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Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Wed 15 Feb 2017, 4:20 pm

Doulos Meditation on Mark 12:28-29

Scripture: Mark 12:28-29—One of the scribes…asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Reflection: A scribe was an intellectual whose life had been filled with great study and experience in religious discussion. Some such intellectuals could quote vast portions of the scripture by memory and pose cunning conundrums that few could answer. They counted the commands of God and divided ever more finely the permutations of God’s revelations.

But they were never satisfied with answers—and this answer no doubt did not settle things for them. For this is a command not for the mind—for precision and logic—for heroism and bravery—for position and power—for superior learning and reasoning.

But this command was for the heart—the soul—the mind. It was a demand for humble surrender to God; daily consciousness of the Presence; meditation upon God’s will and word; focused commitment and obedience.

How much more comfortable it might have been if Jesus had spoken of something that could be argued, disputed, parsed, or debated—something demanding the intellectual skills of a professional religionist instead of the soul surrender of an humble seeker.

Prayer Starter: Lord, we love you but with a love that dismays us by its incompleteness and inconsistency. Make our love like yours that we may love you as you have loved us. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Tue 14 Feb 2017, 1:08 am


Doulos Meditation on Luke 19:11-12

Scripture: Luke 19:11-12—As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. So he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return.”

Reflection: The Kingdom of God was a major focus for Jesus. In a sense God’s regal power was always present with Jesus and in him heaven approached earth. The Kingdom “has come near” and “is in your midst” and they could “see the kingdom come with power.”

But Jesus taught that the Kingdom in its consummation—its ultimate possession of the kingdoms of earth is yet to come, but is presently processing through earth’s history toward the eschatological climax of all things.

Jesus’ parable dealt with this very thing—the tumultuous cry of Jerusalem for a king on earth and the underlying, but false, presumption that the “kingdom was to appear immediately.” The nobleman has gone into that far country. He will return with all the majesty royal Kingship affords.

We pursue responsible stewardship; collecting the interest of his investment. What an investment!—Word made flesh, Infinite Love, Incarnate God, Full Atonement, Grace, Emmanuel, God’s Spirit.

What a prayer, “Thy kingdom come.”

Prayer Starter: Father, we beg you to change us from indolent and worthless servants to people who sow and reap, invest and collect interest, looking for the return of the King. Amen.

Doulos Meditation on John 1:18

Scripture: John 1: 18—No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

Reflection: The world tendency is to reduce extremes—make things average, usual, typical, or level. You see it in education—no one any more is smart or dumb, fast or slow, but everyone is “mainstreamed,” equal, “no child left behind”—you know the trend.

Government tends to “tax the rich, give to the poor”—so we can all be equal! (I still drink coffee with people I’m not “equal” to—I guess I’m not patient enough).

Our society tends toward making all religions, morality and ideas equal. And people yell for “equal rights” for a variety of worthless causes.

This same leveling tendency is applied to Jesus—he was a good man (like other good men), a prophet along with the other prophets, a teacher (like other teachers).

That’s not the take of scripture. Our passage with relative certainty in the textual evidence of the reading proclaims that Jesus is God and that he came to make known the invisible God beyond all knowing. As Christians we need to be very conscious of the watering down effects of living in our century and our society.

Jesus was no ordinary man, teacher, prophet. But he remains a stumbling block, enigma, and enemy to those who try to group him with the rest of humanity and mainstream him with other founders of “religions.”

“Aslan is not a tame lion.” (CS Lewis)

Prayer Starter: Father, we believe in the Christ whom you sent to be both son of man and God Incarnate; who reveals to us the self-revealing God. Grant us clearness of vision. Amen.

Doulos Meditation on Proverbs 21:2

Scripture: Proverbs 21:2—All deeds are right in the sight of the doer, but the LORD weighs the heart.

Reflection: This is basic. We approve our own words, thoughts, actions, and motives while we criticize, condemn, or put down those of others. But isn’t it difficult to do otherwise? The very fact that they are ours means we have trouble finding fault with our own decisions. What a dilemma! Can I ever be objective if my own behavior is under discussion?

Ancient wisdom gives us a clue. God weighs the heart—put into modern language, God looks not at the actual behavior alone, but at the motives that caused the behavior—those inside things that we may be hiding from the world.

Have you ever done something that looked good on the outside, but your motive was evil? What about giving a generous contribution to a good cause—but doing so in order to look good—or doing so to embarrass someone else who did not give so much?

The converse happens also—doing something that causes pain to another, yet doing so because you care, not because you want to hurt them? Would spanking a kid qualify?

Prayer Starter: Father, we want to be right before you in those internal things that no one can see. Through your Holy Spirit, put to death the deeds of the body that are motivated by Satan and serve our own egos. Cleanse our hearts and transform us to be like Jesus. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sat 11 Feb 2017, 3:40 pm

Doulos Meditation on 2 Thessalonians 3:17
Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 3:17—I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the mark in every letter of mine; it is the way I write.
Colossians 4:18—I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
Galatians 6:11—See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand!

2 Corinthians 3:2—You yourselves are our letter…

Reflection: Paul often dictated his letters to an assistant who wrote them down; but he had a habit of writing a concluding sentence or two in his own hand after the letter had been dictated. Perhaps 16 is Paul’s hand written greeting, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you.” Then comes his note of verse 17 and then the short benediction of 18: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.”

Paul’s little comment about his letter writing is homey, insightful, and helpful to us who need to see Paul as a real person with habits, preferences, prejudices and his own unique way of doing things.

