Tag Archives: relationships

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 6

Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.
For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree. -Zechariah 3:8-10

close up of fruits hanging on tree

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close up of christmas tree

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The great news of Zechariah is that the Branch of Jesse, the descendant of David, the Servant King of Israel, would be coming to His people, and in a single day He would manage to remove all the sins of His people.

Through this Branch, all people will be able to come together in peace and love, living by the fruit of the Spirit in all facets of life and relationships.

This is not simply some feel-good story, but the source of the peace we celebrate at this time of year.

It is also the hope that we will one day see this fulfilled completely. It will be fully realized when our Lord returns to reign on Earth for eternity.

Lord of hosts and Righteous Redeemer, thank You for taking our sin upon Yourself and reuniting humanity with You. Guide us in bringing Your Kingdom to this world.

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Am I offending people?

There is wisdom and there is stupidity. God is kind enough to alert me to both.

Putting others down and being a rude bully is intended to draw attention to me. If I am so insecure that the only way I think I can look good is to put others down, that is the height of stupidity.

I don’t like to think I act that way. I need to be careful. It is too easy to fall into the trap, particularly in our new world of technology and social media.

The Apostle Paul advises “Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in the Messiah forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31)

If you’re dumb enough to call attention to yourself
    by offending people and making rude gestures,
Don’t be surprised if someone bloodies your nose.
    Churned milk turns into butter;
    riled emotions turn into fist fights.

Source: Proverbs 30:32-33

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Loving Our Brother-Neighbor

Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off. -Proverbs 27:10, KJV

I have moved at least a dozen times in my life. A few of those were across big distances, some were relatively close (one was from one end of a building to the other).

I have also moved churches. In most of these instances of moving, there is pain. Friends are not as near. Some are even lost after communication is broken for one reason or another.

Some friendships have been bolstered. My wife and I had to move in with friends (such as in that move across a building), including where we are living as I write this.

It is because of instances like this I see the truth of this proverb. You see, my wife and I only have one family member in state – her grandmother. It would make very little sense for us to try to live with one of our brothers or sisters who literally live across the country.

However, this proverb sort of breaks down when we acknowledge that our neighbor who is a Christian is also our brother in Christ.

We should be able to rely on our Brothers, in this case.

In fact, my wife and I have been blessed to struggle through some difficulties, because we were forced to rely on our Brothers and Sisters, Christ’s body, the Church, to get by. We have seen God’s love and provision through those who are faithful to Him, including our current roommates.

So, if you must rely on a brother, may it be a Christian brother (or sister or both). Do not forsake these friends of our Father through Christ, for this is how we share His love, as Christ commanded. (John 14)


Searching the Unsearchable

The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.
Proverbs 25:3, KJV

There are three ways to understand this verse, I think:

  1. Very few throughout all of history can understand the pressures, stresses, and rewards of leading a people as ruler or even elected official. Some of us may get an inkling of some idea, but without doing it we will never have a full understanding. (Consider the presidents and prime ministers who enter office with dark hair that turns gray during one term.)
  2. God, the Creator of all of space and the Earth as well as our Eternal King, can never be fully understood. How can finite creatures understand that much power and majesty or that this God would want to save people who willfully rebel against Him? It will never happen.
  3. As I mentioned the other day, Christians are are a royal priesthood following our King of kings and High Priest. Unbelievers will try to understand all of space and our Earth, but they may never understand how we can believe in the One who made it all. They will barely if at all attempt to search out our heart for our King.

Most of us will never understand leading a nation, and none of us will ever comprehend the fullness of God.

If we are wise, we will seek out God and contemplate His truths and all He has done for us. We may not understand all He has done, but diving into those unsearchable truths will only bring us closer to and more like that God.


Thank you, Duolingo

international-2684767_1920I’m learning Swedish.  Slowly.  I have a working vocabulary of, I dunno, 70 words?  Our second granddaughter is 50% Swedish (our son-in-law is 100%), and they live about an hour outside of Stockholm. 

Now, when my son-in-law heard of my little project, he informed me that only 10 million people on the globe speak his language, as compared with the 1.5 billion that speak some form of English, his point being that it wasn’t necessarily practical to learn his native tongue.

Since when does a grandmother need to be practical?? Continue reading


Church is not about you.

Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house. –Proverbs 24:27, KJV

Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house. –Proverbs 24:27, ESV

Are you a member of your church?

Do you even attend a church?

If you do not have a legitimate physical reason for not going, why? (Disabilities or a work schedule can be good reasons.)

Not liking the decorations or the music are not good reasons (unless, maybe, because the music is theologically horrible! That usually happens in churches teaching the same fluff.)

If you claim that you are not being fed, there is good reason to believe that – sorry to be the bearer of bad news – you are the problem.

If you find yourself saying things like “The message just doesn’t resonate with me” (unless it is for the reason mentioned earlier) or “I have not found something to plug in to,” this is not good enough.

Perhaps the issue is that you keep looking for all of your needs to be met. That is not the purpose of Church.

Church is not all about you.

Maybe you need to start meeting the needs of others, start a Bible study (and, based on your approach thus far, ask a pastor, elder, or someone who is spiritually mature to help), or start asking your pastor questions about the lessons and messages.

If you refuse to actively work the ground of your faith, you may never “feel it” in any church – at least not for long. The most surefire way to “feel it” is to build up the church, to make those around you better by pointing them to Christ.

Then you will find that you have also been building up your house for worship.

Church is not about you. It is about letting Christ use you for His Church, to work the field of souls and build up His Temple of saints.


Knowledge Grows In Community

Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. -Proverbs 23:12, KJV

People wonder why our Western culture is slipping deeper into chaos and hatred.

The short answer is that we largely have given up on listening to instruction and seeking knowledge. We have promoted an individualistic approach to life, that we are each special and can make our own truth. If we just look I side ourselves, they say, we can find real truth.

It has even infiltrated the Church.

In truth, God’s Word tells us that we are all sinners in need of repentance (changing our way of living and thinking), and we need a Savior to help us … according to His standard, not our own.

If you do not have knowledge of the Savior, seek out a friend (like a pastor or another devout Christian) who can show you Christ.

If you do not follow the instructions laid out in the Bible for godly living, you need to repent.

If you are unsure of what the instructions mean – or even what they are – start by going to church. We learn to listen to others without injecting our own truth and to interact with others meaningfully.

In fact, go to church. Knowledge grows in community. And God is all about community.