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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No Longer Happy

Aditi-Sharma-Nov-2014-unhappy-employees-shutterstock1

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)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

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

“Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom.” (2 Chronicles 9:7)

“Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee.” (2 Chronicles 10:4)

“For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” (2 Chronicles 10:11)

When the Queen of Sheba came to Jerusalem to visit King Solomon to see if all that she had heard about him was true, one of the many positive things that she observed was that the people of Israel were very happy as well as prosperous; and they seemed to all appreciate the godly wisdom and leadership of their King. You will recall that when Solomon was a very young king, his number one prayer request was for wisdom so that he could be a blessing to his people. It seems that he started out right as a great servant-leader. However, when we get to chapter ten of our reading passage today, we discover that at the end of Solomon’s reign the people were complaining that Solomon’s “yoke” was too heavy for them. I assume that had something to do with the financial burdens that Solomon laid upon the people. It seems that wise King Solomon was not using his God-given wisdom anymore to serve the people. Instead, it appears that he was using the people to benefit himself.

An older and wiser preacher once gave me good advice. He said, “Use your ministry to build your people, not your people to build your ministry.” That was, and still is, great advice. Spiritual leaders especially are ordained of God to serve and bless the people they serve. Jesus once contrasted the leadership style of the world with godly leadership:

“And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.” (Luke 22:24-26)

It is clear that Jesus wants His leaders to be servants, to lead by example as He did when He washed the feet of His disciples. Solomon started out serving the people, but it seems that he eventually took advantage of the ones he served and used them to his own advantage.


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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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Enough is Enough

Enough-is-Enough-Poster

Today’s Reading – 2 Chronicles 34 – 36 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Romans 5 – 8; Psalms 120 – 125; Proverbs 26)

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

Read the “0526 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.” – (2 Chronicles 36:15-16)

God, in His mercy, will send us messengers to warn us of the judgment that is coming if we fail to humble ourselves before Him, and submit to His will. Oftentimes the people of God would turn back to him and would escape the judgment, or at least postpone the judgment. But here we see the people of God, not only rejecting the Word of God; but are also mocking and attacking His messengers.

Today in America, the Spirit-filled preacher of the Word of God is also mocked, and sometimes even attacked by the world around them; and even sometimes by the people of God. God will not put up with this too much longer. There will come a time when God will say, “enough is enough”. And when that happens we are finished as a nation.

But let’s think of this a little more personally. Do you as a faithful member of a Bible preaching church consider the preaching and teaching by the pastor as a message from God; or perhaps do you just think of it as just good information that may or may not be helpful. Are we not guilty of almost the same thing as these people from Judah, when we don’t heed the warnings and exhortation given to us by God through His word in our churches. When you listen to the preaching this week, look past the preacher and focus on the message that God has supernaturally ordained to be given to you through His messenger. Support your preacher: cheer him on as he labors to deliver the message from God to your family.


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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 – 28;Psalms 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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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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Enough is Enough!

Today’s Reading –  2 Chronicles 34 – 36 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Romans 5 – 8;Psalms 120 – 125Proverbs 26)

Scripture Memorization for May – Romans 10

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

Read a great article by Pastor Cary Schmidt– “Encouragement for Spiritual Leaders

Read the “0526 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.” – (2 Chronicles 36:15-16)

God, in His mercy, will send us messengers to warn us of  the judgment that is coming if we fail to humble ourselves before Him, and submit to His will.  Oftentimes the people of God would turn back to him and would escape the judgment, or at least postpone the judgment.  But here we see the people of God, not only rejecting the Word of God; but are also mocking and attacking His messengers.

Today in America, the Spirit-filled preacher of the Word of God is also mocked, and sometimes even attacked by the world around them; and even sometimes by the people of God.  God will not put up with this too much longer.  There will come a time when God will say, “enough is enough”.  And when that happens we are finished as a nation.

