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Showing posts from July, 2018

Learning the Secret of Love

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Scripture:
Phil. 4:10   I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it. 11 Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress.
Phil. 4:15   You Philippians indeed know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone. 16 For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me help for my needs more than once. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that accumulates to your account. 18 I have been paid in full and have more than …

Jumping to Conclusions

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Scripture:
2 Samuel 10:1-5
Some time afterward, the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun succeeded him. David said, “I will deal loyally with Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father dealt loyally with me.” So David sent envoys to console him concerning his father. When David’s envoys came into the land of the Ammonites, the princes of the Ammonites said to their lord Hanun, “Do you really think that David is honoring your father just because he has sent messengers with condolences to you? Has not David sent his envoys to you to search the city, to spy it out, and to overthrow it?” So Hanun seized David’s envoys, shaved off half the beard of each, cut off their garments in the middle at their hips, and sent them away. When David was told, he sent to meet them, for the men were greatly ashamed. The king said, “Remain at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return.”



Observation:
David was trying to be genuinely kind and helpful to the king of the Ammonites. He had respecte…

Time for Some Organization

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Scripture:
2Sam. 8:15   So David reigned over all Israel; and David administered justice and equity to all his people. 16 Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder; 17 Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were priests; Seraiah was secretary; 18 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were priests.
Observation:
David was skilled in many ways, and this included administration. While he had been a warrior for many years, he was able to transition when life moved in a different direction. When all the fighting was over, David realized his focus would now be changed. Rather than leading a group of people in battle, he would be caring for his people. All of this required adapting to a new season, and a different type of leadership.
In these days David had to learn to organize and delegate the work that needed to be done in the kingdom. In doing this he set up sound systems that were able to meet the…

For This Reason

Scripture:
2 Peter 1:5 For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge,
Observation:
In the preceding verse we have been welcomed to become partakers of the divine nature. This is an invitation to koinonia (fellowship) with the Trinity, bound together by holy love. Then the conversation turns to our response. 
For this reason...
We are to become active participants in the work of God and this means that we have certain practices that help us to develop spiritually. Some would call these the practices of virtue. 
Virtue (Latin: virtus, Ancient Greek: ἀρετή "arete") is moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness. (Yes, this definition is brought to you by Wikipedia) 
In other words, because we are called into fellowship …

People of This Generation

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Scripture:
Luke 7:31-35
“To what then will I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not weep.’ For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Nevertheless, wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”
Observation:
Here Dr. Luke is lamenting the ways in which the people of his generation behave. They are like people who have all the entertainment in the world and yet, refuse to enjoy it or participate. They are like people who go to funerals and yet, fail to grieve. In other words, they have everything of life happening around them and yet, somehow they are completely disconnected and cannot see truth.
They couldn’t see John the Baptist for …

Be Careful What You Wish For

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Scripture:
Acts 21:30-32 Then all the city was aroused, and the people rushed together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut. While they were trying to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. Immediately he took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. When they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.


Observation:
Paul had gone to Jerusalem to worship but rumors abounded that he was spending a lot of time with Gentiles. He had even brought a gentleman from Ephesus with him and the Jewish officials were certain that he would have tried to sneak this man into the temple. While this was not the case, people jumped to conclusions and the entire city got riled up about Paul’s presence. 
Paul was simply trying to do the right thing and worship God. Yes, he had been ministering to Gentiles, but at this moment he wasn’t pushing any particular agenda. The people, however, wante…

More than a Gender Reveal

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Scripture:
Luke 1:72Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, 73the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us 74 that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
Observation:
John the Baptist has just been born and his father has affirmed his name. Suddenly, Zacharias regains his voice and begins to speak prophetically. Not only speaking of his son, he speaks of the soon to be born Messiah and reveals his mission. This is the fulfillment of God’s promise to his people.
This is the dawning of the gospel, a revelation about the very hopeful transformation of humanity. The goal is to be able to serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness. This would be affirmed later by the apostles:
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passion…

Why Not Act in Secret?

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Scripture:
John 7:1   After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him. 2 Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near. 3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing; 4 for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 (For not even his brothers believed in him.) 6 Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify against it that its works are evil. 8 Go to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After saying this, he remained in Galilee.
Observation:
Jesus’ disciples wanted him to go to Jerusalem and show off his power. The things they had observed throughout the Galilee were amazing and they knew that he could “wow” the cro…

We Don’t Like to Wait

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Scripture:
James 5:7-11
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Observation:
The beloved believers may have felt oppressed by the wealthy and powerful but they were being encouraged to be patient. They were never promised a life of ease, or of quick fixes, but they were to take heart in the long view of things. Waiting was to be a normal part of the life of the beloved.…

Being Authentic

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Scripture:
2Cor. 10:7   Look at what is before your eyes. If you are confident that you belong to Christ, remind yourself of this, that just as you belong to Christ, so also do we. 8 Now, even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it. 9 I do not want to seem as though I am trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” 11 Let such people understand that what we say by letter when absent, we will also do when present.
Observation:
Paul’s letters were written as tools of discipleship for the church in Corinth. This was a church that had issues and so Paul, with authority and power that came from his relationship with Christ, was willing to confront and deal with difficult issues. There is a warning here, that no one ought to think that they have exclusive rights to Christ. Paul …

Have You Forgotten Something?

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Scripture:
1Cor. 4:8   Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Quite apart from us you have become kings! Indeed, I wish that you had become kings, so that we might be kings with you! 9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, as though sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to mortals. 10 We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, 12 and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day.
1Cor. 4:14   I am not writing this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you might have ten thousand guardians in…