Itching Ears

 

dog_cat_scratching_ear2

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

(Second Milers also read – Luke 5 – 6; Proverbs 25; Psalms 121 – 125

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

Read the “0425 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 Read a previous post from this passage – “Shouldn’t We Be Different?”

“Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.” – (1 Kings 22:6-8)

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” – (2 Timothy 4:3)

If you had a disease within your body that could be life threatening if left untreated, would you want a doctor who told you the truth, or would you want one who tells you what you want to hear? You would most certainly want to know the truth so that you could get the proper treatment in order to fix the problem. Why is it, however, that many people want a preacher that avoids the truth in order to “tickle the ears” of his people. In our text, this is exactly what Ahab does. He calls the 400 “prophets” who he knows will agree with him. He wants to go to war with Syria. His friend, King Jehosaphat of Judah, recommends that they get counsel from God, but instead of calling upon the one preacher that speaks the truth, he calls these other 400 who he knows will tell him what he wants to hear. The real man of God, Micaiah, when finally called upon at the insistence of Jehoshaphat, tells him the painful truth. Ahab rewards this preacher of truth buy having him thrown in jail.

Christians, we need men of God that will tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear. The truth will set us free. If you are church member, encourage your pastor by insisting that he gives you the Truth straight from the Word of God. Cheer him as he preaches difficult sermons. If you are a preacher, let me encourage you to be fearless, yet compassionate in your preaching. Tell them what God said, whether they appreciate it or not. Even if they don’t appreciate what you are telling them now, they probably will later. The truth is not pleasant sometimes, but it always gives the people what they need to make good decisions. You are not in a popularity contest, You are a messenger for God. The people cannot possibly make wise choices unless they have the Truth to help them.

There is also a lesson to be learned in this passage regarding separation. Jehoshaphat was a good man, but he had no business running with the likes of Ahab.

 


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Humility

Humility

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 20 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 3 – 4; Proverbs 24; Psalms 116 – 120

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

Read the “0424 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.” – (1 Kings 21:27-29)

Ahab was probably the worst king in Israel’s history. He tolerated all kinds of immorality and idolatry in his kingdom and even promoted it. He married Jezebel, a woman whose name has become synonomous with wickedness. Together, Ahab and Jezebel were responsible for the slaughter of many of the prophets of the Lord in Israel. These were bad people. Ahab was a bad man and an even worse king.

Notice, however, in the last part of chapter 21. Ahab humbled himself before the Lord. Now don’t misunderstand, this was not a complete turnaround. He didn’t surrender to go to the mission field or anything like that; but he did humble himself before the Lord; and as a result, God spared him some of the judgment that he had planned for him. Apparently, a little humility went a long way for Ahab.

I don’t think there are too many people reading this that are as wicked as old King Ahab; but it would do us well to follow his example in just this one instance. Let’s kill some of the pride in our lives and humble ourselves before the Lord. Let’s surrender to Him and submit ourselves to His will for our lives. Let’s allow him to correct us when necessary. It may just be that a little humility before the Lord will go a long way in our lives as well.

“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:10)


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Battling Discouragement

Battling Discouragement

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 18 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 1 – 2; Proverbs 23Psalms 111 – 115

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

Read the “0423 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” (1 Kings 19:4)

In our reading passage today we get to see one of the greatest recorded victories in the Bible of good over evil. Elijah, a mighty prophet of God who prophesied in Israel during a time of great apostasy, challenges the prophets of Baal (850 of the altogether) to come to Mt. Carmel in prove the power of their god. After many hours of crying out Baal, and even cutting themselves to please him, Baal never shows up. The God of Israel, however, does make an appearance, and at the request of Elijah sends down fire from Heaven and consumes the sacrifice that Elijah had prepared. He also sent along some desperately needed rain, which hadn’t happened in a couple of years. The people of Israel very wisely choose the Lord’s side, crying out, “the LORD, He is the God”,  and then they put to death all of the false prophets. All in all, it was a great day to be on the Lord’s side.

Something very strange happens immediately after this great victory, however. Queen Jezebel finds out about what happened to her prophets, and demands the death of Elijah. Elijah then runs for his life away from her. Why would he run? He just saw God do the impossible. The people just slaughtered all of the false prophets, and I am quite sure they would have killed Ahab and Jezebel had Elijah asked them to. Instead, Elijah runs, and then asks God to take his life.  It just doesn’t make sense.

If you carefully examine the story, however, you begin to see some of the underlying reasons for Elijah’s despair. First of all, let me state from personal experience that discouragement can ironically come sometimes after a great victory. I am not sure why that is, it just is. There is almost a feeling of emptiness after the battle to achieve something is finally concluded. I’m told Alexander the Great was distraught to the point of suicide after he conquered all the known world because there were no more cities to conquer. Elijah sure had more work to do; he could have conquered Jezebel, but maybe he was just tired of fighting the battles. I know of a preacher right now who has resigned his church, and is going into retirement. He has been fighting battles for over two decades in a very difficult place of ministry, and he is simply just tired. Elijah seems to have been just tired of fighting. The battles just keep coming, and his strength was depleted.

What can we do when battling discouragement:

1  Get Help – Elijah thought he was all alone, but God reminded him that there were 7000 men out there, and I am sure some women, too, that were on his team. They could have, and would have, helped him. Get help fighting the battle, and get somebody to help you with your discouragement. I am blessed to have many people in my life, seasoned men, that I can turn to for advice.

2  Get Rest – Elijah had run for days without rest, and without food; his physical strength was completely depleted. He needed a good, long rest; and some nourishment. That is exactly what the angel did for him:

And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.” (1 Kings 19:5-6)

3  Get Up – Don’t quit. Elijah should have asked the Lord for help and strength, but instead he asks the Lord to kill him. Quitting is never the answer. We may need to take some time out to replenish, but we should never leave the battle completely.

There will come a time in my life when God will be through with me, and at that time He will take me home to Heaven. Until that time comes, however, I need to stay encouraged, and stay in the battle. If God still wants me to fight, then He will give me everything that I need to keep fighting, including strength and encouragement.

By the way, if you are saved and your are not in the battle with the Lord, you will also be very discouraged, because God has not equipped you to sit on the sidelines. Find something to do for the Lord, and you will be greatly encouraged as you fulfill God’s purpose for your life.


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There – The Place of God’s Will

rock-water

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 15 – 17 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 15 – 16Proverbs 22Psalms 106 – 110

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

Read the “0422 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.” (1 Kings 17:2-4)

“And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.” (1 Kings 17:8-9)

There are many wonderful truths in today’s Bible reading, but I want to draw your attention to the word “there” found in vs. 4 and 9 above from chapter 17 of 1 Kings. “There” represented a place – a geographic location where God wanted Elijah to go. Actually, “there” was two places. The first place God wanted Elijah to go was to the Brook Cherith. In this place God was going to sustain the prophet through meals provided by ravens. Cherith was a specific location. Had Elijah decided that he was going to go to some other geographic location, I do not think that God would have fed him. God’s will involves more than a place, but it does include a place.

