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Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Mon 03 Apr 2017, 10:24 pm

Doulos Meditation on Philippians 4:8-9 (#3 of 12)

#3 of 12 Meditations on Philippians 4:8-9 (NRSV). Scripture: Philippians 4:8—whatever is just (dikaia)…think about these things.

Reflection: This word is one of a family of words that speak of righteousness—that is behavior that is in harmony with God’s law—i.e. doing what is “right” as opposed to what is self serving, sinful, or not flowing from the will and purposes of God.

When humans seriously try to be righteous, of course, they find they cannot and what Christianity is about is the discovery that God’s righteousness in Christ can be our righteousness as well. But that is not the subject here.


In Paul’s list here, he is just pointing out that some things are right and some are wrong.

I drink coffee with some good guys each week and sometimes the conversation revolves around some outrageous act of Congress, the President, or some local guy caught doing something shady. The comment is sometimes heard “That just isn’t right.”

Our sense of right comes straight out of our faith in God. He is the source of all right. Sin is always a deterioration, evasion, or violation of the right. Every day you are faced with practical questions of identifying the right thing to do—“What would Jesus do?”—you make moral decisions by the thousands.

To choose the good requires a lifetime of practice, prayer, study, and seeking God. Do you think about these things?

Prayer Starter: Father, we seek every day to practice honesty with our neighbor, obey your law, and stand up for responsibility and integrity. Lord, please live in us and guide us in such a way that we will be led every moment in paths of righteousness. Amen.

Doulos Meditation on Philippians 4:8-9 (#2 of 12)

#2 of 12 Meditations on Philippians 4:8-9 (NRSV). Scripture: Philippians 4:8— whatever is honorable (semna)…think about these things.

Reflection: This word is difficult to pin down. The verb form means to stand in awe, venerate, reverence, worship or adore. This adjective contains all those things that elicit such reverence and adoration. Have you ever known a venerable old man whom everyone respected immensely?

Have you ever met the President or other high official? Have you ever had an audience with a king or queen? I know a judge I respect; in courts I have watched the respect that attorneys and plaintiffs show to judges.

What comes to mind when you think of these people? They are serene and peaceful; quiet and in control; focused and not frivolous; serious and concerned. My judge friend is addressed, “Your honor.” He is my image of what is honorable and upright; wise and grave.

Since Paul uses this word right after the word for “genuine, true” is there a connection? When Truth and the True God live in me, do I become honorable, august, reputable, and upright? Do you think on these things?

Prayer Starter: Honorable Father, how great is your majesty. We stand in awe before you and venerate, worship, and adore you as is appropriate in all times and places. Fill us with the Spirit of Truth that we may become like you. Amen.

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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sun 02 Apr 2017, 10:56 pm

Doulos Meditation on 1 Corinthians 16:1

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 16:1—Now concerning the collection for the saints…on the first day of the week, each of you is to put aside and save whatever extra you earn…I will send any whom you approve with letters to take your gift to Jerusalem…

Reflection: Each year regions of earth get hit with winds, rains, and floods. Some countries are prone to earthquakes, mudslides, or Tsunami waves.

Characteristic of the Christian faith is the rush to help which occurs after a natural disaster. Jesus said “do for others as you would have them do for you” and this distinguishes Christianity from many other religions and the help Christians give does not go unnoticed.

I had the privilege of helping bring blankets to people wiped out by the Tsunami a few years ago. People asked “Are these just for Christians?” And our answer was “not at all—we want to help everyone we can, no matter who you are.” Some religions offer help only to those of their own faith, but Christians give without restrictions because God gave of himself for all in the Atonement of the cross. How can we ever repay his loving gift to us?

We cannot, of course—but our gratitude for God’s gifts overflows when we help someone else—whether in Jerusalem, Baghdad, Calcutta, Africa, China—or across the street in our own neighborhood.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank you for the great opportunities that Christians have when natural disasters strike. Make us sensitive to people’s needs and open our hearts to share from the bounty you have bestowed on us. Amen.

Doulos Meditation on Philippians 4:8-9

#1 of 12 Meditations on Philippians 4:8-9 (NRSV). Scripture: Philippians 4:8—Finally, beloved, whatever is true (alethe)…think about these things.


Reflection: This adjective means “true”—but in the New Testament it never refers to doctrine (TDNT, I, 248) as though I can be right with God if I’ve got all the facts straight! It speaks of God and of His Son in the sense of uprightness and integrity.

In the Old Testament the Hebrews used their equivalent word to speak of reality—especially God who is the ultimate and final reality. To be in touch with reality is to be sane, sober, and rational—and relationship with God accesses this reality.

He is not a deception, imagination or wishful thinking. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life.” He claimed to be the incarnation of the reality that undergirds the entire universe. Kiwanians have a Four-Way Test for things they say—and the first is the question “Is it true?”

The Apocalypse assigns all liars to “the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.” (Rev 4:8) I am concerned about my own authenticity. Am I dishonest before God—a hypocrite—a pretender? Do we try to portray a certain “image”—and worry about what our clothing and auto are saying about us?

Level with me a bit—how many people do you know who are always, absolutely, consistently and without reservation people who tell the truth, refuse to pretend, are not guarding their image or reputation, and walk in genuine and humble honesty before God? Do you think about these things?

Prayer Starter: True God, you who are absolutely real and genuine—we bless your name and serve your Son who came to show us the one who is eternal Truth. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Fri 24 Mar 2017, 5:48 pm

Doulos Meditation on Hebrews 2:9

Scripture: Hebrews 2:9--…so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Reflection: There are many silly things said about the death of Jesus—that his goals were political; he died to set a good example of selflessness; his murderers were in reality good people who just made a tragic mistake; the real message he brought was that loving each other will solve all human problems.

Many theories have fragments of truth in them—but if we drop out from the atonement the idea of Jesus dying in our place, paying the penalty for our sin, we have nothing substantial left.


“He paid a debt he did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay”—nice words but more importantly they express an eternal truth. Is the concept difficult? We explain away things we cannot grasp—but wait—this is God’s doing—why would I expect to understand it? Am I surprised there are things about it I cannot comprehend?

Forget about answers whose only appeal is that they are “easy.” Even the apostles of Jesus wrestled with the meaning of the atonement—they saw it not as a theory to explain, but as God’s action to be received by faith and processed in daily life. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Prayer Starter: Father, open our hearts to receive your grace through faith and by your Spirit lead us in the light and by the blood of Jesus cleanse us from every sin. Amen.

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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sat 18 Mar 2017, 5:20 pm

Doulos Meditation on 1 Timothy 2:4

Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:4—(God our Savior)…who desires everyone to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Reflection: God is not a villain setting a trap for sinners and lurking behind some doctrinal brush pile waiting to send people to hell. Scripture describes a God who wants your forgiveness, happiness, and eternal salvation.

