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Showing posts from November 11, 2012

Work

In the years of Abraham and Jacob of the Bible and until the industrial age, the agrarian nature of man’s existence caused him to work in the fields and have herds of animals. This was considered wealth and that wealth sprung from the ground and the animals he possessed.
Solomon spoke of the requirements to keep such wealth secure when he said, “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.” (Proverbs 27:23) We know that to own large plots of land and grow grains, fruits and vegetables takes a lot of work and so does owning many animals.
We have passed from the agrarian age through the industrial age where work was in factories and buildings rather than in the fields. We have moved into the information age where a person can live and work at home but the essence of what Solomon said is still true today.
Whatever your livelihood you must understand it and give careful a…

Angry Birds

It has become common place to play the game Angry Birds. In it birds are used as fodder to destroy structures. The birds are angry because of what the pigs have done to them. I have often thought of this game as an illustration of the proletariat (the birds or the working class) and the bourgeois (the pigs or the wealthy) so emphasized by Communism. The proletariat are angry and seek revenge for their state in life. They want resolution through equality by bringing down the bourgeois.
We can extend this thinking to one who is angry and revengeful for the situations he is put in life and we know that it is not helpful or beneficial to him or his family. We can think of God also as having a nature that is vengeful and angry.
As Ezekiel is speaking to the people of God about repentance from their idolatry, he speaks these words of God: “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.” (Ezek…

Reflection

As Americans we love and seek our own individuality. We are proud to embrace the right to be different from another. We identify reasons why we are different and unique and it bolsters our self-confidence. Yet, however different our DNA makes us outside we are the same inside. We all have the same nature.
Solomon clearly identified this when he said, “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.” (Proverbs 27:19) One commentator has translated the second portion of this verse “so in another heart we see the reflection of our own.” When we look into a mirror-like substance it can do no other but reflect exactly what we are. We see in others the same things we see in us.
For all our suggested diversity and seeming uniqueness we mirror others. From Adam and Eve and their blame of another after their fall in Genesis 3 to today and well into tomorrow human kind has a heart that is marred by sin. Other stories of the Bible example this as through the generations we see the sam…

Discipline

Can you accept discipline in your life or do you fight against it? Those who consider it a helpful thing end up benefiting from it. Those who do not, end up suffering even more.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)
Everyone agrees that discipline is not pleasant and probably painful. We have never seen a child that rejoiced because they experienced a spanking. Usually there are tears and a sore bottom. But if, as the passage states at its end, they have been “trained” by it or have changed their previous wrong actions to proper and right actions, then they produce good things and peace reigns in their heart.
We see that punishment is not the end of discipline but the means by which correction comes to the person. When a life is corrected it is adjusted to a new path and that allows for good to come rather than more punishment. The true purpose for…

Real

In the movie The Matrix what Neo thought was real was only an illusion. The reality of life was invisible to him but was present all around him. He had to go through a rebirth in order to understand the difference between the physical and the invisible.
Moses became aware of the same conflict between what is real and what is not real, too. His faith, seeded in him from his parents, came to a point of expression in his decision to regard the disgrace of being with the slave people of Israel as of greater value than remaining in Egypt with all its seeming power and treasure.
He was acting on the core belief that our humanness is a fading glory. The world of our five senses is a temporary moment in the eternity of our lives. Moses “persevered because he saw him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27) Moses chose to follow God because He is the reality even though invisible to the world. This is the truth of the first verse of Hebrews 11:1 that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certai…

Provoke

If you have a brother or sister you know what it means to be provoked. And, if you are a parent you have watched one child provoke another until they are fighting right in front of you. The response of one to the other stirs up words and in their immaturity turns into actions if the frustration continues. Such is the negative connotation of the word “provoke,” but there is a positive usage of this word; a way in which it encourages another.

Paul, the possible author of Hebrews, states, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25) The Christian life is not to be lived alone and here Paul indicates the importance of continuing to meet together rather than shrink back from gathering.
He indicates that it is through meeting together that we “provoke” each other to confess our hope in Christ more courageously and unhesitatingly. It is not the independent voice but t…

Faith

Are you sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see? The future and the invisible are both hard for us to grasp. Faith in the invisible and belief in the future is tough for us who like Thomas need to see it to believe it.
God does not work this way and illustrates that in Hebrews 11 with many stories of genuine faith beginning with the son of Adam and Eve, Abel. But before the writer shares these stories he gives us the ultimate test of faith. He speaks about creation.
“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Hebrews 11:2) The story of creation is the first story we have to believe by faith. To believe that God spoke the universe into existence out of nothing tests our minds. It demands that we jump beyond what we know as natural laws to basing our beliefs on faith. But when we believe that everything we see came from nothing, we are on our way to understand faith.
The first seven…