Saturday, June 23, 2012

Moses Takes Matters Into His Own Hand - Exodus 2:11-12


Now it came about in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren.  So he looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

Moses, the Hebrew, grows up in the Egyptian household of the Pharaoh’s daughter as her adopted son.  Someone must have told him his real origin and how it was that it came about for him to live in such luxury.  What is interesting is that most likely Pharaoh would have known as well.  And it must have irked him that this own daughter chose to get around his decree by saving the baby in the basket and later adopting him.  He must have had to just accept it in silence while boiling inside.

The Scriptures record that as Moses was walking about one day among his Hebrew brothers, who for the most part, were slaves, he noticed an Egyptian overseer beating one of them.  We would assume such beating was not just nudges to encourage the slave to work hard, but actual physical abuse beyond necessity.  Moses was likely most aware of how his people were being treated but being an eyewitness to this particular event was probably all he could take.  He had to act.

Many times in life we ourselves get to the point where we cannot take it any longer – we must act.  The injustices either to others or to us are too much to ignore and action must be taken.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Injustice must be fought.  I recently heard an interview about the 1996 movie, Breaking the Code, a biography of the English mathematician Alan Turing, who was one of the inventors of the digital computer and one of the key figures in the breaking of the Enigma code, used by the Germans to send secret orders to their U-boats in World War II.  Action had to be taken.  The Code had to be broken.  Turing is credited with shortening the war by as much as two years and thus saving millions of lives.  In it there is a line that goes something like this, “It is not breaking the code that matters so much as what one does after he breaks it.”  Yes, seeing the need for, and deciding to take action is clearly important oftentimes, but what action we take and how we do it, is much more critical.

And I think this is where Moses went wrong.  He took matters into his own hands.  Again, those of us who know the whole story know this wouldn’t be the last time he did so.  But here, the text tells us he intentionally looked one way and then the other to see if anyone else was watching and seeing no one, he decided to kill the Egyptian slave driver and then hide him in the sand.  The very need for us to have to “look to see that no one is watching” before we take action should be a clear signal to us that we are about to do something we should not.  It should tell us that we are about to commit sin and take wrongful action.  I also believe that if we are calm enough to first look around before striking, then we’re calm enough not to strike either.  Another solution could be found.

And then Moses knowing he had done wrong, had to take the next step and cover his wrongdoing by burying or hiding the Egyptian he killed in the sand.  And so it is for us – one sin leads to another when we take matters into our own hands.  And as we’ll soon find out in the case of Moses, the perfect crime or the perfect murder, has always been a most rare event.  And in the sight of God, it is non-existent.

[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

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Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

God Writes Another Perfect Script - Exodus 2:6-10


When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the boy as crying.  And she had pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”  Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?”  And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go ahead.”  So the girl went and called the child’s mother.  Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me and I shall give you your wages.”  So the woman took the child and nursed him.  And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son.  And she named him Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

So Pharaoh’s daughter gets the basket that the baby boy had been placed in (in an attempt to save him from getting murdered as was the decree of the Pharaoh) brought to her and sure enough – the baby was crying.  You and I would be too if we were floating by some reeds in the Nile River, hungry or not.  But here’s the interesting thing – we are told that right away she knew it was a child of one of the Hebrew women.  There was no way that this could be hidden – perhaps from the clothing that the baby was wrapped in.  God does not expect us to deceive others or lie about who we are while going about our daily lives for Him even amongst those that may not see things our way.  In the movie, A Night With the King, the story of Queen Esther, there is a scene where Mordecai, when asked who he was by Haman who was on a campaign to kill all Jews, had no qualms in telling him the truth – he was indeed a Jew.  We are to stand up for our spiritual citizenship in all circumstances.  Not doing so and denying our membership in the body of Christ can only be to our shame and possible detriment, and to His great sadness.

