Indian Giver

www.bible.com/1713/jhn.14.27.csb

When I was growing up, I remember this phrase being used around me, but I didn’t understand it. As I grew older, and understood the the complexities of relations between the United States and the Native Americans as this country developed, I thought I had a better grasp of it.

An Indian giver is one who gives with the expectation that he will be able to take back what he has given at any time. Many Native American tribes have the custom that if they give you a gift, then they expect one of equal value in return. The concept may refer back to this custom. It may also refer to the fact that despite numerous treaties with the Native tribes, the government always seemed to find a way out of the treaty. So I’m still not exactly sure where the phrase comes from. If anyone knows, please enlighten me.

What sparked this for me is Jesus statement that He gives peace, but not like the world gives. My interest here is the contrast between two types of giving and how they are different. If I am to understand this, it helps to know how Jesus gives. I know that God loved the world, and so gave His only Son, who suffered the penalty for our sins and gives us peace with God. God’s measure of giving is of infinite value, given without measure. That’s certainly not like the world, that likes to dole out only what it can afford to lose, or takes from one to give to another. God gave Himself.

Jesus also offers peace, beyond measure, to anyone. The world picks and chooses.

Jesus gives without expecting an equal gift in return. The world expects to be paid back. Jesus calls for faith and devotion. The world calls for enslavement, a “you owe me” mentality.

Jesus offers peace with An Almighty God before whom one day you will stand. The world offers temporary pleasures that must be paid for. Jesus offers to be your advocate and defend you with His blood. The world offers only sorrow and blame. Which would you rather have?

God bless you in your decision.

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The Fruity Aroma of Repentance

www.bible.com/1713/mat.3.8.csb

I’ve noticed a lot of things are supposed to have a fruity aroma, like fine wine or gourmet coffee. Beers and liquors too boast the same. It’s like they are all trying to smell like they are repenting of something. Hmmm.

Of course today’s topic is repentance. Repentance is not a one-time, one and done task. Like faith and confession, repentance is constant, needing to be redone often in order to stay pure. Repentance is recognition before a holy God that you have sinned against Him, but also an active desire to resist those same sins that got you into trouble. Have you really repented if you go right back and commit them again? Hebrews 12 speaks of the sin that easily entangles, so yes there are sins we are frequent in. But our attitude of repentance should remain vigilant.

Should you be caught in a sin, the Bible clearly says to confess it. 1 John 1 says He will cleanse your heart from all unrighteousness. Confession of sin reveals its seriousness. When you name it before God, you acknowledge both your own sorrow over it and your understanding of how serious it is and how it drives a wedge between you an God. Repentance is the Spirit-assisted resistance to temptation to that sin again.

Do you have the fruity aroma of repentance? Of heart actively resisting temptation because you know how much it cost Jesus for those sins? Humility and worship both exude a fruity aroma before God.

I encourage you to have a blessed day. Now go forth and be fruity!

God bless.

Believe

www.bible.com/1713/gen.15.6.csb

While I see this word posted and repeated around Christmastime, I don’t think it has the same effect. Then it’s belief in a diminutive elf-man called Santa Claus and the whole mythology that surrounds him. No, that’s not saving belief.

Abram believed God and it was credited to his account as righteousness. Abram was granted some credit for his faith in God. I think we all do today, but we also have more knowledge than Abram did, namely of His Son Christ Jesus.

Belief in God is the beginning of faith in Jesus Christ, which Jesus credits toward salvation. You must believe if you are to be saved at all. Without faith it is impossible to please God.

Just a thought for a Monday morning. Trust God. Exercise your faith in Him. He loves you and will send you exercises. ๐Ÿ˜

God bless.

Just a Word

www.bible.com/1713/pro.1.7.csb

There is a gulf of difference here between fools and the wise. If I understand wisdom not just as sacred knowledge but secular knowledge of the world God has made (with the understanding it was created), then fools deny both. Fools assume a godless creation and a godless life. Funny.