Why did Paul write a little note at the bottom of each letter? He loved the people to whom he wrote—his note made each letter personal and guaranteed it really came from him.

It perhaps represented a shift from logic to heartfelt intimacy and the desire to bless his readers. The hand is intimately connected with the mind—that’s why your handwriting reveals so many things about you—your honesty or lack of integrity—your emotionality vs. rational nature—even whether you have an undiagnosed illness.

We don’t have to be handwriting analysts to see that Paul wrote out of genuine love and selfless faith in God.
Prayer Starter: God, we would be letters to the world, written by the Holy Spirit in our hearts to produce glory for your name and service to the lost. Amen.

Doulos Meditation on Jude 18

Scripture: Jude 18—In the last time there will be scoffers, indulging their own ungodly lusts. It is these worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, who are causing divisions. (cf. Psalm 1:1)

Reflection: I would call your attention to the status of the scoffer. In a hierarchy of symptoms, scoffing ranks high among indicators of evil. Notice the progression of Psalm 1:1—the wicked, the sinner, the scoffer. (It’s a double progression actually—they also walk, stand, and sit).

It’s a powerful way to speak of the greater degradation of the scoffer compared to other types of evil behavior. Read it and think about it a little!

I notice that even in Christian circles there are those who scoff at others—the indication for their spiritual health is not good! When you meet one of these types you can rest assured that they are not controlled by the Holy Spirit—and of course, that is the problem. And they cause divisions. There is a malignant spiritual connection between scoffing, causing divisions, and being devoid of the Spirit.

One other idea—the one who scoffs on the outside is lusting on the inside. Lust is more than sexual desire—it is strong desire of any kind—desire to control, appear important, win arguments, embarrass others, destroy opposition, get rich, have one’s way in everything.

The scoffing on the outside should be a strong warning to the spirit-led believer that the enemy is present and the outcome of any compromise will be evil.

Prayer Starter: Father, we fail at times to see what Satan works within our ranks; and so we tolerate those who scoff, belittle, criticize, and take lightly the hearts and minds of others. Help us to see this behavior for what it is—evil laughing out loud. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Fri 10 Feb 2017, 11:11 am

Report from Neema House
"So Much Has Happened"
We have been back at Neema Village, our baby home in Arusha, Tanzania for almost a month now. So much has happened since our return to Africa, Jan. 2017, it is hard to know where to begin. The babies are healthy and into everything. We think they are healthier here on the mountain than they were in town. At least we have not had one in the hospital since our return and the makamasi (runny noses) seem less here. Below are just some random shots of babies with volunteers and singing in the big hall.


The place is beautiful, it continues to take my breath away and we thank God that he is letting us have a part in saving these precious babies in this beautiful place. When we arrived in January we found that Matt and Kelly, Bekah and Mama Musa have everything running like clockwork. Six buildings have been completed; the baby home, widows home (now called The Edwards Blessing Home), the Pape volunteer house, the Montana home for unadoptable children, the shop and the laundry along with the guard shack and the generator house.

Mr. Chandu, our contractor, has gone to India for a health checkup and when he returns in two weeks he will finish up the last details on the UCare house and get workers back onto building Matt and Kelly's house pictured below.

The big news is that we had the Grand Opening for Neema in January. There were over 200 people present from local dignitaries, to hospital staff, Social Welfare officers, business owners from town and

even some of our adopted babies returned with their new families. That is Zawadi #1 in the picture below who had been abandoned at the bus station and Elliott the smallest Neema baby who weighed 1.65 lbs when he was abandoned. They are pointing to their pictures when they were babies living at Neema. How cute is that!

There were folks from the U.S. who flew in for the event, like Kathy, Lindsey and Isy, our friends from Texas pictured below with Memusi's Masaai grandmother and aunt.

Our big kids had prepared songs and dances for the big event, Kelly had matching outfits made for them and they were so cute performing in front of everyone.

There was lots of food and our volunteers did tours taking groups around to the different houses on campus. There were just a few speeches before the meal.

Everyone had plenty to eat.

Below are our volunteers who were the tour group leaders for the big day; Kathy, Cheryl, David, Val, Traci, Ceb, Abby, Janiece, Maxine, Ashley, and Linda. They are from Australia, England and the U.S. and of course Julius and Safina.

At the ceremony we were presented Masaai dress and jewelry by the grandmother of one of our babies, Osiligi.
It was a great day organized perfectly by Matt, Kelly, Bekah and Mama Musa. Thanks everyone for a job well done!
May you have a great day as well,

Dorris and Michael.

Doulos Meditation on Matthew 13:58


Scripture: Matthew 13:58—And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.

Reflection: The man or woman who simply trusts God finds God doing great things in his life. I know of no way to prove this without doing it—and then what happens is convincing only to the one who has cast himself in complete belief on the power of God.

The dilemma of faith is illustrated by the man who had read that faith like a mustard seed can move a mountain. He prayed about a pile of dirt in the yard, asking God to move it. At the end of his prayer he looked out the window—the pile was still there—and commented “Just as I thought. It doesn’t work.”
The unbeliever’s unbelief provides him with ever increasing evidence that faith is not real.
The believer’s faith provides him with ever increasing evidence that faith is real. Both are convinced and see their experiences as solid evidence for their viewpoint. They cannot both be right. That alone should give us considerable food for thought.

