Selective Zeal

Selective Zeal

Zeal can’t be choosy. True zeal, the white-hot kind, covers it all.

by J. Randal Matheny

Selective hearing, especially on the part of children or husbands, is a common phenomenon. One hears what one wants to hear and ignores the rest. “Take out the trash,” is one of those phrases that gets tuned out. “Do your homework,” has to be repeated. But say, “There’s ice cream in the freezer,” and reception is crystal clear. Or proclaim that one’s best friend called and the hearer makes a beeline for the telephone.

Zeal also suffers from selectivity. Zeal is an intensity of feeling toward a person or principle. It may be a virtue or take a turn for the bad, as in envy.

Jehu exemplified selective zeal. After he was anointed king over Israel and heard the prophecy that he would destroy the family of Ahab, he systematically pursued and killed all the former king’s descendants. As he carried out his gruesome task, Jehonadab found him and joined him. Jehu told him, “Come with me and see how zealous I am for the Lord’s cause” ( 2 Kings 10:16 NET).

The new ruler exterminated the rest of Ahab’s family in Samaria and eradicated Baal worship from Israel by killing all the false god’s prophets. In his 28-year reign Jehu did well, but his zeal wasn’t as white hot as he professed. “Jehu did not repudiate the sins which Jeroboam son of Nebat had encouraged Israel to commit: the golden calves remained in Bethel and Dan” ( 2 Kings 10:29).

Thus, the inspired writer recorded that “Jehu did not carefully and wholeheartedly obey the law of the Lord God of Israel. He did not repudiate the sins which Jeroboam had encouraged Israel to commit” (v. 31).

The killing of Ahab’s family and the extermination of Baal worship helped Jehu to consolidate control over the kingdom of Israel. While God’s will agreed with Jehu’s desires, he was zealous. He was quick to act. He was thorough. He was decisive.

But when the law of God didn’t further his own purposes, Jehu relaxed. He didn’t think it a priority. Leave that for someone else to take care of. Jehu’s zeal cooled off.

Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6 to tell the religious expert the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind ( Matthew 22:37). The first commandment urges us to a zealous, intense love that gives all, obeys fully, makes every effort to please the Lord.

Our zeal cannot be selective and still please God. No giving up all ungodly relationships except that one that gives us special pleasure. No repentance from sins except that one which has its tentacles wrapped tightly around the heart. No obedience except when it becomes inconvenient. No godliness until the pressure becomes intense.

Zeal means rooting out all idolatry in the heart, putting an end to all sinful relationships, doing what is right in face of all opposition, insisting on truth when all opinions go against you.

Be warned: zeal that doesn’t pick and choose is dangerous. When Jesus cleansed the temple, the disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will devour me” ( John 2:17).

Zeal will cause you to do unpopular things, to take shocking action. And it will lead to a cross (v. 18-22).

But like the non-selective zeal of Christ, ours will erupt in resurrection on the other side. In glory for the zealous. In exaltation to the right hand of the Father for the completely obedient.

So let us not spare the horses as we race our chariots not only to Jezreel and Samaria, but to Bethel and Dan as well.

By J. Randal Matheny (28 June 2007, 05:22 AM)
SOURCE: http://www.forthright.net/decisions/selective_zeal.html

DRL

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How To Leave The Perfect Voicemail

by Brett McKay

I’m not a big fan of voicemail. I don’t mind leaving voicemail messages; I just hate having to listen to them. For some strange reason when people know their voice is being recorded, their brain short circuits. What normally would take 30 seconds to say, now takes 2 minutes.

 

I don’t mind it so much for people I know. I have to deal with them on a daily basis, so I can’t hold voicemail grudges against them. However, if someone cold calls me or it’s just an acquaintance that calls, a crappy voicemail annoys me and leaves a bad impression.

I know. It’s superficial, but I’m human. But a prospective employer or client is also human, so there’s a good chance that crappy, unclear, and long voicemails annoy them too.

So, for your consideration, here are 8 tips to help you leave the perfect voicemail and, consequently, a good impression.

