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Showing posts from May 26, 2013

The Long View

There are days in our lives when it is easy to get hung up in the present, the short view of life. We ask the same questions that the Psalmist asked:
"Will the Lord reject forever?Will he never show his favor again?Has his unfailing love vanished forever?Has his promise failed for all time?Has God forgotten to be merciful?Has he in anger withheld his compassion?" (Psalm 77:7-9)
These questions suggest that God no longer has the strength that He used to or doesn't care about us anymore. This negative thinking leads us down a dark alley. It causes us to despair and be discouraged. It is amazing what thoughts can do to your life.
But consider this, like a whack on the forehead as in the V-8 juice commercial, the Psalmist begins to consider the long view in verses 10-18; previous times God has been strong and revealed His love for His people. When he meditates and reflects on the past, God's ways, His nearness and caring are evident.
He says, &q…

Peace Through Strength

It seems that this statement is always under discussion. Is there truly a way to be at peace and yet still stay strong?
Asa was the son of Abijah who was the son of Rehoboam, son of Solomon. The nation of Judah had been going down a slippery slope building altars to strange gods, creating high places and many images and groves where false religion could be practiced. This had brought confusion among the people and spiritual as well as physical defeat.
But Asa was a man who "was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God." (2 Chronicles 14:2) Asa brought about reformation by destroying all the places of false worship and the images to which the people were bowing down. He lifted high the law of God and His commandments. As a result of this, "the kingdom was quiet before him." (2 Chronicles 14:9)
So what was Asa also doing? He "built fenced cities in Judah." (2 Chronicles 14:6) Now let's understand this for the applicable truth to us today. The natio…

Guard

As young boys my brother and I were given boxing gloves. We used to practice with each other and knew that if a glove was dropped for a moment it could mean a punch was going to hit its target. Keeping our guard up was a must.
There is a sense in which we need to be on guard every day for an incoming punch. Solomon encouraged his readers about this when he said, "The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life." (Proverbs 16:17)
It is certain that traveling the "highway of the upright" provides a more profitable journey while walking the path of the unrighteous leads to a dark end. But this different path is not easier, in fact it is harder. Solomon used two verbs to express the active nature of protecting yourself. He challenged us to "avoid evil." To avoid is to keep away from. It has to do with altering your path by choosing another way.
This other way includes "guarding" what comes into your life: the thoughts, si…

Father's Love

There is something very special about a father's love for his children. It goes beyond the boundaries of selfishness and extends to selflessness. A father is meant to be a protector, provider, leader, teacher and guide. He can be a wise person and his presence in the important moments of a child's life can assure and encourage.
Some of us have not experienced this from our earthly fathers. We have seen a different person in that role; one that was self-absorbed, absent and / or immature. That has led us to misunderstand what love is and specifically the love of God the Father because we see Him through the prism of our natural father. This does not allow us to trust Him, listen to Him, learn from Him or love Him.
Jesus spoke to the disciples an encouraging word about the Heavenly Father. He said, "the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God." (John 16:27) Their focus on Jesus as the Son of God was a spiritual decision a…

Innocent?

There is a sense in which we can believe much about ourselves that is not true. Solomon put forth this proverb, "All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord." (Proverbs 16:2)
A person's "ways" or actions, decisions, and desires are convinced to be right although they may not be so. In our mind we can rationalize anything. We can convince the mind of the rightness of our acts and hide from our self the underlying motive. We look at our life subjectively and need the perspective of others for true objectivity.
The proverb goes on to say that our "motives" are "weighed by the Lord." He has pure objectivity concerning our life. He sees below the actions, which on the surface look good, down into the heart where the motive for those actions lies. Motive is the inner drive that causes motion. It is the impulse that throbs beneath the surface that causes a person to act in a certain way. What do you think is an innoc…

Words

There is benefit for all in the words of a wise person. In the book of Ecclesiastes, a search for meaning and purpose in life, Solomon observes words and what they can do in a life.
He states that "words from a wise man's mouth are gracious." (Eccl. 10:12) This idea of graciousness extends both to the hearer and the speaker. It suggests that the affect such speech has on the hearer is pleasant and enjoyable. He is desirous of hearing more and learns much from the speaker. While at the same time, the speaker is admired and respected for the words he speaks.
On the other hand, the words of a fool consume him. They begin with folly and end with raving madness. They are not good for the life of the speaker and really not good for the life of the listener. They seem strange, threatening, crazy ramblings.
The wise person measures their words, evaluates how they will be perceived and so creates benefit and blessing rather than evil and destruction. The wise person says less and g…