Prayer Starter: Father, increase our faith, but protect us from distorted views of faith. Help us simply trust you in all things and accept your guidance without questioning. Help us to learn how to surrender our wills to yours in faith. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Thu 09 Feb 2017, 8:19 pm

Doulos Meditation on Matthew 13:58

Scripture: Matthew 13:58—And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.

Reflection: The man or woman who simply trusts God finds God doing great things in his life. I know of no way to prove this without doing it—and then what happens is convincing only to the one who has cast himself in complete belief on the power of God.

The dilemma of faith is illustrated by the man who had read that faith like a mustard seed can move a mountain. He prayed about a pile of dirt in the yard, asking God to move it. At the end of his prayer he looked out the window—the pile was still there—and commented “Just as I thought. It doesn’t work.”

The unbeliever’s unbelief provides him with ever increasing evidence that faith is not real.

The believer’s faith provides him with ever increasing evidence that faith is real. Both are convinced and see their experiences as solid evidence for their viewpoint. They cannot both be right. That alone should give us considerable food for thought.

Prayer Starter: Father, increase our faith, but protect us from distorted views of faith. Help us simply trust you in all things and accept your guidance without questioning. Help us to learn how to surrender our wills to yours in faith. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Wed 08 Feb 2017, 9:03 pm

Doulos Meditation on Matthew 13:54

Scripture: Matthew 13:54—He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power?”

Reflection: I’ve noticed there is a certain kind of negative mindset that questions not the truth of something, but the source of it.

You can say something you know is true and someone invariably asks, “How do you know this?” I wonder what lies behind our focus.

We often do not consider the truth of the statement, but the truthfulness of the speaker. Do we sometimes sit in judgment on thoughts we have never had and miss their significance?


Which is more important—the reality and truth we try to communicate, or the containers and mechanisms of the message delivery system? Isn’t the “How,” the methodology, the forms and containers where all the arguments, anger, and worthless bickering occur?

But how rare is it that we deal with truth instead of how it is presented or where it comes from? The Incarnate God was teaching in the synagogue—Wow!—what an opportunity to learn truth from the one himself infinitely true? Yet how did his hearers react?

They asked, “How do you know? Where did you get all this?” They were not so much interested in hearing the message as they were in sitting in judgment on the messenger.



Prayer Starter: Father, give us hearts that love truth wherever it is found, knowing that you are the source of all truth and sent Jesus the Christ to our world to be the way, the truth, and the life. Teach us to hold the great treasure of truth with both hands and never let go. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Wed 08 Feb 2017, 1:47 am

Doulos Meditation on Isaiah 64:8

Scripture: Isaiah 64:8—Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Reflection: The presence of God causes things to happen—the creation of worlds, the growth of a seed, the transformation of lives, the rejoicing of those who believe.

The trend of our world is away from God toward the celebration of diversity; ever increasing randomness; denial of fixed norms and values; change, individualism, and self directedness.

Beyond all the confusion, aren’t there only two possibilities? Humans are either self directed—all value and truth coming from within human minds—or alternatively there really is a supernatural, eternal, infinite Creator God who loves, commands, molds and shapes us for his purposes alone.

I can’t think of a third possibility, no matter how hard I try. Every kind of viewpoint ultimate reduces to one of these two possibilities.

These two views are seen among Christians—some see their religion as their doing for God (they are self directed and self empowered). Others see faith as what God is doing in us, through us and often in spite of us. The world generally embraces the former viewpoint, but I’m sticking with the latter. I don’t mind being the clay—at least in the hands of the eternal, holy Potter who created it all.

Prayer Starter: Father, mold us according to your will for your purposes and your glory. Amen.

Doulos Meditation on Structure in Psalms



Scripture: Psalm 41:13—Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen. (72:18)

—Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name forever; may his glory fills the whole earth. Amen and Amen. (89:52)

—Blessed Be the LORD forever. Amen and Amen. (106:48)

—Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. And let all the people say, “Amen. Praise the LORD!” (150:6)

—Let everything that breathes praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!

Reflection: The Psalter in our Old Testament contains 150 Psalms traditionally divided into Five Books: 1. (1-41;) 2. (42-72;) 3. (73-89;) 4. (90-106;) 5. (107-150.) Each of the quoted passages above is the last verse of a Book.

Noticing how scripture is internally structured rewards the careful reader. I notice that the close of every book has the name of God (YHWH), but following Jewish usage translated as “LORD” in our versions.

Notice also that three books end with a double “Amen,” a strengthened way of saying Amen. The Hebrews often emphasized through repetition—Remember Jesus saying “Truly, truly, I say…” and Paul twice saying “Let them be accursed…” in Galatians?

In the fourth book the repetition is still there in “everlasting to everlasting” though one “Amen” follows. The last Psalm challenges our imagination. Was it consciously a summary or conclusion to the Psalter? The emphasis of repetition is still there—but no amen.

Every book in the Psalter ends with a statement praising God, strengthened by various artifices of repetition, and using the revealed name of the God of Scripture.

Prayer Starter: Father show us how to worship you with strength, lifting up your name in reverence and praise, climaxing in our hearts with the strongest of affirmations and pledges; Amen and Amen.

Doulos Meditation on Isaiah 63:11

Scripture: Isaiah 63:11—Then they remembered the days of old, of Moses his servant, “Where is the one who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock?”

Reflection: When my son was very young he approached me with a question we fondly enshrine in our memories as one of his classics. He asked, “Dad, what was it like in the olden days?” I wasn’t sure how to respond—at the time I was in my late twenties—but with a small child’s limited understanding of time I must have represented antiquity itself. He must have gotten “olden” from some children’s book—at least that’s where that word seems to lurk.