Next, God commanded Elijah to travel to Zarephath, which is outside of the borders of Israel. It is important to point out that Elijah did not leave the Brook Cherith because the brook dried up, he left because God commanded him to. Anyway, in Zarephath a widow woman was prepared by God to take care of the needs of Elijah. There is a lot that could be said about how God provided for the widow woman and her son as well, but the point being made here is that God guided Elijah to a specific place where he would be taken care of, and used for God’s purposes.

Fifteen years ago, God directed my family to the place of His will – Galloway, New Jersey. I must confess that there have been times around here when I wanted to move on, times when the brook seemed to dry up, but I have never been told by God to move to another place. As much as I may desire at times to move to a place like Hawaii, that is simply not God’s will for my life. Galloway, NJ is my “there”. It is the place where God wants me; it is the place where God will provide for me and mine; and it is the place where God will use me.

Have you found the place of God’s will for your life? If you have, make the most of your time spent there. God may move you on to some other “there” someday, and if He does, He will make it crystal clear to you; but until that time comes, dig in, serve Him to the fullest, and enjoy your stay.


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Trust

old-bible-wide

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 12 – 14 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 13 – 14; Proverbs 21Psalms 101 – 105

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

Read the “0421 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

My attention this morning is drawn to chapter thirteen and the account of the prophet that was sent from the southern kingdom of Judah with a message for Jeroboam, the king of the northern kingdom, Israel. He was sent with a message of judgment to Jeroboam:

“And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.” (1 Kings 13:2 & 3)

At the end of this unpleasant meeting with Jeroboam, this un-named prophet is asked to go back with Jeroboam to get something to eat and to receive a reward. The prophet flatly refuses to go with Jeroboam because he was given strict instructions by God not to eat in Israel. On the way home, however, another man claiming to be a prophet asks him to go with him and get something to eat. This man lies to him and tells him that God told him that it was OK. As a result, the prophet from Judah goes with him, but soon discovers that he was tricked into disobeying the clear commandment of God, and it cost him his life.

Christian, you and I need to be careful who we listen to. Sometimes people pretending to represent God will come to us and try to get us to do things that are clearly against the plain teaching of the Word of God. We are to trust the Bible, and we can trust the men and women that preach and teach the Bible correctly; but the Bible itself is always the final authority. Be careful who you trust.

By the way, we also saw in chapter twelve that Reheboam listened to the counsel of the young men, rather than the counsel of the old men. The result was that the kingdom of Israel was split into two kingdoms. Again, we see here that you have to be very careful about who you listen to. I am not saying that it is always unwise to listen to young men, but we should always include in our cabinet of counselors some older men (and ladies) who have demonstrated that they have godly wisdom.


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What Happened?

What Happened

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 10 – 11 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 11 – 12; Proverbs 20Psalms 96 – 100

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

Read the “0420 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“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.” – (1 Kings 11:4 )

Pastor Charlie Horton, a good friend of mine who is now with the Lord, once told me that there are three things that will take a preacher down: ladies, lucre, and liberalism; or maids, money, and modernism; or dames, dollars, and doctrine. That statement has proven to be true. In the twenty-five years plus that I have been a Christian, I have seen many men of God wander out of the will of God; and in all of these cases it was one of those three things that caused them to veer off of the path. In our text, we see that Solomon’s problem primarily was the ladies. He had 1000 wives and concubines. Wow! How can it be that this man is known for his wisdom? Can you imagine having 1000 mother-in-laws? It would not have been so bad if all of these women shared the same love for the Lord that Solomon had; but, unfortunately, many of these women were heathen women that worshipped other “gods”. In order to please these women, Solomon accommodated for their false worship within the borders of Israel, and Solomon, himself, began to participate in the idolatry. Not very wise.

I do not think that women were the only attraction that lured Solomon out of the will of God. He was also very wealthy: wealthier than any man that ever lived. Jesus spoke about the difficulties that wealth imposes upon a right relationship with God. Wealth can certainly be a stumbling block also. The text also makes it clear that Solomon was also lured into doctrinal heresy. So, ultimately, Solomon fell prey to all three of the traps mentioned above. The tragedy is that Solomon was a very wise man, and should have seen the dangers ahead of time. I think he deliberately wandered off of the path. He chose to go astray with his eyes fully opened.

Passages of Scripture such as this scare me. Solomon was a much wiser man than I could ever be, yet he blew it. I have seen many others fall in my time that had a lot more on the ball than I do. It scares me, because I know that it could happen to me also. I hope it scares me enough to stay as far away from these traps (and others) so that I will finish my course inside the perfect will of God.

By the way, Solomon’s unwise decisions brought about unpleasant consequences:

“Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.” – (1 Kings 11:11)


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When God Moves In

revival

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 8 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 9 – 10Proverbs 19Psalms 91 – 95

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

Read the “0419 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.” – (1 Kings 8:10-11)

As we study Israel’s history, we know that there were many times that they were not where God wanted them to be, spiritually speaking. Often in their history Israel would forsake their God, and err into immorality, and idolatry. These were times when God would be forced to bring judgment upon His people in order to get them to turn back to Him. However, in today’s passage, we see Israel as right with the Lord as they had ever been. They had just completed building the Temple of God, and today was the day that the entire nation was gathered together in order to dedicate the temple (and themselves) to the Lord. God was well pleased with Israel at this time, and He demonstrated His approval with a physical appearance of his presence. Verse 11 tells us that “the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord”.

I have been saved for over twenty-five years now, and I have been involved in the local church since I was born again into the family of God; and I have experienced the wonderful blessing of seeing God’s presence in the midst of His church. I did not see a physical manifestation of His presence, as these Israelites did, but I did experience the glory of God, nonetheless. Unfortunately, I have also seen the times when God’s presence was apparently absent from our church. Hindsight often provides a better perspective for analyzing the ingredients that went into the times when God seemed to be all over His church. When I look back at the times in our ministry when God was really working in a marvelous way among us, with many being saved and baptized, and wonderful Spirit-filled services, I can see that there were specific ingredients that were present. These same ingredients were present in our text today.

1  There was unity – God wants His children to be “in one accord”. A quick study of the early church from the Book of Acts will reveal that they were all together; they were all moving in the same direction.

2  There was humility – Notice in Solomon’s prayer that He recognizes that the people were prone to get away from God. He admits completely that these people were in God’s hands, and that it was God that blessed them. Notice:

“If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; … Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause, And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:” – (1 Kings 8:46, 49-50)

3  There was complete tenacity and loyalty toward God. These people were all consecrated to the Lord. They were not doing that which was right in their own eyes, they were pursuing God. They were not chasing after the world with all of its idols, and all of its immorality. They were not only separated from the world, but they were also separated unto the Lord. These people wanted to please the Lord. They were focused on God. They gave up two weeks of their lives to serve and sacrifice to the Lord.

