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Showing posts from August 30, 2015

Conservative versus Liberal

How did the direction of "right" become the place of "conservatives" and the direction of "left" become the place of "liberals?" In the ancient world, the right hand was the place of power and honor, while the left hand represented weakness and rejection. Jesus spoke about the Son of Man coming in his glory and as the nations came before him he would separate the people into two categories, sheep and goats. "He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left." (Matthew 25:33) Those on his left would be cast out and the place of acceptance and authority would be "on his right." Solomon expressed the same idea when he said, "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." (Ecclesiastes 10:2) He spoke of a fool who lacks common sense and shows everyone how stupid he is. He also noted that "fools are put in many high positions while the rich occupy the low ones."…

Right Time Right Place

Have you ever tried to find the right time and the right place to speak to someone or to act on behalf of someone, including yourself?  It seems hard to find the right time and the right place but don't we know it when it comes? We might be in the middle of a conversation and its direction takes us to the right time and place to bring something up. Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes looking at the world from every angle. He seemed to be very negative but a better word would be realistic about life. You have to read through the last chapter to understand the book fully. But in chapter eight he suggests a strategy for working with a ruler, leader, king, boss and other that has power over us. It is not disobedience or desertion or defiance because all these lead to negative ends for us. It is discernment in knowing the right time and the right place. Solomon said it this way, "There is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man's misery weighs heavily u…

Fake Religion

Have you ever gone to church and sat there with your mind on other things? It could have been a family dispute, a business concern, a personal health issue that took your attention away from worship. Solomon addressed this issue with those who went to the Temple at Jerusalem. He said, "Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know what they do wrong." (Ecclesiastes 5:1) First, he warned of inattentiveness. He wanted them to guard or walk wisely, literally to watch their feet, when they went to God's house. They needed to be attentive to what they did and what they said. They needed to know where their heart was during this time. Second, they were challenged to "listen" which meant to draw near with an obedient heart. This was not a time to talk but to quiet your mouth and consider your heart. If not, then you would be offering "the sacrifice of fools." Giving a sacrifi…

Oil of Joy

Stop for a moment and answer this question, "What does joy provide for you?" Are you better off when you are full of joy or when you are living without it? I think all of us would say "better off when full of it." Jesus life was prophesied throughout the Old Testament and in this passage from Psalm 45:7 the psalmist says, "You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God [Father God], has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy." Luke stated that "at that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit said…" (Luke 10:21) Jesus was definitely full of joy. Joy is identified as "oil" so let's consider the implications. Oil decreases the friction in situations. Oil can heal when applied to wounds. Oil can act as a light in the dark. It can be used as a heating element. Oil increases energy in the body. Oil helps to polish things enabling the rough edges to become smooth. Now we can apply…

Non-Retaliation – Being Like Jesus Series #19

Samson decided to go see his wife but upon arriving her father told him she had been given to another man. Samson said to them, "This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them." (Judges 15:3) So begins the expanding circle of revenge. Samson burns the fruitful fields of the Philistines, destroying their economy. They retaliate by burning his father-in-law and wife. Samson says to this, "Since you have acted like this, I won't stop until I get my revenge on you." (15:7) He attacks them viciously and slaughters many of them. They retaliate by going to Judah, near Lehi, "to do to him as he did to us." (15:10) The men of Judah find Samson and bind him for the Philistines but he breaks the bindings, picks up a fresh jawbone of a donkey and kills a thousand Philistines. Fast forward to later when the Philistines engage Delilah to find out the secret of Samson's strength and then they exploit it. Samson though capture…

Pure Eyes

There is a sin that is more tenable for men than women. It is lusting with your eyes. Even back to Job's day it was a problem. In offering proof to his four companions that he had lived a righteous life he said, "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl." (Job 31:1) Job knew the destructive nature of lust or strong desire. He knew, as James says in James 1:14-15, "each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." So, at some time in his past he "made a covenant," that is, he made a solemn and binding agreement with himself not to look at a woman with lust in his heart for her. Warren Wiersbe says this about the difference between looking and lusting: "It is one thing to see and admire an attractive person, but it is quite something else to look for the purpose of lusting in the hear…