Life Along the Way

A Daily Devotional

"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

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"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

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Your Life Matters


“Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him.”

2 Kings 12:2

When you read the history-surrounding chapter 12 of 2 Kings and how the Lord extended the life of Jehoiada for 130 years (2 Chronicles 24:15) we see again the grace that the Lord shows to man. It is no small thing the care that God shows for one person. It is worth noting that it had been over a thousand years since a man had lived this long. Jehoiada was to Jehoash what Moses was to Aaron, what Abram was to Lot, and what the apostle Paul was to the church that we read about in Philippians 1:24 where the apostle writes, “Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.”

God knows even when we don’t recognize it…that we need help, that we need one another. Even the Lord sent out His disciples two by two that we read about in Luke 10:1, “After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.”

The New Testament makes clear that we are part of one another and that no man is an island to him or her self. Over and over again the analogies, the metaphors, the allegories used in scripture point to us as being the body of Christ, the family of God, and the Lord being our Heavenly Father and that we are His children. Unity and community are the blue print of God’s design for His kingdom.

It’s been well said that in life we all need three types of people to live a full and productive life. First, we need someone like the apostle Paul in our life. You know the person who we can go to for advice and direction and leadership when we are unsure of what to do. Second, we also need a Timothy type in our life as well. Someone who we can pour our life into and share what we have learned about life (if only to help them not make the same mistakes as we have).  Third, we all need a Barnabas type in our life, be it a man or woman who encourages us and brings us comfort, who is there for us when no one else is. Three very distinct personalities that bring balance to our lives.

The bottom line is we were all created for relationships, friend, and God has placed people in our lives right now that we can impact in a positive way to help them grow and do what is right in the sight of the Lord. Pray about and determine to seek out others with the hope of making a difference in their life. Whatever you decide to do, don’t go it alone! Make a connection with the people around you, use your gifts to bless others. Leave a legacy like the one Jehoiada did in the life of Jehoash. Leave the world a little better than how you found it!

 
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.”


Ecclesiastes 4:9

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"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

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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

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"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

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"For The Grace of God Go I"


“And Hazael said, "Why is my lord weeping?" He answered, "Because I know the evil that you will do to the children of Israel: Their strongholds you will set on fire, and their young men you will kill with the sword; and you will dash their children, and rip open their women with child." So Hazael said, "But what is your servant--a dog, that he should do this gross thing?" And Elisha answered, "The LORD has shown me that you will become king over Syria."

2 Kings 8:12-13 


2 Kings chapter 8 is a solemn reminder that you and I are capable of just about anything regardless if we think or say otherwise. In the New Testament, Romans 12:3 reminds us, “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” And the apostle goes on to declare in 1 Corinthians 15:9-10, “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” What the apostle Paul was saying here is that even when he thought he was doing good he was not only wrong, but he was dead wrong.

In order to enjoy the victory that is ours in Jesus Christ we must understand our desperate need for God in every facet of our being. There is not one area of our lives that is safe from sin and death apart from the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the Cross at Calvary. The danger in all our lives is when we like Hazael can not envision our capacity for sin even though the scriptures make it perfectly clear that in fact we are capable of sin beyond our own imagination.

Isaiah 64:6 paints an ugly picture of our lives apart from Christ, “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.” Ephesians 2:1-3 puts it like this, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”

Yes, the Good News of the Gospel is its only by the grace of God that you and I don’t commit the same selfish sinful acts in this life like Hazael does here in 2 Kings chapter 8. Grace isn’t just a good thing, its the best thing for by it you and I can be saved. The key is to live in grace each day, resting in and trusting God’s amazing grace to not only save you but to keep you too. Do not trust yourself, but rather trust the Lord. Do not look to yourself but rather look to Jesus, and keep your eyes fixed on Him and you will be safe. As my pastor would always say, “you are as safe as you are in Christ, abide in Christ”.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”


Proverbs 3:5-6


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"Too Good Not To Share"


"We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent"

2 Kings 7:9

The gospel of Christ is called good news for a reason, it is! It is such wonderful news to know that the God of heaven so loved this world so much that He would give His Only Begotten Son to ransom it that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have ever lasting life. Sounds almost too good to be true but just as the four lepers discovered in 2 Kings chapter 7 that some news is so good you can’t keep it to yourself.

