Life Along the Way

A Daily Devotional

"Don't Stop Short"




“And they were unfaithful to the God of their fathers, and played the harlot after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them.”


1 Chronicles 5:25


These tribes here in chapter 5 are known as the transjordanian tribes as they chose not to cross over the Jordan River into the land flowing with milk and honey. They raised cattle and loved the lush green valleys just east of the Jordan. You remember the old saying, “one in the hand is worth two in the bush”. These tribes settled for less than what God desired for them because the land just near the promised land lived up to their desires. They forgot what I pray you and I don’t. The Word of the Lord in Jeremiah 29:11 was and still is, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”


1 Chronicles 5 reveals what happened in the end for these tribes that settled for less than God’s best and disobeyed His instructions. They were the first to be carried into captivity by their enemies. God doesn’t want us to just stick close by. God wants to inhabit us and He desires that we inhabit Him. Yes, our God wants so much to stick closer to us than even a brother would. These tribes listed here ended up compromising their faith in God even after great victories which is why we should never let our guard down but instead live on constant alert. Instead of living consecrated lives to God as “called out ones” they attempted to blend in as it were and have their cake and eat it too. The wisdom of man is foolishness to God, and as the book of James says, “Friendship with the world is enmity with God.”


As you go through your day today, remember the prayer of Jesus for us that He has and is praying for us today. You can find this beautiful prayer in John 17 where it says; “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”


Yes, we are in the world but we are not of the world! We are here on earth to love God and love other people in the name of God. Just as Jesus came to show us the Father, we (Christians) as followers of Christ are here to show people the love of Jesus, to reveal Him in all we think, say and do. God’s plan for you is wonderful; His thoughts towards you are of peace. Like the tribes listed here the Lord wants to give us a future and a hope, and for that to happen all we need to do is trust Him and follow Him all the home!



“Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.”
 

Proverbs 4:27

I LOVE YOU!




Continue reading
  895 Hits
  0 Comments
895 Hits
0 Comments

"God Inhabits Our Praise"

1 Chronicles 2


“God Inhabits Our Praise”


“Judah became His sanctuary, And Israel His dominion”

Psalm 114:2




In 1 chronicles chapter 2 the genealogy continues and Judah whose name means “praise” is the largest of all the tribes of the children of Israel. What a simple reminder to you and me today that praise should encompass the largest place in our lives and should occupy first place for sure before anything and everything else, and for good reason too! God inhabits the praise of His people.

Like the 12 tribes you and I were selected to be set a part from the world, dedicated to God in Christ Jesus. Just as the children of Israel were called out of the bondage of Egypt, we have been set free in Christ as Ephesians 1:6 declares, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.” This is the day that the Lord has made and let us rejoice and be glad in it! Sing His praises, join the tribe of Judah so to speak, be known as a true worshipper of God.

Consider what God’s word says about worship. These are just a few passages that I pray encourage you to shout His praises as you worship God with all your heart today. Hebrews 13:15 reminds us, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Look what John tells us about praise in Revelation 19:5, “Then a voice came from the throne, saying, "Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!"

Even Peter has something to say regarding praise when he reminds us that our very lives are to be praise to the Lord and not just our lips as we read in 1 Peter 1:7, “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” Isn’t it obvious that His name is great and He is greatly to be praised!

Take time to praise Him and give God glory today and see what a difference it makes in your day. Praise can turn a cold and foggy day like today into a delightful one if only we will declare to the world that God is worthy of our praise, any time, any place!



"I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You."
 
Hebrews 2:12


I LOVE YOU!


 
 

Continue reading
  956 Hits
  0 Comments
956 Hits
0 Comments

"We Are Related"


“These are their genealogies…”


1 Chronicles 1:29


Most likely one of the last books of the Old Testament written around the time of Malachi in about 400 B.C., most if not all of what we read in chapter one is tracing the genealogy of man from Adam to Abraham and then from Abraham on until we reach the return from Babylonian captivity. It’s been asked often of the value of a book like Chronicles since it repeats much of what is stated in the books of Samuel and the Kings. Though they all cover the same periods of history the books of Samuel and those of the Kings deal with the historical aspect of Israel where as the books of Chronicles will cover the spiritual side in the exact way the Holy Spirit desires that you and I understand it.

William Kelly in his introduction to First Chronicles wrote this, “Chronicles has a character and a beauty all its own, and a moral propriety, beyond anything, because it takes up and shows that in the ruin of all else the purpose of God stands fast. That is what we have to comfort ourselves with at this present time. There is a ruined state in Christendom; but God’s purposes never fail, and those who have faith settle themselves and find their comfort in the sure standing of the purpose of God.”

I pray for you this day that you discover both His purpose and His plan concerning your life and that His comfort is yours in reality and not just in hope. There is a real peace and a real rest for those who trust in Him. Outwardly, much like our own state of affairs in this life the books of the Chronicles will not provide a complete chronological path for us to follow. God has given us just what we need to exercise faith in Him knowing without it we cannot please Him. Just as the Christian is forced to look beyond the natural circumstances of life by faith to a loving Savior who is in total control of every second of every hour of every day you and I as we read and study the Chronicles will by faith be drawn once again to realize that though at times we do not see or understand the plans and purposes of God concerning us, they are sure, and therefore we can trust and stand.

