The Grace of God

 

Rest

Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 32 – 33 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Romans 1 – 4; Psalm 119; Proverbs 25)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

Read the “0525 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.” – (2 Chronicles 33:12 & 13)

In our passage today we see a beautiful picture of the grace of God. The theologians degine “grace” as an unmerited or undeserved favor. In chapter 33, we have the account of King Manasseh who was arguably the most wicked king that the southern kingdom of Judah ever had. He had undone many of the wonderful things that his father, Hezekiah, had done for the nation. Manasseh was into witchcraft, and even made two of his sons “pass through the fire”, which means he sacrificed them. Manasseh was a bad dude, as bad as they get.

In verse 10, the Scripture tells us that God “spake” to Manasseh, but he didn’t listen. God then came in and judged Manasseh by sending in the armies of the Assyrians. Now that got Manasseh’s attention, and he was ready to listen to God. The Scripture says he “besought” the Lord in his affliction. Manasseh was truly a “new creature” after this moment, and he dedicated the rest of his life to serving the Lord. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to undo all of the evil that he had committed before he was redeemed, and even though he finished well, he still has the reputation of being a wicked king.

The first thing that I would like to point out from this passage is that God saves bad people. It is hard for us to fathom the salvation of a man like Manasseh, but God has been in the business of saving wicked men and women for a long time. By the way, it is kind of arrogant on our part to decide who “deserves” salvation. None of us deserves to be saved. We are all sinners, and are all capable of all of the depravity that we have seen in the life of Manasseh. The amazing thing is not that God would save someone like Manasseh, but rather that he would save any of us.

The second thought I would like to pull from this passage is that God had to bring Manasseh down, before he could get his attention. I have often prayed for specific lost people that I know, and I have noticed that God will often allow tragedy to come to their lives in order to get their attention. People who are on top of the world, tend not to take notice of God; but let them go through a severe trial, and they will often re-think things. Though I do not enjoy watching people suffer, I know that the affliction that they may be experiencing today may be the very thing that causes them to turn to the Lord.

The third thought from the passage is that even though it is a wonderful thing that God’s grace reached Manasseh, and that He was saved before it was eternally too late; he still did a lot of bad things in his lifetime. I’ll bet he wished that he could go back and re-do some things. But once our time is up, it is up. Manasseh had an appointment with death, and when that appointment came, there was no more time to get things right. We all need to redeem the time, because our time is running out as well.

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” – (Hebrews 2:9)

Did you catch that? – every man – even someone as bad as Manasseh – even someone as bad as me


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Living for the Lord – A Formula for Success

to-love-is-to-live-in-god

Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 29 – 31 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Acts 25 – 28Psalms 116 – 120; Proverbs 24)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8

Read the “0524 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “Soulwinning in 2 Chronicles

“And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.” (2Chronicles 31:20-21)

I think one of the main reasons that God wants us to daily spend time in His word is because that it serves to remind us daily of the basic truth that God will bless those who seek Him and serve Him.  As we have been reading in these historical books, we have seen over and over again the blessings of God upon the godly kings; and conversely the judgment of God upon the wicked.  Of course, none of the kings were perfect: all made mistakes; but when they sought the Lord for forgiveness, God would always respond in mercy.  Even the bad kings that humbled themselves before God would receive mercy.  As we look today at the life of Hezekiah we see the same principle in place.  Hezekiah “wrought that which was good and right and truth before the Lord his God…with all his heart”, and God prospered him.

Child of God, the same applies to you and me today.  I am not trying to over-simplify the Christian life, but the principles of succeeding in life are really very easy to understand.  Find out what the will of God is for your life; and then fulfil it with all of your heart.  Give it everything you’ve got.  Live for God!  I’m not saying that every day is going to be amusement parks and sunshine; but you will have that abundant life Jesus spoke of in John 10:10.  It’s your choice:  live for God, and your life will be blessed of God; live for self, and you will look back with regret.

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalms 1:1-3)


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Plenty More Where That Came From

Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 25 – 28 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Acts 22 – 24; Psalms 111 – 115; Proverbs 23)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0523 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this morning’s passage – “His Heart Was Lifted Up” and “The Key to Prosperity

“And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The LORD is able to give thee much more than this.” (2 Chronicles 25:9)

“The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Haggai 2:8)

“For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” (Psalms 50:10)

In the three chapters we have read today we see pretty much the same pattern that we have observed throughout the Chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah. That is, if the king was following the Lord and submitting to His will, His reign was blessed and prosperous. Conversely, if the king chose to forsake God, then God also forsook him. Out the window would go God’s provision and protection.

I was caught by the story in chapter 25 regarding the King of Judah, Amaziah, hiring 100,000 men out of Israel to help him fight against the Edomites. He paid somewhere around 7500 pounds of silver (over $2.1 million) to the Israelites in order to hire them. God was not pleased with Judah yoking up with Israel for this battle, and He sent a man of God to Amaziah to tell him to fire the Israelites and send them home. Amaziah was willing to do this, but was upset about the money that he had already spent. God assured him that there was plenty more where that came from.

I got to thinking about how many times God’s people get messed up over money. Sometimes we get into a dispute with our brothers and sisters in Christ over some business deal; and we find ourselves fighting over money. Can I give you some advice: give in; don’t fight over money. If someone is insisting that you owe them something, give it to them. You might say, why would I do that? Because your relationship with people is more important than any amount of money; and if you do the right thing, God will replace what you lose with interest. We stress far too much about money. We give it to the church; but tie a string from ourselves to the money, and then get upset about it later. Don’t give it if you can’t completely let go of it. It really comes down to a matter of faith. If God asks you to give it, then give it. He has more to give you, and He will bless abundantly the person that trusts Him with their money.

The king of Judah almost continued in a bad plan, simply because he had already laid out the money for it. He almost let money cause the destruction of his nation. Many a Christian I know has allowed the love of money to destroy them. My preacher used to say, “God’s got plenty of money”. And you and I can get all that we need if we will be willing to let go what He has already given us. It’s all His anyway. I am not talking about being a bad steward here, but I am saying that we need to be able to let go of HIS money, anytime He asks us to.

Another thought from this passage is this: how many times do we continue going down a path that is clearly not the will of God simply because we refuse to admit we made a mistake? I have made many bad decisions in my life; some of them were irreversible, but many were. But, even when I could get turned around, I often didn’t because I didn’t want to admit that I was wrong, so I continued suffering the consequences of my bad decision. How stupid! A truly wise person will be able to quickly recognize a bad move, and make the corrections necessary. I remember one time my wife and I were traveling to Florida to visit her family. This was before the time of GPS, but I had followed the maps perfectly until I got within a few miles of her brother’s house, and that’s when I messed up. I took a wrong turn, and ended up getting lost, but I refused to call her brother for help, or stop and ask directions. I continued driving further and further away simply because I was too prideful to admit I made a mistake. This was very frustrating for my wife and family. After 20 plus hours of driving we were so close to our destination, yet we drove in circles for another hour or more when we could have been where we were going in a few minutes. Dumb, dumb, dumb! Don’t be like me. Realize your mistake, take the loss, and change direction.


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Too Dependent on the Preacher

preacher

Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 21 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Acts 19 – 21; Psalms 106 – 110; Proverbs 22)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31

Read the “0522 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s reading passage – “How Will You Be Remembered?

“And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.” – (2 Chronicles 24:2)

“Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it.” – (2 Chronicles 24:22)

The story of King Joash is certainly a fascinating account. After the death of his father, King Ahaziah, he was rescued as a baby from his grandmother, Attaliah, who had all of her grandchildren assasinated so that she could be queen. Joash was hidden in the house of God for six years, and was influenced greatly by Jehoiada the priest. When Joash finally became king, the influence of Jehoiada remained with him, and Joash was a great king, serving the Lord by repairing the temple, and replacing all of the vessels of gold and silver that were used in the service of the temple. Unfortunately, Jehoiada the priest “waxed old and died”, and King Joash went downhill afterward. It seems that without the influence of a man of God in his life, the peer pressure from some of the wicked men in his kingdom began to overpower him. He eventually went as far as having Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, put to death after being rebuked by him.