We can see God’s glory in our churches again today if we have these three ingredients in place. I want to see God move in our church. I want to see Him do great thing in the midst of this world that denies Him. He’s just waiting for us to get on board.


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Almost Heaven

AlmostHeaven AlmostHeaven AlmostHeavensunset_paradise

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

(Second Milers also read – Mark 5 – 6; Proverbs 17; Psalms 81 – 85)

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

Read the “0417 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “Wisdom”

“Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry.” (1 Kings 4:20)

“And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.” (1 Kings 4:25)

This is about as close to heaven as you could possibly get while still living here on the earth. Notice that Israel had the complete protection of God; and the abundant provision of God. And in these early days of Solomon’s reign the people were busy serving God by building His temple, which took about seven years to complete. So it seems that God is on His throne and the people are dwelling safely. It sort of reminds me of the history of America. We had to fight some battles in the early days; but God eventually gave us abundant provision and protection from our enemies. We are still the most blessed nation in the world.

Unfortunately, we will see in the upcoming chronicles of Israel’s history that all of this prosperity, which was given by God, will eventually cause the people to forget about God. I think we can safely say that America is in the same boat. The people in this “land of the free” have forgotten that it was God who gave them their freedom and all of the prosperity that comes with it.

Christian, let us never forget that it is God that has protected us, and it is God that has provided for us. Have you thanked God today for His blessings?


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I Will Be King

I will be king

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

(Second Milers also read – Mark 3 – 4 Proverbs 16Psalms 76 – 80)

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

Read the “0416 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.” – (1 Kings 1:5)

In our passage today, we have King David on his death bed, and the kingdom unsure about who will take his place after he passes on. God had made it clear to David that his son Solomon was to be his successor (1 Chronicles 22:9), but David had been very quiet about revealing the will of God to the people. As a result, one of the king’s other sons – Adonijah – saw an opportunity to seize power. He made a conspiracy with Joab and Abiathar to take control of the kingdom. With the backing of the military and the temple, it would be difficult to stop him. He called all of the king’s sons (except Solomon), and all of the important men of Judah (except Nathan the prophet and Benaiah, one of David’s mighty men) to announce that he was king. Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, finds out about the conspiracy and reveals it to the king. Now David has to act. He command Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet to anoint Solomon to be king over Israel. Had David been clear to the people about the Lord’s will previously, the kingdom would have avoided all of this unnecessary turmoil.

My thought this morning is about the phrase spoken by Adonijah, “I will be king”. Isn’t it inside all of us to seize control of our lives away from the reign of God? God wants to be the King in our lives, but we are constantly trying to knock God off the throne and assume power. Recognizing that this little battle rages within us, we must daily acknowledge and submit to God’s authority in our lives. Every time self begins to elevate itself, we must consciously abase him, and yield our allegiance to the Holy Spirit of God. We are really no different than Adonijah. Our pride causes us to lust for the dominion and power that does not rightfully belong to us. The key to successful Christian living is submission to the will of God. He is the only King.

 “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” – (Luke 14:11)


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Shouldn’t We Be Different?

 

Today’s Passage –1 Kings 22 

(Second Milers also read – Luke 5 – 6; Proverbs 25; Psalms 121 – 125

 

“And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.” (1 Kings 22:4)

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” (2 Corinthians 6:17)

“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.” (1 John 2:15)

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

In this passage of Scripture we can see a picture of one of the big problems afflicting so many Christians today –  we are as they are. In our text today we find King Jehoshaphat of Judah in fellowship and solidarity with King Ahab of Israel. The trouble with this was that Ahab was a very worldly and wicked king. Jehoshaphat was a good man who loved the Lord, and he had no business fellowshipping with Ahab, let alone yoking up with him to do battle against another nation:

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Ephesians 5:11)

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

Christians today have the same problem. We are just like the world around us. We are no different – we are as they are. Shouldn’t there be a difference between us and the lost people that surround us, and shouldn’t that difference be clearly visible in our actions and appearance? Please don’t misunderstand. I am not suggesting that we should be unfriendly, and I am not a proponent of isolation. On the contrary, I believe that we should be “in the world”, but just not “of the world”. We have to rub shoulders with the world in order to shine our light before them and communicate the gospel to them, but we do not have to become like them in order to reach them. As the children’s song says, “If you’re saved and you know it, then your life should surely show it”. Your life, your words, your relationships; everything about you should reveal that you are not like you used to be before you trusted Christ, and you are not like the rest of the world.


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Humble Yourself

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 20 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 3 – 4Proverbs 24Psalms 116 – 120

Scripture Memorization for March – John 1:1 – 18

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

Read a great article by Pastor Cary Schmidt – What If

Read the “0424 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.” – (1 Kings 21:27-29)

Ahab was probably the worst king in Israel’s history.  He tolerated all kinds of immorality and idolatry in his kingdom and even promoted it.  He married Jezebel, a woman whose name has become synonomous with wickedness.   Together, Ahab and Jezebel were responsible for the slaughter of many of the prophets of the Lord in Israel.  These were bad people. Ahab was a bad man and an even worse king.

Notice, however, in the last part of chapter 21.  Ahab humbled himself before the Lord.  Now don’t misunderstand, this was not a complete turnaround.  He didn’t surrender to go to the mission field or anything like that; but he did humble himself before the Lord; and as a result, God spared him some of the judgment that he had planned for him.  Apparently, a little humility went a long way for Ahab.

I don’t think there are too many people reading this that are as wicked as old King Ahab; but it would do us well to follow his example in just this one instance.  Let’s kill some of the pride in our lives and humble ourselves before the Lord.  Let’s surrender to Him and submit ourselves to His will for our lives.  Let’s allow him to correct us when necessary.  It may just be that a little humility before the Lord will go a long way in our lives as well.

“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:10)


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Be Careful Who You Trust

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 12 – 14 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 13 – 14Proverbs 21Psalms 101 – 105

Scripture Memorization for March – John 1:1 – 18

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 121

Read a great article by Pastor Paul Chappell – Five Musts of Christ

Read the “0421 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

My attention this morning is drawn to chapter thirteen and the account of the prophet that was sent from the southern kingdom of Judah with a message for Jeroboam, the king of the northern kingdom, Israel.  He was sent with a message of judgment to Jeroboam:

“And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.” (1 Kings 13:2 & 3)

At the end of this unpleasant meeting with Jeroboam, this un-named prophet is asked to go back with Jeroboam to get something to eat and to receive a reward.  The prophet flatly refuses to go with Jeroboam because he was given strict instructions by God not to eat in Israel.  On the way home, however, another man claiming to be a prophet asks him to go with him and get something to eat.  This man lies to him and tells him that God told him that it was OK.  As a result, the prophet from Judah goes with him; but soon discovers that he was tricked into disobeying the clear commandment of God; and it cost him his life.

Christian, you and I need to be careful who we listen to.  Sometimes people pretending to represent God will come to us and try to get us to do things that are clearly against the plain teaching of the Word of God.  We are to trust the Bible, and we can trust the men and women that preach and teach the Bible correctly; but the Bible itself is always the final authority.  Be careful who you trust.

