Life Along the Way

A Daily Devotional

"Seeing is Believing"



“Then she said to the king: "It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe their words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me. You exceed the fame of which I heard.”

2 Chronicles 9:5-6


I am reminded in Luke’s gospel that when Jesus resurrected from the dead the angel of the Lord invited the two Mary’s to come and see that the Lord wasn’t there, that He had risen just as He said. Sometimes you just have to see things for yourself before you will believe. What was true for the women at the tomb of Jesus was true for the queen of Sheba here in 2 Chronicles just as it was true for Thomas also known as the “doubting one” among the disciples. He might not be the only disciple whom could have been labeled a ‘doubter’ as all the disciples cried out in unison at different times, “Lord… help us in our unbelief”.

If we are all honest there are probably areas of our own lives where we have struggled and doubted God. You know the times I am suggesting, times where we say things like Ok God, you know all things and you know I believe in you, but can’t you just do something to let me know you are there, like really there?  We might even ask God to flicker the light or something small saying then I’ll really believe! Oh Lord, help me in my unbelief!

Often times in life we tend to have our lives governed by what we see and in doing so we fail to recognize our life with the Lord is first spiritual before it becomes physical. That’s why we now walk by faith and not by sight. As Christians we are no longer governed by the world’s ideals, its methods or desires. We who were once blind to the spiritual world (which has always been present around us) can now see as we incline our hearts to seek after the wisdom of God like Solomon here.

I love what the queen of Sheba says to Solomon after he passed her tests and she knows that God is with Solomon for the things he says and knows seem out of this world to her, and they are! She says in verse 8, “Blessed be the Lord your God, who delighted in you, setting you on His throne to be king for the Lord your God! Because your God has loved Israel, to establish them forever, therefore He made you king over them, to do justice and righteousness." It’s obvious her eyes are open to the truth as she gives the glory to the Lord. She doesn’t exalt the artwork, she exalts the artist!

Today is the day the Lord has made! Bless the artist today! Bless the Lord for just as He has delighted in Solomon, God delights in you! It’s true and I pray as your day unfolds you realize that He has delighted in you and it is God Himself who has established you and is establishing you day by day. Follow the lead of Solomon here, who the queen exhorts because she recognizes that the Lord selected Solomon for a purpose, for such a time as this to do justice and righteousness. The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord; and the pathway of wisdom is to do justice and righteousness. That’s the walk we have been called to take and the trail we have been given to blaze.

Listen to the words of the prophet Micah as you pray for today and then seek to apply the wisdom of God…
   

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
 
Micah 6:8


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"Now is When"


“Now all the work of Solomon was well-ordered from the day of the foundation of the house of the Lord until it was finished. So the house of the Lord was completed.”

2 Chronicles 8:16


You are familiar with the passage that says, “Unless the Lord builds the house the laborer labors in vain”, and yes it applies here as in any other instance used in the scriptures. God told Solomon’s father David that God would build a house for David, and He did! It took over twenty years for Solomon to complete God’s house according to God’s design with the materials God provided. God completes every good work, beloved, and just know that there is a work that God desires to do in and through you today too.

You might not see the plan come to fruition but you can rest assured if God is doing the work it will surely come to pass. He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it the bible reminds us. You might feel like it is taking a long time for God to complete the work He has begun in you and it may seem that way to us, but rest assured, beloved, it will surely come to pass in God’s time. God didn’t bring us this far to leave us undone, friend. It will come to pass sooner than you think. Trust in the Lord!

All the work Solomon did was well ordered because the plans he was given were Gods and the Lord is orderly in all His ways. Did you know God has a plan for your life too, a plan that He has had worked out long before you were even born? Believe it or not someone has been praying for you before you were born, somebody was believing God to reveal Himself to you so that you would know you are not on this planet by accident.

No, beloved, each of us are here by God’s divine design! The Psalmist declared it in Psalm 139:13-16, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Yes, beloved, God’s thoughts are too marvelous to us.

Tap into God today, my friend, and discover afresh the wonderful plans of God that include you and me. The time is now not when, to finish the work God has given each of us to do. Ponder this little story as you go about yours, Now Or When? “On the outer wall of one of the towers of Beverley Minster is a quaint, old dial with pregnant legend, “Now or When?” A simple question it asks, silently, yet continuously—in the morning, at noon, at the setting of the sun—of all the dwellers in that place, of all the strangers that come there, of all the passers-by; a simple question, yet one deep in its suggestiveness.” —Harvest of a Quiet Eye. The answer of when is now! Today is the day of our salvation!


    “For He repays man according to his work, and makes man to find a reward according to his way.”

Job 34:11

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"The Big IF"



“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14


Verse 14 of 2 Chronicles chapter 7 is one of the most quoted verses in the Old Testament and yet it isn’t the whole message by far. It’s one thing for God to forgive us (and that would be enough in and of itself if that was all He did but there is more, way more) and its quite another thing for God to desire fellowship with us (which in my book is way more).

