My reading today reminded me that God is loving and patient but there comes a time when He will no longer be patient and will bring judgement. He doesn't do this without first providing a way out and through young King Josiah there was an opportunity to return to God, find the Book of the Law and restore the Passover in Judah. However, in the middle of the good stuff going on we read from a prophetess that God was going to bring judgement upon this people who consistently rejected Him. Josiah died very young but had finished what God desired and that was establishing a remnant of believers. There were only three kings after Josiah's death and then Babylon took the people captive and burned the city including the Temple. Believer, God is patient but He is just. He will not always allow people to mock and reject Him. He again provided a way out of this judgement through Jesus and He gives every one time to follow but one day there will be no more time. Personally, I believe we are coming to a time of God's judgement on our country and like Judah God is establishing a remnant who will continue to follow. No "king" will be able to save us except the King of Kings! This is a heavy post today but necessary because it is time we as Believers need to become strong in our faith. He is giving us more time...will you take advantage of it?
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Each one of us has a very powerful tool at our disposal...a tool that can change a situation on a dime...words! Hezekiah knew how to use this weapon in the best way. We read in II Chron. 32:7-8 "He...encouraged them with these words: 'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.' And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah, the king of Judah, said." There is no doubt that we live in uncertain times. Fear is running rampant. This was the situation in Judah for a strong enemy was bearing down upon them. What they didn't know was that their fear was the greatest enemy they had! However, their king, in just a couple of sentences, encouraged them to believe God. God was faithful. The enemy was defeated and left in shame! Today, what are your words? Are they gasoline being thrown upon the fire of fear, discontent, hatred, or anger? How does that encourage others? How does that encourage you? Change your words to water words...waters puts out the fires of fear and discontent and gives relief and refreshment to you and those around you. There is power in our words...let yours be encouraging!
Monday, August 29, 2016
Have you ever been over-whelmed? I think all of us have at some point and if you haven't, you need to get out more! When we are in this state of mind there is a desire to just throw up our hands and run away from it all. (I have been there more times than I can count.) This is often a call from God to run to Him. In Psalm 55:6-8 we read these words, "Oh, that I would have wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest---I would flee far away and stay in the desert. I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm." There are times that we do need to get away...to our shelter; not to escape but to refresh and readjust our thinking. In our busy world we often do not take the time for rest and reflection and therefore we continue to be stressed and over-whelmed. You cannot not do this! It is imperative for victory over your trials. These escape times might be for days, hours or even little mini-mind retreats throughout your day. It is a time to refocus. Today, if you are in that mind-set, escape for awhile to the shelter of the Almighty. Let Him hold you in quiet until you are once again ready for the storm.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
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