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Friendship Delights

In the Bible, I so admire the love and friendship of Jonathan and David. We read of the loyalties demonstrated in that treasured relationship. In 1 Samuel 20, we read of the loyalty that Jonathan held for David, a man who Saul, Jonathan’s father, grew to intensely dislike. Jonathan defied and challenged Saul about his unjust treatment of David. He says to him in 1 Samuel 19:4,5 – KJV, “ . . . Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good: For he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the Lord wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause?”

The bond between Jonathan and David was impressively solid. Reading about their united brotherly love is heart stirring indeed. Yes, their soul ties yield great admiration. 1 Samuel 20:17 – KJV says, “And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.” How swell is that? And in 1 Samuel 20:15 – KJV Jonathan says to David, “But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: . . .”

After Jonathan met his demise, David continued brotherly love actions in Jonathan’s bloodline by welcoming and caring for his son, Mephibosheth. 2 Samuel 9:1 – KJV says, “And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” David said to Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9:7 – KJV “. . . Fear not: for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.” He goes on in 2 Samuel 9:11 – KJV to say, “. . . As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king’s sons.”

Ah, that Jonathan/David bond, and bloodline love and loyalty journey is a favorite read of many folks indeed.

“I make all things new” – Revelation 21:5 This is a time of power and a time to be empowered in our world! The created world has just worked through another cycle and the Winter Solstice has occurred, a natural marker that the long and cold nights are now becoming shorter and the earth prepares for new life. Humankind has completed another cycle as well, we have turned the calendar to begin a new year. Hopes are high, businesses are now moving past the holiday season, ministries can now renew themselves, and now we can call upon ourselves to be better than we have been in the past. In the world of the Bible, new things were thought to have had a special power that was almost mystical. The properties of something that is “new” gave it particular effectiveness. When something is new, it has not been strained or weakened- power is new in the object. The new person or thing is at its fullest potential and strength. We see this belief inContinue reading »

Writer George Bernard Shaw once offered some advice at the threshold of the New Year. He said: “What life is all about? It’s about having a goal; an ideal. Your life must have purpose and a dream. There must be something that makes you get up in the morning; something that takes everything out of you and that burns within you. Then you will be a positive force in this world. Then you move things and you will no longer just be a piece of mud in the mire that complains and murmurs because the world doesn’t seem to be concerned about your personal happiness.” As children of the King we have such a goal. Because of Jesus, our lives are filled with meaning and excitement. One moment with the Savior and everything sparkles and shines. And now we are standing with Jesus on the mountain top of the old year and look back at the year that is past. Our eyes scan the old dusty roads that we travelledContinue reading »

Fame, influence…money; they are often the things that are highly sought after in this world. A good name is important and life in this world can get awfully complicated if we don’t have the money to do what we feel called to do. And yet, these things are not what life is all about. If self, money or power become the driving force in our lives, rather than God, we may end up on spiritual skid row and learn what real poverty is all about. *** There is an anecdote about Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr and his sense of values during the Second World War. The general was sitting with a friend at an airport, waiting for his connecting flight. While they were waiting a weary soldier appeared at the counter, requesting a ticket on wat happened to be the same plane as Roosevelt and his friend. “Sorry Buddy, no place. You’ll have to wait.” “But I am going to see my mother, before I am being shipped overseas.”Continue reading »

“Let us go the Bethlehem” – Luke 2:15   Bethlehem, whose literal meaning is “house of bread”, was the city of David. It is here that the Messiah was to be born, culminating the prophets who foretold of the miraculous birth (Micah 5:1) and the line of David which began in this humble town. Those who were to pay the new-born King homage came to Bethlehem; shepherds, wise men, and angels. The nativity is a familiar and beloved scene, wherein all classes of visitors come to worship the Messiah. Is this a Gospel scene? Perhaps. Those who point to the fact that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke separate the groups of people rely on historical assessments. There is much history that is reflected in these scenes, but the history of which it speaks does not answer the questions posed by those of this world and that can not accept the power of faith. The faith which came forth from Christ Jesus has allowed humankind to fuse together all of theContinue reading »

The love of God; who can measure it and who can fully fathom it? It goes further than the stars and crosses from the East to the West. As Dutch evangelist Corrie Ten Boom once said, after she was asked about her experiences in a Nazi concentration camp: “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.” That’s the love that carries us through this life and that’s the love we should share with others. *** Once a chaplain knelt down by a wounded soldier and offered to read him the Bible. But the soldier whispered that he preferred some water to quench his thirst. The chaplain promised to get him some and went about looking for clean drinking water. When he returned the wounded soldier asked if there was something to cushion his head with. The ground was so terribly hard for his aching head. The chaplain did as he was asked. But there was more. “I am so cold,” shivered the young soldier. TheContinue reading »

“The shepherds . . . went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger” – Luke 2: 15-16 With these words of Luke, a picture of simplicity and power is painted. The shepherds were told of the birth of the Savior by an Angel and were shown a multitude of the Heavenly host, who gave praise to God. The sight of shepherds was common in the time period; they were working men who lived hard lives. They sacrificed much to protect and keep their sheep. Yet, these men were, in a way, heirs to David. David, the first true King of Israel, was a shepherd who protected his flocks from both lions and bears (1 Samuel 17: 34-37). Herein we see the shepherds, those that followed in the steps of David, being told of the birth of the Son of David; Jesus, the Messiah. These men were among the working poor, toughened from their arduous and nomadic life, and among the peasantry. It is to these men that theContinue reading »

“They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house, found the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage”. – Matthew 2:10-11 The “magi”, wise men or astrologers, followed what they thought was a new star to the house where Jesus was born. In reality, this was an uncommon configuration of planets- as many modern scholars have verified. The “star” seemed fixed over Bethlehem, something that caught the attention of these early scientists who charted the movements of celestial bodies. They appear after the birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:1), not on the day of the birth. This is celebrated as the Epiphany and is remembered on January 6, often called “Little Christmas”. This time lapse is also the inspiration for the well-known song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. Matthew focuses on the visit of these three men. The reason for this focus is the theology of the wondrous birth that Matthew wants to reveal. As seen throughout his powerful Gospel, Matthew sees Jesus as theContinue reading »

The greatest act of faith takes place when a man finally decides that he is not God. -Johann Wolfgang Goethe The world is always directly opposed to God. In the world it is popular to say, “I will believe it when I see it.” You can hardly expect the unbelieving world to have a different attitude. After all, faith is not always easy. Often faith requires us to step out into the unknown and we just have to trust that God will catch us in case we fall, and to the world that is ‘foolishness’. But with God it’s always by faith and never by sight. Of course, we all would love to understand things better and always see the reasons why. But that’s not the way of faith. St. Augustine hit the nail on the head when he said, “Faith is trust in the things you don’t see, and the reward of that trust is that you will see.” *** The great sailing vessels of the past give usContinue reading »

The story goes that during the American Civil War, an officer angrily stormed into the room of General Stonewall Jackson and complained that a certain group of soldiers was making too much noise and that the general should do something about it. “What are they doing?” The general asked. “They are praying,” the officer sneered. And before that they were singing.” “But what’s wrong with that?” The general was surprised. “Everything,” answered the officer. “It says in the articles that every soldier that brings forth an unusual noise needs to be punished.” Stonewall Jackson shook his head. “My dear friend; God forbid that praying and singing are considered unusual noises. If these things are truly considered unusual noises, I think I have no hope anymore that this country will ever see the light again.” *** Public prayer, especially here in Europe, is a rare sight. Once in a while it’s done in a restaurant, but generally people shy away from being too open about their faith for fear of beingContinue reading »