Our God is so good that He has offered us both! Look at what verse 1 says, “When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.” I love the worship song, “His love endures” as it sings of His glory coming down. Can you imagine what it must have been like that day for those who had never experienced the glory of the Lord? To think that God would come down from heaven simply because someone prayed and invited Him too. In all fairness it is better than that. The truth is, beloved, the Lord created us to have fellowship with us. Remember that the next time you pray, read the Word of God and enjoy fellowship with God. We can easily forget that the number one desire of God all along is for us to know Him and to enjoy Him the way He does us. Yes, we were created for God’s own pleasure!

Some things never change and the fact that God inhabits the praises of His people still hasn’t changed. If we will seek Him today, beloved, seek Him with all our heart, He’ll come to us too. That’s what God does. He draws close to us. As a matter of fact He not only will come to us but He will take up residence in us. God desires to be with us and to make our heart His permanent residence. He wants our heart to be His home.

Be encouraged knowing that God wants to meet with you today. Humble yourself and pray, knowing full well God not only will forgive any and all sin that we have committed, He will also provide for our needs too. Here in chapter 7 God promises not only to forgive but He has also promised to provide, to provide by healing the land. Is there an area in your life that needs a touch of heaven today, an area you need God to heal? Call upon His name, cry out to Him and watch His glory come down! If God could do it once He can do it again. We know this is true because His word declares, He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever! Take a step of faith today, offer up the sacrifice of praise as you come before the Lord and then wait and watch as His glory falls. There are no if's, and's or buts about it, God's presence and His glory are worth the wait!


“the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say: "Praise the Lord of hosts, For the Lord is good, For His mercy endures forever"-- and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause the captives of the land to return as at the first,' says the Lord.”


Jeremiah 33:11

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"Jesus = Forgiveness"



“And may You hear the supplications of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and when You hear, forgive.”

2 Chronicles 6:21


We read about the humility of Solomon here in 2 Chronicles chapter 6 and we find ourselves amazed that he could have ever walked away from the Lord even the slightest. That is until we look at our own heart and lives and know first hand that we are not sinners because we sin but rather we sin because we are sinners. Its engrained into our old nature and is why we need to cling to the Lord every day. It’s why we need to know our God forgives.

Solomon’s actions here just go to show us that our walk with the Lord is just that, one step at a time. Read verses 12-14 and see for yourself the humble attitude in which Solomon exemplified as he stood at the altar of God, “Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands  (for Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and he stood on it, knelt down on his knees before all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven); and he said: "Lord God of Israel, there is no God in heaven or on earth like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts.”

I received a bumper sticker years ago that read, “Real Men Love Jesus” and it should have included the words, “and aren’t afraid to show it! The apostle Paul exhorts men everywhere to pray publicly, “lift up holy hands without wrath or doubt! Yes, its true, God resists the proud of heart and He gives grace to the humble for sure. Just look at Solomon walking in his wisdom here. On his face before the Lord lifting his hands toward heaven expressing his dependency on God. God is good and Solomon recognizes it and isn’t afraid to tell the world because everyone who knows Jesus knows He came to offer what the world needed most, forgiveness.

God, the original “Promise Keeper” fulfills all His vows and shows mercy to all His servants who call upon and trust in His name. God forgives, plain and simple. That’s my desire in reminding you that there is none like our God! No one keeps his promises like our God, beloved, no one offers mercy like Him! Who besides the Lord our God has ever invited you or me to come to them when sin and are in need of forgiveness and who promises to never turn us away each and every time we do? No one but Jesus! There is none like You Jesus, there is none like You! Solomon grew to understand it and my prayer is that today more than ever on this Good Friday, you and I know it too!


“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

Proverbs 4:23


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"No Time Like The Present For His Presence"



“…indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying: "For He is good, For His mercy endures forever, that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.”

2 Chronicles 5: 13-14


2 Chronicles chapter 5 opens up with, “So all the work that Solomon had done for the house of the Lord was finished…” and it reminds me that we do well to not procrastinate. One of the greatest qualities of a Spirit filled man or woman is the desire to complete the work the Lord has given them to do, to finish the work God created us for.

This being the week of Easter we see afresh in Jesus life a passion to do the will of God and it’s evident as well all through the scriptures in the lives of men and women God used mightily. We are all called to redeem the time for the days are evil yet it is so easy to put off doing the things the Lord would have us do today. At least it is for me.

Pray for me today and know I am praying for you that we don’t live with regret of what might have been or accomplished for the glory of God. Someone once said, “An excuse is the shell that contains a lie”. If you have lived any length of time you have come up with an excuse for putting something off. One of the devils favorite words is “tomorrow”. Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow the enemy whispers in our ear. Solomon was a man on a mission and he completed it. Oh the feeling of coming to the end of a job well done! Oh the joy of taking our talents and investing them today instead of burying them out of fear of tomorrow.

Look what came of all Solomon’s hard work and completion of the temple. Remember this and don’t ever quit doing good for in do time you will reap if you don’t lose heart. Your life counts and the good you do today just might be what makes it possible for others to enjoy the Lord and experience Him. Verses 13-14 tell us there was such a unity taking place there in the temple that the trumpeters and the singers were as one and that there was such a profound sense of the Lord’s presence as the people came together in the temple and worshipped the Lord saying: “For He is good, for His mercy endures forever”. Can you imagine the joy Solomon must have felt as he watched the people come together in the temple and worship the Lord? All the blood, sweat, and tears were all worth it in that moment.

