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Moderns bandy about their “relationships” which sounds so arcane to older folks. We had friends, family, spouses, and neighbors in the old days. They speak of relationships as being very close but in actual fact relationships are more likely to be apart or at least at some distance. To speak of someone you have close relationships with is actually called fellowship. Perhaps you heard it too much in church and think it is only for religion.
Here is a scripture that can easily be misunderstood which demonstrates the difference. From Luke:
The Prodigal Son
11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:
12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
The son had a relationship to his father. He was a son and he didn’t stop being his son when he went off on his bender. We can have relationships by blood, as a son-father, or by marriage, or by corporate agreement and other contracts. I have a relationship to the companies in which I have stock. I have a relationship to my country as a native born citizen, taxpayer and voter. You can have a relationship with your animals because you are legally responsible for their care, but in all these cases you do not necessarily have fellowship.
I have no fellowship with the managers of my stock purchases. If I think the company is a bad investment, I sell the stock but I never speak to anyone about it nor would I want to. I have a a relationship to the colleges where I graduated but I haven’t been back for many decades.
Fellowship is personal. My husband, my closest relationship and my closest fellowship when he was alive is long gone. My children have grown and gone and we have fellowship on Facebook. My church is 150 miles west of here so I have no more fellowship with them although I still have my name on the books, hence relationship.
When a military man is deployed he still has relationships at home but his fellowship is now with his military unit. Thank heavens for the internet and Skype.
Now, about Yahweh. You can be saved (relationship) but still have very little fellowship with Him. I know many Christians who have virtually no fellowship with him. I will ask them, “Did you pray about this?” They’ll say, “Oh I am not going to bother Yahweh with something as small as that.”
I won’t sermonize here, but Yahweh makes it plain that he is especially interested in fellowship. He says, “Come let us reason together.” He wants to talk and explain stuff to you. He says, “I will never leave you,” but how many people can appreciate that in daily life?
If you have questions the Bible has answers but it means reading parts you may never look at. Yahweh uses the Bible to speak directly to people. Of course you have time. You just must take it from some other place where you are using it. As long as you are alive you have time. In fact that is what life is – the time you are here.
If you get with Yahweh this year, He might give you a big party!
Depression is a staple at the holidays – too much food and drink, too many people, the horrors of air travel, traffic, high prices, over spending money and then disappointment over who and what happens. The gift we did not get. The family member who died or was not there for the first time. The unexpected sickness or accident.
Depression is always about looking at the past. The cure is a future oriented, hope filled view of life. The Bible says, a merry heart does good like a medicine. Check out the fun, positive folks you know. They’ll live longer. Make them your friends. Make hope your friend. You can’t take a pill for this as it is only a matter of taking control of what you think.
Why did Yahweh show Moses only His back?
The late Kim Clement pointed this out and the reason is terrific. Here Yahweh is speaking to Moses. Exodus 33:23 and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”
By standing behind Yahweh, Moses only looks into the future.
Yahweh does not want us looking at the past
Those who live in the past are depressed and unhappy; they try to make the present either fit the past or correct it. They are often unable to believe new ideas or correct old ones. It is a futile existence. Can’t be done.
Future-oriented people have hope which generates faith in them and others. The Just (person) live by faith and without faith it is impossible to please Yahweh. If Yahweh isn’t pleased, you won’t be either.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him
The quotation “the just live by faith” appears seven times in scripture. And seven is symbolically the number of maturity, therefore words to live by.
Prophets of doom
Politics is divided into those who have no hope for the future and those who don’t. Climate Change tells us we are doomed by our own exhalation. Scientists think the loss of bees on the planet means an end to the reproduction of vegetables and other crops. (They have a point.)
Marine biologists worry that we are over-fishing the ocean. Scientists say the oceans are fouled by plastics and killing off important food supplies. Most of the trash is coming from the Pacific Rim nations, not the USA although we’re routinely blamed no matter what is wrong.
Why does crisis sell?
Fear of the future causes people to react and act. Politicians want votes. Sellers of drugs want people to think “sick”and seek a doctor. Colleges tell you that your child will be a home-bound dunce without a college education. Psychologists can tell you every awful habit of the person you should not marry.
Yes, it is a program for exercising control, but it also is a chance for you to mature in the face of information. What we read and hear can either make us stronger or ruin us with fear. We can examine what people say and not let sucked into their systems. Somewhere is the truth but you need to be discretionary. Don’t eliminate information. Be dispassionate and check it out. Just cut out the negative TV – what a bore!
But if you are looking ahead at Yahweh, and following Him, you are going to be fine, and let the prophets hawk their wares.
#criticalthinking #controlbyfear #hope #lookingback
The most often heard piece of theology is “Jesus Loves You.” Usually that little tune is known by the smallest of children. But I fear in actual practice most people have a wrong view of Yahweh’s love.
Human beings want their own will
The practical atheist among us is mad at Yahweh for not fulfilling his wishes. “Why did Yahweh let that drunk driver kill my Dad when I was 10? Why did I marry that horrible person? I need a job. Where is Yahweh. And that rapist!! Why was he allowed in my building. The Bible says “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Where was He then? Are Yahweh’s words meaningless?
Yahweh’s purpose for us is to learn His will
These questions reflect the notion that Yahweh is there to follow our lead, like a Japanese house boy, never complaining, never expecting and always at our service.
