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Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sat 01 May 2010, 11:49 am

Scripture: Matthew 11:18—For John came neither eating nor drinking,
and they say, He has a demon; the Son of Man came eating and drinking,
and they say, Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors
and sinners!



Reflection: There is a kind of thinking that perpetually scans others
for flaws. One whose mind operates this way is generally self centered
but careful, self-conscious, security minded, and tight with his
resources—in general he sees himself not as part of the group but
one superior to the group and qualified to sit in judgment on them. Some
of these traits are valuable—they keep him out of trouble and serve
him well in a troubled world. But some people are led by God's
Spirit and others are not—the former are changed as the Spirit
teaches them the lessons of love and patience with others. But in those
who do not know the Lord, these traits corrupt and capture—gradually
turning him into a bitter old curmudgeon with negative thoughts.



This self-directed person is critical of every other person he meets.
More humble people in Jesus' day saw such people as fools and were
astonished at their self-contradicting logic. These negative people
complained about John's austerity—his Nazirite behavior. He
drank no wine, had long hair and was impervious to fame or fortune.
Alas, these critical people could not see their own hypocrisy as they
criticized Jesus for the opposite behavior—Jesus went to parties,
weddings and feasts. He joined in the festivities; he drank the wine and
socialized with others. The unregenerate critic cannot see himself
clearly but is convinced he has corrections for the behavior of everyone
else no matter how inconsistent his comments from case to case.



Prayer Starter: Father, take control of our inner thoughts and keep us
from criticizing others. May our statements about others come from
humility and love instead of ego. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sat 01 May 2010, 10:13 am

Scripture: Judges 3:31€ ¦’·After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who
struck down six hundred Philistines with an ox goad. He too saved
Israel. (12:11)€ ¦’·After him, Elon the Zebulunite led Israel ten years.
Then Elon died, and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulon.



Reflection: There were 12 judges of Israel whose stories are in the Book
of Judges. Two more (Eli and Samuel) are spoken of in 1 Samuel. Of these
12 there are only four with extensive stories (Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah
and Samson) and a couple with intermediate length stories (Othniel,
Ehud). The briefest mentions are perhaps Shamgar and Elon with only one
or two sentences apiece.



Some of these are the shortest biographies imaginable. Shamgar killed a
small army with an ox goad€ ¦’·are you acquainted with ox goads? These
are sticks perhaps six feet long sharpened at one end and carried by the
fellow who walked beside the oxen, keeping them moving along the right
road. The modern technology of the Philistines allowed them to make iron
points that fastened on the end of the goad. I wonder if Shamgar killed
all those Philistines at one time and place, or if this was his
cumulative record. The text sounds like the author was not impressed
with him€ ¦’·almost making him sound like an also-ran sports
figure€ ¦’·"He too saved Israel." No details. But look at the short
treatment of Elon. The facts are these: Elon was a Zebulunite, Elon led
Israel ten years. Elon died. They buried him in Aijalon. Now that's
a short life story for you.



Prayer Starter: Father, thank you for the tiny bits of lives that made
their way into your scriptures. It builds our confidence in scripture
and makes it interesting as well. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Thu 29 Apr 2010, 12:01 pm

6 of 6 on the Davidic Covenant—Scripture: Matthew 28:18-20—Then
Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth
has been given to me…" Hebrews 12:28—Therefore, since we are
receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so
worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a
consuming fire."



Reflection: I wrote a brochure a few years back entitled "Choosing
God: The Most Important Decision You Will Ever Make." One paragraph
reads, "Every human has a God—something he honors above all else
(a most common god is one's self). This is sometimes a personal God,
but more often the modern social idols of wealth, fame, and power. The
problem with false gods—whatever their character—is that when
you die, they die."



The Christian message is that allowing the King who sits on David's
throne to be your King as well means that when you die physically, your
life in God's Spirit is just beginning. Unlike false and invented
gods this one proves by his resurrection life that he is truly the
Incarnate God—the King of Kings. He is what bible history and
tradition are all about. I suspect that you know deep inside whether you
have surrendered your life to this King on David's throne—or
whether you are still living a life of isolation, doubt, and diminishing
resources. Every human life has a throne—but you get to decide who
sits on that throne. If your throne is occupied by self or any of the
distractions of this life, let me recommend a change to allow Christ the
throne in you.



Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, you are our Lord and God—the Incarnation
of the Eternal Deity on this earth. We thank you for loving us so much
you gave yourself in death to pay the penalty for our sins—but were
resurrected by the power of God to eternal life and kingship. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Thu 29 Apr 2010, 11:45 am

5 of 6 on the Davidic Covenant·Scripture: Matthew 4:17
From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of
heaven is near." Revelation 3:7 These are the words of him
who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one
can shut, and what he shuts no one can open."



Reflection: Jesus was very conscious of his role as the eternal Davidic
King. He began his ministry with preaching centered on his identity as
King, calling people to participate in his kingdom. Early Christians
would read in Paul's letters about the God who "has rescued us
from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son
he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."



Jesus the Christ came to sit on the throne of David ’·but not as an
earthly ruler to lead a rebellion against occupying Romans. "My
kingdom is not of this world" he commented. For us, just like for
religious people in the first century, it is difficult to grasp the
immensity or importance of Jesus. The Davidic Covenant was serious
business far greater than just a promise of kingly succession to
David's descendents. It was the coming of the Creator to be King
over his creation the omnipotent God coming down to lift up the
weak, poor and sinful to be courtiers in his throne room. He brought
justice, light and joy for all who approach him in faith. His intentions
and purposes are infinitely beneficial far beyond anything we can
imagine.



Prayer Starter: Eternal Father, we bow before the authority of your Son
Jesus the Christ as the heir to David's throne and the executor of
all the plans of heaven. Hail, Lord Jesus: conquer this world and reign
as king over us. We bless your name and revel in your holy splendor.
Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Wed 28 Apr 2010, 12:06 am

4 of 6 on the Davidic Covenant—Scripture: Matthew 1:1—A record
of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David… Mt 21:9—The
crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
"Hosanna to the Son of David!" Rom 1:3—"…regarding his
Son who as to his human nature was a descendant of David and who through
the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by
his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord."



Reflection: Jesus was of the tribe of Judah. His family was of the
lineage of ancient King David, and he was born in Bethlehem, ancestral
home of David, where Joseph and Mary went for the census. Scripture
(especially Matthew) speaks of Jesus as the King who was coming to sit
on the throne of David as God had promised. The Davidic Covenant was not
over, neglected, or finished when Israel lost its independent status as
a kingdom. God had not forgotten his promise—but God does things his
own way and in his own time. In the Apocalypse Jesus is called
"…the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning
Star." (Rv 22:16) As Incarnate God he was David's creator—as
Savior he was the heir to David's throne forever.



His coming caused jubilant celebration and angry argument. Many had
given up on a messianic King—many more simply hadn't a clue as
to the nature of the King that was coming. Some thought he would be a
military leader leading a political revolt against Rome. It was largely
socially poor but spiritually rich peasants who kept alive hopes for a
Messiah and shouted "Hosanna to the Son of David! They yearned for
the Prince of Peace.



Prayer Starter: Father, let us share in the excitement of those who
participated in the triumphant entry of the king into Jerusalem as they
shouted "Hosanna to the Son of David." Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Wed 28 Apr 2010, 12:04 am

3 of 6 on the Davidic Covenant€ ¦’·Scripture: 2 Samuel 7:16-17€ ¦’·Your
house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne
shall be established forever. In accordance with all these words and
with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.



Reflection: For 400 years, descendents of David reigned as kings. Some
obeyed God as David had done, but others were evil, immoral and
idolaters. Ten northern tribes separated from the descendents of David
and formed their own kingdom called "Israel" while the
descendents of David ruled the Southern Kingdom, retaining the name
Judah. The Northern Kingdom ceased about 722 BC and the Southern capitol
of Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 586 BC. So what happened to
God's promises to David€ ¦’·that his throne would be established
forever?



We might understand this two ways: (a) the kingdom would always be in
the hands of David's descendents€ ¦’·kings succeeding one another
forever. The people who thought this were devastated when Judah
fell€ ¦’·it was a time of unparalleled national crisis. Was the covenant
a failure? Had God deserted his people or reneged on his promise? (b)
But what if God purposed not an eternal chain of mortal kings in the
lineage of David, but One King, himself eternal€ ¦’·who would sit on the
throne of David forever? As the chain of kings came to an end, the hope
for a Messianic king grew€ ¦’·one who would be descended from David, but
who himself would be the King of Kings forever. Arguments about this
Messianic King were plentiful in those days when Pilate asked Jesus,
"Are you king of the Jews?"