The baby’s sister then spoke up.  She had been willing to serve in this urgent need of the family.  She was obedient, she was patient as she waited in hiding by the reeds down a ways from where the basket had been left, and she was fearless in meeting the daughter of the Egyptian ruler.  For those of us who know already who this baby was and what his future role in God’s plan for His people was, we can well ask ourselves – “Had it not been for his older sister, how different might this baby’s path to the very end God had in mind been for him been?”  God would still have used him if that was His plan, but the road to that would have been quite dissimilar.  As we think of Moses’ sister, we must ask ourselves if we’re willing to be used by God to facilitate the spiritual service of someone else without much recognition for our own part?  And it may even go beyond that.  Saying we would is one thing; actively being aware of the need to implement our intentions when God provides the opportunities is another.  Looking for such opportunities of service is yet one step beyond.  Let us hope we are up to being faithful in that way, knowing our reward comes from above.

Now we can assume that the baby’s sister was indeed given some instructions by her mother as to what to say if and when someone, likely the Pharaoh’s daughter who regularly bathed in the area, came to discover the baby.  So she jumps out and asks the Pharaoh’s daughter if she should go and get a nurse from among the Hebrew women to take care of the child for her.  We do not know if the ‘princess’ had already decided to keep the baby, but certainly after this great offer, the option became a possibility and then with her immediate response, a reality.  After all, how difficult was it to agree to keep such a “beautiful” baby especially when it would be taken care of by someone else?  Perhaps this may also speak as to why it was noted in the text so clearly that his own mother had considered him ‘beautiful’ – God’s plans are always so complete, so advanced, so detailed.

Now here’s the bonus.   God arranges for the baby to be given back to its own natural mother for initial upbringing.  And there’s more – the baby’s mother gets reimbursed in wages for taking care of her own child.  God remarkably arranged for the needs or provisions for this family.  God seems to have this incredible ability to take care of our needs as we participate in His plans.  Learning that lesson in our lives can make a world of difference in our service to Him.

For her part, the baby’s mother raised the child in her home and we assume, at an agreed to point in time, she returned the baby to the princess who adopted him formerly and also named him.  Moses, literally means “drawn out/from” for in his case, he was indeed drawn out of the water.

The introduction to life for this infant who was to play a critical role in the history of the Jewish people and ultimately all the children of God, was nothing short of spectacular.  No secular author could have written a more exciting and perfect script!  

[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

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Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Talk, Talk, Talk


It’s time to talk (well, really write) about talking.  For most healthy individuals, talking is accessible through one of the original five senses I believe were wired into us by the Creator.  As such, I consider it a gift each of us can utilize, one that our listeners may potentially enjoy, and when used for the purpose of solving problems while accompanied by positive actions, one the world can benefit from.  And yet we seem to have generally failed to harness its healing and comforting potential, mismanaged its power, and turned a blind eye (strangely using another one of our senses) to its shortcomings.

One of the best experiences that an individual can have in life is to hear someone speak words of comfort to them.  Examples that come to mind are the words of Jesus to each of us, the loving expressions of a parent, the adoring words of a lover, the understanding of a friend, and the favorable decision of one in authority.  Yet many of us fail to recognize the impact our words may have on others.  If so we would take greater care to form them and to utter them more often.  For example, when was the last time you really “I love you” to the one you love and meant it?  Even if we’ve been recipients of such comfort, we tend to forget the need for us to pass it on to others at times when they may best benefit from it.