To believe God is the villain is to have a view of God completely foreign to scripture. Will there be people who are lost eternally from the presence of God? Yes—the bible is straightforward about that as well.

But none is lost by accident; nobody counted out on a technicality; “oops” is not in the Christian vocabulary. The fellow who experiences the “second death” does so because he insists—and will have it no other way. It’s not God’s wish or plan.

The problem is that God is infinitely holy and I cannot be saved on my terms. I cannot demand that God change who he is so I can bring my sin along as a piece of carryon baggage. Either I surrender completely in faith, receiving the birth from above—or I don’t. God has made it possible. I make the choice.

Prayer Starter: Father, eliminate our fears rising from inadequate concepts of your grace. Help us accept at face value your love and provisions for our forgiveness and eternal salvation through the blood of Jesus the Christ, your Son our Savior. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Thu 16 Mar 2017, 11:43 pm

Doulos Meditation on 1 Corinthians 14:15

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:15—I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the mind also; I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will sing praise with the mind also.

Reflection: Paul leaves the door open for mystical experience in Christianity. He does not at all forbid intercourse between the human spirit and the Spirit of God. In his letters, he mentions his visions, extensive speaking in unknown tongues, prayers that filled him with knowledge beyond all knowing.

But Paul seems also to be tying spirit-man with soul-man—the supernatural in me with the natural part of me that feels, thinks, and desires. My spirit expresses itself through soul.

Think how we use that word “soul”—we eat soul food, play soul music, touch someone’s soul. And soul in turn leaks through every bodily movement—words, gestures, body language, raised hands and voices, dance, drama, art and exercise, running and mountain climbing—all those things that are visible, practical, touchable and repeatable.

The rising Gnostic movements in the early church said spirit alone counts—the superior person is “spiritual” and disdains the merely physical and ordinary.

Paul would not agree for a moment. He reveled in his spirit; he rejoiced in the Spirit; and he praised God in mind and body.

Prayer Starter: Father, help us worship you as integrated and unified creatures—leave no part of us untouched as you transform us and lead us. Amen.
Doulos Meditation on 2 Thessalonians 2:16

Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 2:16—Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.

Reflection: We form long range friendships and loves throughout our lives—and these are blessings from God.

But the deepest hope of the human heart originates not in humans, but in the Lord Jesus and God our Father. From his love we gain comfort and confidence that stabilizes us through good times and bad through all of our lives. .

Humans are limited in the hope and comfort they can provide. We love them not because they are the ultimate source of hope, but because they are partners with us in relationship with the God who transcends time, space, old age, mortality, death, illness—all those things against which we bump.

Without God we cannot hope—with him we cannot despair. A glorious component of our hope is the joy of those with whom we share life’s journey—expressed in every good work and word.

Prayer Starter: Father, our hope is in you and the more we trust you the more precious those around us become. They serve as your channels for love and comfort. We love them more, not because they are the ultimate sources of comfort, but because we know that they too look to you for eternal comfort and good hope. Thank you for them. Amen.

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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 10:26 pm

Doulos Meditation on Luke 6:41

Scripture: Luke 6:41—Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (NIV)

Reflection: Isn’t it easy to see the flaws in someone else? I’m quite good at it—I see the false logic in your argument, the lack of integrity in your character, the pattern of your sins and your poor taste in neckties.

But you are blind to the obvious and not listening to my advice. You are below my standards—a sinner I don’t want to associate with.

At what point does conversion occur? Is it that moment when I realize that it’s personal between God and me—and that criticizing you is irrelevant, stupid and worthless?

I envision myself saying to God, “Who me? You’re speaking to me? What do you mean, ‘Come here, sinner?’

Do you picture God’s judgment day as a great gathering before the throne? What if it’s a starkly private affair where God says, “You—come here—No you can’t bring anyone—I’m talking to you.”

Maybe conversion is the point where I realize that I am the one who has sinned against Eternal Holiness and that God is here not to discuss your sins but mine.

He confronts me—I alone am the subject of his inquiry. Is conversion another word for honesty?

Prayer Starter: Father, I see my personal depravity and rebellion against your perfect holiness and justice. You have gotten personal with me and my sins are so overwhelming, I can no longer see others’ sins, but fall on my face and trembling cry, “Have mercy on me, a sinner.” Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Tue 14 Mar 2017, 10:45 pm

Doulos Meditation on Proverbs 3:9

Scripture: Proverbs 3:9—Honor the LORD with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be bursting with wine.


Reflection: We each have been bountifully blessed by God. The food we eat, the clothes we wear and the salaries we earn are not ours by rights, but are part of God’s overarching concern for his creatures. He clothes the lilies of the field in splendor, he notes when a sparrow falls. Almost forgotten in our world is the idea of stewardship.

Stewards managed great households, ran huge ranching and herding enterprises, operated stores filled with exotic imported merchandise. They did not own the goods they managed—they were themselves owned by the Master of the house and the goods were his. The steward knew that a day of accountability lay ahead.

This model is still valid. We are stewards of God’s great riches—and we, too, are facing a day of reckoning and judgment.

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” the Psalmist sang. It is not my place to rejoice because of ownership, but because He has trusted me with his commission.

Are you conscious of your stewardship? Are you faithful to God in matters great and small? Have you hidden your coin in the ground?

Prayer Starter: Father, thank you for trusting us with your earth. Raise up responsible children who will recognize your sovereignty over all the earth. Amen.

Doulos Meditation on Proverbs 14:27

Scripture: Proverbs 14:27—Prepare your work outside get everything ready for you in the field; and after that build your house.

Reflection: A major factor in success of any kind is to get the priorities right. Maybe there are different kinds of priorities.

There’s a time priority, for example. Every cook knows that if you add the ingredients to a complicated recipe in the wrong order, the result will be a gooey mess—sequencing counts. If you’re going to study a language, learning the alphabet and the sounds will precede memorizing a verb conjugation. You get the picture.

A second kind of priority is that of importance. If our lives had almost nothing in them, then it might not matter whether you fed the squirrel first or sat on the park bench. But if you are typical of most of us, there is far more that needs doing than we will ever have time to do.

Is God the priority in your life? Or is he waiting in the wings for you to take a break from the drama of life so you can give him a minute or two?

Isn’t one of the many great blessings of life the transformation of our priorities as we age? Stuff that looked so important as a teenager now seems irrelevant. Other demands that we easily ignored in earlier years have taken on new urgency. Isn’t this, too, a blessing from God?

Prayer Starter: Father, help us get our priorities right—putting you first in all things—and leaving all the rest to your working in us. Amen.