We have it backwards. No, he does not go around killing people. He has turned the world over to humans to run, and if it is badly run, for example if the government allows drunk drivers to get off with a slap on the wrist, then accidents involving these felons will continue. In some countries drunk drivers barely see the light of day after one incident.
Man has made his own flawed systems
The fact that the people in charge of our government are lenient is not Yahweh’s fault. And if the building security was asleep, Yahweh is not in charge there either. In the USA we can’t blame our leaders – we voted for them!
God rules His Kingdom
But He is in charge of His Kingdom. And you, as individuals come first. God has something we do not have – a complete knowledge of His Plan for your life, the real call on your life, not the one you think is best, the right husband or wife, the best choices at the right time. The trick is to be in His Will. That is something each one of us, not He, needs to do.
As a young person my life’s goal was to be both a writer and a lawyer. I was frustrated in my goals. On the way to take my LSAT (Law School Admission Test) the money for the test fell out of my pocket. My years as a journalist were a disappointment too; baby sitters earned more per hour than I did!
Eventually it all comes together
But lo and behold, I studied His law and now I write. Yahweh’s law is in the 32,000+ verses in His 66 Bible books, and yes “When you fast and pray” is still a law as much as “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Five books sit in boxes needing to be written, or perhaps even just finished. And I am running out of time! But my goals and Yahweh’s were not far off, just needing correction which He did.
Finally, there is something you need to know. Not everyone knows who Yahshua is, or that He loves us. About 30 years ago during a prayer meeting at my church a long time parishioner stood up and asked for prayer for the kindergarten where she worked.
We don’t know where other people are
A particularly annoying five year old girl was so disobedient, unruly and troublesome that she, the teacher, was at a loss knowing how to handle her. One day she exploded and said, “I am having trouble loving you but I do know Jesus loves you.” To which the little tot replied, “Who the hell is Jesus?”
Whenever you find someone who is difficult, and they may be 15, 25 or 45, remember that they may not know who Jesus is either.
Whatever else He may be, He is not our servant. He is our savior. When you are in the center of His Will then even the bad things that happen have a purpose and direction for your life. But you have to be in His will to understand that.
Knowing Him comes first, before the benefits.
I feel sorry for Tench. He is 15 years old, uncommonly handsome and filled with fears. His grandmother came to me, asking what could I tell him to give him a better outlook on life. His father was an abusive drug addict who his mother dumped when he was small. Then she married a very wealthy man who treated him like dirt, favoring only his own children. The new father was cold and strict. Of course Tench was in trouble with his parents, the school and the Law. This is for Tench, and it is for you too.
Life is Hard for the Firstborn
If you are the firstborn in your family, this word is for you too. God has something special for you. The 1st born is holy unto the Lord, special, consecrated to God. He or she will have a special call and God’s concern.
Look for what He wants you to do in life.
Some of these passages mention males, but others include females. Most parents notice that their eldest child is different.
Exodus 13:2 “Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine.”
Exodus 13:12 that you shall set apart to the LORD all that open the womb, that is, every firstborn that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be the LORD’s.
Exodus 34:19 “All that open the womb are Mine, and every male firstborn among your livestock, whether ox or sheep.
Numbers 8:16 For they are wholly given to Me from among the children of Israel; I have taken them for Myself instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the children of Israel.
Numbers 18:15 “Everything that first opens the womb of all flesh, which they bring to the LORD, whether man or beast, shall be yours; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem.
Luke 2:23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD”)
Being “Holy” means special, both good and bad
YOU?? HOLY?? Now there’s a new thought. But Holy means only that God considers you special. He has a plan for every person’s life.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope) but this is different.
Frequently the oldest child comes under more attack ad are often leaders in business and their communities.
He will be waiting to hear from you. Are you going to look for Him, expecting to hear from Him. There is your challenge.
#religion #spirituality #birthorder
Americans are in tragic need of a de-stress. Eight long years part-time employment, income, jobs, high oil prices, ever-increasing food costs, failed plans and both national and international terror threats put us all on edge. Now that everyone is back at work, we are overworking to compensate for lost time.
The Bible has an app for that
It is called “keeping the Sabbath holy.” But how many of us take one day a week to flat line our lives? Not many. It is important enough to be in the 10 Commandments along with not committing adultery and theft. It’s a day of rest where the mind, body and spirit close the door on daily life and “does something else.”
It is not as legalists would have us believe a time to be sanctimonious and pretend to be holy. Being part-holy is work enough. Even the non-religious world is beginning to catch on to that.
High Schoolers reduced crime and stress with a Time Out
One high school in the USA has two breaks a day – 15 minutes each, morning and afternoon. Instead of depriving kids of instructional time, they learned that conflicts, fights, and tardiness all decreased and grades went up. If there is anyone in this world who is on edge it’s the teens. But can we do it? Will we do it? More importantly do we know why we must do it?
Trying to trap Jesus with a question
When Jesus was asked about this issue He said, “Sabbath-keeping is not God’s issue, but man’s.” From the original:
Mark 2:27 (ERV) Then Jesus said to the Pharisees, “The Sabbath day was made to help people. People were not made to be ruled by the Sabbath.
God has no need of a giant rest – man does so He created the Sabbath for man’s benefit. If it is such a valuable benefit why are we not doing it? And what will it take for us to restructure our lives to make things better?
