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Showing posts from June, 2018

"Stand Firm, Hold Your Position"

BIBLE READING: 2 Chronicles 19-23 Have you ever been in a situation where you feel powerless?It may be because of illness, tragedy or the actions of others against you. Whatever the case, you have no control over the situation.In 2 Chronicles 20, that is the way Jehoshaphat feels.The Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites have joined forces and are headed to attack the nation of Judah.The Bible says that King Jehoshaphat is afraid because he knows that they are no match for this “horde” of an enemy.He feels powerless; there is nothing he can do to stop them from coming.The only thing he can do is prepare for the impact.He calls assembly before the House of the LORD and cries out to God for help.Although they ask for God’s deliverance, they are content to accept whatever fate that God has before them.As the King closes out his prayer, he says something very significant:“For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us.We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You”.…

"Have You Inquired of the Lord?"

BIBLE READING: 1 Kings 22, 2 Chronicles 18 In the final days of Ahab, King of Israel, he is faced with a battle against the King of Syria.In his estimation, he was not allowed to defeat them himself, so he solicits Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah to join him.Jehoshaphat agrees and unites with Ahab on one condition; that they inquire of the LORD first.Ahab agrees and calls in 400 prophets and asked them, “Should I go and face Syria in battle and Ramaoth- Gilead?”.“Go up” they replied.Jehoshaphat interjects “Is there not a prophet of the LORD that we could ask?” (Evidently, Jehoshaphat noticed that these prophets were not true prophets of the LORD.).Ahab replied, “There is one, Micaiah; but I hate him, for he never prophecies good concerning me”.Don’t you just have to laugh at Ahab?Here he is, seeking out advice from those that agree with him, rather than looking to a true prophet from God that will reveal to him the truth.His reasoning is that the true prophet of God never prophecies any…

"Don't Be A Sell Out"

BIBLE READING: 1 Kings 20-21 “Sell out -someone who sacrifices their personal convictions for some type of advancement.” Naboth had set himself up to become a very wealthy man.He owned a vineyard that was located on a prime piece of property, right beside the palace of King Ahab.It just so happens that Ahab desired this vineyard for himself and he wanted to turn it into a vegetable garden.As Naboth might have expected, Ahab made his offer to pay whatever the piece of property was worth.It could have been very easy for Naboth to accept Ahab’s offer and ride off into the sunse,t a healthy, wealthy man.There was just one problem; this vineyard was worth more to Naboth than any amount of money that Ahab would offer.As it turns out, Naboth had inherited this vineyard from his father.It could have been that this piece of property had been in his family for three or four generation, maybe even longer.Naboth wasn’t interested in selling out to Ahab to become a rich man, because to him there was…

"The Devil Is Not Going To Give Up On You"

BIBLE READING: 1 Kings 17-19
As the spiritual state of the nation of God continues to decline, the prophets of God became afraid of Ahab and Jezebel and hid in caves in groups of fifties. God is looking for a prophet with the courage to, not only confront Ahab and Jezebel, but also make a statement from God against idolatry.  God finds His man in Elijah.  Elijah not only has the courage to confront Ahab and Jezebel, but he is also willing to take on the entire group of the prophets of Baal in a showdown.  The result, God shows His power through Elijah and gets rid of 400 prophets of Asherah and 450 prophets of Baal.  One would think that after such a devastating defeat, that Ahab and Jezebel would either retreat or repent from their wicked ways; but that was not the case.  In fact, the defeat only fueled Jezebels hatred for Elijah and she sets out to kill him.  I always thought that was kind of ridiculous on her part.  I mean… what is she thinking is going to happen? If God protected E…

"The Dangerous Progression of Sin"

BIBLE READING: 1 Kings 15. 25-34; 16. 1-34, 2 Chronicles 17                 As we continue our study of the kings of the two kingdoms, we see that as the nation of Judah begins to be (for the moment) on the right track in the early days of Asa, the Kingdom of Israel continues to fall in rapid decline.  With each passing king they grow worse; from bad with Jeroboam, to really bad with Baasha, to really really bad with Elah, to extremely bad with Zimri, to horribly bad with Omri until we get to the really, really, extremely, horribly wicked Ahab.  It was said about Ahab that he “…did evil in the sight of the LORD more than anyone else before him” (I Kings 16.30).   How did things get so bad?  It seems that each king attempted to trump the wickedness of the one that was before him.  As students of the Scriptures today, this should be a warning to us of the progression of sin.  James reminds us in his book of the progression of sin from birth to death, “But each person is tempted when he i…

"The Advice of Azariah"