If you recall the prophet Elisha made a remarkable prediction to the king that the next day fine flour and barely would be sold at very low prices at the gate of Samaria. That might not seem like much of a prediction until you realize the country was experiencing extreme famine at the time. The kings aide questioned the likelihood of such an event and Elisha told the kings aide he would see it with his own eyes but not enjoy eating any of it. Sadly due to the aides unbelief he would be killed when he was trampled by those celebrating at the cities gate.

The four lepers who sat at the gate of Samaria soon discovered the city was empty as the powerful Syrian army fled out of fear when they heard what they thought to be the noise of what sounded like an invading army coming. With the city completely empty and more food and money and clothing than these lepers could possibly carry themselves they out of fear decided to notify the king.

Just like Elisha had said, fine flour and barley sold for very low prices the next day and the kings aide who had doubted the word of the Lord was dead too. Unbelief kills every time. We do well to take every promise of God to heart, to receive it and act in accordance upon it, and just like the lepers in the story here we do well to remember that the Good News of the Gospel was meant to be shared and if we are not sharing it with others who are starving in this world for truth and hope, we ourselves are not doing what is right.

Share the wealth of God’s Word, of His love and amazing grace! Let the world know the famine has ended, forgiveness is available and times of rejoicing in the land are upon us!

 
“How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

Isaiah 52:7

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"Open My Eyes Lord, Open My Eyes"

“And Elisha prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

2 Kings 6:17

It wasn’t until Elijah ascended to heaven that Elisha received a double portion of his spirit and began his public ministry. The miracles Elisha performed transformed the lives of those who came in contact with the prophet and the power he received.


Here in chapter 6 we read of more miracles being performed but the greatest truth that is revealed here is the Sovereign power of our God. I pray the Lord opens your eyes to this truth today and for good reason. Everyone is fighting a battle of some sort that needs the Lords help. What are you up against today that is troubling you? What obstacles has the enemy placed in your way that has caused you to doubt the love of your Heavenly Father? Don’t forget that nothing is too difficult for our God. The Holy Spirit’s capable of transforming death into life and turning a bleak situation into a God magnifying miracle.


Notice what happens in verses 8 through 18 of 2 Kings 6 when the king of Syria goes out to make war with Israel. Every time the king turns around Elisha already knows his every move. That’s the manifestation of the Holy Spirit we read about in 1 Corinthians 12 known as the gift of knowledge working at its finest. God gives Elisha supper natural knowledge of the king of Syria’s every move and conversation…even while the king is talking to his wife in bed in the privacy of their own castle! There’s no hiding our sin from God…no secret sin that won’t be made known.


Elisha and the elders are gathered in Dothan and the king of Syria knows their position and sends horses and chariots by night to surround Elisha and his men while they sleep. Actually, they surround the whole city so you know this is a large army! There is no escaping. The manpower is to great to overcome…so some might think, but keep reading.

 

Early in the morning the servant of Elisha rises and he sees the horses and the chariots and in fear he cries out…”what shall we do?” Elisha sees in the super natural what his servant can’t. Sometimes we can be so short sided, and we see only with the eyes of our flesh when the Lord would want us to see through the eyes of faith.
Elisha prays for his servant that the Lord would open his eyes to see what’s really real. That’s my prayer for you and for me today too, that God would open our eyes to see whats really going on. We might be surrounded on every side in the natural but as you read on in verse 17, “And Elisha prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

 

Oh, that you and I would see through the eyes of the Holy Spirit today and recognize that God is in every situation you will encounter today. Remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in Daniel 3 when king Nebuchadnezzar threw them in the fiery furnace that was heated seven times hotter than normal and even those who put them in the fire were killed by the extreme heat but not them. Read the end result here, “Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here." Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king's counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.”


Know this for sure, wherever you go today the Lord is there with you and as you abide in Him no weapon formed against you shall prosper! Let chapter 6 be a reminder to you that you serve a miracle working God who still does miracles today and nothing, absolutely nothing is too difficult for Him!


“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints”

Ephesians 1:18

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"God Said It, That Settles It"


“Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, "Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed."

2 Kings 5:10


When you read this story in chapter 5 you would think that after traveling so far Naaman would be excited to know that he would be healed of his leprosy. But not so…Naaman is so much like the man of flesh. Instead of being grateful that healing would be granted he gets angry that the healing doesn’t happen in the way he desires. We can relate all to well. We live in a microwave society that wants what it wants when it wants and we want it now! Naaman would have functioned just fine in our culture if he were alive today. Naaman, who is a Syrian is told by Elisha to go wash himself seven times in the Jordan and be healed. Naaman’s response reveals a lack of faith on his part. any time you and I fail to take God at His Word we reveal the same kind of heart too.