But let’s think of this a little more personally.  Do you as a faithful member of a Bible preaching church consider the preaching and teaching by the pastor as a message from God; or perhaps do you just think of it as just good information that may or may not be helpful.  Are we not guilty of almost the same thing as these people from Judah, when we don’t heed the warnings and exhortation given to us by God through His word in our churches.  When you listen to the preaching this week, look past the preacher and focus on the message that God has supernaturally ordained to be given to you through His messenger.  Support your preacher: cheer him on as he labors to deliver the message from God to your family.


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When He Was Strong His Heart Was Lifted Up

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 – 24Psalms 111 – 115Proverbs 23)

Scripture Memorization for May – Romans 10

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

Read a great article by Pastor Paul Chappell– “Launch Out

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

Read previous posts from today’s reading passage – “The Key to Prosperity“; and “Plenty More Where That Came From

“But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.” (2 Chronicles 26:16)

There is a lot of practical truth that we can glean from these Bible passages about the kings of Judah and Israel. In today’s reading, we learned about several kings: some of them good; and some not so good. In chapter 26, we read about a very good king, Uzziah, that was tremendously used of the Lord to strengthen the southern Kingdom of Judah. Early in his reign as king, he sought the Lord, and the Scripture tells us that God made him to prosper. He did a lot of wonderful things, and because he was submissive to the will of God, God blessed him and the nation mightily. I wish that was the end of the story; but unfortunately, the Bible goes on to tell us that Uzziah’s heart became lifted up with pride. He one day decided that he was going to go into the temple himself to offer incense upon the altar of incense. Now that was a job that was exclusively reserved for the priests. Sadly, Uzziah felt that he was so great that he could do whatever he wanted to do, even bypass God’s clear instructions regarding the worship in the temple. The priests immediately withstood him and rebuked him for usurping their God given role. He became furious with the priests. “Who are you to tell me what to do?” “Don’t you know who I am?” “I am the king, and I will do whatever I please” This was Uzziah’s attitude. God’s judgment immediately fell on Uzziah, and he became leprous in his forehead. He realized then that he had crossed the line, but it was too late.

We see this type of thing all too often in the Scripture, and we also see in the lives of Christians today. Many times, when a person first trusts the Lord Jesus as his Saviour, he is very humble. He is moldable, teachable, and can easily be corrected. However, as he grows in the Lord and is obedient to the principles found in the Word, God will prosper him. This prosperity will often bring about pride. Sometimes, it is so subtle that he does not even realize it. He takes the credit for the blessings that were given to him by the Lord. He begins to know more than his teachers, and he begins to pick and choose what he will obey, and what he will not. He begins to gradually seize control of his life away from God’s control. He slowly becomes his own God again, calling his own shots. When he gets to this place God will have to bring judgment in order to bring him back down to earth.

This does not have to happen. We can stay humble. We can continue to lean on the Lord, and not our own understanding. We can stay teachable, and moldable. We can continue to obey the Word of God, and the authorities that God has placed in our lives. We don’t have to head down this road that leads to self-destruction. Watch out for pride. It was Satan’s downfall; it was Eve’s also. Remember, she wanted to be as God, knowing good and evil. Pride is a big part of our flesh that must be put to death on a daily basis.

“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” (Proverbs 8:13)

“When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)

“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10)

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

“A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” (Proverbs 29:23)


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How Will You Be Remembered?

 

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)

Read a previous post from this passage – “Too Dependent on the Preacher

“Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years, and departed without being desired. Howbeit they buried him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchres of the kings.” (2Chronicles 21:20)

This verse is perhaps one of the saddest verses in all of the Bible.  Here we see the life of Jehoram, a king of Judah: the son of  Jehoshaphat, a great king.  The verse tells us that when he died he was not desired: nobody wanted him.  How sad it is that a person with so much opportunity for good; so much opportunity to impact his nation, would die without being desired.  Why did this happen?  What would cause this man to be so evil; so different from his father, who was loved and desired by all?  Believe it or not, I think the blame belongs to his father.  His father, though a great man himself, was not  a separated man.  Though he loved God, he was very close and friendly to others who hated God.  He got so close that he actually allowed his son, Jehoram to marry one of wicked King Ahab’s daughters.  The Bible tells us that after the death of Jehoshaphat, Ahab’s family became the counsellors of Jehoram.  His father followed God; but the son chose to follow evil.