By the way, we also saw in chapter twelve that Reheboam listened to the counsel of the young men, rather than the counsel of the old men. The result was that the kingdom of Israel was split into two kingdoms. Again, we see here that you have to be very careful about who you listen to. I am not saying that it is always unwise to listen to young men, but we should always include in our cabinet of counselors some older men (and ladies) who have demonstrated that they have godly wisdom.


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Use Your Abilities for the Lord

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 6 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 7 – 8Proverbs 18Psalms 86 – 90

Scripture Memorization for March – John 1:1 – 18

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

Read a great article by Pastor Paul Chappell – A Checklist that Matters

Read the “0418 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre. He was a widow’s son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to king Solomon, and wrought all his work.” – (1 Kings 7:13-14)

Not every Christian is gifted by God to be a teacher or a preacher. In this passage, we see Hiram, a man from Tyre, who was uniquely gifted by God to make all of the works of brass that were to be used in the Temple. Back in the Book of Exodus, we saw two other fellows. Bezaleel and Aholiab, who were also uniquely filled with wisdom (gifted) to build the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. As far as we know, these men never taught the Scriptures; they were not priests, or prophets; but they were greatly used of the Lord.

We have many people in our churches today who have also been uniquely crafted by the Lord to fulfill His purpose. They may be builders, like the men referenced above. They may be men or women that have a knack for cleaning, or landscaping. These are all very necessary and important jobs in the service of our churches today. As I read this passage today, I thought of a man in our church who was used of the Lord to build our platform in the auditorium along with the sound booth. He did a wonderful job, and our church building is much more beautiful and functional as a result of his using his gifts for the Lord. We also have some folks in our church that like to cook, and when we have a dinner of some kind, these people go to work, preparing delicious food for the rest of us to enjoy. They work mostly behind the scenes, but their work is very important to the Lord.

God tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:

“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” – (1 Corinthians 12:18)

Not every member is an eye or an ear: some are hands, some are feet. Not everybody is a preacher or teacher; and those that are gifted in areas other that teaching are just as important to the work of the ministry as those who teach or preach.

What is your gift? What is your sweet spot? The thing that you were born to do. Hiram was born to make brass, and he did it very well. God will be well pleased with your life if you find the thing that He has equipped you to do, and then do it for His glory.


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Wisdom

 

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

(Second Milers also read – Mark 5 – 6; Proverbs 17; Psalms 81 – 85

“And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.” – (1 Kings 3:7)

“And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.” – (1 Kings 3:28)

“And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” – (1 Kings 4:29-34 KJV)

“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)

1 Kings chapter 3 is a wonderful illustration of the principle found in James 1: if you lack wisdom, you can ask God for it. Solomon recognized that he had a big job to do, and limited knowledge and ability. He admitted that he was like a little child. God likes when we see ourselves as little children. Unfortunately, all too often we are so puffed up with pride that we think we are almost godlike, knowing everything. God gave Solomon the wisdom he needed so that he could fulfill God’s will for his life. We even see an example in vv 16 – 28 of Solomon’s wisdom in action.

We need God’s wisdom today more than ever. The world that we live in is offering us all kinds of advice as to how we should live and raise our families; but oftentimes this worldly wisdom is not wise at all. We need discernment so that we will know what we should and shouldn’t do; but we need to ask. I believe the most important step in the acquisition of wisdom is acknowledging that our little, finite, human minds don’t know everything. We need God to help and guide us through all of the complexities of life. Just this morning as I was walking and praying, I was thinking about how limited I really am. I just can’t put all of the pieces together at times. But, I know that God can. Instead of trying to figure it all out on my own, I can spend my time much more profitably by simply asking God for His help. The Scripture says that “he upbraideth not”, meaning He won’t hold back, and He won’t scold us for asking. He wants us to depend upon Him. Moms and dads need God’s wisdom so that they can raise godly children. We need wisdom at our jobs, and in our churches. It’s available to us from the Lord simply by asking.

Oh, and by the way, I would be remiss in mentioning that the greatest collection of God’s wisdom has already been recorded for us in the Word of God. But, you already know that, because you spent time reading it this morning. Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, and it blossoms with education and experience.

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7)


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A Large Family of Ministers

Today’s Passage – 1 Chronicles 6

Second Milers also read – John 5 – 6; Psalms 31 – 35; Proverbs 7

Scripture Memory for May – Psalm 51

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

“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 as the rest of the 11 tribes were given.  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 in our ability to administrate all of the people and facilities 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 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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Having Itching Ears

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 22

Second Milers also read – Luke 5 – 6; Psalms 120 – 125; Proverbs 25

Scripture Memory for April – 1 Corinthians 13

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

Watch “A Servant Leader Has One Altar” by Pastor Paul Chappell

“Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.” – (1 Kings 22:6-8)

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” – (2 Timothy 4:3)

If you had a disease within your body that could be life threatening if left untreated, would you want a doctor who told you the truth, or would you want one who tells you what you want to hear? You would most certainly want to know the truth so that you could get the proper treatment in order to fix the problem. Why is it, however, that many people want a preacher that avoids the truth in order to “tickle the ears” of his people. In our text, this is exactly what Ahab does. He calls the 400 “prophets” who he knows will agree with him. He wants to go to war with Syria. His friend, King Jehosaphat of Judah, recommends that they get counsel from God, but instead of calling upon the one preacher that speaks the truth, he calls these other 400 who he knows will tell him what he wants to hear. The real man of God, Micaiah, when finally called upon at the insistence of Jehoshaphat, tells him the painful truth. Ahab rewards this preacher of truth buy having him thrown in jail.

Christians, we need men of God that will tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear. The truth will set us free. If you are church member, encourage your pastor by insisting that he gives you the Truth straight from the Word of God. Cheer him as he preaches difficult sermons. If you are a preacher, let me encourage you to be fearless, yet compassionate in your preaching. Tell them what God said, whether they appreciate it or not. Even if they don’t appreciate what you are telling them now, they probably will later. The truth is not pleasant sometimes, but it always gives the people what they need to make good decisions. You are not in a popularity contest, You are a messenger for God. The people cannot possibly make wise choices unless they have the Truth to help them.

There is also a lesson to be learned in this passage regarding separation. Jehoshaphat was a good man, but he had no business running with the likes of Ahab.


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Humble Yourself

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 20 – 21

Second Milers also read – Luke 3 – 4; Psalms 116 – 118, Psalm 119; Proverbs 24

Scripture Memory passage for April – 1 Corinthians 13

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

“And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.” – (1 Kings 21:27-29)

Ahab was probably the worst king in Israel’s history.  He tolerated all kinds of immorality and idolatry in his kingdom and even promoted it.  He married Jezebel, a woman whose name has become synonomous with wickedness.   Together, Ahab and Jezebel were responsible for the slaughter of many of the prophets of the Lord in Israel.  These were bad people. Ahab was a bad man and an even worse king.

