the page.

Application:

1.  Be joyful always – that doesn’t mean “part time,” ” half the time,” ” 99% of the time.” Always. Under any circumstances. No matter what. Can we really do that? Isn’t that impossible? The most applicable definition of joy is: a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated. In the NAS, this verse states “rejoice always” and the King James states “rejoice evermore.”

I am not sure that this means always being in a state of happiness. This means a joy that cannot be taken by circumstances. We need to rejoice that we have and what we are in the Lord. This should be no matter what is happening. If Paul can sing hymns in prison after being flogged, then we should be able to find joy in OUR circumstances. We should never have the pure joy of knowing our Savior taken from us by what is going on in our world.

2. Pray continually – This doesn’t mean “once in a while,” “when I get around to it,” or anything else. It means all the time. Have the Lord in our thoughts and our hearts. Express our feelings to him; our fears, our hopes, our dreams, our struggles. Prayer doesn’t have to be formal. It is simply a conversation with God. Think  that he is in the car in the passenger seat talking with you when you are driving alone, or walking next to you when you go for a walk or a run, or even when you are cleaning house. He is with us always, so we need to acknowledge and talk to him all the time.

3. Give thanks in all circumstances – this is not “some,” “a few,” most,” or none. All means all. every one. God has a plan in the circumstances, good or bad. Silver is refined by extreme heat, and all the impurities and skimmed off until the silversmith can see his reflection in the silver. God does that with us – he skims off the sin, or “impurities,” until we are refined. Coal, under extreme heat and pressure, turns into a beautiful diamond.  So, God refines us and turns us into something in His image by whatever circumstances we go through, no matter how challenging they might seem. He has a plan and we need to have confidence that He will use it for His glory.

Prayer:

Lord, let me live these three simple verses. They need to become my life verses. They are so simple to read, yet so hard to follow. Let me not miss these truths and let all who read this find comfort in these words. Amen.

 JtGavigan

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Romans 14-16

Scripture:

19Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.

 22So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

Romans 14:19-23 (NIV)

Observation:

I know that Paul was settling a specific issue here around food, but I also have to think that this issue is deeper. How often do we as Christians stand at odds with each other over issues that just don’t matter? We argue or condemn other Christians over certain beliefs or non-beliefs and they have no bearing on our eternal destiny. If we step back, would Jesus want us to be against each other over issues that frankly just aren’t that important?

Application:

 I think the line about not doing anything to make another stumble is huge here as well. When we have someone we are discipling in Christ, this is especially important, to make sure we don’t allow them to stumble on an issue we don’t struggle with. If I am working with another believer, and they have an issue that they struggle with and I don’t (say for instance, I have a glass of wine in front of a recovering alcoholic at dinner, yet because my father was an alcoholic, I have no struggle with drinking too much), then I can be to blame for their stumbles. We need to be aware of others struggles when discipling them. 

We also need to be extremely careful with each other about arguing over beliefs that aren’t biblically centered (they are just our beliefs and not God’s perse) and also around issues where other believers struggle. We can have so much impact on people with our actions, and I think the essence of chapter 14 is a pointed example of this. Our actions and our words can have a great negative affect on others if we are not careful.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, please help me not draw a figurative line in the sand with other believers over non-critical issues and please don;t let me contribute to their struggles. Let me remain focused on what is important and not on opinions of us as imperfect humans. Lord, thank you for paul’s writings and thank you for the Holy Spirit which spoke through him. Amen.

Jtgavigan

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Acts 1-3

Scripture:

20“For,” said Peter, “it is written in the book of Psalms,
   ” ‘May his place be deserted;
      let there be no one to dwell in it,’[d] and,
   ” ‘May another take his place of leadership.’[e] 21Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”

 23So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

Acts 1:20-23 (NIV)

Observation:

Casting a lot, the rolling of dice, the flipping of a coin, rock, paper, scissors. This is what the final decision was on who the 12th apostle would be after Judas had betrayed Jesus. I have seen and read this term “casting lots” many times, but hadn’t done a lot of reaserach on the subject. So, I picked this scripture out to satisfy my curiosity. It is exactly what you would think. The items varied based on the custom of the region, but it was basically a “game of chance,” much like what I mentioned above.  The premise was that when a difficult decision was too tough for anyone to make or to agree upon, the persons or people involved would cast lots to make the decision, thinking that the result would be God’s will as he would have willed the lots to fall a certain way. Very interesting.