  • State your name first. You would think this would be so basic that it shouldn’t even be mentioned. However, I can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten voicemails where people go on and on and I don’t even know who’s talking to me until the very end. Pretty annoying.
  • State the purpose of your call. In as few words as possible, state why you’re calling. Is it in regards to an interview appointment? Are you following up on a previous meeting?
  • Find some common ground. If you’re cold calling someone, your voicemail is your 30 second chance to make a connection and leave a good impression. One of the best ways to make a connection in that short amount of time is mentioning a mutual acquaintance. You could also mention a shared affiliation with an organization.
  • Be brief. Don’t make you listener resent you by leaving 5 minute long messages. People are busy. Listening to 5 minute phone messages is not on the top of their priorities.
  • Leave a specific request. What do you want your listener to do? Sure, you want them to call you back, but why? To answer a question? To set up an appointment? People will appreciate it if you give them specific actions for their call back. That way they’ll know they won’t be wasting a lot of time on the call back trying to figure out what you want.
  • Leave your contact info slowly and clearly. You’ve gotten this far, don’t screw it up by muddling the very information that will allow your listener to get back to you. Go slow and be clear.
  • Consider leaving your e-mail in addition to your phone number. People like choices. Some people like to have conversations on the phone, while others prefer communicating through e-mail. You don’t know what kind of person your listener will be, so leave the option on the table. For many, e-mail correspondence is less threatening and might actually encourage them to reach out to you.
  • Be Brief. Did I mention be brief? Yeah? Make sure to do it.

How To Leave The Perfect Voicemail | The Frugal Law Student

–DRL

InstaVerse

This is an amazing little tool!  I’ve just downloaded it to my computer and it is super nice!  I would encourage you to check it out.  Here is the description from the site… 

Do you visit Christian web sites or receive daily devotional emails?
Ever want to look up a scripture fast?
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like John 3:16 — just point your mouse at it,
and the text pops up in your preferred translation!
The best part is that InstaVerse with the KJV Bible is
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Here is the link to download the FREE program:
http://www.instaverse.com/

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Menton’s Lemon Festival

Steve Waller sent me some photos from the Menton website which have a certain appeal to me, being a Lemmons myself. I had no idea that there is a LEMON FESTIVAL each year in France. These displays are made with lemons, oranges, and grapefruits.

Apparently MENTON is a charming town full of mystery located at the French-Italian border right on the coast. Surrounded by mountains, Menton is protected from winds and benefits from a wonderful weather.

Menton was founded on the Comtes of Vintimiglia domain. Menton belonged to Grimaldi family (Monaco) from 1346 till 1848, and on the 2nd February 1861 officialy became French.

We may see more photos in the future. Here is the site: http://menton.com/

–DRL

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Seeing and Knowing

Seeing and Knowing

By Michael E. Brooks

“And Nathaniel said to him, ‘can anything good come out of
Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ Jesus saw Nathanael
coming toward Him, and said of him, ‘Behold, an Israelite indeed, in
whom is no deceit!’ Nathanael said to Him, ‘How do you know me?’ Jesus
answered and said to him, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were
under the fig tree, I saw you’” ( John 1:46-48).

It is a frequent occurrence to have an email, a letter, or a
telephone call from someone whose name may be faintly familiar, but
cannot really be placed. The immediate question is, “Do I know this
person?” Obviously I don’t know them very well, if at all. We may have
met at some point, or they may have written or called before, but no
real personal relationship yet exists. I may eventually discover that I
recognize them in the sense of placing them with an identity, or in a
particular location, but this hardly qualifies as “knowing” them.

What are the basic minimum requirements of knowing someone? Most of
us probably begin with recognition of name and face (appearance)
together. If our memories can connect the physical appearance of
someone with their basic identity, we feel a little more comfortable
claiming their acquaintance. But we also are fully aware that there is
much more to who someone is than just name and face. We still have
little or no knowledge of their thoughts, habits, character, desires,
or any of a multitude of other personality components. Such knowledge
is slowly acquired, mainly through repeated contact and interaction.

This makes Jesus’ encounter with Nathanael all the more remarkable.
Upon first meeting him, Jesus announced his identity and character. He
proclaimed Nathanael to be a genuine Israelite and, further, to be of
honest and straightforward character. As proof of the accuracy of
Jesus’ perception, Nathanael showed amazement and wonder that Jesus
could know him so well. Jesus’ explanation was simple, “I saw you.”

Three times in these verses the verb “see” is used. When Nathanael
expressed skepticism that Jesus would prove to be the Messiah, Philip
told him, ‘Come and see.’ As he approached, “Jesus saw Nathanael.” And
when Nathanael was shocked at Jesus’ knowledge of him, Jesus replied,
“I saw you.”

There is a relationship between sight and knowledge. In the legal
arena, eyewitness testimony has great weight. To the scientist,
empirical evidence (i.e., that which can be verified by the physical
senses) serves as proof of theory or hypothesis. Of these senses, none
is of greater value than sight. We all are familiar with the Missouri
slogan, “Show me,” and the common though cynical attitude, “I only
believe what I see for myself.” There is a basis of fact behind these.
We often must see something, or someone, to truly know them.