Do you have anyone famous in your family tree? I find it exciting when I study my own family tree. I have discovered one constant thing from generation to generation. We are all sinners in need of a Savior! It’s really something to discover someone famous in your tree; at least I know it was for me. I use to work in the soft drink industry so it was really awesome to know that the company I worked for carried a product that I was related to the person who invented it. That’s right, I am related to the man who invented the soft drink Dr. Pepper! Without any hesitation I can tell you that it contains no prune juice either!

Family trees are exciting to study and in chapter one of First Chronicles it is real simple. It focuses on the good side of the tree for the most part. We see the descendants of Adam to Noah and his sons and then from Abraham to Jacob. In a short sweep of history the writer reveals again Adam, the father of the human race and concludes with Jacob, the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. In one short chapter we can see the beginning of man as well as the beginning of the messianic line, which reveals the root of our family tree, the Lord Jesus Christ who is the vine of the new life we have been Born Again into.

As you study the Chronicles I pray you discover for yourself again and again that God has placed you in His family tree and you can grow and continue to be firmly rooted and grounded in Him. It’s true, if Jesus is the Lord of your life then you don’t have to focus on being part of the Adam’s family, you can focus on the fact that you are part of God’s own family and your name is written in His family album under His own Son’s name because of His blood shed for you! Tell that to somebody the next time they ask about your genealogy and if you have someone famous in your family. Tell them you are part of God’s family and the look on their face when they realize nothing tops that!



“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Ephesians 3:14-21

I LOVE YOU!




Continue reading
  1130 Hits
  0 Comments
1130 Hits
0 Comments

"The Lord is My Portion"


“Now it came to pass in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, that Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. He spoke kindly to him, and gave him a more prominent seat than those of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life. And as for his provisions, there was a regular ration given him by the king, a portion for each day, all the days of his life.”

2 Kings 25:27-30


As the account of First and Second Kings comes to a close it is interesting to note that first Kings opened with king David’s death and Second Kings closes with the destruction of Judah. Not a very pleasant time in the life of the children of Israel. Following a man never seems to bring about the desires of the peoples hearts in the end. Could God have been right after all?

If you recall God gave us His Word that He would be our God and that we would be His people through faith, by trusting in Him and not in ourselves. The Lord gave the children of Israel kings and priests and prophets and still the people rebelled. All that remains now is the judgment and the Lord uses the Assyrians and the Babylonians to render it. Experience can be a hard teacher and it proves to be so for the nation of Israel. May we learn from their mistake. Experience is a wonderful teacher if we realize we can learn from others experiences and not try to learn everything on our own.

The wages of sin is death the word of the Lord declares whether we agree with God or not. His Word is truth, and every jot and tittle will come to pass. We do well then to get in the Word of God and allow His Word to take root in our mind, heart and soul. In other words more important to God than getting into His Word is for His Word to get into us. As chapter 25 comes to a close we read in verses 27-30 that there is hope. Jehoiachin is treated fairly, barely.

It just goes to show us that we can find good even in a bad situation, and that if we so desire we can find a reason to praise the Lord if we only will focus on God and His goodness. It also shows us that we sometimes forget how good we have it until we don’t have it any longer. That was the lesson the children of Israel had to learn. The soul that sins shall surely die. The wages of sin was death then and it still brings the same result today. The children of Israel lost the presence of God and they might have thought then, well Ok, maybe we don’t have the presence of God with us but we still have our homes! Wrong thought for sure. It’s all or nothing with the Lord. He is either Lord over all or not Lord at all. Compromise has never been accepted nor will it ever be. The children of Israel repented and God restored then and He is still in the process of restoring Israel now.

Let’s learn the lesson of the book of first and second Kings. Walk with God, lean on Him, acknowledge Him in all your ways, not some of your ways. Seek Him and find Him when you seek with all your heart. Let Him purge your heart of sin and make you that new creation in Christ Jesus if you have not done so already. Invite the Lord to wash you with His Word today as you set your mind on the things up above today. Make it your aim today as I am making it mine, bring glory and honor to the King of the Kings!




“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.”
 
Daniel 4:37

I LOVE YOU!

Continue reading
  751 Hits
  0 Comments
751 Hits
0 Comments

"In The End Good Wins"


“And he carried out from there all the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king's house, and he cut in pieces all the articles of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said.”

2 Kings 24:13


The bible says to us to overcome evil with good but when you read chapters like chapter 24 here in 2 Kings you begin to wonder what good could possibly come out of all this? I read how in verse 11 Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon came against the city and as his servants were besieging and carrying off all the treasures of the kings house they even went as far as to cut into pieces all the articles of gold which Solomon had made in the temple. I get mad just reading what happened and to think God allowed it to happen so that He could show His love and His grace and His awesome power to overcome evil with good. I confess, God’s ways are high above my ways and often times beyond my ability to understand.

As you read through the books of 1 and 2 Kings and Chronicles don’t forget that the bible is one book and yet it is 66 books within it, each with a story to tell of God’s love, His grace, His redemption. It’s been said that the New Testament is concealed in the Old Testament and the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament. It’s all the Word of God and living proof that our God reigns!