Do we become more nostalgic and remember our past during hard times? The Israelites remembered the good old days when God through Moses led the nation out of Egypt. We remember olden days with fondness, their difficulties and sins somewhat befogged and their shining triumphs sometimes embellished. Biblical writers saw the value of remembering those days and would recommend us to do the same. Do you remember your childhood faith—your early commitment to Christ—your fervor for the lost?

Prayer Starter: Our God, Ancient of Days, keep ever before us the glorious deeds of the past that we may be instructed, reminded, re-directed, and re-committed in the present. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sun 05 Feb 2017, 11:07 pm

Doulos Meditation on Revelation 18:2

Scripture: Revelation 18:2—Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become…a haunt for every evil (unclean) spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. Mark 9:25—When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil (unclean) spirit…


Reflection: The word is a-kathartos, filthy, not clean. Keep focused on the idea that lawlessness, rebellion, sin and evil are simply dirty.

Have you seen photos of war ravaged streets in Africa or the Middle East? Trash all over the ground; every piece of equipment broken; pieces of junk litter the ground; buildings are dirty; and if you could be there in person you would not like the stench of filth, urine, and feces that fills the air.


Contrast this with a well manicured home and landscape in peace time among people occupied with education, culture, and prosperity. We prefer the latter, I suspect.

Scripture pictures sin as dirty, disorganizing, vandalizing, destructive, and degrading—carrying the metaphor further, evil is at war with all that is good. Evil tries to deteriorate all good.

There are many kinds, styles, and beauties of the good but evil reduces these to one common scene—that of pillage and ruin, where everything is wrecked and ruined; where all is unclean—a powerful metaphor!

Prayer Starter: Father, we want to walk in the light where the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. Wash us and we shall be clean. Guard us from uncleanness. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Fri 03 Feb 2017, 11:40 pm

Doulos Meditation for August 12

Scripture: Deuteronomy 30:14—No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. (Compare Rom 10:5-9)

Reflection: Moses spoke of obedience to God’s Law; Paul quoted the passage and spoke of Christ. Sometimes we struggle to see the Jewish mind working to interpret Old Testament verses that to us do not appear much related to New Testament teachings. But the deficiency is almost certainly ours.

The Law of God is what the Christ was about—we get it backward if we’re not careful. The Law cannot produce the righteousness God demands but the Christ can (and has done so).

It is the Christ that makes the law work, not vice versa. The Christian is not law-less; above law, without law—rather he is in relationship in Christ where God’s Law is done in us by God himself.

Romans 8:4 is instructive: “…in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” God’s Law expresses his moral nature; Jesus makes it possible; the Spirit makes it ours.

Prayer Starter: Father set out hearts on total surrender to your will; make us obedient to your precepts through the power of your Holy Spirit and the gift of your Son Jesus the Christ. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Fri 03 Feb 2017, 12:30 am

Doulos Meditation on 1 Corinthians 10:23

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:23—“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

Reflection: These phrases were probably quotations from a letter Paul had received from Corinth—He responds point by point in rebuttal.

Paul is drawing a distinction between “can” and “should.” The Corinthians reveled in their freedoms and spiritual gifts—rejecting the stifling yoke of law as a mechanism for salvation. Like all of us tend to do, however, they over reached their argument.

“Sure,” Paul contends, “you can do many things, but should you? That’s a different question. Praise God this way or that, speak or be silent, trade camels or go for bodybuilding; get a tattoo or an earring; wear your hair in a Mohawk; or not.”

Freedom in Christ means the believer is no longer trying to qualify, but rather to express what God has done. Free from legalism, however, he now has new responsibility placed on him by his relationship to Jesus. What would Jesus do?

Would he go or stay; get involved or abstain; join with this group or not? No longer a matter of getting it right, it has become a matter of seeking the will of God and allowing full expression of that will in all things.

And how do we determine what that course of action should be? Here’s Paul’s short check-list that takes care of 99% of all the questions—Is it beneficial? Is it constructive? In making the choice am I seeking my own good or that of others?

Answer these, and there’s very little uncertainty left.

Prayer Starter: Father, so possess us and guide us that all our actions and decisions flow from our relationship with you. May your will be done in all things. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Wed 01 Feb 2017, 9:34 pm

Doulos Meditation on Acts 18:2-3

Scripture: Acts 18:2-3—There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus…with his wife Priscilla…Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.

Reflection: Paul worked and preached. An old Jewish saying was “The man who does not teach his son to work, teaches him to steal.”

Every Jewish boy was taught a vocation—from shepherding to medicine, from camel trading to tent making. Tents were in great demand.

Some lived in tents as a way of life, the Bedouin Arabs of the Sinai being examples of that lifestyle that persists to our day. But tents were used by anyone who traveled—merchants, soldiers, government officials. You simply didn’t have a Holiday Inn or Motel 6 available.

If you were wealthy enough to travel, you took your servants who would each evening set up your tent beside the road, tend your animals, and cook your meals.


