In my reading through the Chronicles of the Kings, today a very familiar name emerged: Uzziah in chapter 26 of II Chronicles. Many of us know that name because of Isaiah 6..."in the year that King Uzziah died." I was wrecked as I read of his reign for he DID follow God, and God gave him great success. His military was great and he invented new ways to protect Jerusalem. A great guy BUT he began to believe his own press! He became prideful of the success he had and decided he didn't have to follow the statues in the temple because he was so great. God's law stated that only priests from the line of Aaron could burn incense on the altar, but Uzziah thought he was above God's plan and went in and began doing the priest's job. The priests warned him but he became angry while in the temple...the result? Leprosy...until the day he died. He became angry while "serving" in the church! Good thing that never happens today, huh? (insert uncomfortable grunt!) Pride will cause us to do things we should never do, and often when we are confronted with our "sin" we become angry. The angry outbursts while doing "God's work" in our churches never serve the kingdom. As a matter of fact, they will cause the church to have a type of leprosy that keeps people away. Pride does that and is why we need to be constantly aware of it in our own lives. When God gives success, He gets the glory! Oh, and we NEVER get to take the reins! Today, realize that perhaps like me, your pet sin is pride. Believe me, it will be your downfall if you don't give it over to God. While we know He loves us and we are precious in His sight, we are not equal and we must keep that in perspective. Remember, "Pride goes before a fall!" Proverbs 16:18
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
It is wonderful that God places people in our lives to help us in our Christian journey but there is a temptation to rely too heavily on people...let me explain. Young king Joash (in II Chronicles 24) had a priest named Jehoiada who guided him in the ways of the LORD. Things were going very well for Judah and then Jehoidada died. After his death, Joash and the leaders abandoned the ways of the LORD even to the point of killing Jehoiada's son when he tried to warn them. Believer, today's lesson is serious because many times I have seen people follow a pastor or church leader and then when that pastor is gone, they quit going to church. We cannot make people our object of worship! If we do, then when they leave they take our growth with them. We need to have a growing personal relationship with God...one where HE teaches us through His word. Pastors and church leaders are merely servants of God...they get us going in the right direction but it is God who we are to focus on. Today be aware that you might be worshiping another person if you talk more about what he/she said rather than what God taught you as you sought Him in the quiet times. We are to only lift up the Name of Jesus who said, "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me!" John 12:32 Don't let your pastor or another become an idol in your life.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Those of you who know me, know that whatever scripture I am reading becomes my favorite but today is truly one of my favorite recollections of God's faithfulness. The king is Jehoshaphat who is a strong follower of the LORD. The events are in I Chronicles 20. There was a great army coming against the armies of Judah and Jehoshaphat was alarmed! Duh! So what did he do? He called the people together and said they would fast and seek help from the LORD. My favorite verse is this: "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You! [LORD]" 20:12 The next day when the battle ensued God said," Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours but God's"(15). Strangely instead of gathering fighting men they called the choir to sing praises to God. The "vast armies" began to fight among themselves until there was not one enemy left alive. The battle was won without lifting a single sword from Judah. This is NOT a fairy tale, believer. The principles found in this scripture are applicable for us today: 1. We see a vast army coming against us and get alarmed! 2. We don't know what to do. 3.We keep our eyes on Him! 4. We sing His praises even before there is victory. 5. God wins! I don't know what you are going through today...I have some very good friends facing uncertain futures right now...they have a vast army coming against them. I would say to do what Jehoshaphat did...don't wait to sing His praises until after the battle...let your praises actually fight your battle. Great Jehoshaphat, thanks for leading us the right way!
Saturday, August 13, 2016
We all have been in a situation where we feel like things are unfair...and if you haven't, you will. What are we to do? My reading this morning, Psalm 37: 3-8 gave 5 steps to take:
1.Trust in the LORD and do good!
2.Delight yourself in the LORD.
3.Commit your way to the LORD.
4.Be still before the LORD.
5.Refrain from anger!
Wow! a 5-step program to get over the wrongs done to us. It is hard to trust that God knows what is happening, isn't it. But if we delight in Him, then the wrongs from others fade away. I guess the hardest of the 5 is the last. Don't get angry over this. That verse goes on to say that that will lead to evil. Believer, this is a huge lesson for all of us and I want to challenge myself and you to write these down and when the hurt comes, to read this list and follow the steps. I believe we will see an outpouring of God's blessing in our lives if we do.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
My scripture today was not one I wanted to read. It reminds me that I am rebellious wanting only to do what I think is right. It was written during one of the most dangerous times for a Christian...the Roman rule. Believers were being martyred for their beliefs and used for sport in the Coliseum. In all of this Paul writes these words, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." Romans 13:1 Wait, that can't be right? That goes against everything within my sense of right and wrong. The authorities Paul was speaking of were cruel and pagan and eventually took Paul's life yet he preached obedience. Obedience is a hard thing for us when things do not go the way we think they ought to but that is where faith comes in. Remember, God sees it all in the tapestry that is being woven. In the persecution, the church grew...God knew. Today, make an effort to be obedient to all the authorities that are in your life...bosses, police, government officials ... remember God knew you would be in this situation...you are not alone. If we do, perhaps His kingdom will spread.
Friday, August 5, 2016
We first met David in I Samuel as a young boy with a passion for God. He made a huge mark on history when he faced Goliath and killed him with a sling and a stone. Most of us learned this story in preschool, acted it out and even sang about it. Goliath was a Philistine...a great enemy of the Hebrew people. It would appear that they had been defeated...once and for all! However, fast forward to I Chronicles 14. David is fully appointed as king and it seemed that all the enemies were subdued. Smooth sailing from here on out, right? We read, "When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they went up in full force to search for him..." I Chronicles 14:8 His old enemy was rising up again. Believer, we often have great victories in our lives but we have an enemy that will never give up! Just about the time things are going great, that old temptation comes again and attacks with a vengeance! What do we do? We do what David did, "so, David inquired of God..." verse 10 Once the enemy knows our weak spots, that is where he attacks. There might be a time of rest but he will come back and try to break you down again. It could be in an area of a sinful lifestyle you thought was defeated. It could be in forgiving...the old feeling rising up again. It could be in insecurity. Whatever you had faced and defeated often will come back to try and break you down. When that happens, immediately inquire of the Lord! Pray. Speak truth from the Word. The enemy will run, but be aware that he will wait for just the right moment to pounce again. Today, pray the words from the Model Prayer, "lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil!" He will!
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Pascal, the great French philosopher and Christian, once said; “Nearly all the ills of life spring from this simple source: that we are not able to sit still in a room.” What did he mean? In our hurry-up, busy existence we never sit to consider what is around us? We speak the first thing that comes to our minds without considering the repercussions. We do what our flesh tells us without considering where these actions will take us. We never sit still in a room. Powerful words. Let them fall on you today. To sit still in a room is to let your life come into focus…to see what is real…to allow yourself to understand that you are not in control. To sit still in a room is to allow yourself to see the wonder and power of the One who created you and breathed His own breath into your lungs. For the Believer, it is to know and understand that we are in the palm of His hand. But we must sit still. What would happen if we thought before we spoke? What would happen if we counted the cost before we acted? What would happen if we began to sit still in a room? Today, nothing is more important than sitting with Him…stay there until you sense His peace. “Be still and know that I am God!” Psalm 46:10