Prayer Starter: Father, Help us understand the Davidic Covenant and to
see clearly your purposes of bringing Jesus the Messiah into our world
to be the King of Kings. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Tue 27 Apr 2010, 11:41 pm

2 of 6 on the Davidic Covenant€ ¦’·Scripture: 1 Chronicles
22:7-10€ ¦’·I had planned to build a house to the name of the LORD my
God. But the word of the LORD came to me saying, "You have shed much
blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to my
name€ ¦’¥a son shall be born to you€ ¦’¥I will give him peace from all
his enemies€ ¦’¥He shall build a house for my name€ ¦’¥I will establish
his royal throne forever."

Reflection: The Ark of the Covenant had been residing in a tent during
the first troubled years of the Israelite monarchy, but now King David
had conquered the nations around, bringing peace to Israel. He lived in
a fine palace but was conscience struck when he thought about the Ark
(sometimes called God's footstool) in a tent and wanted to build a
house for God€ ¦’·a permanent temple on Mount Zion in the city of
Jerusalem. The Davidic Covenant was built on a word-play about the term
"house." David wanted to build a house (temple) of stone and
cedar for God, but God turned this around and build a house (a dynasty)
for David.

When Nathan announced God's covenant to David, he concluded by
saying, "Moreover the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make
you a house." (2 Sam 7:11) David was to be the father of an eternal
"house" which God would build. Did this mean David's
physical descendents would always be kings? Or was it a more important
and subtle design that God had in mind?

Prayer Starter: Father, help us see the interacting ideas that played a
role in the development of the temple, the cultus and the kingship in
Jerusalem as a result of your promises to David. Help us understand your
promise to David that you would establish his throne forever. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sun 25 Apr 2010, 3:59 pm

1 of 6 on the Davidic Covenant--Scripture: Psalm 89:4€ ¦’·You said, I
have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to my servant
David: I will establish your descendants forever, and build your throne
for all generations. (Vs 38)€ ¦’·But now you have spurned and rejected
him; you are full of wrath against your anointed. You have renounced the
covenant with your servant€ ¦’¥ (Please read the entire psalm.)

Reflection: God's covenant with David is one of four great Old
Testament Covenants (along with Abrahamic, Noahic, and Sinai Covenants).
But was this covenant an unconditional commitment from God, or
conditioned on Israel's compliance? Psalm 89 seems
schizophrenic€ ¦’·read vss 1-37 for a statement of
unconditionality€ ¦’·God makes big promises to David with no mention of
any strings attached. Then read vss 38-51 for a picture of
conditionality where Israel and the Monarchy have broken covenant and
been rejected by God. This split personality of Psalm 89 makes one
wonder whether there were two different Psalms combined somewhere in its
history.

Themes like this must be dealt with if we are to really understand
God's dealings with Israel. How do we handle positive promises from
God that seem to have no strings attached when we find other passages
that speak of conditions based on human behavior? Why should we
Christians care? If the covenant was conditional, then Israel
failed€ ¦’·and if Israel failed, then the covenant was a wasted effort
on God's part and we have to leave it in the rubbish heap of
Israelite history. But it's not that simple as we will note in the
next several Meditations.

Prayer Starter: Father, we wrestle with your promises in the context of
human behavior and unfaithfulness. Expand our understanding that we may
be increased in faith. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Mon 19 Apr 2010, 10:59 am

Scripture: James 4:17—Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do
and fails to do it, commits sin.

Reflection: Are you a sinner? Most Christians will confess, "I have
sinned." But I suspect that what we are admitting is that sometime
long ago we told lies, stole something, were deceitful and dishonest,
gave ourselves to sexual sins or killed someone. Rarely, I suspect, are
we thinking about all the daily opportunities to do right things we are
ignoring. We hide behind our busy lives and let others with more time do
it, or pretend we are not able for some reason.