Notice, however, in the last part of chapter 21.  Ahab humbled himself before the Lord.  Now don’t misunderstand, this was not a complete turnaround.  He didn’t surrender to go to the mission field or anything like that; but he did humble himself before the Lord; and as a result, God spared him some of the judgment that he had planned for him.  Apparently, a little humility went a long way for Ahab.

I don’t think there are too many people reading this that are as wicked as old King Ahab; but it would do us well to follow his example in just this one instance.  Let’s kill some of the pride in our lives and humble ourselves before the Lord.  Let’s surrender to Him and submit ourselves to His will for our lives.  Let’s allow him to correct us when necessary.  It may just be that a little humility before the Lord will go a long way in our lives as well.


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Don’t Shoot the Messenger

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 18 – 19

Second Milers also read – Luke 1 – 2; Psalms 111 – 115; Proverbs 23

Scripture Memory for April – 1 Corinthians 13

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

“And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” (1 Kings 18:17)

Israel was going through perhaps the toughest time in its early history.  They had not had rain in three years, resulting in all of the brooks drying up.  There was no grass for the livestock and no food for the people.  God judgment was upon the nation.  The messenger of God had warned the king that this was going to happen back in 1 Kings 17:1; but as often happens, the king places the blame on the messenger instead of accepting the blame himself.

Why do we get upset with the mailman who delivers the bills?  Why do we get mad at the teacher or preacher who delivers to us the Word of God?  Sometimes I fee like Paul when he said, Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

The blame for Israel’s problems lay primarily at the feet of Israel’s leader, King Ahab.  He had completely forsaken God: he married a woman who hated God and even slaughtered God’s prophets.  The solution to the problem was not killing Elijah; but Ahab’s turning back to God.

Through the years, I’ve known many people who have gotten away from God and as a result their lives go downhill: sometimes physically, sometimes financially, sometimes in other ways.  Often these folks get mad at the church or the preacher: anything but look within.

I have come to a conclusion in my life:  my problems are caused by me.  If things are going wrong in my family, I don’t blame the church, the government, my neighbors, or anybody else:  I blame the guy I see in the mirror in the morning and I go to God for help in getting the mess cleaned up.


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God Will Take Care Of You

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 15 – 17

Second Milers also read – Mark 15 – 16; Psalms 106 – 110; Proverbs 22

Scripture Memory Passage for April – 1 Corinthians 13

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

Read “Seven Simple Ways To Connect With Your Pastor” by Pastor Paul Chappell

“And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.” – (1 Kings 17:6)

“And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.” – (1 Kings 17:16)

The setting for our text this morning is the northern kingdom of Israel, which at this point is under the reign of wicked King Ahab and his wife Jezebel. You will remember that at this time the nation of Israel was divided into the northern kingdom (which retained the name Israel), and the southern kingdom of Judah. Now King Ahab of Israel was a very bad king, doing “…more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him”.  (1 Kings 16:33)  As judgment for the idolatry in the land, God brought forth a drought that lasted for three years. Though the people of Israel were suffering terribly from the shortage of water and also the shortage of food that resulted from the lack of water, God still took care of his own. Elijah was fed by the ravens at the brook Cherith; and then he was miraculously provided for through an unending supply of meal and oil, along with the widow woman from Zarephath and her son.

As I reflect on this passage, I am reminded of what David said through the inspiration of God:

“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” – (Psalm 37:25)

In my lifetime, I have never experienced a famine such as the one that Israel faced here in our text; but I have lived through some tough economic times. However, during the worst of times, God has always taken care of me and my family. It is interesting that in this chapter of Scripture, God reminds us of two ways that He miraculously provides for our needs during these tough times. First, He supplies us from unlikely sources. The ravens were Elijah’s first source of provision, not unlike the manna that fell from heaven during the wilderness wanderings. I remember when I was in Bible college. Those were certainly some tough days financially. I believe that God was testing our resolve to finish school by allowing us to struggle. Yet, during those years, God provided miraculously more times than I can count. One time, He used a group of co-workers to graciously supply food and Christmas presents for my children. Another time, God used my brother Bill and his wife to graciously help us. Another time, God laid it upon some one’s heart to pay part of my school bill; my mortgage payment was anonymously paid on more than one occasion.  We were awed and humbled by the miraculous provision of God during this period of our life.

The second way that God provided for Elijah, and in this case the woman and her son, was that He allowed what they already had (the oil and the meal) to last longer. You will remember also that as Israel wandered in the wilderness their shoes and clothes did not wear out for the entire forty years. This is just as much of a miracle as the provision through the ravens. God said through Malachi, that He would “rebuke the devourer” (Malachi 3:11) if the people would put God first. Haggai told the people that their bag of money was full of holes (Haggai 1:6), because they had not put God first. I know what it is like to have a wallet “full of holes”; but I also know what it is like to have things last long beyond their lifespan. When I first started tithing as a young Christian I thought that God would miraculously take care of all of my financial problems through some big gift of money; but instead, He provided by causing us to plug up some of the “holes” in our check book. The car didn’t break down, and the kids didn’t get sick as much. We were spending a lot less.

God has been good to my family through the years. I have no regret whatever about the decision Cindy and I made more than twenty years ago to tithe, and to give offerings above the tithe. God has always been faithful to us. If you are struggling in your finances, let me encourage you to trust God by putting Him first in your life.

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

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” – (Luke 6:38)

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” – (Malachi 3:10)


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Ladies, Lucre, and Liberalism

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 10 – 11

Second Milers also read – Mark 11 – 12; Psalms 96 – 100; Proverbs 20

Scripture Memory for the month of April – 1 Corinthians 13

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

Read – “The Work Begins When You Go Home” by Pastor Chappell

“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.” – (1 Kings 11:4 )

A good friend of mine, Pastor Charlie Horton, once told me that there are three things that will take a preacher down: ladies, lucre, and liberalism; or maids, money, and modernism. That statement has proven to be true. In the twenty years plus that I have been a Christian, I have seen many men of God wander out of the will of God; and in all of these cases it was one of those three things that caused them to veer off of the path. In our text, we see that Solomon’s problem primarily was the ladies. He had 1000 wives and concubines. Wow! How can it be that this man is know for his wisdom? Can you imagine having 1000 mother-in-laws? It would not have been so bad if all of these women shared the same love for the Lord that Solomon had; but, unfortunately, many of these women were heathen women that worshipped other “gods”. In order to please these women, Solomon accommodated for their false worship within the borders of Israel, and Solomon, himself, began to participate in the idolatry. Not very wise.

I do not thing that women were the only attraction that lured Solomon out of the will of God. He was also very wealthy: wealthier than any man that ever lived. Jesus spoke about the difficulties that wealth imposes upon a right relationship with God. Wealth can certainly be a stumbling block also. The text also makes it clear that Solomon was also lured into doctrinal heresy. So, ultimately, Solomon fell prey to all three of the traps mentioned above. The tragedy is that Solomon was a very wise man, and should have seen the dangers ahead of time. I think he deliberately wandered off of the path. He chose to go astray with his eyes fully opened.