Any day can be a sabbath
In the first place, it does not need to be Sunday. Many people work weekends, esp. ministers and they take Monday off which usually is the preferred day for golf anyway. Keeping the 7th day (or at least one out of 7) holy does not mean you are to spend your entire time in prayer. Legalistic believers might think that, but if you know any Jews, you know they celebrate after service with a giant meal and spend the time chatting, no work, no study, only the farm animals get milked and foddered, and if your ox fell in a ditch you are to get it out. (And if your car breaks down, yes, get it fixed.)
In other words, it is not a matter of what you do, but what you don’t do.
You don’t figure out your taxes, you don’t visit people you can’t stand, you don’t undertake a business venture or a 2nd job, or file paperwork for a new house, or hire an employee, or workout if you hate exercise. It is your day to be you and to let other people be themselves too. No extra stuff on the kids, no heated arguments over politics or which bill to pay this week.
An end to all activity is not the point
Babies need feeding and diapering, but other than that, take that long bath and let someone else play with them. My grandpa played cards with me on Sunday, and he never went to church. His mother took him 4 times a week and he calculated that he’d therefore been enough times to suffice for an entire life of Sundays, but I never saw him do evil to anyone, or cheat, or lie, or sneak off with another woman.
There are times when our time is not our own
Grandpa did work 364 days a year during World War 2 as Labor Relations Manager for a ship building corporation. War is different. You have to fight it no matter when it occurs. In North Texas 5,000 people attend one church on Saturday afternoon and then all day Sunday they eat together. The oldest member of one Sabbath-keeping family I know is 88 and she looks 65!
Health is a reward for a day off
The results of being obedient to God have all kinds of benefits. Most benefits are unseen. Instead of saddling yourself with yet another New Year’s resolution you will probably drop soon enough, why not take this idea on – one day a week for total rest. Select February as it has only 28 days and see if you don’t notice a change.
Do it as an Experiment
Select a period of time and decide on a day when you will totally chill. Do this for at least one month. Make notes about your ability to solve problems during that time. Usually people who live more productive lives will tell you they take more time being calm. Quakers, for example, who practice silence as a religious rite, are known everywhere as more prosperous financially. Keep notes on what you are doing; no one has a perfect memory. And when you are done tell someone else.
You can give yourself positive reinforcement even if no one else does. If you ever said I can’t take a day off, rethink that. If you are not getting what you need out of life, somehow you must make life work for you.
#keepsabbathwholly #stressmanagement #overeating #insomnia #religion #spirituality
People who live in the past are depressed and people who live in the future (like Rapture buffs) are angry and frustrated; I have friends like this. The Bible says live in the present taking orders from the Lord. I’ve had bouts of depression and I believe all people do because we cannot turn our minds off. The weight of the world is not your business; you can’t fix everything. Sometimes you can’t fix anything. Speculation goes no where, keeping you busy and unproductive. The answer to depression (or any other question) in this blog is always from one standpoint – what does God think?
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Man is made up of 3 parts – spirit, soul and body.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Notice the order of the words.
The spirit is intended to control the soul (think, feel, decide) and the soul is to control the body. The spirit is from God and is NOT the soul, a frequent error in dictionaries. If this pattern is observed the patient (person) is of sound mind.
Your brain is a muscle you can control
When either the body or the soul takes over there is an imbalance, hence the church steps in and says that salvation is the way. Because the heavenly truth is not visible, many people miss it for a long time, but it is always there. I am not preaching here, just the facts, ma’m.
The excessive hopelessness (soul part) leads to suicide. The answer for you is to control your mind.
Control your Mind
This is not a Pollyanna thing. It is a direct effort on your part to decide, deliberately and purposefully to think on something else. You can kill yourself with “what ifs” over rejection, and failure, and other useless speculation. People who have fought this mental battle turn on classical music (even if they don’t particularly like it) or read something on a totally different subject, or play a challenging game (not simple checkers) or exercise. My cure is Bible reading; the modern versions are easy and fun to read.
Negative thoughts are easy
Every unsolvable problem, and you cannot prevent the suicide of another person, becomes larger the more it is unwisely contemplated. Prayer helps, but nothing is sure fire because each person makes his/her own way in life.
Uneducated people try to solve their mental issues with drink, parties, sex, even crime. I worked with inmates for many years and they sought excitement to deal with their sense of failure and worthlessness. Educated people should have mental discipline but when it comes to emotional collapse they do what everyone else does.
Being positive takes effort
Multiple marriages or affairs is a favorite of men. Women will over work or pressure others emotionally. If you are a sufferer of depression, work out your own salvation with mental discipline. Continued use of substitutes, like drugs, leads no where.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
If you want to be a Change Agent, let me recommend this group which seeks to turn around fatherless boys.
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me.
All men fear death, (Hebrews 2:15) so your job as a parent is to show your child a non-scary way of looking at death, especially if someone in your family dies and explaining it becomes an issue.
Find a toy truck and a toy automobile to demonstrate. If you have a light souce you can set up so much the better.
Here is what you can say.
“Do you remember how when we go on a road trip we have to pass big trucks that are going slower than we are? Do you remember when we passed on the side away from the sun that a giant shadow fell on our car? But we did not fear because we could see the road ahead. Very soon we were back in the sunlight and the shadow was gone.
Well that is what death is like. It is only a shadow. And passing from here to there is simple and uncomplicated. God is on the other side waiting for us.
Of course we don’t want you going there any day soon. That is also God’s choice.”