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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sun 12 Mar 2017, 10:26 pm

Doulos Meditation on Proverbs 23:13

Scripture: Proverbs 23:13—Do not withhold discipline from your children; if you beat them they will not die. If you beat them with the rod, you will save their lives from Sheol.

Reflection: I realize that discipline is a lost art. Kids now have been rescued from spankings and other corporal punishments—such things have been labeled “child abuse” and deemed a terrible way to raise kids.

I am definitely out of tune with the new generation—but we didn’t have a tenth the problem that parents have today.

When our kids were very young we had a clear understanding of who was the boss. We would tell them one time and bust their rears the second time. No exceptions—this was the consistent rule.

And guess what—our kids almost never got a spanking. With this clear understanding there was no need for threatening, cajoling, bribing, and all the other stuff we see the new generation doing. Today’s kids hold the adults hostage—they have the upper hand in schools, at home, and even in bible classes.

I can’t tell you how to raise your kids—but my wife and I experienced tremendously good success in raising kids that were courteous, industrious, mature and are Christians to this day. I’m not sure that our success was an accident.

Prayer Starter: Lord, help parents to exercise discipline that is fair, appropriate, consistent, and effective in raising their children to be your children. Amen.


Doulos Meditation on Proverbs 24:5

Scripture: Proverbs 24:5—Wise warriors are mightier than strong ones, and those who have knowledge than those who have strength…

Reflection: Sheer human strength alone cannot win life’s most important battles. Why do you think the Christian faith had such an impact? Was it maybe that it supplied what human strength could not supply—real power to deal with temptation; real forgiveness from sin; real hope for eternal life; real experiences of love and joy?

It was not by human strength, wisdom, or skill that God chose to call us into his service, but by humility, love, and self denial—the acceptance of God’s loving actions for and in us.

How strong are you? I can lift a bowl of cereal—sometimes a cup of coffee. Can you lift 100 pounds? How about one ton? How about an automobile? Very quickly, human strength reaches its limits.

But wisdom magnifies whatever strengths I have. Like a wise warrior, we know when to engage and when to abstain; when to speak and when to be silent; when to move forward and when to retreat. Knowledge enhances the effectiveness of your skills; ignorance will get you killed.

Prayer Starter: Lord, give us wisdom from above. Let us never trust in our own strength, but rely on the power within us that flows from your presence in the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Fri 10 Mar 2017, 6:30 pm


Doulos Meditation on Proverbs 22:6

Scripture: Proverbs 22:6—Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.

Reflection: I remember the day my wife and I found out she was pregnant. I also remember the question I asked her: “What in the world are we going to do with a kid?” Now some 47 years later we have at least a partial answer. Not knowing anything about raising a child, we just blundered along—first a boy and later a girl. Today, they are both mature, capable Christian adults with families of their own.

We still don’t know how to raise kids, but I can see three ideas we had intuitively.

(a) Your kid will forgive every sin except hypocrisy. What will wreck your relationship with a kid is pretending—claim you are good or know the answers and your kid will see right through you, marking you down as a liar and hypocrite—never to be trusted again.

(b) Recognize the person—your kid is not a helpless, hopeless, non-entity to be dictated to or ignored. Let him (or her) make their own decisions—dictating to them every detail of life will result in alienation and rebellion instead of cooperation.

(c) Encourage them—it is so rare! Most of the adult world merely finds fault. Accept them—they’re going to make mistakes. When they do just remember that you made plenty also.

Prayer Starter: Father, help us raise families that experience your love in us. Help us be positive, constructive and above all genuine before you. Amen.

Doulos Meditation on Proverbs 20:14

Scripture: Proverbs 20:14—“Bad, bad,” says the buyer, then goes away and boasts.

Reflection: Aren’t you impressed with how modern those ancient men and women of wisdom were?

Have things changed at all? My wife is a real estate agent—when she is showing a house to prospective buyers it is very typical that they will point out every flaw they can see. The floor is not level, there’s a crack in one of the bathroom tiles, the color of the wall is all wrong—you know what I mean.

The seller, on the other hand talks about how easy to heat and cool, the beautiful view overlooking the lake, the spacious den and how much has been spent to refurbish the place.


Buyer and seller represent an adversarial relationship—they oppose each other and each wants to win a victory. Each looks for the other’s weakness. But being ego driven as natural and depraved humans each cannot resist boasting over their success. “I got the place really cheap—it’s exactly what we needed but I had to argue him down a few thousand dollars,” the buyer proclaims.

The seller says, “I was afraid he wasn’t going to go for it—with all the problems and the high taxes. But he did and I’m glad to be rid of that albatross.”

One of the plagues of our society is the business barracuda—the guy who preys on the weak and helpless. I talked with a fellow in the poor part of our town today—he had borrowed a little money from a local high interest “loan” company which proceeded to take advantage of him in every way. Do you practice your Christianity in your business—or only in your church?

Prayer Starter: Father, lead us to be honest and moral in all our dealings—even when we could make more money by being a bully and a manipulator. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Wed 08 Mar 2017, 9:07 pm

Doulos Meditation On 1 Corinthians 8:2

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 8:2—Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him.

Reflection: Paul plays with the word “know.” He opposes the idea that knowledge is the path to salvation. Some later religions (e.g. Buddhism) developed along the lines of thinking Paul opposed.

Even in Christianity there is the notion that people who are better educated are somehow closer to God. In modern times, sectarianism generally claims to be right, have the facts, and know “the truth” where others do not. Paul would not remain silent among these pseudo-Christian moderns.

Paul uses another nuance of the word "know" in this sentence. One who loves is known by God. But this is not the same as knowing facts, statistics or having a degree in something. This is personal relationship—knowing someone through acquaintanceship, love, honor, interaction, the master-servant relationship.

This is what counts for Paul. It takes initiative out of my hands (I’m no longer responsible for knowing all the right stuff) and places initiative in God’s hands.

He knows me from before I was conceived. He offers relationship with himself to all who love him. We love because he first loved us; we know because we were first known by him.

Prayer Starter: Father, we long for relationship—that personal trusting interaction through which you can show us yourself and transform us to be like Jesus. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sun 05 Mar 2017, 11:14 pm

Doulos Meditation on Unity (#4 of 5)

#4 of 5 Meditations on Unity. Scripture: Galatians 3:28—There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

Reflection: Unity is what God has brought to earth for those who believe. Even racial distinctions disappear in Christ—speaking of the Jew/Gentile distinction, Paul commented that God’s actions were so that “he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross…” (Gal 2:15-16)

The person working to make distinctions, divide groups, decide who is in or out, who can lead or not, who to associate with or not—is not on board with God’s purposes.

Without getting bogged down in specifics, we can suggest this person is working in the opposite spirit to the whole thrust of God’s redemptive purposes.