Passages of Scripture such as this scare me. Solomon was a much wiser man than I could ever be, yet he blew it. I have seen many others fall in my time that had a lot more on the ball than I do. It scares me, because I know that it could happen to me also. I hope it scares me enough to stay as far away from these traps (and others) so that I will finish my course inside the perfect will of God.

By the way, Solomon’s unwise decisions brought about unpleasant consequences:

“Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.” – (1 Kings 11:11)


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The Glory of the Lord

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 8 – 9

Second Milers also read – Mark 9 – 10; Psalms 91 – 95; Proverbs 19

The Scripture Memory Passage for April – 1 Corinthians 13

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

Read an older post from this passage – “Forgive”

“And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.” – (1 Kings 8:10-11)

As we study Israel’s history, we know that there were many times that they were not where God wanted them to be, spiritually speaking. Often in their history Israel would forsake their God, and err into immorality, and idolatry. These were times when God would be forced to bring judgment upon His people in order to get them to turn back to Him. However, in today’s passage, we see Israel as right with the Lord as they had ever been. They had just completed building the Temple of God, and today was the day that the entire nation was gathered together in order to dedicate the temple (and themselves) to the Lord. God was well pleased with Israel at this time, and He demonstrated His approval with a physical appearance of his presence. Verse 11 tells us that “the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord”.

I have been saved for over twenty years now, and I have been involved in the local church since I was born again into the family of God; and I have experienced the wonderful blessing of seeing God’s presence in the midst of His church. I did not see a physical manifestation of His presence, as these Israelites did, but I did experience the glory of God, nonetheless. Unfortunately, I have also seen the times when God’s presence was apparently absent from our church. Hindsight often provides a better perspective for analyzing the ingredients that went into the times when God seemed to be all over His church. When I look back at the times in our ministry when God was really working in a marvelous way among us, with many being saved and baptized, and wonderful Spirit-filled services, I can see that there were specific ingredients that were present. These same ingredients were present in our text today.

1  There was unity – God wants His children to be “in one accord”. A quick study of the early church from the Book of Acts will reveal that they were all together; they were all moving in the same direction.

2  There was humility – Notice in Solomon’s prayer that He recognizes that the people were prone to get away from God. He admits completely that these people were in God’s hands, and that it was God that blessed them. Notice:

“If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; … Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause, And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:” – (1 Kings 8:46, 49-50)

3  There was complete tenacity and loyalty toward God. These people were all consecrated to the Lord. They were not doing that which was right in their own eyes, they were pursuing God. They were not chasing after the world with all of its idols, and all of its immorality. They were not only separated from the world, but they were also separated unto the Lord. These people wanted to please the Lord. They were focused on God. They gave up two weeks of their lives to serve and sacrifice to the Lord.

We can see God’s glory in our churches again today if we have these three ingredients in place. I want to see God move in our church. I want to see Him do great thing in the midst of this world that denies Him. He’s just waiting for us to get on board.


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Use Your Gifts for the Lord

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 6 – 7

Second Milers also read – Mark 7 – 8; Psalms 86 – 90; Proverbs 18

The Scripture Memory passage for April – 1 Corinthians 13

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

“And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre. He was a widow’s son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to king Solomon, and wrought all his work.” – (1 Kings 7:13-14)

Not every Christian is gifted by God to be a teacher or a preacher. In this passage, we see Hiram, a man from Tyre, who was uniquely gifted by God to make all of the works of brass that were to be used in the Temple. Back in the Book of Exodus, we saw two other fellows. Bezaleel and Aholiab, who were also uniquely filled with wisdom (gifted) to build the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. As far as we know, these men never taught the Scriptures; they were not priests, or prophets; but they were greatly used of the Lord.

We have many people in our churches today who have also been uniquely crafted by the Lord to fulfill His purpose. They may be builders, like the men referenced above. They may be men or women that have a knack for cleaning, or landscaping. These are all very necessary and important jobs in the service of our churches today. As I read this passage today, I thought of a man in our church who was used of the Lord to build our platform in the auditorium along with the sound booth. He did a wonderful job, and our church building is much more beautiful and functional as a result of his using his gifts for the Lord. We also have some folks in our church that like to cook, and when we have a dinner of some kind, these people go to work, preparing delicious food for the rest of us to enjoy. They work mostly behind the scenes, but their work is very important to the Lord.

God tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:

“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” – (1 Corinthians 12:18)

Not every member is an eye or an ear: some are hands, some are feet. Not everybody is a preacher or teacher; and those that are gifted in areas other that teaching are just as important to the work of the ministry as those who teach or preach.

What is your gift? What is your sweet spot? The thing that you were born to do. Hiram was born to make brass, and he did it very well. God will be well pleased with your life if you find the thing that He has equipped you to do, and then do it for His glory.

“And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre. He was a widow’s son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to king Solomon, and wrought all his work.” – (1 Kings 7:13-14)


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Do You Lack Wisdom?

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 3 – 5

Second Milers also read – Mark 5 – 6; Psalms 81 – 85; Proverbs 17

The Scripture memory passage for April – 1 Corinthians 13

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

Watch “Growth Points – Three Trends That Doom A Church’s Influence” by Pastor Chappell

Read another post from today’s passage – “Almost Heaven”

“And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.” – (1 Kings 3:7)

“And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.” – (1 Kings 3:28)

“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)

1 Kings chapter 3 is a wonderful illustration of the principle found in James 1: if you lack wisdom, you can ask God for it. Solomon recognized that he had a big job to do, and limited knowledge and ability. He admitted that he was like a little child. God likes when we see ourselves as little children. Unfortunately, all too often we are so puffed up with pride that we think we are almost godlike, knowing everything. God gave Solomon the wisdom he needed so that he could fulfill God’s will for his life. We even see an example in vv 16 – 28 of Solomon’s wisdom in action.

We need God’s wisdom today more than ever. The world that we live in is offering us all kinds of advice as to how we should live and raise our families; but oftentimes this worldly wisdom is not wise at all. We need discernment so that we will know what we should and shouldn’t do; but we need to ask. I believe the most important step in the acquisition of wisdom is acknowledging that our little, finite, human minds don’t know everything. We need God to help and guide us through all of the complexities of life. Just this morning as I was walking and praying, I was thinking about how limited I really am. I just can’t put all of the pieces together at times. But, I know that God can. Instead of trying to figure it all out on my own, I can spend my time much more profitably by simply asking God for His help. The Scripture says that “he upbraideth not”, meaning He won’t hold back, and He won’t scold us for asking. He wants us to depend upon Him. Moms and dads need God’s wisdom so that they can raise godly children. We need wisdom at our jobs, and in our churches. It’s available to us from the Lord simply by asking.

Oh, and by the way, I would be remiss in mentioning that the greatest collection of God’s wisdom has already been recorded for us in the Word of God. But, you already know that, because you spent time reading it this morning.