Parents, please be very careful about what and who you allow to get close to your children.  Though you as parents may be strong enough to stand in a wicked environment, your children may not be; and may succumb to the wickedness around them.  Live a separated life.  Don’t allow the things of this world; or ungodly people to be an influence to your family.

My life will not be judged merely by my own conduct.  People will also judge me by whether or not my children walk with God, and serve their generation.  I want my kids to be better than I am.  I want them to have more love and compassion for their fellow man than I ever could.  I want them to be desired.

When you die, will you leave here without being desired?  Or will people miss you?  Will they grieve for the void that will be there because of your parting? This life is not about you; it’s not about me.  It is about glorifying God; and serving our generation; and then training and teaching our children to serve their generation.


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Who Do You Listen To?

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 – 12Psalms 91 – 95Proverbs 19)

Scripture Memorization for May – Romans 10

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 121

Read a great article by Pastor Paul Chappell– “Launch Out

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

“And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people? And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever. But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him.” – (2 Chronicles 10:6-8)

In our reading passage today, in chapter 10, we see the the beginning of the reign of King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. It seems that shortly after Rehoboam became king his leadership was tested when a delegation from the northern tribes of Israel came to him asking him to lighten the burden that had been placed upon them by King Solomon. I am assuming that the burden that was placed upon them was a tax burden. Government has always been good at taxing its people, hasn’t it? Anyway, it appears that Rehoboam’s father, Solomon, had gradually increased the tax burden placed upon the people of Israel, and they were tired of it. By the way, it is very interesting to note that in the beginning of Solomon’s reign his people were very happy (9:7); but somewhere along the line his spending became out of control, and the source of most of the revenue came from the people.

Reheboam decides to ask the people to give him some time to consider the request, and he seeks counsel from two groups of people. First, he talks to the old men. Their counsel to Reheboam was to “be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words unto them”. Their belief was that if Solomon worked with the people, the people would love him; but if he continued to tax them as his father had, the people would rebel.

The second group that Reheboam sought counsel from was the young men. They told him to whip the people into shape; to show them who was boss. Basically they told Reheboam to make it harder upon the people. They wanted him to rule with an iron fist. Unfortunately, Reheboam listened to the counsel of the young men. The result was disastrous for him, and for the kingdom. The northern tribes rebelled against Reheboam and formed their own kingdom, resulting in a civil war that would last for many years. Reheboam’s decision ended up costing him a whole lot more than the little bit of tax money that the old men had suggested he let the people keep for themselves.

Reheboam should have listened to the old men. Who do you have in your cabinet of counselors? I believe the principle that we can glean from this passage is that we need to be very careful whom we allow to influence us. I would recommend that you would put many godly people in your cabinet of counselors. The Bible says that in the multitude of counselors there is safety, but I am sure that it means only godly counselors. We need to have people in our lives who will be willing to tell us what perhaps we do not want to hear. That cabinet ought to include older men and women who have experienced a little bit of life, and are a little further down the road than we are. It also ought to include some people who are knowledgeable in the Scriptures, like a pastor, or youth leader. It also ought to include godly people who are knowledgeable in particular areas of expertise, such as finances. Choose your counselors wisely, and heed their advice.