At the same time, ever since the events in the Garden of Eden, mankind has mismanaged the power of talking by using it falsely.  Lies have been uttered to get one’s way, to avoid responsibility, to cheat, steal, control others, and ultimately to provide reason to fire, kill, and eliminate people.  Politicians use lies to get elected.  Unscrupulous preachers use them to make great gains.  Men use them to get their way with women and women use them to deceive men, and, lest you’re ready to pounce on me, vice-versa.
All of us, under certain circumstances, all fall prey to the sin of turning a blind eye to at least one shortcoming of ‘talking’ – and that is, that unless it is accompanied by the action it speaks of, it is indeed useless and often harmless.  Idle words are just that.  Not just talking of love, but showing it, is what really matters as the song from the musical My Fair Lady reminds us.   “Promises, promises, promises” are just that whether they come from a loved one, a barker at the fair, or the leader of a nation.  So are threats, just threats unless carried out.  But generally speaking many of us continue to support the individuals that do not deliver beyond their words.  We listen to the things they say, accept their excuses for not delivering on what they said they would do, and continue to trust them.  And by so doing, we encourage the repeated behavior.  The man who promises to stop having his affairs, continues them, and his spouse just keeps hoping he will change.  The politician is not more transparent as he promised, but becomes more corrupt, and we re-elect him.  The abuser still abuses.  The addict continues to engage in his addiction.  People are hurt.  Things go from bad to worse.  All seems helpless.  Thank goodness that some of us fortunately have learned the value of what is called “Tough Love”.   Wikipedia says this about it: Tough love is an expression used when someone treats another person harshly or sternly with the intent to help them in the long run. The phrase was evidently coined by Bill Milliken when he wrote the book Tough Love in 1968 and has been used by numerous authors since then.  In most uses, there must be some actual love or feeling of affection behind the harsh or stern treatment to be defined as tough love. For example, genuinely concerned parents refusing to support their drug-addicted child financially until he or she enters drug rehabilitation would be said to be practicing tough love.  Athletic coaches who maintain strict rules and highly demanding training regimens, but who care about their players, could also be said to be practicing tough love.”  More of us would be wise to use it more often as required – on children, employees (and also employers), friends, lovers, and above all, on politicians.
You may wonder how on earth it was that I ever came to write this blog.  It all began quite innocently when I read the quote of American author, William Dean Howells (1837-1920), in his book, The Rise of Silas Lapham.  He makes this observation through one of his characters:  “There would be very little talking at dinner if one only said the things that one was sure of.”

What would dinners be like without discussions about rumors we’ve heard, assumptions we make, beliefs that we hold, and of course our own ‘promises’ to others present or otherwise?  (“Yes, we’ll do lunch.”  “I’ll be sure to write.”  “I’ll call you tonight.”  “The check is in the mail.” And so on.)  Worse still, what would political debates and White House press conferences be like if the ‘talkers’ only told us what “is” instead of “what they can do”?  Have you had enough yet?  I have.  Now, it’s your turn.  Go ahead, “talk, talk, talk” but don’t forget to let your “yea be yea and your nay be nay”.


[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

Thanks for dropping by. Sign up to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends. Ken Godevenos, Church and Management Consultant, Accord Consulting.

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

God Intervenes To Protect Whom He Plans To Utilize -- Exodus 2:1-5


Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi.  And the woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months.  But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch.  Then she put the child into it, and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile.  And his sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him.  Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, with her maidens walking alongside the Nile; and she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid, and she brought it to her.

In this day and age when western liberals seem to be pushing so hard for homosexual rights in the world, it is so good to read the first two verses of Exodus chapter 2.  A man marries a woman and they conceive a child.  How refreshing; how just the way it was intended to be.

The man and woman were both from the house of Levi.  By this point in time, the descendants of Levi, one of Jacob’s twelve sons had grown in size.  You will remember back in Genesis 49 Jacob had predicted that they would be too zealous, violent, and associated with wickedness.  Eventually they were to scatter and be given cities among various regions of all or many of the other tribes.  Marrying within a tribe was not a problem given the generations that had come to pass from Levi onward.

And in the midst of an edict by Pharaoh that all Hebrew male babies were to be cast into the Nile, this woman conceives a son.  Can you imagine the mixed emotion of happiness for having a child and at the same time such sorrow knowing that child was to be killed if found out?

Interestingly enough the text comments that the mother hides the baby boy for three months when she realizes that he is so beautiful.  A word structure such as that would understandably give many of us trouble.  Aren’t all, or at least, most babies beautiful?  Does the text imply that if the baby were not beautiful, she would not have tried to hide him?  What is the writer really saying here?  The King James Version actually says, “he was a goodly child”.  The NIV says a “fine child” and the New Living Translation says a “special” baby.  That does help, but not much.   If the mother was a good one, and we can assume by her actions that she was, would she not have hidden the baby even if he was not ‘beautiful, goodly, or fine’?  I think she would have.  The only reasonable explanation I can think of is that she considered the baby to be quite a quiet one, a good baby, one that would not be loudly crying all the time so as to be heard by any passing Egyptian agents of the Pharaoh.