Paul had a very practical vocational ministry. He produced something widely used, in demand everywhere. He worked hard (1 Cor 4:12), not accepting support from the churches. He said, “What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it.” (1 Cor 9:18)

Prayer Starter: Father, we have so little to give you but receive from you such great blessing. Thank you for opportunities to freely give the gospel to those around us. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Tue 31 Jan 2017, 11:33 pm

Doulos Meditation on Acts 17:19, 22

Scripture: Acts 17:19, 22—Then they…brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus…“May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting...Paul then stood up…and said, Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious…”

Reflection: In the center of Athens (Greece) rises the ancient Acropolis, a mesa like hill topped by temples to the gods. On its side is a small protrusion of rock—a “hill” so to speak, called the Areopagus or Hill of Ares (Ares = the Greek god of War = Mars) and (Pagus = hill).

Many a tourist has climbed the few steps cut in stone to the top to look over the Agora, or ancient marketplace which lay around the base of the Acropolis.

Besides the hill itself, Areopagus referred to a judicial council that perhaps originally met on or near this little hill and took its name from the hill. From early times it was associated with murder trials.

In Paul’s time, the Council probably controlled who lectured in Athens and who was not allowed. Their proceedings were audible to the public.

Paul used the occasion and the audience to tell the Athenians about the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. “When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.”

One member of the council, a man named Dionysius believed his message along with a woman named Damaris and a few others.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank you for the preaching of the gospel in Paul’s day and ours and for its doorway to forgiveness and life eternal by the death and resurrection of Jesus. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Mon 30 Jan 2017, 11:05 pm

Doulos Meditation on Esther 8:10

Scripture: Esther 8:10—Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king’s signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king.

Reflection: The short, exciting life of the Pony Express was from April 1860 to October 1861 during which time the mail traveled at an amazingly fast rate of 10 days from Saint Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California. This American story, however, is one of the last before the emergence of the telegraph and electronic communications.

In antiquity, Romans and Mongols both had extensive postal systems. Romans built theirs on the older Persian model. The Persian king in Esther was Xerxes (or Ahasuerus, 485-465 BC).

Five hundred years before Christ there was the Persian Pony Express which delivered the King’s mail to the far outreaches of the Empire. Their messages were handed off from courier to courier at designated stations.

The Romans changed the system, using one man the entire distance with only the horse being changed periodically. The advantage of the Roman way was that the Emperor could question the messenger as well as read the message.

The distance covered probably averaged 50 miles per day, though the regular mail (the cursus publicus) was probably not as fast as the Emperor’s urgent posts.

Prayer Starter: Father, help us to see the urgency of message—the progress humans have made in delivering meaningful words to distant places. Help us to use every method at our command to speed the message of the Gospel to those in need and count as a blessing the world of communication. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sun 29 Jan 2017, 11:55 pm

Doulos Meditation on Isaiah 1:19-20

Scripture: Isaiah 1:19-20—If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. 16b—“Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!”

Reflection: Isaiah writes to religious people—to those for whom ritual, holy days and formalities were the very core of what they perceived duty to God to be. In this context (vss 10-19) they were great on burnt offerings, “blood of bulls and goats,” New Moons, Sabbaths and holy convocations and “many prayers.”

God says, “I have had more than enough of burnt offerings;” “…no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats;” “Your incense is detestable to me;” “Your…festivals...my soul hates;”

What was the problem? If God commanded these things, why was He not pleased at their performance? What if these forms were merely ways of expressing something deeper, more real and heart derived?

Suppose a form persists, but the something deeper vanishes, will God be pleased? Is Isaiah speaking to us? Do we sing songs instead of expressing in song what lies in our hearts, say prayers instead of praying, give dollars instead of ourselves.

Can we present a lesson without touching souls—preach words instead of the Word—go to church instead of coming into the presence of God. In Paul’s day, there were people who were “having a form of godliness, but denying its power.” (1 Tim 3:5)

Prayer Starter: Father, as we look at our church fellowships, programs, worship practices and even our personal prayers we confess that much of our activity is pretense and habit, not generated in us by the Spirit of Truth, but by the flesh. Lord, wake us up to a new kind of honesty and humility lest our lives be spent in futility. Amen.

Doulos Meditation on Romans 14:1

Scripture: Romans 14:1—Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.

Reflection: Paul demands that we accept such a one. What we generally do is argue, reject, ignore, ridicule, embarrass, pressure, criticize, quote scripture and make an example of him.

Why have our youth deserted the faith? Where have all the teenagers gone?

An adult might conclude that the typical teen is immature, does not understand history or theology has his eyes focused on pleasure and excitement, and serves only himself. (Neither I nor teens agree with this—it’s a completely unfair statement!)

But wouldn’t we adults get much better results from youths if we would simply accept them where they’re at? We don’t because we think that would be agreeing, compromising, betraying truth, condoning sin, forsaking principles—so we keep saying so, building deeper and wider the chasm between Christ and sinners.

These sentiments are the completely wrong headed ideas of the self righteous. Let me suggest my heartfelt view—an ounce of acceptance is more powerful than a pound of self righteous cure.

Prayer Starter: Dear Father, give us a spirit of inclusion and acceptance that will allow your love to be perfected in us that we might share the good news with the world you love. Amen.

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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sat 28 Jan 2017, 12:30 pm

Doulos Meditation on Matthew 5:45b

Scripture: Matthew 5:45b—“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Tao Te Ching: XXXII—“The Heaven and Earth join, And the sweet rain falls, Beyond the command of men, Yet evenly on all.”

Reflection: The distribution of God’s natural-world blessings is not dependent on our character or morality. Jesus, in the context of loving one’s enemies, points out that every creature is blessed in untold ways, just by being resident on God’s good earth. Food and clothing, rain and sunshine, laughter and story, adventure and pleasure are God’s gifts to all humans.

