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Monday, September 25, 2006
"I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us" (3 John 9).
We have both a cat and a dog. We've had our cat Dottie for over 5 years now and she clearly runs the house and easily has our much larger two year old dog Roxie under her control. If Dottie chooses to lie down on Roxie's pillow so be it. Roxie will lie down beside her watching timidly until Dottie decides to get up and leave.
But Dottie likes to find creative new places to lie down. If I drape my jacket over the couch she has to check it out. I suppose she's assessing whether it might be just a bit more comfortable than all the other familiar places. On Saturday afternoon Brooksyne came into our home office and there was Dottie lying right across the laptop keyboard. Perhaps the keys had a therapeutic, comforting affect on her belly as she was sleeping. (Actually I imagine if I were able to lie down on a 6½ foot keyboard it might be rather comfortable in a strange sort of way!)
Beginning Saturday evening I noticed several problems with the laptop. The screen was dark and the wireless would not work. Initially I made no association with the problem and Dottie's lying on the computer so I spent several hours troubleshooting the problem to my great frustration. Finally yesterday afternoon I discovered that the problem was related to Dottie's siesta on the keyboard. She had hit several key combinations disrupting the computer! Now Dottie is just a cat and I'm sure she wasn't trying to be disruptive but that's not always the case with people, who really should know better.
Diotrephes is one of those interesting Bible characters who remind us that the early church had problem people just like churches in our own day and throughout the generations. But he was a real corker! His character is summed up in the phrase "loves to be first." Apparently he never learned the childhood concept expressed in the simple acronym "JOY" (Jesus, others & you, what a wonderful way to spell joy.)
There are four rather obscure Bible characters whose names begin with "D" and Diotrephes is one of them. In the passage the beloved Apostle John goes on to say, "So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church" (v. 10). The descriptive adjective for this Bible character is "Disruptive Diotrephes". Now I have dealt with some troubled people through the years and a few real troublemakers as well, but really, no one at all like this Diotrephes!
I sure don't want to be like Disruptive Diotrephes! I'd rather follow the example of Dedicated Demetrius, another obscure Bible character whose story is told in 3 John as well. "Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true" (v.12).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, I desire to honor You as I develop and maintain healthy relationships with others in the body of Christ. Help me to resist the temptation to always be first as I put to death my selfish nature. I want to apply Your love and grace toward others, especially in matters where I lack understanding or where I may express myself differently than those who have authority over me. Remind me to be quick to pray and slow to criticize so that I do not disrupt the work of the Holy Spirit in my life or in the life of the church. Amen.
Saturday afternoon we had a neighberhood picnic at our place. As the kids played we adults gathered around in a circle sharing the blessings of living out in the country!
Everyone welcome! Although we realize this invitation will only apply to a relative few who receive our daily encouragement messages we would like to invite you to a Praise and Worship service on October 14 at my Amish neighbor's barn. We will also have another neighbor sharing a hay ride prior to the worship service. Brooksyne will be leading the worship. More details will be forthcoming.
Brooksyne's Note: A portion of a song I used to sing with children has a tremendous message for all ages and is worth memorizing. It's a great little poem to share with your children or grandchildren as well.
J is for Jesus, for He has first place
O is for others you meet face to face
Y is for you in whatever you do
Put yourself last and spell JOY!
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
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