David Guzik, using what we do not learn about until we get to the book of Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 23 in the New Testament, tells us that this baby’s parents hid him until he was three months old out of their faith in God and because they did not fear the Pharaoh’s decree.  It seems reasonable then that we accept once again the fact that “scripture answers scripture” whenever we have a question and we would be foolish not to accept it in this case.

The baby’s parents (we have to wait until we get to Exodus chapter 6 to learn their names) were also reasonable people.  They realized they could not hide the young boy forever and so God provided them with another idea.  They would turn the child over to God by placing him in a wicker basket and allowing him to float on top of the Nile River, rather than be cast into it to drown.  Their God-given wisdom went much further as they applied tar and pitch to the outside of the basket to make it waterproof allowing the baby to survive much longer with the hope of his being rescued by someone outside the decree of Pharaoh.

This very act of the parents is not only very brave, but also well calculated and incredibly faith-based.  Based on observation, the parents knew they had to do something with the baby.  One possible way that he could have survived was if an Egyptian adopted him.  And what better Egyptian to adopt the baby than the Pharaoh’s daughter who was known to regularly come to that part of the Nile River and bathe, along with her entourage.  The act of placing the baby in the Nile, albeit near its reeds by the bank of the river, was also very symbolic as it was the very same Nile that was intended to act as the burial place of the infant in accordance to the Pharaoh’s decree.   Sometimes, to carry out God’s will, we have to go into the Niles of our life, being reliant only on the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to pull us out and lead us onward in His service.  And that is exactly what God intended to do for this Hebrew baby boy.

But are we as parents able to match the fervor with which these parents trusted in their God?  As adults, would you and I be willing to place our own life into that symbolic wicker basket and entrust our future solely on His grace?

More evidence of the wisdom and creativity of the baby’s parents was shown when they assigned the baby’s older sister to go and wait by the reeds, somewhat out of the way due to distance, in order to observe what would happen to the baby and whether or not it would indeed by found by Pharaoh’s daughter or her maidens.

And sure enough, like clockwork in God’s own time Pharaoh’s daughter found the basket.  We don’t know if it was the same hour or day or longer from the time it was placed there, but likely not too long after as the baby would have gotten hungry and cried [which we learn later it was], and likely not have survived without more divine intervention overnight.)  God’s timing in His plan is perfect – it was then; it is now; and it will be tomorrow.  One of my favorite gospel songs is one that became popular in the first decade of the 21st century.  It was called Four Days Late and originally put out by the “Karen Peck and New River” group.  Here are the lyrics:

The news came that Jesus
Please come fast
Lazarus is sick
And without your help he will not last

Mary and Martha watched their brother die
They waited for Jesus
He did not come
And they wondered why

The dead watch was over
Berried four days
Somebody said
"He'll soon be here, the Lord's on his way"

Martha ran to him and then she cried
"Lord if you had been here
You could have healed him,
He'd still been alive"

But Lord, four days late
And all help is gone
Lord we don't understand
Why you waited so long

But his way is God's way
Not yours or mine
And isn't it great
When he's four days late
He's still on time

Jesus said
"Martha, show me the grave"
But she said
"Lord, you don't understand,
He's been there four days"

The grave stone was rolled back
Then Jesus cried
Lazarus come forward
Then somebody said
"He's alright, he's alive"

You may be fighting a battle of fear
You cry to the Lord
"I need you"
But he has not appeared

Friend don't be discouraged
'Cause he's still the same
He'll soon be here
He'll roll back the stone
And he'll call out your name

But he's four days late
And all help is gone
Lord we don't understand
Why you waited so long

But his way is God's way
Not yours or mine
And isn't it great
When he's four days late
He's still on time

He's still on time
Oh my God ...
When he's four days late
He's still on time
He's still on time

That’s the God we can rely on.  That’s the God we must rely on when life requires us to place our ‘baby’ in this world’s Niles.  That’s the God that has a plan for our baby and us.  We can do nothing about His timing except be patient, living every moment in faith and obedience.  I pray each of us will engage the grace He is willing to expend on us this day.


