Friday, June 22, 2012
As I re-read the Bible each year God continues to reveal things from the same passages of scripture that were seemingly void of revelation in prior years. Such was the case today while studying Joshua and the treaty made with the Gibeonites in Chapter 8.
God had strictly instructed the Israelites to destroy all the inhabitants of the land before them. God knew that if the Israelites allowed those who worshipped other Gods to remain in their midst that the Israelites would be tempted to worship those other Gods. The Gibeonites, fearing for the lives as they knew God was delivering all of Israel's enemies into their hands, planned to trick the Israelites into making a treaty with them. The Israelites were deceived by the Gibeonites and agreed to a treaty with them because the Israelites did not seek God's counsel before making the treaty. This allowed the Gibeonites to remain among the Israelites and continue to worship other Gods.
And what does that have to do with anything today. Well, God repeatedly tells us in scripture that we need to avoid those who worship other Gods. Ephesians 5:3 says "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people." When we expose ourselves to those who worship other Gods we allow a temptation to enter into our lives. Temptation we may not easily see or be prepared to deal with.
In the well known "Lord's Prayer" in Matthew 6:13 "LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION" are words for the wise for today and for eternity.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Recently I received a call from an old friend. I was immediately excited to hear his cheerful voice. That excitement turned to concern as he told me he was in the hospital once again. "Cancer's back" he said.
I thanked God silently for giving me a chance to minister to my friend once again. But before I could say a word my friend said "I want you to know how much what you did for me has meant to me. You gave me chances to be more and it has opened doors for me ever since. I could never have done these things without you."
I mumbled some quick "thank you" and wiped a tear from my eye while hoping no one walking by would notice I was standing on the sidewalk weeping. I thought "here he is, fighting his battles again, every right to expect me to comfort him and he says one of the kindest and most humbling things I could have experienced."
God is so faithful and good to bless us when we least expect it. And He does it in the most unexpected ways. I love my friend as a brother and he's reminded me today that "WHAT WE REAP IS WHAT WE SOW".
Friday, June 8, 2012
King Herod exemplified the unscrupulous leader who reacts to threats by turning to his dark side and trying to eliminate the competition by any means possible. Herod ordered the slaughter of innocent children in an attempt to protect his possessions. Some would say no businessman would ever take a life to protect a business. History is full of proof to the contrary.
The irony in King Herod's case is much the same as it is in the cases of all unscrupulous leaders. They attempt to protect things that are temporal. They wrongly believe their possessions are of their own making and that they control their destiny. In reality, they are never in control. In Herod's case, his worship of the temporal held eternal implications for him.
Always REMIND ME OF FAIRNESS Lord, so that I may achieve success in business and life eternal.
Friday, June 1, 2012
At the conclusion to our nightly devotional concerning King Saul and David's "near encounter" in the cave, my young daughter and I discussed how it was sinful to want to "get even" with others. My daughter told me she was glad we read that story because she was thinking about "getting even" with someone who did something to her. She said she couldn't tell me who it was, but that it didn't matter anyway. She said she knew it was wrong now and she just wouldn't do it.
She said her usual prayer and asked to say another "special prayer". The second prayer went something like this: "Dear God, thank you for letting me read the story tonight so I wouldn't sin. Amen."
I wish it were that easy...to read it, accept it and do it - SO THAT I MIGHT NOT SIN. Is it...that simple?