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The Grace of God

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 32 – 33

Second Milers also read – Romans 1 – 4; Psalm 119; Proverbs 25

Scripture Memory for May – Psalm 51

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

“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 had 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. Now 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 done 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 bet that he wishes 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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Soulwinning in 2 Chronicles

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 29 – 31

Second Milers also read – Acts 26 – 28; Psalms 116 – 118; Proverbs 24

“So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria.” – (2 Chronicles 30:6)

As I read the passage for today, there were a lot of thoughts that I wanted to develop. The first one came from chapter 29, where Hezekiah told the Levites:

“My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.” – (2 Chronicles 29:11)

I was challenged by this verse to be diligent in the Lord’s work because God has also chosen me to serve Him and minister unto Him, and His people.

However, when I got to chapter 30, I realized that there was another truth that I just had to write about. In this passage Hezekiah sends letters to the remnant of the northern kingdom of Israel, and invites them to return to the Lord. Most of the people of the northern kingdom had already been taken into captivity into the land of Assyria; but there were yet many people remaining in the land. Hezekiah gave them all an open invitation to return to Jerusalem and participate in the worship of the Lord in His house.

The sad truth, however, is that most of the people rejected the invitation. Many had even mocked and laughed at the messengers. This is a perfect picture of our soul winning today. We go out with a message from the king, yet most people reject that message; and many will even mock us for our beliefs. Yet, as it was in the days of Hezekiah, some will accept the invitation. We must not get distracted by the multitudes that reject, but instead realize that there are some, maybe only a few, that will receive the precious message of the grace of God.

So don’t get discouraged if it seems that most of this world is not receptive to the message of Christ. Keep looking for those few precious trophies of grace that will listen. Remember though, you have to weed through the scorners until you eventually find the ones with the soft and penitent hearts that will embrace the glorious gospel of Christ.

Note – the picture at the top is of Pastor Bob Gray II of Longview Baptist Temple, and a young man that was apparently soft-hearted and receptive to the message of God’s grace. They are out there. We just have to keep looking until we find them.


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The Key To Prosperity

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 25 – 28

Second Milers also read – Acts 23 – 25; Psalms 111 – 115; Proverbs 23

Scripture Memory for May – Psalm 51

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

Read “Plenty More Where That Came From” from 2 Chronicles 25

“And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.” – (2 Chronicles 26:5)

“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.” – (Psalm 1:2-3)

There is not much that I can add to what was written in 2 Chronicles 26:5 – “as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper”. Inside that statement lies the only key to real success in life – seeking God. As long as you and I are truly seeking God and His will for our lives, God will also make our lives to prosper.

In this chapter we see this principle in action in the life of King Uzziah. He was a great king that was mightily used of the Lord as long as he was seeking God. He experienced many military victories, and also caused Judah to prosper economically and scientifically. As long as Uzziah was in submission to the will of God, he and the kingdom prospered greatly. Unfortunately, he got himself into trouble:

“But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.” – (2 Chronicles 26:16)

Uzziah overstepped his bounds when he went into the temple to offer incense. He felt like he could do whatever he wanted, but God wasn’t pleased. The Lord gave King Uzziah leprosy, and he lived the rest of his life separated from the people in a “several (separated) house”.

So the bottom line is that when we are in submission to the Lord, He will bless what we do; but when we get to the place where we no longer need the Lord, God’s hand of prosperity will cease.


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How Will You Be Remembered?

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 21 – 24

Second Milers also read – Acts 20 – 22; Psalms 106 – 110; Proverbs 22

Scripture Memory for May – Psalm 51

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

Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years, and departed without being desired. Howbeit they buried him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchres of the kings.(2Chronicles 21:20)

This verse is perhaps one of the saddest verses in all of the Bible.  Here we see the life of Jehoram, a king of Judah: the son of  Jehoshaphat, a great king.  The verse tells us that when he died he was not desired: nobody wanted him.  How sad it is that a person with so much opportunity for good; so much opportunity to impact his nation, would die without being desired.  Why did this happen?  What would cause this man to be so evil; so different from his father, who was loved and desired by all?  Believe it or not, I think the blame belongs to his father.  His father, though a great man himself, was not  a separated man.  Though he loved God, he was very close and friendly to others who hated God.  He got so close that he actually allowed his son, Jehoram to marry one of wicked King Ahab’s daughters.  The Bible tells us that after the death of Jehoshaphat, Ahab’s family became the counsellors of Jehoram.  His father followed God; but the son chose to follow evil.