Application:

I am so glad that I have yet to feel inclined to “cast a lot” or flip a coin to see what decision I need to make. I could just see myself saying: “God, I don’t like that decision – how about two out of three….three out of five….no, four out of seven” after each flip. I am glad that we can rely on the Holy Spirit (which had yet to come according to scripture, but was the next recorded event at Pentecost). I am glad that every time I have asked God for help in a decision, especially a tough one, God made it crystal clear what I was to do. The Holy Spirit is much more comforting than the casting of lots for sure. It is interesting that the practice of casting lots was never talked about after this passage. I highly doubt that is coincidence.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, thank you for not having us rely on a game of chance to know what your will is in our lives. I thank You for the Holy Spirit, although I wish I had the strength to listen to it more. Sometimes, I know the right path and choose to follow another. I mentally am still saying “best out of five…” sometimes when it is crystal clear what you need me to do. Please give me the guidance, strength, and wisdom to follow your lead. Amen

 

Jtgavigan

 

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Luke 12-13

Scripture:

22Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]? 26Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

 27“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

Luke 12:22-31

Observation:

God chooses birds and flowers to point out that he will take care of us as he does all his creations. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it.

Application:

It seems as though I come back to this scripture whenever I get worried about something, especially with finances. I always try to remember that God will give me and my family what we need, and probably more than we need. This scripture is a great reminder of just that. Amazing that we watch God take care of the birds and the flowers and yet we worry about what WE will have to eat or what clothes we will wear.

This world seems to tell us that we need to worry about these things. Just watch commercials for 5 minutes and the world tells us what we should look like, what we should wear, what we should eat, and what we should drive. It also tries to tell us what we are not if we don’t have those things. This scripture should remind all Christians that we shouldn’t worry about worldly things.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, please let me be thankful for what you have given me and my family. We are blessed beyond belief and sometimes I fail to recognize this. I just got back from China, and was able to see first hand how blessed I am, how we all are. Lord, let us not forget how much you bless us everyday and let us not worry about what the world wants us to be. Amen.

Jtgavigan

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Matthew 27-28

Scripture:

19While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

Observation:

Claudia Procula, the nameless wife of Pontius Pilate, is mentioned here in passing in this scripture. What did she have to do with anything? Why did Matthew not name her by name, as she was the wife of a prominent figure of the time? Which one of Pilate’s camp leaked this kind of information to the disciples? Did she become a Christian later because of this dream? What was in this dream anyway? What exactly did she mean by “suffered?”

I like a few of the previous bloggers have found it tough in the New Testament to narrow down what to write about. The  New Testament is so rich and full of great stuff that it is hard to narrow down. So, I chose something more obscure that I have glossed over before, yet something that has made me curious as well in the past. I wonder all of the questions above and I doubt any of us will know the answers this side of heaven.

Application:

I find myself again wondering why God chose to deliver a message a certain way. The last blog that I wrote was about why He chose certain numbers in a prophet’s words. Here, I wonder why Pilate’s wife’s statement is so fleeting. I have read stories where she became a part of the early Christian movement, and that could be true, although the Bible doesn’t teach us this, and I didn’t fully investigate the credibility of those authors. I saw another theory was that it was the devil trying to make sure that God’s plan didn’t come to fruition and he was trying to use Claudia to save Jesus. I doubt that. I just find it so interesting that God uses what is seemingly small and insignificant, yet we just skip over it. He chose every word in the Bible – so why this seemingly obscure verse? It is often this way in God’s world. We miss important lessons when we don’t stop and ponder his every lesson, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem at the time. 