This illustration comes from Dr Donald Grey Barnhouse (d.1960)
He said, “Children, would you rather be run over by a truck, or by its shadow?” The children said, “Well, of course Dad, we’d much rather be run over by the shadow! That can’t hurt us at all.” Dr. Barnhouse said, “Did you know that two thousand years ago the truck of death ran over the Lord Jesus in order that only its shadow might run over us?”
quoted from Lou Nicholes Missionary/Author.
Speaking the truth about race is not racist. It can be repeated for racist reasons if there is malice in someone’s heart. But truth itself is neutral. Lies in the other had always have some corrupted motive behind them, a purpose to keep you from truth.
Lies have sticky feet in the mind
There is no defense against the truth, says scripture. But lies always have a defense, and of course that is the truth. But since the public presence of lies is greater than the activity of truth, we must be extra careful what we believe, what we repeat and what we hear and read and from whom. Lies are aggressive in getting out there into the public. Once established in the mind a lie is terribly hard to dislodge.
Children suffer the most from lies
Children often believe well into their old age that they caused their parents divorce – they were too much trouble, they cost too much, they had been bad. This especially plagues the very small children who have no adult reference points to examine. Children hear enough of guilt without adding to it and they know nothing of legal action, physical problems, emotional or mental illness, or social and political forces beyond their world. Even when you minister peace to them they can retain that nagging feeling that you are just being “nice” and trying to make them feel better.
Saying I don’t know is better than wrong answers
Deception, which are lies in fancy dress, is worse Fifty years ago parents might say a baby would be brought by the stork, instead of a full description of procreation. Not a good idea. You can say instead, “God sends babies to families” and be done with it. It has the added
Keeping truth inside boundaries
You should find out why the child is asking, or what, before you jump into a long discussion.
Tommy: Dad: Where did I come from?
Dad: (worried that he will need to describe the birds and the bees) That would take a long time. What do you want to know?
Tommy: Johnny Wilson just moved. He says he comes from Texas. I just wondered where I came from.
Dad: You were born in Ohio.
We have a tendency to either offer too much information or too little. Focus on what the child really wants to know and why. And then use it to instruct.
You can then say, “That is a good way to get to know other kids. You can always ask them where they were born.” Parents are so busy with multitasking they let opportunities for instruction go by. Many children have trouble making friends- and the ones who don’t need no instruction.
The little girl who is scared of a spider, and yes, reassure her that they don’t belong in the house, can be asked to look up this spider on the Internet and find out what nice things it does for the environment. This way unimportant foolish kids’ questions and fears can be turned into parenting victories.
And please, never tell your kid a question is stupid. You can be sure they’ll never ask you to answer a question again, and who knows where they’ll go for another answer.
Occasionally there is some public breast-beating by ministers ruing the statistics that non-believers and believers divorce at about the same rate. There is a deceptively easy reason for this. But in any event marriage is such a complex relationship that in talking about it we always leave out something important. Here, alone, e are talking about divorcea and how it is a final breakdown.
Marriage as flesh
First, the scriptures say the “two shall become one flesh.” While this union is not a simple co-habitation in the eyes of God, it may actually not be much more than this. It is, after all, just the flesh.
In the beginning the flesh is usually enough to keep the pair together. They marry with pretty much the same goals – a family, a house in the burbs, a decent job, and a few kids. Sometimes their common goals are a life as missionaries or even as members of the armed forces. Those common goals keep them together for a long time.
If the goal is sex alone, by either couple, the union is doomed from the start because the Bible says, the flesh profits nothing. It has no permanence, so the value of marriage must be in the other extended relationship it brings to the couple, and their world and the world to come. Marriage does have eternal value.
Man, in contrast to animals, in three parts
Man is made up of three parts – body, soul and spirit. The bodies come together but clearly not the spirits, and consequently not the souls. In most families mother and father are opposites – she is creative, he is a math whiz; or he is the farmer and she can’t grow chives in the window sill; or she is an engineer and he is a psychologist. This helps the kids have a better view of the world than two alike-people.
But no one can have, nor should they have, a union of souls. God saves souls and each one is distinct in His eyes.
Then there is the Spirit. This is where the rubber meets the road. After the children are schooled, married and gone, this marriage faces a new stress – what is the common goal – retirement, travel, self-indulgence, golf, amusements, games? Do they have a common life of set goals. One prominent marriage counselor says every pair should have a regular discussion about the family “mission-statement.”
At this point, the union breaks down.
Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
Agreement is gone!
While Amos spoke these words to indicate how the Christian should pattern his life with God, the rule applies everywhere. The marriage cannot last if the direction of their lives is not parallel. Parallel goals means agreement. Non-parallel goals means that even a small degree of difference will, over time, send them off in different, and conflicting directions.
It may be be evident as the paths begin to part, but that is the time for re-examination. Look to God for the answer. Men most often will blame the wife, marry #2 and live to regret it because they fail to look at their own faults.
The second marriage for men is almost always a disaster.
The wife may hit the bottle or have an affair. Again – an answer in the flesh does not work. The new rule in America of hole digging is – when you are at the bottom, stop digging.
Saving the marriage means being totally honest
Go back to where your paths diverged and be cruelly honest with yourself first and then each other. Divorce is not necessary, and it is a horror for even the most agreeable couple. It does not need to happen.