Join your neighbor in celebrating the goodness of life. Go skiing, fishing, traveling; study rocket science; run a marathon for a good cause; take a cruise; climb a mountain; watch a sunset. Blessings abound and the Christian must never hold back in his celebration.

What makes him different is that he sees that it all is God’s and he shares this insight. He avoids the fleshly temptations to apologize, moralize, or beleaguer—things that shut people out.

They are quick to notice when we are grateful to God and without the slightest coercion others will join your celebration, share your faith, and be led to glorify the God you serve.

Prayer Starter: Father, we rejoice in the world you have made, knowing that you have provided for us on many levels. Teach us to enjoy your blessings, and to see your love and blessing even for those who oppose you. Use us to bless others as you have blessed us. Amen.

Doulos Meditation on 2 Samuel 23:3

Scripture: 2 Samuel 23:3—When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.

Reflection: “Confucius said, ‘When the ruler himself does what is right, he will have influence over the people without giving commands, and when the ruler himself does not do what is right, all his commands will be of no avail.’” (The Aphorisms of Confucius, IX)

The question any people must ask about their ruler is whether he (or she) does right. A ruler whom God can use is not necessarily the one who is most intelligent, the best speaker, the one with the best military strategy or foreign policy. These things count, of course.

But they don’t count as the primary thing. The ruler who is moral and fears God, though he makes mistakes and fails at times, it still the person God can use to move a nation into greater peace, freedom, hope and heritage.

Being shrewd can get you into office, but it cannot make you useful in the grand scheme of God’s purposes.


Prayer Starter: Father, we have lost much of our moral and spiritual purpose and we wander in the dismal valleys of relativism, self induced blindness and ultimate despair. Rescue us, dear Lord, from all who live for self and ignore the eternal Spirit of truth. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Wed 25 Jan 2017, 7:40 pm

Doulos Meditation on Psalm 89:30-33

Scripture: Psalm 89:30-33—If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my ordinances…then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with scourges; but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness.

Reflection: A friend who was pastor of a denomination different from mine asked me one day about the then-developing AIDS epidemic—whether I thought God was punishing homosexuals or some such. I told him I did not think so—lots of people with HIV virus were innocent victims and children.

Just being human makes us vulnerable to all kinds of viruses, bacteria, fungal cells, and other things too tiny to see. On the other hand, do nations suffer punishment for the collective sins of their people?

In scripture it seems that God brings national punishment to bear on national sin. It’s a hard question—what about the innocent among that nation that falls?

But it seems to be a generalized punishment for generalized sin. Whatever the downfall of nations represents, however, we are assured in scripture that God continues to love each of us—suffering is never evidence that God no longer loves. Rather it may be evidence of his displeasure at our sin.

Prayer Starter: Father, regain in us your place as absolute sovereign. Quell our rebellions; chastise us in your wisdom. But never take away your love from us. Amen.


Doulos Meditation on Deuteronomy 27:19

Scripture: Deuteronomy 27:19—“Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien, the orphan, and the widow of justice.” All the people shall say, “Amen.”

Reflection: Something that steams me (and I believe most people) is to see someone take advantage of the helpless. Yet I have seen it happen many times.

I know well a man in Mexico City who as a youth was in the US and worked for a contractor on the roof. Because he did not speak English and was not legal, the man felt free to cheat him out of his wages and threaten to turn him in to the police.

I knew an elderly lady whom some remodeling people told she needed repair work done on her house foundation—they were liars and thieves—but they did not mind preying on someone weak.

I knew a doctor who took advantage of an intensive care incident where a lady died. He just happened to be there, was not her doctor, could do nothing to help the lady, and other doctors were on duty—yet he sent a bill for several hundred dollars for “services rendered.” He too was liar and thief—but a better educated one.

The ancient Jews, that great people in whom God invested the future, early began to understand that one who mistreats the weak, uneducated, helpless, disabled, widowed, orphaned—or just the stranger who doesn’t know how the system works—be cursed. I am expecting that in the Last Judgment he indeed will be.

Prayer Starter: Lord, help us to always remember your love for us as we serve and love our fellow humans. Let us protect the weak and practice justice toward all people. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sun 22 Jan 2017, 9:58 pm

Doulos Meditation on Hebrews 10:26

Scripture: Hebrews 10:26---If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment…

Reflection: Some people in their excitement become Christians and set out on the journey to heaven only to find they later cool and drift back into the old ways of disobedience and lawlessness. (To explain whether they really knew Jesus in the first place is not under consideration here.)

This passage deals with a practical approach to the question of why some who accept Christ then later forego their allegiance. (Compare chapter 6)

The writer is saying, “Okay, you were once saved and now have separated yourself from Christ. Where do you expect to look for another sacrifice from sin?”

Returning to sin (whatever the theological nature of the question) is essentially saying no to the only source of salvation that exists.

It is beside the point whether God will forgive or refuse, whether one can or cannot repent, and so forth. The thesis is that God has made provision in Jesus and that is the only provision there is. Rejecting that atonement, you can forget about finding another way somewhere else. It’s Jesus or lostness—there are only two choices.

Prayer Starter: Father, we acknowledge that you have provided the only salvation that is possible in Jesus the Christ. Bring us to personal relationship with Jesus for in Him are all the blessings you have to offer, on earth or in heaven. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sat 21 Jan 2017, 10:34 pm

Doulos Meditation on 1 Samuel 4:20

Scripture: 1 Samuel 4:20—As she was dying, the women attending her said, “Don’t despair, you have given birth to a son.”…She named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel”—because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. She said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”


Reflection: The time for regional rulers called judges was over and Monarchy was approaching. Samuel was the bridge and his early life was lived in tumultuous times of struggle and defeat.

