Mountaintop or Valley

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 21 – 25 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – James 1 – 5; Psalms 96 – 100; Proverbs 20)

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

Read the “0620 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from today’s reading – “Are You Teachable?

“Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.” (Psalm 21:2)

“O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.” (Psalm 22:2)

Isn’t it interesting the difference between Psalm 21 and Psalm 22. Many of these Psalms are just praises and prayers to God right out of the heart of David. In Psalm 21 everything is great. David is praising the Lord for all of the wonderful things that God has done for him. In Psalm 21 it appears that everything is going great in David’s life.

Now when we get to Psalm 22, it seems like the bottom has fallen out of David’s life. Notice in verse 2, he accuses God of not hearing him. That’s funny because in the first Psalm he said that God gave him the desires of his heart. What happened? Is there some kind of a contradiction here? No. It is just that David, like us, is viewing God through the eyes of his present circumstance. Apparently his circumstance in Psalm 22 was not as good as Psalm 21. Remember, these Psalms are expressions of the deep feeling coming straight out of David’s heart.

I find that my prayer and praise to God is much the same way. Like David, I too go through different seasons. At times, it feels like nothing is going wrong in life; but at other times it seems as if God is completely absent from my life and the devil is having a “free for all”. Do you ever feel that way? I guess maybe David was just as human as we are. I would like to some day get to the place where my praises to God are consistent regardless of the valley or the mountaintop I may be traveling through.


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My Thoughts and Words

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 17 – 20 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 9 – 13; Psalms 91 – 95; Proverbs 19)

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

Read the “0619 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

I love the Word of God. I thoroughly enjoyed the Book of Job; but I am also having a wonderful time each morning in the Psalms. As I read this morning, I was captured by the beauty of Psalm 19. Verses 1-6 are expressions of David’s worship of God. Verses 7 – 11 are remarks that lift up the Word of God, and the reader is admonished to place a higher value on the Word of God than gold. Great Advice!

However, the verses that really caught my attention were verses 12 – 14 where David prays to God regarding God’s help in keeping him from sin. In verses 12 and 13, he speaks of secret sins and presumptuous sins. The presumptuous sins are those that we do blatantly, proudly, and in public view. David begs God’s help in the removal of these things.

Verse 14 is the prayer that all of us should have on our lips and in our hearts the moment that we awake from sleep. How often do we violate our relationship with God by allowing evil thoughts to take hold of our meditations. we muse on things that are clearly outside of the will of God. Ask God to control your thought life. The minute the devil causes you to think about something that is wrong, take it to God. Ask Him to help you. Purposely divert your thoughts to things that are true, honest, just, and pure, etc. Our sin begins with the musings of our heart.

Notice also the petition regarding his words. Oh how I wish that I could take back some of my words. The tongue can be a consuming fire, a deadly poison. Why not ask God to help you get your tongue under control.

I wonder how many mistakes we could have avoided in the past had we made this our prayer? We don’t have to make the same mistake in the future. Let God control your thought life and your tongue!


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Does God See?

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Today’s Reading – Psalms 9 – 16 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Hebrews 5 – 8; Psalms 86 – 90; Proverbs 18)

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

Read the “0618 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.” – (Psalm 10:11)”

“The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.” – (Psalm 11:4)

“For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.” – (Psalm 11:7)

“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.” – (Proverbs 5:21)

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” – (Proverbs 15:3)

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” – (1 Peter 3:12)

The simple answer is yes – He sees. I believe the Scriptures referenced above make that clear, and there are many other verses we could include. Yet, little man thinks that somehow his actions and his thoughts are hidden from the eyes of God, but He sees it all. There is both a negative and a positive side to this principle. The negative, of course, is that God is aware of every evil thought that we contemplate, and every sinful thing that we do. The positive side, however, is that God also sees all of the things that we have done for His glory. Whether any man ever sees it or not is not important. We know that God knows, and we also understand that God will reward us for all that we do for Him. Just a thought.

 


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A Recipe for Success

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

(Second Milers also read – Philemon – Hebrews 4; Psalms 81 – 85; Proverbs 17)

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

Read the  “0617 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage –Kiss the Son

“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. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” – (Psalm 1:1-6)

The recipe for success in God’s economy is simple and sure. God says that we are to separate ourselves from the philosophies of this world, and immerse our lives in the principles of the Word of God. It’s that simple. Notice that this psalm teaches that if we will do these things we will be fruitful and prosperous. This is a guaranteed promise from God.

Why is it that Christians do not follow this simple recipe from the Word of God? I think that there are many reasons for this, but the one that stands out above the rest seems to be that we really do not fully believe the promise. Our sight of the substance of this world overpowers our faith in the things that are not seen. Another reason that comes to mind is that because the blessings that come as a result of our faithfulness to God and His word often only come after a time of testing, Christians often throw in the towel and follow their own instincts. But whatever the reasons may be, the fact remains that most of us never arrive at the place where we experience the level of prosperity that God promises.

Christian, let me encourage you to meditate, and even memorize this wonderful psalm. Let it be absorbed into your soul. Even more importantly, however, you should put this portion of Scripture into practice in your life. Fall in love with the Word of God, and follow its principles. Don’t be enamored with all the glitz that this world may offer you. Choose to live for the things that really matter.