There are two principles that I would like to consider from this passage. The first is that we need to be careful that our faith is in God, not a man. I have seen this in my ministry, where people become too dependent upon me. They look to me to solve their problems for them. The problem with this is that I cannot possibly deliver what these folks expect from me, because I am not God. Eventually I will let them down, and they will throw the towel in on their faith. As a preacher, it is my job to strengthen people’s faith and relationship with God. As John the Baptist said regarding Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease”. I must point them to Christ. I must work to strengthen their relationship with Him, not me. I will certainly have to give special attention and nurturing to the new believers; but I eventually want to work myself out of a job, so that if I blow it, or God removes me from their lives, their faith will remain strong.

The second principle that I would like to pull from this passage is that Joash did well as long as he was being influenced by a preacher. When “his preacher” died, he then divested himself from the influence of all preachers. We need to always place ourselves under the influence of a church, and sound Bible preaching. When we get away from the church, our lives will get out of the will of God. Stay in the church where the Word of God can influence your life for good.


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Keep Your Eyes on the Lord

fix-your-eyes

Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 18 – 20 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Acts 16 – 18; Psalms 101 – 105; Proverbs 21)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 27:15

Read the “0521 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” (2Chronicles 20:12)

My focus this morning is on chapter 20 where we see the nation of Judah threatened by a federation of three nations. Together, these nations were far superior in both numbers and power to the nation of Judah. Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, did not seek out help from other nations did (as Asa did in chapter 16); but instead turns the problem completely over to the Lord. Jehoshaphat was a great man of faith, though not a separated man. He often would yoke up with the ungodly northern kingdom. However, here he does everything right. Notice in this passage how he demonstrates great faith in God:

1 When first confronted with the problem he sought God. Don’t wait until all else fails. Go to God first.

“And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,” (2Chronicles 20:3-5)

2 He searched the Scriptures. Notice in his prayer, in vv 5 – 13, he knows the principles and promises contained in the Scripture. He was able to ask “in the will of God” because he knew what God had promised in His Word.

3 He submitted to the man of God. In v 14, Jehaziel prophesies, and tells Jehoshaphat what to do; and Jehoshaphat obeys the prophecy of the man of God. When you are faced with a battle, go to the man of God for counsel; and listen to what he has to say.

4 He sang praises to God before the battle was actually won. This demonstrated both that he had great faith, and that he was content with whatever God was going to do. Do you trust God enough with the outcome of your battle to praise him before you see the final conclusion.

“And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endurethfor ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.” (2Chronicles 20:21-22)

The Christian life is full of battles; but if God is with us, the victory is already ours. Don’t fight the battle in your own strength. Keep your eyes upon the Lord , and allow Him to win the battle for you.


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Trust in the Lord

trust-in-the-lord

Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 13 – 17 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Acts 13 – 15; Psalms 96 – 100; Proverbs 20)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Read the “0520 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read previous posts from this passage – “Asa – He Started Well But Finished Poorly“; and “Don’t Shoot the Messenger”

“Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the LORD God of their fathers.” (2 Chronicles 13:18)

“And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.” (2 Chronicles 14:11)

“And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand. … For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” (2 Chronicles 16:7, 9)

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

In our reading today we learn about two kings of Judah, Abijah and Asa. In chapter thirteen we see that King Abijah and the people of Judah relied upon the Lord in a war between themselves and the northern kingdom of Israel, and the Lord gave them a great victory. In chapter 14, we see King Asa, the son of Abijah, in a war with the Ethiopians. Asa, like his father before him, also “rested” in the Lord, and the Lord delivered the Ethiopians into his hand. However, when we get to chapter 16, we discover that King Asa paid the Syrians to help him in another conflict with the northern kingdom. He “relied” upon the Syrians, instead of trusting in God.

As you might expect, God was not at all pleased with Asa for not trusting in Him to bring the victory against the enemy. God sends Hanani, the “seer” (prophet), to Asa to rebuke Asa, but Asa becomes very angry and throws the prophet into prison. The Bible goes on to report that Asa became “diseased in his feet”, but again, instead of going first to the Lord, Asa trusted in the physicians. He died two years after he contracted this “exceeding great” disease. (See Note Below)

There is a lot that we can glean from this passage. Too many times Christians are trusting in the philosophies of the world, or the security of their possessions, instead of trusting in the Lord. Many times, we are given clear instruction from God, but we hesitate our obedience because it goes against human reasoning. We need to be very careful to obey the principles of the Word of God, even when they do not seem to make sense to us, humanly. We must walk and live by our faith in God; and we need to continue down that pathway of faith. Asa started out walking by faith, but eventually he started walking by sight, forsaking the faith that he once possessed. We can trust God. He has never let us down, and He never will forsake us.

Note – there is nothing wrong with going to physicians, after you have prayed to the Lord. The Lord uses physicians, but our trust needs to be in Him, not the physicians.

 


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Solomon – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 9 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Acts 10 – 12; Psalms 91 – 95; Proverbs 19)

Read the “0519 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: and there was nothing hid from Solomon which he told her not. And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel; his cupbearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, It was a true report which I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom: Howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me: for thou exceedest the fame that I heard. Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on his throne, to be king for the LORD thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made he thee king over them, to do judgment and justice. And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave king Solomon. And the servants also of Huram, and the servants of Solomon, which brought gold from Ophir, brought algum trees and precious stones. And the king made of the algum trees terraces to the house of the LORD, and to the king’s palace, and harps and psalteries for singers: and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah. And king Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which she had brought unto the king. So she turned, and went away to her own land, she and her servants. Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and threescore and six talents of gold; Beside that which chapmen and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon. And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of beaten gold went to one target. And three hundred shields made he of beaten gold: three hundred shekels of gold went to one shield. And the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. And there were six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and stays on each side of the sitting place, and two lions standing by the stays: And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps. There was not the like made in any kingdom. And all the drinking vessels of king Solomon were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold: none were of silver; it was not any thing accounted of in the days of Solomon. For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. And king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year. And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. And he reigned over all the kings from the river even unto the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt. And the king made silver in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycomore trees that are in the low plains in abundance. And they brought unto Solomon horses out of Egypt, and out of all lands. Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat? And Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers, and he was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.” (2Chronicles 9:1-31)

Good morning. As we see in chapter 9 here, we understand that king Solomon was the wisest man ever. God gave Solomon what he asked for which was the wisdom to rule Israel. And besides that, God gave him riches and fame in abundance. But chapter 9 doesn’t give the whole story. The Bible says…

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” (Romans 3:10-11)

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23)

What happened?

But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.” (1Kings 1-10)

So even the wisest of men can be distracted from following God. What will it take to distract you? Is it texting? Is it TV? Is it the latest gossip on Facebook? Twitter? Your job? The cares of this world? What distracts you from reading your Bible? What distracts you from prayer? How come your prayer time has dwindled down to two or three minutes? Maybe sin?

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)

So what can be done? How can you fix this? You can’t.

1) Go To God First

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:9)

2) Go To God First

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

3) Go To God First

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

We need that quiet time in the morning for walking with God, putting Him first. And read your Bible, and especially pray. That where we can confess our sins and ask Him for forgiveness, ask Him for guidance, and ask Him for the things we need.

Yes, Solomon was wise, but just like the rest of us and the world, he was a sinner. Eventually, Solomon did come to this conclusion…

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

Peace.


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The Fire Came Down

The Fire Fell

Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 6 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Acts 7 – 9; Psalms 86 – 90; Proverbs 18)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0518 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read another post from today’s reading passage – “Hear Thou From Heaven and Forgive”

“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” – (2 Chronicles 7:1-3)

I love passages of Scripture like these chapters here in 2 Chronicles. Everything is as it should be. The people are in a right relationship with their God, and the Lord is blessing the people tremendously. In chapter 7, verse 1, God sent down a visible manifestation of His approval of the new temple when He sent the fire down from Heaven. It was if He was saying “Amen” to the prayer that was just made by Solomon in chapter 6. How I wish I could have seen that awesome display of the glory of God.