The person who promotes friction, dissension, division, or debate often works for Satan unawares; while maintaining he is right and righteous, faithful to God, “scriptural,” authentic, knowing what is best, and other such stuff.

Unity is not a simple discussion, but it begins with God not us; flows from God’s actions not ours; deals with essence primarily and forms secondarily; is obvious to the Spirit led and invisible to the worldly person; brings heaven to earth and gives earth a glimpse of heaven.

Prayer Starter: Father, use each of us to show to the world the unity in Christ that is born of the Spirit, nurtured in love, and glorifies you in this universe. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sun 05 Mar 2017, 10:24 am

Doulos Meditation on Unity (#3 of 5)

#3 of 5 Meditations on Unity. Scripture: Deut 6:4—(NRSV) = “Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.” (NIV) = “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one.”


Reflection: There are several nuances in the language of the Shema (Israel’s ancient liturgical confession), just as there are related ideas in English when we say “one.” I’m not a Hebrew scholar—but several things I ponder.


First, there is just one God—perhaps God was patient with our race for a long time when humans believed every river and mountain was a god.

Paul told the Athenians that such ignorance was at an end (Acts 17:30) and he seems to be pointing to Jesus as the point where the oneness of God became irrefutable.

Second, God is undivided in purpose, mind and essence—not confused or “conflicted” as we sometimes say about ourselves. He is one in heart and mind.

Third, God is complete in every way—and one is the number most symbolic of such fullness. God is not just more of what other gods have a little of—He is God alone—the complete and perfect God. Christian unity occurs when we have real relationship with the One God who makes us one.

Prayer Starter: Father, show us how to contemplate your Oneness, the unity beyond all unities. Lift up our understandings of who you are and reveal yourself to us. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 5:29 pm

Doulos Meditation on Unity (#2 of 5)

#2 of 5 Meditations on Unity. Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-3—I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Reflection: Two points: (a) Unity is not something we get together and “do”—it is something God’s Spirit gives to those who possess the Spirit. Those not born of the Spirit cannot participate in that unity or even understand it.

(b) Human behavior can either enhance or hinder the Spirit’s unity.

Paul cites humility, gentleness, patience and love as conducive to unity. They do not cause unity—but their absence can block unity.

Unity is not agreeing, compromising, or doing things alike. Unity in forms, doctrines or liturgies coming from external pressures is not unity at all—but uniformity. Churches are perennially tempted to quest for denominational conformity, thinking they are questing for unity. But it is through genuine unity that God can guide and empower us for the salvation of the lost.

Prayer Starter: Father, give to believers the Spirit you have promised and all the gifts of unity, peace, love and guidance that He brings with Him. Amen
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Thu 02 Mar 2017, 10:16 pm

Doulos Meditation on Psalm 138:6

Scripture: Psalm 138:6—For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he perceives from far away.

Reflection: God is completely unattainable by humans; that is he is beyond my understanding, power, and discernment. Alone I cannot achieve anything, give, love, or cause anything to happen. The necessary tools for all these things have been given me by God—in fact the very existence I call myself is due to God’s activity.

The Psalmist merely says the “LORD is high.” We might arrive at this viewpoint even if we were participants in some religion besides biblical Judaism or Christianity—or if we adhered to no religion at all.

But the great surprise of biblical religion lies in this: that the God-Beyond-Reach regards the lowly. Where I cannot climb up, God has come down.

Where I cannot understand, God has translated into human flesh in the Messiah. Where I cannot achieve, he empowers by his Spirit in me.

To be haughty, self sufficient, proud and arrogant is to make myself ineligible for experiencing this most remarkable of theological realities.

Prayer Starter: Great are you, Our God-Beyond-Reach. We praise you and bless your name because you give grace to the humble, reveal yourself to the meek, strengthen the weak, enrich the poor, free the captive, shield the vulnerable, save the lost, guide the wanderer, and provide for the homeless. We praise you O Lord. Amen.


Doulos Meditation (#1 of 5 on Unity)

#1 of 5 Meditations on Unity. Scripture: Psalm 133:1—How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!

Reflection: Unity, oneness, harmony—we all like the ideas these words carry. But looking at the real world, how few places provide such an environment!

I hear of people stuck in jobs where those around are bickering, jealous, and work to detract from any success you have.

I know of churches where there is no peace; of countries where various groups distrust and despise each other, of internet groups who do nothing but argue; of families that are unpleasant to visit. “Can’t we all just get along?” is the plaintive question often heard from those exasperated almost beyond bearing.


The passage reflects the ancient structure of societies in the Middle East—the extended family where three or four generations lived together—with all the aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives—that composed larger and larger units until there developed clans and tribes; all were related to each other, but were not necessarily at peace with each.

In the bible you can point to Abraham and Lot; to Jacob and Esau; to Ishmael and Isaac; to David and Absalom; to King Herod; to the quarrelling Corinthians and the sect of the Pharisees to illustrate human relationships where unity was lacking and harmony was broken.

If it is so obvious that friction between humans causes sin, stress, unhappiness, and failure—why does it continue? Is disunity a problem that has no solution? How important is unity to our lives and faith?

Prayer Starter: Father, just as you and the Son and the Spirit are one; make us one in you and one with each other in your service and for your glory. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Wed 01 Mar 2017, 11:35 pm

Doulos Meditation on Revelation 3:15-16

Scripture: Revelation 3:15-16—I know your works, you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Reflection: The church at Laodicea was satisfied. They were happy with their youth program, preacher, the new curtains in their sanctuary and their comfortable relationship with the pagans down the street.

They did a few nice things each year—the Christmas collection for the poor; the Easter pageant; the annual picnic.

Nothing disturbed their tranquility. Life was steady—no need to get worked up over the lost, the poor, or people outside their fellowship. Smug, self sufficient, tending to their own business, they were at peace with themselves.

And then Christ declared war on them! The word our translations use “spit” is really pretty softened for a refined modern audience. The Greek word is the one from which English gets the term “emesis” (vomiting.)

In the Revelation, Christ was saying, “You make me sick. I’m going to vomit.”

Whoa! I know churches in our century just like those people. Wow! I see some of this in my own church. Surely this has no application to our times! But what if—just maybe—some of us make Christ sick when he looks at us? What a sickening thought!

Prayer Starter: Lord, give us the gold, white robes, and eye salve you mentioned to the Laodiceans—that we may no longer nauseate you with our indifference and self satisfaction—and so you may come in and eat with us and us with you. Amen.


Doulos Meditation on Psalm 118:22-24

Scripture: Psalm 118:22-24—The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Reflection: The theme of this psalm is Victory; specifically the victory God gives. “There are glad songs of victory…; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly…” etc. Jesus told about wicked tenants who rejected both the servants and the son of the owner when they came to collect the owner’s share of the produce.