When we get our eyes off ourselves, off our cares and our worries and focus on lifting up the name of the Lord and remembering that He is good, we experience the presence of the Lord the same way the people did in Solomon’s day. When we worship the Lord He can’t stay away for He inhabits the praises of His people. Look what happened in the temple when they did. The house of the Lord was filled with a cloud so that the priests could not even continue ministering because God’s glory came. Authentic worship invites a visitation from God Himself. You don’t have to go to God, because He will come to you as you lift up His name.

Oh that the glory of the Lord would come down from heaven again! It can and it does when we come together to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. The children of Israel were no different than us, beloved, they too were chosen of God as His own special people. God came in Spirit in the temple, He came again in the person of Jesus Christ, and even now He dwells in us by His Spirit and better yet, He is coming again soon one day in bodily form to take us to heaven.

What goes around comes around as the saying goes. Don’t miss the opportunity we have today to exalt His name, to lift up the Lord and watch His glory come down. Where two or more are gathered in His name there He is in the midst of them. Yes, loved one, Jesus is present with us in Spirit, we can enjoy His glory as we worship Him and join the whole heavenly host in singing…




“And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen.”
 
Psalm 72:19

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"No Place Like Home"


“Thus Solomon had all the furnishings made for the house of God…”

2 Chronicles 4:19 (a)


I’m drawn to this chapter on a personal basis as our church is in the process of completing a camp in the hills about an hour from town and as it reaches its completion I find myself focusing now on exactly what type of furniture are we going to need and how much of it based upon the number of people we will seek to minister to at any given time while they are there. It’s not as simple a task as I first imagined and yet for a couple of years now I have been collecting items and storing them feeling much like Solomon here in anticipation.

I confess I read a chapter like 2 Chronicles 4 that deals with the furniture in the temple and it overwhelms me. As a guy who doesn’t even recognize when my wife buys or builds herself (you read that right) a new piece of furniture and must be told often times when she does, I can’t imagine the responsibility Solomon had in decorating the temple of God. I for one would have been scared to death as I’m fretting over furnishing a couple of small cottages to be used for retreats.

Solomon is following the very intricate details given by God in furnishing the temple inside and out. Read and be encouraged by Matthew Henry as he gives an overview of what chapter 4 speaks, “Here is a further account of the furniture of God’s house. Both without doors and within, there was that which typified the grace of the gospel, and shadowed out good things to come, of which the substance is Christ. There was the brazen altar. The making of this was not mentioned in the book of Kings. On this all the sacrifices were offered, and it sanctified the gift. The people who worshipped in the courts might see the sacrifices burned. They might thus be led to consider the great Sacrifice, to be offered in the fullness of time, to take away sin, and put an end to death, which the blood of bulls and goats could not possibly do. And, with the smoke of the sacrifices, their hearts might ascend to heaven, in holy desires towards God and his favor. In all our devotions we must keep the eye of faith fixed upon Christ. The furniture of the temple, compared with that of the tabernacle, showed that God’s church would be enlarged, and his worshippers multiplied. Blessed be God, there is enough in Christ for all.”

I love how Matthew Henry’s commentary on 2 Chronicles chapter 4 ends with the thought that the church of God is to be enlarged. There is room for us all in the presence of God, beloved, room enough for each of us at the foot of the Cross, for any and all who would seek God’s favor. Pray for the lost of our world today that they would experience the hope of Jesus Christ, God’s perfect sacrifice who came to die and be raised up on the third day as a fragrant aroma before God. Isn’t that the message of Easter? Of all the Sunday’s we could invite someone to church this Sunday is it! Yet, in all fairness every Sunday is a celebration of Easter since Jesus is Risen!

The temple was beautiful in earthly terms, like nothing the world had ever seen before. Yet, the greatest temple ever built will pale by comparison to the new heaven and the new earth that will be revealed to us in that day. Hold onto Jesus today and remember that there is a place He is holding for you in glory as He prepares a place for you there!



“In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”


John 14:2

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"Building For Jesus"



“Now Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.”

2 Chronicles 3:1

If you are in Christ the good news today is you have a legacy that will last forever as everything God does or calls you and I to be a part of is a slice of eternity. Solomon’s building of the temple reminds me of what the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” This is exactly what Solomon is doing here.

Solomon is following a divine decree given by God to his father David. God first gave the very plans Solomon uses to build the temple to his father David and the plans and it is these plans that David inscribed and even provided for. Now here in chapter 2 Chronicles chapter 3 Solomon is beginning the temple project. Nothing this life has to offer can compare to working on a project from God.

We see God’s grace not human pride at work in building the temple. Any project we encounter in the name of God, any job He allows us to do for Him is due to His grace. We do well to remember that God’s grace is behind any and all good we do in this life.

Thank God today for His grace, no matter what your situation or your circumstance, God’s grace is sufficient to see you and the project He has called you to through to its completion. Rest in that as you rest in Him today! Remember, you are part of an eternal plan!


    “For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    The Lord will give grace and glory;
    No good thing will He withhold
    From those who walk uprightly.”
 
Psalm 84:11

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"If You See It You Can Achieve It"



“And the temple which I build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods.”