[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

Thanks for dropping by. Sign up to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends. Ken Godevenos, Church and Management Consultant, Accord Consulting.


Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

How Women Usurp Control of Men’s Castles


Still reading the American 1885 classic The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells, Penguin Classics, 1986.  Chapter VIII begins with this most insightful description of what transpires between well-experienced husband and wife when the very high society Mrs. Corey returns home from her summer stay.  Her husband had not gone with her, but preferred the quietness of his year-round residence instead.  Howells writes:

A week after she had parted with her son at Bar Harbor, Mrs. Corey suddenly walked in upon her husband in their house in Boston.  He was at breakfast, and he gave her the patronizing welcome with which the husband who has been staying in town all summer receives his wife when she drops down upon him from the mountains or the sea-side.  For a little moment she feels herself strange in the house, and suffers herself to be treated like a guest, before envy of his comfort vexes her back into possession and authority.  Mrs. Corey was a lady, and she did not let her envy take the form of open reproach.

The fact that the return home was a surprise in no way exempts Howells’ description of the coming home from being an accurate one.  Had she pre-warned Mr. Corey of her arrival, the author’s observation would have been identical.  Note the execution of the “patronizing welcome” by the husband.  Of course in reality that could range (as it likely does with couples today) from the very cold and reserved, “Oh, you’re home” to the very amorous, the details of which I will spare you and leave to the imagination.

But it is the next sentence that I found most excellently constructed.  He writes, “For a little moment she feels herself strange in the house….”  It is a common experience and any husband who cares to observe, will see it.   It is during that very moment that a wife is really taking notice of what state the house is in before she decides to take command back from the husband who served only as a temporary stand-in in what she believes to be her rightful place.

His next phrase is priceless as he adds, “…and suffers herself to be treated like a guest”.  There you have it.  Even that one short moment of time when a wife is not in charge of the castle, we now find out that it is as an intentional and calculated sacrifice that she allows it to take place.  Just when we thought we had control for a slight moment when she actually was in the same building as us, we find out that this too is a moment under her jurisdiction.

But alas, the moment is indeed short lived because as Howells implies most women do not have the ability to fight back the envy that arises within, desperately wanting to regain the control they had given up in their absence and for a moment in their presence as well.  Howells explains that it is the “envy of his comfort” that “vexes her back into possession and authority.”  Rare is the woman that wants to see her husband comfortable.  This is not to be confused with the desire of many a ‘mother’ to see her ‘son’ comfortable.  In fact, it is often the mother of the husband that makes a big deal of the wife not allowing her husband to have his sufficient peace and rest on a regular basis.

And this takeover, Howells wisely points out, is all done without any form of visible “open reproach”.  There is no need to verbally announce the takeover or to push anyone aside.  It just happens without implicitly saying that the household castle is about to undergo a changing of the guard and without any real opposition.

I do not think there is a husband alive who has been married at least a decade that has not experienced the very thing that Howells describes in this short paragraph above.  And from my own personal observation of many a household as well as that of 41 years of matrimonial co-habitation, I can vouch that it is probably a good thing.

It is just that some of us are fortunate enough the woman in charge in our case is indeed a benevolent dictator.  And for those of us that have been doubly blessed by having a woman who fears God as our spouse, we know we’ll never really be taken advantage of, or thrust into matrimonial hardship, or see our children and our homes at a disadvantage because of the selfishness or stubbornness or immorality or maliciousness of our wives.  For that I am eternally indebted to God and my spouse.


[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

Thanks for dropping by. Sign up to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends. Ken Godevenos, Church and Management Consultant, Accord Consulting.

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Blessings Are Often Followed By Challenges - Exodus 1:21-22:


And it came about because the midwives feared God, that He established households for them.  Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you are to cast into the Nile, and every daughter you are to keep alive.”