As you study the bible you will see that there really is a scarlet thread of redemption woven all the way from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. God is always at work, loved one, even in the darkest hours of human history, even in your struggles in this life as well as in mine. God never sleeps…He never slumbers, friend, and yet here in chapter 24 it might appear that evil is winning out over good but don’t give up…don’t quit reading. The best is still yet to come.

A lot of people and a lot of treasure was taken captive during this period of history but even in the midst of all this evil, good prevailed. The time is about 596 B.C. and when Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city and carried away a second group of captives in which the prophet Ezekiel was among them, and that’s the good news!

God always has His prophets to speak into the lives of His people when life just doesn’t make sense. Exiled from their homes and from their land Ezekiel taught the children of Israel that they needed to return to the Lord before worrying about returning to their homeland. It’s easy to focus on the wrong things in life and that’s why the Lord allowed His judgment to be carried out by the Babylonians in the first place.

You see, friend, no matter how dark the trial you are going through, no matter how tough life gets, if you will abide in Jesus Christ, you will come out smelling like the rose of Sharon in the end! Like a good western movie, God is coming for you…”dead or alive” to be with Him in glory. Trust Him with your life and you can’t lose! Good really does overcome evil. If you just can’t take it when life seems to be swallowing you up, go ahead and cheat as it were and open up your bible and flip to the back, read the end of the story as it were and once again bask in future and the hope that we share in Jesus.

Read for yourself what the Lord says in Revelation 22:21, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” Grace, that undeserved unmerited favor of God that He lavishes on us. Life will have its struggles, yes, life will have its dark days but the Good News to those whose lives are hidden in Christ remains, Even our darkest hours have their silver lining if we all God to be the strength of our life because no matter what, the best is always yet to be for in the end good wins!



    “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”


Philippians 1:6


I LOVE YOU!

Continue reading
  967 Hits
  0 Comments
967 Hits
0 Comments

"House Keeping"


“Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him.”

2 Kings 23:25


Of all things that are noteworthy in 2 Kings chapter 23, Josiah’s reinstituting of the Passover is the highlight and the thing the Lord delighted in most. 2 Chronicles 35:18 says of this Passover, “There had been no Passover kept in Israel like that since the days of Samuel the prophet; and none of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as Josiah kept, with the priests and the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”

It was the greatest observance of the Passover since the days of the judges. That is quite a statement about the impact that Josiah had upon the spiritual life of Judah and why verse 25 affirms that there was no king like Josiah as he had turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul and with all his might.

With a heart devoted to God it’s no wonder that the Passover celebration was so dear to him and why the Lord was well pleased. God created us for fellowship and Josiah determined to eliminate anything in his life and in the city which could hinder his or anyone else's communion with God. Oh, that you and I would be known as people who have turned “completely” to the Lord and eliminated anything and everything that stands in the way of complete dedication and devotion to God.

Determine today to allow the world to see by the way we live our lives, by the things we say and by the things we do that we too have turned to the Lord with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our might. Don’t hold anything back, remembering that He gave His all for us so the least we can do is to seek to give our all for Him!

Like 1 Corinthians 11 calls us to examine our hearts and to do some "house keeping" as it were with regard to our spiritual condition in preparation for communion with God. Lets determine today to come boldly to the throne of grace prepared to meet with God believing in faith that He will meet with us there in our time of need having been washed by the blood of the Lamb.

Remember, we can’t come to God on our own merits. when we approach the Lord we do so only by the merits of Christ. Our job like in a good hotel is to put out the placard that invites our need of “House Keeping”. Revelation 16:15 reminds us of Jesus words regarding our being ready to meet with Him, "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." Like Josiah did, lets set our hearts to know the Lord, looking and longing for His appearing, keeping in mind 1 Peter 3:15 as we do…


“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear”

I LOVE YOU!





Continue reading
  714 Hits
  0 Comments
714 Hits
0 Comments

"I Love You!"

“I Love You”


“Whoever lives in love lives in God”

1 John 4:16 (NIV)


Tomorrow is Valentines Day so I wanted to make sure I wished you a Happy Valentines Day today since I don’t write a devotional over the weekend and therefore I won’t have a chance tomorrow to let you know that I am praying your day is one that is lived with much laughter and love as you consider the source of every good thing, our Father above.

Consider the verse above today, “Whoever lives in love lives in God” and as the apostle John who writes these words goes on to explain, “For God is love”. Yes loved one, God is love, so He is then both the source and the sustainer of love and my hope for you this Valentines Day is that His love is yours both to receive and give away as the bible makes very clear, “the greatest gift is love” and the greatest expression of love the world has ever known was expressed when Jesus came in human flesh from heaven to earth and purchased our salvation upon the Cross at Calvary when He died in our place.

The best gifts aren’t flowers and chocolates or even store bought cards. The greatest expressions of love come from us, actually better put, within us, when we give of ourselves for the benefit of others like Jesus did for me and you. It's true, "No greater love has any man than this" the bible teaches us than when we lay down our lives for our friends.

Make the most of Valentines Day. Give from the heart, give of yourself in some form of sacrifice for the benefit of others expecting nothing in return and experience for yourself the true meaning of Valentines Day! Remember John 3:16…

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

I LOVE YOU!