2 Chronicles 2:5


Solomon sets now his heart to establish a place where he can offer up sacrifices to God. He knows that there is no way an earthly temple can truly house the Lord our God for He is just too big. Solomon does know however that he can build a spectacular temple to offer up sacrifices and praises to God and to provide a place where people can come to honor their King and God. He begins taking the necessary steps to do so and that begins with a vision and then a declaration. Solomon has a vision to see the temple built and then shares the vision with others openly and without doubt or fear. His boldness about God even impresses his neighbors.

As I read this chapter in the Chronicles I am reminded that the Christian life is a public life… a call to worship and a bold faith in God. The bible tells us in the book of Romans, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Solomon didn’t just think or dream about building a temple, he set his heart to do it and he tells others about it and even enlists them to join him in its undertaking. Serving God is never a one man band. We are the body of Christ, the spiritual temple of God made not with human hands. To serve Him, to offer up the sacrifices that He alone is worthy should involve every thing that has breath in heaven and on earth and even under the earth! Like the worship song of old, “go tell it on the mountain”!

Our prayer today needs to be that each of us would catch a vision of God, a fresh vision that we can act on and then take a step of faith and go tell our friends and our neighbors about what’s in our heart to do for God. Be bold today and confess openly your love for our Savior and your desire to see Him established and built up in your life. Invite, employ and allow others to join you in providing for the dream to see God glorified in you and them. Find the best craftsmen (in a spiritual sense) and pay the price, don’t spare any expense, pay whatever it costs to see God firmly rooted like the cedars of Lebanon in your heart and soul and soon you too will find distant neighbors coming to inquire of you of this faith of yours in this Great God of ours. Oh the joy of knowing God and making Him known!



    “I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You.”


Psalm 22:22

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"The Best Exercise"


“Now Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the Lord his God was with him and exalted him exceedingly.”

2 Chronicles 1:1

Solomon was strengthened in his kingdom because as we see here in chapter 1 he strengthened himself in God. The key to a successful life, at least in the eyes of the only one who truly matters is discovered by exercising our faith and strengthening ourselves in God, seeking Him first in all we do. When Solomon stood before the Lord on the high place at Gibeon, the same place Moses had once stood and his father David had before him, Solomon asked God to show him the same mercy he had shown to David his father.

At this moment in his life all Solomon wanted was for the promises of God to be established in him, nothing more, nothing less. In essence, whatever God had promised to do for David concerning Solomon was good enough for Solomon. What wisdom he displayed!

Being young one might think Solomon would have asked the Lord for wealth, for fame, or for power to impress the children of Israel into following his leadership, all of these are common mistakes of the immature regardless of age, and yet Solomon only asks for wisdom and knowledge to lead the people in a way that honors God. Talk about having your priorities right.

Be encouraged you in your own journey today as you set your heart on strengthening yourself in God knowing that riches and honor belong to the Lord and He gives them to us as we seek Him first. It’s the best form of exercise we can get day in and day out! God will meet your needs, He knows what we have need even before we ask. The answers to our prayers are on their way before we have even finished praying and said our amen.

Determine to follow Solomon’s lead here, seek the wisdom and knowledge of God, which the Lord has promised to give to all who seek Him. Remember, the key to a healthy spiritual life is developed as we exercise our faith in God.


“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
 
Proverbs 1:7

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What Our Heart Reveals"



“Moreover, because I have set my affection on the house of my God, I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, my own special treasure of gold and silver: three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses; the gold for things of gold and the silver for things of silver, and for all kinds of work to be done by the hands of craftsmen. Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the Lord?"

1 Chronicles 29:3-5

There is an old saying that goes something like this, “he who has the gold makes the rules” and with regard to God that could not be more true. The bible says without hesitation In Nehemiah 9:6, “You alone are the Lord; You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and everything on it, the seas and all that is in them, and You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You.”

Everything that exists belongs to God and that’s why David would say in verse 1, “…because the temple is not for man but for the Lord God.” Yes, loved one, even our lives are to be a love song to Jesus as the chorus of the worship song declares. David here in chapter 29 is exemplifying the same characteristic that the disciples saw in Jesus as John 2:17 declares, “Then His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up."

David himself was zealous for God so much so that he was willing to put his own money where his mouth was so to speak. David led by example and invited the leaders of Israel to follow him in giving to the Lord. I always get a laugh listening occasionally to the word of faith pastors on television that invite you and I to plant a “seed of faith” by sending in a large financial contribution to their ministry with the hope of receiving back from the Lord even more then we sent in as if giving to God was like purchasing a lottery ticket.

I am tempted (but I flee it) to write these same ministers and challenge them that if they themselves had the faith they speak of that they would send their audience each twenty dollars and believe in faith the Lord would multiply their seed money. You and I know that will never happen as it’s obviously easier to say, “do as I say not as I do”. Not so for David, He modeled the life he desired others to live. That should be the goal of our lives too. Jesus said it best, “Where your treasure is your heart be also”.

Pray for me as I do you today, beloved, that we would be ambassadors for Christ and true representatives of the kingdom life. Pray that we would be consistent, humble, faithful and generous in all aspects of our lives each and every day. David desired to be, Jesus was, Paul strived to that end and so can and should we. Give more than you receive, and model a faith that’s real…
 


“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”


Hebrews 12:2


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"Just Do It"




“Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it."