The scribes and chief priests realized he was speaking about them and in Luke 20 Jesus asked, “What then does this text mean: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone?”

Christian hindsight sees the message rather clearly. God is totally victorious in this world where the spiritual civil war rages on.

But God’s victory has been actualized in Jesus the Christ. It was the religious establishment of the temple that rejected Jesus—the scribes and priests were the builders of Jewish religion and they rejected him.

But it was that stone, Jesus himself, God planned to make the cornerstone of his victory over sin, death, and estrangement. Just as God won victory over Satan in the cross of Jesus, the believer in all ages becomes victorious in Christ. Jesus is the only place where supra-cosmic success can occur—the only source of eternal life for a sinner like me.

Prayer Starter: Father and Lord, with all our hearts we long for victory over sin and death and futility. It is only in Jesus the Christ that provision has been made. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 7:54 pm


Doulos Meditation on Matthew 5:14-16 (#4 of 4)

#4 of 4 Meditations on Mt. 5:14-16. Scripture: Matthew 5:16—In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Reflection: As Christians, we need not be reluctant to do good things for others. There are two safeguards needed to assure that our actions are the practice of righteousness and not of self-righteous hypocrisy.

The first is the proper answer to the question “Why am I doing this?” If it is (a) because it is right, (b) because it flows from God’s love, and (d) because God’s presence in me demands this action---then we can safely conclude this is what Jesus intended for us to do.

The second safeguard is the answer to the question, “Who gets the glory for this action?” This is closely tied to the first question. If my motive is to obtain glory for myself, then I am like the man praying flowery prayers to be heard by the bystanders—about whom Jesus commented “He has his reward.” But if my motive is to glorify God in all I do, then I can be confident I am operating as a transmitter of light in the world.

The surrendered, self-denied, person of faith hardly thinks about motives. He just moves ahead with what is right because he loves it—living as he is led by God’s Holy Spirit—not worrying about whether he is being appreciated or not—whether anyone is noticing—or whether it is costing him anything.

Prayer Starter: Father, live in us and do your deeds. Speak your words through us. Display your wisdom and power and love in us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sun 26 Feb 2017, 10:06 pm

Doulos Meditation on Matthew 5:14-16 (#3 of 4)
3 of 4 Meditations on Mt. 5:14-16. Scripture: Matthew 5:15—No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

Reflection: The typical lamp was a small clay one with an open top and a spout wherein lay a wick of twisted flax that would sit one end in the oil and the other end burning at the edge of the spout, giving light for 2 to 4 hours per filling.
Of course, there was great variety in lamps—some had multiple lips for multiple wicks in order to give more light.

The lamp stand was a holder for the lamp—the most famous one being in the Jerusalem temple—seven branches of pure gold.
Home lamps burned olive oil or animal fat. The shining city, the burning lamp—metaphors for lives lived in the service of God. The lam did not burn on its own, but it held the fuel and wick.

The Christian does not shine from his own excellence, character, morality, strength or wisdom. But filled with the Holy Spirit, he shines like a lamp in the world—He (or she) becomes a vessel and holder of the light. “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” (Jn 1:9) It is Christ in you who shines as light into the dark world.

Prayer Starter: Father, make us suitable lamps and fill us with the oil of the Spirit that we may give light to all in the house. Alone, we stumble in darkness, but filled with the oil of your presence we light the way for the lost—those you love and died for. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sat 25 Feb 2017, 11:53 pm


Doulos Meditation on Matthew 5:14-16

#2 of 4 Meditations on Mt. 5:14-16. Scripture: Matthew 5:14b—A city set on a hill cannot be hid.

Reflection: In ancient times it made sense to build the city on a hill. A walled city on a hill was much more difficult to siege than a city on flat ground where you could manage your siege equipment, horses, elephants, battering rams and catapults with ease.

Climbing the hill with armor was slow and tiring work—and it left attacking soldiers vulnerable to rocks, hot oil, and arrows raining down upon them from above. Two years were required for the Romans to reach and breach Masada, the shrine of Jewish independence built atop a hill beside the Dead Sea.

But a great city was more—its grandeur and glory could be seen for miles. “Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God. His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth. Mount Zion…the city of the great King… (Ps 48:1)

The temple rose high on Zion (formerly a separate hill, Moriah) and its gold plated roof was dazzling in the sunlight. Allow God to establish you as a city on a hill—one with strong defenses, with glorious aspect seen by travelers, beautiful in design and adornment.

But be a welcoming city; a city at peace; a city where God dwells.

Prayer Starter: Father, you are the mountain on which we are built, a city that sees the sunrise and reflects the light of your presence to the valleys below. Bless us with your peace and your glory. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Fri 24 Feb 2017, 6:43 pm


Doulos Meditation on Matthew 5:14-16
#1 of 4 Meditations on Mt. 5:14-16. Scripture: Matthew 5:14a—You are the light of the world. John 8:12—Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

Reflection: The believer is light because in Jesus he has received God’s light.

the incarnation, God revealed himself to humankind as the divine Son. John wrote “in him was life and the life was the light of men,” and “the true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world,” and “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:4,6,9)

Paul wrote that God “dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Tim 6:16).
Have you ever seen light too bright to look at? The sun if looked at will blind you and you will henceforth see nothing. But Jesus was the expression of God in human form—we look at him and see the light—displayed in all its splendor but filtered through the humanity of Jesus so that we are enlightened, not blinded.
The person who sees this light himself becomes light to a dark world. Do you have eternal life working in you? Then you are light to the world. Shine for Jesus, because of Jesus, in Jesus, and for the sake of Jesus.


Prayer Starter: Father, you are light and in you is no darkness. Let us, too, shine with the light you have given us in Jesus your Divine Son. Amen.

Doulos Meditation on 2 Timothy 3:6-7

Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:6-7—“For among them are those who make their way into households and captivate silly women, overwhelmed by their sins and swayed by all kinds of desires, who are always being instructed and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

Reflection: Paul’s generation, like ours, had a segment of society trapped in permanent immaturity.

I remember as a kid knowing a girl our age who was addicted (I suppose) to trashy junk novels of the romantic type. She lived in a dream world where a handsome prince always was coming but never came.
(Be advised: I am not putting down women or romantic love—just the indecisive, unstable, wish-washy fantasies.)

By the time she was in her teens she was overweight, unpopular, and pregnant. Her folks pushed her into marrying the equally immature boy friend who deserted her shortly after. She gave birth to a baby girl who grew up to have tremendous problems of her own—not unrelated to her mother’s distorted world.