Naaman tells Elisha he is going home to Syria but he wants permission to take some soil from Israel with him so he can worship Jehovah at home. Naaman didn’t realize that he could worship the One true God wherever he was at. He believed what most believed in his day. Naaman thought you could only worship the gods where they were, on the soil of the country in which they were discovered. Oh to know the Lord of glory that doesn’t dwell in buildings but in the very heart and soul of the one who worships Jesus.

Have you ever been in the mountains and seen such a beautiful site that you wanted to stop and worship God? You can because He is there. How about sitting on the sandy shore of the beach? Have you ever witnessed a sunset so majestic that it held your attention long after it had settled and you felt like thanking God for such a moment? You can as He is there! Don't forget that our God is omnipresent and is everywhere all the time. You can worship Him and should everywhere you go.

Elisha doesn’t confront Naaman in his weak faith, but he allows him to do so. Obviously Elisha was very much aware that Naaman didn’t need to take the dirt with him but he made concession as Romans 15:1 instructs the mature to do, “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Elisha knew that Naaman would soon discover that God was not limited to the dirt he carried home.

Naaman needed a point of connection to release his faith in God. If it was this dirt there is no problem with God. We see in Matthew 9:20, “And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment.” Was it Jesus who healed or was it his garment? Obviously it was Jesus but it was his garment that was the point of contact where the woman released her faith in Jesus.

How about the handkerchiefs of the apostle Paul in Acts 19:12, “so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.” Did the handkerchiefs possess the power or was it the handkerchiefs that provided the sick a point of contact with the risen Savior! This dirt here in 2 Kings 5 is simply the point where Naaman releases his faith in Jehovah.

Jesus in dealing with “doubting Thomas” in John 20:27-29 said, “Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."  And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"  Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Jesus didn’t reject Thomas in his doubt; He made concession for him as he has with us, beloved. Even the disciples prayed for help in their unbelief.

Know this today, “faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God”. We grow in our faith as we grow in our knowledge and application of God’s Word. Get in the Word as often as you can, friend, let God’s Word lead you through your day. Base your daily decisions on His Word and as He leads you by His Spirit. Lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. The key to success in life is the presence of God in our lives and being attuned to Him.

Salvation, our ultimate healing comes to us today the same way it did to Naaman in 2 Kings. Believing leads to salvation, repentance still brings about pardon, and washing makes us clean.  We don’t need to get our hands dirty, rather we need to come to the Lord to be cleansed and set free. Come to the Cross and find all the grace you need. Yes, there is freedom in the Lord; there is freedom in His love. The key is to believe. Not a head knowledge because as the book of James reminds us even the devil is a believer in God too.

Being a believer means to act not so much on what you believe, but rather the to trust the One in whom you believe, completley. Naaman traveled many miles to receive his healing and the Cross is only a couple of feet away at most, 18 inches for the majority of us, the distance between the floor and our knees as we kneel to God in prayer. Maybe when you think of 18 inches you recall as I do, the distance between our heart and our head. Healing doesn't come to us because of our belief it comes because we believe the One who promised and is both faithful and capable. Put your trust in God!


“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."

Romans 10:9-11

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"An Open Home Is An Open Heart"

“Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lamp stand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there."

2 Kings 4:10

The most important tools of a man of God are quite simple, a bible, a small room to rest, a chair and table to sit and pray, and a lamp stand to illuminate the Word of God to study and illuminate the way. It really doesn’t take much to minister to the man or woman of God whose heart is set on Him. I am always amazed when I meet missionaries who serve in the field, literally. Most live very simple and humble lives. Like Jesus, when He walked on this earth He didn’t own a home. Most of the time he trusted in the hospitality of others and at other times He had not even a place to lay His head. Look what Matthew 8:20 says, “And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." Jesus trusted Himself completely into the hands of His Heavenly Father to not only lead Him and guide Him through His days but He trusted Him to provide His basic necessities as well.

Let 2 Kings 4 serve as reminder to us all to help those who dedicate their lives in serving the cause of Christ. It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day who is weary from doing good. Let me encourage you, friend, to not just open your heart to the ministry of the Lord’s church, but consider opening your home too. Take in a stranger, host a missionary home on furlough; invite someone into your home to share a simple meal. Remember, it’s the little things that are the big things in life, the small acts of kindness that mean the most. You wont just bless them when you do, you will bless the Lord and be blessed too!


