Don’t fear… only believe!

faith

The frightening news may have come from the doctor… “There is nothing more we can do.”

The finality of the death of a treasured loved one may have left you feeling stunned and helpless – like you simply can’t go on!

This morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” I read two closely related stories about Jesus and jotted these two comments in my Bible… I know I wrote them there for me!  And it’s entirely possible I was led to write them down for you as well! Here they are…

With Jesus, your situation is NOT hopeless!

When Jesus is involved, death is NOT the final word … “Only believe!”

The stories are found in Luke 8:40-56 … You should read them both.

The first involves a woman with a chronic hemorrhage for 12 long years… One physician and treatment after another… money gone… and then the terrifying words, “there is nothing more we can do!”  Hearing about the power of Jesus she struggled through a huge crowd, and in self-conscious, but hopeful faith, reached out to just touch the edge of his garment… instant miraculous healing! Jesus stopped dead in his tracks and said, “Someone touched me!  Power has gone forth from me!” Trembling, she admitted what she had done. Jesus declared to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well! Go in peace!”

The second story involves an interruption… A religious leader had begged Jesus to come to his house and heal his 12 year old daughter who was dying… [on the way the interruption of the woman Jesus stopped and healed] … Hope evaporated… friends from the leader’s house came with the news… “Don’t trouble the Teacher any longer… Your daughter has died!”  But Jesus told the grieving father, “Do not fear; only believe!” Jesus, the “resurrection and the life” brought life out of death! With Jesus, death is not the final word!

Perhaps you’re someone who needed the encouragement, faith, and hope those stories bring today.  Why not let Jesus, from those stories, speak His word of encouragement, faith and hope to your situation today.

I’ll take “integrity” in a leader any day over power, prestige, position, and personal charisma!

integrity

A periodic leadership lesson today from the Bible…

Power, position and prestige are highly regarded by some leaders… and it shows!  These sorts of leaders often resort to strong arm techniques, manipulation, and strategies designed to exert their control.  Those who work for and with them are often viewed as really only means to an end.

I’d like to suggest that “integrity” is a much better foundation upon which to build leadership!

King David wasn’t a perfect leader… He had some serious moral and ethical lapses (eg. 2 Samuel 11-12 and Psalm 51).  He was however, highly regarded, deeply respected, and is honored as a prototypical king-leader in Scripture.  Psalm 101 is attributed to him… In it, David expresses the importance of “integrity” as the foundation of his leadership.  Read what he had to say there and see if it doesn’t express the kind of leader you’d like to have…or be… a person of “integrity!”

“I will sing of your love and justice, O Lord. I will praise you with songs.  I will be careful to live a blameless life— when will you come to help me? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home.  I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them.  I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil… I will not endure conceit and pride.  I will search for faithful people to be my companions. Only those who are above reproach will be allowed to serve me.  I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house, and liars will not stay in my presence.  My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked and free the city of the Lord from their grip.” (Psalm 101 NLT)

“Integrity” – a commitment to integrity!  God give us more leaders like that!  I’ll take that over power, prestige, position, and personal charisma any day!  And with God’s help, whenever I’m called upon to lead, I want to be that kind of leader!

What you dish out is what you’ll get back…and more!

Dishing it out

One of the finest Bible study students I’ve ever had is my wife, Sharon Barnett Bartel! I walked by her this morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” and she was having her own devotions. She made the following comment, “People who read Luke 6:38 need to pay more attention to the context! It’s NOT just about giving money!” And in interpreting the Bible properly and accurately, Sharon is exactly right… Context is critical!

The verse? “Give and it will be given to you! Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap! For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you!”

The context? Well, read it for yourself…

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you!” (Luke 6:27–38 ESV)

Hey, it’s about more than just money! The truth is sobering but true! I’d probably express it this way…

What you dish out is what you’ll get back (and MORE)! Make sure what you’re dishing out is positive, loving, merciful and generous! Deal with your own stuff before you start meddling in other people’s affairs!

My personal response? Help me Lord to NEVER forget this truth! And thank you Sharon for bringing it to my attention again today!

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