Clearly in the verses prior to these, the text says, “God was good to the midwives”.  But in verse 21, we are faced with the possibility that the actual blessing of “establishing households” may not refer to the midwives alone, but to the Hebrews as a whole.  It is possible that the Hebrews, up to this point lived in temporary dwellings even on land that had been given to them.  And now they were being allowed, by God’s providence, to build more permanent homes – all because the Egyptians wanted to make sure they hung around to be slaves.  God has an amazing ability to use the perceived needs of others to bless His children.

If, on the other hand, the “them” here does refer to the midwives, then here we find the real reason why God blessed these women.  As we indicated in our comments on the preceding verses, it was not their possible lying to the Pharaoh that God honored.  It was their awesome fear of God that caused them to disobey the Pharaoh and the reason why God “established households” for them.  If so, we can suggest that God does bless those that facilitate good in life, not just those that are beneficiaries of the act done.  Thus, we have in the New Testament Jesus saying, “blessed are the peacemakers”.

The more the Hebrews were blessed by God, the more anxious Pharaoh and the Egyptians became about their growth and success in the land.  With his original plans of using the midwives to reduce their number by killing infants at birth thwarted the way it was, Pharaoh now turns to his own people with a new decree.  He wants them to drown every male child born to the Hebrews in the Nile River.

As I sit here and write these words, I am reminded that even with all that is going on in the world today between both Muslims and the social liberal elites of the West against Christianity, global data indicates that the number of Christians is still growing, although Islam may be growing at a faster rate.  The data sources certainly disagree at this time on which is the larger and/or the fastest growing religion.  In any case, as the number of Christians either grows or as the faith does not die off as quickly as some would like, I wonder what modern-day ‘Pharaohs’ may dream up for us next.  And more importantly, how we will react to it individually and as a Body.

Yesterday, I met someone who has decided to opt out of all concern with respect to world events and find his peace within himself.  In fact, he even went as far as to say something to the effect that “there is no turmoil in the world as long as I am at peace with and within myself.”  I am sorry new friend, but your closing your eyes, ears, and mind to world enmity does not make it go away.  The reality is that many do hate Christians today more than ever before and the time will come when, like the Hebrews in Egypt, we can only rely on the salvation that comes by the hand of the Almighty.  In the meantime, let’s pray we all remain true to Him.

Indeed, blessings are most often followed by challenges, especially in the lives of God’s people.  The secret is to harness the growth and development that can occur during their presence.


[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

Thanks for dropping by. Sign up to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends. Ken Godevenos, Church and Management Consultant, Accord Consulting.

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Why You Didn’t Ever Become . . . (fill in your own blank here) . . .


I’m continuing my reading of the American 1885 classic The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells, Penguin Classics, 1986.  Thus, I came across a most interesting statement about one of his characters, the now elderly Mr. Bromfield Corey.  Howells is commenting on Corey’s ability, when he was much younger, as a painter and says this:

. . . he might have made himself a name as a painter of portraits if he had not had so much money.  But he had plenty of money, though by this time he was married and beginning to have a family.  It was absurd for him to paint portraits for pay, and ridiculous to paint them for nothing; so he did not paint them at all.

As I read that, three thoughts came to mind.  First, that so many of us feel we never become what we may really have been good at.  Second, that I can distinctly remember what I thought I really wanted to do and likely would have been very good at and even the reason or reasons why I didn’t become any of those things.  And third, that sometimes the reason or reasons for us not to become what we could have or should have become is/are most inane.  Let me explain.

Many of us never become what we would have been really good at, or so it seems.  Why else would we so often hear, in the course of our lives, sentences that begin with “You should have been . . .”?  But I am not so sure about it being an actual fact that many of us don’t become what we would have been good at, especially these days when so many of us have at our disposable access to all sorts of experiences and education.  Sure, we often don’t become what we may have wanted to become, but is there actually any way of knowing whether we would have been good at that?  I don’t think so.  I think we become what we become due to many circumstances in life, opportunity among them.  But the issue of knowing what we really would have been good at is much more complex.  It has internally to do, among other things, with who we are – physically, emotionally, intellectually.  In fact, it has also to do externally with opportunity, money, and the lifestyle and values of our parents.  In fact, so multifaceted are the reasons we end up being who we are that we are almost induced to believe, as difficult as that may be in some cases, that what we actually end up being is what we are or could be best at.