Parents, please be very careful about what and who you allow to get close to your children.  Though you as parents may be strong enough to stand in a wicked environment, your children may not be; and may succumb to the wickedness around them.  Live a separated life.  Don’t allow the things of this world; or ungodly people to be an influence to your family.

My life will not be judged merely by my own conduct.  People will also judge me by whether or not my children walk with God, and serve their generation.  I want my kids to be better than I am.  I want them to have more love and compassion for their fellow man than I ever could.  I want them to be desired.

When you die, will you leave here without being desired?  Or will people miss you?  Will they grieve for the void that will be there because of your parting? This life is not about you; it’s not about me.  It is about glorifying God; and serving our generation; and then training and teaching our children to serve their generation.


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Keep Your Eyes on the Lord

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 18 – 20

Second Milers also read –  Acts 17 – 19; Psalms 101 – 105; Proverbs 21

Scripture Memory for May – Psalm 51

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

Read “Who’s Your Friend?” by Pastor Ted Stahl from 2 Chronicles 18

“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 he was 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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Asa – He Started Well, But Finished Poorly

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 13 – 17

Second Milers also read – Acts 14 – 16; Psalms 96 – 100; Proverbs 20

“And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD, that was before the porch of the LORD.” – (2 Chronicles 15:8)

“Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time. … And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians.” – (2 Chronicles 16:10, 12)

In chapters 15 – 17 of today’s passage we see the account of King Asa.  He started out as a very good king, even going as far as removing his mother from being queen because of her idolatry.  In fact in chapter 15, everything that is recorded about his reign as king is good.  However, when we get to chapter 16, we see Asa faced with an imminent attack from his neighbor, the northern kingdom of Israel.  Now in times past, when Asa faced strong opposition, he trusted in God to deliver him; but here he does something completely out of character for him: he relies, not upon God, but upon another nation to deliver him.  God was not too pleased with this, so he sent his prophet to rebuke Asa for his lack of faith.  Instead of getting right with God, Asa gets angry and throws the prophet in jail.  Not a very wise move.  A few years later we find that Asa is “diseased in his feet”; but once again he goes to men (the physicians) instead of going to God.  I think that the first mistake that Asa made could have been corrected with a little contrition and repentance; but instead it caused him to get angry and “dig in”; and it literally altered the rest of his life.  His pride caused him to stay his course, instead of yielding to God’s will.

I wonder how many Christians today start out well, living their lives for the Lord; but something happens: maybe they make an error in judgment; or maybe just have a moment of weakness, and they sin against God.  When they are confronted about it, instead of humbling themselves and getting it right, they “dig in”, refusing to admit that they did wrong.  As a result they continue on a path of destruction, refusing to consider the possibility that they could be wrong.  This then leads to more problems; not only for the person, but for their families as well.

As God’s people, why can’t we just preprogram ourselves to understand that we are going to blow it at times.  We will never (in this life) lose our humanity; we will never arrive at sinless perfection.  I think God understands our humanity more that we do.  We are going to blow it eventually.  It’s OK.  We are human.  But don’t get mad at your humanity; don’t get mad at the preacher, the church, or God.  Get right!  Run to God, not away from Him! Admit you blew it; pick yourself up; pay the consequences; and move on with your life.  Why lose all of the blessings that God has in store for you simply because of your pride.


