Bells and Pomegranates

Our scripture today comes from Exodus 28:33-34:

And upon its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet, all around its hem, and bells of gold between them all around: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe all around.
Exodus 28:33‭-‬34 NKJV

And our study, even though titled “Bells and Pomegranates” might just as easily be called:

Sound Doctrine & Fruitful Life

Charles Spurgeon, in his “Lectures to My Students” (worth buying on Amazon if you like paper books, or Google Play Books if you are not old fashioned like me) — anyways, old Charlie Spurgeon, who was a Baptist preacher back in the 1800s in London (who is today called by many the “Prince of Preachers”) — old Charlie had this to say of our scripture that we are looking at today:

“The priest was to have in his robes bells and pomegranates; the one a figure of sound doctrine, and the other of a fruitful life.” – Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students

Now if you wanted to save time and just trust anything at all that I or Charles Spurgeon shared as being “unquestionably the gospel truth”, you could blindly agree (against my recommendations), and just skip ahead. But I know that you may rightly wonder if that’s just some fanciful thing that some old Baptist preacher came up with — out of left field — with no Biblical basis — that was just some esoteric opinion — that he “read into” the scripture — to make for “smart sermon clickbait”.

And I hope that we are good students of the Word who will test every spirit, against our canonical set of writings as Christians — namely the infallible and inerrant Word of God, the Holy Bible.

So first, let’s lay the groundwork for what we are talking about.

What are…

Bells

Wikipedia would tell us that:

A bell is a directly struck idiophone percussion instrument. Most bells have the shape of a hollow cup that when struck vibrates in a single strong strike tone, with its sides forming an efficient resonator. The strike may be made by an internal “clapper” or “uvula”, an external hammer, or—in small bells—by a small loose sphere enclosed within the body of the bell (jingle bell).
Bells are usually cast from bell metal (a type of bronze) for its resonant properties, but can also be made from other hard materials; this depends on the function. Some small bells such as ornamental bells or cow bells can be made from cast or pressed metal, glass or ceramic, but large bells such as church, clock and tower bells are normally cast from bell metal.

And Easton’s Bible Dictionary says:

The bells first mentioned in Scripture are the small golden bells attached to the hem of the high priest’s ephod ( Exodus 28:33 Exodus 28:34 Exodus 28:35 ). The “bells of the horses” mentioned by ( Zechariah 14:20 ) were attached to the bridles or belts round the necks of horses trained for war, so as to accustom them to noise and tumult.

Ok, so what are…

Pomegranates

Nelson’s Compact Bible Dictionary tells us that:

A “pomegranate is a round, sweet fruit about inches across with a hard rind. It is green when young and turns red when ripe. There are numerous edible seeds within the pomegranate… The hem of Aaron’s robe was decorated with images of pomegranates (Ex. 28:33-34, 39:24-26), it was listed among the pleasant fruit of Egypt (Num. 20:5). Solomon decorated the temple with the likeness of the pomegranate (1 King 7:18, 20). A spiced wine was made from the juice (Song 8:2).”

Let’s read some quick background on our scripture in…

Bible Commentaries on Exodus 28:33-34

“around the hem of the ephod was these, were these little golden bells and then a pomegranate… all around the hem. The purpose was that when he went into the Holy of Holies, no one could go in there except the high priest, but coming into the presence of God was really a hazardous job. When the whole thing first got started they realized what a hazardous occupation they’d gotten into as priests.

The very first day that they started their ministry as priests, two of them got wiped out. Nadab and Abihu both got wiped out the very first day. Because when they got the whole thing set up, and they got the altar all set, and the wood on the altar, fire came down from heaven, and the wood just spontaneously started to burn. Aaron’s two sons got so excited they grabbed their little incense burners, and they took… the incense burners, but it took strange fire, and they went in to offer it before God and the fire came from the altar and consumed the two sons of Aaron. It was a dangerous, hazardous job. You’re coming into the presence of God, and you better make sure that everything is right; if it isn’t, you’ve had it.

Now even the high priest in coming in
before God, coming into the presence of
God, everything had to be just right, if it
wasn’t the high priest would get wiped out. How would they know? The bells would quit ringing. So that was the purpose of the little bells. They would tie a rope on his foot, and if the bells would quit ringing they’d take and drag him out. Occupational hazard.

