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Showing posts from April 13, 2014

Hope

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12) It seems these days that the hope in "hope and change" didn't really happen and there are a lot of Americans that are heart sick about it. To anticipate a promised thing and have it not materialize, in fact the opposite materialize, is demoralizing. All of us wish for things to be better but hope comes of promises that have substance and the basis of today's political hope was only smoke and mirrors. But here is the great thing about hope. When a new reality is promised and a path is designed to make it happen, then we are excited because every gain get us closer to the intended fulfilled hope. Solomon said hope fulfilled is a "tree of life." What does this mean? It means that it is fruitful; other positive emotions and actions flow from it. It means it provides cover, shade that protects. It means that there is continual growth in hope; it acts like…

Responsibility

Jesus told the story about a man of noble birth who went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then returned to his homeland. In that day Rome controlled the known world and anyone who wanted to rule had to get their permission first. But before he left on his journey he gave to each of ten servants a "mina" or a valuable coin. He told them to "put this money to work until I come back." After he was given permission to reign, he returned and called his ten servants to find out what they had gained with their mina. The first one earned ten more minas. The second earned five minas. He said, "Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities [and five cities, respectively]." (Luke 19:17) These men were responsible and obedient gaining with the little they had been given. Another servant came who had done nothing with his mina but hide it. The master took his mina away and gave it to the one with ten. Jesu…

Sincere

A blind man sitting by the roadside outside of Jericho heard the crowd passing by and asked them what was happening. They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was there. Immediately he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" He was rebuked and told to shut up by the crowd but continued to call out. "Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 'What do you want me to do for you?'" His answer was, "Lord, I want to see." Jesus healed him immediately. (Luke 18:38-43) The crowd saw Jesus as from Nazareth and as a curiosity from their daily routine. The blind man, even though in darkness, saw Jesus as the "Son of David," his rightful title to be the king. He also saw Jesus as holding the power to cure his blindness. When asked what he wanted Jesus to do for him it was not wealth, fame or status the blind man wanted but just sight. Sight would brighten his life, open it up to other po…

Being Wholehearted

What would it look like to have a heart and mind that was fully dedicated in one direction. We see this in a limited way in a dedicated athlete or a soldier or master of industry. But can you be this way, too? Caleb said that he "followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly." (Joshua 14:8) And, Moses and Joshua saw this in him also and called him wholehearted. Caleb was a leader with strong convictions. He was one of the twelve spies that entered the land to spy it out. Only he and Joshua brought back a good report and so were the only men of their generation who made into through the thirty-eight years in the wilderness after the other ten spies convinced the people not to enter. Caleb had a "different spirit" within him (Joshua 14:24). It was not an unbelieving, despairing spirit or a proud and rebellious spirit but rather a spirit of obedience and believing trust; an unwavering fidelity of heart. So, when Joshua led the people into the land and began to conquer it, …

A God-centered Life

On this tax day we show our devotion to our nation by reconciling a year of income with the responsibilities of being a citizen. We determine what we are to pay to our government of what we have earned so that our country can provide us protection and freedom. How do we show our devotion to God? The thought of Psalm 84 is that we become a fully devoted follower of Him. We understand at the base level that "Better is one day in [His] courts than a thousand elsewhere." (vs. 10)  That one day with the Lord outweighs in satisfaction a thousand other days spent with friends, on a trip, or in our work. A God-centered life is what He wants from us. He desires that our life be rooted in Him so that as we experience the various situations of life we remain steadfast like a forty-year old oak in a massive storm. He is in control of the thoughts of our heart. He is leaned on by us; He is trusted as our source of real life. This carries with it a blessing as stated in vs. 12, "O L…

Twelve Stones

We all have special events that happen to us over the course of our life. These are events that need to be remembered with our family and friends of how God has provided and comforted. As Joshua led the Israelites into the Promise Land they cross over the Jordan River. The river had become dry like the Red Sea dried up a path when Moses led the Israelites out of captivity. The Priests stood in the middle of the Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant on their shoulders for all to see as they pass over into their new land. Joshua commanded one man from each tribe to pick up a stone from the river and bring it with him to their new campsite. "And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan." (Joshua 4:20) This was to be a reminder to future generations of what had taken place at this location. The people had wandered for forty years and now the promise to them had been fulfilled by God as they entered into the land. This was a significant event. It …

Guard your Speech

How many times have you brought trouble on yourself by something you said? It may have been in a meeting, over the proverbial water cooler, at home or at church but you opened your mouth and before you could close it you had said too much. Our speech is one of the easiest ways to hurt someone, be misinterpreted, inflame a crowd, or declare your independence. It needs to be carefully monitored. Solomon, who was the wisest man on the face of the earth said, "He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin." (Proverbs 13:3) By guarding your lips is meant to think before you speak; ponder your content, tone, timing, and context (place and audience). You are to monitor the tongue and at the same time to monitor your heart from where your words originate. If done, then in proportion to the amount it is guarded will be the amount of peace that rules in your heart. How could you keep your mouth from making a big mistake? What guidelines will you pu…