The Philistines were war like people living along the coastal plain of Israel who attacked inland time and again, looting, killing and making life difficult for the Israelites.

They captured the Ark of the Covenant, great symbol and reminder of God’s calling of Israel to be a separate people. It was sacred and thought to have mystic powers. Its capture was calamitous.

Hearing of the death of his sons and the loss of the ark, the old and obese Eli fell and broke his neck, leaving Samuel alone the heir of the departing glory of Israel. Eli’s daughter-in-law died during childbirth and perceiving the tragedies all around her named her son Ichabod.

Kabod is the word for glory—majesty—honor and Ichabod is the negation. There was no glory left and Israel was on the brink of sweeping change. It was a hard time.

Prayer Starter: Father, we thank you that through the deprivations of war, the incursions of idolatry, the loss of the sacred, and the struggles to survive you remain our God as you remained the Faithful One in Israel for the sake of your chosen ones. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sat 21 Jan 2017, 12:00 am

Doulos Meditation on Proverbs 15:21


Scripture: Proverbs 15: 21—Folly is a joy to one who has no sense, but person of understanding walks straight ahead.

Reflection: Immaturity produces many bad decisions—the decision to race the train to the intersection; to run naked down the street; to write an angry letter to the tax assessor; to shout and argue with the policeman; to abuse wife or kids.


Every instance of foolish behavior does triple harm—first it expresses the inner sin that besets my soul, second it harms others and third, it is always a side-trip and hindrance to what life should be about.

The sober, sensible person makes steady progress in life along a straight path. He is not prone to practice foolishness because this deters him from all that God would have him do or be. (Before you object, let me assure you I don’t think our passage is saying never have fun, tell a joke, or laugh.)


But it is advising us against being stupid (in the idiomatic sense)—i.e. squandering our irreplaceable time with immature behavior because we want to show off or demonstrate our educational, spiritual, racial or ethnic superiority.


Prayer Starter: Father, so many times we have acted foolishly toward others and before you. Lord, forgive us our deeds that demonstrate immaturity, loss of focus, evil motives, and carelessness. Make our paths straight; guard us from the distractions of Satan. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Thu 19 Jan 2017, 10:30 pm

Doulos Meditation on Proverbs 15:21

Scripture: Proverbs 15: 21—Folly is a joy to one who has no sense, but person of understanding walks straight ahead.

Reflection: Immaturity produces many bad decisions—the decision to race the train to the intersection; to run naked down the street; to write an angry letter to the tax assessor; to shout and argue with the policeman; to abuse wife or kids.

Every instance of foolish behavior does triple harm—first it expresses the inner sin that besets my soul, second it harms others and third, it is always a side-trip and hindrance to what life should be about.

The sober, sensible person makes steady progress in life along a straight path. He is not prone to practice foolishness because this deters him from all that God would have him do or be. (Before you object, let me assure you I don’t think our passage is saying never have fun, tell a joke, or laugh.)

But it is advising us against being stupid (in the idiomatic sense)—i.e. squandering our irreplaceable time with immature behavior because we want to show off or demonstrate our educational, spiritual, racial or ethnic superiority.

Prayer Starter: Father, so many times we have acted foolishly toward others and before you. Lord, forgive us our deeds that demonstrate immaturity, loss of focus, evil motives, and carelessness. Make our paths straight; guard us from the distractions of Satan. Amen.

Doulos Meditation on Proverbs 15:21

Scripture: Proverbs 15: 21—Folly is a joy to one who has no sense, but person of understanding walks straight ahead.

Reflection: Immaturity produces many bad decisions—the decision to race the train to the intersection; to run naked down the street; to write an angry letter to the tax assessor; to shout and argue with the policeman; to abuse wife or kids.

Every instance of foolish behavior does triple harm—first it expresses the inner sin that besets my soul, second it harms others and third, it is always a side-trip and hindrance to what life should be about.

The sober, sensible person makes steady progress in life along a straight path. He is not prone to practice foolishness because this deters him from all that God would have him do or be. (Before you object, let me assure you I don’t think our passage is saying never have fun, tell a joke, or laugh.)

But it is advising us against being stupid (in the idiomatic sense)—i.e. squandering our irreplaceable time with immature behavior because we want to show off or demonstrate our educational, spiritual, racial or ethnic superiority.

Prayer Starter: Father, so many times we have acted foolishly toward others and before you. Lord, forgive us our deeds that demonstrate immaturity, loss of focus, evil motives, and carelessness. Make our paths straight; guard us from the distractions of Satan. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 2:38 pm

Doulos Meditation on Matthew 20:11-12

Scripture: Matthew 20:11-12—And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat…’ but he replied…’are you envious because I am generous?’

Reflection: I talked with a young man who recently returned from military service in Iraq. The temperature there ranges around 120 degrees Fahrenheit on summer days. We who work in air conditioned rooms would find life in Iraq very difficult. Yet laborers there work daily bearing “the burden of the day and the scorching heat.”

The complainers in this passage think salvation is a barter system—so much labor for so much pay.

This is not the way of Jesus. The self righteous worker is always comparing his performance, burden, rewards and efforts with that of others.