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I’d Better Keep My Mouth Shut

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Today’s Reading – Job 39 – 42 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

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

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

Read the “0616 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.” (Job 40:4)

“Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.” (Job 42:3)

Have you ever made the statement, “I’d better keep my mouth shut”? Have you ever told your child the same thing? We can really get ourselves in trouble with our mouths, can’t we? Sometimes it’s better not to say anything. I remember when I was a brand new Christian. I was having a discussion with Pastor Thompson about reaching the people around me for the Lord. He said something that I never forgot: he said that if you don’t have an answer to their questions, or even their arguments, tell them that you don’t know the answer. His exact words were, “Don’t snow them”. What he meant was that we shouldn’t try to offer something on behalf of God that isn’t what God said. We shouldn’t offer what we feel or think about God; but only tell people what we know to be true. These friends of Job (and Job himself) were doing a lot of talking about God: each offering their own opinion about the situation; but how much of what they said was actually true.

The Bible says that we are God’s ambassadors. We represent God to this world around us. We speak on his behalf. Shouldn’t we be very careful about what we say? I wonder what God will have to say about me someday, especially the things that I have taught others about Him. Preachers and teachers have an awesome responsibility. Therefore we need to make sure that we are daily spending time with God in His word so that we can know how He thinks; and know what He teaches about any given subject. And then when we are given the opportunity to speak on His behalf, whenever possible, we should tell people what God actually said, instead of what our opinion is. As God’s ambassadors we have no right to represent ourselves, or present ourselves, or try to make ourselves look good in the eyes of the people. We need to make God look good; and we need to give people the actual Words of God.

In God’s rebuke of Job, He said, “will thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous”? What God was saying was that Job said things to justify himself; to make himself look good. How often do I do that. I am so afraid of the opinion of men that I have often condemned others in order to elevate myself. Shame on me! and shame on all of us. The Bible is very plain in its teaching that we don’t have to say too much, and that it is wise to hold our peace at times; and then when we do speak, we should be very careful about what we say.

 


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Do You Have An Answer? – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Reading – Job 36 – 38 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – 2 Timothy 1 – 4; Psalms 71 – 75; Proverbs 15)

Read the “0615 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.” (Job 38:1-3)

But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10-12)

Good morning. Do you have an answer for what God will ask you? In chapters 38 through 41 God questions Job. Twice God tells Job to gird up his loins like a man and answer Him. A scary situation. You see, none of us is perfect: for we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God (see Romans 3:23). But as Christians, we will not be judged for our sins: Jesus took all those sins to the cross. But did we do what God wanted us to do, or what we thought He wanted us to do? It is our works that will be judged.

“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1Corinthians 3:5-15)

Twice God questions Job and twice Job answers God. But Job also questions himself.

1) Who am I to answer God?

“Then Job answered the LORD, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.” (Job 40:3-5)

2) What am I to answer God?

In Job 40:4, Job confesses that he is vile. Then in Job chapter 42…

“Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6)

What can we say? God is always good whether we are in the valley, or on the mountain top. When good things happen, God is good. When bad things happen, God is still good.

Peace.


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Multiplying Words

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Today’s Reading – Job 33 – 35 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – 1 Timothy 4 – 6; Psalms 66 – 70; Proverbs 14)

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

Read the  “0614 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “That Which I See Not

“Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.” – (Job 35:16)

“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.” – (Proverbs 26:4)

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” – (James 1:19)

“Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” – (Proverbs 17:28 )

There is entirely too much talking going on in this entire Book of Job. Job’s so-called friends should be listening to Job rather than rebuking him. He certainly has suffered enough. Even Job is talking too much by arguing with these idiots. They are all “experts” on God; yet there is much that they do not, and cannot understand.

We do the same thing, don’t we? We talk about things, and try to sound like we have complete knowledge on a subject; but half the time we really do not know what we are talking about, especially when it comes to talking about God. The best thing that we can do is quote Scripture if we have to talk at all. The older I get, the more I realize that I really do not know much. I should keep my mouth open proportionately to the amount of knowledge that I have, which means it should not be open much.


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What Are You Looking At?

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Today’s Reading – Job 30 – 32 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – 1 Timothy 1 – 3; Psalms 61 – 65; Proverbs 13)

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

Read the “0613 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1)

In our reading we have been following the conversation between Job and his friends. Job has been declaring his innocence: not that he claims sinlessness; but he does contend that his sins were open and confessed to God, and that he was not living a double life. His friends, however, are sure that Job must have some heinous secret sin in his life. In this chapter Job seems to be answering a charge regarding his fidelity. Perhaps the underlying accusation was that Job was an adulterer. Job’s answer in chapter 31 is that he had been faithful, not only in not touching that which is forbidden, but in not looking on another woman besides his wife.

In our culture the accepted instruction is, “you can look, but you just can’t touch”. The fact of the matter is that looking might just lead to touching. Job said that he made a covenant, a commitment to himself and his eyes not to think (let alone look) upon a maid. David said something similar when he said that he would set no wicked thing before his eyes.

Men, we need to do the same thing regarding the opposite sex. We need to determine to keep our eyes and our minds on that which is pleasing to the Lord. Turn off the TV if you have to; get rid of the internet if you must, but do what you have to do to keep yourself from sinning against your God and your wife. It is wise to know your limitations and put up some fences to protect yourself. A little accountability will go a long way. And ladies, your not exempt from this either. Your lusting may not be for the opposite sex per say, but I am sure you have your weak areas as well. Maybe with you the struggle involves seeing things at the mall that you can’t afford. We all need to make this same covenant that Job made to keep us from seeing and thinking about the things that we know are not part of God’s perfect will for our lives.


