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MARCH 2017

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Are we Faithful?

 

Nehemiah 7:2 that I gave the charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.

Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man?

 

What are the Characteristics of a Faithful Person?

1.  He or she is trustworthy or dependable—you can give them a job and a deadline and expect them to do what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it.  That is the mark of a good employee, of a good mechanic or carpenter or handyman.  I have known a few people like this in my life time, but I have known more who took on jobs that they couldn't or wouldn't do.  Sometimes they made promises that they couldn't or wouldn't keep.  I started buying cars with warranties so that I didn't have to deal with mechanics who were not faithful.  I figured they could sort out their mischief with the people who provided the warranty rather than with me. There are some plumbers that have cost me more money than they are worth because they not only had to come back twice, but in some cases, their leaks caused problems that had to be repaired by other plumbers.

2.  He or she tells the truth—you can shake their hand on a business deal and expect them to live up to their promises. They keep their promises to their spouses, children and friends.

3.  He or she is loyal--they are willing to defend you when necessary.  A loyal person is also an honest person and will constructively criticize where necessary.  But a loyal person will never say one thing to your face and another thing behind your back.  A loyal person wants what is best for their boss or employer or friend.  They aren't constantly “using” them to accomplish their own agendas.  Some people are only faithful to their friends or family or associations.  A person can be faithful to one group while being completely deceptive and undependable when it comes to others.

4.  A faithful person doesn't have to tell everyone how faithful they are--others will take care of that for them.  When someone continues to “blow their own horn” it is usually because others are not praising them and often there is a reason for that. 

 

Who do we know that is truly Faithful?

God found Moses to be faithful (Numbers 12:7).  Nehemiah found his brother Hananiah to be a faithful man and it was apparently due to his fear of God.  We know that when it comes to faithfulness to the Lord, most of those that we would call faithful to the Lord failed at some juncture in their life.  However, their hearts were always loyal and their failures were a time for tears.  King David would be one who failed the Lord and his fellow man but always remained loyal to the Lord.  Peter denied the Lord, but he always loved the Lord.  And of course the best example of faithfulness is the Lord Himself.  He was faithful to His Father and He was faithful to the people in this world whether they were Jews or Gentiles.

 

Some of us are looking for people to be faithful to us.  We want people who will defend us when others criticize us.  We want emotional support when life becomes a struggle.  But if we want that, how much more does the Lord want and deserve that?  How many of us are really willing to be dependable with regard to his moral and ceremonial requests?  The Sermon on the Mount lays out the moral desires of the Lord.  Those issues go to motive which only the Lord really knows.  The Corinthian epistles and the epistles to Timothy and Titus are the best places to go to find out what pleases the Lord in the ceremonies and gatherings of the local church.  Are we willing to be completely devoted to the Lord and faithful to his desires even when popular opinion differs from what is written in God's faithful word?

 

What about Me?

We know that we cannot truly be faithful to the Lord without believing in Him.  We can't just believe about Him, we must trust Him.  I settled that issue many years ago.  We cannot be faithful to the Lord without following His instructions on baptism.  We know baptism never saved anyone from an eternity in hell, but it is the way to take our public stand with the Lord.  Once baptized we are no longer identified with the world system that rejects the Lord.  Baptism is always by immersion and it occurs after we have trusted the Lord..  It is a public declaration of our new found faith in the Lord, and it is a declaration that we have a desire to be faithful to Him. 

 

Lord help us to be among the faithful.  Help us to be loyal and trustworthy to the Lord and to our friends, family and neighbors.

 

Meditation for the week of March 5, 2017

Open His Eyes!

 

2 Kings 6:15-17 And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, and said, "LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

 

Worry Warts!

I confess, I am a worry wart.  The older I get the more anxious I am about things that I cannot control.  Instead of being glad for all the times the Lord has kept me from difficulty and heartache, I keep thinking that today may be the day that a disaster will strike over which I have no control.  Then what am I going to do?

 

Obviously, self-reliance is a good thing so long as it doesn't leave God out of the equation.  But I am not a good plumber and we have had a lot of plumbing problems in our house—mostly because of shoddy workmanship on the part of the builder and installer.  When the wind turns to the northwest and begins howling at 30 mph and the temperature drops to 20 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit), I keep wondering what I am going to do if the heat tape fails (because it has) or if the furnace fails (because it has).  I have found very few people that are willing to work on manufactured homes when emergencies arise and those that do know how to charge.  I keep thinking that if I was proficient like I should be, I should be able to handle these emergencies myself.  But I can't, so I keep wondering, “What am I going to do?” 

 

It is easy for those of you who don't worry about anything to say, "Just trust in the Lord."  But for those of us who have anxiety problems that just adds to the problems.  Now we not only have problems we can't “fix”, we are anxious because of our apparent lack of faith in the Lord's goodness and provision.  It is encouraging to know, however, that even Paul seemed to have some problems with fear and anxiety.  He says in 1 Corinthians 2:3. "I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling."  He often talks about his weakness.

 

The Blessing of the Lord's Faithfulness

One thing I have learned over the years is that even though I may be faithless, the Lord is still faithful.  Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 2:13, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”  God has answered prayers before I have asked and has met needs that I didn't even know existed.  Why should a person worry when as Christians we have the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us, we have angels surrounding us (Hebrews 1:14, Psalms 34:7), and we have the word of God to reassure us and instruct us?

 

Sometimes we need to have our eyes opened just like Elisha's servant did.  Things looked pretty bad.  The city was surrounded by the Syrian army, but Elisha had no army.  He had no horses or chariots.  OR DID HE?  He told his servant, "We are not going to have to do anything, open your eyes and see our army.  It is greater and more powerful than theirs."  I realize that we don't often see the forces that are working on our behalf today, but they are just as real.  Sometimes, we are kept from problems and sometimes we are guided through problems.  We had a car accident that could have killed us a few years back because of black ice.  But in three hours we were in a rental car continuing our trip to the Denver area.  I had no idea that I had a heart blockage 8 years ago.  But Medicare provided me some preventative care and a sharp doctor recognized a problem on an EKG.  I had a stent put in for a 90 percent blockage in the widow maker.  I was preserved through a problem.  I could go on and on about the times when something could have happened but didn't.  And so far, I have never had a plumbing or furnace problem that my worrying fixed and yet somehow all of them have some how gotten fixed.  I can truthfully say, “If God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?”  And God is for those of us who have trusted His Son.

 

My Prayer

Lord,  I realize that there is a difference between being prudent about things for which we are responsible, and worrying about things that we cannot control.  Help those of us who trust you to know the difference so that we can enjoy that peace and rest that is promised to us in your word.  Help us to remember that, "You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3)."

 

Meditation for the week of March 12, 2017