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The Fire Came Down From Heaven

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 6 – 8

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

Scripture Memory for may – Psalm 51

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

Read “Hear Thou From Heaven”

“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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Just Ask Him

 

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 1 – 5

Second Milers also read –  Acts 4 – 6; Psalms 81 – 85; Proverbs 17

Scripture Memory for May – Psalm 51

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

Read older posts from today’s passage: “The Glory of the Lord Filled the House”; and “A Full House”

“In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee. … Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?” – (2 Chronicles 1:7, 10)

“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)

“For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” – (Proverbs 2:6)

Solomon was given the opportunity to ask from God anything that he desired. Wow! What would you ask for? Remember that it is God who is giving Solomon this chance: the same God that created everything in the universe; the same God that owns everything on earth. Solomon could have asked for all the wealth in the world. He could have asked for his own planet to live on. He could have asked for anything, and God would have given it to him; but Solomon asks for wisdom and knowledge. And, he doesn’t even ask for his own benefit: he asks for wisdom so that he can be a blessing and a help to the people of God. Again, wow!

As a pastor of a local, New Testament church, I realize that I have a great need for wisdom as well. The Book of James tells me that I have the same opportunity afforded to me that Solomon had. I can simply ask for wisdom, and God promises to give it to me; and He won’t rebuke me for asking for it. I need God’s wisdom if I am going to be able to help my family, and the people of Jersey Shore Baptist Church. God has provided many other resources besides prayer that will help us to be wise. He has given us His Word, which is filled with His wisdom. He has also placed within our reach some godly counselor who can share with us some of the wisdom that God has already given them.

There is no excuse for not acquiring the wisdom that we need to fulfill God’s will for our lives as we sojourn on this earth. Wisdom is available. All we have to do is ask.


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Enough Is Enough

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 34 – 36; Proverbs 26

(Second Milers also read – Romans 5 – 8; Memorize Proverbs 11:13)

“And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.” – (2 Chronicles 36:15-16)

God, in His mercy, will send us messengers to warn us of  the judgment that is coming if we fail to humble ourselves before Him, and submit to His will.  Oftentimes the people of God would turn back to him and would escape the judgment, or at least postpone the judgment.  But here we see the people of God, not only rejecting the Word of God; but are also mocking and attacking His messengers.

Today in America, the Spirit-filled preacher of the Word of God is also mocked, and sometimes even attacked by the world around them; and even sometimes by the people of God.  God will not put up with this too much longer.  There will come a time when God will say, “enough is enough”.  And when that happens we are finished as a nation.

But let’s think of this a little more personally.  Do you as a faithful member of a Bible preaching church consider the preaching and teaching by the pastor as a message from God; or perhaps do you just think of it as just good information that may or may not be helpful.  Are we not guilty of almost the same thing as these people from Judah, when we don’t heed the warnings and exhortation given to us by God through His word in our churches.  When you listen to the preaching this week, look past the preacher and focus on the message that God has supernaturally ordained to be given to you through His messenger.  Support your preacher: cheer him on as he labors to deliver the message from God to your family.


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But For The Grace of God

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 32 – 33; Proverbs 25

(Second Milers also read – Romans 1 – 4; Memorize – Proverbs 11:13)

“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 had 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. Now 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 done 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 bet that he wishes 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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A Picture of Soulwinning

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 29 – 31; Proverbs 24

(Second Milers also read – Acts 25 – 28; Memorize Proverbs 11:13)

“So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria.” – (2 Chronicles 30:6)

“So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem.” – (2 Chronicles 30:10-11)

As I read the passage for today, there were a lot of thoughts that I wanted to develop. The first one came from chapter 29, where Hezekiah told the Levites:

“My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.” – (2 Chronicles 29:11)

I was challenged by this verse to be diligent in the Lord’s work because God has chosen me also to serve Him and minister unto Him, and His people.

However, when I got to chapter 30, I realized that there was another truth that I just had to write about. In this passage Hezekiah sends letters to the remnant of the northern kingdom of Israel, and invites them to return to the Lord. Most of the people of the northern kingdom had already been taken into captivity into the land of Assyria; but there were yet many people remaining in the land. Hezekiah gave them all an open invitation to return to Jerusalem and participate in the worship of the Lord in His house.