God still sends His fire down today, though it cannot be seen with the physical eye. The fire He sends down today is the manifestation of His Spirit upon His people when they are pleasing Him. I have witnessed God’s fire fall upon some of the church services which we have had here at our church. I wish that I could say that all of the services had the fire of God on them, but I do cherish the times that He makes His presence among us so apparent that every last individual in the church recognizes it. Why can’t we have services like this every thime we meet together? I believe it is because all of the ingredients are not present; and the same ingredients are necessary today, as were present the day that Solomon dedicated the temple. So what was present in 2 Chronicles, and what must we have today, in order for God to send His fire down from Heaven?

1 There must be unity – These people were all “in one accord”. They all had one heart, one mind, and one purpose that day. Their attention was completely focussed on the Lord.

2 There must be praise – Look at 2 Chronicles 5:13 & 14. God truly does inhabit the praises of His people. They were praising the Lord in song, and with instruments; and the Lord was glorified.

3 There must be humility – I noticed in chapter 6 that Solomon got down on his knees before all of the people. Solomon was a “big shot” , but Solomon yielded and bowed to the One who was infinitely greaer than him.

4 There must be obedience – These people were doing exactly what God wanted them to do.

We could see the manifestation of God’s presence today just as much as Solomon did if we simply get with God’s program.


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The Glory of the Lord Filled the House

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Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 1 – 5 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Acts 4 – 6; Psalms 81 – 85; Proverbs 17)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0517 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “Just Ask Him

“It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.” – (2 Chronicles 5:13-14)

Nothing pleases the Lord more than the praise and worship of His people. Here in the first five chapters of 2 Chronicles we see Solomon building the temple of God on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. All of the preparations had been made; all of the materials had been provided for; all of the instruments of worship, and the ornate furnishings had been created; and everything had been put in its proper place. Finally, this temple, which was first conceived through the Lord in the heart of David, is now almost complete. I say almost, because God does not arrive on the scene until His people in one accord begin to worship and praise Him. It isn’t until then that God shows up, and fills the temple with his glory.

Two things caught my attention from this passage. The first is that they played and sang “as one”. That tells me that there was unity and harmony. God loves when His children are dwelling together in unity. The second thing is that God is well pleased with the praise of His people. This is one of the things that sets us apart from other religions. God does not force us to worship Him. Nothing about true worship is forced. Worship and praise are voluntary expressions of our love for the Lord.

As I am writing this passage, I am burdened about many things in my life, and in the life of our church. I have been thinking lately that something is missing in our church. I could not put my finger on it before, but I think God has shown me something here. We are not praising the Lord as we should. We are not singing as we should with a heart filled with praise and adoration for our God. The song service in our church should be more than just some obligatory precursor to the preaching. It should be a time when we as God’s children stop everything and focus our attention on Him completely, lifting up our hearts and voices to Him in praise. It’s really pretty simple isn’t it? Maybe if we start praising and worshipping God as we should the glory will fill our house as well.

 


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Preparing for the Next Generation

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Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 28 – 29 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Acts 1 – 3; Psalms 76 – 80; Proverbs 16)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “0516 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building:” – (1 Chronicles 28:2)

In today’s passage in, 1 Chronicles, we see David making all of the preparations for the building of the temple in Jerusalem. David would not be the one who would assemble all of the pieces together and produce the final product, as that job would be given to his son, Solomon. But David did everything else. When Solomon took over as king he had everything that he needed in order to complete the project.

In these two chapters we have seen that David did the following in order to prepare for the building of the Temple:

1 He planned it. David supervised over the drawing of the blueprints for the Temple

“Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the LORD.” – (1 Chronicles 28:11-13)

2 He provided for it.

David provided for all of the gold, silver, brass, wood, and other materials. Everything that was needed to build the temple was provided for by David. Solomon did not have to gather any of the building materials, they were all ready to go.

3 He prayed for it.

Notice David’s prayer for Solomon and the temple in 1 Chronicle 29:10 – 19.

I think the temple should be called David’s temple. He did all of the hard work. Solomon really had the easy part. Why should he get all of the credit?

I see in this passage a picture of what God wants us to do for future generations. We are to plan, provide, and pray for the generation that is following behind us. When they arrive, they can then build upon the foundation that we have laid. Too bad Solomon didn’t continue building after he built the temple. If you study Solomon’s life you will see that he will eventually start squandering all of the things that were handed to him. He will forsake many of the things his father fought and worked for to provide for him. What a shame. We need to remember to take the things that others have built for us, and preserve them; and then build upon them so that we can deliver them to the next generation.

 


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Many Members – One Body

 

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Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 26 – 27 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 21, Psalms 71 – 75; Proverbs 15)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1

Read the “0515 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Among these were the divisions of the porters, even among the chief men, having wards one against another, to minister in the house of the LORD.“ (1 Chronicles 26:12)

In today’s passage we see the list of countless names of people who labored behind the scenes in the temple, and in the kingdom during the reign of David. When we think of the temple, we think of Solomon primarily, because it was he whom God chose to assemble it; or we may think of David, because he was the one who made most of the preparations for it. However, we can see from these passages that there were literally thousands of people laboring behind the scenes that made the ministry that went on in the temple possible, as well as in the rest of the kingdom.

In a local church, we sometimes think that it is primarily the pastor who makes everything happen. While the office of the pastor is an important position, he is just one member of a body made up of many. He may be the most visible, but there are so many other people whose participation is necessary in order to accomplish the work of God. Our church is small in number, but even in a church our size, there are many people laboring, some completely behind the scenes, who are vital parts of the ministry. Think with me for a moment about all of the different duties that must be performed in order for our church to function as it should. There are soul winners who get the message of the gospel to the community; disciplers who mentor and instruct those who have trusted Christ; there are Sunday School teachers, ushers, greeters, audio/vidio people, choir members, song leaders, musicians, bus drivers and workers, maintenance people, and administrators. These people and the work that they do are all important to the cause of Christ.

Romans 12 talks about some of the gifts given to us by the Lord that are to be used by us in His service:

“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:4-8)

1 Corinthians 12 also instructs regarding the different members of the body, though many of the individual gifts spoken of in this chapter were sign gifts that were given to believers during the transitional period in the first century, and are no longer available today:

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

”For the body is not one member, but many.” (1 Corinthians 12:14)

“But now are they many members, yet but one body.” (1 Corinthians 12:20)

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)

God has something to do for everyone in the local church. I was recently criticized for preaching too much about what we need to do for the Lord, but as I see it, there is a lot that needs to be done. Yes, it is God which works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure, but we still need to be submissive and obedient to His plan for our life. We often quote from Ephesians 2:8 & 9 regarding the fact that it is solely through the grace of God that we are saved, but the next verse teaches us that we are saved and equipped to work.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Christian, let me encourage you to find out what your unique gifts are, and also admonish you to use those gifts for the glory of the Lord Jesus, in the service of the local church.

“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:27)

Twitt


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The Hope of the Future

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Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 23 – 25 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 19 – 20; Psalms 66 – 70; Proverbs 14)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 61:1 – 3

Read the “0514 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

In today’s passage (and yesterday’s) we read about David making the preparations for the building of the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the worshipping of God in the temple. If you will recall, David was forbidden of God to actually build the temple himself because God said that he was a man of war; and that he had shed much blood while delivering Israel from the hands of her enemies. God said that Solomon, David’s son, would be the man that would build the temple as he would be a man of peace. However, this did not prevent David from doing all that he could to help gather the materials, and to make the necessary preparations, so that Solomon would have all that he needed to fulfill God’s will for his life.

I have been saved now for many years, and I have learned that God will not allow me to do all of the things that I have dreamed of doing for Him; but that does not stop me from doing all that I can do to help pave the way for those that He will call later to fulfil His will (and some of my dreams). I have a lot of dreams: I dream of seeing multitudes of people saved and serving God here in south Jersey. I dream of seeing hundreds of young men and women being trained here to go forth throughout the world serving God. I dream of planting dozens of churches here in our area. I dream of running dozens of buses all over Atlantic County, picking up boys and girls and bringing them to the house of God. It is in my heart to do all of these things; but God will very likely not allow me to do all that I dream of. But maybe I can help train and prepare the next generation so that they can take what we have started and build upon it. I have to be content with being just a part of the process. I can maybe help give the next generation a strong foundation so that they can continue to do what I could not do.