“For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”


Mark 9:41

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"Little Sins Make Big Sins"



“And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, but not like his father and mother; for he put away the sacred pillar of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless he persisted in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin; he did not depart from them.”

2 Kings 3:2-3

You read a chapter like 2 Kings 3 and you notice a couple things that are of interest. First, Joram was not considered to be as wicked as his father Ahab but like the saying goes…“you might take the man out of Texas but you can never take Texas out of the man” or something like that. Well, Ahab was different from his parents but he continued in their sinful practices. No one really knows why Joram removed the sacred stone of Baal or why he remained involved in idol worship, but one thing we do know for sure…a little leaven leavens the whole loaf of bread.

When you read 2 Kings chapter 3 it is obvious that though many try to remove the so called obvious sins, the outward sins that people can see they still enjoy practicing their private sins. If only we would remember…Psalm 90:8 that says, “You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your countenance.” In other words, you might fool some of the people some of the time but you can never fool God at any time.

1 John 3:3 reminds us, “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” John, the beloved apostle and disciple whom Jesus loved goes on to say in verses 4-9, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”

Before you think what hope is there for me let me encourage you in this…in the Greek language John is making clear the person who “practices sin to perfect it” doesn’t know God. We are all sinners in need of a Savior and if you have asked the Lord to forgive you as 1 John 1:9 instructs us then you can rest assured your sins are forgiven. If you are continuing in your sin and thinking that because you have put away the so called “big” or outward sins like Joram here in chapter 3 you need to reconsider the path you are walking. There is a way the bible says that seems right…but its end brings forth death.

The goal of the Christian life is to glorify God and to love people in His name. What the Ten Commandments teach, the law and the prophets proclaimed, Jesus revealed to us in both His teachings and in His life and what 1 John 3:10-11 sums up is what I pray you understand and know to be true, “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”

Joram loved this present life and its sinful pleasures more than he desired to love the Lord and his fellow man. As you and I go about our days lets make pleasing God our number one goal and our priority. To love God and one another is the root and the fruit of the Christian life. Joram might have “put away” a sacred pillar but he failed to put away the secret sins, the sins of the heart.  Lets don’t make the same mistake, lets follow the admonition of the Lord to “put away” the secret sins of the heart…



“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.”

Ephesians 4:31

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“Thank God for Grace”

“Look, fire has come down from heaven and burned up the first two captains of fifties with their fifties. But let my life now be precious in your sight."

2 Kings 1:14


In the Old Testament we see Elijah calling down fire from heaven because of the sin against both God and His people. Make no mistake about it, God allowed it. In Luke 9:54 it says, “And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?" Here, God didn’t allow it. Why you might ask?

Elijah was concerned about the glory of God where as the disciples didn’t understand the grace of God. The law came by Moses and with it…death. Jesus brought grace and peace along with mercy and life by His atoning death on the Cross. God has provided a dispensation of grace that if we act upon it now we will find complete forgiveness from our sin and failure and in its place we will find…eternal life. The key is to act upon the free gift now while we can and for good reason, fire from heaven is coming again.

Don’t make the mistake and think that just because grace abounds all the more now that the sin being committed in the world today is going unnoticed by God or that the clock of God’s judgment isn’t still ticking. The clock is ticking, and one day sooner than we might think…the wrath of God is once again going to be poured out from heaven on all disobedience. Romans 1:18 makes that perfectly clear, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness”. The only hope we have is the grace and mercy found in Christ.

Jesus told His disciples not to rejoice that they could cast out demons in His name or even call down fire from heaven but they should rejoice that He had written their names in the Book of Life. We do well to do the same today too. No one makes it to heaven based upon what they have done. Mercy triumphs over judgement only for those who receive the gift of life offered in God's only Son. Leave all judgment to the righteous Lord and focus today on thanking Him and praising Him today that our names are written in the Lambs Book of Life! Remember, heaven is a gift to all who receive it.


“Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Revelation 20:14-15

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"One Is A Majority With God"

“And Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not still a prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of Him?"

1 Kings 22:7


One may be a lonely number in the worlds way of thinking but in the Lord one is never alone. Ahab had about 400 prophets but Jehoshaphat didn’t trust them and he asks if there is still a true prophet left among the people and as always the Lord has one there. I am always amazed how the Lord keeps back at least one true prophet for Himself even among the 400 false ones. The times have not changed much from this chapter of history to the one in which we live today. Men still look for teachers, for the so called prophets to speak the words they want to hear and not the words that God speaks or the words they need to hear. It is not difficult to find a church today that panders to the people and speaks to the crowd enticing words that are sweeter than honey. It seems that conviction and correction have been all but traded in for religious tolerance.