1 Chronicles 28:10



It wasn’t Nike who actually coined the phrase “Just Do It”, it was King David in exhorting his own son to do great things. As you read 1 Chronicles 28 you can’t help but be reminded of the apostle Paul’s words to the Ephesian church when he wrote, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Just like Esther was (born) created for “such a time as this” and David “served God in his generation”, you and I are His “workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works”!

Just think, God has chosen us, to be laborers in His field to build up His kingdom according to His purposes and plans. Just like God gave David the blueprints for the temple, God will reveal through careful study of His Word and prayer to those who seek Him the blueprints for His plan in our lives too. Look what David said regarding the Lord leading his life in assisting his son in building the temple, "All this," said David, "the Lord made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans." Nothing has changed from the foundations of the world as man was created by God and for God for His good pleasure! God wants to reveal Himself to us and that’s the Good News of the Gospel!

Let me remind you today, that we exist for the Lord and not He for us. Lets take to heart the words David shared with his own son as we head out into His day, this day that the Lord has made, “Now therefore, in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, be careful to seek out all the commandments of the Lord your God, that you may possess this good land, and leave it as an inheritance for your children after you forever. "As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”

Lets be careful to take time today to seek out the commands of God, to study His Word so we can know Him and know that we are walking in His ways, possessing the land that He has for us. Lets be careful to make sure we are serving Him with a loyal heart and a willing mind knowing that nothing we think, say, or do goes unnoticed by the Lord. Let’s not forget that we will give an account of our lives to the Lord one day so lets be careful to make sure we are walking according to His plan for our lives. Seek Him and you will find Him is the promise God makes to us!


I love David’s words to Solomon and I pray with all my heart we receive these same words as we seek to glorify the name of Jesus today. There is a job for us to do this day, this is the day the Lord has made! God has a plan and a purpose for our lives that He desires to lead us and fill us in fulfilling…


"Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God--my God--will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.”


1 Chronicles 28:20


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"Aim High"


“But David did not take the number of those twenty years old and under, because the Lord had said He would multiply Israel like the stars of the heavens.”

1 Chronicles 27:23



Matthew Henry wrote regarding verse 23 in his commentary on 1 Chronicles, “The officers of the court, or the rulers of the king’s substance, had the oversight and charge of the king’s tillage, his vineyards, his herds, his flocks, which formed the wealth of eastern kings. Much of the wisdom of princes is seen in the choice of their ministry, and common persons show it in the choice of their advisers. David, though he had all these about him, preferred the word of God before them all. Thy testimonies are my delight and my counselors.”

As you read through chapter 27 of 1 Chronicles you see the specific roles men played in serving the king and being ready at all times against the forces of evil. There was a job for everyone to do to ensure there was peace in the land, even those under the age of twenty. Those under the age of twenty were not called into battle per say but focused instead on the domestic affairs. Kingdom life hasn’t changed in that you and I are still called of God to be prepared for battle, in and out of season because our adversary the devil goes about like a roaring lion looking for whom he can devour. Yet, at the same time we are responsible to focus on the domestic affairs of life too. Balance is needed for sure being led by the Spirit as to what we should be doing to make best use of our days is paramount.

David discovered what I pray you and I do too, that the key to our success in this life is “preferring the Word of God over all”.  The Word of God needs to be the place we turn first, not last for advice and direction in any area of life. God is our Counselor, and what a Wonderful Counselor He is, loved one! Look to Him to lead you and guide you. Stand ready, beloved, arm yourself with the sword of the Spirit, the very Word of God. It’s a powerful weapon, a tool like none other. God used it to speak the heavens and the earth and all that is contained within it into existence. Not only is His Word a sword, a weapon against the enemy, but it is to us a counselor just as it was to David in his own life. Talk about powerful. The Word of God, our counselor, our comfort, our combat manual, our compass.

Lets determine to learn from David’s life, loved one. He had money, he had fame, he had power, all the things the world covets were at David’s disposal but he wanted more than anything else to know the Lord. David wanted to understand God intimately and he set his heart on pursuing God. David came to know what the Lord wants you and I to experience in this life. God is a very present help and invites us through His Son to come to Him when we have need of anything big or small. Let me encourage you this day to aim high beloved, to set your affections on the kingdom life and fix your eyes upon Jesus and see for yourself what David found to be true…



“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4


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"Opportunity is Knocking"



“Among these were the divisions of the gatekeepers, among the chief men, having duties just like their brethren, to serve in the house of the Lord.”

1 Chronicles 26:12


David grew to know what I pray you and I come to know as well, that better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere! God’s plan from the beginning was to have a dwelling place where He could rule and reign over man in love and with mankind willfully serving Him. The Good News is God is restoring us and the Lord is making a new heaven and a new earth that will be free from sin the way He had designed it to be in the beginning.

The Lord’s plans fail not, friend, and His mercies are new every morning! God’s perfect plan is right on schedule. The original plan has not changed, a theocracy where God would rule over Israel and the people would come and go from the tabernacle, which would be, located right in the middle of the city. Yes, God wants to have residence right smack dab in the center of our lives. Unfortunately, the Levites didn’t do a good job at guarding the gates as it were, so the Lord appointed judges and when the judges failed God raised up kings.