People saved by grace are different—they are overwhelmed by the Lord’s generosity. It never occurs to him to complain or compare.

When God blesses someone starting a bible study, doing a mission trip, attempting to lead in some way, solving a problem or recognizing the efforts of another, do you respond with encouragement and gratitude, saying “You’re doing great! Keep it up?”

Or do you disparage it because it’s not your project, your success, your idea. Knowing which group you are in is a relatively simple matter of asking “Are you envious because he is generous?”

Prayer Starter: Father we thank you for every soul being brought to Christ; for every church that is growing; for every ministry through which you bless others. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 12:00 am

Doulos Meditation on Philippians 1:9-10b



Scripture: Philippians 1:9-10b—And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you determine what is best…



Reflection: Many passages that speak of the work of the Holy Spirit do not mention him by name as in this passage. But notice that the whole letter to the Philippians is written on the premise that every human activity for righteousness is brought about by God’s Spirit (e.g. 1:19; 2:1; 2:13; 3:3)



The clue word is love, called elsewhere the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal 5:22). If love production by the Spirit is in view, then Paul is praying that the Philippian Christians do nothing to hinder the Spirit but experience his transformations more and more.



What is interesting to me is that knowledge and insight accompany this growing love. We are generally prone to think knowledge is what we get when we go to school or study books and that insight comes from experience and old age.



For the believer, however, knowing and seeing clearly accompany the love that the Spirit works in each believer. A church composed of these believers will “determine what is best…”



Without love and the accompanying knowledge and insight, churches and especially church leaders blunder often in their decisions. Without knowledge they do not know the harm they are causing; without insight they ignore the real needs of the church; without love they are clanging cymbals, and that frightens the flock.



Prayer Starter: Father we yield ourselves to the power of your Spirit who works in us your love, giving us knowledge and insight in the process. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Mon 16 Jan 2017, 11:05 pm

Doulos Meditation on Matthew 7:12
Scripture: Matthew 7: 12—In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.

Reflection: What kind of world would it be if our behavior actually conformed to Jesus’ command? This “Golden Rule” is simple; it doesn’t need extensive background facts or interpretations. It is portable—we can carry this principle in our heads with no problem. It needs no books, equipment, definitions, or exhortations. What a mind-blowing, straight forward imperative!

Jesus said it. It is profound. I see very few that are listening.

As I toyed with these thoughts, a second series of questions arose. If this is the essence of the law and the prophets; if behavior based on this principle would bring total world peace; drop the divorce rate to zero; unify the church; cancel crime; abrogate arrogance; fill those who are empty with the power of God; empty those who are full of themselves; and make government honest, useful, and responsive—Why don’t we do it?

Let me postulate a theological maxim that seems true—There has never been a command of God more ignored more often, more consistently, or more completely than this one.

And the tragic kicker is, it is often ignored by those who say “Jesus is Lord.” Yeah, sure he is. Show us—or quit calling him Lord!

Prayer Starter: Father, our selfish lives are torn apart by jealousy, competition, ego satisfactions and argument. Somehow get our attention and confront us with these words of Jesus. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sun 15 Jan 2017, 11:44 pm

Doulos Meditation on 1 Corinthians 4:2

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 4:2—Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.

Reflection: A steward is a person who manages some property not his own. In ancient households of wealth, there often was someone appointed to look after the assets of the family—a trusted servant that had served the family for many years.

Perhaps such as man was Eleazar of Damascus to whom Abraham thought about leaving his fortunes before God’s promise of a son was fulfilled.

How trustworthy was such a servant? As a child I knew of a rancher in West Texas who had a cowboy employee whom he trusted completely. People remarked about the level of trust.

The rancher did not carry his own checkbook—his employee did, and wrote whatever checks were needed.

This is somewhat the picture of the man who is a good steward before God. You have the riches, power, and glory of God in your hands with responsibility to spend God’s gifts wisely for his purposes. A Christian must have a serious sense of responsibility. Even our time is an asset that must not be squandered. As a steward, how trustworthy are you?

Prayer Starter: Father, thank you for your endowments of intelligence, opportunity, feelings, vision, hope, love and faith. May we spend your resources wisely for your glory. amen
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sat 14 Jan 2017, 9:53 pm

Doulos Meditation on Conscience (#8 of 8)

#8 of 8 Meditations on Conscience.

Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:5—The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Reflection: Paul said to forget about myths, genealogies and the false doctrines that inflame controversies. Why do you suppose God opposes arguing and controversy?

Paul believes it is because arguing hinders love—and love is God’s great gift to the believer. Do those who preach need to deal more carefully with hearts, consciences, and sincere faith? How do you suppose we can have unhindered love flowing through us?

Paul tells us love comes from the transforming power of God’s Spirit (“the fruit of the Spirit is love…”). It may be that a defect in love indicates that God’s spirit simply has not been able to do in us what God desires.

If we want to be real before God, here are some things to think about. Love can be implanted in us by the Spirit only within the spiritual environment of a pure heart, good conscience and sincere faith! Do you have a pure heart? Really? Is your conscience functioning properly—how do you know? Is your faith sincere?

Or is your religious life focused on proving others wrong, winning arguments and looking good in intellectual combat?

I hope you are deeply concerned. And of course if you’re a preacher and need three points for a sermon, here they are.

Prayer Starter: Father, show us plainly what fools we are when we bicker, argue, and promote controversy among fellow believers. Bring us to confession, repentance and humility. Cleanse our hearts and consciences. Give us sincere faith. Amen.
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