BIBLE READING: 1 Kings 15. 1-24, 2 Chronicles 13-19 As we continue to read and study the nation of Israel, it doesn’t take very long before we see a tremendous downfall of the kingdom after the sins of Solomon.The kingdom has now been divided into two sections; the nation of Judah is now referred to as the Southern Kingdom and the nation of Israel now becomes known as the Northern kingdom.Judah is comprised of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, while the remaining tribes make up the Northern Kingdom of Israel.Each kingdom has slipped back into idolatry and now has their own separate linage of Kings, and the remaining portions of I and II Kings and II Chronicles compile a brief history and description of these kings.As for the reading today, it is comprised of the accomplishments of one of Judah’s kings… Asa.Asa’s reign as king has a fantastic beginning.In I Kings 15.11, we read that he “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD…”.He begins by quickly removing the cult prostitutes, remo…

Sunday

Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 10-12

Saturday

BIBLE READING: 1 Kings 12-14 DISCUSSION 1 Kings 13 tells us about the Prophet Who Lied and the Prophet Who Died… the Li-ar and the Li-on…It’s an interesting story where the man of God goes to Jeroboam to tell him about his future and how it will come crushing down by a child named Josiah because of the evil he was doing.In fact, upon telling Jeroboam this, his hand withers and the very sign that the man of God predicted … “Surely the altar shall split apart, and the ashes on it shall be poured out.” (vs 3) … occurred.For this reason, Jeroboam offered to him to come home with him and refresh himself, but the man of God tells him that the Lord commanded him not to “eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.” (vs 9).And, this command he obeyed, until he met an old prophet from Bethel who told him that God said that he was to come home with him and eat bread.So, the man of God followed him even though he was lying; this lead to his death.It’s interesting that his punis…

Friday

BIBLE READING: Proverbs 30-31 DISCUSSION As we did for Proverbs 27 - 29, we're looking at an outline of the Proverbs for today. Proverbs 30 - Agur Gets Existential This next section is entitled "Sayings of Agur, Son of Jakeh" (no one knows who Agur was, but he may have been a non-Israelite, representing Near-Eastern wisdom in a more general way). It begins with a confession of human ignorance—the speaker admits that he doesn't know anything, doesn't understand how the world was made, or how the universe was structured. He lacks wisdom, he says, but ends by saying to God that God knows all.He says that everything God says comes true, and people shouldn't falsely attribute statements to the divine. In life, Agur says he only wants to be free from falsehood and lying, and to have just enough to live—being free from both poverty and wealth. He asks God for these gifts and says he won't be able to live an…

"If Solomon Were Alive Today.."

BIBLE READING: 1 Kings 10-11, 2 Chronicles 9 DISCUSSION“IF SOLOMON WERE ALIVE TODAY….” It is estimated that if Solomon was alive today and had all of the wealth that he had while King of Israel, he would be worth over 2.1 trillion dollars.If that were the case, (and my math is correct) that would mean that Solomon could spend $95,890,000 a day, every day for the next 60 years.When we put things into perspective, that is so much money it makes my head hurt.Was it not the great Philosopher, The Notorious B.I.G. who once said “Mo Money, Mo Problems”?It seems that he could not have been more right in that statement.Solomon had so much wealth and popularity that his spiritual problems seem to escalate.He placed more emphasis on things (Eccl. 2:4-10), than he did on his relationship with God.It is so easy for us to fall into the same trap that Solomon did.When we focus on making ourselves happy, we will never be able to find it in the physical things.It is only when we focus on God and our re…

"It Doesn't Make Sense"

BIBLE READING: Ecclesiastes 7-12 DISCUSSION“It Doesn’t Make Sense” Recently, a dear and kind friend of our family lost her battle with cancer.She fought with courage and faith for years and kept the light of hope.She was a faithful member at her church, loved her friends and family tremendously and unselfishly gave of her time and money to others.From the outside looking in, THIS life needed THIS woman.Her family needed this matriarch, and we all needed this friend, yet it wasn’t to be.As I think about this precious soul taken from us at the young age of 63 and hear of murderers, thieves, and liars that live long healthy lives, it just doesn’t make sense to me.Even though we shouldn’t, it’s hard not to want to question God and say, “WHY?”But I am reminded of the wisdom given to us in Ecclesiastes 11: 5 where the king says, “Just as you don’t know the path of the wind, or how bones develop in the womb of a pregnant woman, so you don’t know the work of God who makes everything.”Our tiny m…

"Seasons"

BIBLE READING: Ecclesiastes 1-6 DISCUSSION“Seasons” Last month thousands of 18-year-olds walked across the stage and graduated from high school.In a couple more months, thousands of those same 18-year-olds will be dropped off at college with moms and dads choking back tears as they drive back home.Every day in hospitals across America new babies are born to nervous parents and goodbyes are said by a wife to a husband of many years.What do all of these have in common? They are all changes in the season of life.As sure as February snow melts into the sunshine of March, our lives will go through different seasons as well.In Ecclesiastes 3, the King of Jerusalem pens this wisdom and reminds us that there is a time for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven.For those of us who aren’t fans of change, Ecclesiastes 3:11 gives us comfort when it says, “He has made everything appropriate in its time.”If we truly trust God and his timing, then knowing God gave us the exact right am…

