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Showing posts from December 29, 2013

Angry?

"In your anger do not sin." (Psalm 4:4a) This is a pretty simple and straight forward statement. In these six words there are several messages. The first is that we all get angry. It's not a unique emotion but rather a natural occurrence in life. You are not "made angry" by someone else, you decide to become angry in your own heart. You can be angry over many things such as hurt, pain, frustration, disobedience by one under your responsibility, loss, selfishness, disrespect and more. Cain was very angry with God because He would not accept his sacrifice. Genesis 4:5 says, "Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast." He was deep in his feelings and his face began to show this. He didn't heed God's discussion with him that he could have an acceptable sacrifice if he just did as God required for the sacrifice. It was to be a teaching moment but he didn't learn and soon after killed his brother Abel. Paul says in Ephesians 4:26 "In …

The Call of the Wild

Friends make such a difference in our lives. They call us to participate with them, they desire our compliance in their dreams. Peer pressure was the topic of conversation between the wise sage and the young man to whom he spoke. "My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them. If they say, 'Come along with us; let's lie in wait…, waylay some harmless soul…, swallow them alive…; we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; throw in your lot with us, and we will share a common purse.' (Proverbs 1:10-14) Here is the call to consent and comply with friends who desire things others possess. Their greed is fueled by their gain and ignores the possibility of a negative end. The wise sage declares "do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths" (1:15) His message is the same as the Psalmist in Psalm 1:1, do not  "walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the mockers.…

Principles of Life

As Noah exits the ark God reestablishes some principles with him and his sons. One, the family is the unit God uses to build the civilization. Two, Noah is responsible over the animals, birds and fish as it was so given by God to Adam at the beginning of the world. (Genesis 1:28) And two new principles are given; capital punishment for the killing of another human is to be instituted. "And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man." (Genesis 9:5) Wasn't this the discussion God was having with Cain when He asked about his brother only to get the following response, "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9) God is saying if an animal kills a person they are responsible and if you spill blood of a neighbor you are also held responsible. Further, a second new principle is established for diet. As before man's food w…

Newest Year

The first new year was preceded by formlessness, emptiness and darkness but all that changed when God began to bring form to the formless, fullness to emptiness and light to darkness. The first day of the first new year light was created and it became the reason darkness fled away. The earth began to turn in the light and God could then declare light "day" and darkness "night." The second day of the newest year God parted the water that had covered the earth and directed some of it to become a canopy above the earth's atmosphere and the rest He left on the earth. (This would change after Noah built the ark.) On the third day of this first of the new years God gathered the waters on the earth like a shepherd would a flock to one place and called it "seas" and dry ground appeared where it was removed which He called "land." Now the really interesting stuff began to happen. God created on the land vegetation, seed-bearing plants and trees that…

A Beautiful Woman

What is the most important thought a woman should have in her head? Our society would probably say she needs to be always thinking about how to maintain her beauty. This would be a focus on her outward appearance which we know with common understanding continues to fade away. But this is the objective of many women today and there are multiple advertisements for skin care, face lifts and the like to help them expend their dollars and time on this focus. But there is another focus that is much more advantageous than the maintenance of outward beauty. The writer of Proverbs ends his thirty-one chapters of wisdom by focusing on a virtuous woman. He reveals the various aspects of her life in detail showing her industry, abilities and oversight, her compassion, her strength, dignity and wisdom. He compares these virtues to that of outward beauty by saying, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears [reverences and respects] the Lord is to be praised." (3…

Take it to Heart

Malachi is the name of the last book of the Old Testament. He was a prophet at the time of Nehemiah during the return of the people to Israel after the seventy years of captivity and around 440 B.C. Nothing personal is known about Malachi but his messages to the leaders, priests and people of Israel as they try to set up life again as a Jewish nation are potent warnings. One significant phrase spoken by Malachi to the priests strikes us today. He said, "Since you do not listen and since you do not set your heart to honor my name…" (Malachi 2:2) First of all, the priests were not abiding by the laws of sacrifice when they returned to the land and were allowing the people to give whatever they wanted to God rather than their best. This explains the phrase, "set your heart to honor my name." They had not determined to do what God had specifically told them to do. They did not listen to Him and they did not obey His words. The phrase "set your heart" could …

Praise God

What is praise all about? The psalmist in Psalm 148 expresses praise's breadth and depth. He begins by calling for praise from the heavens. All of it, including angels and stars (inanimate and animate created things) in the heavens are to give praise "to the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created." (vs. 5) Not only has God created them but "he set them in place…and gave a decree that they will never pass away." (vs. 6) Leupold in his book on the Psalms explains the original emphasis of verse 6 by saying that this expresses the idea of "continuous creation, that work in which the power of the original word of creation still sustains and vitalizes all things and continues them in being." In other words, the creation is not on its own but continues to be held together by God. This is certainly a reason to praise God. Second, he as well calls for praise from the animate and inanimate of the earth including all great sea creatures, the p…