Our Reputation

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July 26, 2017

Our Reputation

Exodus 20:16

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” has very far-reaching spiritual applications. Bear means “to spread, carry, render, or give.” At first glance, the commandment appears to involve only lying in a court of law, and this might be true if the words in the commandment were to be taken only at face value. Jesus clearly shows that there is a “spirit,” an intent, to God’s laws in addition to the letter that carries their application far beyond mere face-value judgments.

Many scriptures show that the commandment covers lying under any circumstance, including hypocrisy and self-deception. That is, it covers any wrongful word or example that would tend to injure. The ninth commandment is in a similar position in man’s relationship to other men as the third commandment is in man’s relationship to God. This commandment directly involves faithfulness and loyalty in our speech and in our witness for God before men.

Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.” The Soncino Commentary remarks that a person’s good reputation, his name, is his most valuable asset. Indeed, the Bible shows that God guards and protects His name very jealously. This is because His name represents what He is.

So it is with us. But why do so many lie, sowing the seeds for the destruction of their reputation? It is the desire for the approval of others that leads them to twist a story or to deliberately exaggerate or diminish their parts in it in the retelling.

When we hear a name, images of that person and what he or she is immediately spring to mind. What we are and how others perceive us has everything to do with what we believe and practice. So, is what we believe and practice true? If we want to have a good name (reputation) in the eyes of both God and man, we, too, have to recognize truth—wherever and whenever it arises in daily life—understand it, and submit to it. This process produces faithfulness.

This is where truth in a person’s witness begins. If truth does not form the foundation of a person’s life, he is already behind the eight-ball to some extent. The urge to lie must be met and overcome. At the base of this problem is a deceitful heart (Jeremiah 17:9) that continually lays traps to make lying an appealing course to follow. Besides lying before men, some of us keep lying to ourselves, and thus our name before God is not good. Faithlessness is the result. In order to have a good name, we, as God’s children, must face up to our vanities and quit deceiving ourselves that God will just have to take us as we are.

We need to stop blaming our failures, problems, and shortcomings on others, which tendency provides us with justifications for what we are and what we do. Within the family, Mom and Dad are frequent targets of this. They are usually guilty to some extent, but God puts the pressure on us to change. Change will not occur in this way of life until we face up to the truth that we are responsible for what we are. We also bear much of the responsibility of becoming what we hope to be. Nobody can do this for us.

This is the day-to-day “stuff” on which trustworthiness and righteous reputations are formed. They are built on the witness of what we do before others. God wants our reputation before men to be built, first, on His truth and then on truth in general. Are we honestly doing this as well as we could be?

@wearywithsorrow

Cathey Lynn

Who Can Understand His Errors

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July 26, 2017

Psalms 19 12-14

(12) Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. (13) Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. (14) Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
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David showed no hostility toward God, and he tried hard to change whenever he could see that he was wrong. However, he could not always see it. For instance, David stole Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, and she became pregnant. After conniving and cheating in an attempt to avoid the consequences, David intentionally arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle.

Incredible as it may seem, David did not see how terribly wrong his sexual immorality in both his thoughts and actions was. He broke both the spirit and letter of the law. Not until the prophet Nathan brought him to his senses did spiritually blind David realize his sinful behavior.

Nevertheless, we cannot judge David too harshly, since our vision is likewise clouded regarding many of our problems. It is hard enough to recognize and admit the problems we can see, much less the ones we cannot. Rather than judge him, we can actually identify with David.

@wearywithsorrow

Love Comes From God

George Matheson

July 26, 2017

This story came across my studies this morning. God speaks to us in mysterious ways because this is going on in my life as well.

For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness (Galatians 5:5)

There are times when things look very dark to me–so dark that I have to wait even for hope. It is bad enough to wait in hope. A long-deferred fulfillment carries its own pain, but to wait for hope, to see no glimmer of a prospect and yet refuse to despair; to have nothing but night before the casement and yet to keep the casement open for possible stars; to have a vacant place in my heart and yet to allow that place to be filled by no inferior presence–that is the grandest patience in the universe. It is Job in the tempest; it is Abraham on the road to Moriah; it is Moses in the desert of Midian; it is the Son of man in the Garden of Gethsemane. There is no patience so hard as that which endures, “as seeing him who is invisible”; it is the waiting for hope.