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Where Shall Wisdom Be Found

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Today’s Reading – Job 27 – 29 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – 2 Thessalonians 1 – 3; Psalms 56 – 60; Proverbs 12)

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

Read the “0612 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?” (Job 28:12)

“And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” (Job 28:28)

In today’s reading we have seen a continuation of what we have been reading for the past several days. Job is debating with his three friends regarding his calamity: they are claiming that Job is responsible; and Job is declaring his innocence. However, in the middle of this discussion is a passage dealing with wisdom. At first glance i wondered why God would put this teaching right in the middle of the discourse between Job and his friends regarding Job’s suffering; but then I remembered a similar teaching from the New Testament regarding trials and testing from the epistle penned by James. Remember that James admonished us to “count it all joy” in the trials; but then he added some instruction regarding wisdom:

“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)

Apparently there is an association between enduring trials and wisdom. God doesn’t hold back wisdom to those who fear him and depart from evil. Job had the wisdom of God. We know this to be true because later on when God enters into the discussion He states that Job spoke of Him the thing that is right.

If you are going through a time of testing, don’t seek the world and its counselors for wisdom: go to God. If you fear Him and are seeking to do that which is right, God will give you the wisdom that you need to see your way through the trial. In order for you to get to the other side you will need God’s wisdom, coupled with God’s grace. It is apparent that Job had both of these attributes.

You can find wisdom in God’s Word. The Bible is full of the wisdom of God that will help you when you need it. You can also find wisdom from godly counselors who will take Biblical principles and help you to apply them to your situation.


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Gold

Gold

Today’s Reading – Job 22 – 26 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – 1 Thessalonians 1 – 5; Psalms 51 – 55; Proverbs 11)

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

Read the “0611 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” – (Job 23:10)

“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” – (1 Peter 1:6-7)

There are several great, golden nuggets of truth in the Book of Job, and many of them are in today’s passage. I thought this morning about the statement made by Job in chapter 23, and verse 10. Job is going through the worst trial in his life. I think it would be safe to say that no other man in history was put to the test like Job. Many people have suffered the loss of health, and many others have endured the death of a child, and still more have gone through tough financial situations; but who can say that they have had to face the loss of everything they owned, and all of the children they loved, and then had to suffer through perhaps the most painful health condition known to man, all within the same time frame. Job could certainly stand alongside any man on earth, and win the “pity party” comparison. Yet, Job knew that when it was all over,that God would bring him through to the other side of the trial; and he also knew that the trial would make him a better man.

All men will endure the hardships of trials, but to experience suffering for no apparent reason can be especially difficult. Job did nothing to deserve the treatment that he was receiving at the hand of Satan, but God would use Job’s suffering to accomplish a few wonderful things. First, He would prove to Satan that there are some men who will retain their integrity, even under the most difficult of circumstances. Second, though Job was a good man, even a great man when compared among men, this trial would make him a still better man. I believe Job had a better understanding of the greatness of his Creator, and also a better grasp of his own frail humanity as a result of this ordeal. But, perhaps the greatest thing that God would reveal to us through Job’s trial, is that we can trust God. He won’t allow us to go through something that is greater than our ability to glorify Him through. He loves us. He doesn’t punish, but He does correct us at times through the trials and sufferings of life. Sometimes the trials are a direct result of sin, but they are often just God’s way of bringing us to the next level of faith. And if we will allow God to have His way in our lives, we too can come forth as gold; better servants, and better sons: more equipped to represent Him as the ambassadors of His glorious gospel.


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The Words of My Mouth

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Today’s Reading – Job 19 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Colossians 1 – 4; Psalms 46 – 50; Proverbs 10)

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

Read the “0610 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Then Job answered and said, How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? (Job 19:1 & 2)

You didn’t have to read long this morning to find a great truth from today’s passage. Job is in the middle of the discourse with his three ‘friends’ who are accusing him of all kinds of wickedness; adding sorrow on top of sorrows. He is already as low as he can go, but these guys continue to beat him and kick him when he is down; and their weapons are their tongues.

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. … But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:6, 8 )

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)

The Bible has so much to say about the deadly nature of the tongue. Why are we so quick to run our mouths when God tells us very plainly that we are to be slow to speak. We all could avoid much of our problems with our mouth by simply not saying anything unless it is absolutely necessary, or unless we are sure we are saying something that is edifying. If we have to speak at all maybe it would be best if we paused and prayed about what would be the best thing to say.

Job’s friends were not helping him at all; they were making him worse. Remember, the purpose for their visit was to ‘comfort’ him. Maybe they should have just listened to him; even let him vent a little. Maybe, I should try the same thing. As a pastor I need to learn to listen more; pray before speaking; and, as much as possible, tell people what God said instead of what I think.

Lord, help me not to kill or maim any more people with my tongue.


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Thoughts About Job from Phil Erickson Jr.

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Today’s Reading – Job 15 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Philippians 1 – 4; Psalms 41 – 45; Proverbs 9)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51

Read the “0609 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.” (Job 16:2)

The story of Job in the Bible has always fascinated me. I have always loved hearing messages preached about his life. For those of you who attend our church, the “Hast thou retained thine integrity?” message is one of the all-time greats. To think that a man could go from being ”the greatest of all the men of the east” as the Bible calls him, to having nothing in just a matter of hours, and still praise God through all of it just boggles my mind. I have often wondered what it was that made Job such a “perfect and upright” man. Was it the fact that he gave his tithes and offerings faithfully? Maybe. Was it the fact that he cared so much about his family and their spiritual condition? Could be. Or maybe did God just like him better than anyone else at the time? God is not a respecter of persons, but who knows? Maybe He did favor him. He obviously blessed him with a lot. But as I read these few chapters a thought jumped out at me. Job is right smack in the middle of the absolute worst time in his life, and here come his ”friends.” They go on and on about why they think this is all happening to Job. And right in the middle of it, I noticed verses 19-20 of chapter 16. And, I may be wrong, but I think these couple verses may be the secret to Job’s “success” as a man of God. The verses say – “And now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high. My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.” Job cared about what God thought, and ONLY about what God thought. He said ‘my witness is in heaven’ , and ‘ my record is on high.’ He knew that God knew everything that was going on. He knew that God knew his heart and his intentions with everything he did in his life. He knew that God knew that his tithes and offerings, his service to God, and his love for his family was out of his love and devotion to God. It had nothing to do with ANYONE else. So, when the chips were down, and everything went down the drain, he didn’t go running to his friends or anyone else. He went to God. He brought his tears to God. He knew that when things were good, it was God. When things were bad, it was God. And he praised God through it all.