God has not given up on us as His wonderful plans include us! The obvious lesson is when the Lord isn’t ruling our hearts we just go from bad to worse and because we are finite beings we don’t even realize it because we don’t remember how it was or just maybe we never really saw it for what it was in the first place. God’s ways are so high above our ways! We need God’s heavenly perspective to see things clearly we need the Lord to rule and reign over us!

David is striving to bring the nation of Israel back to Himself and the intimacy they had once enjoyed and He is beginning by placing guards over all the gates of the city. That’s a good word for you and I today. The scriptures teach us clearly in Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” We have all heard the old expression, “garbage in garbage out!”

1 Chronicles 26 shows that there is a place for all of us to be used in serving the Lord and that there is an appointment to be made in God’s house, and the best place to start serving the Lord is by guarding the door of your own heart. Don’t worry about other peoples lives or even what’s going on in the world today. Focus on your own heart and guard it with all diligence. Remember, friend, no job is too big or too small when it involves serving the Lord. Ask God to show you where and how you can serve Him faithfully today knowing…


“For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

Psalm 84:10


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"Gifted To Love"


“Moreover David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals. And the number of the skilled men performing their service was…”

1 Chronicles 25:1


The book of Ephesians teaches us that every believer in Jesus has been given a spiritual gift from God that serves to fulfill our very reason for being. Believe it or not, we have been gifted to love! Oh to be counted worthy for the service of the Lord! David and his captains separated those who would minister before the Lord and appointed them to their proper places based on their skill. If there was ever a “proof text” for the use of instruments in proclaiming the prophetic message of God in the bible here it is. We need those who are skilled in playing instruments but more than that we need men and women who understand the theology of worship, the reason we worship to begin with.

David was skilled at the harp and knew more than anyone of his day that true worship is so much more than an instrument, that true worship is much more than just singing. Worship in and of itself is prophetic because worship both foretells and forthtells the things of God.  True worship is transformational because the focus of worship is God and not man, to be in His presence where God is. We know when we have been in the presence of God for the heart and soul of the worshiper are changed, transformed by His very presence.

Use your gifts, use your skill today to worship the Lord. If you are a musician, pray that your playing would prophesy of the Lord, that it would magnify His name. Let your playing and singing proclaim His worthiness, His holiness, His righteousness and His perfection. Lead the congregation you serve, the Connect Group, or the bible study in such a way that you lead the people into His very presence by your skilled playing knowing when you do we shall be changed.

Remember, skilled worship leading isn’t attained merely through hours of practice, as skilled playing as a Christian comes through hours of personal devotion to the Lord in bible study and prayer. Getting alone with God and knowing Him intimately is what qualifies a person to lead worship. True worshippers worship with their heart long before they worship with their mouth or with their instruments. Worship flows from the inside out.

If worship was about human skill then guys like Jimmy Hendrix and Carlos Santana might be considered the best worship leaders who have ever lifted a guitar. But, since worship is a matter of the heart the worlds greatest worship leaders are common people, everyday people who seek and worship the Lord every day. Men with names like Martin, Larry, Ernie, Chris, Scott and Nate. Names like John, Vince, Stephen, Victor and Michael. Guys with names like David, Ed, Kenneth and George. Obviously, the list could go on and on and could and should and would also include a host of women too.

The point is this, God is looking for worshippers who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth. That’s the skill that matters most to the Lord in leading worship. To love God because He is and to love people who were created in His image because they are. May today be your love song to Jesus as you worship Him with all your heart!  Don't forget, you were gifted to love!


“Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”

1 Corinthians 14:1

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"Seperate But One"


“Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.”

1 Chronicles 24:1


Division in the body of Christ is good when it is in unity and for the purpose of service to our God, then and only then. The book of 1 Corinthians gives us a clear picture of healthy division when it says in verse 12, “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.” Now that’s healthy division.

Everybody has a place, everyone fits somewhere special in the body of Christ. It’s in Christ that we are made and made whole, never apart or without Him. You have heard the expression, “many hands make work light”, and it’s true! We were created to bear each others burdens for Him! Just like here in chapter 24 of 1 Chronicles there is a special place God wants to divide us unto, a place of service in His kingdom for us to complete. The book of Ephesians reminds us that the body of Christ is built up when every member does their fair share.

The beauty of it all is that in our coming together we remain separate, we are still unique, we never really lose our lives, actually we find life.  For its in giving ourselves to the greater good that we come alive and discover where we came from, why we are here and where we are going. If we focus on being separate we can never come together and we miss the bigger picture of life. The beauty of unity, beloved; is we can be one and still be one of a kind.

There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and only one you! Be who you are, be who God created you to be a part, a special place and a perfect fit in the body of Christ! Serve Him as you serve faithfully along side of others. It’s the way of the kingdom, one by one, won by One!



“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one”

John 17:22

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"The Purpose of Your Purpose"



“Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God. Therefore arise and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy articles of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the Lord."

