what happens when the church meets

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:24-5

The phrase "stir up" means provoke. People are usually provoked to a point of anger. Here, it's the opposite: a provocation to love and good works. One believer inspires another towards good. The word activation led me to this text.

simple gifts or trophy gifts

For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn't everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what's the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need.

1 Corinthians 4:7

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

Simple Gifts by Joseph Brackett (1848)
We need to remember that everything we have is a gift. We don't own our next heart beat and we are not entitled to anything. This goes against the cultural ideas we live around.

  • "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." — Albert Einstein (1879–1955)
  • "You can always recognize truth by its beauty and simplicity." — Richard Feynman (1918–1988)
  • "Our lives are frittered away by detail; simplify, simplify." — Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)
  • "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." — Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

Stand against the devil and he will run

Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you.
James 4:7b, NCV

How to stand against the devil is spelled out in the words before and after this good advice:
  • So give yourselves completely to God. (4:7a)
  • Come near to God, and God will come near to you.(4:8a)
Moving further back or forward in the text gives even more clarification. The simple answer to bedevilment is more of God. It's true that the text says that you can shout "no" to the devil and he will have to go, but where are your feet planted and where are you pointed towards as you resist?

Barak Obama, the child

I had a dream this morning that Barak Obama, our new president was a child. I was really surprised and astonished at how he managed to look like and sound like a full grown man, when I had seen him many times on television. Yet, when I saw him in person, he was a child. I've been pondering this now since I awoke from the dream and it finally dawned on me that it is a positive picture. Jesus said that you must be like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven: "And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.", (Matt. 18:3-4).

My hope and prayer is that President Obama would be childlike towards God. I think that Jesus is saying that we need to approach God as a child, with trust, humilty, dependence, and faith. Children are learners and followers naturally. Children are open. Children don't have preconceptions.


Some notes on Jeremiah, the Prophet and his writings. His name means, "Jehovah will raise". This reflects the truth that no matter what, God can do it, God will do it. God will raise up what and who he needs raised up. God will raise up voices from unlikely places.

Wikipediea states: "His writings are collected in the Book of Jeremiah and, according to tradition, the Book of Lamentations. Jeremiah is also famous as "the broken-hearted prophet" (who wrote or dictated a "broken-hearted book", which has been difficult for scholars to put into chronological order), whose heart-rending life, and true prophecies of dire warning went largely unheeded by the people of Israel. God told Jeremiah, "You will go to them; but for their part, they will not listen to you"."

Imagine being a true prophet, speaking God's words, but not being believed. God warned him that this would be the case. Thanks for the warning.

Jeremiah lived a very long life, perhaps to age 90, and saw destruction and captivity of his nation. But, when he was young, during the first part of his ministry, he worked with the young King Josiah who was a radical reformer. They worked together for about 18 years, until King Josiah was killed in battle. Unfortunately, the son's of Josiah were not like their dad and undid the reforms and Judah fell back into idolotry and Jeremiah was opposed and persecuted by his own people.

The forecast: rest and quiet, then exuberant singing

The whole earth is at rest and quiet.
They break forth into singing.

Isaiah 14:7

This is part of Isaiah's announcement of how Israel's oppressor, Babylon will fall.
God also gives rest and quiet to the embattled believer. It's a promise of Jesus:
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest." (Matt. 11:28, MSG)
Things might be exhausting and cacophonous, but that will change.

You've lost that loving feeling

"But I have this against you: You have left the love you had in the beginning.”
Revelation 2:4

We can be good people, we can do good things, we can be productive, and we can be knowledgeable. But if we have lost our simple love in which we love back the one who loved us first, it’s all worthless.


Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:6-9

According to Wikipedia, "Courage, also known as bravery, will, intrepidity, and fortitude, is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. "Physical courage" is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, or threat of death, while "moral courage" is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement.

In the story of Joshua, God made huge promises to Joshua that he would lead the people into taking the land of promise and that he would be with him as he'd been with Moses. Then God has to tell Joshua to be courageous. He must have needed that because that because of the danger of the task.

From pop-culture, consider that line in the Gilligan's Island song, "if it wasn't for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minow would be lost". In other words, the crew rose to the occasion and did their best at sailing in the storm and saved the lives of all on board. If they were not courageous and froze in fear, the result may have been different.

To encourage to to call up courage in another. The ministry of giving a prophetic word is an encouragement. Whatever form a prophetic word comes in, the result will be encouragement (1 Corinthians 14:3, 31).

At one of king David's low points, it says, "David encouraged himself in the Lord" (1 Samuel 30:6). We have to learn how to go to the well and remember God's love, God's faithfulness, and God's promises and call on our lives.

Sky Links, 9-27-17