Doing right is never wrong. Being honest and trustworthy is the way to live. Perhaps a slight twist of the facts might bring a short term gain. A little misrepresentation might bring some short term satisfaction. But in the end truth always wins, so live like a winner.
Archive for June, 2011
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Abigail Keeps David from Killing Innocent People
2-3 Nabal was a very rich man who lived in Maon. He owned three thousand sheep and a thousand goats, which he kept at Carmel. His wife Abigail was sensible and beautiful, but he was from the Caleb clan and was rough and mean.
4 One day, Nabal was in Carmel, having his servants cut the wool from his sheep. David was in the desert when he heard about it.
5-6 So he sent ten men to Carmel with this message for Nabal:
I hope that you and your family are healthy and that all is going well for you.
7 I’ve heard that you are cutting the wool from your sheep.
When your shepherds were with us in Carmel, we didn’t harm them, and nothing was ever stolen from them.
8 Ask your shepherds, and they’ll tell you the same thing.
My servants are your servants, and you are like a father to me. This is a day for celebrating, so please be kind and share some of your food with us.
9 David’s men went to Nabal and gave him David’s message, then they waited for Nabal’s answer.
10 This is what he said:
Who does this David think he is? That son of Jesse is just one more slave on the run from his master, and there are too many of them these days.
11 What makes you think I would take my bread, my water, and the meat that I’ve had cooked for my own servants and give it to you? Besides, I’m not sure that David sent you!
12 The men returned to their camp and told David everything Nabal had said.
13 “Everybody get your swords!” David ordered.
They all strapped on their swords. Two hundred men stayed behind to guard the camp, but the other four hundred followed David.
14-16 Meanwhile, one of Nabal’s servants told Abigail:
David’s men were often nearby while we were taking care of the sheep in the fields. They were very good to us, they never hurt us, and nothing was ever stolen from us while they were nearby. With them around day or night, we were as safe as we would have been inside a walled city.
David sent some messengers from the desert to wish our master well, but he shouted insults at them.
17 He’s a bully who won’t listen to anyone.
Isn’t there something you can do? Please think of something! Or else our master and his family and everyone who works for him are all doomed.
18 Abigail quickly got together two hundred loaves of bread, two large clay jars of wine, the meat from five sheep, a large sack of roasted grain, a hundred handfuls of raisins, and two hundred handfuls of dried figs. She loaded all the food on donkeys
19 and told her servants, “Take this on ahead, and I’ll catch up with you.” She didn’t tell her husband Nabal what she was doing.
20 Abigail was riding her donkey on the path that led around the hillside, when suddenly she met David and his men heading straight at her.
21 David had just been saying, “I surely wasted my time guarding Nabal’s things in the desert and keeping them from being stolen! I was good to him, and now he pays me back with insults.
22 I swear that by morning, there won’t be a man or boy left from his family or his servants’ families. I pray that God will punish me if I don’t do it!”
23 Abigail quickly got off her donkey and bowed down in front of David.
24 Then she said:
Sir, please let me explain!
25 Don’t pay any attention to that good-for-nothing Nabal. His name means “fool,” and it really fits him!
I didn’t see the men you sent,
26-27 but please take this gift of food that I’ve brought and share it with your followers. The Lord has kept you from taking revenge and from killing innocent people. But I hope your enemies and anyone else who wants to harm you will end up like Nabal. I swear this by the living Lord and by your life.
28 Please forgive me if I say a little more. The Lord will always protect you and your family, because you fight for him. I pray that you won’t ever do anything evil as long as you live.
29 The Lord your God will keep you safe when your enemies try to kill you. But he will snatch away their lives quicker than you can throw a rock from a sling.
30 The Lord has promised to do many good things for you, even to make you the ruler of Israel. The Lord will keep his promises to you,
31 and now your conscience will be clear, because you won’t be guilty of taking revenge and killing innocent people.
When the Lord does all those good things for you, please remember me.
32 David told her:
I praise the Lord God of Israel! He must have sent you to meet me today.