Thou hast made waiting beautiful; Thou has made patience divine. Thou hast taught us that the Father’s will may be received just because it is His will. Thou hast revealed to us that a soul may see nothing but sorrow in the cup and yet may refuse to let it go, convinced that the eye of the Father sees further than its own.

Give me this Divine power of Thine, the power of Gethsemane. Give me the power to wait for hope itself, to look out from the casement where there are no stars. Give me the power, when the very joy that was set before me is gone, to stand unconquered amid the night, and say, “To the eye of my Father it is perhaps shining still.”

I shall reach the climax of strength when I have learned to wait for hope.

–George Matheson

 

A short biography of George Matheson if any of you do not know him.

George Matheson was only fifteen when he was told that he was losing what little eyesight he had.
Instead of giving up, Matheson immediately continued with his plans to enroll in the University of
Glasgow, and his determination lead to his graduation at age nineteen. But as he pursued graduate
studies in theology for Christian ministry he finally lost his sight. His sisters joined ranks beside him,
learning Greek and Hebrew to assist him in his studies. He pressed faithfully on.

But his spirit collapsed when his fiancée, unwilling to be married to a blind man, broke their engagement and returned his ring. He never married, and the pain of that rejection never left him. Years later, as a well-loved preacher in Scotland, his sister came to him announcing her engagement. He rejoiced with her, but his mind went back to his own heartache. He consoled himself in thinking of God’s love which is never limited, never conditional, never withdrawn, and never uncertain. In the darkness of those moments George Matheson wrote this hymn. He remarked afterward that it took him five minutes and that it was the only hymn he ever wrote that required no editing.

O love that will not let me go. Heartening hope for you and me.

 

O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.
O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths it flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Light that foll’west all my way
I yield my flick’ring torch to thee
My heart restores its borrowed ray
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be

George Matheson

Stabilizing lines, especially for those in darkness.

To understand what it means to love one another you have to understand what the word LOVE really means There are three words in Greek which are translated as LOVE.
The first is word is PHILEO. This means brotherly love or friendship. This is the first level of love.
You get to know someone, you enjoy being around them. Eventually you form a close friendship. In this church I am sure that there are people here that you LOVE hanging around with and are friends

The second word is EROS. This is the word for romantic love. This is the second level. Imagine a
boy and a girl who have been friends for a long time. One day the guy says to the girl “I like you”.
She says “I know, I like you too”. He says, “No, I mean I REALLY LIKE you”. She finally gets the
message. He has moved from PHILEO love to EROS love.
The third word AGAPE is the deepest level of love. This means sacrificial love. Imagine again that boy and girl
have a bad fight. At that point she does not love him as a friend and certainly not romantically.
AGAPE love is not an emotion but a decision. It is an act of the will. Reaching out in AGAPE love draws them back together to work through their problems and eventually the relationship is restored.

Emotions are neutral. We feel what we feel. Emotions are neither good or bad. When Jesus commanded us to love one another He used the word AGAPE. This means that love is not an emotion but a choice. The love that John is talking about here is this deepest level of AGAPE love. sacrificial love. Sacrificial love means that we love others even when it costs us. It means to give yourself to another person in a grace filled relationship and friendship.

Human love is very uncertain and I am sure all of us have experienced rejection at some point in our lives. Like George Matheson we need to learn to lean on and trust God’s perfect love. His love is our hope and our goal. Being a Christian means that we learn to love like Jesus.

1 John 4:7 Let us love one another, for love comes from God.

 

I would like to strive to be one of those–so few–who walk the earth with ever-present consciousness–all mornings, middays, star-times–that the unknown which men call Heaven is “close behind the visible scene of things.”

@wearywithsorrow

Cathey Lynn