The sad truth, however, is that most of the people rejected the invitation. Many had even mocked and laughed at the messengers. This is a perfect picture of our soul winning today. We go out with a message from the king, yet most people reject that message; and many will even mock us for our beliefs. Yet, as it was in the days of Hezekiah, some will accept the invitation. We must not get distracted by the multitudes that reject, but instead realize that there are some, maybe only a few, that will receive the precious message of the grace of God.

So don’t get discouraged if it seems that most of this world is not receptive to the message of Christ. Keep looking for those few precious trophies of grace that will listen. Remember though, you have to weed through the scorners, until you eventually find the ones with the soft and penitent hearts, that will embrace the glorious gospel of Christ.

Note – the picture at the top is of Pastor Bob Gray II of Longview Baptist Temple, and a young man that was apparently soft-hearted and receptive to the message of God’s grace. They are out there. We just have to keep looking until we find them.


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Plenty More Where That Came From

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 25 – 28; Proverbs 23

(Second Milers also read – Acts 22 – 24; Memorize Proverbs 11:14)

“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)

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 chooses to forsake God, then God also would forsake 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 7500 pounds of silver 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.


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Too Dependent on the Preacher

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 21 – 24; Proverbs 22

(Second Milers also read – Acts 19 – 21; Memorize Proverbs 11:13)

“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 rescued and 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 goes as far as having Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, put to death.

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 get to 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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The Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Ted Stahl – Who’s Your Friend?

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 18 – 20; Proverbs 21.
(Second Milers also read – Acts 16 – 18; Memorize Proverbs 10:19)
2Ch 18:7
And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. How can you hate someone who is trying to be your friend? Ahab hated Micaiah because, in the king’s eyes, only evil was prophesied and never anything good. At least that was Ahab’s perception. But 2Peter 3:9 tells us that the Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. God sent Micaiah to be a friend to Ahab by telling him the truth. The truth is what was written in 1Kings 16:30-33: “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.”
Proverbs 18:24 tells us that a man that hath friends must show himself friendly. And Ahab hated Micaiah. This would be the last chance that Ahab would have to give heed to what God was telling him through his friend Micaiah. Did he listen? Of course not. Ahab hated Micaiah because Ahab could not have things his own way.
So Ahab went to war anyway: against the counsel of Micaiah: against the counsel of God. And you know the rest…
“And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. And the battle increased that day: howbeit the king of Israel stayed himself up in his chariot against the Syrians until the even: and about the time of the sun going down he died.” (2Chronicals 18:33-34)
If you have a friend, one who is walking with God, maybe you should listen to his or her counsel. It could be a warning. What a friend we have in Jesus. Who’s your friend?
Peace. (3John vs. 14)

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Don’t Shoot the Messenger

 

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 13 – 17; Proverbs 20

(Second Milers also read – Acts 13 – 15; Memorize – Proverbs 10:19)

“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. … Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.” – (2 Chronicles 16:7, 10)

This is a very sad story. As I was reading 2 Chronicles 13, I was excited to read about Abijah, the son of Reheboam, who actually was a pretty good king. There aren’t to many kings mentioned in the Bible that are actually good, so I was surprised to see that this man stood for the Lord, even though his father had not. And then in chapters 14 & 15 I read about Abijah’s son, Asa, who was an even better king than his father; at least initially. Those two chapters are full of the good things that Asa did. In fact the Scripture says that “he did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God”. However, when we get to chapter 16, things begin to fall apart. It seems that the kingdom of Judah was threatened by the northern kingdom of Israel; but instead of trusting in God to bring deliverance, Asa hired the kingdom of Syria to bail him out. God sent a “seer”, or prophet by the name of Hanani to deliver the message in 16:7. Hanani basically told Asa that God was “ticked off” because Asa trusted in man instead of putting his faith in the Lord Who had already delivered him through many other battles.