So that was the purpose of the little golden bells around the hem… that when he was ministering before God, in the actual going into this area of coming into that area where God’s presence was to meet the people, things had to be right, or it could mean the life of the high priest. So the golden bells so that they would know in case he died.” Chuck Smith, C2000 Series on Exodus

“Bells of gold between them all
around: On its hem, between the
ornate pomegranates of blue and
purple, were bells, so the priest
could be heard while ministering
before God – if he were to die, the
bells would stop ringing and he
could be pulled out of the Most Holy
Place. The sound ofthe bells would
remind the priest of the solemn
nature of his work, and remind him
so that he may not die.” – David Guzik

“The tinkling bells were
presumably so that the people
outside could trace the
movements of the priest within,
who was of course invisible to
them. By this they would know
that his offering had been
accepted, and that he had not
been struck dead.” (Cole)

“The pomegranates (symbols of
fruitfulness) were either hanging
as ‘bobbles’ between the bells, or
else embroidered on the fabric.”
(Cole)

“The alternating bell and
pomegranate on the skirts ofthe
priest’s robe were typical of his
obligation to testimony and fruit
bearing.” (Morgan)

“Round the skirts of the robe were hung golden bells, and the representations of pomegranates made of yarn of divers colours. The pomegranates added to the beauty of the robe, and the sound of the bells gave notice to the people in the outer court when he went into the holy place to burn incense, that they might then apply themselves to their devotions at the same time (Lu. 1:10), in token of their concurrence with him in his offering, and their hopes of the ascent of their prayers to God in virtue of the incense he offered.
Aaron must come near to minister in the garments that were appointed him, that he die not. It is at his peril if he attend otherwise than according to the institution.

This intimates that we must serve the Lord with fear and holy trembling, as those that know we deserve to die, and are in danger of making some fatal mistake. Some make the bells of the holy robe to typify the sound of the gospel of Christ in the world, giving
notice of his entrance within the veil for us.
Blessed are those that hear this joyful sound (Ps. 89:15). The adding of the pomegranates, which are a fragrant fruit, denotes the sweet savour of the gospel, as well as the joyful sound of it, for it is a savour of life unto life.

The church is called an orchard of
pomegranates.” – Matthew Henry, Commentary

Illustration

Charles Spurgeon continues to expound upon these reflections upon Sound Doctrine and Fruitful in his “Lectures to My Students”:

Liars

In a discussion about God hating liars (Proverbs 6:17, Proverbs 6:19, Proverbs 12:22), the following question came up:

My discussion went along these lines:

“Do you know what a parable is?”

“If one man generates a tale from imaginary characters in order to demonstrate and teach a valuable truth, while another man uses truthful facts to manipulate another to unknowingly participate in a lie, who is the wicked man? Is this not clear?”

“A liar could never speak a fact that is untrue, yet still be a liar through and through because he is deceitful in his dealings, while meticulous in his facts.”

Unfortunately, in this instance, the man wasn’t asking so that we could speak and reason together, but he just wanted to mock God and mock my beliefs in the midst of our discussion. And he saw my questions as insulting and we couldn’t communicate with each other at all. I didn’t even know we were “arguing” initially, I just thought we were talking and asking questions to consider together. Thankfully, a friend revealed to me that it was arguing, so I apologized and departed. No sense debating over words with someone looking for a fight — you aren’t going to change their mind when they aren’t even listening but agree just waiting for their turn to speak.

Let’s not miss seeing the forest for the trees, and let’s not mince words so finely for the sake of finding someone to argue with over things that might be simple enough for a young child to understand.

I really enjoyed looking at this parable from Jesus immediately following this discussion. A parable, that while revealing a truth about “unclean foods”, and also mentioning “deceit” defiling a man, speaks back to instructions given to Israel in Leviticus about this very topic.

Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart. ” Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.) And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”
Mark 7:14‭-‬15‭, ‬17‭-‬23 NLT

And this is what was given in Leviticus:

“Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. “Of all the land animals, these are the ones you may use for food. You may eat any animal that has completely split hooves and chews the cud. You may not, however, eat the following animals that have split hooves or that chew the cud, but not both. The camel chews the cud but does not have split hooves, so it is ceremonially unclean for you. The hyrax chews the cud but does not have split hooves, so it is unclean. The hare chews the cud but does not have split hooves, so it is unclean. The pig has evenly split hooves but does not chew the cud, so it is unclean. You may not eat the meat of these animals or even touch their carcasses. They are ceremonially unclean for you. “Of all the marine animals, these are ones you may use for food. You may eat anything from the water if it has both fins and scales, whether taken from salt water or from streams. But you must never eat animals from the sea or from rivers that do not have both fins and scales. They are detestable to you. This applies both to little creatures that live in shallow water and to all creatures that live in deep water. They will always be detestable to you. You must never eat their meat or even touch their dead bodies. Any marine animal that does not have both fins and scales is detestable to you. “These are the birds that are detestable to you. You must never eat them: the griffon vulture, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, the kite, falcons of all kinds, ravens of all kinds, the eagle owl, the short-eared owl, the seagull, hawks of all kinds, the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, the barn owl, the desert owl, the Egyptian vulture, the stork, herons of all kinds, the hoopoe, and the bat. “You must not eat winged insects that walk along the ground; they are detestable to you. You may, however, eat winged insects that walk along the ground and have jointed legs so they can jump. The insects you are permitted to eat include all kinds of locusts, bald locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers. All other winged insects that walk along the ground are detestable to you.
Leviticus 11:2‭-‬23 NLT

For someone only seeking to mince words, they might abandon these two passages as irreconcilable.

For someone insistent upon measuring and comparing and debating such things, they will find much of what Jesus teaches to be a stumbling block.

But can you step back from this and see the forest, not just the individual trees — even more importantly, can you see our utter and complete need for God?

Can you shift your perspective from being about what “I” or “they” are doing to be about what He has done? This is the ONLY way you will find yourself at His feet, clearly understanding such things. He is the ONE TRUTH, ONE WAY, ONE LIFE. Amen.

Crave

What does it mean to “crave” something?

When we are talking about the topic of likes, wants, needs, and desires — craving is at the extreme end of the spectrum.

When speaking of “craving” something and I look over my own life — I can see times when I “craved” a lot of things that weren’t necessarily good or healthy for me, but that I was drawn to them so powerfully that I might accept unnecessary risks in order to enjoy those things that I was craving. Cravings for things like sex, food, partying — even professional and social recognition — have at times had me chasing cheap, short term comforts and satisfactions at the risk of more costly long term consequences.

I don’t say this to self denigrate or deprecate — but so that we might consider and agree to the “intensity” that is understood in the word “crave”. And I believe that even a small child watching Sesame Street can appreciate this shared experience of what it means to “crave” something, as they watch Cookie Monster saying, “Me want cookie! Me eat cookie!” and lose control of himself attacking the cookies with a voracious “Nom, nom, nom.”

Now you might believe that from what I’ve written so far, that I’m going to tell you about the “dangers of excess” and that “craving” is bad — as if the key to self improvement is to learn to cage your inner cookie monster and become a good (miserable on the inside, but smiling on the outside) vegan instead. But no, there is a lot of impetus and power and motion that “craving” can bring to our lives. We aren’t just looking for a blandly extended lifeline in this discussion — or encouraging a life built around “no, no, no”, “don’t do that”, “don’t eat that”, etc.

What if we could crave things that were good and healthy and best for our lives instead of craving those other things?

Madness, you say? How can one change his basest and oldest desires and cravings, and trade them in, like an old book at the library, for another?

Haven’t we felt like those innermost desires, needs, “cravings” almost defined “who we really are”, even if we’ve been self controlled enough to “hide them from the world around us” — don’t we know ourselves and who we would be “unchecked, wild, running free”?

—–

At this point, I have to share something ultimately important with you. That yes, those deep down cravings are part of what defines “you” — whether you have those current cravings as a result of your nature, your nurture, or consequences of your own decisions, you only have two options for addressing those cravings. Either you alone have to attempt to control them, or you need help from something outside yourself. And self-control of lower intensity items that are likes, wants, even needs is not quite the same as trying to put out the roaring fire of something that truly is a “craving”.

For me, there were “cravings” that went beyond mere self help books and beyond simply rationally arguing between an angel on one shoulder and devil on the other. Have you ever truly experienced the power and intensity of an unhealthy craving? It seems to have a life and power and influence of its own, beyond your own policing powers, and smarter and more wily than your best prison warden efforts can keep caged.

For me, it would have been nice for many of my unhealthy likes, wants, and desires to be changed to something healthy — but my unhealthy “cravings”, it seems that they HAD TO BE, or it seems that I might have eventually destroyed myself through risks and consequences far too costly to bear.

