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Showing posts from May 20, 2012

Integrity

What does it mean to have integrity? This word is hard to explain. It can be defined as without cracks, or pure in motive or maybe even clear of evil intent. Integrity is important to your life. Note the life of Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba’s husband.
He was not a Jew but a Canaanite who continued to live in the land of Israel. Uriah had deep respect for Israel’s religion and served in its army. He was known to be among the mighty men that surrounded David.
After David slept with Bathsheba and was told she was pregnant, he ordered Uriah’s return from the battle lines. David thought Uriah would go home after meeting with him to be with Bathsheba and thus cover David’s sin but Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!” (2 Samuel 11:11)
Uriah had integrity. He spoke of “the ark,…

Releasing Peace

We can all admit that there are times when inside us we have a troubled and possibly fearful feeling. It may be a circumstance or a relationship or it may be the hand of the tempter upon us that causes us to have anxiety and feel the pressures of today.
But wait a minute, if you are experiencing this as a believer, how do you reconcile that with John 14:1 “let not your heart be troubled” or John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
There is a peace which can abide within a believer that cannot be shaken or taken away. Hendriksen in his commentary on this passage says it plainly, “The world may give outward pleasure, physical rest and enjoyment, honor, wealth, but never that inner assurance which is the reflection of the smile of God in the heart of his child.”
The peace that Jesus said he was giving is a permanent part and a blessed treasure for every believer. It removes sp…

Removing Boundaries

All of us have statements we tell ourselves. We seem to trust the mind to deliver the truth but that is not always the case. When push comes to shove what we really need is not necessarily more facts but more faith.
In Jesus’ initial visit to the disciples after his resurrection, Thomas was not among them. When confronted with the truth of Jesus’ resurrection by the other 10 disciples Thomas had said he had to “see and touch him” or else he would not believe. (John 20:26-28) Those were Thomas' rules.
When Jesus returned a week later, speaking specifically to Thomas, he says touch me in the hands and side.  But Thomas is never said to have touched Christ's hands and side. He simply states, "My Lord and my God!"
Funny how the rules we think we need to extend our faith are not necessarily what God knows we need to extend our faith. Jesus offered to have Thomas do exactly what he had said would be necessary to believe but upon seeing Jesus his own rules dropped away and he…

Confident Servanthood

What is it like to have a confidence that surmounts any circumstance and allows you act as a servant even to an enemy? This is hard. We tend to want to bolster ourselves up in front of them rather than stand confident and quietly in their presence. We don’t want to show what we would consider “weakness” before them.
However, let’s look at the example of Jesus in the last supper just before his delivery to his enemies to be crucified. In this upper room are all the disciples, and that includes Judas. “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.” (John 13:3-4)
What allowed Jesus to perform the act of a servant in washing all the disciples feet including Judas? It was that he knew the Father had already given him power. He knew where he had come from and to where he was going. Confidence, in spite of his circumstances and…

Lighten Up

What would it be like to live in a world of darkness? There are parts of Alaska that barely have light during the daylight hours in the winter. There are places on this earth that are deep and the light does not reach them. Think of the back side of the moon which remains in darkness. These places are cold, bleak and dangerous.
When we realize the necessity of the sun to our existence we can be thankful for its warmth and light. Jesus declared himself to be the light of the world and John revealed that “in him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:4) The life was the light of men. He has always been and ever will be light. He came into a world that was dark and brightened it for a moment and then gave us the commission to spread the light that now dwells within us.
It is a thought provoking study to examine the verses in John where Jesus is referred to as the light. Take a moment to read through them and ponder the depths of Christ’s statements like, “I am the light of …

Hesitant Obedience

When was it last that you were told to do something that you didn’t want to but when you did it it brought positive results for your life? How can obedience in that type of situation be so rewarding?
David and his men had been living with the Philistines for over a year as he hid from Saul who wanted to kill him. After a year, the Philistines went out to war against Israel and David and his 600 men marched out in their ranks. Upon the counsel of his other leaders, King Achish tells David to go back home and not to fight with them. “So David and his men got up early in the morning to go back to the land of the Philistines, and the Philistines went up to Jezreel.” (1 Samuel 29:11)David’s obedience to Achish’s command, although he argued against it, had the following positive results:
While gone to battle with Achish, the Amalekites had captured all that was in David’s home city, Ziklag, and burned the city. David’s return was soon enough to follow their trail and retrieve a…

Conundrum

How is it that the intent of man to make things work out for his own good can actually cause the plan of God to be carried out? How can evil bring forth good? This is a conundrum and reveals the all powerful and all knowing ability of God to turn man’s wrong into right for God’s purposes.
Consider the betrayal of Joseph by his brothers that provides a savior for the family 22 years later in Egypt. Consider Saul’s desire to see David dead so he sends him out repeatedly to fight the Philistines only David wins every time and becomes highly praised by the people of Israel. Consider the high priest in the passage below who decides that Jesus must be killed and this carries out the plan of God to have him sacrificed for all the world.
“Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, ‘You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.’ He did not say this on his own, but as high p…