Continue reading
  992 Hits
  0 Comments
992 Hits
0 Comments

"Impossible Prayers Made Possible"



“So Isaiah the prophet cried out to the Lord, and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down on the sundial of Ahaz.”

2 Kings 20:11

It seems to me like life is going faster and faster these days. The older I get the less time it seems like I have, ha!!! I love the story here in 2 Kings 20 where Hezekiah cries out to the Lord. Verse 3 says, “Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly.” The Lord spoke to the prophet Isaiah that the Lord had indeed heard Hezekiah’a prayer and that He would answer it.

Hezekiah asked what sign would the Lord perform to show Hezekiah that He had indeed heard his prayer and would answer. The prophet Isaiah asked Hezekiah if he would like to make the sun move ahead 10 degrees or go backward 10 degrees. Hezekiah was no dummy! The sun naturally goes ahead 10 degrees but never does it go back in time. Only God could turn back the hands of time, so Hezekiah asks that the Lord turn back the clock as proof that He would answer the prayer of Hezekiah.

Guess what happened next, yes, you guessed it. The Lord turned back the hands of time. As you go about your day today, bare this in mind when you question if the Lord has heard your prayers or if He desires to answer you. He has given us a sign that He would answer our prayers. John 15:16 tells us of the promise that Jesus made that preceded the sign, “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.”

God has promised us that He would answer our prayers and the sign that He gave to us was Himself. Remember what Jesus said in Luke 11:29-30, “And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, "This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation.” Jesus atoning death upon the Cross is our proof that He is our Messiah, that Jesus is the One who not only has taken our sins from us but He is the one who has gained us access before the Father that we too can know that God has heard our prayers. Only God could cause the sun to stop and only God can forgive our sins as well. And the good news is He did both! John 12:32 reminds us of Jesus own words, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."

Maybe you are struggling in your faith today? if by chance you are, just know that for the Lord turning back the hands of time is no problem at all just like Jesus forgiving us of our sin is no problem either. Maybe you feel that life has slipped away from you and you have “missed it” so to speak. Let me encourage you to come to Jesus and pour out your heart to Him. Are you aware today that He can make all things new?

God literally can turn back the hands of time if need be. Come to God in prayer and trust Him to do what He has promised regarding you. Joel 2:25 reminds us, "So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you.” Do you feel like life itself, and or your past sin has robbed you of the blessings of God? If so you are not alone. Be encouraged today in that our God can redeem, He can restore, He can make all things new for us today who are in Christ Jesus. Don’t be afraid, loved one, go to God in prayer today and see for yourself that our God can and does make seemingly impossible prayers possible!

After all He is the Creator of heaven and earth and the one who by His very Word spoke all things into existence! Seek the Lord in prayer today, listen for Him in His Word to speak to you knowing whatever the Lord speaks He does. Rest in the promise that He is faithful to His Word and whatever His Word declares, He will bring to pass! So, what are you waiting for? Start praying impossible prayers knowing with God nothing is impossible!

“For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”
 

Psalm 33:9


I LOVE YOU!









Continue reading
  896 Hits
  0 Comments
896 Hits
0 Comments

"Worry IS a Waste of Time"


"Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: 'He shall not come into this city, Nor shoot an arrow there, Nor come before it with shield, Nor build a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, By the same shall he return; And he shall not come into this city,' Says the LORD. 'For I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David's sake.' "

2 Kings 19:32-34



It’s been well said that 95% of the things we worry about never come to pass. When breaking down the average day then you and I would do well to not commit more than 15 minutes a day to worry. I recall a story on worry where the lady said she gave herself 15 minutes a day for worry. Every day from 4:00 to 4:15 p.m. she allowed herself time to worry and only that time…nothing more…nothing less. She went on to say how much that helped her keep life in perspective.

When things would happen throughout her day she’d simply say “I have already used up all my allotted time allotted for worry today so now I’m just going to have to let that one go! Or, if her self appointed time to worry had not arrived yet that day she simply would remind herself that it wasn’t yet time to worry and she would just continue on. She discovered that when her worry time arrived she had totally forgotten about what she had been worrying about earlier in the day. I laughed when I read her story and I pray you laugh today too when you think about worry and how true that statement is…that 95% of what we worry about never comes to pass.

Hezekiah became distressed here in 2 Kings 19 when he heard the taunts that Rabshakeh made to Jewish leaders about taking the people of Jerusalem captive and the starvation they would suffer. The people stood silent and listened to the threats as the officials made their way back to Hezekiah to report the gloom and doom. Hezekiah reached out to the prophet Isaiah and inquired of him as to the validity of the threats. Isaiah sent word that Rabshakeh would hear a rumor and return to his own land where he would ultimately be killed.

Chapter 19 here reveals the trust that Hezekiah placed in Jehovah. He took the letter that he had received from Sennacherib in an attempt to get Jerusalem to surrender and laid it before the Lord and prayed. Let this serve as a reminder to you and me today, friend, yes, we are going to worry…but when we are overcome by fear to take our worries to God in prayer because that is where our hope comes from, that is where we will find help in our time of need.