How about you? What are you doing today to help prepare for the next generation. Sometimes people don’t want to be involved in the process at all if they personally can’t be there for the final product; or if they won’t receive the praise of men for the final product. We need to forget about who gets the credit; do all that God will allow us to do ourselves today; and then give and train and prepare so that the next generation will be able to finish what we have started and even do “greater works than these”.

We need to be concerned about the next generation. I am reminded of Hezekiah who was not at all disturbed when God told him that judgment would come in future generations, as long as things were going well in his day. I believe we have a great responsibility to provide for the next generation. I want to see those who follow behind me succeed, and to build upon the foundation that was laid by the folks who came before them.

One final note – 3 times in chapters 23 – 25, David mentions folks that would be positioned in the temple just to praise the Lord. It seems that David took his worship of God seriously. We need to make ure that the next generaltion of Christians will not be ashamed to lift up the Lord in praise.


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Get Busy

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Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 19 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 17 – 18; Psalms 61 – 65; Proverbs 13)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 55:17

Read the “0513 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Place of Sacrifice

“Of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no number. Arise therefore, and be doing, and the LORD be with thee. … Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the LORD.” (1 Chronicles 22:16, 19 KJV)

“Busy” is a word that has almost become a bad thing in the day that we are living in. Most of us are already very busy people. The demands of living in the 21st century have caused us to work longer hours in order to just survive; and then we have the needs of our families, and the upkeep of our homes to consider. We are already very busy people, and the thought of becoming busier does not put a smile on our faces.

Here in this passage, David encourages Solomon and the people of Israel to “get busy” building the temple of God. David had actually already done most of the work: he provided all of the materials, and had done all of the planning and preparations. He also cleared out of the country all of the enemies that had been a threat to them. The people now had nothing else to do, but build the House of God. Everything was prepared; everything was ready. There was nothing that could stop them from fulfilling the will of God.

I believe that we can see a parallel from this passage to the will of God for us today. We are living in a time where God wants us to “be doing” as well. We are commanded to communicate the love of the Saviour through the preaching and teaching of the Truth of the Gospel to a lost and dying world. Everything has been provided for us. The Son of God has already provided His shed blood to atone for the sins of all men. By the way, I did mean it when I said, “all men”:

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)

He has also given us a complete and perfect copy of His Word, which declares His will to us; and He also has given us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, Who guides us into all truth. (John 16:3) He also has promised to individually equip (gift) each believer in the specific task that he gives us as part of His overall plan.

There is absolutely no reason, no excuse, for not “getting busy”, and abounding in the work of God. Have you found God’s particular plan for your life within His overall commission to all believers? If you haven’t yet, get busy in your local church, studying the Scripture, praying, and winning souls. Those are good places to start. Ask your pastor or Sunday School teacher what you could do to help the cause of Christ within your community. As you yield yourself to these fundamental things, God will begin to mold you and direct you into a specific area of service.

If you do already know what God has specifically called you to do, “get busy”. Re-commit yourself to give the cause of Christ 110% effort on your part.


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Thank-you LORD – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 15 – 16; Psalms 56 – 60; Proverbs 12)

Read the “0512 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it: and they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God. And when David had made an end of offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD. And he dealt to every one of Israel, both man and woman, to every one a loaf of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record, and to thank and praise the LORD God of Israel: Asaph the chief, and next to him Zechariah, Jeiel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah, and Obededom: and Jeiel with psalteries and with harps; but Asaph made a sound with cymbals; Benaiah also and Jahaziel the priests with trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God. Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren.” (1Chronicles 16:1-7)

Good morning! Did you wake up this morning? You need to thank the LORD for the breath He gave you. Were you able to get up and out of bed? Then you need to thank the LORD for your strength. Did you enjoy a nice breakfast? Then you need to thank the LORD for the food He provided you with. Colossians 3:15 says…

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)

It is so easy to become a scoffer, and angry at the world, but let the peace of God rule in your heart. Jesus knows you and you know Jesus. Be ye thankful. Problems start with being unthankful…

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:18-32)

When it comes to thanking God, we are without excuse for there are many things we can thank the LORD for. It seems though we are just slack in being thankful. King David, in his Psalm, has given only a few of those things we should be, can be, and how to be thankful for…

“(8) Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name [YOUR SALVATION], make known his deeds among the people [WITNESS FOR HIM]. (9) Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him [HE PUT A SONG IN YOUR HEART, THIS IS WHY: BE THANKFUL], talk ye of all his wondrous works [BRAG ON WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR YOU]. (10) Glory ye in his holy name […for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved – ACTS 4:12] : let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD [THROUGH PRAYER AND HIS WORD]. (11) Seek the LORD and his strength [FOR HIS OMNIPOTENCE], seek his face continually. (12) Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth [MEDITATING ON THE MANY THINGS HE HAS DONE]; (13) O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones. (14) He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. (15) Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; (16) Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac; (17) And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant, (18) Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance; (19) When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it. (20) And when they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people [FOR HIS PROMISES]; (21) He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes [FOR HIS PROTECTION], (22) Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. (23) Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation [FOR SALVATION]. (24) Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations [FOR THE OPPERTUNITY TO BEAR WITNESS FOR HIM]. (25) For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods. (26) For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens [FOR BEING THE CREATOR]. (27) Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place. (28) Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. (29) Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. (30) Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved. (31) Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth [FOR WHO HE IS: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS]. (32) Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein. (33) Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth [IF YOU DON’T, THE SEA, THE FIELDS, AND TREES WILL]. (34) O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever [FOR HIS GOODNESS AND HIS MERCY]. (35) And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise [FOR HIS PRESERVATION]. (36) Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD.” (1Chronicles 16:8-36)

Thank You LORD.

Peace.


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Obededom – A Doorkeeper for the Lord

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Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 13 – 14; Psalms 51 – 55; Proverbs 11)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read the “0511 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “God’s Will – God’s Way”

So David brought not the ark home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite. And the ark of God remained with the family of Obededom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obededom, and all that he had.” – (1 Chronicles 13:13-14)

And Shebaniah, and Jehoshaphat, and Nethaneel, and Amasai, and Zechariah, and Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, did blow with the trumpets before the ark of God: and Obededom and Jehiah were doorkeepers for the ark.” – (1 Chronicles 15:24)

For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” – (Psalm 84:10)

My thought this morning comes from chapters 13 and 15 from 1 Chronicles. If you have read those chapter you may have noticed the name Obededom, who was a Levite that housed the ark of the Lord for three months. The background to the story is complicated, but basically what had happened was that the ark of God had been taken in previous years by the Philistines in a battle they fought with Israel. The Philistines received the judgment of God because of it, so they returned it to Israel. For years the ark remained in Kirjath-jearim, but when David became king he wanted to bring the ark to Jerusalem. His first attempt to bring the ark back resulted in tragedy. David put the ark on a cart, which was not according to the commandment of God, as the ark was to be transported solely by the Levites, and was to be carried with staves (poles) on their shoulders. On this first attempt trip to bring the ark back on the cart, one of the drivers touched the ark in order to steady it, and the man (Uzza) was immediately struck down by God. Nobody was to touch the ark of God. This is where Obededom comes in. Apparently his home was nearby, and since he was a Levite David brought the ark to his house for storage until he could figure out what went wrong. The ark stayed with Obededom for several months, and God blessed the house of Obededom. When the ark was later moved the right way to Jerusalem, Obededom went with it and became a doorkeeper in the house of God.

Odededom was a faithful servant of the Lord who was willing to do whatever was necessary in order to serve his Lord. His job as a doorkeeper was certainly not a high visibility position. He wasn’t asked to speak to large crowds of people, and he was not in the spotlight; yet, he faithfully served his Lord. We need more men like Obededom; more doorkeepers. We need men and women who will be willing to serve the Lord, and be content with not receiving the accolades of men, but knowing also that their labor was not in vain as far as God was concerned. I appreciate the en an women at our church that do the things that people tend not to notice, but are very important and necessary for the cause of Christ to move forward.

