But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.1 Samuel 15:22 (NLT) Samuel told King Saul that God said to attack the Amalekites and completely annihilate them including the women, children, and animals. The battle was waged and the Israelites attacked the Amalekites, just as God had commanded. Unfortunately, they also kept the King of the Amalekites and the best of the animals. As a result, God sent Samuel to deliver the message to Saul that since he had not obeyed, God was removing him from the throne. When Samuel calls Saul on the carpet about not destroying everything, Saul claims he saved the best animals to sacrifice to God. So first he partially obeyed, which is basically saying “I will follow Your instructions, but only the part I want to.” It is the same as the temptation of Eve. God saidContinue reading »

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Friendship Delights – Part Two

Days ago in Rest in Hope, I posted Part One of “Friendship Delights” that shared about the bond of David and Jonathan, the son of King Saul. Another favorite bible friendship story is that of Naomi and Ruth. Naomi’s two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah became widows, as did Naomi. After her husband passed, returning to her homeland, Judah, was Naomi’s mission. Orpah and Ruth told Naomi that they’d go with her to her people. Naomi discouraged them both, but Ruth persisted. She said to Naomi these words from the book of Ruth 1:16 – KJV, “. . . Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:” How touching is that love, loyalty and devotion?

Naomi convinced Orpah to return to her kinfolk, but Ruth refused to be deterred. Off she went with her mother-in-law to a destiny of which she likely had no foreknowledge. Upon reaching and settling in Judah, Ruth listened to her mother-in-law’s wise and timely advice. Subsequently, Ruth gained Boaz as a husband and he gained a jewel of a wife. Ruth conceived and birthed Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David. Little known is that, according to the genealogy in Matthew 1:5, Rahab, the harlot, — Joshua 2 — was the great-grandmother of David.

Ruth 4:18 – KJV:

Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, and Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, and Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, and Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, and Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

Matthew 1:5 – KJV:

. . . And Naasson begat Salmon; and Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; and Jesse begat David the king.

Note: The spellings of the subject names differ in the Old and New Testaments.

I end this with a salute to my nearest and dearest best friend, Arnetta, who has passed on, but memories of her remain solidly in my heart. Ours was a proven and treasured friendship — indeed. The photo that accompanies this piece is of Arnetta and I from “back in the day.”

Atheist Richard Dawkins said in his book, ‘The Selfish Gene’ the following: We are survival machines- robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. Unfortunately, however much we may deplore it, it does not stop being true. Is it true? From a pure, naturalistic standpoint and judging by the stories in our daily newspaper stories, it seems he may have a point. The world is self-centered; man is sinful and operates on the basis of the survival of the fittest. But it’s not God’s way of doing things. The apostle James made it clear when he said, “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” * God’s nature is very different from the carnal nature of man and it is why Christ in us is the hope of glory. There is a story about the Christian evangelist Sundar Singh from India that illustrates this well. Once, SundarContinue reading »

The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche is attributed with the saying “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” I don’t think that’s true. If you have been through the place where death was poised to claim you, physically, mentally, or emotionally, you will be weak on the other side. But that is best because when I am weak, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-11). In weakness, He holds me and if He did not I could not make it on my own. He’s never failed me and now I find the more I need Him the more I love Him. The more I love Him the closer I feel Him to me. This is the way we are made and if we are too prideful to admit we are needy, we risk walking alone and lonely. If you hold tightly to the Master’s hand you will never walk alone and you’ll never be as strong as you are in weakness. No human strength can compare to His power andContinue reading »

Abortion has been a topic that has stirred passionate responses from antiquity. While this is a medical process, the procedure often combines the ending of life with severe brutality- for both the unborn and the mother. While technology has made the procedure quicker in the modern era, the methods are frighteningly similar to those used in more ancient periods. One of the most renowned Church Fathers was Tertullian, living around 200 AD. Abortion and infanticide were practices the ancient world knew well and he spoke strongly against them. He said: “Among surgeons’ tools there is a certain instrument that is designed with a nicely-adjusted flexible frame for first of all opening the uterus and then keeping it open. It also has a circular blade, by which the limbs within the womb are dissected with careful, but unflinching care. Then a copper spike is driven into the unborn to take its life. From this infanticide method, some gave it the name, ‘Killer of the Infant’.” Tertullian, in another article, writes: “Are youContinue reading »

