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Showing posts from June 14, 2015

Purpose

In the middle of the movie Hugo, Hugo Cabret , played by Asa Butterfield, searches for his purpose in life. Orphaned and living with his uncle in a Paris train station, Hugo ends up working his uncle's job after he disappears. Hugo is searching for his purpose and even says this in the movie. He knows it is not to fix the clock and merely exist. He does find it and all ends well, as most movies do. You can find out for yourself by watching this well-made movie. The search for purpose in life is experienced by all of us. Some are serious about it, some float on the issue, and others never think about it at all except possibly in a quiet and dark moment. Finding purpose for a believer has always been linked to their relationship with God. Paul in repeating the history of the Jewish nation states of King David, "For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep." (Acts 13:36) David writing in Psalm 138:8 stated this when he said, "The Lor…

God's Grace

Elijah the prophet and King Ahab had met before on Mt. Carmel when fire came down and displayed to the people of Israel that God was God over Israel. This meeting would again be one where God spoke out against the contrary nature of Ahab. It took place in Naboth's vineyard which Ahab had seized after Queen Jezebel had performed a devious act and had Naboth killed for insurrection. In a sense, Ahab was caught with his hand in the cookie jar and Elijah appeared to place a death sentence on him. Elijah speaking for God said, "you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. I am going to bring disaster on you." (1 Kings 21:20-21) Ahab "behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols…" (21:26)  When confronted, Ahab "tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly." (21:27) Then God said to Elijah, "Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will n…

Great Successes

Elijah was bold and filled with the Spirit. He was creative in delivering God's message to the people of Israel. At God's direction he had stopped the rain from coming down and the result was a great famine in the land. This was judgment on Israel for walking away from God. So, King Ahab of Israel looked everywhere for him but God had hidden him away in the nation of Queen Jezebel's birth. Very ironic. When Elijah reappears he challenged 800 prophets of Baal to a contest to see who was the greater god. Altars were built and sacrifices laid on them. Baal's prophets pray all day but no fire came down from their gods. Elijah stepped up and even drenched his sacrifice and fire came down and gobbled up the sacrifice, the water and the altar! The people's response was, "The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!" (1 Kings 18:39) Queen Jezebel upon hearing from Ahab what had happened threatened the life of Elijah. His response was to be afraid, run for his life, l…

Each Day's Need

Solomon was given the opportunity to build the Temple for God in the city of Jerusalem. He accomplished this in seven years and six months and then held a great dedication with multitudes of Israelites present. Solomon blessed the people, then spoke a prayer of dedication, and finished by blessing the people again. In that final blessing he said, "May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our fathers; may he never leave nor forsake us. May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways…. And may these words of mine…., be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day's need." (1 Kings 8:57-59) Solomon was aware of God's provision for each person daily. He was aware that it was not the same for each person and for each day; some days needed more than others. Isn’t it true that some days are harder than others? When sorrow comes God “comforts those who need comfort.…

Persistent Prayer

When times are tough for you, are you able to continue to pray about it or do you just give up, go about your business and live a prayer-less life? Elijah was a man who would not let this happen in his own life. He had hidden from King Ahab for several years during a famine, then stepped back into the light and destroyed the prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel through a sacrifice to the God. He then bows down on the same mountain and prays for rain which would end the three year famine. As Elijah prays, he tells his servant seven times to check for rain coming from the Mediterranean Sea. “The seventh time the servant reported, ‘A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.’” (1 Kings 18:44) Only on the seventh time does a small cloud appear. What can we learn from Elijah's example? First, Elijah had just been through a grueling day against the prophets of Baal battling for God and yet exhausted he still prayed. Second, when God directs, your faith must be strong enough to m…

Promoting Love

Promoting Love  Have you ever been around a person who seems to remember all your missteps and seemingly delights in bringing them up to you again and again, especially when you are with others. It seems as though this person enjoys reminding you of your foolishness. What kind of person does this? Solomon poses that people have two different responses related to the private and public sins of others. He said, "He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends." (Proverbs 17:9) This verse does not suggest that if a person does something wrong that we are encouraged to hide it; to not rebuke or challenge them to come "clean." It does suggest that when an offense has been dealt with it needs to be buried and forgotten. The person who will do this is revealing love for their friend and the other will love him because he does not continually regurgitate his wrong to him. The other person is one who continually uses the…

Loving Others - Being Like Jesus Series #16

We have discuss before ways in which we can conform to the image of Christ, and here we highlight one more way, loving others. As Jesus sat around the table at his last supper, he had several important conversations. One about being a servant, illustrated when he washed the disciples feet. Another, about being betrayed, later to happen in the garden from the kiss of Judas. And a third, about loving each other when he is gone from their midst. This last conversation, about loving each other, is stated as "a new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." This is spoken to the eleven disciples and is not the beginning of a new Ten Commandments but a superseding overarching precept based on Jesus' complete fulfillment of the Law of God by his life and his death on the cross. It is "new" not in respect to time, for that Greek word is not used, but "new" in respect to being altogether desirable as exampled by…