Thought #1: Dumas wrote The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo (which are both, for the record, better than their respective movies, although the Jim Caviezel version of Monte Cristo is quite good). However, Dumas is pointing out here that the truth behind his success, his 'impossible' victories as an author, is that he worked. Really hard. How about us? Are we working hard? We find ourselves amazed at some people's success, but it really comes from hard work. As the commercial once quoted Lee Ann Womack, "Before it took me 10 years to be an overnight success."
Thought #2: Half through conceit, half through love of my art: his conceit was his belief that he actually could accomplish something, his love of his art his passion to do it right. Do we have the deep-seated belief that we can actually accomplish something for the Kingdom of God? And the love for Christ to do it right? We seem overly satisified to sit back and hope for the best, or fear the worst, rather than, as William Carey put it: "Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God." We know His strength is the difference maker, but are we doing anything at all?
Prayer: Lord God, I'm not exactly feeling capable today of living out my calling. I need to remember that it is Your strength that changes the world and the people in it anyway, and do all I can.
John 13:1 ->knowing His hour had come: the Cross was not a surprise. The Lord Jesus Christ knew what was going on.
John 13:10 ->There's a difference between the 'cleanliness' of a believer and a non-believer. Believers still need the cleansing, but only of the things they've picked up when out of the presence of God. It's dirty feet, but God will cleanse those dirty feet. Let's get them dirty taking the Gospel!
Isaiah 49:16 ->God does not forget you!
Isaiah 49:4 ->the reward is with God.
Proverbs 30:5 ->Tested=proven.
Proverbs 30:6 ->Seriously, don't do this.
Proverbs 30:8-9 ->Not a bad prayer. This is closer to how we should think about the material things of life...
Proverbs 30:33(ESV) ->Press it, see what it turns into. Pressing people sees what they are capable of as well...
1 Timothy 3:8 ->Deacons should also be held to high standards. Any leadership role in the church, especially the Scriptural offices, God defines, not the church. It's an important distinction.
1 Timothy 3:8 ->Honest speech and monetary behavior? How many problems have we Baptists had because we don't hold our deacons to this verse? Seriously. Most of the deacon-pastor problems I've ever heard of would not have happened with 1 Timothy 3:8 deacons and 1 Timothy 3:3 pastors. In fact, I'd say here in 1 Timothy is where we depart most seriously from the Bible in seeking church leadership. If we'd get back to it, as much as anything else in Scripture, we'd see much greater things. And if we'd emphasize all of the qualities, instead of making our checklist look like this:
Pastors: Is he male? Is he divorced? Does he use alcohol? Yes, no, no. Ok, he's qualified...
Deacons: Is he male? Is he divorced? Does he have a successful business or a lot of money? Yes, no, yes. Ok, he's qualified.
That's not exactly what the Book says, is it?