Look what the king of Israel says concerning the one true prophet of God in verse 8, “So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil." And Jehoshaphat said, "Let not the king say such things!" 2 Timothy 4:3-4 tells us that men have not changed much at all since the days of the kings that we read of here as the apostle Paul told young Timothy, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

I think most of us would agree when people have a hard time with the truth it because the truth at times hurts, the truth divides as much as it unites. We forget too soon that truth also sets us free. I don’t know anyone who really enjoys conflict but I am thankful for the men and women of God who are willing to stand up for it…no matter the cost. Micaiah was one such man as we see here in 1 Kings 22.

Walking with God will never when you a popularity contest with the world and confronting people in sin won’t even make you popular in church circles. Men really do love the darkness rather than the light the bible declares and yet God has called us out of darkness into His light. Like Moses, we must forsake the temporal pleasures of sin for the exceeding glory that will be revealed at that Day. It’s been said of the Christian, we swim against the current; we swim up stream.

Compromise is not a virtue, everybody loses when we do…no matter what the world says or does. It makes no difference if 400 are against you…volume doesn’t speak louder than truth. Remember Jesus words, the way of destruction is broad and wide and there will be many on that road…but the way to life is narrow and difficult is the way and there will be few who find it. It’s better to go alone with God than with the multitude into damnation, so be careful not to follow the crowd…follow God!  Hell is isolation and there won’t be any parties going on down there and those who end up in Hades won’t be able to see through the smoke and the flames and the burning sulfur that fills the air.

Know this if you are in Christ today, be encouraged by this truth. Walking with God is not only the right thing to do it’s the best thing to do and in the end we will discover that and the benefits are out of this world! Keep your eye on the prize! Jesus is both the reward and the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.


“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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"Our Merciful God"

"See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. In the days of his son I will bring the calamity on his house."

1 Kings 21:29

One thing that is clear in both the Old and the New Testaments is the fact that God is merciful to sinners! Here in 1 Kings chapter 21 we see how Ahab is a self serving king and that his heart is deceitfully wicked and his wife Jezebel is just as wicked if not more than him. Talk about the two becoming one in marriage. Proverbs 21:9 tells us plainly, “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.” Jezebel is pegged perfectly in last part of Proverbs 14:1, which declares, “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.”

Before we get all puffed up comparing ourselves with Ahab and believing he got just what he deserved lets remember if we each got what we deserved we would be right there with him too…dead! James 2:10 makes it perfectly clear to the man or woman who studies the Word of God, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” There really is none righteous…no not one! Only God is truly good and like Ahab we need to throw ourselves on the mercy of God. Ahab humbled himself before God and God showed mercy and grace towards him. How much more will God show you and I mercy who call upon the name of the Lord and cry out for His grace and His forgiveness.

Remember the words of the prophet Ezekiel who said, “Say to them: 'as I live,' says the Lord God, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?'” Consider as well the words of Peter who proclaimed the heart of God when he wrote in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” Let Ahab’s life be our proof as well as our encouragement today in that if you and I will turn from our wicked ways (any and all sin is wickedness to God) we will always be met by God’s grace, His mercy and His love. No wonder the Gospel is Good News!


“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”

Isaiah 55:7


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"A Little With God Is More Than A Lot Without Him"

“So the king of Israel answered and said, "Tell him, 'Let not the one who puts on his armor boast like the one who takes it off.' "


1 Kings 20:11


Ahab tells Ben-Hadad that he should not boast about a victory he has not fought and won. You know the old expression, “don’t count your chickens before they are hatched”. That’s exactly what Ben-Hadad was doing here and like the word of the Lord declares, “pride comes before a fall”. Strong drink has a way of making a coward brave…at least until they sober up.

There is a strong message here in 1 Kings 20. God can do a lot with a little and again…if God is for you than who can stand against you? I read this chapter and am reminded of the worship song of old that contains the words…”nothing is too difficult for Thee!” Remember that today, whatever the Lord tells you to do…you can do! As my pastor use to always say, “God commands are God’s enablements”. In other words, what God leads you to He will provide the means necessary so you can see it through. Or simply put, where God guides, God provides. 

