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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