BIBLE STUDY AGENDA
1. Read aloud preface
2. Students read the passage (see end of this lesson for the scripture) pp3-4
3. Discussion – see Question/Answers section
4. Read aloud the author’s commentary and ask for input.
5. Ask students if they plan to act on anything they have learned today, giving details if they feel free to do so.
Dictators have an abysmal record of failure – Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Edi Amin, Mao ZeDong – Putin and Al-assad please note. The problem is not that they are incompetent but that their totalitarian position prevents valid input from knowledgeable associates in their regimes. A leader who can murder you and your family at a whim’s notice creates a body of yes-men- sycophants willing to compromise truth for survival. Darius the King of Persia was such a man, but he was good hearted and divided the rule of his kingdom among a group of trusted people. Then apparently he neglected to keep these people under review? Was he too trusting? Or simply happy to be spared the nitty gritty of daily decisions?
How can a group of employees conspire against that? They have no handle except pride.
Daniel was made the top manager because clearly had access to “the Holy God.” In other words, he was a whole lot smarter than all the rest of them. Envy may well be the chief motivation in politics so to dethrone Daniel they played on Darius’ ego.
First they urged him to sign a truly stupid law. This was his decree:
For the next thirty days no one is to pray to any god or mortal except you, O king. Anyone who disobeys will be thrown into the lions’ den.
Even on the surface this is a silliness; a 30 day period of worship had no relevance to this vast kingdom. As politicians say today, This is not a pocketbook issue.
King Darius fell for it. It appealed to his ego and he ignored any possible fall out. He knew better than to accept worship in any event.
1. Did you have a situation where you have been manipulated by employees into a wrong decision?
2. Is there anyone you should have moved out and failed to do so?
3. Do you think you are too trusting?
4. Do you have a group of people that you are accountable to? Preferably people not in your company or team?
1. Focus on the task at hand. Your decrees (today we call them decisions) need to advance the agenda of the company, its products and its employees and have little or nothing to do with personalities. Years ago I heard that the ball team Magic Johnson played with was instructed by the owner to refer to him as the King. How idiotic can you be. Basketball is played by teams and without that team sense a star is a dud. Asking team members to do that was the equivalent of sowing seeds of discord. (Proverbs 6:19)
2. Multiple, divided leadership is the model for success. The New Testament church was run by 5 leaders who were expected to agree (unanimity) on all issues. You say that is impossible? Not when the Holy Spirit is making the final decisions. Ministers fail, some very publicly, and churches go bankrupt because the Biblical model is not honored – perhaps not even known. God’s work must be done God’s way. When the goal is something other than advancing the Kingdom that group, church or minister will surely fade away. I can’t tell you how many ministries I’ve seen go down. Pride leaders some to believe they are above the law; one minister friend of mine had no trouble lying because he thought the ministry would flourish if he did so. His $100 thousand dollar investment in China went down the tube. God does not give permission to any leader to disobey the moral law and retain his position.
3. When the leader discovers his error he does not hide it but acts to repair the damage. Darius repented, fasted and prayed all night. Then in the morning after he saw Daniel safe and sound he went after the men who entrapped both him and Daniel. Cover-up never works; if man doesn’t catch you, God will.
4. Note that the King did not give these conspirators a pass. Too often leaders will tolerate employees in their company who have some other great talent. But people are creatures of habit; if an employee will connive once, he’ll do it again. Firing is painful but it must be done. These days it may mean a lawsuit but tolerating a problem does not solve it.
5. In modern times few individuals are total dictators and must make allowances for personalities and politics. In my past I worked for a woman who was extremely insecure in her job; she had been placed at the top of a large company at 35. It was an easy task for evil tongues to encourage her to fire or push out at least 4 top people, a genius bookkeeper, a volunteer coordinator, a very popular person and me as well. The company did suffer all the while not realizing she had become a victim simply because she knew the liar better and unwisely trusted her.
6. Finally, God is able to judge the conspirators,
Below is the entire passage from the Bible (The Message)
Daniel in the Lions’ Den See what you learn in your reading.
6 1-3 Darius reorganized his kingdom. He appointed one hundred twenty governors to administer all the parts of his realm. Over them were three vice-regents, one of whom was Daniel. The governors reported to the vice-regents, who made sure that everything was in order for the king. But Daniel, brimming with spirit and intelligence, so completely outclassed the other vice-regents and governors that the king decided to put him in charge of the whole kingdom.
4-5 The vice-regents and governors got together to find some old scandal or skeleton in Daniel’s life that they could use against him, but they couldn’t dig up anything. He was totally exemplary and trustworthy. They could find no evidence of negligence or misconduct. So they finally gave up and said, “We’re never going to find anything against this Daniel unless we can cook up something religious.”
6-7 The vice-regents and governors conspired together and then went to the king and said, “King Darius, live forever! We’ve convened your vice-regents, governors, and all your leading officials, and have agreed that the king should issue the following decree:
For the next thirty days no one is to pray to any god or mortal except you, O king. Anyone who disobeys will be thrown into the lions’ den.
8 “Issue this decree, O king, and make it unconditional, as if written in stone like all the laws of the Medes and the Persians.”
9 King Darius signed the decree.
10 When Daniel learned that the decree had been signed and posted, he continued to pray just as he had always done. His house had windows in the upstairs that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he knelt there in prayer, thanking and praising his God.
11-12 The conspirators came and found him praying, asking God for help. They went straight to the king and reminded him of the royal decree that he had signed. “Did you not,” they said, “sign a decree forbidding anyone to pray to any god or man except you for the next thirty days? And anyone caught doing it would be thrown into the lions’ den?”