Note – for more information on the ark of the covenant see Exodus 25 and Numbers 3. For more information on the taking of the ark by the Philistines see 1 Samuel 4 and 5.


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Double Heart

Double Heart

Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 11 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 11 – 12; Psalms 46 – 50; Proverbs 10)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1

Read the “0510 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “God Spotted Him First

“Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart.” (1 Chronicles 12:33)

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8)

1 Chronicles 11 and 12 tell us about all of the brave and mighty men that recognized the call of God upon David, and followed him as he lead the people of God. In a previous post from this passage, I discussed the fact that it took a long time for the nation of Israel to realize that God’s hand was upon David. It actually took about twenty years from the time that Samuel anointed David to the time that the people anointed him as their king. However, there were some men from all of the tribes of Israel that God raised up to follow David, and these men were known as “David’s Mighty Men”. They were strong, brave, and well trained and equipped for the battles. They were also fiercely loyal to David, because they knew that David was God’s anointed.

1 Chronicles 12:33 contains an interesting description about the men of Zebulun that followed David. It says, “they were not of double heart”. That is a great phrase. It means that these men were not wishy-washy in what they believed and where they stood. They were completely committed to their cause. They loved and served David because they knew that he was the man ordained of God to lead the people, and they were not ashamed of him.

In this passage, David is a wonderful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. As Christians, we serve Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Our loyalties ought not be divided. We need to fully commit and surrender  to the Lord. Let’s not be double-hearted, or double-minded. Let us yield to Him completely, wholly. There are so many things in this world that lure our loyalty away from the Lord. We need to be more like these men of Zebulun, completely devoted to our King.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17)


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Too Big For His Britches

Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 9 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 9 – 10; Psalm 41 – 45; Proverbs 9)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6

Read the “0509 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “Who are the Nethinims?

“So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.” – (1 Chronicles 10:13-14)

“And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?” – (1 Samuel 15:17)

In 1 Chronicles, chapter 10, God tells us about the death of King Saul and his sons. God also tells us here the reasons that He took His hand of protection and blessing from the life of Saul; and when we compare this passage to some of the other passages in 1 Samuel that reveal the events of Saul’s life and reign as king, the picture gets a little bit clearer. Saul simply became “too big for his britches”. You’ve heard that expression before, haven’t you? My grandmother used to say that about me when I was a young boy. It simply means that your opinion of yourself is greater than the reality.

King Saul started out very well. He was always insecure, but in the early days he was a very humble man. When chosen by God to be the king of Israel, Saul’s life was dramatically changed, and though he was head and shoulders above the rest, he did not see himself as anything special. He was right to think that way because he really wasn’t special, and neither are we. However, in these early years of his reign as king, Saul trusted in God. As time went on, however, Saul became concerned with the opinion polls, and he was especially nervous about a young man in his kingdom by the name of David that was gaining popularity. Saul’s insecurity and pride caused him to make a lot of decisions completely independent of God; and he eventually got to the point where he was doing everything he could just to hold on to his power and throne: everything except humble himself before God.

The story of Saul serves as a good example to all of us who are in God’s service. God chooses us to serve Him, not because of anything we have to offer him. We have no intrinsic value, but God chooses to use us for his glory. The danger comes when we start wanting to steal a little bit of that glory for ourselves. We get too big for our britches just like Saul did. It is really a vicious cycle: we start out humbling depending on God to use us; God begins to use us and bless us in tremendous ways; we then begin to subconsciously think that those blessings were due to our own merit; then we begin to openly display our pride; then God has to pull away those blessings; and finally we fall on our faces back to the place of humility again.

Would to God we could just stay humble, realizing ”it is God which worketh in[us] both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” – (Philippians 2:13) God is the One who butters our bread, and we had better not forget it. Is God using you? – Praise God! But don’t get cocky, because God can pull away His hand of blessing from your life whenever He chooses.


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Valiant Men

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Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 7 – 8 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 7 – 8; Psalms 36 – 40; Proverbs 8)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:1 – 4

Read the “0508 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And the sons of Tola; Uzzi, and Rephaiah, and Jeriel, and Jahmai, and Jibsam, and Shemuel, heads of their father’s house, to wit, of Tola: they were valiant men of might in their generations; whose number was in the days of David two and twenty thousand and six hundred.” – (1 Chronicles 7:2)

1 Chronicles 7 contains the genealogies of several of the tribes of Israel, and lists many of the heads of the families that were alive when the Israelites were moving into the Promised Land during and after the time of Joshua. As you will recall, this land was full of the enemies of God’s people, and they all had to be removed from the land. In addition to the above verse, four times in this passage of Scripture the phrase “men of valour” is used to describe these men. I looked up the word “valour” in the dictionary, and it defines it as great courage in the face of danger. Some of the synonyms listed in the thesaurus for the word “valour” are bravery, courage, pluck, nerve, and fearlessness. I admire men who rise to the challenge and are willing to risk their lives for a greater cause than their own personal safety. God raised up these “men of valour” in Israel at a time when the people of God were facing incredible obstacles while claiming the inheritance that God had given them.

I remember the daring assault by the US Navy Seals in Pakistan which resulted in the removal of Usama bin Laden. These Seals are incredibly brave men, who are often asked to put their lives in great danger for the cause of liberty. I am very thankful for men who will lay their own safety on the line so that my family is kept safe. In a few weeks we will be observing Memorial Day. For many years this holiday meant little to me. For the most part it was a day for hamburgers, hot dogs, and potato salad; and a time to have barbecues or picnics with friends and family. But as I get older, and I look at my children and the opportunities they have here in this great nation, my mind is forced to think about the brave men and women who made it all possible for us. I would like to thank all of you who might be reading this thought this morning, who may have served our nation in the armed forces. You are truly men and women of valour.

As I was reflecting on my admiration of the men from this passage, and my appreciation for the men and women in America who keep us free, I was also challenged to consider what my contributions have been to make our country a better place. What sacrifices have I been willing to make so that life could be better for my family and neighbors? I want my life to make a difference as well. I don’t think that I will ever be called upon to go into a physical battle against some opposing army, but perhaps I can do some spiritual battle with the forces of darkness. I can also sacrifice some of my time, talent, and treasures to help people in a tangible way. Maybe there is something that you can do as well.


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The Levites – God’s Ministers

The Levites

Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 5 – 6; Psalms 31 – 35; Proverbs 7)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25

Read the “0507 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Now these are their dwelling places throughout their castles in their coasts, of the sons of Aaron, of the families of the Kohathites: for theirs was the lot. And they gave them Hebron in the land of Judah, and the suburbs thereof round about it.” – (1 Chronicles 6:54-55)

In 1 Chronicles, chapter six, we have the genealogy, and the land distribution of the families of the Levites. Remember, the Levites were the folks ordained by God to minister for Him in the Tabernacle, and they were not given their own portion of land like the rest of the 11 tribes were. According to this chapter the Levitical families were given cities within the borders of each of the other tribes. This was no small number of cities either: they were given literally dozens of cities to live in. I often wondered why God didn’t just give them a region surrounding the place where the tabernacle (and later the temple) would rest. It would seem that it would be more convenient to live near where they primarily ministered. Perhaps the reason God set it up this way was because that the needs of the Levites were to be met by the other tribes. The other tribes supplied them with their food and other needs, and it was certainly more convenient for them to have some of the Levites nearby. Apparently the families of the Levites did not all have to report to the tabernacle every day, because the distance that some of them would have to travel would render that impossible. They must have taken turns travelling to the tabernacle to serve the Lord. It is also evident that the tabernacle was not in Jerusalem early on. The tabernacle started out in Gilgal, then was moved to Shiloh, and then to Nob. It was finally placed in Jerusalem by David; and then was replaced by Solomon’s Temple.

This portion of Scripture gives us a more accurate picture of what reality was for these servants of God. I always thought that the entire ministry team for the tabernacle was perhaps a few dozen people who all lived right outside the entrance. I never realized that it was a huge number of people (perhaps several hundred thousand). Think of the logistics of organizing this team of workers. Think of the planning required to make sure that all of their physical needs were met.