I find this interesting that there was no expounding on the subject and we never know what Pilate’s reaction was. It certainly didn’t change Jesus’s fate. The dream that she had no doubt had a profound effect on Claudia Procula, maybe we will see her in heaven one day.

Prayer:

Lord, I don’t begin to think I understand all of the lessons that you give me in your word and in my daily life. I just pray that I don’t miss ANY of them. Don’t let me gloss over them and just pass them by. Let me soak up your word and your lessons like a sponge and never let me miss a drop of them. Amen

 

Jtgavigan

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Zechariah 1-7

Scripture:

10 “Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the LORD. 11 “Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you.

Zechariah 2:10-11, NIV

8 ” ‘Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes [d] on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.

Zechariah 3:8-9, NIV

Observation:

Much like the book of Revelation, Zechariah is filled with symbolic prophesy. I am always curious of all of the symbolism  used in the Bible and I must admit I am puzzled by two recurring numbers in these particular chapters and I am asking for insight on what these mean from the readers of this blog. I am giving what I think may be what this symbolism means, but I am by no means a Bible scholar. I am just offering my lay person’s perspective. The two recurring numbers are 4 and 7. Four, or some multiple of, is used 7 times:

  • On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month (Zechariah 1:7)
  • Then I looked up—and there before me were four horns! (Zechariah 1:18)
  • Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen.  (Zechariah 1:20)
  • “for I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven,” declares the LORD. (Zechariah 2:6)
  • I looked up again—and there before me were four chariots coming out from between two mountains (Zechariah 6:1)
  • The angel answered me, “These are the four spirits [k] of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world. (Zechariah 6:5)
  • In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev. (Zechariah 7:1)

The word seven, or a multiple of,  is used in the following:

  • Judah, which you have been angry with these seventy years? (Zechariah 1:12)
  • See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes [d] on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ (Zechariah 3:9)
  • I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lights on it, with seven channels to the lights. (Zechariah 4:2)
  • These seven are the eyes of the LORD, which range throughout the earth. (Zechariah 4:10)
  • ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? (Zechariah 7:5)

I never think that it is an accident why certain symbols and numbers of these symbols are chosen. I also certainly believe that the two scriptures in the “Scripture” section of this post are Messianic predictions of the coming of Jesus. I can only think that the “seven” can represent the 7 continents and 4 can represent the 4 directions (North, South, East, and West – these are even used in the symbolism, with the North having a special significance). My thought is that all of this symbolism is to remind us that Jesus and his Father, God ,are omnipotent and omnipresent – everywhere at all times; on all seven continents, covering all four directions or bearings.

Application:

How quickly we forget how big God really is. he has created everything, knows everything, and is everywhere. This is such a hard thing to fathom. I cannot seem to wrap my meager little mind around it, but it is true. It seems easy to take for granted when we get busy, but one of the very first things we should do in prayer is acknowledge just how big God is and thank Him for being that way and giving justice and balance to this world. He also gives us a reason to live, and eternal hope through his Son. I thank Him for bold predictions like these that I can use in an apologetic way, to help people understand how many prophecies came true about Jesus and how these prophesies were predicted hundreds to thousands of years before he got to Earth.  These can help us “defend our faith” as these predictions and Jesus’ coming were no accident and no conspiracy. They were predicted by God’s chosen people. We need to thank him for every word chosen in His book, even though we don’t  always understand all of the symbolism and may not fully understand all of it this side of heaven. It is just amazing to me just how big God is – on all seven continents, all four bearings; everywhere, all the time, and all knowing. Whew!!

Prayer:

Lord God, please forgive me for forgetting how big you are. Every battle I face in this life, you know about already. You have chosen every path that I will take. You have chosen my destiny, just as you do for everyone. You chose every word that is used in your book to teach us more about you. Thank you for all of it. Thank you for the conduit to you that you have given to us in Jesus Christ. Thank you for just being so….well…BIG!! Lord, I love you, and may I never take you for granted. Amen

 

Jtgavigan

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