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I Will Be King

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 1 – 2

Second Milers also read – Mark 3 – 4 ; Psalms 76 – 80; Proverbs 16

Scripture Memory for April – 1 Corinthians 13

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51

“Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.” – (1 Kings 1:5)

In our passage today, we have King David on his death bed, and the kingdom unsure about who will take his place after he passes on. God had made it clear to David that his son Solomon was to be his successor (1 Chronicles 22:9), but David had been very quiet about revealing the will of God to the people. As a result, one of the king’s other sons – Adonijah – saw an opportunity to seize power. He made a conspiracy with Joab and Abiathar to take control of the kingdom. With the backing of the military and the temple, it would be difficult to stop him. He called all of the king’s sons (except Solomon), and all of the important men of Judah (except Nathan the prophet and Benaiah, one of David’s mighty men) to announce that he was king. Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, finds out about the conspiracy and reveals it to the king. Now David has to act. He command Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet to anoint Solomon to be king over Israel. Had David been clear to the people about the Lord’s will previously, the kingdom would have avoided all of this unnecessary turmoil.

My thought this morning is about the phrase spoken by Adonijah, “I will be king”. Isn’t it inside all of us to seize control of our lives away from the reign of God. God wants to be king in our lives, but we are constantly trying to knock God off the throne and assume power. Recognizing that this little battle rages within us, we must daily acknowledge and submit to God’s authority in our lives. Every time self begins to elevate itself, we must consciously abase him, and yield our allegiance to the Holy Spirit of God. We are really no different than Adonijah. Our pride causes us to lust for the dominion and power that does not rightfully belong to us. The key to successful Christian living is submission to the will of God. He is the only King.

“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” – (Luke 14:11)


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“Get Real” by Melissa Dilley

Today’s Passage – Leviticus 24 – 25

Second Milers also read – John 15 – 16; Proverbs 12; Psalm 56 – 60

Scripture Memory for February – Psalm 100

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

“After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places. And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth. At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick. And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself, that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam; and get thee to Shiloh: behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, which told me that I should be king over this people

(1 Kings 13:33-14:2)

At the end of the chapter we find Jeremiah doing evil – he is making anyone and everyone a priest. Anyone who would do his bidding, anyone who had itching ears, he would surround himself with those who would agree with him.

But the very next chapter tells us that his son became sick. His son was dying and all of these “spiritual men” could do nothing. The “yes men” were of no help whatsoever and Jeroboam knew it. So he asks his wife to go to the real man of God. He knows there is only one place to go – the real priest. Jeroboam knew who the real priest was (Ahijah), he knew where to find him (Shiloh), he knew the prophet would tell his wife what they wanted to know, and he even knew of the priest’s eyesight problem (he told her to disguise herself).

When the chips are down, and when the world reaches the end of the rope, they are going to want a real man of God. When they reach the end of the highway, they will know where they can go. They know who the real ones are. I know that I have been openly criticized for mentioning God, or faith, or salvation. But when those same people needed prayer or needed true advice they could call on me.

Be real. Sometimes it’s hard. You may be mocked or even yelled at. Some will ignore you, and some may even persecute you; but there will also be people who will listen and will respect you. There will be a handmaiden that says, “There’s a man of God who wants you to dip in the Jordan seven times.” Countless people swarmed to Jesus because they knew he was real. You be real.


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God Takes Care Of His Own

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 15 – 17; Proverbs 22

(Second Milers also read – Mark 15 – 16; Memorize Philippians 3:8 – 11)

“And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.” – (1 Kings 17:6)

“And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.” – (1 Kings 17:16)

The setting for our text this morning is the northern kingdom of Israel, which at this point is under the reign of wicked King Ahab and his wife Jezebel. You will remember that at this time the nation of Israel was divided into the northern kingdom (which retained the name Israel), and the southern kingdom of Judah. Now King Ahab of Israel was a very bad king, doing “…more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him”.  (1 Kings 16:33)  As judgment for the idolatry in the land, God brought forth a drought that lasted for three years. Though the people of Israel were suffering terribly from the shortage of water and also the shortage of food that resulted from the lack of water, God still took care of his own. Elijah was fed by the ravens at the brook Cherith; and then he was miraculously provided for through an unending supply of meal and oil, along with the widow woman from Zarephath and her son.

As I reflect on this passage, I am reminded of what David said through the inspiration of God:

“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” – (Psalm 37:25)

In my lifetime, I have never experienced a famine such as the one that Israel faced here in our text; but I have lived through some tough economic times. However, during the worst of times, God has always taken care of me and my family. It is interesting that in this chapter of Scripture, God reminds us of two ways that He miraculously provides for our needs during these tough times. First, He supplies us from unlikely sources. The ravens were Elijah’s first source of provision, not unlike the manna that fell from heaven during the wilderness wanderings. I remember when I was in Bible college. Those were certainly some tough days financially. I believe that God was testing our resolve to finish school by allowing us to struggle. Yet, during those years, God provided miraculously more times than I can count. One time, He used a group of co-workers to graciously supply food and Christmas presents for my children. Another time, God used my brother Bill and his wife to graciously help us. Another time, God laid it upon some one’s heart to pay part of my school bill; my mortgage payment was anonymously paid on more than one occasion.  We were awed and humbled by the miraculous provision of God during this period of our life.

The second way that God provided for Elijah, and in this case the woman and her son, was that He allowed what they already had (the oil and the meal) to last longer. You will remember also that as Israel wandered in the wilderness their shoes and clothes did not wear out for the entire forty years. This is just as much of a miracle as the provision through the ravens. God said through Malachi, that He would “rebuke the devourer” (Malachi 3:11) if the people would put God first. Haggai told the people that their bag of money was full of holes (Haggai 1:6), because they had not put God first. I know what it is like to have a wallet “full of holes”; but I also know what it is like to have things last long beyond their lifespan. When I first started tithing as a young Christian I thought that God would miraculously take care of all of my financial problems through some big gift of money; but instead, He provided by causing us to plug up some of the “holes” in our check book. The car didn’t break down, and the kids didn’t get sick as much. We were spending a lot less.

God has been good to my family through the years. I have no regret whatever about the decision Cindy and I made twenty years ago to tithe, and to give offerings above the tithe. God has always been faithful to us. If you are struggling in your finances, let me encourage you to trust God by putting Him first in your life.

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

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” – (Luke 6:38)

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” – (Malachi 3:10)


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Be Careful Who You Trust

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 12 – 14; Proverbs 21

(Second Milers also read – Mark 13 – 14; Memorize Philippians 3:8 – 11)

My attention this morning is drawn to chapter thirteen and the account of the prophet that was sent from the southern kingdom of Judah with a message for Jeroboam, the king of the northern kingdom, Israel.  He was sent with a message of judgment to Jeroboam:

“And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.” (1 Kings 13:2 & 3)

At the end of this unpleasant meeting with Jeroboam, this un-named prophet is asked to go back with Jeroboam to get something to eat and to receive a reward.  The prophet flatly refuses to go with Jeroboam because he was given strict instructions by God not to eat in Israel.  On the way home, however, another man claiming to be a prophet asks him to go with him and get something to eat.  This man lies to him and tells him that God told him that it was OK.  As a result, the prophet from Judah goes with him; but soon discovers that he was tricked into disobeying the clear commandment of God; and it cost him his life.