As our church grows in number, we will also have to expand our ability to administrate all of the people and logistics required to facilitate that growth. God will have to give us wisdom as to how to best accomplish this. However, we must be prepared to change the way we do things. Growth is a natural part of life. We are expected to grow; but along with numerical growth will also have to be an expansion of ability and administration so that the needs of the increasing numbers of people can be met. You can help, by asking God what he would have you do to help in this awesome task. I believe the reason that many churches stop growing is not because they are off in doctrine; not because they don’t love the Lord, or His people; but simply because they never expand their abilities in order to administrate a larger work. They are trying to run a large church in the same way they did when the church was small. Don’t misunderstand, many things should stay exactly the same; but unfortunately many things will by necessity have to change.


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They Cried to God in the Battle

They Cried To God In The Battle

Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 3 – 5 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 3 – 4; Psalms 26 – 30; Proverbs 6)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19

Read the “0506 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Prayer of Jabez

“And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was intreated of them; because they put their trust in him.” (1 Chronicles 5:20)

The beginning section of 1 Chronicles is the largest genealogical portion of Scripture in the Bible. As was stated yesterday, these genealogies are very important, albeit at times, they are not the most exciting passages to read. There are many nuggets of truth, however, nestled in the midst of these genealogies. In a previous post, we discussed the prayer of Jabez from 1 Chronicles 4:9 – 10. This morning I would like to focus on 1 Chronicles 5:18 – 22, which discusses the acquisition of land on the east side of the Jordan River by the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

Verse 18 tells us that these 44,000 men were brave and very skillful in their military ability; but apparently their numbers and their expertise were not enough to conquer the enemy. They needed God’s help. Notice in verse 20, the Bible tells that they were helped by God, because they put their trust in Him. We also know that it was God’s will for them to go to war against the Hagarites because “the war was of God” (v. 22).

I believe we can learn some things from this passage as we fight the Lord’s battles today”

First, we must be sure that we are fighting God’s battle (doing His will). If we are just working for ourselves, we cannot expect success.

Secondly, we must trust in the Lord to bring us the victory. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).

Finally, I believe that we should work at sharpening our skills. These men of Israel were well equipped, and highly trained for the task, and I think that God’s people need to be equipped and trained today in order to serve the Lord effectively. Someone once said that we ought to work like it all depends on us, but we ought also to pray like it all depends on God.

These three tribes were able to drive out the wicked inhabitants of the land, and possess their dwellings all because they trusted in the Lord; and they remained there until the time of the captivity. Why did they eventually lose their land to the Assyrian army? Because they stopped trusting in God. We receive all of the blessings of life because of our dependence upon Him. Let’s not lose them by deciding to live life trusting in the flesh.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)


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Zidon – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 1 – 2 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – John 1 – 2;Psalms 21 – 25; Proverbs 5)

Read the “0505 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Adam, Sheth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalaleel, Jered, Henoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. And the sons of Gomer; Ashchenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. The sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabta, and Raamah, and Sabtecha. And the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan. And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be mighty upon the earth. And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (of whom came the Philistines,) and Caphthorim. And Canaan begat Zidon his firstborn, and Heth…” (1Chronicles 1:1-13)

Good morning. Here in 1Chronicles chapter 1, and also in chapter 2, we find the genealogy starting with Adam, the first man. We also find that Ham, one of Noah’s sons had a son named Canaan. But Canaan had a problem.

“And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread. And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” (Genesis 9:18-27)

Canaan was cursed to be a servant to his brethren. Not only that, but Canaan would be a servant of servants. He was “the low man on the totem pole” and would serve the servants of his brethren also. As with any type of slavery there will eventually be rebellion. In 1Chronicles 1:13 we find that Canaan had a son who he named Zidon, the father of the Zidonians. The Zidonians would eventually have their own land and could not be driven out…

“Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob…” (Judges 1:31)

In Judges chapter 10 we find the damages done to Israel by the Zidonians. They caused Israel to serve false gods…

“And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him.” (Judges 10:6)

We also find in Judges 10 that the Zidonian oppressed Israel…

“And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines? The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand. Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.” (Judges 10:11-13)

They cause king Solomon to turn his heart away from the true God to false gods…

“But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.” (1Kings 11:1-6)

And king Ahab was also led astray by marrying the daughter of the king of the Zidonians…

“And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years. And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.” (1Kings 16:29-33)

Just like our sins, the sins of the Zidonians will catch up with them…

“Son of man, set thy face against Zidon, and prophesy against it, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her. For I will send into her pestilence, and blood into her streets; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword upon her on every side; and they shall know that I am the LORD. And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord GOD. Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob. And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God.” (Ezekiel 28:21-26)

Here in America, our government is on the right track in fully supporting the nation of Israel. God has given them their promised land, and God will draw His people back to the promised land. Around that time, He may also bring the save into our promised land: Heaven.

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1Theselonians 4:13-18)

Peace!


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Choose Your Battles Wisely

Choose Your Battles Wisely

Today’s Passage – 2 Kings 23 – 25 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

Second Milers also read – Luke 23 – 24; Psalms 16 – 20; Proverbs 4

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0504 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“In his days Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him.” – (2 Kings 23:29)

In order to make sense of the story referenced in 2 Kings 23:29 above, the parallel passage in 2 Chronicles 35:20 – 25 should be read also. In a nutshell, the two big dogs on the block during the time of Josiah are Egypt and Assyria. The Kingdom of Judah, which includes Jerusalem and its surrounding areas was nestled right in between these two world powers. Assyria had already conquered the northern kingdom of Israel. Anyway, Egypt was travelling north to fight with Assyria at a place called Carchemesh on the Euphrates River. King Josiah from Judah, for some unknown reason, got in the middle of this battle, choosing to fight for the Assyrians against Egypt. 2 Chronicles tells us that the Pharaoh of Egypt warned Josiah not to interfere. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that God told Josiah to get involved. From all appearances it looks as if Josiah was killed because he involved himself in something that God never told him to be involved in. Josiah was a great king, but he got his priorities messed up here. The end result is that Josiah’s son takes control of Judah, and the Bible tells us that he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.

I think that there is a great lesson for us to learn here. Sometimes we get ourselves in trouble when we interfere in things that God never told us to interfere with. We need to learn to do two things. First, we need to choose our battles carefully. Second, we need to learn to mind our own business at times. Now don’t misunderstand, sometimes God wants us to get involved in things that are not directly involving us, but when these times arise we need to make sure that it is truly God’s will for us to involve ourselves. When I look back through the  years of my ministry here at Jersey Shore Baptist Church, I can now see in hindsight that there were many times that I got involved in things that God never told me to do. As a result, the church would lose focus, and harm would come. I am trying now to stay within the area that God has called me to. He has called me to pastor the people of Jersey Shore Baptist Church, and He has called me to get the message of the gospel to my community. Besides my responsibilities as a husband and father, those are my main duties. It is a big enough job by itself, so I don’t need to get mixed up in something that distracts me from those purposes. There are a lot of “good” causes out there to get involved in, but even a “good” cause can become sin, if it is not God’s will.

How about you? Do you ever find yourself getting sidetracked into an area that distracts you from what you know God wants you to do? Choose your battles wisely, mind your own business, and stay focused on the will of God for your life.

By the way, I want to also be careful to acknowledge that even though Josiah got mixed up in something he shouldn’t have; he was still a great king, and in my opinion the greatest king Judah ever had. Chapter 23 of our passage records all of the great things Josiah did in Judah and even in the northern kingdom, Israel. He worked tirelessly removing the evil that his predecessors had allowed to enter into the land.


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Have You Found The Book?

Have You Found the Right Book

Today’s Reading – 2 Kings 20 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Luke 21 – 22; Psalms 11 – 15; Proverbs 3)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0503 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “He Should Have Quit While He Was Ahead”

“And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.” – (2 Kings 22:8)

In chapter 22, we have the account of the great king Josiah. I used to have debates with a good friend of mine as to who was the greatest king of Israel or Judah. His favorite was Hezekiah, but mine was Josiah. I like Josiah. He started young but he had a heart for God from the beginning of his reign until he died, and he caused God to postpone the judgment that was coming due to the sins of the kings before him.