1 Chronicles 22:19


If there is a theme that jumps off the pages of 1 Chronicles 22 it would have to found in a single word, build! Here in chapter 22 and the rest of the way through the Chronicles we read about David gathering the needed materials for the building of the temple of God. What you and I plan and build in our lives has much to do with where our treasure is. As verse 5 states, “Now David said, "Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries. I will now make preparation for it." So David made abundant preparations before his death.”

David knew that he would not be building the house of God because he had shed innocent blood but that God in His love and mercy did allow David to organize and build much of the city of Jerusalem giving him the wisdom needed to assist his son Solomon in building the temple by making preparations for it. The book of Proverbs reminds us that a wise man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children. The bible teaches us that children aren’t called of the Lord to store up for their parents but rather, the scriptures do call for parents to help their children prepare for their future.

What grace we see demonstrated by God here as the Lord allows David to work along side his son to make sure Solomon has what he needs to succeed in completing the enormous job he will be given. May the Lord bless you parents and leaders as you commit to assist the next generation of saints complete the work that the Lord has called them to do.

Another thing that stands out in chapter 22 that we see is David knows time is short this side of heaven and he redeems the time so to speak. David makes good use of this short time we have here on earth and he dedicates the rest of his life to the plans and purposes of God. Time this side of heaven is short and I encourage you today to set your heart to do all that the Lord would desire of you to make preparations to complete the tasks He has set before you.

Resolve to live each day building the kingdom of God wherever you go. How our lives would be different if we lived to see the will of God done on earth as it is in heaven. How different it might have been for David had he stayed focused on his relationship with the Lord and building and advancing the kingdom instead of plotting how he might shed innocent blood to cover his sin.

What I love about the Chronicles is they represent the heavenly perspective of our lives. Chronicles reveals to us what God remembers about you and me is the things we do for Him. Our sins are forgiven, beloved of God, and as evidenced here, our sins God will remember no more! Of all that David did accomplish in this life nothing was as important to God as David’s dedication to the preparation of the temple. What is true for David is true for us too. God desires that we focus on the building of our lives with Him. He will provide for all our needs as we seek to know Him and make Him known.

Let the Chronicles speak volumes to you about what matters most to God. Focusing our lives on His plans and purposes is what God desires and what He will remember about our life here in on earth. Dedicate your life to God, to the Word of God and to the souls of men, as these three things we know will stand the test of time and will last for all eternity, and most important, they fulfill the purpose of our purpose.


“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.”

1 Corinthians 9:24-25

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"God's Remedy For Distress"



“And David said to Gad, "I am in great distress. Please let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are very great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man."

1 Chronicles 21:13


It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Isn’t it amazing that men fear men more than God? David here in chapter 21 commits the greatest sin of his life, and before I go any further let me remind you that the Chronicles recounts the acts of the kings from a heavenly perspective, a spiritual perspective. God doesn’t look at the sins you and I would grade as the worst sins but the Lord does focus on the sin of David numbering the people. I confess when I first read this I wondered why this particular sin caught the attention of God more than the other sins David committed. Upon further study it become clear and serves as a great teaching moment for you and me.

David sinned when he numbered the people because it was an act of pride. You have heard the old expression “the only difference between man and boy is the size of the toy.” David sinned because he was looking at the children of Israel as his accomplishment, as if to say, look what I have done! I love the words of Jeremiah 9:23-24 which states, “Thus says the Lord: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the Lord.”

God delights when you and I delight ourselves in Him. The bottom line is this, the sin in David’s life and the sin that you and I fall into most often is the sin of not delighting ourselves in God. David trusted in the numbers and not in the Lord. We can be guilty of the same sin. Over and over again we are instructed to lean not on our own understanding but in all our ways we are to acknowledge Him and He will direct our paths. Easier said then done I know full well.

Let me encourage you today, keep your eyes focused on delighting in God as He has promised in His word to supply all your needs. When David realized he had sinned against God he threw himself on the mercies of God and not on the men he had so eagerly looked too for his affirmation. Realize when Moses numbered the children of Israel under his leadership going in and coming out of the wilderness journey they totaled around 600,000 thousand and when David totaled the numbers under his leadership there were about 1,000,000 more.

Still, when David sinned he looked to God and not to man for his help. The lesson I hope you and I learn from David’s life is this. In the end we want and need God more than any other person and for good reason. Only God can bring about the healing and the restoration we all want and need and long for. Remember the words of Corrie Ten Boom who once said, “when I look around I get distressed, when I look down I get depressed but when I look up my hearts at rest.”

With that thought in mind determine today to look to God when you have need for He is merciful and kind and shows grace to all who come to Him seeking Him by placing our faith and hope and trust in the Son of God who has loved us and given His life for you and me. 



“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

Psalm 136:1

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"Don't Back Down"



“Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight."

1 Chronicles 19:3



We read in 1 Chronicles 19 a principle many dads have their sons about fighting throughout the ages, “don’t go around looking for a fight but if you find yourself in one someday don’t back down”. Paul the apostle has told us the same thing in the New Testament. In the book of Ephesians where he tells us in verses 10-13 to “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Paul instructs you and I to fight the good fight of faith too and that means to take a stand on the truth of God’s Word. It’s pretty obvious to me you can’t run when you are dressed in armor so its pretty clear God isn’t calling us to turn and run or to back down.

