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Showing posts from January 8, 2017

Advantage

What is the most valuable thing you can possess? You might answer many ways: a home, paid off cars, an inheritance from a parent, a patent that brings back huge returns, an investment in a business that blossoms into a successful company, or whatever you are thinking about now that might make your life better. But are these types of things the evidence of advantage or is there something far more valuable than them? Solomon was given the kingdom of his father David while still a young man. He pondered his great people, their great land and thought about how to govern them. God came to him and said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." (1 Kings 3:5) This was a genie type moment; rub the lamp and I will come out and fulfill your requests. What would you ask for if God came willing to answer your request? Solomon asked for a discerning heart; for wisdom. Many would say, "You chose wrongly; you're fired!" But God granted wisdom to him and honored Solomon for a…

Leah

What a position God put her in. She may not have been a "looker" in modern terms and was certainly different than Rachel. When we think of Leah we automatically contrast her with Rachel, her younger sister. That would make life a downer for her. Jacob first saw Rachel as a shepherd girl bringing sheep to the well for water. He removed the stone all by himself so the water could be accessed, maybe as a show of his strength to Rachel. She probably had a slingshot, like David did, hanging off her belt and maybe even a sword for animals that would desire a sheep dinner. Rachel was a vision with "a beautiful figure and a lovely face." (Genesis 29:17) Leah had no sparkle in her eyes, plainer, and less the adventurer but loyal, prayerful, and determined to fight to be a part of Jacob's life. She loved him as he loved Rachel. Leah was not in the picture that Jacob imagined when he offered seven years of servitude to Laban her father. But "local tradition" made…

Smart

We think of a smart person as one who has great intellect or is one who has street "smarts." We look up to them and try to imitate them. But what does it mean to really be smart? Solomon, who was the wisest man that ever lived, said this, "Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for you bones." (Proverbs 3:7-8) Here we see the essence of smartness. We can get so "impressed" with ourselves, which means we are full of pride, and that doesn't take us anywhere but down. Pride sees only me and not the world around me. It seeks to pad my way and not care about the rest of humanity. Being proud is not smart. So, Solomon shares the alternative to pride. It is to "fear the Lord." This is a reverential fear of God; an honor we bestow upon Him. We look to Him, involve Him in our lives and understand we cannot live without Him. Second, if we reverence…

Serve

There are many people who serve us as we walk through our day. Some are behind a counter or a register. Others have served us without being seen, like the person who cleans the restrooms or vacuums the parking lot in the late night or early morning. Serving is an essential part of the life of any community. Abraham had a servant who was gracious, kind and loved his master. He is not named in the story of his travels to Abraham's brothers to search for a wife for Isaac but he is necessary. (Genesis 24) When he arrives he prayed to God to "give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham." (24:12) His interest in success was less for himself and more for his master. He meets Rebekah and asks for a drink and Rebekah responds immediately to allow him to drink from her water jug. After he is satisfied, she volunteers to water his camels, which is what he had prayed for. (24:20) She is interested in the servants success rather than her own. Camels can drink …

Choices

In reflection, what choices have you made based on first impressions that have produced bad results in your life? Was it that initial time you bought a used car? Was it those friends you thought would be great to be around who started wearing on your goodness? Lot looked down upon the fertile Jordan Valley, saw its fruitfulness and the cities that dotted the landscape and said, "I'll take that!" Abraham knew Lot was an adult with possessions as large as his and didn't disagree or try to convince him otherwise. And so, Lot took the first step down to his destruction. His greed and desire for power eventually caused him to move into Sodom with his family. That was the second step down. Peter said this about Lot's eventual feelings living in Sodom, "he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him…tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day." (2 Peter 2:7-8) So when the two angels disgu…