Luckily for me, I met this man who told me that I could be “born again”, that I could become a “new creation”, that I could be given “a new heart” with”new desires” and in a leap of faith, I said “Yes, I would rather have that. Take that old me, and give me something that looks more like you, Jesus.”

This has to be shared, because without that newness of life being explained and offered to you as well, how could I share this next information without it seeming like I’m telling you to police, cage, and hide the real you to just hypocritically act on the outside as if your “cravings” aware healthy instead of unhealthy?

If you know my Jesus, if you have truly given up on who you were to wholeheartedly abandon the old to see the new revealed in you — please continue reading in the midst of that understanding, that call, to be like little children at His feet.

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
1 Peter 2:2‭-‬3 NLT

Life Application Study Bible
One characteristic all children share is that they want to grow up-to be like big brother or like sister or like their parents. When we are born again, we become spiritual newborn babies. If we are healthy, we will yearn to grow. How sad it is that some people never grow up. The need for milk is a natural instinct for a baby, and it signals the desire for nourishment that will lead to growth. Once we see our need for God’s Word and begin to find nourishment in Christ, our spiritual appetite will increase, and we will start to mature. How strong is your desire for God’s Word?

Handling Insults

I like these two things to think about:

1) Allowing someone to offend you to the point of anger is handing over your joy and happiness to someone else — it is like surrendering the power of your own mindset into their control. A thoughtful and wise person sees insults as a foolish attempt by another to manipulate and control their emotions, and denies them the opportunity by ignoring the insult.

Proverbs 12:16 ESV
The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult.

2) Insults, bitterness, contention, and drama rise up from miserable people like a cancer, looking for someone to share the sickness and spread. Instead of letting them suck you into their misery — offer the exact opposite of what they were seeking to provoke in you. Offer them forgiveness, not because they deserve it, but because it makes it absolutely clear to them that you are free from their influence and control, and because they just might see their own misery and bitterness and want to finally let go of it for something better.

Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Christ went to the cross absolutely innocent and did not see the need to “defend himself”. So that’s a great example that he has given us. And Paul even said things like “bless those who curse you” and “if you only do good to those who do good to you, how are you any different than the world”. We see that even criminals do good in return to those who are good to them. But we are called to love and pray for our enemies.

We are not called to “defend our own honour” because we are told that there is nothing good in us apart from Christ. Any feelings of having to defend our honor is actually us hanging onto our own pride of life, when we are called to die to self daily. If we know that we are not honorable, but that “only God is good”, then we won’t insist on others honoring or glorifying us — in fact, we don’t expect or demand it, because all the honor and glory is due to God alone.

Is this a radical and narrow path? Yes. But when we consider how freeing it is, we’ll find that it is a much lighter burden than holding a grudge, demanding respect, arguing senselessly, etc.

Sing!

Your day will have a message to those around you each day. What will you let take up residence in your attitude, your thoughts, your words, your work TODAY? What will your presence and example teach and demonstrate within your workplace, your home, your cycle of influence? Someone is watching, and someone is following. Whether we realize it or not, we are leading and influencing those around us. Will we live today intentionally and with a purpose? Will we sing a song and advertise something meaningful and useful today?

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Matthew 5:13‭-‬16 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/mat.5.13-16.NLT

Link to original: https://www.smule.com/p/796834962_2024789871

Link to original:

https://www.smule.com/p/151821080_2251795841

So thankful for the opportunity to worship with my dear friend Kimberly Earp Dunn on these songs. Check out her YouTube channel here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/vkdunn95

What seems sweet can be bitter poison

My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel. Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you’ve learned. For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil. But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. For she cares nothing about the path to life. She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it. So now, my sons, listen to me. Never stray from what I am about to say: Stay away from her! Don’t go near the door of her house! If you do, you will lose your honor and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved. Strangers will consume your wealth, and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor. In the end you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body. You will say, “How I hated discipline! If only I had not ignored all the warnings! Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers? Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors? I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace.” Drink water from your own well— share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers. Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman? For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes. An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.
Proverbs 5:1‭-‬23 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/pro.5.1-23.NLT

Consider the Farmers

In today’s instant gratification culture, patiently waiting for something is becoming a foreign concept. When we can speak “Ok Google” or “Alexa” or “Hello Bixby” and have our technology give us answers to any question we can think up, it is hard to remember a day when answers took a dedicated effort, and time, and learned skills in order to research, comprehend, and identify truth. When we can use our Amazon Prime memberships to have everything from technology, to groceries, to clothes, to seeds and plants, to books and manuals, to videos and games, it is hard to remember a day when selections were limited and one had to “travel to town” to resupply.

Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.
James 5:7‭-‬8 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/jas.5.7-8.NLT

Life Application Study Bible
The farmer must wait patiently for his crops to grow; he cannot hurry the process. But he does not take the summer off and hope that all goes well in the fields. There is much work to do to ensure a good harvest. In the same way, we must wait patiently for Christ’s return. We cannot make him come back any sooner. But while we wait, there is much work that we can do to advance God’s kingdom. Both the farmer and the Christian must live by faith, looking toward the future reward for their labors. Don’t live as if Christ will never come. Work faithfully to build his kingdom-the King will come when the time is right.

But the culture of the day is not meant to rule the hearts and minds of Christians. The way the world lives, the way those who do not know Him think, the way those who have no fear of God speak and act — is NOT our way, is NOT the narrow path, is NOT the life of a disciple of Christ with their hand firmly upon the plow. We are to be courageously bold in our faithful kingdom work and purpose — even as we are patiently awaiting His return.

Farming today has changed somewhat, as technology like irrigation, tractors, fertilizing, genetic modification, etc. has all worked to improve efficiency. But no farmer can say “Ok Google”, make my empty and unplanted field bear fruit for me to eat this morning. No, the farmer must still prepare his fields in due season, sow his seed in due season, tend to the weeds and bugs in due season, water and prune his plants in due season, and harvest in due season. So we can still “consider the farmers” as James urges his original audience — and we can appreciate this very different concept of patience that the Word of God calls us back to, even as the world entices us with its promises of instant gratification.

“In due season” stands out. What is due for me to be doing today, in this season? And what do I need to be patiently trusting will come in some future, due season?

I’m giving up on you

https://youtu.be/wd8t3-QS684https://www.smule.com/p/797364732_2863589621It’s hard when we realize that it is time to move on. Whether we have to give up on a relationship, town we live in, job we work at, hobby that we are involved in, bad habit that we are comfortable with, risky behavior or addiction we are wrapped up in, etc. — it is rarely easy for us to part ways with the old, in order to move on to something new.Even when we have seen the warning signs for a long while — many times, we would much rather see the current circumstance “correct itself” rather than us have to uproot something so central to our own lives and introduce drastic changes.Sometimes “I’m giving up on you” is exactly what we need to say to certain things in our lives that we realize hold no hope for our future and are holding us back from where we need to be. It isn’t an easy thing…We aren’t called as Christians to never walk away. We are called to be mindful of not wasting our time and resources in useless and fruitless pursuits, even as we hold out hope and offer mercy.We are not to remain stagnant and ineffective, but to press on.“Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave town. When you enter the home, give it your blessing. If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing. If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day. “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.
Matthew 10:11‭-‬16 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/mat.10.11-16.NLTWhen I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”
1 Corinthians 5:9‭-‬13 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/1co.5.9-13.NLT“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.
Matthew 18:15‭-‬17 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/mat.18.15-17.NLTYou adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.
James 4:4 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/jas.4.4.NLT

Oh Blessed Sickness

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
John 9:1‭-‬2 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/jhn.9.1-2.NLT

Being sick for several days can truly have you amazed that first morning you wake up well.
Some of our greatest blessings go quite unappreciated until we experience their absence.

We have so much to be thankful for that we haven’t even realized or recognized yet!

And if we are living through the realization of a missed or absent blessing that is challenging us today — how amazing it was that we had something so sweet and precious that we can now appreciate it in the trying times. It won’t be dark forever, and whatever blessings you are currently missing won’t be stolen away from you forever. They might just show up to you in the morning in a slightly different form than before.

Let’s be grateful first for today’s blessings and today’s challenging realizations so that we can be gratefully active and humbly reverent — in the right measure and time. Let’s be grateful second for realizing the blessings of days past, for the very same reasons.

And let’s not forget the hope that lies just past the night, the sun breaking through the clouds, the yellow and pink beginning to show on the morning’s horizon as new blessings await.

And mostly of all, let’s not forget ther God from whom all blessings flow, and give Him honor and praise, when He gives and when He takes away. Amen.