Remember the movie “City Slickers” and Curly, the old cowboy who was leading these city slickers on a quest to find their purpose in life as they had all hit the big 4—0 and were suffering what is commonly called “mid life crisis”. Curly told each of the men they needed to find the “one thing” on the trip and it had to be discovered for themselves because for each person the “one thing” is different. 1 Kings 20 makes clear the “one thing” in life is the same for each person and that one thing that matters most for each of us is to obey the Lord. You can do 100 things but if we fail to do the “one thing” God has called us to do then all else is null and void. Jesus said it best, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?”

God desires obedience more than sacrifice though most of us would agree it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission and yet, the goal of the Christian life is to keep the main thing…the main thing. Take the Lord at His Word, friend, commit your ways to Him and they will come to pass, for He who promised is faithful! He will direct your path.

 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”


Matthew 6:33

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"Always By Your Side"

 “and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”

 

1 Kings 19:12

 

Read the preceding verses in 1 Kings 19:11-12, “Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice” and you learn something very interesting about the grace and the mercy of God.

Elijah has been faithful in doing what the Lord has called him to do and he ends up threatened and heads out of town until one night Elijah finds himself in a dark cave…all alone. Have you ever felt like you were in a dark cave all alone? If so, you are not alone, ever! Here in chapter 19 when God asks Elijah why he is there in the cave its not as if God is wondering why he is there, God is asking the question in bringing correction to Elijah’s life. God is pointing out to Elijah that he isn’t where he’s supposed to be. Elijah is running away from and not standing firm in his convictions or even more importantly, in what the Lord has called him to do. Elijah’s on a pity potty in life right now. It’s easy for us to do exactly what Elijah did here when we get our eyes off the Lord and focus instead on our circumstances and ourselves.

Elijah did what many of us do or have done when life doesn’t go as we had hoped or planned it would. We quit, we run away, we go into hiding in a caves you might say. Verse 9 reveals that God is with Elijah even when he enters into the darkness of the cave. That is good news for those of us who have found ourselves in one of many of lives caves. God is right there too. 1 Kings 19:9 states, “And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Just as the Psalmist has declared, where can I go from your presence…where can I hide from your eye? The answer is quite simple, nowhere! The word of the Lord came to Elijah in the midst of the cave, at what seemed like the darkest hour of his life. As dark as it seemed, God was right there beside him. That’s good to know, beloved, that when you and I go through our own dark days that God is right there with us every step of the way.

Notice again what God tells Elijah to do. He instructs him to “…Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire…” Elijah watched as the Lord passed by in the terror of the wind and in an earthquake and in a fire yet when God simply speaks to Elijah in a still small voice Elijah goes and hides himself. Elijah isn’t moved by the power of God in nature, he is touched by the presence of God when God reveals Himself personally to the prophet. The world looks for signs of God’s power when in reality what God wants to most is to reveal His presence in a very personal way.

The bible tells us that the love of God draws a man to repentance, and it’s true. God wants us to know Him personally in every situation and circumstance we face in this life. Did you know how we respond to our circumstances reveals what we really believe about God? Are we trusting God or do we feel betrayed and abandoned when things don’t go our way? Jesus promised that if we would come to Him that He would never leave us nor forsake us. Elijah learned that God was always there by going through the trials in his life and you and I will learn God is there for us the same way too. God does want to reveal Himself to us, and He will as we walk in obedience to His will. Sometimes the problem in our spiritual journey is we know too much. We know God can do whatever He chooses whenever He chooses but we get frustrated when it doesn’t happen in the way we think it should or when it should. Our faith becomes our problem. Instead of trusting God we question Him.

As chapter 19 comes to a close Elijah learns what God would have you and I know too. God’s plan for this world is not dependant upon us. God is Sovereign, He is in total control. God has kept in reserve seven thousand who have not bowed down to Baal and Elijah didn’t even know it. God is in control, and you can trust Him to complete the work He has begun, both in the world and in you! Walk by faith today, and don’t judge your Christian life by the experiences or the manifestations. Judge your life by the presence of God, and your awareness of Him throughout the course of your day. Seek Him and talk with Him and walk in His ways, and most of all listen for that still small voice. To many Christians in the world today are focusing their energy on trying to discover the purposes of God and the power of God being manifest and all the while missing out on the best part…the very presence of God in our day-to-day living.

Yes, beloved of God, life has its mountain top experiences along with the valley low too, but as Elijah found out the most awesome feature about our God is that He desires a personal relationship with us and when we open our heart to Jesus we begin to know God is with us all the time in the highs and the lows.

 
“Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.”

