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A Word With Friends

These are short devotional studies based on a single word or short phrase. Most are observations and lessons discovered in the life my family and me.

Silent Prayer

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, …..  “Isaiah 6:8

As our nation awakened to the National Day of Prayer I opened my Bible (actually my tablet app) and read this prayer of Isaiah.  The passage begins with “I saw  the Lord.”  We often focus on this chapter as the vision of Isaiah.  However, since my heart was focused on prayer I found a little “treasure hidden in the field” as the old brothers would say.

We often pray privately just like we pray publicly.  It is how we are taught. By our example we teach this to our children.  We talk to the Lord. We give him a list of things to act upon. Then with the invocation of Jesus Name we conclude our prayer time with “amen” (let it be so).  Imagine if… Continue reading

FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Ephesians 5:18

Most folks think that they have control of themselves and their circumstances.  I am reminded of a scene from the movie The Devil Wears Prada.  Miranda, a powerful fashion editor, is explaining to her second assistant Andrea that the sweater she “chose” was actually chosen for her by professionals in rooms like the one that she found herself in at that moment.  I apologize if you missed the analogy, but the point is that world (in the Biblical sense) tells folks what to think, what to wear, and how to feel.

Paul begins his admonition to be filled with the Spirit with the extreme contrast of being controlled by alcohol which is (results in) “excess”(KJV).  The Old English term excess confuses… Continue reading

PLEDGE

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.   Ephesians 1:13-14  

Our word today is found in three Scripture references.  Each is a reference to the Spirit of God being given to those that believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.  [See also 2 Corinthians 1:22 and 5:5]

The term translated here “a pledge” is ἀρραβὼν (arrabōn). It is translated “earnest” in the KJV and “deposit” in the NIV.  It is a term likely borrowed from Phoenician traders to indicate an advance payment that guarantees full payment on delivery.  There also seems to… Continue reading

MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28

John 10 provides much information about sheep and shepherds. The focus of this short study is the Shepherd’s voice. I recall reading about a group of shepherds gathering to water their flock. An observer asked how they could tell which sheep belonged to which flock. The answer came when they were rested and refreshed and the shepherds called out to their sheep. Very quickly the sheep divided into their various flocks simply by hearing their shepherd’s voice.

“… and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.”  John 10:3b

In John 20 we read that Mary (Magdalene)… Continue reading

The Royal Law

“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:” James 2:8 (KJV)

This phrase occurs only here in Scripture.  James chooses a term for the Law that usually refers to the Law as a whole rather than a term for an individual command.  This is in keeping with Jesus’ response to the question, “What is the first (great) commandment?”  [Matthew 22:36, Mark 12:28]  His two-part answer included a commandment regarding man’s relationship to God and this command which covers man’s relationship to his fellow-man.

This same commandment was also part of the response given to Jesus by a certain lawyer. [Luke 10:25-27]  It is here that Jesus links “love thy neighbor” to the well-known story of the Good Samaritan.

Paul further explains For all the law is fulfilled… Continue reading

Small

We sing a song at camp that begins “in my weakness, you always make me strong.”   The promise that God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) encourages me to face that which I feel ill-prepared for and to do that which I could never imagine possible.   A small band of the people God began the task of rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple.  It should be no surprise that they were opposed by the enemies of God.  However, their own people were of no encouragement to them either.  A messenger from the Lord brought words of promise and encouragement. 

For who has despised the day of small things?”  Zechariah 4:10

Another translation of this phrase might be “So, where are those folks that said that this cannot… Continue reading

Memorial

My office shelves are filled with tokens collected during our years of service as camp director (#summercamp #camphorizon ).  Each is an object with a memory and a lesson.  Adult visitors to my office rarely comment on these treasures.   However, children are much more curious and frequently ask to hear the story behind each artifact.

I am often asked about a pink pig that is proudly perched on an upper shelf.  It reminds me of how good and kind our summer staff can be toward one another.  It began when a staff member received the pig with an encouraging letter in mail call.  It was such an encouragement to them that they passed it along to another.  This tradition continued through the summer. By the end of camp a second pig surfaced.  I was the final recipient… Continue reading

Laughter

When I was a brand new baby Christian I spent a lot of time in the home of Dale and Margaret Lantis.  Dale went to be with the Lord a few years ago.  This weekend I learned that Margaret has followed him home.  As I have thought about this dear sister over the past two days I don’t recall a single word spoken in anger.  Maybe time has erased things that I no longer remember, but what I can still see clearly in my mind’s eye and hear in my memory is her unique wonderful laughter.  It did not seem to take much to trigger this laughter.  Her smile assured you that her expression was genuine joy.  Her laughter will be missed on the earth but we anticipate with joy the sound of it again when we… Continue reading

MOTHERS

Sometimes the value of a word in Scrabble ® bears no resemblance to that which the word represents.  This is the case of today’s word, MOTHER.   When the Lord commanded us to “honor your … Mother”, He used the language of value or price.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.”  Exodus 20:12

On the second Sunday each May a day is set aside to celebrate mothers and to let them know how much they are valued by us.  The author of Proverbs 31 describes such a woman, also a mother.  We are told that her value is  “far above jewels”.  God assigns a high price for a good mom.  Have you told the mothers in your life how much you value them?

Work With One Another

Many times while playing Scrabble ® you find yourself with all vowels or no vowels.  Sometimes you have “Q” but not the “U”.  How then can you form a word?  You play on the tiles supplied by another.  If you play aggressively and block your opponent from being able to play a word you may find that you leave yourself with no place to play either.

Ephesians 4:16  … from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

The purpose for the gifts to the church in Ephesians chapter four is for the “equipping of the saints” – for the building up the body (the church).  A local church that… Continue reading