——————-

Without the blessed blindness since birth, the man in John 9 wouldn’t have experienced the miraculous healing of Jesus’s spit upon his eyes. Many of us would buy nature rather forgo both the blessed affliction/trial and avoid any thought of God “spitting in my eye” — or we might even encounter the affliction and consider it a curse and say to ourselves, “that God if there is such a thing, has spat in our eye, not blessed us.” Yes, we all have been blind at times to the blessings of revelation that will have eternal consequences, and given up to grumblings instead about our current comfort and ease — not knowing our recognizing what opportunity lies waiting for the hand of God, for the healing power of Jesus, to turn even our current challenge to good.

Trusting in the Lord can see every wall fall, every door torn open, every mountain cast into the sea, and every blessing revealed. Do you want to begin to see how deep the blessings flow in ther Kingdom of God? Do you want to try counting your treasures and find that they all come from the only treasure worth having and keeping?

Do you know that Jesus loves you, and that there is a plan and purpose that you can trust in, because He isn’t seeking to harm you or destroy you but to lift you up to new heights?

“Fall, fall on your knees,

O hear the angel’s voices”

Look to that blessed night, when Christ was born, when God on high took on the lowly flesh of man, to live a sinless life of a persecuted, suffering servant, to die a criminals death so that you can be freed from the bondage of blindness to only what your eyes of flesh could see before — to the glory of ther blessings and mercy of God.

What is Right

Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
James 4:17 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/jas.4.17.NLT

Life Application Study Bible
We tend to think that doing wrong is sin. But James tells us that sin is also not doing right. (These two kinds of sin are sometimes called sins of commission and sins of omission.) It is a sin to lie; it can also be a sin to know the truth and not tell it. It is a sin to speak evil of someone; it is also a sin to avoid him or her when you know he or she needs your friendship. We should be willing to help as the Holy Spirit guides us. If God has directed you to do a kind act, to render a service, or to restore a relationship, do it. You will experience a renewed and refreshed vitality to your Christian faith.

Work/Life Application

Knowing what should be done and failing to do it is just as harmful, and sometimes can be even more harmful within a culture/organization than just doing what is wrong.

Many organizations and people will espouse to values of integrity and honesty in their visible marketing of themselves to others — but what about when the rubber meets the road, and what about when no one is watching?

When you discover that you’ve mistakenly billed a customer for years past for a service that you never provided them — the is a decision at hand. The one only concerned with maximizing profits will say, “Keep on doing it. No sense cutting into our profits for something they don’t even know about.” The one with no true moral center and no heart for cut-throat business either, will prove foolish enough to leave a strong evidentiary trail of fraud (proving both knowledge of past wrongdoing and a conscious decision to not disclose it) by saying, “Just start providing the service now, and we will keep billing for it.” But only the man who gathers wholly the evidence of the oversight, develops a report of the evidence along with a recommendation on offering remedy to the customer is the one who is going to reconcile the liability. To understand this rightly, we must not assume that “hiding” or “ignoring” something wrong will never be discovered. If we were able to recognize and discover the truth, there is a similar chance that the customer will add well. And if they do before we have come to them ourselves with a remedy, chances are that the evidence will either paint us as ignorantly negligent (the liability itself expected to be returned as compensation), or as criminally fraudulent (the liability plus compensation and fines/penalties). We can see that the liability doesn’t disappear by ignoring or hiding it, and that the best option in this case is actually to proactively communicate the oversight and proactively offer a settlement of a portion of the liability.

Think about not only the liability itself, but either the goodwill sown (or the ill will proven), depending on how the situation is handled. If you go to the customer, openly acknowledging the oversight and offering some level of settlement before it is even uncovered by the customer, they will most times see their own mistake in not recognizing the oversight as well, and will find that you are clearly proven trustworthy in your dealings with them. You will also prove to them that the long term viability of ther business relationship and integrity of your reputation is more important to you than the thought of short term gains. This is a valuable commodity in a marketplace of discerning customers, and is a testimony that can be marketed to your advantage for years to come. In comparison, consider what the evidence of a coverup, of fraud, of intentional improper billing would do to your reputation and marketing efforts in the future.

“Right” is not some morality relative manipulating and twistinging of the circumstances to justify what we think is a “reasonably”, “probable risk” to take. That isn’t “right”, it is conscious and intentional “fraud”. And let’s be honest — it risks in the long term liabilities for the promise of short term gains. Let’s not be confused about what is “right”, and let’s not be swayed from seeking to do what is “right”.