What happens next, however, puts the icing on the cake. Instead of receiving the message from Hanani who was basically just a messenger for God, Asa get’s mad and has him thrown in prison; just for delivering the message that God had told him to deliver. I have had the same experience as a preacher. I pray, and study, and ask the Lord to help me prepare and deliver just the right message to benefit the people in my church; but oftentimes people will become angry with what I have to say. Individuals sometimes think that I am targeting my message directly at them in order to get even with them or something. I am merely trying to preach the message that God has laid on my heart. I can’t speak for everybody, but I know that when I am listening to someone preach, and I find myself getting angry, it is always because the Holy Spirit of God is convicting me in that area. I get mad because my flesh doesn’t want to feel like there is anything wrong. I have trained myself to ask the question, “why am I getting angry right now?” I have learned not to direct my anger at the messenger, but to accept what the Lord is trying to teach me, as painful as it may be. None of us like to be corrected, but we all need it. A wise person will receive the correction from the Lord, and will thank the man (or woman) that has been sent by God to deliver the message.


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Who Do You Listen To?

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 9 – 12; Proverbs 19

(Second Milers also read – Acts 10 – 12; Memorize – Proverbs 10:19)

“And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people? And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever. But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him.” – (2 Chronicles 10:6-8)

In our reading passage today, in chapter 10, we see the the beginning of the reign of King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. It seems that shortly after Rehoboam became king his leadership was tested when a delegation from the northern tribes of Israel came to him asking him to lighten the burden that had been placed upon them by King Solomon. I am assuming that the burden that was placed upon them was a tax burden. Government has always been good at taxing its people, hasn’t it? Anyway, it appears that Rehoboam’s father, Solomon, had gradually increased the tax burden placed upon the people of Israel, and they were tired of it. By the way, it is very interesting to note that in the beginning of Solomon’s reign his people were very happy (9:7); but somewhere along the line his spending became out of control, and the source of most of the revenue came from the people.

Reheboam decides to ask the people to give him some time to consider the request, and he seeks counsel from two groups of people. First, he talks to the old men. Their counsel to Reheboam was to “be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words unto them”. Their belief was that if Solomon worked with the people, the people would love him; but if he continued to tax them as his father had, the people would rebel.

The second group that Reheboam sought counsel from was the young men. They told him to whip the people into shape; to show them who was boss. Basically they told Reheboam to make it harder upon the people. They wanted him to rule with an iron fist. Unfortunately, Reheboam listened to the counsel of the young men. The result was disastrous for him, and for the kingdom. The northern tribes rebelled against Reheboam and formed their own kingdom, resulting in a civil war that would last for many years. Reheboam’s decision ended up costing him a whole lot more than the little bit of tax money that the old men had suggested he let the people keep for themselves.

Reheboam should have listened to the old men. Who do you have in your cabinet of counselors? I believe the principle that we can glean from this passage is that we need to be very careful whom we allow to influence us. I would recommend that you would put many godly people in your cabinet of counselors. The Bible says that in the multitude of counselors there is safety, but I am sure that it means only godly counselors. We need to have people in our lives who will be willing to tell us what perhaps we do not want to hear. That cabinet ought to include older men and women who have experienced a little bit of life, and are a little further down the road than we are. It also ought to include some people who are knowledgeable in the Scriptures, like a pastor, or youth leader. It also ought to include godly people who are knowledgeable in particular areas of expertise, such as finances. Choose your counselors wisely, and heed their advice.


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The Glory of the Lord Had Filled the House

Today’s Passage – 2 Chronicles 1 – 5; Proverbs 17

(Second Milers also read – Acts 3 – 6; Memorize – Proverbs 10:19)

“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 KJV)

Nothing pleases the Lord more that 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 provides for; all of the instruments of worship, and the ornate furnishings had been made; and everything had been put in its proper place. Finally, this temple, which was first conceived 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 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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