Christian, you and I need to be careful who we listen to.  Sometimes people pretending to represent God will come to us and try to get us to do things that are clearly against the plain teaching of the Word of God.  We are to trust the Bible, and we can trust the men and women that preach and teach the Bible correctly; but the Bible itself is always the final authority.  Be careful who you trust.

By the way, we also saw in chapter twelve that Reheboam listened to the counsel of the young men, rather than the counsel of the old men. The result was that the kingdom of Israel was split into two kingdoms. Again, we see here that you have to be very careful about who you listen to. I am not saying that it is always unwise to listen to young men, but we should always include in our cabinet of counselors some older men (and ladies) who have demonstrated that they have godly wisdom.


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Not Very Wise After All

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 10 – 11; Proverbs 20

(Second Milers also read – Mark 11 – 12; Memorize – Philippians 3:8 – 11)

“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.” – (1 Kings 11:4 )

A good friend of mine, Pastor Charlie Horton, once told me that there are three things that will take a preacher down: ladies, lucre, and liberalism; or maids, money, and modernism. That statement has proven to be true. In the twenty years plus that I have been a Christian, I have seen many men of God wander out of the will of God; and in all of these cases it was one of those three things that caused them to veer off of the path. In our text, we see that Solomon’s problem primarily was the ladies. He had 1000 wives and concubines. Wow! How can it be that this man is know for his wisdom? Can you imagine having 1000 mother-in-laws? It would not have been so bad if all of these women shared the same love for the Lord that Solomon had; but, unfortunately, many of these women were heathen women that worshipped other “gods”. In order to please these women, Solomon accommodated for their false worship within the borders of Israel, and Solomon, himself, began to participate in the idolatry. Not very wise.

I do not thing that women were the only attraction that lured Solomon out of the will of God. He was also very wealthy: wealthier than any man that ever lived. Jesus spoke about the difficulties that wealth imposes upon a right relationship with God. Wealth can certainly be a stumbling block also. The text also makes it clear that the ladies lured him into heresy. So, ultimately, Solomon fell prey to all three of the traps mentioned above. The tragedy is that Solomon was a very wise man, and should have seen the dangers ahead of time. I think he deliberately wandered off of the path. He chose to go astray with his eyes fully opened.

Passages of Scripture such as this scare me. Solomon was a much wiser man than I could ever be, yet he blew it. I have seen many others fall in my time that had a lot more on the ball than me. It scares me, because I know that it could happen to me also. I hope it scares me enough to stay as far away from these traps (and others) so that I will finish my course inside the perfect will of God.


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When God Moves In

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 8, 9; Proverbs 19

(Second Milers also read Mark 9 – 10; Memorize Philippians 3:8 – 11)

“And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.” – (1 Kings 8:10-11)

As we study Israel’s history, we know that there were many times that they were not where God wanted them to be, spiritually speaking. Often in their history Israel would forsake their God, and err into immorality, and idolatry. These were times when God would be forced to bring judgment upon His people in order to get them to turn back to Him. However, in today’s passage, we see Israel as right with the Lord as they had ever been. They had just completed building the Temple of God, and today was the day that the entire nation was gathered together in order to dedicate the temple (and themselves) to the Lord. God was well pleased with Israel at this time, and He demonstrated His approval with a physical appearance of his presence. Verse 11 tells us that “the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord”.

I have been saved for over twenty years now, and I have been involved in the local church since I was born=again into the family of God; and I have experienced the wonderful blessing of seeing God’s presence in the midst of His church. I did not see a physical manifestation of His presence, as these Israelites did, but I did experience the glory of God, nonetheless. Unfortunately, I have also seen the times when God’s presence was apparently absent from our church. Hindsight often provides a better perspective for analyzing the ingredients that went into the times when God seemed to be all over His church. When I look back at the times in our ministry when God was really working in a marvelous way among us, with many being saved and baptized, and wonderful Spirit-filled services, I can see that there were specific ingredients that were present. These same ingredients were present in our text today.

1  There was unity – God wants His children to be “in one accord”. A quick study of the early church from the Book of Acts will reveal that they were all together; they were all moving in the same direction.

2  There was humility – Notice in Solomon’s prayer that He recognizes that the people were prone to get away from God. He admits completely that these people were in God’s hands, and that it was God that blessed them.

3  There was complete tenacity and loyalty toward God. These people were all consecrated to the Lord. They were not doing that which was right in their own eyes, they were pursuing God. They were not chasing after the world with all of its idols, and all of its immorality. They were not only separated from the world, but they were also separated unto the Lord. These people wanted to please the Lord. They were focused on God. They gave up two weeks of their lives to serve and sacrifice to the Lord.

We can see God’s glory in our churches again today if we have these three ingredients in place. I want to see God move in our church. I want to see Him do great thing in the midst of this world that denies Him. He’s waiting for us to get on board.


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Greatly Used of the Lord

Today’s Passage – 1 Kings 6 – 7; Proverbs 18

(Second Milers also read – Mark 7 – 8; Memorize – Philippians 3:8 – 11)

“And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre. He was a widow’s son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to king Solomon, and wrought all his work.” – (1 Kings 7:13-14)

Not every Christian is gifted by God to be a teacher or a preacher. In this passage, we see Hiram, a man from Tyre, who was uniquely gifted by God to make all of the works of brass that were to be used in the Temple. Back in the Book of Exodus, we saw two other fellows. Bezaleel and Aholiab, who were also uniquely filled with wisdom (gifted) to build the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. As far as we know, these men never taught the Scriptures; they were not priests, or prophets; but they were greatly used of the Lord.

We have many people in our churches today who have also been uniquely crafted by the Lord to fulfill His purpose. They may be builders, like the men referenced above. They may be men or women that have a knack for cleaning, or landscaping. These are all very necessary and important jobs in the service of our churches today. As I read this passage today, I thought of a man in our church who was used of the Lord to build our platform in the auditorium along with the sound booth. He did a wonderful job, and our church building is much more beautiful and functional as a result of his using his gifts for the Lord. We also have some folks in our church that like to cook, and when we have a dinner of some kind, these people go to work, preparing delicious food for the rest of us to enjoy. They work mostly behind the scenes, but their work is very important to the Lord.

God tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:

“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” – (1 Corinthians 12:18)

Not every member is an eye or an ear: some are hands, some are feet. Not everybody is a preacher or teacher; and those that are gifted in areas other that teaching are just as important to the work of the ministry as those who teach or preach.

What is your gift? What is your sweet spot? The thing that you were born to do. Hiram was born to make brass, and he did it very well. God will be well pleased with your life if you find the thing that He has equipped you to do, and then do it for His glory.


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