As I mentioned already, Josiah was a good king from the start, but something happens in verses 10 and 11 that will destine him for greatness. The men that were working on the Temple discover a copy of “the book of the law”, the Bible. Apparently the Bible had been missing and out of use for many years because nobody seemed to even know about it at this point. When Josiah reads it for the first time, he “rent his clothes” because he knew that Israel and Judah had gotten completely away from the principles contained in “the Book”. Once he has finished mourning over the sad state of affairs in his nation, he begins to implement in the nation all of precepts contained in the law. He follows God with all of his heart and all of his strength, and God puts his blessings once again on the nation of Judah.

How about you?  Have you found “the Book”?  Have you discovered that “the Book” is not just a dusty decoration on your coffee table but is a powerful source of nourishment for your hungry soul, and a bright light of direction in this dark world that we live in today. Find your Bible, read your Bible, study your Bible, apply your Bible, and share your Bible with others.


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Spread It Before the Lord

man-praying-in-field

Today’s Reading – 2 Kings 18 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Luke 19 – 20; Psalms 6 – 10; Proverbs 2)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Deuteronomy 32:4

Read the “0502 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “Now You’ve Crossed the Line”

“And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.” – (2 Kings 19:1)

“And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.” – (2 Kings 19:14)

In our passage this morning in 2 Kings. we see the city of Jerusalem surrounded by the army from Assyria. Assyria had already conquered much of the known world at that time, including the northern kingdom of Israel, and Jerusalem in Judah certainly did not have the military strength to repel such a powerful force. Hezekiah, the King of Judah did what we all should do when we are faced with problems far bigger than our own human ability to solve: he went to the Lord. Notice in verse 1 above that Hezekiah went into the house of the Lord. That’s a good place to go to find answers, isn’t it. He then sent for the man of God, Isaiah. In this passage we can see a recipe that will help us in time of trouble. Go to God; go to God’s house; seek counsel from the man of God.

Notice in verse 14 above, the Assyrian’s are threatening again, and Hezekiah does the same thing that he did the first time. Why wouldn’t he? By the way, both times God delivers Jerusalem from the mighty Assyrians. The first time, God just lures them away from Jerusalem, but the second time He actually kills 185,000 of them. They should have quit while they were ahead.

So, what can we learn from this passage? When you are faced with questions and problems that are bigger than yourself, go to God. Look into the Bible for answers to your questions. Seek counsel from the men and women that God has placed in your life to help you. And whatever you do, do not forsake the house of God, when you are faced with problems. It very well may be that God will solve your problem there. The older I get, the more I realize that my life is bigger than my ability to live it right, and I often find myself not knowing what to do. I need God’s help. I need God’s wisdom. Our church is always facing decisions that drive us to our knees.  My family is facing decisions regarding the future. We need God’s wisdom; God’s help. We need to spread these things before the Lord.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” – (James 1:5 )


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Have It Your Way

Burger-King-Have-It-Your-Way

Today’s Passage – 2 Kings 16 – 17 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Luke 17 – 18; Psalms 1 – 5; Proverbs 1)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read the 0501 Evening and Morning devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “I Warned You”

“They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.” – (2 Kings 17:33)

“So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.” (2 Kings 17:41)

Do you remember the old Burger King jingle and ad campaign, “Have It Your Way”. Years ago this company promoted the concept of having your burger custom designed any way you desire. They inferred that the other fast-food burger places would only let you purchase their food the way they made it, and you could not “special order” a sandwich the way you wanted it. The ad campaign, I think, was very successful for Burger King. It has been over 30 years since they ran those ads, and I still remember them. The Burger King concept is a reflection of the American culture. We don’t want to be confined to a pre-determined menu. We want it our way. The Burger King concept may be a very good idea when it comes to selling fast food, but it will be a disaster for the church.

In our text we see in the land of Israel people from many nations. They had been placed there by the king of Assyria after he had removed the Israelites from the land. These foreigners faced opposition from God Himself when they first came in to inhabit the land (see 2 Kings 17:25), so they figured they had better do something to appease the God of Israel. The king of Assyria released one of the Israelite priests from captivity, and charged him to return to Israel and instruct the people in the proper worship of the God of Israel. The result was that these people incorporated God into their worship partially, but they still continued to worship their own gods, their way.

The New Testament tells us that in the end times there will be many that will do the same thing:

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” – (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

We are certainly living in the time that the Bible describes in 2 Timothy, and we have applied the Burger King philosophy to our worship of God. We pick and choose which doctrines on the menu that appeal to our tastes, and we create our own custom designed forms of worship and service. We have it wrong. This “seeker sensitive” generation of Christians needs to go back to the Bible and discover what is pleasing to the Lord, and then submit themselves to the menu that He has designed for them in His wisdom. God knows how to make our burgers better than we can. We had better let Him have it His way.


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God Sent Them a Saviour

God Sent Them A Saviour

Today’s Passage – 2 Kings 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Luke 15 – 16; Proverbs 30 – 31; Psalms 146 – 150)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1

Read the “0430 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, all their days. And Jehoahaz besought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them. (And the LORD gave Israel a saviour, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, as beforetime.” – (2 Kings 13:3-5)

In our passage today we have the northern kingdom of Israel, which is a nation that had long ago abandoned the God that had brought them from bondage in Egypt, and had given them a land of their own. They are lead by a king, Jehoahaz who the Bible describes as an evil man. Because of this nations wickedness, God sends judgment via the hand of the Syrians. However, in verse 4 something very interesting happens: this bad king, Jehoahaz, humbles himself before the Lord, and asks for the Lord’s help; and the Lord delivers Israel from the hand of their enemy.

What a marvelous picture we have here of the grace of the Lord. This nation and this king certainly did not deserve any help from the Lord; yet the Lord, in His mercy, delivered them anyway. This story reminds me of another story. I know a guy who is also a bad guy – a sinner; and he lives in a bad place – America: a nation that also has long ago abandoned the God that blessed them with their freedom and prosperity. Twenty-five plus years ago this evil guy I know recognized his sinful condition, and the judgment that lay ahead for him in Hell, and he also humbles himself before the Lord, and calls upon Him for forgiveness. You know what? The Lord had mercy upon him too, and saved him. That guy’s name is Phil Erickson. He didn’t deserve it then, and still doesn’t deserve now any consideration at all from a holy God; yet God saved him. What a God?

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – (Romans 10:13)


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The Lord’s People

familypraying

Today’s Passage – 2 Kings 10 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 13 – 14Proverbs 29; Psalms 141 – 145

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 Timothy 1:17

Read the “0429 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “Housecleaning

“And Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they should be the LORD’S people; between the king also and the people.” (2 Kings 11:17)

The northern kingdom of Israel never had the benefit of good leadership, and there is no doubt that the worst leadership team that served them was King Ahab, and Queen Jezebel. Time would not permit me to list here all of the ways that these two had lead their nation away from the will of God, but suffice it to say that they were some evil people. However, their wicked influence did not just impact their own nation, as the southern kingdom of Judah was also affected by the evil that was spewing out of their neighbors from the north. It all started with a good Judaen king named Jehoshaphat who loved the Lord, but unfortunately also had an “affinity” to Ahab. Jehoshaphat and Ahab were friends, so much so that Jehoshaphat’s son, Joram, married Ahab’s daughter, Attaliah. Joram was not a godly man, choosing rather to follow the influence of his wife and father-in-law rather than follow the God of his father. King Joram and Attaliah had a son, Ahaziah, who became the king of Judah, and he was also an evil man. He met an untimely death at the hands of Jehu because of his association with Ahab’s family. When he died, his mother, Attaliah (Ahab’s daughter) seized control of Judah by slaughtering everyone else that would have a claim to the throne, and she actually reigned as queen for 7 years. However, one of the “seed royal”  of Judah was rescued from Attaliah’s attempted assassination, and was secretly protected and raised by Jehoiada the priest; and when Jehoram was old enough, he was revealed to the nation, and was annointed as king. Finally, a good king was back on the throne, and some of the influence from the family of Ahab could be reversed.