As Christians we need to see that everything that happens to us, good or bad, comes from the Lord. He loves us more than we can ever know. He has a plan for our lives, and we need to trust Him and Him alone. When the chips are down, our friends won’t always be there. Sometimes even our family won’t be there. But God is always there. He never turns His back on us…who are we to turn our backs on Him?


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Life Happens – The Saturday Morning Post

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

(Second Milers Read – Ephesians 4 – 6; Psalms 36 – 40; Proverbs 8)

Read the “0608 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.” (Job 13:15-16)

Good morning. Job said he would maintain his own ways before God. Job was going to trust God. Even if death came, Job was determined to worship and walk with the Lord as he had been doing. Job knew that he was doing right. He knew God would be his salvation, and a hypocrite shall not come before the Lord. Job even had this testimony before God…

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” (Job 1:6-8)

But life happens…

“And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.” (Job 1:12)

“And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” (Job 2:3-7)

Like I said – Life happens. But sometimes we bring it on ourselves. Jonah was running from God…

“Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows. Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:14-17)

“Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.” (Jonah 2:1-2)

“And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” (Jonah 2:10)

1) Life happens to direct us back into God’s will.

Peter was walking on water, obeying the Lord’s command to come to Him…

“And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31)

2) Life happens to get our focus back on God.

Peter was in prison. King Herod was going to have him put to death…

“Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.” (Acts 12:1-11)

3) Life happens so that God can show Himself mighty, that He can answer prayers,and supply your every need.

Life happens to all of us. If something happens to you, it may not be because you did something wrong, but God is trying to get your attention and draw you closer to Him.

Peace.


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The Daysman

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Today’s Reading –  Job 8 – 11 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Ephesians 1 – 3; Psalms 31 – 35; Proverbs 7)

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

Read the “0607 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.” – (Job 9:32-33)

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” – (1 Timothy 2:5)

The word “daysman” in verse 33 of chapter 9 literally means a mediator. Job is lamenting because there is no one to bridge the gap between the righteous and holy God, and a sinner like himself. He already stated in verse 20 that he could not justify himself. God became man in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and as the God-man he came to justify sinners like Job, and you and me also. He was the go-between, the mediator, the one who came between God and men, so that men could come into the presence of an holy God.

Consider some of these verses regarding what Christ accomplished for us when He came to earth as a man and died for our sins:

“Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;” – (Matthew 27:50-51)

The veil in the temple separated men from God; but through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus, the veil was removed. Notice that the veil was torn from the top to the bottom, signifying that it was God that removed the veil that once kept man from Him.

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Jesus was, and is, fully God, yet also fully man. He understands what it is like to be tempted, because he experienced it; yet without sin. He, as our great high priest, went before us and opened up a door for us to now boldly enter into the presence of God. We can now enter into God’s presence through “the Door”; through “the Way”; through Christ.

There has always been a “daysman”, even in Job’s time; but Job may not have understood it at the time. Praise God, however, we definitely have one that we can know today!


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Encouragement or Discouragement?

Today’s Reading – Job 5 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

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

Read the 0606 Evening and Morning post by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage –The Chastening of the Almighty

“Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?” (Job 6:24-25)

In our passage this morning we read the conversation betweeen Job and his friends. In chapter 5, we read the continuation of what was said by Eliphaz to Job, and in chapters 6 – 7, we see Job’s reply. These friends of Job came to comfort him because of the anguish that he was experiencing. I believe that they were sincere in what they were trying to do because they waited for a full week with Job without saying anything. I think that they really wanted to help him, but I am also sure that they did not understand what Job was going through, nor did the have a clu as to why this was happening to him. They assumed that Job was receiving punishment for something that he had done. Our friends and family members oftentimes do not know how to react when we are going through the dark days. When you get down to it, it is really impossible for people outside of our situation to completely identify or understand what we are going through.  Sometimes when people try to help, they can often cause more trouble for us with the things that they say.  I guess we often ask for the added problems because we so desire to have the fellowship of people around us, especially when we are hurting.

My advice to you that are hurting right now is to try to understand the lack of understanding on the part of your “encouragers”. Try to appreciate their motivation to help you, but don’t be too frustrated by the help itself.  Understand also that you may be the one who is not seeing things clearly and the people who are trying to help you might just be right about what they are saying, though you may not want to hear it.

My advice to you who would try to encourage those that are hurting is that you would be slow to judge, and slow to speak.  Give a listening ear and let them vent a little; let them cry on your shoulder for a while.  There will eventually come a time when they will need to move forward but give them a little space to see what God is doing their lives. Remember, someday it will be you that is going through the valley and you will be glad that there are others around you who are patient and understanding with you.

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11)


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The Road May Be Long

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Today’s Reading – Job 1 – 4 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Galatians 1 – 3; Psalms 21 – 25; Proverbs 5)

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

Read the “0605 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” – (Job 2:13)

I have read these first four chapters from Job many times and I have preached several messages from them, but I noticed something new to me today that I thought was worth developing. But, first let me review the story. In chapter one Job lost all of his children, and nearly everything that he possessed; yet, his response was worship for God (see vs. 20 – 22). In chapter two, Satan is permitted to destroy Job’s health. I do not know much about what Job experienced, but I would imagine that Satan chose the most painful malady possible in order to make him break. Yet, Job maintained his integrity, even when his wife turned against him. By the way, I used to beat up Job’s wife for her weakness, but now I have some compassion for her. After all, she did lose all of her children and her possessions. This must have been a very difficult time for her as well. Then Job’s friends arrive. Again, I used to be pretty rough on Job’s friends, but they stayed with him for seven days without saying a word. I believe they truly wanted to help him.