Go to God the next time you find yourself worrying and cast all your cares upon Him. God answers Hezekiah through Isaiah the prophet that they will “reap where they haven’t sown” as a sign that God is with them, that God Himself is their provider. God promised to protect Jerusalem from attack and in the end the angel of the Lord would destroy the enemies of Jerusalem, which ultimately then are enemies of God too. God is still protecting, He is still providing today, beloved, we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Chapter 19 is another reminder from God’s Word that the Lord desires to plant us like trees by rivers of water so that we are never without nourishment. God wants our roots to grow deep and secure in Him, just like the tall cedars and cypress trees. God has promised to both provide and protect us even when it doesn’t appear that way to us based upon our current circumstances.

Don’t forget, God’s timing is always perfect, and He is never a second late! Though the records indicate that Sennacherib outlived Hezekiah by about five years…Sennacherib still was killed in his capital city of Nineveh. Proof again, the wicked are never at peace, never secure. Put your hope and your trust in God. Don’t worry about what the enemy says to you or about you but rather focus on the sure Word of God. There really is none like our God! He is the Rock! Remember this, loved one, if God is for you then who can stand against you! What are you waiting for? Trust in the Lord today, trust in Him!



"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?”


Matthew 6:25

I LOVE YOU!

Continue reading
  977 Hits
  0 Comments
977 Hits
0 Comments

"Keeping Jesus First"

“The Lord was with him; he prospered wherever he went. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.”

2 Kings 18:7


“Hezekiah trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so much so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him, for he held fast to the Lord; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses.” Obviously from reading what chapter 2 Kings 18 says about Hezekiah you can see he was a man who loved the Lord. Jesus said in John 14:15, "If you love Me, keep My commandments”.

Even in the face of tremendous adversity he held his peace and did not compromise as he kept God first. God was with Hezekiah just like He was with Moses. Hezekiah had to make a decision to go along with the taunts and threats of Rabshakeh or hold his peace. Hezekiah put his hope and his trust in the Lord and the tearing down of all the high places was proof that Hezekiah only looked to God for his deliverance and his vindication. We do well to follow the example of Hezekiah and rebel against evil in our lives. No matter what keep Jesus first in your life!

The bible teaches us, “resist the devil and he will flee”. Knowing that is true we must make a stand against the evil in our lives. We don’t need to fear a defeated enemy, a toothless lion, but rather we must walk in the victory of the Cross. Remember, where sin abounds grace does all the more! Evil can never win out over good.

Keep the main thing the main thing and stand on the promises of God as you go about your day and remember the example of Hezekiah as 2 Kings 18:4 says of him, “He removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan.”

Live a life fully devoted to following the Lord and as 2 Corinthians 10:5 reminds us, “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” It worked for Hezekiah and it will work for us too!


“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”


Proverbs 14:34


I LOVE YOU!




Continue reading
  779 Hits
  0 Comments
779 Hits
0 Comments

"Healthy Fear"



“For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and they had feared other gods”

2 Kings 17:7



Here lies the problem and the root of Israel’s sin. Israel feared other gods more than they feared the Lord God, the only true God, and the only god worthy of our fear. In Proverbs 1:7 the bible makes clear, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Unfortunately, the children of Israel walked in the customs of the nations and forsook the ways of the Lord. They “stiffened” their necks and they refused to believe the word of God exclusively. They didn’t quit believing in God, they just started believing in all the false gods of all the other nations. They wanted to fit in rather than stand out for God.

Oh, how I pray you and I don’t ever forget the word spoken by the apostle Peter who wrote for us in 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” It’s not God plus other faiths and practices that lead to heaven. It’s not the bible and some other testament given that leads a man to eternal life. It is faith in Jesus Christ alone that grants us the privilege of heaven. There is no other name given under heaven by which men must be saved. Jesus Christ and Him alone is who can save a man from His sins.

The children of Israel forgot and forsook the promises and the ways of God and ended being carried away in bondage. Thank God in Christ today that Jesus came to set us free! If you abide in Jesus and His words abide in you, His promise stands true! Jesus said you would know the truth and the truth would set you free! God wants His children to live in freedom and freedom comes by walking in obedience to the Word of God, His Word, and His Word alone.

I love that old worship song that says, “we choose the fear of the Lord”. We can’t go wrong living in a healthy reverent fear of God, it’s the beginning of true wisdom. David came to know the blessing that comes to them that fear Him. Make it your prayer today, loved one; make it your song…”We choose the fear of the Lord”…




“Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.”

Psalm 34:9

I LOVE YOU!

 



Continue reading
  857 Hits
  0 Comments
857 Hits
0 Comments

"Stay Busy Until Quiten Time"



“And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasuries of the king's house, and sent it as a present to the king of Assyria.”

2 Kings 16:8

Ahaz was not a good king nor did he walk in the ways of the Lord. Here in 2 Kings 16 he takes what belongs to God and offers it as a present to the king of Assyria as payment for help against his enemies. Ahaz ruled in Jerusalem for a mere sixteen years. I stress sixteen years because in comparison to eternity sixteen years is not a very long time, and the truth be told it actually is more like a second in comparison.  As the Word of God declares in Mark 8:36, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” The goal of our lives, is to live in light of heaven, in light of eternal life. You could say that Ahaz was shortsighted. We need a long term vision, to overcome the short term temptations that stand before us.