“Absolutely,” said the king. “Written in stone, like all the laws of the Medes and Persians.”
13 Then they said, “Daniel, one of the Jewish exiles, ignores you, O king, and defies your decree. Three times a day he prays.”
14 At this, the king was very upset and tried his best to get Daniel out of the fix he’d put him in. He worked at it the whole day long.
15 But then the conspirators were back: “Remember, O king, it’s the law of the Medes and Persians that the king’s decree can never be changed.”
16 The king caved in and ordered Daniel brought and thrown into the lions’ den. But he said to Daniel, “Your God, to whom you are so loyal, is going to get you out of this.”
17 A stone slab was placed over the opening of the den. The king sealed the cover with his signet ring and the signet rings of all his nobles, fixing Daniel’s fate.
18 The king then went back to his palace. He refused supper. He couldn’t sleep. He spent the night fasting.
19-20 At daybreak the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. As he approached the den, he called out anxiously, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve so loyally, saved you from the lions?”
21-22 “O king, live forever!” said Daniel. “My God sent his angel, who closed the mouths of the lions so that they would not hurt me. I’ve been found innocent before God and also before you, O king. I’ve done nothing to harm you.”
23 When the king heard these words, he was happy. He ordered Daniel taken up out of the den. When he was hauled up, there wasn’t a scratch on him. He had trusted his God.
24 Then the king commanded that the conspirators who had informed on Daniel be thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. Before they hit the floor, the lions had them in their jaws, tearing them to pieces.
25-27 King Darius published this proclamation to every race, color, and creed on earth:
Peace to you! Abundant peace!
I decree that Daniel’s God shall be worshiped and feared in all parts of my kingdom.
He is the living God, world without end. His kingdom never falls.
His rule continues eternally.
He is a savior and rescuer.
He performs astonishing miracles in heaven and on earth.
He saved Daniel from the power of the lions.
28 From then on, Daniel was treated well during the reign of Darius, and also in the following reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Human marriages are by contract
All marriages these days are by contract. You sign a legal license to marry and are formally married either by a preacher/rabbi, or in a civil ceremony by a “member of the court,” such as a justice of the peace or a ship captain. A license and a contract are required because the government wants to know who is responsible for any children and property belonging to this union. That is the extent of the contract in marriage.
Covenant marriage places the responsibility on God
But Judeo-Christian tradition sees marriage as a covenant and instead of there being 2 people in this marriage contract, there is a third, God Himself. The vows are taken before God and He assumes a special part in the union. A covenant to God goes way beyond a contract. In fact salvation as a promise from God is the most sacred of all the covenants he has made with the human race. From God’s standpoint we can break a covenant but He cannot.
You and your spouse might break that covenant, but God will not. The couple promise not only fidelity to each other but to God, and to His demands on their life and witness, and their raising children in the faith.
Ministers are wise to refuse to marry
Perhaps that helps explain why some ministers will not perform some marriages. A minister is within his rights not to marry any couple he does not think will fulfill the union properly or are not serious about the Godly connection each of them has. Since the marriage covenant under God also includes raising the children in a Godly home, you can easily see why same-sex marriages are not allowed in most denominations or by most ministers. Natural children are an impossibility.
Individuals who divorce can break their contract, as recognized by the state, but not the covenant. When it says “What God has joined together Let no man put asunder” (Matt 19:6) it means, under covenant law. Humans might separate what God joined, but God is not required recognize their having done sos. The Law of God is greater than any law from the State of Nebraska, or any other jurisdiction for that matter. This should help explain why so many of the rules regarding marriage in the New Testament seem to militate against divorce.
Legal human divorce does not break a covenant marriage
Women will occasionally say, “He may have divorced me but I still feel married to him” and be telling the truth. From God’s standpoint that union may well still stand. A man can divorce if his wife commits adultery but if she did not and he marries, he becomes an adulterer and God cannot bless sin, which may explain why so many 2nd marriages fail.
Statistically 2nd marriages fail at a far greater rate than 1st marriages, as a tacit confirmation of this spiritual fact. And same-sex unions have a far greater statistic of divorce than other unions. Lawyers frequently support same sex marriage because they know they want added legal business! (Some day I’ll write on Too Many Lawyers.)
In the case above, is the rejected woman expected to remarry her husband? Absolutely not. Many women are more than happy to be rid of a philanderer; let the new wife put up with him. God has not called us to bondage says the scripture. In all cases He wants to be the person involved in your life decisions.
Any kind of interference is called adultery
Because marriage is a covenant relationship of 3 (he, she and God) no other human should either get in the way, or ever take sides. You can always take God’s side, but you may not know what His Side is. Marriage is intensely personal and outsiders, no matter how close to the situation, esp. children, cannot know what is going on. And God does not want us to take sides either. Parents who try to break up a marriage will face God’s judgment if only on the other side of the grave.
In fact to take sides is to be involved where you don’t belong. This covenant of 3 does not include you and nosy interference can get you quickly on God’s naughty list, esp. close friends, mothers-in-law and The Other Woman. Minding one’s own business is always good counsel.
If you are facing or have faced divorce, you can learn the mind of Christ in the Bible. He has made it clear we are not to focus on the past, or be depressed in the present, but always to look forward, and not be in bondage to failures of the past.