33 And you should also be praised. Your good sense kept me from taking revenge and killing innocent people.
34 If you hadn’t come to meet me so quickly, every man and boy in Nabal’s family and in his servants’ families would have been killed by morning. I swear by the living Lord God of Israel who protected you that this is the truth.
35 David accepted the food Abigail had brought. “Don’t worry,” he said. “You can go home now. I’ll do what you asked.”
36 Abigail went back home and found Nabal throwing a party fit for a king. He was very drunk and feeling good, so she didn’t tell him anything that night.
37 But when he sobered up the next morning, Abigail told him everything that had happened. Nabal had a heart attack, and he lay in bed as still as a stone.
38 Ten days later, the Lord took his life.
David and Abigail are Married
39-40 David heard that Nabal had died. “I praise the Lord !” David said. “He has judged Nabal guilty for insulting me. The Lord kept me from doing anything wrong, and he made sure that Nabal hurt only himself with his own evil.”
Abigail was still at Carmel. So David sent messengers to ask her if she would marry him.
41 She bowed down and said, “I would willingly be David’s slave and wash his servants’ feet.”
42 Abigail quickly got ready and went back with David’s messengers. She rode on her donkey, while five of her servant women walked alongside. She and David were married as soon as she arrived.
43 David had earlier married Ahinoam from the town of Jezreel, so both she and Abigail were now David’s wives.
44 Meanwhile, Saul had arranged for Michal to marry Palti the son of Laish, who came from the town of Gallim.
Please post your thoughts and reflections in the comments below, it will be wonderful to learn from each other as we journey together!!
[Ărĭstär’chus] – the best ruler. A Macedonian of Thessalonica and one of Paul’s travel-companions. This convert from Judaism is spoken of as Paul’s “fellow-prisoner,” implying imprisonment for the Gospel’s sake
Acts 19:29: – 29 Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theater together.
Acts 20:4: – 4 He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia.
Acts 27:2: – 2 We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.
Col. 4:10: – 10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.)
Philem. 1:24: – 24 And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Shall I come and heal him?’ The centurion replied, ‘Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ?Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ?Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ?Do this,’ and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, ‘Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heav en. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.’ And his servant was healed at that moment.
As Jesus entered the village of Capernaum, a Roman captain came up in a panic and said, ‘Master, my servant is sick. He can’t walk. He’s in terrible pain.’ Jesus said, ‘I’ll come and heal him.’ -‘Oh, no,’ said the captain. ‘I don’t want to put you to all that trouble. Just give the order and my servant will be fine. I’m a man who takes orders and gives orders. I tell one soldier, ‘Go,’ and he goes; to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’ -Taken aback, Jesus said, ‘I’ve yet to come across this ki nd of simple trust in Israel, the very people who are supposed to know all about God and how he works. This man is the vanguard of many outsiders who will soon be coming from all directions–streaming in from the east, pouring in from the west, sitting down at God’s kingdom banquet alongside Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then those who grew up ‘in the faith’ but had no faith will find themselves out in the cold, outsiders to grace and wondering what happened.’ Then Jesus turned to the captain and said, ‘Go. What you believed could happen has happened.’ At that moment his servant became well.
|The Judgment of Solomon
1st Kings 3:16-28
SOLOMON WAS THEgreatest king that ever reigned in Israel; he was also one of the wisest men that ever lived. When he first came to the throne, God appeared to him one night in a dream, and asked what gift He should bestow upon him. Solomon prayed that He would give him wisdom to govern his people. God was pleased that he had asked wisdom instead of riches, or conquests, or long life, and He told Solomon that because he had done so, not only would He make him wiser than any man who ever lived, but that he should be rich and famous above all kings of the earth.
And if he would obey Him in all things, long life should also be added to the other good gifts which were to be his.
In those days it was the custom for kings to sit in some public place, where such of their subjects as had wrongs to complain of might plead their cause before them, and obtain justice.