In religion, just as in romantic love, some people bubble and froth but are so immature and unstable they can never succeed. Ty are always seeking the will of God, studying the scriptures, praying, experiencing great mountaintops of emotion.
These are good things but in the hands of the clueless dreamer can never lead to a solid faith or real knowledge of the truth—they are always learning and never knowing.

Prayer Starter: Father, root our faith in solid truth and honest acceptance of reality. We trust you to lead us out of fantasies and into your world of real spiritual health. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Wed 22 Feb 2017, 11:42 pm

Doulos Meditation on Luke 10:13

Scripture: Luke 10:13—Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago. Ps 78:8…that they should not be like their ancestors, a stubborn and rebellious generation…whose spirit was not faithful to God.

Reflection: Have you ever met someone who was stubborn? Maybe a kid the politically correct would label “strong-willed?”

I wonder about the difference between the stubborn and the committed—the hard headed and those who are so dedicated and loyal that they will not swerve from complete obedience and fealty? Each appears hard as a rock—yet stubbornness is frowned upon in scripture and loyalty is commended.

The difference must lie in the source of the persistence. The stubborn fellow acts out of his own ego—he will not change or relent simply because it is his own will at stake—“whose spirit was not faithful to God.”

It is not the firmness of will or decision that is faulted—it is whether the firmness is a matter of faithfulness to God or a matter of self-will. No genius is needed to see the connection with pride (in the bad sense of the word).

One who adamantly holds to God is called faithful; one entrenched in his own ego is called “stubborn and rebellious.”

Prayer Starter: Lord, this sin of stubbornness seems to cling to us so often—when we insist on our own rights, viewpoints, and behavior just because they are ours and not because they come from you. Transform us from self willed to self surrendered. Amen.


Doulos Meditation on 1 Timothy 4:7b-8

Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:7b-8—Train yourself in godliness…while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Reflection: A great body is attractive—a body with firmness of muscle, trim shape, and classic looks is the worthwhile goal of millions of body builders—those people renowned for self discipline, training, persistence, and hard work.

The very best are rewarded with gold medals, big salaries, good health and popularity among the dweebs. Why don’t we practice our faith with the same dedication to purpose; the same persistence and self discipline; the same intense repetitions that we are committed to at the gym? In fact, “train yourself” is a Greek term (gymnadzo), source of our word gymnasium.

Godliness is spirit exercise! It demands effort and regular workouts. Are you into spirit building as much as body building? How many repetitions of truth telling, praying, forgiving, and tongue control do you perform each day? Do you skip a day or so in your workout schedule—give yourself a pass for today when you use bad language, get angry, or lust? Are you spiritually out of shape? Are you becoming a spiritual couch potato?

Prayer Starter: Lord, help us to stick to our spirit training program with discipline and persistence as we train for the Olympics of eternity. We look with anticipation to the time when Jesus will return and say “Let the games begin.” Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Tue 21 Feb 2017, 8:36 pm


Doulos Meditation on 1 Corinthians 14:13

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:13—Therefore one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret.

Reflection: When the Holy Spirit empowers a human to speak a language he has not learned, it is important he also interpret the message. Over and over, Paul insists that all things be done for “edification” or building up the body of Christ.

He has no use for words for word’s sake—but only for words that give the hearers truth about Jesus the Christ.

How difficult it must have been for those Corinthian Christians! They found themselves recipients of surprisingly great powers—they were touched by the presence of God in ways never dreamed of.

Problems with this power were immediate and numerous. The human ego being what it is, they wanted to demonstrate their new capabilities—to show off their spiritual gifts. No, no—cries Paul—you’re missing the point. Your gifts are to help you to serve—not sate your ego with satisfactions. You are builders, not decorators.

God’s gifts must never be placed at the disposal of the flesh, but rather yielded to God for his use in building the body.

You don’t speak in tongues? Do you think the point Paul makes might be applicable to other things that you do? Is there anything else that might be used by God to build up the body of Christ? Is there anything else that might tempt you to show off your talents?

Prayer Starter: Lord, we place all we know and have and are at your disposal for the sake of the body of Christ. Use us to accomplish your will and keep us humble that we might serve you acceptably—for all good gifts come from you for the accomplishment of your purposes. Amen.
Doulos Meditation for August 30

Scripture: John 3:36—Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.

Reflection: We live in a complex world. No single mind can comprehend with any degree of completeness the data available to us—Isaac Newton compared the knowledge of science to a man strolling by the seaside picking up a colored shell or occasional pretty stone when all the time the vast ocean of knowledge was lying before him untouched and unknown.

Jesus (far more than we) knew this as well—he is Creator and omniscient God. But the message he brought and laid before us is the ultimate in bottom-lining. It is bleak, bare, simple, black and white, the ultimate dual choice—believe or don’t believe—obey or don’t obey—accept life or die—trust in God’s love or endure His wrath.

Aren’t you glad God has provided that the path of our salvation is believing instead of knowing?

They are not unrelated of course. The one who believes is increasingly enabled to know—with far greater certainty than the researcher—greater reward than the PhD candidate—far greater inward peace than the conqueror.

Prayer Starter: Father, open our eyes to see Jesus your Son and to believe in him with all our hearts. Bring each of us to complete surrender of our wills, intellects and emotions to the one who has shown us the Eternal God in terms we can grasp. Destroy our unbelief. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sun 19 Feb 2017, 8:26 pm

"A Good Week at Neema"

This week the volunteers from Montana with our daughter Kim, wanted to walk down the road to meet the neighbors who live around Neema Village, our home for abandoned, orphaned and at risk babies in Tanzania.

They wanted to do a childrens bible class with some of the neighborhood children, like these little guys in the picture above. Before we knew it there were children coming out of the woodwork - or here mud work.

The children and moms sat on the ground and we sang songs, Robin played the guitar, we blew bubbles, they all got pages to color and one of the young girls, Emily from Montana, taught a flannel board lesson on the birth of Jesus. I translated but since my Swahili is so poor I told her I wasn't sure whether I got Jesus married or born! But they loved it anyway. Of course passing out candy always helps bring a crowd.

Then yesterday we had a women's seminar on how to have a Pedi Mani business, doing nails and toenails taught by Debbie Chai, Kim's preacher' s wife from Billings. That is Debbie on the right holding her little Neema buddy Shabani.

