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All in All

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Scripture:
Col. 3:5   Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. 7 These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. 8 But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!
Observation:
This message is for those who have come to know Christ and have been made new. In baptism we rise again to newness of life, the old is gone, the new has come. John Chrysostom gives us this illust…

The Tongue on Fire

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Scripture:
James 3:5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.  How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8 but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.
Observation:
Reading through this passage we have been reminded that just a small bridle can turn a great horse. The tiny rudder is what makes a ship go in the right direction. Now, we turn to the subject of the tongue. Obviously the tongue itself can do nothing, but it is…

The Epicurean and Disney

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Scripture:
Proverbs 21:17Whoever loves pleasure will suffer want; whoever loves wine and oil will not be rich.
Observation:
Some have said that this verse speaks of the dangers of an Epicurean life-style. What does that mean? Generally we have attributed this to the teaching of Epicurus, a philosopher who was born in 341 BC. He encouraged people to find a static state of pleasure where one was satiated — or full. When the pleasures have been completely, or entirely satisfied, then one feels full. Later Epicurean societies adopted a motto: Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo ("I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care”). In contemporary society this phrase has been adopted to be used at humanist funerals, or to be carved as an epitaph on a headstone.
The problem is that they don’t understand what Wisdom was trying to say. Pleasure alone would ultimately leave one wanting. The Epicurean life of rich foods and drink, as well as the investment in oils and cosmetics could not be sustained. T…

Thinking About the Storm

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This satellite image was captured around 1:45 p.m. ET Wednesday. NOAA/STAR https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2018/09/12/flo-2p20182551747_goes16-abi-conus-geocolor-2500x1500_wide-1d7c7bd2b53c036f70f10042ab35160a3e3e739e-s1600-c85.jpg

Scripture:
Psa. 19:0   To the leader. A Psalm of David. 1The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Psa. 19:14   Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Observation:
When we stop and think about the world around us; as we gaze up into the sky, we are overwhelmed by the power and strength of God’s creation. The heavens declare God’s glory and power. When we look at the earth; the beauty and the rich variety of all that we experience on a daily basis, how can we think of anything but God.
The Psalmist would take time to meditate and think on the things of God’s creation. These became a part of his declaration of praise and worship to God. His prayer was …

Did You Bring Your Appetite?

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Scripture:
Proverbs 15:17Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it.
Observation:
The guests are invited to dinner but the host is concerned that there is little to offer. Without the financial resources of the wealthy, they are unable to kill a fatted ox and can only serve vegetables. While some may be discouraged by this, wisdom tells us that the satisfaction depends upon the appetite of the guest. If the guests who are invited are hungry, then even a small meal will be enjoyed and received with gratitude. They will experience the love of the host who was willing to share all he had with his guests.
Application:
I was born in Germany where my parents served as missionaries. It seems that our financial resources were often limited, and yet, there was an endless supply of guests at our table. Not only did we have our dear German friends gathering with us at the table, but also many visitors from other countries who would stop by, wanting to see “t…

Honest Scales

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Scripture:
Proverbs 11:1
A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but an accurate weight is his delight.
Observation:
The people who sold goods in the market had their own weights with them. They were used on the scales to balance the amount of an item being sold to someone. However, to make more money, sometimes those salespersons made sure that their weights were not quite the total weight. In this way they could sell less for a higher cost. They were cheating the consumer. God saw this as an abomination. They were to deal justly and fairly with the customers, and when doing so, God would see this and delight.
Application:
Isn’t it fascinating that God would delight in an accurate weight? I think it says a great deal about God and a sense of justice. We can just imagine that the salesmen in the market with two sets of weights, one for his friends, and another set for the customers whom he was choosing to rip off. Although, there may even have been times that he ripped off his fr…

Something Better

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Scripture:
Heb. 11:39   Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.
Observation:
The great Faith Chapter in Hebrews reminds us of those who have gone before. They have suffered through persecutions and struggles, and yet, they have persevered. We are presented with a vision of a stadium which is filled with spectators, those who have already completed their challenge, and are cheering on the current generation. It’s a vision of an event which is not yet completed, because not everyone has participated. They haven’t received the reward — or awards — yet, because the entire event must come to completion, or be made perfect.
That means that our lives are directly connected to their lives. We are a part of a community of faith that stretches throughout the ages and we are interconnected in a powerful way. This was the “something better” — of be…