Fools can actually know a lot of things. But so much of it is useless knowledge. I am beginning to understand that wisdom is the sum total of all knowledge that both springs from knowledge of God and returns you to glorifying God in that knowledge. Wisdom is a beautiful thing if you can find it, and sort it out from all of the foolish notions that get handed out as knowledge. Foolish facts will lead you away from God. Wisdom will lead you to Him. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Elegant, isn’t it?

God bless!

Too Angry Too Long

www.bible.com/1713/eph.4.26.csb

The beautiful thing about this text is the time limit. I love how the verse both gives you permission to be angry “Be angry but do not sin” and then gives you a time limit “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger”. Well.

Anger is not a bad thing. There are many things in this this world we ought to be angry about: injustice, hate, mixing profane with the holy, using God’s name in a casual manner, etc., basically, we should be angry at sin, just as God is. But we should also not to let that anger incite us to sin ourselves.

I was reading yesterday about John Brown, who was a Christian Preacher before the Civil War. It is said that slavery made him angry, and using a text from Hebrews to justify his action (“without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin”) he killed those who participated in the slave trade. He applied sinful actions, like murder, to respond to sin, which he viewed as sinful.

I may be a bit controversial when I say this, but owning slaves is not against God’s law. He never said “thou shalt not own slaves” but instead gives instructions on how to treat slaves. In those days, slavery was an excellent option when facing extreme poverty. Food and shelter were provided, and you had plenty to do. But slaves were also to be released after seven years, and people sold themselves into slavery to pay off debts, kind of like what we do with credit cards.

John Brown was in the wrong, and used his anger in a sinful way to the harming of others.

I’ve known many people today who do the same thing. But they don’t murder others with their hands, but with their minds. It’s called resentment. You’ve heard the phrase “you’re dead to me”? I’ve seen people carry grudges for decades for past slights. Everything someone does is interpret in the worst possible light. And then that person needs help? Sorry. Can’t. There is no room for “love one another here”. And this is in the church setting. Too much anger held too long kills the soul.

This is why God says “be angry” because that can be a good thing. But don’t be angry for long. Outrage is not a good companion.

God bless you today!

Praise All Day

www.bible.com/1713/psa.113.3.csb

is there a bad time to praise the Lord? If you wanted to take this verse literally, you might be off the hook overnight. Taken figuratively, as long as you are awake, it’s a good time to praise the Lord.

And it’s not like you have to keep inventing reasons to praise, because you are literally surrounded by some very good reasons to praise the Lord and those often.

I praise the Lord because I have a loving wife of 24 years who had not abandoned me but confessed her love for me everyday. I have four talented amazing children who surprise me everyday with their insights. I worship at s great church, have a rewarding career. I am literally surrounded by blessings everyday.

And I still get down.

I still mope that I don’t have everything i want. ๐Ÿ™ I still find reasons to complain. ๐Ÿคจ And the importance of this verse is not lost on me today. I needed this one today too.

May I simply send out this reminder that praising the Lord is part of our necessary work every day. God would not have us dwell on our sorrows and become sour, but dwell on His praises and remind us of our future. We have every reason, every day to praise the Lord. So let us Praise the Lord!

God bless you today.

Strength for the Journey

www.bible.com/1713/isa.40.31.csb

Looking at this verse I came to a revelation. Trust isn’t passive. When you look at the verbs this verse uses, it begins with “trust in the Lord” and then continues with three action verbs that describe this renewal of strength. The first is “soar” as if in active flight. The second “run” as in rapidly moving across land, and third “walk” at a slower pace, but still moving. All of these verbs suggest movement. Trust is not passive, something you receive. Trust is active, and calls for movement.

Trust requires exercise.

How do you exercise your trust in God? You can do things He has told you He would equip you for. You can volunteer at church and trust that God will provide with ability to fulfill it (like kids ministry). Or you could witness to others, with the confidence that God has already prepared hearts to receive the gospel. You could practice your faith before others, trusting God to give you a ready defense in that hour you are questioned about it.

Passive faith is never tested. Passive trust stays in the shadows of our life. “Faith without world is dead” said James many years ago. He’s not wrong. If people can’t tell you are a Christian by your actions, don’t bother telling them. That’s where hypocrites come from. Don’t be a hypocrite.

God bless you today. Exercise your faith. Be strong!