In John 18 Peter denied Jesus three times, as in fact Jesus Himself had predicted. (Matthew 26:34) A cocky, self-assured Peter said he would never do this. Sometimes our confidence gets away with itself.
Public denial has consequences
Peter learned what was in his inner most heart. But this denial had cut him off from Jesus. Public denial is quite serious. In fact, the scripture says that if you deny me before men, I will deny you before the Father. (Matthew 10:30)
After the death of Jesus and prior to His ascension an angel says to Jesus’ group:
Mark 16:7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”
Peter’s denial had removed him from being a “disciple.” So Jesus offers him an opportunity for restoration. Here is the passage. It is important for what it says in the Greek language, something impossible to state in English.
God knows what you have said
So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah,[a] do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
If we do not know the two Greek words here, we can get caught looking at the sheep and their feeding instead of the real lesson.
Greek words for love have different meanings
Here we have two different words for love in Greek. This language has five words for love; four of them appear in the Greek Bible. Two of them are here. Agape (ah-gah-pay) meaning the pure, selfless love of God and phileo, (phi-lay-oh) the love of one person for another, i.e. brotherly love. Now – the same passage with the Greek words inserted.
So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah,[a] do you love [agape] Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love [phileo] You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love [agape] Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love [phileo] You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love [phileo] Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love [phileo] You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
Why did Jesus abandon His “agape” term and revert to Peter’s “phileo” verb?
The rules for speech are for Christian workers too
We can answer this several ways. First, Peter and the rest of the disciples/apostles had yet to receive the Holy Spirit in the upper room on Pentecost. Without the infilling of God’s spirit how can we truly know the pure love of God in our lives.
The natural man receives not the things of the spirit of God, neither does he know them, for they are foolishness unto him” 1 Corinthians 2:14
Second, Peter has been chastened, that is a fancy word for discipline. Discipline to be effective and honorable must always seek restoration. Discipline that is simply violent correction or evil doing, and there is plenty of that in this world, is non-redemptive and leads to more evil. Peter has seen his lack; he is embarrassed and he knows that he must grow in the knowledge of God and His love. In this respect we are all ‘Peters.’
God disciplines His people; he judges the lost
Peter list his position as a disciple after he denied Jesus three times on the day of crucifixion. We know this because Jesus said the following to the women at the tomb:
“But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee.” Mark 16:7.
Jesus offered Peter an opportunity to undo all the denials he had initiated. By using the Greek word for Godly love, the Lord was telling Peter there was something he had yet to learn. Peter’s repeating that he loved Jesus three times restored him to disciple status.
Restoration through your words
Jesus does that for all of us; we are given space to be corrected and to understand ourselves so we can be effective doing our assigned tasks for the promotion of the Kingdom of God.
#restoration #wordsforlove #
Tara Copp, author of Warbird, gives a literary rendering to a very non-literary time in her life as an embedded journalist in the Kuwait war zone. https://www.amazon.com/Warbird-Three-Heroes-Wars-Story/dp/0998061417
The author has little fear, some natural intensity of purpose, a desire to be a team, and a unique opportunity as most of the embedded journalists were male. But later returning home she has a hard time adjusting to what happened to her – the shock of real bullets, the process of working with the soldiers without getting in their way, the close calls, their inexperience, the dust, the heat, the political fracas, and of course the enemy. The men, all of them real heroes, seemed to adjust better than she did. But many of them did not.
Trying to make sense of her experiences she investigated her grandfather’s life in World War II with his brother. It is an interesting story which she doggedly researched in military and other records. Military men will enjoy this lively picture into the past. But even after she makes peace with her grandfather’s reckless but productive life she is still uneasy. Her contacts from the war filter in and out of her life.
She wandered through a series of disappointing boyfriends, a failed marriage, job moves and restlessness. For some of the soldiers she worked with had very much the same pattern of rootlessness and discontents. The full time soldiers fared better, but that did not negate their separation from their past lives. They just dumped them.
Missionaries tell the story of one of their fellows who headed into the African bush country leading a long caravan of supplies, food and personnel. The first day he was overjoyed over their progress: nine miles on day one, and seven miles the second day. But the morning of the third day the whole caravan stopped cold and refused to move. When the distraught missionary asked why, the Native Guide replied, “We are waiting for our souls to catch up.”
“We are waiting for our souls to catch up.”
Theologians think PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is a crisis of image for those with an underdeveloped or damaged sense of self; they will be more negatively impacted by war. Her’s may be a clearer description of PTSD without the extremes of reaction. The military experience was so dislodging to their personalities that their souls did not catch up.
A level of trauma for everyone
Apparently war slams a trauma so severe it cannot be healed, merely absorbed into one’s personality and embraced as an asset rather than a curse. What you became in the battlefield will change you forever. You must deliberately move forward or not survive at all.
Essayist Cornelia Scott Cree writes on Applied Christianity, Dream Interpretation and Biblical Symbolism. She invites questions at her website https:WouldYouConsider.net.
#warwounds #PTSD #soldiersuicide
The younger generation has nearly abandoned the idea of marriage and there is a pile of reasons for that. Has anyone considered the hazards of going out on dates with only one person at a time?
You don’t really get to know someone if it is only the two of you.
I’ve been on enough dates to know you only show your good side – usually, and it is easy when there are no challenges. Males can be nice for 3 -5 hours. Maybe even 6 hours; they can be nice at work for 8 hours as well. Their job depends on it.
