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Showing posts from October 11, 2015

Authority

What do you think of the President, the US Congress persons, Mayors, Governors, Police Officers, Teachers, boss, pastor? We may think they are abusers of the system, don't rule like we would, or love them all the time (not), but think about what Paul said our responsibility concerning them is to be. Paul lived under Roman rule. He was a free man in an empire that some say was as high as two-thirds slaves and enslaved. He was one of the "better" people who was a citizen of Rome and had been a zealot for Judiasm, which was no friend of Roman rule. But when he was given by God the responsibility of taking the gospel to the Gentiles, his understanding of God and the task caused him to see a bigger picture. He understood that is was God alone that was able to turn the heads and hearts of Roman officials to do God's work and will. There was no rebel army that had that ability. They were always squashed beneath the "mighty hand" of Rome. So, take the following wo…

Motivation

What motivates a believer to continue on in their faith? Is it the good fellowship dinners, the friends he develops, or the great teaching he hears? These certainly are surface benefits of community but are not his motivation. Paul identifies the key element able to motivate believers daily. It is a heart directed into God's love. "May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance." (2 Thessalonians 3:5) It is not here a heart that loves God but God's love toward us, as evidenced from the days of Adam and Eve till today and forward, that should motivate us. When a human heart understands the revealed love of God for them, especially evident in the death of the Son of God for our sins and sin nature, obedience is the result. The believer willingly gives his life over to the direction of the Holy Spirit by obeying His promptings. But take note of an additional element in our passage, "Christ's perseverance." This is not t…

Gentle Words

How do you accomplish your will in the life of another? There are two options: one, verbal abuse that berates the person into submission, and two, gentle words that persuade the person with patience. We have seen both at work and watched the "collateral damage" of the first and we have been amazed by the use of gentle words to turn off anger and redirect hearts to good. Solomon understood the power of the tongue for good. He made this paradoxical statement, "a gentle tongue can break a bone." (Proverbs 25:15) Notice that the softest member of the body is used to break the hardest member of the body. Earlier he had said, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs15:1) This was the general rule for gentleness but now he gets specific in relationship to a "ruler" who can make a declaration in anger that can destroy. There is power in words and this passage indicates more power for good when used properly. There…

W.E. Syndrome

What causes you needless heartache? It is the two heart actions of worrying and envying. They take satisfaction away from daily life by worrying about what we can't control and envying what others have. Solomon saw these in the people of his kingdom and challenged them to a different action. He said, “Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.” (Proverbs 24:20) First, worrying. Matthew stated, “what can you add to your stature by worrying?” Worrying is playing scenarios in your mind about how evil men will affect you and how circumstances can change for the worst and make your life miserable. Two, envying. We view evil people with their money, seeming success, happiness with “things” and we want that. But once in a while we see their heart, their empty nights and painful lives as tragedy unfolds. They have no rest and stake their future on the things around them. So, we can ge…

Respect

Who is it that your respect? And, what has caused you to do such to them? Respect is not something you receive simply by living alongside others; it has to be earned. It is being shown consideration, even admiration, for what you have done. Lots of people want respect but don't do anything to deserve it, but there's a way for you and I to gain the respect of those around us. Paul in writing to the people of Thessalonica desired this for them. Even though people may not have like them or believed what they said, he wanted them to be respected. So, he said this to the church, "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, ...so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12) They were told to "make it your ambition" or to drive toward leading a quiet life, not a riotous one, not one immersed in controversy. They were not to …