We had seven village women come for the Pedi Mani seminar. Debbie was prepared to teach five women but we managed with the seven. It was absolutely a blast, you have never heard women giggling so much as four wazungu women washed and scrubbed their feet and gave them foot massages and then polished their toenails. Being the preacher' s wife that she is, Debbie brought in the parallel story of Jesus washing feet. Since many women still walk barefoot here, our daughter Kim said she had never seen such dirty feet but then I had her look at mine, (I have been working in the flower beds at Neema) and she said well except for yours mom!
The women all went home with a bag of things to help them get started in the business. They said only men did that work here so this will be a little challenge for them. They wanted to sing Praises to God before they left and began to pray and thank God. They often all pray out loud at the same time here and when they added their African trill, it was quite lively and lovely and of course our women Debbie, Kim, Robin, Rebekah and Louise were all crying. God is Good.
Michael has been climbing the hills behind Neema early mornings to get in shape to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro this summer with the group. Debbie walked with him one morning and got this cute shot of him with the sun just rising over the mountain. He will be 74 when he climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, this summer, so start praying for him now!!
May your life be filled with joy, and may there be no mountain too high for you to climb today!
dorris

Neema Village, P.O. Box 21553, Waco, TX 76702

Doulos Meditation on Mark 13:13

Scripture: Mark 13:13…and you will be hated by all because of my name.

Reflection: There are vast numbers of people who hate Jesus; and also myriads who love and obey him—but because of their faith in him are themselves hated and persecuted. If you are so naïf as to believe that persecution and opposition to the savior was confined to long ago and far away, you are out of touch.


There are thousands of Christians killed each year because of their faith. You can find active persecution of Christians in dozens of nations—and are we immune? Sometimes our hot-house minds simply shut out the realities—we just talk to each other in our safe sanctuaries and protected enclaves—pretending it could never happen to us.

Why was Jesus hated? Was it because he was a bad guy—going around damaging people, destroying the civil order, creating chaos and unrest? Was he a crook—a con-artist—a robber, extortionist, murderer, or home wrecker?


Not at all! Jesus spoke truth and evil hates truth. Jesus did good and sin hates what is good.


Jesus is God Incarnate and Satan hates God. There is no difference between their times and ours in the reaction of evil to righteousness. The enmity is eternal and the conflict is inevitable.


But (praise God!) the ultimate outcome is predictable. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (Jn 1:5) Believers will endure and God will be the ultimate victor.

Prayer Starter: Father, keep us faithful and strong against all evil and ungodliness. Teach us to speak kindly, do good to all, shine like lights in a dark world, always remembering what you have done for us on the cross and the victory over evil that you have won. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sat 18 Feb 2017, 11:34 pm

"A Good Week at Neema"

This week the volunteers from Montana with our daughter Kim, wanted to walk down the road to meet the neighbors who live around Neema Village, our home for abandoned, orphaned and at risk babies in Tanzania.
 
They wanted to do a childrens bible class with some of the neighborhood children, like these little guys in the picture above.  Before we knew it there were children coming out of the woodwork - or here mud work.

The children and moms sat on the ground and we sang songs, Robin played the guitar, we blew bubbles, they all got pages to color and one of the young girls, Emily from Montana, taught a flannel board lesson on the birth of Jesus.  I translated but since my Swahili is so poor I told her I wasn't sure whether I got Jesus married or born!  But they loved it anyway.  Of course passing out candy always helps bring a crowd.


Then yesterday we had a women's seminar on how to have a Pedi Mani business, doing nails and toenails taught by Debbie Chai, Kim's preacher's wife from Billings.  That is Debbie  on the right holding her little Neema buddy Shabani.  

We had seven village women come for the Pedi Mani seminar.  Debbie was prepared to teach five women but we managed with the seven.  It was absolutely a blast, you have never heard women giggling so much as four wazungu women washed and scrubbed their feet and gave them foot massages and then polished their toenails.  Being the preacher's wife that she is, Debbie brought in the parallel story of Jesus washing feet.   Since many women still walk barefoot here, our daughter Kim said she had never seen such dirty feet but then I had her look at mine, (I have been working in the flower beds at Neema) and she said well except for yours mom!
The women all went home with a bag of things to help them get started in the business.  They said only men did that work here so this will be a little challenge for them.  They wanted to sing Praises to God before they left and began to pray and thank God. They often all pray out loud at the same time here and when they added their African trill, it was quite lively and lovely and of course our women Debbie, Kim, Robin, Rebekah and Louise were all crying.  God is Good.
Michael has been climbing the hills behind Neema early mornings to get in shape to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro this summer with the group.  Debbie walked with him one morning and got this cute shot of him with the sun just rising over the mountain. He will be 74 when he climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, this summer, so start praying for him now!!
May your life be filled with joy, and may there be no mountain too high for you to climb today!
dorris  
FOR PHOTOS CLICK HERE

[url=https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/doulosinternational/conversations/messages/10476;_ylc=X3oDMTJya3VmYXRqBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzE1NjMyNjM2BGdycHNwSWQDMTcwNTMwMDk0NQRtc2dJZAMxMDQ3NgRzZWMDZnRyBHNsawNycGx5BHN0aW1lAzE0ODc0MzYyNjE-?act=reply&messageNum=10476 Neema Village, P.O. Box 21553, Waco, TX 76702]FOR PHOTOS CLICK HERE [/url]

Doulos Meditation on Mark 13:13

Scripture: Mark 13:13…and you will be hated by all because of my name.

Reflection: There are vast numbers of people who hate Jesus; and also myriads who love and obey him—but because of their faith in him are themselves hated and persecuted. If you are so naïf as to believe that persecution and opposition to the savior was confined to long ago and far away, you are out of touch.

There are thousands of Christians killed each year because of their faith. You can find active persecution of Christians in dozens of nations—and are we immune? Sometimes our hot-house minds simply shut out the realities—we just talk to each other in our safe sanctuaries and protected enclaves—pretending it could never happen to us.


Why was Jesus hated? Was it because he was a bad guy—going around damaging people, destroying the civil order, creating chaos and unrest? Was he a crook—a con-artist—a robber, extortionist, murderer, or home wrecker?

Not at all! Jesus spoke truth and evil hates truth. Jesus did good and sin hates what is good.

Jesus is God Incarnate and Satan hates God. There is no difference between their times and ours in the reaction of evil to righteousness. The enmity is eternal and the conflict is inevitable.

But (praise God!) the ultimate outcome is predictable. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (Jn 1:5) Believers will endure and God will be the ultimate victor.

Prayer Starter:  Father, keep us faithful and strong against all evil and ungodliness. Teach us to speak kindly, do good to all, shine like lights in a dark world, always remembering what you have done for us on the cross and the victory over evil that you have won. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Fri 17 Feb 2017, 7:43 pm

Indian Hindu Radicals increase attacks against Christians India

Feb 16, 2017 by Will Maule


On January 21, 2017, Hindu radicals harassed 47-year-old Dr. K.A. Swamy for distributing New Testaments in Hyderabad, Telangana state in India. After hours of harassment, the radicals turned Dr. Swamy over to authorities who then subjected Dr. Swamy to further assaults. Shortly after leaving the police station, Dr. Swamy suffered a massive stroke that led to a brain hemorrhage. He is currently in the intensive care unit, unconscious and paralyzed on one side of his body, according to Persecution.org.