Have you ever been responsible for something bad but let someone else
take the blame? Are you quick to produce an excuse why you cannot serve
on a committee, lead the prayer in worship service, help with cleanup
after an event, or donate a used coat for the church welfare drive? How
many times have you heard that someone was sick or in hospital but did
nothing? Have you ever seen something dangerous on the highway, but
because you were running late to a meeting just went on by, letting
other motorists look out for themselves? Do you know someone who needs
Jesus as their savior but you keep silent about the gospel? If I have an
opportunity to do good and do not do it—is it sin? James thinks
so—he seems to believe doing wrong is sin but failing to do right is
just as bad. What do you think?

Prayer Starter: Father, the Epistle of James is disturbing to those of
us who generally avoid lying, stealing, and adultery but find ourselves
dodging involvement with the sick, poor, drug users, homeless or
unemployed. Confront our spirits and our consciences with the serious
nature of our sins—especially the involvements with the good we
manage to evade. Amen.
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Re: Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sun 18 Apr 2010, 11:37 am

Doulos Meditation

Scripture: Ephesians 1:1—Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the
will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.
(NIV) Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God to the
ones who are holy and faithful in Christ Jesus. (R. Barkley)


Reflection: The Letter to the Ephesians was probably not originally
addressed to the Ephesians at all. "In Ephesus," is not found in
the earliest and manuscripts such as P-46 (ca. 200 AD); Sinaiticus
(Century IV); Vaticanus (Century IV). Early church fathers used texts
that omitted the word Ephesus (Tertullian, Origen) and an earliest
compiler of Paul's letters (Marcion) listed it as the Letter to
Laodicea. There are internal clues as well. Paul had spent 3 years
living in Ephesus (Acts 10:31)—he knew the Christians there
intimately (notice the affectionate account of Acts 20:17-35). But this
letter has no personal greetings, no names of people he loved—it is
the most impersonal of Paul's letters. What are we to make of all
this?

The best guess—a circular letter—intended for multiple churches
in Asia. In Colossians 4:16 Paul wrote, "And when this letter has
been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans;
and see that you read also the letter from Laodicea." (Barclay) The
Colossian letter and this letter are very similar (55 verses are the
same). Both letters were delivered by Tychicus (Eph 6:21-22). This
letter has all the marks of a great theological treatise written by Paul
to all Christians and containing his most mature thinking—written
slowly, thoughtfully and prayerfully while he was in prison near the end
of his life (3:1; 4:1; 6:20).

Prayer Starter: Father, help us to read Ephesians with expanded insight
into its great themes of salvation and gathering of all purposes into
one savior Christ Jesus. Amen.
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Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

Post  Admin on Sat 10 Apr 2010, 2:15 pm

Doulos Meditation
10 of 12 Psalm 29: Scripture: Psalm 29:9-The voice of the LORD causes
the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all
say, "Glory." (NRSV) The LORD's voice brings on the
birth-pangs of does and lays bare the forests. And in His palace all
says glory. (Robert Alter)


Reflection: Verse 9 impacted me in a major way when I first read this
Psalm. It speaks of the thunderstorm God€ ¦’·but all at once turns from
external weather to something internal and life changing. The psalm
moves from speaking of God's glory and power to the reaction of
those who suddenly see truth. The world sees a thunderstorm; God's
people see the glory and power of God. How instructive! Do you see the
link between glory and worshiping God? When we connect the dots of
life€ ¦’·all those observations that shout in the background that there
is a great Creator God behind it all€ ¦’·the picture we can call
"glory." It's a snapshot of God and ultimate reality. Our
small minds suddenly realize what we are seeing is more than natural
elements of wind, rain, and thunder€ ¦’·and a great emotion charged
response arises within us. This response is worship and it functions as
a witness that we have experienced the living God. Worship is not a
path, program or plan for approaching God€ ¦’·it is, rather, evidence
that we have seen the glory. The world at large comments on how much it
rained, how strong were the winds, how impressive the electric storm and
the thunder€ ¦’·but the believer cries "glory" and praises the
eternal God. An alternative interpretation sees God's palace and
court as responding€ ¦’·but that doesn't change the nature of the
worship response.

Prayer Starter: Father, we cannot generate the praise due your name any
more than we can create matter or energy€ ¦’·but we respond to you with
hearts that are first touched by you and only then offered back to you
in worship. Amen.

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