Psalm 40:5

 

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"He Who Hesitates Is Lost"

“And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people answered him not a word.”

1 Kings 18:21


You are most likely familiar with the old saying, “He who hesitates is lost” and it could not be more true when it comes to matters of faith. The bible makes clear that without faith it is impossible to please Him for he who comes to Him must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. When all is said and done there are only two camps in life, those who believe and those who don’t. To say you have not made up your mind is in reality to say you don’t believe and you are in jeopardy of God’s judgment unless you repent. Don’t vacillate but rather trust in God and associate, follow Jesus!

Elijah had 31/2 years during the drought to develop a faith that was real. Elijah learned that God desires obedience more than anything else in our lives. From Genesis to Revelation God is never honored by double mindedness and as the book of James declares, “the double minded man is unstable in all his ways”. The writer of Hebrews gives us the biblical definition for faith when he writes, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen”. In other words, faith isn’t blind as faith is what makes it possible for us to see in the dark. That’s why the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith. They knew that faith was the key to the victorious Christian life! Nothing has changed. It’s still true today! Abraham was considered the friend of God because he put his faith in God. We become friends of God when we place our hope and trust in Him too!

Don’t ever forget that religion is man’s attempt to reach God as we see here in 1 Kings 18. The prophets of Baal cut themselves, they abased themselves in hopes that their gods would answer. That is what religion calls for. Do more try harder and is why these false prophets attempted in vain to invoke the help of their gods by works. Christianity is not and will never be based upon what you and I do for God, as the true Christian life is discovered in what Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the Cross at Calvary.

Our job is to believe on Jesus Christ and what He has already done. Religion is works…its trying to “do” enough to be accepted by God, where as to be a true believer, a real Christian, a kingdom kid so to speak is to realize Jesus has already “done” it all. Abasing yourself, cutting yourself will not get you any closer to God or make you one once more spiritual. We are saved by God’s grace through faith and nothing else. We are called to trust and obey for there is no other way to reach heaven. Jesus is the way!

Elijah received the blessing of God by walking in accordance to His Word. Notice verse 36 where Elijah prays to God and says, “And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, "Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word.” There we have it, church, the reason for the answered prayer…”I am Your servant, and I have done all these things at Your word.”

Do you feel like you are in the midst of a spiritual drought in your life? Do you desire times of refreshing in your spiritual journey? I know I do. The good news today they are available to us who believe in Jesus, to those of us who have put our hope and our trust in Him. Listen closely today and you can hear the sound of the abundance of rain coming your way to quench your thirst and bring an end to the drought. Walk according to His Word and do not cease to seek and to ask and to knock. Press in and on to know the Lord and though you don’t see at first the blessing of the Lord coming your way. Here is where faith comes in. Just keep looking with the eyes of faith though it might take 7 times but it is coming!

Better yet…He’s coming…The Lord is coming soon with healing in His wings! Don’t forsake small beginnings, the clouds may appear as small as a man’s hand just like in our story here but a little with God is greater than all the world could ever offer us. Times of refreshing are coming, beloved, prepare the way of the Lord! Get out your rain gear!


“Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. The Lord will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone.”

Zechariah 10:1

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"Let God Revive"

“Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth."

1 Kings 17:24


I can’t tell you in one devotional how much this chapter and some to follow have encouraged my heart and soul over the past couple of years. Elijah proclaims a drought in the land and the Lord leads him to a place called Cherith, which means “the cutting place”. If God is going to use you and I in this life, friend, He will first cut us deep. God teaches us how to obey Him through the pain and suffering of discipline. The writer of Hebrews confirms this fact when it says in Hebrews 12:6, “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives."

As Elijah will soon discover God takes us from the comfortable to the uncomfortable, and just when you think it can’t get any worse, it appears as if it does. I say “appears” because we fail to recognize many times that “it is God who is at work in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Elijah is instructed of the Lord to go to the brook of Cherith and be fed by ravens and drink from a creek that is drying up. Oh, to be considered a man or woman of God! God is training Elijah for a great work that He is going to do through Him but not now…he’s still in training.

After the brook dried up God spoke to Elijah again and instructed him to now head for Zerephath, Zerephath means, “refining place”. Just when you have accepted the discipline of the Lord when He sends you to the “cutting place” of Cherith, God now instructs you to move to the “refining place” of Zerephath. Can you relate to that in your own spiritual journey? God cuts you deep and just when you think you have received your healing he sends you a refining place.