Monday

BIBLE READING: Proverbs 27-29 DISCUSSION No one can doubt that Proverbs is a hard book to study.  Most of the chapters are collections of wise sayings and good advice.  This means chapters are hard to characterize with one line of thought.  With this in mind, looking at an outline of the chapters might help us glean the wisdom intended. Chapter 27- Taste Follows Appetite More advice piles up: don't boast about what will happen tomorrow, because it could all be overthrown; don't praise yourself, let others do it; jealousy is worse than wrath or anger; and fool's provocations are harder to resist than a heavy stone or sand pressing down on you.It's better to rebuke someone out of care for their wellbeing than to hide your love for them. True friends will try to steer you into doing the right thing with rebukes and reminders, whereas enemies will just flatter and kiss up to you.If your appetite is already sated, you won't gorge…

Sunday

Bible Reading: Proverbs 25-26

"Repentance for Joy"

BIBLE READING: 1 Kings 9, 2 Chronicles 8
In the end, sinning is never a good time, because it carries a consequence. There might be physical consequences that affect our loved ones around us, or mental and spiritual ones that affect our thought lives. With these consequences comes conviction, because, as a Christian, sinning against God should cut us to the core. Thankfully though, it doesn’t stop there, but leads to repentance and joy in the grace of God and his love. Unfortunately, we can forget the joy we are to have in God’s grace through repentance. If we forget, conviction can turn to guilt or condemnation. These lies bring feelings of self-loathing and shame, which stand directly opposed to the truth that we are under no condemnation (Romans 8:1). In turn, we are unable to enjoy God and live the life we were meant to as Christians. We shy away from following God’s plans for our lives because we feel inadequate. In today’s verse, God is instructing Solomon that he will bless him if…

"Passing On"

BIBLE READING: Psalm 134, 146-150 David tells us in this psalm that the Creator Himself blesses His human creation. God desires to and does bless us so that we can pass on a blessing to others. There is a great illustration of this concept from Bill Hybels’ book, “Who You Are When No One’s Looking”. He writes: “It started like so many evenings. Mom and Dad at home and Jimmy playing after dinner. Mom and Dad were absorbed with jobs and did not notice the time. It was a full moon and some of the light seeped through the windows. Then Mom glanced at the clock. “Jimmy, it’s time to go to bed. Go up now and I’ll come and settle you later.” Unlike usual, Jimmy went straight upstairs to his room. An hour or so later his mother came up to check if all was well, and to her astonishment found that her son was staring quietly  out of his window at the moonlit scenery. “What are you doing, Jimmy?” I’m looking at the moon, Mommy.” “Well, it’s time to go to bed now.” As one reluctant boy settled down…

"His Mercy Endures Forever"

BIBLE READING: Psalm 136, 2 Chronicles 6-7 “Honey, my phone is broken, I am headed to Verizon to pick up a new one.” “Honey, the light bulb is shot in the bathroom, I am headed to the dollar store to get a new one.” “Honey, I need new tires on the car this week.” “Honey, watch your spending…the boys need new shoes this week.” Does any of that sound familiar to you?Around our house it seems we are constantly having to buy new things because the old things are wearing down.Every week there is something around our house that either needs to be repaired, replaced or renewed.To make matters worse, it will always be that way.The reading for today does mention something that will never need to be repaired, replaced or even renewed; the mercy of God.The word “mercy” means “a kindness, a good deed or favor”.Some of the more modern translations substitute the word “love” in place of “mercy”.In either case, God’s love and mercy are a few of those rare things that will endure forever.In fact, the psal…

"Solomon's Challenge"

BIBLE READING: 1 Kings 8, 2 Chronicles 5
As Solomon dedicates the Temple, he praises and blesses God for His ever-abiding presence with the children of Israel.  He also issues a challenge to the Israelites.  In I Kings 8.61, he urges the people to let their heart  “be wholly true to the LORD God, walking in His statutes and keeping his commandments”.   The King James Version replaces the phrase “wholly true” with the word “perfect”.  It simply means to be complete, not divided or spilt in our allegiance to God.  Solomon knew that this challenge would be difficult.  He knew that the completion of the Temple of God was only the beginning and that many more trials and tribulations were on their way to seek to contaminate the hearts of the Israelites.   Knowing this, he offers this challenge to them to stay as focused in the coming days as they were at this celebratory moment.  The completion of this Temple was a massive accomplishment but did not make them immune from the temptations that…