God sees us. Wherever we may be, and whoever we are, God sees and knows everything about us. David proclaimed,

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down
and my rising up; you understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my
path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways” ( Psalm 139:1-3).

He is omniscient, because he is all-seeing and ever present. Just as
Jesus saw Nathanael before Nathanael had come to him, so he sees and
knows all other humans. We cannot escape his presence or his knowledge
( Psalm 139:7).
But this is not a threat. It is rather a great comfort and promise.
There is one who knows all our needs and cares enough to help us fill
them.

May we continuously pray as David, “Search me, O God, and know my
heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked
way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” ( Psalm 139:23-24).

By Michael Brooks (23 June 2007, 12:01 AM)

http://www.forthright.net/field_notes/seeing_and_knowing.html

DRL Note: Great Article!

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I’s of Acts 2

LOOKING THROUGH THE “I’s” of ACTS 2

by B.J. Clarke

It has been called “the hub of the Bible.” It has been said that everything before it points to it and that everything after it looks back to it. Some preachers among us today are ridiculing the idea that it is all that important. Yet, it still stands as the chapter in which God’s scheme of redemption through Christ is made manifest. It is the place where we see the kingdom of God established. It is the place where we see the terms of salvation given in connection with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is Acts 2.

One denominational preacher suggested that all members of the churches of Christ have a “greasy spot” in their Bibles at Acts 2. He taunted that if you were to take the Bible of a preacher in the church of Christ and just let it fall open, that it would most assuredly open to Acts chapter two. In spite of the ridicule from within and without, the second chapter of Acts has a powerful message. The chapter can be divided into seven different sections, all of which can be titled with a word beginning with the letter “I.” Let’s look through the “I’s” of Acts 2 and see what we can learn.

I. INFILLING (Acts 2:1-4). The opening stanza of the chapter reveals unto us that it was the day of Pentecost when they were all with one accord in one place. “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 2:1-4). It is of paramount importance to define the group under consideration in these verses. Who was filled with the Holy Spirit? They were. They who?

One of the rules of English grammar is that a pronoun must be connected to its nearest antecedent. The book, chapter and verse divisions of the Bible were not a part of the original documents. It was not until the thirteenth century that the chapter divisions came into being. The verse divisions came along in 1551, when Robert Stephens divided his Greek Testament into verses while travelling. What’s the point? When Luke originally wrote Acts there was no break between what we know as Acts 1:26 and Acts 2:1. Thus, the original readers read the rollowing as consecutive sentences.

And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and
he was numbered with the eleven apostles. And when the day of
Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one
place.

The “they” connected back with its nearest antecedent is Matthias and the eleven apostles. Thus, the apostles are the ones under consideration in Acts 2:1-4. These verses aren’t speaking of the 120 disciples mentioned in Acts 1:15. The apostles were all filled with the Holy Spirit.

There is still further proof that this infilling of the Holy Spirit was limited to the apostles. John records the words of Jesus to his apostles in the upper room just prior to his betryal and crucifixion (Jn 13-17). In the midst of these words Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (Jn 16:12,13). Shortly before his ascension Jesus also told his apostles,

And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but
tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power
from on high … And being assembled together with them, (the
“them” points back to the apostles whom he had chosen-Acts
1:2,3) commanded that they should not depart from Jerusalem,
but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye heard
of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be
baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence … But ye
shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon
you” (Lk 24:49; Acts 1:4,5,8).

These verses combined show us that the baptismal infilling of the Holy Spirit was promised specifically to the apostles and was limited to them on Pentecost.

II. INSPIRATION (Acts 2:5-21). The infilling of the Holy Spirit received by the apostles inspired them with the message of God. Inspiration was the product of the infilling. This inspiration equipped the apostles with the ability to speak in languages they had never studied. The reaction of the crowd to this is revealed in the divine record, “And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying to one another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born … And they were all amazed and were in doubt, Saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine” (Acts 2:7,8,12,13).

Peter responded to the charge that the men were drunken by pointing out that it was not intoxication but inspiration that was guiding the apostles. Peter referred to the prophecy given by Joel and said, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:16). Joel had predicted that the Spirit would be poured out and that inspired prophesying would occur as the result. This is precisely what happened on Pentecost. Thus, the speaking in tongues wasn’t intoxication, but inspiration.