It is not until we get to chapter three that we see Job begin to break down. He begins to complain that he wished that he had never been born at all. Satan couldn’t get him to break with the loss of his children and possessions, and he couldn’t get him to yield initially when Job lost his health. However, after enough time went by, Job began to crack. Time was the element used by Satan to wear Job away. Then, once he began to break, Job’s friends also piled up on him. They shouldn’t have said anything, but I think like most well-meaning people, they didn’t have a clue.

I have seen this happen in people’s lives today. When tragedy comes their way, oftentimes their first reaction is positive, but after a little time, bitterness begins to set in, and soon their faith begins to wane. Had Job’s trial ended the day after it started, he would have been fine, but time took its toll and slowly caused him to lose all hope.

I don’t know exactly what can be done in order to keep encouraged during trials like this, but I think understanding that trials are seldom short-term can be a help in itself. In other words, we need to realize that when we go into the valley, we need to be prepared to be there for quite a while. I have experienced long seasons in the valley, and I am sure there will be some more of them in my future. I need to understand that God may not be finished working in, and or, through me. I need to just trust Him. He can do what ever He wants. I need to remember that He knows what He is doing, even if I cannot see it. God may never remove a trial, but that is His decision. We need to be prepared to endure until the Lord removes the trial, or takes us home. It may be a very long road.


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Sometimes We Reap More Than We Sow

Today’s Reading – Esther 6 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – 2 Corinthians 9 – 13, Psalms 16 – 20; Proverbs 4)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25

Read the “0604 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them.” – (Esther 9:5 )

“But the other Jews that were in the king’s provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey,” – (Esther 9:16)

“So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.” – (Esther 7:10)

In today’s reading we read about the destruction of Haman, his family, and all others who would try to hurt the people of God. Remember, in the previous chapters we read how that Haman had a carefully devised plan to have all of the Jews in the Kingdom of Persia put to death. He even built a special gallows to have Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, displayed on. His plan ended up destroying only him and his kind; and he ended up being hung on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. He not only got back what he gave to others, he got back far more than he gave. The lost world will reap far more in this life, and especially in eternity, what they have sown.

Christians today need to remember that the principle of sowing and reaping still exists. Thank the Lord as God’s children, because of His wonderful grace, we won’t reap nearly the amount of judgment as compared to the sin that we have sown; but we will reap some in this life. However, we can also reap back a lot of good if we sow it. As the people of God today, we should be concerned with sowing love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness to the people around us. I am sure that there will be times when we will want to have those things come back to us. And the beutiful thing is that the Christian will reap much more in eternity what he has sown in this life. The Bible indicates that the rewards in heaven, and to some degree, even in this life, are multiplied exceedingly.


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Haman And His Antisemitism


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

(Second Milers Read – 2 Corinthians 5 – 8; Psalms 11 – 15; Proverbs 3)

Read the “0603 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him. And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence. Then the king’s servants, which were in the king’s gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king’s commandment? Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew. And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.” (Esther 3:1-6)

“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)

Good morning. You know the verse? The one in Proverbs…

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

Well Haman’s spirit was lifted up when king Ahasuerus promoted him to a position above all the princes that were with him. His pride was hurt, though, when a Jew named Mordecai refused to bow down, worshiping him. This was the start of Haman’s hatred of all the Jews. Haman gets the king to order the extermination of all the Jews. Not only this, but Haman built a gallows just for Mordecai to hang from. In chapter 7 we find that the tables have turned. God is keeping His promise of cursing those who cuse the Jews, and Haman is put to death on his own gallows. How is your feeling toward the Jews. You can be a blessing and receive a blessing, or you could curse, and be cursed yourself. Just remember, if you are a Christian, you have been grafted in…

“For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.” (Romans 11:15-21)

And then there was Balak, king of the Moabites. Israel had come up from Egypt, and the Moabites feared them. Balak sent messengers to enlist the help of a prophet named Balaam. Balak wanted Balaam to curse Israel. And God told him not to go. He went anyway, and God tried to stop him. God finally let Balaam go to Balak, but He would not allow Balaam to curse Israel, only bless them. Balaam’s story starts in Numbers 22. Balaam descided to stick around. God tried to keep him from going, but we all have a free will, and in Numbers chapter 31…

“And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand of every tribe, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the holy instruments, and the trumpets to blow in his hand. And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males. And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.” (Numbers 31:6-8)

So just nine chapters after going to Moab, Balaam is killed along with five Midianite kings.

So how should we treat the Jews? Remeber that they were chosen by God to be His bride, just as the church is the bride of Christ. They believe in and are trying to serve the same God that we are. The only thing we should do is to tell them who the Messiah is. Show them Christ. Help them to understand that God provided their salvation by dying on the cross for us. Pray for them and the peace of Jerusalem.

Peace.


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Obsession

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

(Second Milers Read – 2 Corinthians 5 – 8; Psalms 11 – 15; Proverbs 3)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19

Read the “0603 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “It’s a God Thing

“Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” (Esther 5:13)

My attention this morning is turned toward Haman, a wicked lost man that was highest ranking prince in the administration of King Ahasuerus of Persia. This man had a prestigious position, second only to the king. According to the Book of Esther he had a family and friends. No doubt, he had wealth. It could easily be said that this man had all that any man could ask for. He was a rising star in the kingdom. Yet, none of that mattered to him, because he was consumed with hatred toward the Jewish people in general, and specifically toward Mordecai. All of the things that should have brought joy and happiness to this man were of no avail, because all that Haman could think about was Mordecai. He was obsessed, consumed with hatred and bitterness toward another human being. Stupid!