Howells description of Corey’s ability as a painter brought back to my mind what I really thought I wanted to do when I was a youth and what I thought I likely would have been very good at, along with reasons why I didn’t become any of those things.  My earliest recollection was that I wanted to be a preacher like Billy Graham.  For one reason or another that didn’t last long, especially once I had discovered Ben Casey and Dr. Kildare on television.  That fantasy stayed with me a long time.  At least until I discovered that my grades were not conducive to medical school admission requirements.  I tried to rationalize the disqualification by avowing that I couldn’t stand the sight of blood anyway, unless it was in response to an emergency caused by a serious accident. (I actually had such an experience during my teenage years when we witnessed such an accident on the New York State Thruway once.  I managed to cover with a towel the seriously slashed and almost severed leg of an injured party until the medics arrived.  But talking about it still causes me some queasiness.)

When it came time to pursue university, I announced I was going to be a Psychologist, picking the closest thing to Medicine that one could pursue without having to have the marks for medical school.  Things were going well until the ‘love’ bug hit me and I wanted to get on with my ability to earn money so I could marry.  So, instead, I took the shortest route to a profession and attained, after my arts degree in Psychology, an education degree in Counseling.  That worked and from there it was only a matter of time before I left teaching for greener pastures in the world of Corporate Human Resources.  I am sure each reader could go through a similar description of what he or she thought they wanted to be and why they never got there.  I recommend the exercise highly as a means of knowing yourself just a little better.   Would I have been good at a preacher, a doctor, or a psychologist?  Chances are good, I am told.  And you know, in the course of life even today, in two out of those three, I often act in that capacity to the extent the laws allow.  I am confident you would find the same thing in your case if you chose to thing about it.

I contend that sometimes the reason or reasons for us not to become what we could have or should have become is/are most inane.  Why is it so absurd, as Howells suggests, for a rich person to paint for money?  Or, why is it so absurd for a rich person to paint for nothing?  It isn’t if we don’t want it to be.  The problem is we are apt to follow or be dictated to by the absurd thoughts and feelings of society or our parents and thus miss out on what we may have been good at or more importantly, what we really may have enjoyed doing.  And did I really have an aversion to blood that could not have easily been overcome with practice? -- Who knows?  Was my lack of higher marks not something that could be changed? – Of course it could have been.  Was I not able to satisfy my desire to marry early and still finish my graduate Psychology degree? – Yes, many married couples spend their first few years of marriage putting one of the two through school.  No, the more I think about it, the more I realize what is really absurd in Corey’s case is that he did not paint at all.  Perhaps it is much akin to the absurdity of why many of us did not follow the interests and passions of our youth that we could have followed with some boldness and perseverance.

I do not want to end this piece without pointing out a discovery that we have all likely made at one point or another in our lives.  And that is that when asked as adults what we would rather be doing today in the way of a profession, we seldom respond with any of the things that we thought we wanted to do as a young child or even as a teenager.  In my case, if I had my druthers today, I would want to be either a lawyer or an advertising genius.  My life experience has told me that it is really lawyers that rule the world albeit badly and it is creative advertising that has the greatest influence on people.  I love intellectual challenge which both of these professions provide.  I didn’t know that about myself when I was six or sixteen.  I bet you would find the same thing if you did likewise – your view of what is most worthy of doing now is different than what it was early in your existence.

But when all is said and done, what really matters is not so much what we have or what we do, but really true success is measured by who we are as a person and how we see ourselves.  Fortunate is the man or woman that has found him- or her-self by knowing his or her Creator and being contend with what he or she does with, and through, Him.

[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

Thanks for dropping by. Sign up to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends. Ken Godevenos, Church and Management Consultant, Accord Consulting.



Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Fighting Within Marriage


I did it.  I came down to the beach for a very short vacation and I didn’t bring any books.  How foolish of me.  Fortunately, I carry a list of “books I’m willing to read” as a note in my iPhone and I was able to pick some up at the local “Books A Million” outlet.  I’m now enjoying one of them.  And wouldn’t you know it, it is “fiction” – a very rare pursuit of mine.  When one of the serious magazines I read (yes, there are a few still out there) recommends it as must reading for its readers, I try to find it when a need arises as it did this week.

