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Sewing the Robe of Discipleship

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Scripture:
1Sam. 2:18   Samuel was ministering before the LORD, a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19 His mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year, when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.
Observation:
Little Samuel was being raised in the presence of Eli’s wicked sons. They were doing things wrong, and stealing food from the sacrifices they were supposed to be making on behalf of the people. In their midst was a precious little boy whose mother was influencing him to do everything right. She brought him a new robe every year so that it would fit properly and he wore the linen ephod, a priestly garment, over the top. This was what he should have been doing and he did it right, when Eli’s sons took short-cuts in everything that they were doing.
Hannah came back year after year to check in her son and give him a new garment. One can imagine that she encouraged him to do the right things and to serve God faithfully. Surely, day after day, whi…

Caring for Needy Relatives

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Scripture:
1Tim. 5:3   Honor widows who are really widows. 4 If a widow has children or grandchildren, they should first learn their religious duty to their own family and make some repayment to their parents; for this is pleasing in God’s sight. 5 The real widow, left alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day; 6 but the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7 Give these commands as well, so that they may be above reproach. 8 And whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Observation:
First of all there are two types of widows contrasted. There is the real widow who recognizes her dependence for her daily needs. At the same time, there is the widow who would like to have her wants fulfilled. This message is for the family who needs to take responsibility for the widow who is in need. She has learned to trust and to depend upon God, but …

Generosity to the Poor: Open Your Hand

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Scripture:
Deuteronomy 15:1-11
Every seventh year you shall grant a remission of debts. And this is the manner of the remission: every creditor shall remit the claim that is held against a neighbor, not exacting it of a neighbor who is a member of the community, because the Lord’s remission has been proclaimed. Of a foreigner you may exact it, but you must remit your claim on whatever any member of your community owes you. There will, however, be no one in need among you, because the Lord is sure to bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you as a possession to occupy, if only you will obey the Lord your God by diligently observing this entire commandment that I command you today. When the Lord your God has blessed you, as he promised you, you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.
If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord…

Building in Vain

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Scripture:
Psa. 127:0   A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. 1Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain. 2It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives sleep to his beloved.
Observation:
This beautiful song of ascent comes from the time of Solomon and probably refers to the incredible temple which he built to God. It is an acknowledgement that the temple, or the house, is entirely dependent upon the LORD. Work can be done, but without God’s leading and direction it may become aimless. Some may say that this psalm speaks against laboring, which is not the case. It has to do with the way in which the labor is completed. We are to rest in the Lord, but we can rest and labor at the same time. The opposite of rest isn’t work, but rather it’s restlessness.
Working when we are frenzied and restless will not result in the finished product of God’s house. That pro…

Choosing To Do Things the Right Way

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Scripture:
Ruth 3:16 She came to her mother-in-law, who said, “How did things go with you, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, 17 saying, “He gave me these six measures of barley, for he said, ‘Do not go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” 18 She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest, but will settle the matter today.”
Observation:
Boaz could have taken advantage of Ruth but he was a man of virtue. He had chosen to live his life following the laws of God, doing things the right way. He was a humble man, and kept himself pure, intentionally avoiding the temptation of sexual pleasures. Even when he had the opportunity, he didn’t touch Ruth, but his own behavior kept her pure.
He didn’t look down upon her as a poor immigrant, but saw her for the woman of virtue and character that she was and he was overcome. He took the time to hear her speak and immediately understood that she, too, had the sa…

Saint Charlie

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Scripture:
Psa. 24:0   Of David. A Psalm. 1The earth is the LORD’S and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; 2for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.
Psa. 24:3   Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully. 5They will receive blessing from the LORD, and vindication from the God of their salvation. 6Such is the company of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah
Psa. 24:7   Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. 8Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle. 9Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. 10Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah
Observation:
A beautiful psalm that challenges the followe…

In the Moment

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Scripture:
Matt. 20:29   As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31 The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, “Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!” 32 Jesus stood still and called them, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?” 33 They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” 34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him.
Observation:
It was a moment in time, when Jesus was getting ready to leave Jericho. The crowds were huge and there were two blind men, probably begging, at the side of the road. They couldn’t see the man Jesus and they would not have had the opportunity to get near to him. So many others would have had the benefit of seeing and hearing him, watching him do his work. These men, pushed aside and begg…

When You’re Not Sure Where This is Going

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Scripture:
Acts 9:32   Now as Peter went here and there among all the believers, he came down also to the saints living in Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, for he was paralyzed. 34 Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!” And immediately he got up. 35 And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
Observation:
In this text by the physician Luke, Paul has just recently been converted. Suddenly the narrative shifts to the Apostle Peter who is, no doubt, the leader of the followers of the Way. This passage sets the stage for the expansion of the ministry to the Gentiles. It is in Joppa that Peter has his vision that eventually leads him to the house of Cornelius but at this moment, Peter has no idea where this is going. Peter is simply going about his business, visiting the believers who live outside of Jerusalem, making it to the town of Lydda.
It is in Lydda, not far from …

Extraordinary Pathways

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Scripture:

Heb. 7:11 ¶ Now if perfection had been attainable through the levitical priesthood—for the people received the law under this priesthood—what further need would there have been to speak of another priest arising according to the order of Melchizedek, rather than one according to the order of Aaron? 
Heb. 7:12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 
Heb. 7:13 Now the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 
Heb. 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 
Heb. 7:15  ¶ It is even more obvious when another priest arises, resembling Melchizedek, 
Heb. 7:16 one who has become a priest, not through a legal requirement concerning physical descent, but through the power of an indestructible life. 
Heb. 7:17 For it is attested of him,
    “You are a priest forever,
        accord…

Patient Endurance

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Scripture:
Hebrews 6:15 And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise.
Observation:
God had made a promise to Abraham but the fulfillment of that promise was not in an instant. Rather, there would be a lengthy period of time before he would see that promise come to fruition. As a result, Abraham’s character as a man of patient endurance lives on, and his endurance bore fruit as he was able to obtain the promise, not just for himself but for all of the children of Abraham who would come later.
Application:
We live in a world that is influenced by Moore’s Law. “Moore's law is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years.” (Wiki) Now, you may wonder what that has to do with anything, but it has a lot to do with our lives. The world is changing and adapting at a faster rate than humanity has ever experienced because of the ability to build smaller and faster technology. If you feel overwhelmed, you probably are…

The Vision of Complete Restoration

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Scripture:
Job 42:10   And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring. 12 The LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. 13 He also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. 15 In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. 16 After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generati…

Servant Leadership and Participation with Christ

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Scripture:
Luke 22:24   A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. Luke 22:28   “You are those who have stood by me in my trials; 29 and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Observation:
Luke records this dispute among the disciples at the last supper. Jesus had just modeled servant leadership by washing the disciples’ feet and yet, they wanted to talk about who would be the greatest among them. Through…