In response, Christians gathered to protest Dr. Swamy’s treatment. “My blood was boiling, when I saw the video clipping of evangelist Dr. K.A Swamy being harassed and tortured in daylight for distributing New Testaments,” mourned Bishop Wilson Singham at a sit-in protest on February 4. Hundreds of protesters gathered at Andhra Christian Theological College (ACTC) in Hyderabad, which was just one of several demonstrations in response to Dr. Swamy’s condition.

While Dr. Swamy is receiving the most attention, his attack is among a series of altercations in Telangana between Christians and Hindu radicals. International Christian Concern (ICC) has documented eight incidents of violence against minority Christians in just the first weeks of 2017.

Reverend Padma Rao, a 50-year-old pastor is one of the victims of such attacks. Reverend Rao told ICC, “I have been attacked a number of times in the past, but the attack on January 27 was something that took me too close to the death I felt.” His most recent attack on January 27 took place while he was on his way to pray for a sick person.

According to family members, Rev. Rao narrowly escaped. Members of the RSS, a radical Hindu group, repeatedly punched and kicked him in the stomach and chest. They stomped him into the ground after he fell. Rao was hospitalized with bruises all over his body and with severe internal injuries.

Christians are growing weary waiting for the government to protect their right to religious freedom. “Jesus taught us to be [a] peace loving community,” said Mr. Austin, a youth leader and a popular Christian singer in the city of Hyderabad. “Jesus told us to show the right cheek if someone hits on your left cheek, but Jesus also gave us an example of taking up a whip to drive out people from the temple who messed with the temple. We cannot be silent anymore, but…give a fitting response to those that are attacking innocent pastors.”

Thousands of Christians are calling on the government to remind them that Article 25 of India’s constitution guarantees religious freedom for every citizen in India. Massive rallies and protests have united different denominations across the state. Mr. Surendra Babu, president of a local human rights activist organization, told ICC after a rally on February 8 that “over 1,000 Christians from all denominations and churches have participated in the peaceful protest…and this is the first ever in the history of Nellore, where all the Christians [came] together…in spite of denominational differences.”

Both government officials and radical Hindu groups are trying to silence the protesters. Government officials refused to allow one protest to start and arrested four Christian leaders who tried to demonstrate before the Hyderabad press club several weeks ago.

Hindu organizations launched counter-protests against Christians for allegedly carrying out religious propagation, particularly in Telangana. Video clips of hate speeches from the counter-protests are now circulating social media, which will continue to encourage further violence against Christians.

Mr. C. A. Daniel, a Christian activist, said, “We are living in [a] secular country and unfortunately we have to protest and fight for our basic fundamental rights: [the] right to religion, enshrined in the constitution. Even more disappointing is that we are being denied [the right] of holding peaceful protests that we planned.”

The trend of increased attacks on Christians is worrisome for the 2.3 percent of Indians who are Christians. Will the government see and respond to these attacks?


Doulos Meditation on 2 Chronicles 33:2

Scripture: 2 Chronicles 33:2—He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD…Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that they did more evil than the nations whom the LORD had destroyed before the people of Israel.

Reflection: What a mistake it is to think that the leadership of a country, church, business, or an organization doesn’t make much difference! It makes a tremendous difference!

Leadership might be tyrannical—pre-empting personal decision and freedom and we would say that is bad. But it is just as important that democratically chosen leaders be the right people.

Leadership that exalts itself and diminishes obedience to God is not good leadership. It may be dynamic, charismatic, fresh, exciting, or some other adjective—but it leads to a thousand evils that bring disorder, suffering, and injustice upon the people of a country.

Bad leadership will ultimately weaken and destroy a country from within. When a country experiences decay in morality, a lack of faith in God, neglect of duty, and casual attitudes about sin—that country is headed for destruction. The world’s history has never known an exception—do we think we will be the first?
The wise can see and understand the impact of good leadership; fools cannot. What applies to the leadership of a country also applies to leaders in the church, the school, and the community. In fact good leadership in a country begins with good leadership in the churches, schools and communities.

Prayer Starter: Father, deliver us from evil in leadership. Raise up men and women who will honor you, practice moral behavior, and be humble servants of their people. Amen.

Doulos Meditation on Psalm 34:3

Scripture: Psalm 34:3—O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

Reflection: Praying alone in the night or on the mountain top is great and good. But let me call your attention to the Spirit-induced urges to share in praise the God who makes us one. I think you have experienced what I’m talking about—you visit someone who is sick and the urge is there to say “Let’s pray about this.” Have you ever cornered the preacher or pastor before the sermon and said “Could we pray a moment about your lesson?” Have you ever asked your teenager who has a problem, “Have you prayed about this?” Have you ever stood up in bible class and said “We need to take out time to thank God for this blessing?”

Do you know what we usually do with these urges? We suppress them! We rationalize it’s not our place to take action, we are not the leader, it’s not on the program, it’s embarrassing, it’s not our usual way of doing things.

Ask yourself two questions: Is this prompting coming from God’s Spirit? Am I opposing God if I suppress this urge? Let me challenge you—try it one or two times and you’ll be convinced. The power you experience will fill you beyond your expectations as God works through you for real. Never try it and you’ll never know.

The Psalm writer got it right—“magnify the LORD with me” and great things will happen.

Prayer Starter: Father, you have taught me to pray—now teach me to say “Let us pray.” Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Thu 16 Feb 2017, 10:32 pm

Doulos Meditation on John 1:45-46

Scripture: John 1:45-46—Philip found Nathanael…“We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

Reflection: Three things at play: the expectation, the reality, and the test. The expectation was ancient—that God would intervene on earth by sending a Messiah (anointed), but ideas ranged from intense to indifferent, rigidly detailed to vague. When Jesus appeared, it was largely the expectations of the religious that conflicted with the reality.

The reality: the Messiah was not what Israel expected—born inappropriately (in their minds), from Nazareth, one who spoke critically of cherished traditions, cast himself as the King who serves, the Priest with no sacrifice but himself, the Prophet who is both message and messenger. None of this harmonized with the expectation.

Lastly, our passage points to the test—“Come and see.” Wow! What a test—Philip did not suggest that Nathaniel study the bible, pray, consult a rabbi, have an astrological reading, enter a debate, or join a discussion group. “Come and see.”

Centuries earlier was written, “O taste and see that the LORD is good…” (Ps 34:8) Try Jesus on—interact, obey, explore, give thanks, walk and talk with him.

Prayer Starter: Father, you are far more than an academic proposition, an historical event, or a hypothetical Deity. Help us to come and see the Anointed you have sent. Amen.
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