Such is the case with the American 1885 classic The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells, Penguin Classics, 1986.  Howells was a contemporary of Mark Twain.  I won’t try and sell you on Howells ability as a writer – it’s quite impressive – but I wanted to share some of his thinking and wisdom that he injects into his work so well.  Let me begin with some of his thoughts on fighting within marriage.

He concludes chapter III of his book with a real affecting fight between his main character, Silas Lapham, and his wife.   He commences chapter IV with this paragraph:

THE silken texture of the marriage tie bears a daily strain of wrong and insult to which no other human relation can be subjected without lesion; and sometimes the strength that knits society together might appear to the eye of faltering faith the curse of those immediately bound by it.  Two people by no means reckless of each other’s rights and feelings, but even tender of them for the most part, may tear at each other’s heart-strings in this sacred bond with perfect impunity; though if they were any other two they would not speak or look at each other again after the outrages they exchange.  It is certainly a curious spectacle, and doubtless it ought to convince an observer of the divinity of the institution.  If the husband and wife are blunt, outspoken people like the Laphams, they do not weigh their words; if they are more refined, they weigh them very carefully, and know accurately just how far they will carry, and in what most sensitive spot they may be planted with most effect.

How true.  If you’ve been married for a while, think back at some of the whopper fights that you have had with your spouse and see if Howells is not exactly right.  A strong marriage can withstand such an interchange like no other relationship.  In my experience, even the blood-bond between parent and child is not that capable.

And is it not also correct that for some crazy reason, two people that otherwise may love each other very deeply, can, as a result of some triggered emotion or memory caused by something done afresh, something seen anew, and something said again, start tearing each other apart verbally, emotionally, and god-forbid, sometime physically?

In this day and age when so much is being said about what is and what is not a marriage relationship, I found it interesting that Howells writing 125 years ago gives us a new reason to consider its divine origin – the very fact it was built to withstand such storms and be able to successfully forget them.

Finally, Howells manages to work in yet one more clever observation and that is the two main different styles couples use when engaging in such battles – the one, like the Laphams that allows them to be perfectly blunt with each other, and the one that employs careful calculations to disguise the sending of the missiles but not the hurts that result.  Although we can never be too sure, because he is author who does not impose on his readers, he seems to me to be recommending the former as a much more honorable approach and one that allows both players to remain whole in every respect.

Perhaps it’s time for all of us to rethink how we approach doing battle with our spouses.  A healthy domestic fight can and should often strengthen the marriage, not scar it.

Where we may part company with Howells is how he describes the end of fights between the Laphams a few pages later:

With those two there was never anything like an explicit reconciliation.  They simply ignored a quarrel . . .

While the key is to come to a point of peace and start to re-engage with each other positively, there is, I believe, a better way than simply calling a truce.  To call a truce especially by ignoring to continue quarreling leaves the parties with no lessons learned, no reason to do anything different, and perhaps nothing settled with respect to what may have given rise to the dispute in the first place.  Yet sadly enough this is exactly how many couples, if not the majority, seem to handle their clashes.  They never talk about the conflict itself and how it impacted them or how it could have been handled different.  And before they know it, they repeat the performance soon thereafter – with either a different issue or sometimes, even the same one.

Can that change?  I believe so.  Let’s start with being aware of how we fight.  Let’s admit that Howells has got a pretty good front row seat by our marriage’s ‘boxing ring’ that enables him to peg us oh so well.  Then let’s commit to doing something different, something better, something that will bring about more lasting change in our approach to handling the wrangles in our relationships.

For those of us who are people of faith, our relationship with our Heavenly Father, His Son our Savior, and Holy Scriptures, provides us each with additional resources for success in this regard.


[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

Thanks for dropping by. Sign up to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends. Ken Godevenos, Church and Management Consultant, Accord Consulting.

Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

Finally, if you like what you read here, you may want to donate to my favourite charity, SCA International, by clicking on the logo below. Ken.