One comment needs to be made about the miracle that took place on Pentecost. Sometimes the question is raised as to whether the miracle was one of speaking or one of hearing. Did the apostles actually speak in other languages or did they speak normally while God miraculously worked on the auditors, causing them to hear it in their own language? There can be no doubt that this was a miracle of speaking. The text declares that the apostles “began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). The audience had not been infilled with the Holy Spirit. Thus, they were not the ones through whom the miraculous was working. Why would the Holy Spirit infill the apostles if it was not to endow miraculously them with the ability to do what the Bible says they did, namely to speak in languages they had never studied before? Had not Jesus promised them that they would receive power after the Holy Spirit came upon them? (Acts 1:8). Power to do what? Power to speak in languages they had never studied before! God performed His miracle through the apostles and the result was inspiration.

III. INDICTMENT (Acts 2:22-23). Now having their attention as the result of the miracle, Peter indicts them with the crucifixion and slaying of Jesus of Nazareth. It is interesting to note that God had done miracles, wonders, and signs by Jesus in the midst of them (Acts 2:22). Alas, a miracle, wonder, or sign had been performed in their midst also on Pentecost. Thus, if miracles, wonders, and signs showed Jesus to be approved by God, then the miracle, wonder, or sign done by the apostles showed them also to be approved of by God. Hence, there was divine credibility behind Peter’s indictment. They had killed God’s Son.

IV. INTERPRETATION (Acts 2:24-36). Having indicted the Pentecostians for the murder of Jesus Christ, Peter then proceeded to discuss the glorious resurrection of our Lord. In order to accomplish this he referred back to the statement of David in the sixteenth Psalm in which David said, “thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thin Holy One to suffer corruption” (Ps 16:10). Peter took that statement and interpreted it as it related to Jesus.

His bottom line interpretation was that David, as a prophet, was foretelling the resurrection of Christ from the dead to be exalted into heaven to sit on His throne. Peter interpreted David’s words to mean that Jesus was not going to be left in Hades, but rather that He would conquer death and ascend to assume his position at the right hand of God. Peter gave an interpretation of David’s words that showed them to have been fulfilled for he said, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

V. INQUIRY (Acts 2:37). This dogmatic declaration of Peter coupled with his indictment earlier, pricked the hearts of his hearers so much so that they made inquiry as to what they must do to be relieved of the guilt of having killed God’s anointed Son. The greatest question in all the world is the question asked of Peter on Pentecost. It is the same question asked by the jailor in Acts 16:30. Similar questions were asked by the Rich Young Ruler (Mk 10:17) and the lawyer (Lk 10:25). No greater inquiry can be made than was made by these hearers in Acts 2.

VI. INVITATION (Acts 2:38-41). Upon hearing their inquiry, Peter immediately invited them to “Repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins” (Acts 2:38). He invited them to come to the same Jesus they had killed in order that He might give them life. This invitation is extended to the whole world (Mt 11:28-30; 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-16; Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 2:2).

The bride and the Spirit invite whosoever will to come and take of the water of life freely (Rev 22:17). The invitation is ours to respond to. The people on Pentecost responded to this invitation in that they who gladly received his word were baptized and the same day there were added unto them about 3000 souls (Acts 2:41).

VII. INCREASE (Acts 2:42-27). After their initial conversion to Christ the disciples increased. They increased in their knowledge of the apostles’ doctrine. They increased in fellowship and breaking of bread. They increased in their prayers one for another. They increased in their love and concern for one another so much so that they sold their possessions to aid their less fortunate brothers and sisters in Christ. They increased in unity. Their stature in the eyes of the people increased. And their numbers of conversions increased on a daily basis. Oh that the church would have the same increase in all of these areas today!

Conclusion:
Acts 2 is indeed one of the most vital sections of the sacred writings. As we have looked through the “I’s” of Acts 2 we have seen the infilling of the apostles with the Holy Spirit. We have observed the inspiration in the apostles as the result of this infilling. We have noted Peter’s indictment of his hearers for crucifying Jesus and have seen his inspired interpretation of David’s comments concerning the resurrectiona nd ascension of Jesus. We have focused upon the inquiry of the crowd and Peter’s invitation to them. Finally, we have gazed upon the tremendous increase in the infant Jerusalem church. Looking through the “I’s” of Acts 2 has given me clearer spiritual vision. How about you?

DRL NOTE: B.J. Clarke has done an excellent job in analyzing this HUB OF THE BIBLE, hasn’t he? I have put this outline in my Bible and am sure that I will use it over and over again in the future. I feel sure that you could benefit by doing the same. These seven “I’s” serve as a wonderful overview of this marvelous chapter from God’s word. Thanks, B.J., for helping to improve our spiritual vision by providing this outline!

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