The people of Judah had gotten out of the will of God because they allowed an ungodly influence into their land, but now, under the leadership of King Jehoram and Jehoiada the priest, some great things could happen. In 2 Kings 11:17 a covenant was made between the king, the people, and the Lord; and this covenant declared that the people of Judah would once again be “the Lord’s people”, meaning that they were going to remove the influences that had previously pulled them out of the will of God, and they also were going to follow the principles contained in the Word of God.

Notice the results of this decision:

“And all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was in quiet:” (2 Kings 11:20a)

God gave the people rejoicing and “quiet”, which means they were at peace. Praise the Lord. There was a time when our land enjoyed the peace (quiet) of God. I wish America would follow the example and admonition of Jehoiadah and Jehoram by ridding our land of the ungodly influences, and wholly following the Lord. Maybe then we could be “the Lord’s people” again as a nation, and could also have that wonderful peace that comes with it.


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Happy Endings – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – 2 Kings 7 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio –Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 11 – 12; Proverbs 28; Psalm 136 – 140

Read the “0428 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window. And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master? And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs. And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot. And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king’s daughter. And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands. Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel: And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.” (2Kings 9:30-37)

Good morning. How come parents no longer name their daughters Jezebel? How would you like to have a “happy” ending like her? She became just like fertilizer. In a previous verse, 2Kings 9:22, Jehu likens the works of Jezebel to whoredoms and witchcrafts…

“And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?” (2Kings 9:22)

Jezebel was more than just your typical Zidonian, she was zealous for her false gods. Yes, she was a Zidonian who worshipped false gods and goddesses like Baal and Ashtoreth. Zidon was one of the cities that Asher could not drive out of the promised land (see Judges 1:31). And as a Zidonian, Jezebel would have helped lead Israel away from the true God to worship Ball and Ashtoreth and do their abominations. In 1Kings, we see some of her abominable works…

1) She caused her husband, king Ahab, to worship Baal

“And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.” (1Kings 16:30-33)

2) She killed (cut off) the prophets of the LORD

“For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)” (1Kings 18:4)

3) She framed and killed Naboth to steal his vineyard for Ahab.

“And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money. And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee. And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread. But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread? And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard. And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth. And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people: And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die. And the men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them, and as it was written in the letters which she had sent unto them. They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people. And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth is stoned, and is dead. And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead. And it came to pass, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.” (1Kings 21:1-16)

Jezebel, because of her wickedness became fertilizer for the field. She did not have a happy ending. Let’s take a look at another unhappy ending…

“And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.” (Acts 12:21-23)

Herod became food for worms because he did not give the LORD credit for the speech he made. Remember, Jesus told us that without Him we could do nothing. Jezebel praised her false gods; Herod praised himself.

You don’t have to meet an unhappy ending like they did.

1) Cease from your wickedness and sinning.

“God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” (Psalm 7:11)

“The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.” (Proverbs 15:9)

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1John 1:5-10)

2) Don’t let your pride get in the way of your living for the LORD.

Let’s look at one more “happy” ending. This is actually a prophecy of what would happen someday…

“To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” (Psalms 22:1-18)

“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:1-12)

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

This truly was a happy ending. For all those who received Jesus as their Saviour, you are the joy that was set before Him. Everything He went through in Psalm 22, and Isaiah 53, He did for you. Jesus did it all for those who didn’t receive Him as their Saviour. Everybody has to choose. Either reject Jesus and spend eternity in Hell, or receive Jesus as your Saviour and be with Him forever in Heaven. You will hear…

“…Well done, thou good and faithful servant… enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matthew 25:21)

Peace.


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God Will Take Care of You

God Will Take Care of You

Today’s Passage – 2 Kings 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 9 – 10; Proverbs 27; Psalms 131 – 135

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

Read the “0427 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen. … Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.” – (2 Kings 4:1, 7)

There are some mornings when I have a difficult time finding something interesting to write about from the Scripture reading for the day. However, the three chapters that we have read this morning from 2 Kings 4 – 6 are full of exciting stories from the life of Elisha. I have chosen this morning to consider the story of the widow woman who was miraculous provided for by God. The story is found in 2 Kings 4: 1 – 7, and speaks of a woman was the wife of one of the prophets, and was now left alone to care for her two sons. She has nothing left but a pot of oil in her house. The creditors are bearing down on her, and want to take her two sons as bondmen in order to repay a debt that is owed them. She comes to the man of God for help, and he instructs her to borrow vessels from her neighbors that will hold oil. Elisha takes the little bit of oil that she has and pours it into the other containers that the woman borrowed from her neighbors. The oil did not run out until all of the vessels were filled, which she was then able to go and sell so that she would be able to pay the debt that she owed.

There are two thoughts that I would like to pull from this passage. The first involves debt. The Scripture says, “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” – (Proverbs 22:7). The passage does not give us any of the details regarding the reason why this woman was in debt. It may have been a debt that she inherited from her dead husband. Anyway, she has a debt that is causing her a lot of trouble. I got to thinking about what kind of financial situation my wife would be in if I passed away suddenly today. I would leave her with the burden of some debt. We are in the process of making some changes in our financial decisions so that all of our debt would be eliminated. I would not want to leave my wife with the kind of pressure this woman had to face.

My second thought from this passage is that God took care of this lady who had given her life to serve Him. She was the wife of one of the prophets, and prophets lived by faith. They had no doubt made many financial sacrifices in the process of serving the Lord. I understand a little about what she is going through. When we sold our house, and packed up our stuff and headed for Bible college, we knew that we were entering a journey of faith and sacrifice. We have had to live without a lot of things throughout the years; but one of the things that we have had to do away with was insurance. Since we have been in the ministry, we have been unable to afford health insurance or life insurance. I know that this is not good stewardship, but when you are forced to choose between food on the table or an insurance policy to protect you from something that may or may not happen, you can see why we might go uninsured. This is a great source of worry for my wife particularly. However, this passage reminds us that even though we may not be the best financial planners, God takes care of those that have given their life in service for Him. He will take care of my family. Don’t misunderstand, someday I want to be able to provide some of these comforting benefits like insurance for my family; but for now, I know that God has got my family’s back.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – (Matthew 6:33)


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Still Calling Down Fire

elijahandfirefromheavenToday’s Passage – 2 Kings 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 7 – 8Proverbs 26; Psalms 126 – 130

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8

Read the “0426 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.” (2 Kings 1:12)

In 2 Kings 2, Elijah passes the mantle on to Elisha, and he is caught up to Heaven. Presumably, 2 Kings 1 is recording an event that took place shortly before the Lord took Elijah home to Heaven. You will remember also that back in 1 Kings 19, Elijah was discouraged, and on the run from Jezebel, and had requested that God take his life from him. He was down and depressed, but not out completely. It appears that though Elijah was discouraged in 1 Kings 19, he had picked himself back up, and was still calling down fire from Heaven right up until the Lord took him home. The ministry can be very discouraging at times, but we must not quit. Elijah didn’t.

In our passage today in 2 Kings 1, Elijah calls down fire from Heaven twice and destroys one captain and 50 men that were sent from King Ahaziah to apprehend him. Elijah had previously sent word to the wicked king that his days were numbered, and the king wanted to speak to Elijah personally about it, so he sent an army to get him. Elijah didn’t feel “lead of God” to go, so he called down fire and destroyed the army. The king then sends another captain and another fifty men, and Elijah does the same thing. A third captain and another fifty soldiers are sent, but this time they very humbly beg Elijah to go with them, and Elijah does so. However, the message to the king does not change, and Elijah personally tells Ahaziah that he is about to die. My point is that God was still demonstrating his power, and declaring his message through Elijah right up until the end of his life.

I am thinking this morning about some men of God in our day that are still being used of the Lord in a tremendous way, even though they are well past the retirement years. I pray that I will still be in the game like Elijah, and like these men today, at the end of my life. I know my job description may change somewhat, but I do not wish to ever retire. I want to just keep going, doing what I am doing now, right up until the chariots come for me.

 


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