Think of it like a working with metal. You first cut a piece and then you refine it, in essence, you grind it! Elijah isn’t just cut by this trying experience, beloved, he is grinded by it! Have you ever been in a situation that has just grinded on you, friend? How do you handle it? I pray the words of Hebrews 12:11 minister to your heart today if you are going through a tough season in life. Listen to what Hebrews 12:11 says to us, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Unfortunately, many quit too soon when life gets hard or doesn’t go the way they had hoped would and as Jesus put it they, “turn back and walk with Him no more”. The man or woman of faith keeps knows to keep going…not on their own strength but the strength that He provides! Don’t give up, don’t quit, keep walking with Him because as the writer of Hebrews warns us well in Hebrews 10:38, “Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him."

God rewards our faith and courage not our quitting and complaining. Elijah presses on in obedience to the Lord and ends up being cared for by a widow who has nothing except a handful of flour and a little oil in a jar. Oh what the Lord can do with a little mixed with faith! This woman’s faith is stretched to its limit here as she is planning one last meal for herself and her son, as she believes they are both about to die. Her “last supper” is one that will in the end bring her new life. The same is true for you and me who are in Christ Jesus. At Jesus Last Supper He told His disciples that He was about to give us His body and His blood on the Cross so that we could feast at the Lord’s Table for all eternity.

The widow’s son takes ill and dies and yet Elijah doesn’t focus on the size of the problem he focuses on the size of His God. Elijah comes to know what I pray you discover today, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you but you can’t do anything apart from Him. Elijah prays from the upper room and the boy’s soul is revived. Do you feel faint of heart today…then go to the upper room and pray. Take Jesus at His word. Don’t talk to others and tell the world all your problems. Get alone with God and shut the door and pray. Jesus said in Matthew 6:6, “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Cry out to God and know that He cares, He hears, and He answers! Just as the widow’s son was revived, we can be revived too! 

Trials are the proving ground of our love, of our faith and our devotion to God and to one another. Elijah definitely walks by faith and not by sight and though his journey begins at a dried up creek bed and being feed “road kill” by the ravens, he ends up having his cake and eating it too when the Lord uses him to restore life to a dead child. God wants to use you and me today to take life to a dying world but we can’t do it with our eyes on us. Focus on the Lord today, focus on giving away the hope of Jesus as you travel about in your day and watch the Lord use you just like he did Elijah here to revive the widows son. Remember, it was Jesus Himself who said…

 
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”


John 14:12

I LOVE YOU!



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"No Such Thing As A Self Made Man"

“Inasmuch as I lifted you out of the dust and made you ruler over My people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam, and have made My people Israel sin, to provoke Me to anger with their sins”

 

1 Kings 16:2

 

God formed man out of the dust of the earth and breathed the breath of life into us and made us a living being. We owe our very existence to the Lord and all that we do in our lives by God’s design is to bring glory to Him. Unfortunately for us, we are sinners born into a world of sin and unless we are Born Again, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, the best we can do is adhere outwardly to the law…and only for a period of time…a very short period of time! We must be Born Again to please the Lord and to walk in His ways. Thank God that He gives us a second chance, and if we are honest He has given most of us even more!

Don’t ever forget that if God gave us what we all deserved we surely would remain dead in our trespass and sin and ultimately spend eternity in hell. And yet, God, who is rich in His love and His mercy, while were still sinners Christ died for us! Lets not take the love, the grace and the mercy of God for granted any longer beloved. Learn the mistakes that Israel made here in 1 Kings 16 and that many others following in her ways have done throughout the generations as 2 Peter 2:22 reminds us, “But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

We are all sinners by nature and the heart is wicked the bible reminds us. We need God to create within us a clean heart. The Old Covenant given to Moses written on tablets of stone was to be replaced by a New Covenant written on the hearts of man. The Old Covenant which relied on human strength and will to comply with was to be replaced by a New Covenant where the Lord would pour out His Spirit on all flesh giving us the power and the strength to live victoriously in Him. This New Covenant is received by grace through faith, believing and trusting in that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came from heaven to earth to live, to die, and to rise again on the third day for the forgiveness of sins, your sins and mine!

Believing that to be true, live this day thanking the Lord for His amazing grace and for reaching down and pulling us up and out of the pit of despair that we dug for ourselves and praise Him for setting our feet on solid ground…on Christ our solid rock! Remember whatever good we have in life, whatever good we do comes by the grace of God and not ourselves. We owe it all to Him, we owe it all to Jesus.

 

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

I LOVE YOU!

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