King Saul also comes to mind as another insecure man consumed with hatred and jealousy. Of course, his problem was with David, a young man who had done nothing but faithfully serve his king. Saul’s obsession with David became so acute, he spent all of Israel’s resources trying to find David to put him to death. What a shame!

Unfortunately, this type of situation is very prevalent among believers today. I have observed individuals who were also consumed with jealousy or bitterness toward another. Their entire life seemed to revolve around the object of their obsession. Their thoughts were filled with the person that they were bitter towards, and every conversation they had would eventually turn into a gossip session regarding their enemy. All of this served to rob them of the happiness that they should have been enjoying in an abundant life.

Christian, is there someone you just can’t stop thinking about (in a bad way)? Is there a person out there in the world that has become the object of your obsession? The bitterness that is growing inside of you towards that person will eventually destroy you, and make others around you miserable as well. Get a life! Release this obsession from the prison of your heart. Let them go. Forget about them. Don’t let anyone steal the joy that could be yours. It’s just not worth it. If you continue on in your obsession, you will surely end up being destroyed on the gallows that you intended to use on them.


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Spring Cleaning

 

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Today’s Reading – Nehemiah 11 – 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – 2 Corinthians 1 – 4; Psalms 6 – 10; Proverbs 2)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

Read the “0602 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense.” – (Nehemiah 13:9)

In Nehemiah 13, I noticed that there were four things that had crept back into the life of the people of Israel that had to be cleaned out:

1 In vs. 4 – 9 we see that Eliashib the priest had actually emptied a chamber in the temple of God, and had prepared it for Tobiah to stay in. Tobiah had been the one who had opposed Nehemiah and the people of God as they rebuilded the city of Jerusalem. He had to go. Nehemiah gave him the boot.

2 In vs. 10 – 13 we learn that the Levites had to go back to the fields to work because the people of God were not supporting them through their tithes and offerings. Nehemiah corrected this problem as well.

3 In vs. 15 – 22 we see that God’s people were violating the Sabbath by working, and by trading with outsiders. God wanted the Sabbath Day to be kept holy, and set apart from the normal routines of the week. Nehemiah commanded that the gates of the city be closed on the Sabath so that the merchants could not enter in to do their business.

4 Finally we see that the Jews began to inter-marry with the heathen people around them. It got to be so bad that some of the children did not even speak the Hebrew language, but instead conversed in the language of the land where the mother came from. Nehemiah had a fit about this, and made the people promise to separate from people who were not Jews. He reminded them of how even King Solomon was caused to sin because of his marriages to non-Jewish women. God wants his people to marry within the household of faith.

It is amazing how quickly all of these abuses crept back into the lives of the people of God. Every once in a while we need to have an old-fashioned house cleaning to remove all of the junk that creeps into our lives as well. Why not take a spiritual inventory of your own life. Is there anything in your home, or in your life that God would want cleaned out? Just a thought.


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All The People Wept – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Reading – Nehemiah 8 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – 1 Corinthians 13 – 16; Psalms 1 – 5; Proverbs 1)

Read the “0601 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.” (Nehemiah 8:1-9)

Good morning. How does reading the Bible affect you… personally? The children of Israel had wondered away from God. When hearing the Word of God, they all wept. Was that weeping out of the joy of hearing God’s Word again? Was that weeping out of conviction of sin. It was probably both. They could feel clean again by being obedient to God’s Word. They received the benefits from hearing God’s Word. The joy of being able to walk with God again: to know He hasn’t forsaken you.

Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant: And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them. But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments, And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not. Yea, when they had made them a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations; Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go. Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst. Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not.” (Nehemiah 9:13-21)

It still amazes me that even though I did not see God’s hand at the time, I can look back and see His work in my life. It may have been the same way with the Jews here as the heard and were taught God’s Word.

Their Faith Increased

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

Their Sinning Decreased

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11)

“And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.” (Nehemiah 8:12)

Their Love For God’s Word Increased

“DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works. My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word. Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame. I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.” (Psalm 119:25-32)

Their Joy Was Great

“And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps.” (Nehemiah 12:27)

“Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.” (Nehemiah 12:43)

Peace!


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I Cannot Come Down

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

(Second Milers Read – 1 Corinthians 9 – 12; Psalms 146 – 150; Proverbs 31)

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

Read the “0531 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” – (Nehemiah 6:2 – 3)

In our passage today we see Nehemiah busy doing what the Lord had called him to do: rebuilding the wall of the city of Jerusalem. He had a job to do, and he was intent on completing it. Now there were also people in the area that were intent on stopping Nehemiah from fulfilling the will of God, but Nehemiah did not let them distract him from completing his work. I love what Nehemiah said: “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” The work Nehemiah was doing was certainly great, because it was God that had asked him to do it.

I have a great work to do for the Lord as well, and so do you. God has something to do for all of us who are His children. We must not get distracted from completing the work that God has given us. I have observed through the years that distractions can come from a variety of sources. The wicked one is famous for distracting people away from the will of God. This was the case with Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshom from our text. They were wicked men who did not have Nehemiah’s best interests in mind. They were working against the will of God, but notice how they tried to disguise themselves as God’s servants and as Nehemiah’s friends. As God’s children we need to learn to be discerning about the true motivations of the people around us as they attempt to pull us away from the primary tasks that God has given us.

