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Showing posts from August 25, 2013

Obedience

What would you do if a government leader gave you only the choice of "do what we say or die?" This seems extreme in our nation of liberty but is becoming more and more a possibility. In Babylon over 2,600 years ago, three Hebrew men were faced with such a decision.
A ninety foot tall by nine foot wide gold statue of King Nebuchadnezzar was erected and all leaders of the kingdom assembled and were told to bow down and worship it. Three Hebrew leaders would not, were given a second chance to do so, and because they still refused were thrown into a fiery furnace so hot that the men throwing them in died in the act. (Daniel 3:22)
These bound men were in the fire but the king saw four men walking around in the furnace. This is history not fantasy, written by the hand of Daniel for the purpose of encouraging believers in times of trial. When they were called out of the fire, their bodies and hair were not singed, neither was their clothing nor did it even have the smell of fire o…

Reciprocity

Have you seen a person that loves to give to the needs of the poor? It seems they always have enough even though they are taking from what they have and giving it away. How does this happen? It can be understood as the principle of reciprocity and is noted in Proverbs 22:9, "A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor."
Nehemiah was an example of this, for instead of using his power as Governor over Judah during the captivity to live in luxury he did not eat the food allotted to the governor but out of his own means served over 150 people at his table every day for twelve years. He saw to it that those who were poor either had food or a way to obtain food. (Nehemiah 5:12-19)
God is willing to give back to those who are willing to give up what they have. He reciprocates in His time to those who extend their hand to others. God's standard is sacrifice, not convenience. He loves a "cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7) He wants us…

Tug-a-War

At the end of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, King Nebuchadnezzar takes many of the leaders of Judah into captivity. He installs Gedaliah as the Governor over this new province of the Babylonian Empire and the dust begins to settle, but only for a moment. (Jeremiah 40-42)
Johanan, an army general who has pledged his loyalty to Gedaliah, comes to him with news that Ishmael, another army commander and a loyalist for the sovereignty of Judah, is involved in a plot to kill the Governor. He shares his plan to take the offensive and kill Ishmael. Gedaliah in his naivety doesn't believe him and will not allow Johanan to assassinate Ishmael secretly.
Soon afterward Ishmael is eating at the table of the Governor and uses this occasion to secretly assassinate him and take the leadership of the nation on a forced march toward Ammon (sworn enemies of Judah). Johanan, upon hearing of these events, gathers his army and pursues Ishmael. They meet at Gibeon in a battle or could be called a tu…

Balance

Are you ever out of balance? Your thirstiness reveals you have great need of water. Exhaustion suggests there is an imbalance in your life. Getting our life into balance emotionally, mentally, physically, financially, spiritually and relationally, and keeping it there, is an everyday challenge.
There are three things that most of us seek, wealth and honor and life, and it is so easy to feel like if we had these three we would be balanced. But the truth is that these tip the scales back and forth all the time. Wealth can turn us into a selfish person, for keeping wealth is as hard a task as obtaining it in the first place. And, an increase in wealth can bring with it an increase in decision-making, risk-taking, and possibly physical danger.
Honor is wonderful to experience but the seed of pride is always ready to spring up and use that honor in a wrong way. Then there is life, none of us knows how long or what kind of life we will live. It is played out daily and if we have direction,…

Realizing Your Vision

Moses was a child born for a special purpose. He was born in Egypt when the Pharaoh had chosen to forget the blessing of Joseph's life on Egypt. He enslaved the Israelites and commanded that all male babies should be thrown in the Nile River, possibly as a sacrifice to the god of the Nile, but purposefully to destroy the future of the Israelites.
Moses was found in the river by the Pharaoh's daughter who "felt sorry for him" (Exodus 2:6) and paid his own mother to wean him and then bring him to her as a young boy. Certainly his mother and father stayed in contact with Moses and continued to emphasize to him that he was saved for a special purpose. At least three decades passed as Moses was trained in the Egyptian culture and also served in the Egyptian army.
Then it happened, this idea of a special purpose took hold as he saw a fellow Israelite being beaten by an Egyptian and decided this was the moment to exert his purpose. He murdered the assailant, hid his body a…