Days ago, on Rest in Hope, I posted “Grain Resisters.” It got lengthier than I’d anticipated so I decided to do a Part Two. Huge admiration extends to honorable folks who make choices to reasonably challenge the status quo. People who aren’t necessarily whistleblowers, but are considered misfits by “popular vote members.” Jesus readily comes to mind. Throughout the gospels, descriptions abound about the nonconformist character of loving and compassionate Jesus. Definitely, he was unapologetically a grain resister who consistently grated on the nerves of the self-righteous folks and others who weren’t enlightened to the message that Jesus taught and lived. Yes, Jesus was largely dismissed, misunderstood and opposed yet he never relaxed his mission even in the face of and subsequent “death.” John the Baptist, too, was a nonconformist. His convictions, actions, demeanor, attire and diet were noted. Definitely, John went against the grain — AND he confronted the king about his indecent relationship with Herodias, his brother’s wife. John lost his head, literally, for his solidly nonconformist posture.Continue reading »

“Blessed be the fruit of your womb” – Deuteronomy 28:4 To follow the Word of God and to follow his instructions is to bring success and life. Moses set before the people of Israel “a blessing and a curse”. Obedience to the Lord and His Word, a dynamic and living entity, brings about numerous blessings in this life and beyond. However, Moses speaks of a promised “curse” upon those who “turn aside” from the words of God. Politicians, who would aspire to run the United States, are trying to pull Christians aside from the Word of God. They pit their authority of this age, fleeting at best, against the eternal power of the Word of God by promising and pandering to those who only want success in this life and have little regard for the Kingdom of God. Politicians are campaigning on pro-abortion platforms, often hidden under the rhetorical title of “reproductive healthcare”. They are offering Christians a dangerous choice and a formidable challenge. Christianity has denounced abortion since theContinue reading »

Recently, I watched a YouTube documentary video titled, Water: The Great Mystery. That program was strikingly interesting. In one part, two bowls of water were placed in front of a dog. The dog chose the spring water, the better of the water choices. I was like, “Wow, how did the dog know?!” Largely, before I viewed that water documentary, I’d taken water for granted. The program taught of many benefits of water — the power of water — the memory of water — the “personality” of water, etc. In the very beginning of the bible, water is mentioned in Genesis 1:2 – KJV, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” In the book of Kings, Naaman dipped in the water of Jordan and was healed of leprosy. 2 Kings 5:14 – KJV, “Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying ofContinue reading »

We know God’s Word is powerful and is able to make the weak strong and rescue the drowning man. God inspired all 66 books and 1,189 chapters of the Bible, and wrote them down for our sanctification, encouragement, and strength when we are weak through godly men who wrote as God moved, leaving us a living document as our guide and lifeline (2 Peter 1:21). All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16 I dare say that many Christians have at their disposal an arsenal of powerful verses that calm and encourage when needed and you find in talking with others, listening to Christian music and in sermons that many of these verses are in common in the body of Christ – the verses that move you also move many others. While I agree that we must take care to use the Word in context, at the same time I take exception to those who attempt to dismantle and layContinue reading »

Today, decide who you will serve – Joshua 24:15 With these words, Joshua challenges the people of Israel to choose who will be the one that they serve, God or the idols of their time. These words resonate today, as never before has the foundations of our Christian faith been challenged by the petty figures which inhabit the political landscape. The words of such politicians are easy to hear and incite our feelings, but are empty of lasting value and filled with the confidence brought about the power of this world. Even the great Philosopher, Aristotle had little to say of the rhetoricians, who pander to crowds with orchestrated speeches. He stated that these speakers care little about the essential messages but rather arouse emotions as a means to appeal to listeners. Aristotle lamented, as did Joshua before him and Jesus after him, that people follow the words of these speakers- often to their detriment. The words of these politicians give false hope, empty promises, and a false sense ofContinue reading »

Years ago, I worked with a guy (I’ll call him Dan) who also lived in my community. On occasions, we’d be on the bus at the same time. Dan is a deeply interesting conversationalist with knowledge of various sorts. He and I conversed regularly and both enjoyed our verbal engagements. We all have strengths and weaknesses. One of Dan’s weaknesses was his penchant for being overly critical of people. One day Dan came to sit beside me on the bus. He began to criticize one person after another. Patiently, I listened. When Dan paused long enough for me to get words in without rudely interrupting him, I mentioned that he’d shared about what was wrong with assorted folks. Calmly, I asked, “What’s wrong with you, Dan?” He didn’t answer — obviously, my question angered him. Abruptly, Dan got up and moved to another seat. I didn’t say anything further and that was that. Later, Dan and I continued to engage — neither of us re-visiting our “interesting” chat on theContinue reading »