One day two women came before Solomon. One of them told him that she and the other woman both lived in one house, and each had a very young child; that in the night the child belonging to the other woman died, and its mother exchanged it for the living one, putting her own dead child in her neighbor’s bed as she lay sleeping, and taking the living child to herself.
In the morning, the mother of the living child found out the cheat; but she whose child was dead would not give up the one that she had stolen, for she said it was her own. And the two women stood there before the king, each one contending that the living child was hers, and that the dead child belonged to the other.
Then Solomon desired his people to bring him a sword; and when it was brought, he bade them divide the living child in two, and give half of him to each of the women.
The woman who had falsely claimed the child made no objection to this decision. But the real mother could not bear it. Rather than have her son killed, she was willing to lose him altogether; and she cried, and in no wise slay it!”
Then the king saw at once to which of them the child belonged; and he said, “Give her the living child, for she is its mother.”
And all the people of Israel, when they heard of this judgment of Solomon, knew that God had indeed given him wisdom to do justice among his subjects; and they held him in great awe and reverence.
In Jesus’ name
8 Praise our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
9 he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, O God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.
13 I will come to your temple with burnt offerings
and fulfill my vows to you-
14 vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke
when I was in trouble.
15 I will sacrifice fat animals to you
and an offering of rams;
I will offer bulls and goats.
16 Come and listen, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened
and heard my voice in prayer.
20 Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!
This psalm is for the discouraged. “Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise to be heard” (v. 8). Why? “Who keeps our soul among the living, and does not allow our feet to be moved” (v. 9). God holds our life in His hand. “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). So let’s praise Him.
“For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined” (v. 10). The reason God tries us and tests us is to prove us. He’s proving nothing to Himself. He knows us from top to bottom. Instead, He’s proving something to us. God considers us as valuable as silver, and He puts us into situations that test and strengthen us.
Notice the images in these next two verses. “You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment” (vv. 11,12, italics mine). This indicates total defeat. We go through fire and water, but we are brought out into a wealthy place. That word wealthy means “an abundant place, a moist place, a place of running water and fruitfulness.” The wilderness of Judea, where David so often found himself, was dry and barren.
The psalmist does not say, “Well, here I am in trouble again.” No, he says, “God brought me in, and God’s going to bring me through. And when He brings me out, I’m going to be in a wealthy place.” God always enriches us when we go through difficulty. He proves us and tries us to make us more like Jesus.
The trials of God have a refining and strengthening effect. The result is they make us more like Jesus. Are you discouraged today by trials? Be encouraged that God will see you through and that He will use your trials to build you.
Are you depriving your son of his sonship? “Hey! Hold it. What?…” Hebrews 12:7 says, “Can anyone be a son who is not disciplined by his father? If you escape the discipline in which all sons share, you must be bastards and no true sons” (NEB). Do you love your son or daughter enough to say no and hold to it? Would you, by cowardliness that fears to make a rule (perhaps because “nobody else” believes in it) treat your child as though you cared no more about him than you would care about a bastard?
But there are some words of caution. “Fathers, don’t over-correct your children, or make it difficult for them to obey the commandment. Bring them up with Christian teaching in Christian discipline” (Ephesians 6:4, PHILLIPS).
This reminds me of the way in which the Lord teaches us. He is so patient with us who are so “slow-of-heart.” The Shepherd does not make it hard for the sheep to walk in the right paths. He is always trying to make it easier for them, but they balk, they wander off, they don’t listen. Children as well as adults are like sheep. They go astray. Fathers are meant to be shepherds. Don’t overcorrect. “You fathers must not goad your children to resentment, but give them the instruction, and the correction, which belong to a Christian upbringing” (same verse, NEB). It’s balance that is needed. Correct them, teach them. Don’t go to extremes. Ask God for wisdom. It’s too big a job for any ordinary human being. Look at God as a Father. How does He deal with us? Try to follow His pattern.
As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
It’s not the amount that matters, but the blessings you are able to receive from it. A slice of stale bread gives more to the beggar, than a new house to the rich. Everything you have has unending blessings for you hidden inside, learn to receive them.