Don’t ever forget that there is a day coming where you and I who have put our hope and trust in Jesus Christ will be rewarded for the things we have done in His name. God has blessed us with gifts and talents that we are to invest for Him into His kingdom and in advancing His causes. We are all stewards of God’s wealth as He has graced us all with a limited amount of time, talents, and treasures that we can use for His glory, and to magnify His name.

Live your life, and go through your day with Jesus as your aim, with the goal of being well pleasing in His sight and you really can’t go wrong. I love the saying, “play to an audience of one” and I want to encourage you today to listen for His voice, to listen for the words, “well done My good and faithful servant” that the Lord will whisper in your ear as you set out to glorify His name. Live life to the fullest, beloved, live life like Jesus and the apostle Paul who modeled with his life and declared by his words…



“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”


2 Timothy 4:7-8

I LOVE YOU!






Continue reading
  943 Hits
  0 Comments
943 Hits
0 Comments

"Run Don't Walk"



“And he (Azariah the son of Amaziah) did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done, except that the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.”

2 Kings 15:3-4

“And he (Jotham the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, began to reign) did what was right in the sight of the Lord; he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done. However the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. He built the Upper Gate of the house of the Lord.”

2 Kings 15: 34-35

 

You might call Azariah and Jotham the bookends of decency in Israel here in 2 Kings that are sandwiched between a slew of evil kings. In both cases these two kings did what was right in the sight of the Lord, each following the model of their fathers to a certain degree, yet they both failed to remove the high places where the false gods were worshipped and where the people still sacrificed and burned incense to the gods of their making. Before we become judgmental of any other generation and their failure to live consecrated lives before God, we do well to remove the log from our own eye as the sacrifices offered by the world today on altars that are too numerous to count are really no different than in the days of the Kings.

I think back to the slaughter of millions of innocent Jews as well as the slaughter of the millions of unborn children that occur each and every day in our country still and I am left to humbly ask the Lord for forgiveness and to pray for revival in our land. There is an old saying that says, “the more things change the more things stay the same” and I think we would all agree that is true. There is another old saying that says, “the further you try to get away from something the closer you get to it”, and the thought behind it is that the things we hate in other people are the things we hate in ourselves.

As a pastor I have the pleasure of meeting with people about family and hearing their life stories. I always chuckle when I hear a young person say something like, “I sound just like my mother…or just like my father” like that is a bad thing. When I ask why they feel that way, nine times out of ten they respond it is because they grew up promising themselves that they would not be like their parents for one reason or another. That realization demonstrates the point I want to make. As human beings we are more alike than we are different. When the bible says in Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

It doesn’t say a couple or a few have gone astray, it says ‘All’ with a capital ‘A’. The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

There is hope for us, loved ones, there is a way we can escape the temptations that are all around us. Think of the word ‘escape’ and if you were held captive and a way of escape was made for you to get away from your captors how would you go? Would you walk or would you run? The bible makes clear we are to run… verse 14 of 1 Corinthians 10 goes on to say, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” Oh, if only the kings of Israel would have taken the time to flee the idolatry that was around them. I think they made the same mistake we do in our country and in our own lives too. One last old saying today to bear in mind that I hope leads you and me to a deeper prayer life and deeper faith in God, “evil persists because good men do nothing.” We are not hopeless…we are not helpless, we can chose to do what the kings of Israel failed to do. We can pray and seek the Lord and most of all we can…



“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

James 4:7

I LOVE YOU!






 


 




Continue reading
  777 Hits
  0 Comments
777 Hits
0 Comments

"The Lord Delights in Humble Pie"

 

“And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like his father David; he did everything as his father Joash had done. However the high places were not taken away, and the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.”

2 Kings 14:3-4


As we read through the account of the kings a word comes up again and again that describes the lifestyle of many if not most of the kings who ruled in Israel…compromise. Verses 3-4 are not contradicting in that Amaziah did what was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David did. The Lord is reminding us that we can in certain area’s of life do well and imitate those who have come before us but we can also do less than what they did as well as in the case of Amaziah here in chapter 13.

Amaziah did right in the sight of the Lord but he didn’t do all the right he could have done. He allowed the high places to remain when he should have destroyed the places of worship to the Baal’s, in short he did what we do at times in our own lives for whatever reason…he compromised. Yes, friend, it is possible to do outwardly the right things but to do them for all the wrong reasons. Remember the word of the Lord to Samuel, “man looks at the outward appearance but God looks upon the heart!”

Hebrews 4:12 declares what happens each and every time we open the Word of God, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Most of us would say we read our bible but did you know that your bible is actually reading you? God knows not only what we do but He knows exactly why we do what we do too! All the more reason to be men and women of God’s Word as it has been said, “the bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the bible.”

Lets not make the same mistake that Amaziah did and think for a moment that any good we do, any victory we achieve in this life comes by our own hand. Every good thing that comes our way in this life, every breath we breathe is a gift from God, proof of His amazing grace towards us. This is where Amaziah went wrong and fell short of doing right in the sight of the Lord as David did. Amaziah failed to realize that “pride goes before a fall” and though Jehoash warned him of his folly Amaziah continued as verse 10 states, “You have indeed defeated Edom, and your heart has lifted you up. Glory in that, and stay at home; for why should you meddle with trouble so that you fall--you and Judah with you?"