Another type of distraction comes from good people who often invite us to do “good things”; but even these good things become evil if they take us away from the best things. I am slowly learning how to graciously turn down many “good” invitations from caring people. I simply do not have enough time and energy to do all of the things that I might like to do, especially as they pull me away from the primary areas of my responsibility. As a pastor, I get invited to many birthday’s, picnics, graduations, dinners, weddings, conferences, barbecues, etc. I love to be with God’s people, but I simply cannot go to them all.

A third distraction is the distraction God brings your way. There are times that God will interrupt the daily routine in life in order for you to learn something, or maybe in order for you to accomplish something special for Him. Again, we must be very careful to discern whether these distractions are indeed from God. A few years ago, because of the tight budget at the church I had to go back to a secular job for a few months, which required me to work overnight 6 nights per week. This job was certainly a hindrance that kept me from doing all that I might have wanted to do in the ministry; but I am convinced that God had lead me down that path, at least temporarily. My primary ministry is my family, and God had provided this job as a means for my family to be taken care of while still allowing me to serve as the pastor. However, because of this constraint on my time, I was very limited to what I could do. My life consisted basically of working, sleeping, prayer, Bible reading, studying and preparing for messages, and a little soul winning. That is all that I could do during those months. I  had to learn to say no to many other things so that I could do those main things. My focus was still on serving God, but I had to take some time away from that service in order to help the church financially, and in order to put food on my family’s table. God taught me much in the short time that I had been working the outside job, and He even used me to be a light to a very dark workplace. I thank the Lord that my time at the supermarket was short, and that He has turned our church’s financial situation around, but I am convinced that God allowed that period in my life for a reason.

The bottom line of today’s devotion is this: don’t allow distractions to pull you away from the primary things that God wants you to do, unless, of course, it is God who is doing the distracting.


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A Mind to Work

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

(Second Milers Read – 1 Corinthians 5 – 8; Psalms 141 – 145; Proverbs 30)

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

Read the “0530 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “See the Need and Take the Lead

“So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.” (Nehemiah 4:6)

My previous posts from this passage have always focused on Nehemiah as he led the people of God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, but this morning I would like to consider the people themselves, as they sacrificed and labored for the Lord. Our text verse says that the people had “a mind to work”, which means that they were willing to put all of the necessary effort and skill into the reconstruction of the walls around the city of Jerusalem. Nehemiah was merely one man, and there is no way that he could accomplish a task of this magnitude without the help of many men, women, and children that all did their part to get the job done.

In my ministry, there have been a number of times when the people of God were so inspired by a need that they all got on board to help meet it. Those were certainly sweet times. It is wonderful to see the people of the church all get together to accomplish something for the Lord. However, most of the time, the work of the ministry is done by a few people who have to do more than their share of the labor. You may have heard it said that twenty percent of the people do eighty percent of the work. I have found that to be true more often than not. It is a shame that we can’t get more of the people of God involved in the work of the ministry. Imagine with me what it would be like if we had every member of the church out for soul winning; and how about if we had more people than we could use to do all of the maintenance on the building and grounds. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Think about what could be done if we had people waiting for the opportunity to teach a Sunday School class, work a bus route, or disciple a new convert.  I believe that there would be several benefits to this, but two stand out. First, the people that are sacrificing and participating would get so much more out of the Christian life. The happiest people are the ones who get involved in serving others. Secondly, I believe that we could do so much more for the cause of Christ. More people would be saved, and more lives would be changed for the glory of God.

I want to challenge every saint of the Lord that is reading this article today. Have a mind to work. Find something to do in your local church, and give it all you’ve got. Get busy!


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Here We Go Again

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Today’s Reading – Ezra 8 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – 1 Corinthians 1 – 4; Psalm 136 – 140; Proverbs 29)

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

Read the “0529 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this passage – “I Am Ashamed and Blush

“And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.” – (Ezra 9:13-15)

In our Scripture passage in the Book of Ezra today, we see the people of God returning to Jerusalem from the bondage of captivity. The reason that they were taken into captivity in the first place is because they had forsaken the Lord by serving other gods, and by ignoring the principles contained in the Law. However, God in His mercy, did not forsake them, and gave them a new opportunity to re-establish themselves in the land of Israel. One of the leaders of the returning remnant was Ezra, the man who penned this book. He was a priest, and a very good man, and he was very concerned that the people would repeat their errors of the past. Notice what Ezra did before making the trip back to Jerusalem:

“Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.” – (Ezra 8:21)

This man, and many others of the people of Israel, wanted to please God, and they desperately desired God’s blessing on this renewed nation.

However, when we get to chapter nine we discover that some of the people had begun to make some serious errors in judgment again, as their fathers did before they went captivity. Notice the first two verses of chapter nine:

“Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.” – (Ezra 9:1-2)

Some of the leaders of the people had taken the first step toward the idolatry that their ancestors were guilty of by marrying some of the non-Jewish women that dwelt in the land. God knew that if these men married these women, soon they would be worshipping the gods of the women, and tolerating some of the ungodly practices of the culture that the women came from. God demanded that His people live separately from the people of the land. God demands the same from us today. Consider the following New Testament verses:

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

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

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” – (1 John 2:15)

There are so many more verses that we can look at, yet the principle of separation is pretty much an ignored doctrine to many of our New Testament churches. There has never been a more worldly group of believers since the time of Christ. Someone once said that the church follows the world by about ten years, or so. I am not sure if that is true or not, but I do know that there is not a whole lot of difference between the lifestyles of the unbelievers today and the lifestyles of Christians. This passage of Scripture from Ezra is a great picture of what is happening today. The people of Israel were placed in captivity and bondage because of their sin, but were then given a second chance; yet they chose to do the same things that got them into trouble in the first place. We who are saved have also been delivered from the bondage of sin, yet we keep choosing to go back to the sinful things and worldly lifestyles that we were delivered from. Shame on us!