Just like here in 1 Chronicles 19 when David goes out to do battle with the Ammonites it is because they have come against him not the other way around. David is simply taking a stand against the Ammonites who desired to overthrow him and the nation of Israel even though it was in David’s heart to show them kindness all along. Like the Ammonites were to David, we have an adversary, the devil, who lies to us, threatens us, and ultimately seeks to destroy us.

The Good News of the Gospel is the devil is already defeated by the Cross of Jesus. Yes, the battle has already been fought and won by God for us! Jesus defeated the devil when he shed His blood on the Cross at Calvary and three days later He rose from the grave as living proof of His power and authority over sin and death both then and now. Just because the devil was defeated doesn’t mean there are not going to be uprisings now. The devil is still seeking to convince the world there is still time to turn against God and ultimately win our own victory and become like God ourselves. It’s a lie, always has been always will be. There is no victory over sin and death without the help of God.

Be strong in the Lord today and in the power of His might. Put on the full armor of God and stand! Stand firm in your love for the Lord. Don’t back down from the attacks of the enemy. Resist the devil and he will flee! God is for you and if He is for you then let me ask you today, beloved, who can stand against you?

God has a plan that includes us, and it’s His desire that we live in peace with Him. He has provided the only way we can do that. The devil had to be defeated first and that is exactly what Jesus accomplished when He came to earth at His first advent, at His birth. The Lord wants to bless us like David wanted to bless the children of Ammon, and like them, we too have a choice to make. Will we accept the gifts of God, which are life and peace, or will we reject the offer and go to battle, to be our own boss as it were, and attempt to achieve victory on our own terms?

Know this if you choose to fight your own battles or to take matters into your own hands. Your fate will be the same as the children of Ammon, pure and utter defeat, if we go into battle on our own. The battle is the Lord’s, beloved, and we do well to accept His invitation of kindness that He wants to show us, the comfort He wants to provide for us. Are you tired of defeat in your life? If so, take a stand today, join the Lord’s army and put on the full armor of God today and know that no weapon formed against you shall prosper. If you are in Christ you are on the winning team and no matter how ugly the battle may get don’t turn away, don’t retreat, just stand on the promises of God and win!


“I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.”
 
Psalm 16:8


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"Blessed to Bless"


“Now You have been pleased to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue before You forever; for You have blessed it, O Lord, and it shall be blessed forever."

1 Chronicles 17:27


David knew that to be blessed of God is the ultimate goal in this life. Men devote their lives to seek after many things trying to satisfy their longings, the cravings of the human heart only to come up empty, time and time again. The word “blessed” in the bible is the word (makarios) and it means, “joy and satisfaction, being complete and fulfilled, secure and peaceful within one’s being; having meaning, significance, and purpose.” It’s easy to see why David was so overcome, actually overflowing with thanksgiving to God after hearing the word of the Lord spoken by Nathan the prophet. There are temporal blessings that come and go but the greatest blessings are the ones spoken of here in chapter 17, the type that last throughout eternity, which never fade away.

Are you aware that it pleases the Lord to bless your life in the temporal as well as for all eternity too? Like David, we don’t deserve the blessings of God but He lavishes them upon us as tokens of His love for us. Jesus said it best in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you”

David wasn’t afraid to pray and ask God for this blessing because he came to know and understand in verse 19 God’s heart and why He blesses us, “O Lord, for Your servant's sake, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness, in making known all these great things.” That’s why we can safely pray, “Not my will but Yours be done.” The Father always has our best in mind because it’s in His heart!

David did what you and I are too do, he accepted the blessings of God and he praised the Lord for them. He didn’t question, he didn’t doubt, and he for sure didn’t think he merited the favor of God but what David did do was, he magnified the name of the Lord. Look at verse 24 where it says, “So let it be established, that Your name may be magnified forever, saying, 'The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, is Israel's God.' And let the house of Your servant David be established before You.” Let the word of the Lord be established in your heart and life and seek to magnify the Lord all the days of your life knowing that you are the beloved of God chosen by Him just like David was. 

God hasn’t asked you or I to build a house for Him but rather, to know that Jesus is building a house for us so that we can spend all eternity with Him in glory! We are truly blessed, so lets commit our day today to singing His praises and letting the world know…



“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ”

Ephesians 1:3

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"Living IS Giving"



“And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord.”

1 Chronicles 16:2

Its often been said, those who are the most open hearted are also most open handed. As we freely receive we freely give, as we have been forgiven we forgive… If you would like a scientific approach to studying the scriptures think of it this way; “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. It’s true, beloved, as our lives are touched by God’s grace it promotes a reaction in us; some kind of response is generated within us.

Those that respond to the grace of God experience the joy that comes with knowing God. Look at what it did to David here in chapter 16. As David basked in the presence of God and offered up prayers and praise his heart overflowed with the joy of the Lord.

May the same thing happen to you and me today as we meditate on the goodness of our God towards each of us. Let us revere His name by taking the opportunity He will provide us to make Him known in all the earth. Be blessed today as you seek the Lord and live in a loving response to His great love!



“Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth…”




1 Chronicles 16:8-12

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