When I read this story it reminds me of one I read about Charles Spurgeon who was eating a meal one day in a restaurant when a man asked if he could sit next to him. (This was back in the day when even strangers sat next to one another in restaurants). Upon receiving his meal Spurgeon bowed his head to offer silent thanks to the Lord in prayer. Not knowing what Spurgeon was doing the man asked if Spurgeon was Ok…if he had a headache or didn’t like the food. Spurgeon humbly yet simply responded that he was offering thanks to God for his meal to which the man became outraged. The man said he never thanked God for anything for it was by the sweat of his brow that he earned the money to pay for the meal and he said when his food arrived that he never gave thanks, he just dug right in.

Without mincing words Spurgeon fired right back at the man, “that reminds me of my dog…he is not thankful either…he just digs right in.” Spurgeon was not known as a man who compromised his faith in God and at times was intolerable of those who did. Determine today to do what is right in the sight of the Lord. Don’t be presumptuous in your walk with God like Amaziah was, don’t assume because you are a “Christian” you are doing God’s will for your life if you have not prayed and asked the Father, ‘what will you have me to do today, Lord?’

The Lord loves humble pie where as the devil prefers we eat crow. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. With that in mind do what Jesus did and what David did too. Seek God with all your heart and invite Him to be the Lord of your day. There is no better way to start your day than to kneel before the Lord our God our maker and…


“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

James 4:10

I LOVE YOU!

Continue reading
  1086 Hits
  0 Comments
1086 Hits
0 Comments

"God's Listening For You!"


“So Jehoahaz pleaded with the Lord, and the Lord listened to him; for He saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them.”

2 Kings 13:4

Jehoahaz didn’t even walk with the Lord and still the Lord is gracious to him when Jehoahaz pleads with Him. Remember the words of the prophet Isaiah who wrote in chapter 59:1 of the book bearing his name, “Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.” Be encouraged today that even in our sin and unbelief, when we cry out to God, He does still hear the cry of our heart for help demonstrating once again that we serve a God of mercy and grace!

God always hears the cry of repentance and as verse 23 tells us it is because He is faithful to His promises even when we aren’t faithful and don’t keep ours. Don’t forget that the Lord came to call not the righteous but rather sinners to repentance. Jesus came to heal the sick as a well person doesn’t need a physician.

Read verse 23 and see what it says, “But the Lord was gracious to them, had compassion on them, and regarded them, because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not yet destroy them or cast them from His presence.” God brought temporal relief to Israel though the Lords ultimate desire is to bring eternal security to those who love Him. As you read chapter 13 today be encouraged that even if you have not been walking faithfully with God, He has always been faithful to walk with you. God keeps His promises to us because of His covenant, the new covenant in Jesus blood.

Do you recognize your need for God today? If so, turn your heart towards heaven and find the grace and love and forgiveness you seek before His throne. Don’t forget, Jesus came into the world to forgive and save sinners, not to condemn them. Remember the words of Jesus in Luke 4:18 as He defined His earthly mission to those who have ears to hear, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed”.

If God listens to the cries of those whose hearts aren’t tender towards Him how much more will His ear be attentive to you and I who do love Him even though we still struggle with sin, fear and doubt. 2 Chronicles 16:9 make clear, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” God is seeking you today, so set your heart to seek Him!


“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

Psalm 34:4

I LOVE YOU!

Continue reading
  984 Hits
  0 Comments
984 Hits
0 Comments

"Never Too Young or Old To Serve The Lord"



“Jehoash was seven years old when he became king.”

2 Kings 11:21


Knowing the Old Testament like he did the apostle Paul might have shared this story from 2 Kings 11 with his young protégé Timothy as Timothy struggled himself being so young when he began shepherding the church in Ephesus. In 1 Timothy 4:12 Paul wrote, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” To think that Jehoash here in 2 Kings 11 was only seven years old when he was anointed king. To really appreciate this story is to understand that Jehoash was not only seven years old, he was also the last surviving heir of David left alive. If Athaliah had killed Jehoash, then the promise that God made to David that the Messiah would come from his seed would not come to pass and the salvation for all mankind would have died right along with Jehoash.

Knowing this we can see how easily the Lord exercises His will in human affairs. There really is nothing to difficult for our God, and no situation we find ourselves in is outside His ability to intervene. Don’t think for a minute God was worried or that there was ever any doubt that God’s plan would fail. The very opposite is true. Satan has no power against the Lord that will succeed; as his power is not equal or even opposite the Lords. The Devil is a created being that is subject to the Lord just like all other created beings. The story here just shows us that when all help seems lost, our Helper is closer than when know!

2 Kings chapter 11 should be a source of encouragement to you and me who have put our hope in Jesus as our King and our God. If the devil didn’t even have the power to destroy a small 7 year old child and keep him from ascending to the throne at the mighty age of seven what power do you think the devil really has that can prevent you and me from fulfilling God’s plan and purpose in our lives? You are right, absolutely none! The greatest power the devil has in our lives is the power we give him each time we believe one of his lies and doubt God.

Know this, no matter how young or old you are today, you can place your hope and trust in the Son of David, you can put your hope in Jesus! Don’t let anyone look down upon you because you love the Lord, but rather, be an example! Prove to the world that His throne is firmly established not only in the heavens but also in your heart too. Jesus is both King and God and as citizens of His kingdom why not accept His invitation and come boldly before His throne and find grace and mercy in your time of need today. 