But when you get people in groups, other things happen.
Years ago well meaning friends decided I needed to not-be-single anymore so they arranged a dinner after church with someone I had no interest in at the time. I didn’t know they were plotting.
This man, I will call him Roy, ordered a burger and fries. Sounds easy right? But there was something wrong with the meat, then the mayo, then the fries were not up to snuff. By the time the meal was over I was ready to stuff the entire plate down his throat with the silverware to follow.
None of this drama would have occurred on a date between just the two of us. His mama’s Southern upbringing would have him display the finest South Carolina manners.
Let’s go back to courting
Courting, in contrast, is the public agreement that marriage is a possibility. If you and your date can agree on this, you will have a concrete goal of getting to know each other without prying eyes. Life is lived in the whole, not as a part. So the public behavior will tell you whom to delete from your list from the start.
Now, many years later and many years older, I have a little test of my own. If I invite him to a restaurant as my guest and while at the meal he insists that he pay, I know he is a control freak and the dating ends there. He is not ready to share his life, only to control it.
Your parents, if they are concerned at all, will also know the right time to make a decision. If “he” or “she” is not ready then you can both go your own way without too many tears or regrets. No baby, no divorce, no alimony or child support, no house to divide up, no pricey lawyers or court dates. Simple.
#dating #divorce #personalrelationships
Are you killing yourself with the words you speak?
My friend, who has a healing ministry, and I over dinner this weekend decided that based on our 100 combined years of experience, all issues are ultimately spiritual. We know too many people committing slow-motion suicide because of what is in their hearts, due to all that stuff coming out of their mouths.
Jesus said this, but how often do we brush right past his warning (from The Message.)
Evil speaking has consequences.
14-15 Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Listen now, all of you—take this to heart. It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life; it’s what you vomit—that’s the real pollution.”
17 When he was back home after being with the crowd, his disciples said, “We don’t get it. Put it in plain language.”
18-19 Jesus said, “Are you being willfully stupid? Don’t you see that what you swallow can’t contaminate you? It doesn’t enter your heart but your stomach, works its way through the intestines, and is finally flushed.” (That took care of dietary quibbling; Jesus was saying that all foods are fit to eat.)
20-23 He went on: “It’s what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution.”
President Trump most-hated man.
For over two years now the country has been ankle deep in open hatred and accusations against the Donald Trump, President of the United States – media, foreign governments, business leaders, university teachers and students, political activists, most newspapers, some money managers and a host of out-of-work actors. If the intention was to destroy the man or his presidency it has not worked.
The President is doing fine; he’s fit as a fiddle, and at 72 working 10 hour days, or more. His critics are collapsing under the weight of their own venomous words. These are clearly not a matter of political issues.
The critics fall by the wayside
As Jesus pointed out, evil speaking defiles (contaminates) the speaker not the person spoken about. You can be for or against gun control or abortion and it doesn’t matter; the people who are evil speakers are the ones committing slow motion suicide, going down or losing ground. Most media groups, television, newspapers, and magazines are laying off staff. https://www.theblaze.com/news/2018/06/03/cnns-ratings-downslide-continues-with-massive-losses-gets-steamrolled-by-fox-news The money is just not coming in. People do not want to pay good money for lies, slander or just plain nastiness even when it may be true.
Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, criticized President Trump and within two weeks there were riots in the French streets and he was scrambling to salvage his own presidency. It probably does not help to be named Emmanuel which means “God with us.” https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/10/france-riots-macron-expected-to-promise-economic-change-but-is-it-too-late.html
The four top corporations in the world either damned the President or the country, and a few took on criticizing God and within two months their CEOs were suffering public embarrassment. The New York State Legislature endorses the murder of live babies and within four weeks loses 30 billion in revenues when Amazon pulls out of a projected deal.
Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada who loves the limelight, got into the act and almost overnight not another word from him. We can only wonder who stopped that in its tracks. Maybe it was this tight-fisted Dutchman. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/24/dont-criticize-trump-we-need-him-dutch-prime-minister-says.html
A restaurant staff in Virginia demands that a White House employee leave the premises and not only that restaurant but the entire town fumes over a decrease in traffic and sales. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/red-hen-eateries-feel-the-heat-after-sarah-sanders-booted-from-virginia-restaurant-with-same-name
The law of sowing and reaping works
The richest man in the world announces a divorce and less than a fortnight later is exposed by embarrassing photos he took of himself in his birthday suit. Then the stock starts going down. Wall Street does not like stupid CEOs.
Jussie Smollett perpetuated a dramatic hoax costing him over $3500 and CNN’s viewership went down 25% because they were deceived by the whole scam. http://click.heritage.org/n0M90nB03mre0TH0Qq61s2O
Some of the more daring comedians and actors have asked for an assassination of President Trump and now they can’t find work. Because the First Amendment protects free speech there are no laws against saying something like this in secular society but God has another standard. He requires payback if your heart is evil and your slander intended to glorify yourself or to promote some immoral or self-serving position. His payback is that YOU get sick.
One woman I knew hated everybody – Jews, Catholics, men, women, Democrats and some Republicans, police, ministers, her family. What she died of tells you all you ever need to know – she died of cancer of the jaw. Apparently so much evil speaking lodged in her bones and took her down and out.
Jesus warned, “Guard your heart for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23.
#Jesus #God #Faith #hungbyyourtongue