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Showing posts from December 1, 2013

Imitate Good

The Apostle John was the youngest and the last of the Twelve Apostles. Around 90 A.D., he wrote the gospel of John which was a different approach in viewing the Lord Jesus' work on earth and also the three short epistles of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John. John was continually in contact with churches under his influence. He wrote them and sent individuals to them to raise support for ministry and also to deepen their understanding of Christianity. He had a dear friend named Gaius who was a trusted friend and confidant. John had written to the church that Gaius attended but his efforts to encourage them were blocked by Diotrephes. So he writes the personal letter of 3rd John to use Diotrephes actions as a lesson to Gaius. Diotrephes was one who "desired to be first" in the church. He was a Greek and had been filled with Gnostic teachings before becoming a believer. His "education" colored the way he believed the church should go and grow. It also colored his "war…

Departure

Hosea spoke out against the leaders of his day: the priests and the king of  Ephraim, otherwise known as the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He identified the fact that "a spirit of prostitution is in their heart," (Hosea 5:4) referencing their idolatry. He stated that these people would go to worship God but "they will not find him: he has withdrawn himself from them." (5:6) They are intent on pursuing idols." (5:11)  He spoke of God causing destruction on them and not allowing anyone to rescue them. His disciplining hand was meant to drive them back to Him but they did not always repent. So, God says, "then I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt." (5:15) Ezekiel speaks of similar reasons for the Southern Kingdom's demise, also known as Judah. They had submitted to idol worship and God departed from them. In Judah was the Temple at Jerusalem and in the Temple was where the glory of God dwelt. He begins this process of departure fro…

Keep from Idols

At least 213 times the word "idol" is used in the Bible and at least 19 times there is a reference to "idolatry," which is the pursuit of an idol. There is an ongoing concern about idols and their connection to the human heart from God. An idol is anything that occupies the place of God in your heart. It is what the heart wanders to when it cannot settle on God. This word was first used in the Bible in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) and most powerfully seen in the making of the golden calf by the people of Israel at the base of Mount Sinai while God and Moses were at the top creating the Ten Commandments. From Exodus we can go all the way to 1John 5:21 which is that book's last verse and see the concern of the author for people's hearts to be captured by an idol. John challenges the people, "Dear children, keep yourselves from idols." "Keep" is the word "to guard, to watch, to keep watch." It marks an immediate threat a…

Thrive

It has become apparent that when good people are in office, whether local, statewide or national, those under their jurisdiction thrive. The principle of thriving is simply put in Proverbs 29:2, "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people groan." A righteous king, governor, mayor or council member leads the people in such a way that they are happy, content and able to thrive. He allows them to dream, to discover and to prosper. It is just the opposite when the king, governor or local official is wicked. He lines the pockets of his insiders with wealth and increases the burden already on the poor and those in the middle class. He is a despicable despot and it can be said of those under his rule, "if tears be their drink, patience will be their bread, till God have mercy on them." This truth can also play out for the leaders of a family. Good leaders are found throughout the Bible such as: David, Solomon, Mordecai…

Appointed

When you see world events going on around you, you can be lulled into the belief that all things continue as they have always been and that God seems absent from the world and those of His who live in it. Great wars, powerful natural destructive acts, and incredibly strong leaders emerge and disappear. It seems like the earth is a boiling bowl of chili rising and falling with the heat of its own making. Daniel 11 is a chapter that views the rise and fall of empires and all their trappings. Words are used like, "three more kings will appear in Persia, and then a fourth" (vs. 1); "when he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece" (vs. 2); "then a mighty king will appear, who will reign with great power and do as he pleases" (vs. 3); "his empire will be broken up…uprooted and given to others" (vs. 4). "the king of the south will become strong" (vs. 5a); but one of his commanders will become s…

Watcher

Have you ever had the feeling you were being watched? It is not a feeling of ease or peace; it usually brings anxiety and fear to the heart. There is One who is watching over you all the time. This One, God the Father, who is never falling asleep due to exhaustion, is never weary and is never inattentive, is watching you.
The Psalmist declared in Psalm 121 six times that the "Maker of heaven and earth" is the One "who watches over" you. This brings peace, rest, and assurance that whatever befalls us is under His watchful eyes. It is important to understand also that our help comes from the watchful Lord.
Do you daily live with this thought in mind? Do you believe that help comes only from Him (whether direct or indirect)? This is the way a believer is to think. There is no suggestion that believing this is one of many options; it is THE option that is true for us and to the nature of God our Father. He cares; He watches; He comes. How have you seen help come from G…

Slavery

We don't use this term too often now unless we are talking about a time in history but can it apply to you today? Peter indicated that "a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him." (2 Peter 2:19)
Peter is not specific about this person, who he is, what status he has, where he lives, what he does for a living but he is absolute about the fact that he can become mastered. This word, "slave," identifies bondage, being totally under the hand and power of another. It is a term not of hope but of lack of personal freedom and control over your body and decision making.
And, to what is this person enslaved? The answer is, "to whatever has mastered him." It is not limited to one of the seven deadly sins of Proverbs 6:16-19 (pride, lying, murder, scheming, the rush to do evil, be a false witness, or a dissension maker) or to one of the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20:1-17 (idolatry, cursing, dishonoring of parents, murder, adultery, theft, false testimony, covet…

Walk the Walk

It has been said that being truthful is walking the walk and talking the talk. This means that there is integrity within the person that causes them to act and talk in a unified way. Their actions are the natural outcome of their words.
John in speaking to believers said, "Whoever claims to live in him [Christ] must walk as Jesus did." (1 John 2:6)In interpreting this short but powerful statement we must understand what the word "walk" actually means. First it means habitual, continuous action. The person is walking the same way all the time, every day, every hour. Second, it has the emphasis of one conducting himself wisely and is aligning his behavior with his talk.
So, John is saying that one who "claims" to be living in Christ must "walk as Jesus did." Living in close fellowship with and dependence on Christ is to mimic Christ's life while on earth. He had a relationship with Father God, he had fellowship with Him, friendship, dependenc…