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Showing posts from December 15, 2013

Dragon

The very word conjures up the thought of danger. In The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug, we are given a powerful picture of a great dragon. He is sleeping among the wealth of the dwarfs in the Lonely Mountain. Bilbo is sent into his lair to retrieve the Arkenstone and in the process awakens the sleeping beast. Their discussion follows where Smaug reveals his prideful character boasting about his protective covering, rehearses his previous victories and voices his decision to continue to destroy mankind at will.  Smaug summarizes himself succinctly in a mere three words with his final statement "I am death." Director Peter Jackson has given us a picture of a terrifying creature, full of self-confidence, bent on destruction, and void of humility. Take that picture and sear it to your mind as you read the words of Revelation 12 where "an enormous red dragon" whose "tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to earth" (vss. 3-4) is called …

Confidence

What happens to your confidence level when you are surrounded by problems? Does it dissolve, dissipate or all together disappear? This would seem likely if your life was built on sandy ground. David was the eighth of his father Jesse's sons. Being the lowest on the "totem pole" he was the one out in the fields as a shepherd guiding and protecting the sheep of his father. Then one day the prophet Samuel came to Bethlehem and met with his father and David was eventually called in to also meet Samuel. This is where David is anointed the King of Israel. (1 Samuel 16) David's life could be called a story book life as so many wonderful events happened to him but David also faced many tumultuous moments. Yet, he was confident in the Lord's hand on his life. Writing in Psalm 138 he says, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes." (vs. 7) Here we see the confidence of David as he says …

Waiting

Habakkuk the prophet of God around 620 B.C. asked God the following question: "How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, 'Violence!' but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong?" (Habakkuk 1:2-3) This is an honest question by a righteous man to a righteous God. What would keep God from answering his request? Consider the following: God is not the servant of a man. He is not required at the crackle of their voice to act. God has an appointed time for everything. He says to Habakkuk of this point in the history of man, "For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay." (Habakkuk 2:3) God says, I have it under control. I know you want me to act immediately but you must trust me to act when all things are aligned. I am not ignoring you; I am just following my plan…

Basis of Life

How do you wish to live your life? There are some that wish for the lottery to call their number? There are some that wish great power, personal prominence, or the opportunity to be famous. They seek to find a way that will make their life easier. But we know that those who get this wish do not have an easier life just a different life. The writer of Proverbs 30 in a moment of clarity asked God for two things. He wanted these to happen. He wanted God to not withhold them from his life. First, he requested God to "keep falsehood and lies far from me."  And second, he requested that he be given "neither poverty nor riches." (vs. 7) Out of all that he could request, why these two things? These two are the basis of life for most people. A life based on lies rather than on truth and integrity and a life based on monetary wealth as its measuring line. What he wanted was to be kept from a life that was false in its words and beliefs and a life that was focused just on g…

Peace

Isn't this proclaimed as a part of the Christmas message? The heavenly host declared "on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2:14)  This word means "an undisturbed state of mind, calm and quiet." The world, even at the time of Jesus' birth, had been plagued with war as it continues to be today. But the heavenly hosts were not proclaiming a peace brought about by a nation who had overpowered all others as was true of the Roman Empire peace. This was a peace brought about by one man, the Messiah. Micah the prophet identified a time all would live securely, when the Messiah's greatness would reach to the ends of the earth. "And he will be their peace." (Micah 5:5) He brings peace but also he himself IS peace. John quoted Jesus as saying just before he died on the cross, "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." (John 1…

Revenge

Why do we do what we do? Is it to help others or to hurt them? Sometimes the very blackness of our hearts is revealed in our desires. Jonah and the whale has been a story told children since 800 B.C. when it happened. It is the story of a man running away from God's direction on his life. It involves disobedience, endangerment of others, a miracle of travel inside a whale, reconciliation to God's will and the total transformation of a people in a foreign city. Why did he run? We could say that he just didn't want to do God's will but there is a deeper reason to his running. It is about his understanding of God and how Jonah didn't want the Ninevites (the people of Nineveh) to have the opportunity to repent because they had continually harassed the people of Israel. Here are the words of Jonah by Jonah about why he ran: "This is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a …