“But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom.”

Hebrews 1:8

I LOVE YOU!





Continue reading
  1046 Hits
  0 Comments
1046 Hits
0 Comments

Trust God, Love People


“Now when he (Jehu) departed from there, he met Jehonadab the son of Rechab, coming to meet him; and he greeted him and said to him, "Is your heart right, as my heart is toward your heart?" And Jehonadab answered, "It is." Jehu said, "If it is, give me your hand." So he gave him his hand, and he took him up to him into the chariot.”

2 Kings 10:15

Put your hope in man and you will be disappointed. Put your hope in God and you will never be disappointed. Thats why we are called in the Word of God to trust God and to love people. Jehonadad makes a grave mistake here, and if we are not careful it is one we can easily make too! Its why the bible calls us to walk by faith and not by sight. The bible tells us in 1 Samuel 16:7 when the Lord rejected Saul as king over Israel and appointed David as his successor, “But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

Only God can see through to the heart of a man or woman. There are no glasses we can purchase…no special powers we can possess to see the heart of another man. Only God can see our hearts and we must trust Him to do the purifying work however He sees fit to bring about it’s cleansing. The worst thing you and I can do is lean on our own understanding and think for even a second, we know best. We don’t and is why we need to in all our ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our paths. Trust God and stand on His Word and not our own.

Here in chapter 10 Jehu is about to set up Jehonadad big time. As you read this chapter, don’t become discouraged that God uses evil for His own glory and make no mistake about it, God doesn’t tempt us to do evil, we do it all on our own without His help at all. God does however capitalize on the evil that men perpetrate upon one another for His ultimate purposes, and here in chapter 10 is proof of that.

As the 2 Kings 10 comes to a close Jehonadad gathers all the prophets of Baal for a worship service, and little did the people know that in the end the sacrifice being offered to the false gods of Baal was just an appetizer for the sacrifice that would be offered to the One True God. They didn’t have a clue that they themselves would become the accepted sacrifice that Jehu would offer to Jehovah. The only worship that is acceptable to God is the sacrifices offered to the One true God, the sacrifice offered through God’s own Son, Jesus Christ.

Chapter 10 serves as a great reminder to invite the Lord to search our own hearts, friend, and to ask the Lord to search us as King David asked Him to do in Psalm 139, “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways…” “…Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Invite the Lord to search you as you take the hand of the One who allowed His own hands to be pierced through for you. Its His blood that cleanses us from all our sins so you can know that you are safe in His hands as you are safe and secure in His love, Trust Him as He leads you in the way of everlasting! You won’t be disappointed if you do!



“And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.”

John 10:28-29

I LOVE YOU!

Continue reading
  915 Hits
  0 Comments
915 Hits
0 Comments

"Make The Most of It"



“Now when you arrive at that place, look there for Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, and go in and make him rise up from among his associates, and take him to an inner room. Then take the flask of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, 'Thus says the Lord: "I have anointed you king over Israel." ' Then open the door and flee, and do not delay."

2 Kings 9:2-3


The Word of God teaches us that life is but a vapor and that our time on earth is short in comparison to eternity. Each of us has a mission, a plan that God has for us to fulfill while we are here on earth and that means there is no time to delay. Everything we experience in this life is in preparation for the life to come. John Wesley once said, ““Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” Sage advice for every child of God.


Reading here 2 Kings 9 reminds me of Jesus words to the last days church at Philadelphia in Revelation 3:8, “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” Mark 13:31 tells us plainly, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” There is only so much time in any one life and we don’t have a moment to spare.

God’s Word is more sure than any warranty, written or implied that this world could ever offer, and what He has promised to do the Lord will do. Here in 2 Kings we find the words of the prophets are true regardless if the prophets are alive (in the flesh that is) when they come to pass. Joram is killed by Jehu which is a literal fulfillment of Elijah’s prophecy in 1 Kings 21:19. Even the wicked Jezebel’s death, which was prophesied in 1 Kings 21:23 came to pass just like the prophet declared. The point being, God always keeps His Word.

Sometimes the Lord is very specific about His plans as in the details surrounding Jezebel’s death in that the dogs of Jezreel would eat her flesh. At other times God doesn’t reveal all the details of His perfect plan concerning us but allows you and I to trust in Him that He will do what He promised to do concerning us. The good news is, He is faithful!

A great example is the Rapture of the church. We have no idea when that glorious day will come but we are instructed of God to be ready at all times as it will happen in the twinkling of an eye. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 reminds us of the hope we have in the promise of our Prophet, our Lord and Savior who spoke through the apostle and prophet Paul, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” Oh happy day! What a day what a day that will be!

The bible contains over 3000 promises concerning us and the more promises you know and trust the more peace and joy you will have in this life. Remember that He who called you is faithful, faithful to all His promises, each and every one of them. Take time today and dig deep into the bible and you will find a treasure chest full of assurance, full of promises of things still to come. God is not through yet! We have so much to look forward to in Christ as the best is still yet to be!


“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”


2 Peter 3:13

I LOVE YOU!

Continue reading
  984 Hits
  0 Comments
984 Hits
0 Comments