Someone Is Listening

Person of Interest, one of CBS’ popular TV programs, is about a computer that can not only trace everyone but will alert those who wrote the software when certain people’s lives are in danger. At first it may sound a little far-fetched but in light of all the recent scandals in the news the program maybe more real than we realize:

Our government is photographing the outside information on every piece of snail mail.

Google knows just about every WiFi password in the world … and so the NSA does as well, since it spies so widely on Google.

The NSA has inserted its code into Android’s operating system … bugging three-quarters of the world’s smartphones.

But listening in on people’s secrets is nothing new. in 2 Kings 6, King Amran, enemy of Israel, was enraged because all of his plans to attack Israel were being “leaked.’ and Israel was always prepared. Amran concluded their was a spy in his midst but one of his officers told him, “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.” (Vs 12)  Apparently, God was revealing the king’s plans to his servant and thus protecting Israel.

It is unsettling to know that at the judgment bar of God will give an account for every word spoken. Mt. 12:36-37. I do not want you to think that God is “spying” on us but we will be more aware of what we are saying.

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Our Companion

Horses are not loners by nature, so it’s common practice for thoroughbreds to keep a horse known as a companion pony fordog friendship and support. The friends that accompany racehorses both on the road and at home are not limited to horses, however—dogs, sheep, goats, and even chickens have served as companions. Thoroughbreds are high-spirited animals and the companion pony often calms the race horse before the race.

David was a soothing influence in King Saul’s life when a “distressing spirit” troubled him (1 Sam. 16:14). When Saul’s servants learned of his problem, they thought music might ease his affliction. One servant summoned David, who was a skilled harpist. Whenever the king became troubled, David would play the harp. “Then Saul would become refreshed and well” (v.23).

Jesus said, “ I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever” . John 14:16

God will never leave us comfortless. He sent His Holy Spirit to us as our Comforter. God knows all that we’ll face in this world, and knows we cannot possibly do it in our own strength. The Holy Spirit within us empowers us to walk with God in a corrupt and dying world. When there is so much hate around us – He loves us. When there is so much negativity around us – He encourages us. When there are lies all around us – He shows us the truth. When there is so much fighting and discord around us – He gives us peace. He is our daily comforter – our Standby. And will be forever!.

The Defense Against Offense

Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” Mt. 15:12

Everybody, every single person who has ever lived on earth, has been offended. Not once, but many times. In some cases, many, many times. “Offense,””offenses,” “offend,” “offended” and “offender” appear a total of seventy-three times in the Bible. Several writers, as well as Jesus, give the subject of offense close scrutiny.

We tend to use the word “offense” in the sense of feeling displeasure. Our displeasure may range from merely being stirred all the way to feeling deep resentment and indignation.

Offenses usually occur when someone says something to us too harshly—or at least we interpret it that way. It can and does occur when we perceive that we have been ignored, overlooked or given a responsibility we do not want. Or we become offended when we are blamed for something we did not do, or on the other hand, when we do not receive credit for what we did do. We may be offended when someone has been inconsiderate or thoughtless or has used us for their own purposes. The ways to become offended are many.

Parents are “offended” by the Nutcracker because they think it is ‘religious.

Prayer prohibited at football game.

Muslim woman offended by a bacon sign.

Teachers no longer use a red pen to grade papers; so children are not offended.

The Best Defense? The best defense against offense is a healthy and growing relationship with God. We must nurture this relationship on a daily basis, and not allow it to degenerate through a lack of care. And then, when the pressure is on because offense has come, we can cry out in our anguish and desperation for help and receive the help we need. Hebrews 4:16

When people’s lives please the Lordeven their enemies are at peace with them.” Prov. 16:7 NLT

Do Over

Years ago when kids actually went outside to play, they would play challenging games that would test each other’s agility and courage. When a child failed to reach his intended objective; they would suddenly shout, “Do Over!” meaning they wanted a second chance. Doing something over is great if you are playing a game but in real life there are many situations that cannot be done over. doover

In the heat of passion, a young girl loses her virginity. There are no do overs! A person driving under the influence of alcohol has an accident and someone is killed. There are no do overs! A father spends too much time on the job, years pass and he realizes he cannot reclaim the wasted years he did not spend with his children. A person smokes cigarettes for years and as a result he has lung cancer. They cannot shout, “Do over!”

2ndLife is filled with missed opportunities, mistakes, and other regrets. But life itself cannot be a ‘Do Over.’   We only get one shot, one go-around to live, so it is crucial to live life wisely. The Apostle Paul said life is like running a race, we all run but only those who finish well receive eternal life. 1 Cor. 9:24 If we ask God to forgive us of our past sins; He will. In its strictest sense; He gives us a second chance to live life as we should. But we cannot go back and undo some of things we did.

Don’t wait until old-age to prepare for eternity. Remember there are no “DO Overs.”

Who Is My Neighbor?

There is no question that times have changed. I am not sure when this change happened but their was a time when people knew their neighbors. They not only knew their names but were actually friends! Their relationship went further than a casual wave as they went to work. No longer are houses built with a front porch, why? No one wants people coming by and sitting on their porch, drinking iced tea and just socializing. People go to work early and get home late. Who has time (or energy) to build relationships with neighbors? Who is your neighbor?

I came across a news article that testify to this fact. The remains of a woman were found sitting in front of her TV – 42 years after she was reported missing. Hedviga Golik, who was born in 1924, had apparently made herself a cup of tea before sitting in her favorite armchair in front of her black and white television set. Police said that she was last seen by neighbors in 1966, when she would have been 42 years old. No one checked on her. No one phoned. No family member has claimed the body.

Which brings up the question: Who is your neighbor? Why not make a conscious effort to build a bridge of relationship with that “stranger” [neighbor] next door?

Bridges


My father was raised in the small town of Mahaffey, Pennsylvania. As a small child, Dad would take us for a visit to see all our relatives. During those visits, we would always go see the Covered Bridge. [Actual photo] I don’t know why but that bridge fascinated me.

Bridges are constructed for the purpose of bridging gaps. As Christ followers, as are to make every effort to bridge the gaps between races, social cultures, and religious denominations.

Jesus does not discriminate between people on the basis of race, nationality, level of education, or social position.  He ignores all social distinctions and accepts all people who come to Him in faith. Col. 3:11 

But acceptance is not the norm in our world. People constantly make distinctions between each other on the basis of race, gender, nationality, social standing, wealth and power. But God hates distinctions.  Acts 15:9 So tear down the walls that separate us and build bridges.

Conflict Management

Conflict has been with us since the days of Cain and Abel. Genesis 4:7-9 Everyday the news tells us more incidents of conflict: Road rage, school shootings, spouse and child abuse. The media is filled with videos of the conflict in the Middle East; again the result of anger and hatred. The nations of the world are calling for some way to manage the conflict.

Conflict management is nothing new.The Apostle Paul gave great advice for dealing with the main ingredient of conflict – anger.  What causes you to be angry? Anger is a dangerous emotion, “anger gives a foothold to the devil. Eph. 4:27 The Bible does not tell us to avoid being angry but to avoid nursing our anger. Eph. 4:26-27. If we nurse our anger into a grudge, we will become bitter.

Learn to control your anger – without letting it rule you. When you are angry, confess you feelings to God and ask Him to help you to respond as Christ would. When angry, follow Paul’s advice and resolve the conflict before the sun goes down. Let God; not your anger, determine how you act.

Remember the words of Solomon; “A gentle answer will calm a person’s anger,  but an unkind answer will cause more anger.” Proverbs 15:1 (NCV)