Well, what should we do? It would probably be a good idea to do what Ezra did. A careful reading of chapter nine will reveal that Ezra first repented on behalf of the people when he realized the problem. He then went to God, and poured out his heart to Him; and then he went to the people, and poured out his heart to them. The good news is that the people repented too, and got right with the Lord before He would have to send judgment again. I hope that we will do the same thing.


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God Has His Eye On You

God Has His Eye On You

Today’s Reading – Ezra 3 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers Read – Romans 13 – 16; Psalms 131 – 135; Proverbs 28)

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

Read the “0528 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read previous posts from today’s passage – “Leave Them Alone” and “Stop Living in the Past

But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius: and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter.” (Ezra 5:5)

“Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem: And hath extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counsellors, and before all the king’s mighty princes. And I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.” (Ezra 7:27-28)

The context of these chapters from the Book of Ezra involve the period when the children of Israel were released from captivity in the Land of Babylon. In 586 BC, King Nebuchadnezzar had completed his destruction and plunder of the City of Jerusalem, and had take most of the citizens into captivity. After many years in Babylon, and later Persia, a good and godly king named Cyrus gave certain of the captives permission to return to the Land of Israel and begin to rebuild it and the Temple of God within it. Years had passed while the construction dragged on, and finally, during the reign of King Artaxerxes, some opposition came along and actually caused the work of the Temple to cease. This is all laid out very  clearly in the passage, and I am leaving out large portions of the story. However, some more years pass and the prophet Haggai stirs up the people to get back to work, and this time, God prevents the enemies of His people from causing the construction to stop, and the people of God were able to complete the project.

The two phrases that caught my attention in the middle of this drama are found in Ezra 5:5, and Ezra 7:28. In those verses it states that God’s eye was upon the elders of Judah, and God’s hand was on Ezra specifically. I have listed below some verses that tell us about the eye (or eyes) of the Lord. It discomforting to know that God is watching over us, and He is ready, willing, and able to help us as we fulfill His will for our lives. Carefully consider the following verses. God has got His eye on you.

“Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;” (Psalms 33:18)

“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.” (2 Chronicles 16:9a)

“The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” (Psalms 34:15)

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” (1 Peter 3:12)


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Help Wanted

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

(Second Milers Read – Romans 9 – 12; Psalms 126 – 130; Proverbs 27)

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

Read the “0527 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Read a previous post from this morning’s passage – “A Fresh Start

Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.  Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.   (Ezra 1:2-3)

After Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem, God commanded Cyrus, king of Persia, to rebuild the Temple.  Everyone did their part.  Some helped with the actual rebuilding and others gave toward the project.

Today, we also need everyone to support the building of churches.  Millions of Americans are in the greatest struggles of their lives.  Financially we are facing rising energy costs, rising unemployment, fears of a national recession – or even a depression. The dramatic stock market losses have taken huge amounts out of retirement accounts.  This is our new way of life: The “Lean Times.”

“Lean times” also may apply to some other areas of life. Relationships can be hard times, grief can leave a person in emotional ruins, and disease can attack. Faith challenged. If you face “lean times,” you’ll need a good foundation Jesus Christ.

“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;” (Ephesians 2:20)

King Cyrus would not be impressed with our version of hard times.  He would tell us, you can choose either defeat, or a victory. His was victory.

Let’s band together and continue the work so the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be heard around the world.

Thank You

1 John 5:13

 

 


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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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Train Up A Child – The Saturday Morning Post

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)

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

“Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem: But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.” (2Chronicles 33:1-2)

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Good morning. Manasseh was only a child when he became king, but he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD. It made me wonder if he saw what his father went through. Manasseh was born when his father was 3 years into the last 15 years of his life. Did Manasseh witness this…

“In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign. But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.” (2Chronicles 32:24-26)

“Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his goodness, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death. And Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.” (2Chronicles 32:32-33)

Did he witness what his father went through and see his dad humble himself before the LORD? Obviously it did not sink into his young mind. He went bad. Manasseh restored the groves that his father cut down, and set up alters to Baal…

“And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.” 2Chronicles 33:6)

But God knows how to get his children’s attention, and turn them from the wrong direction they are going…

“So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel. And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken. Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. 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.” (2Chronicles 33:9-13)

“And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city. And he repaired the altar of the LORD, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel. Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the LORD their God only. Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel. His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and all his sin, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers. So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.” (2Chronicles 33:15-20)

Yes, Manasseh’s son, Amon: like father, like son…

“Amon was two and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned two years in Jerusalem. But he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them; And humbled not himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more. And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house.” (2chronicles 33:21-24)

It would appear that both Manasseh and Amon raised with very little discipline. Proverbs 29:15 & 17 tell us…

“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (Proverbs 29:15)

“Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” (Proverbs 29:17)

Notice, when God chastised Manasseh, he turned to God for forgiveness. Amon, on the other hand, would not listen to God, and was killed by his own servants. Matthew Henry two clear teachings from Proverbs 29 for parents to consider…

“Parents, in educating their children, must consider, 1. The benefit of due correction. They must not only tell their children what is good and evil, but they must chide them, and correct them too, if need be, when they either neglect that which is good or do that which is evil. If a reproof will serve without the rod, it is well, but the rod must never be used without a rational and grave reproof; and then, though it may be a present uneasiness both to the father and to the child, yet it will give wisdom. Vexatio dat intellectumVexation sharpens the intellect. The child will take warning, and so will get wisdom. 2. The mischief of undue indulgence: A child that is not restrained or reproved, but is left to himself, as Adonijah was, to follow his own inclinations, may do well if he will, but, if he take to ill courses, nobody will hinder him; it is a thousand to one but he proves a disgrace to his family, and brings his mother, who fondled him and humoured him in his licentiousness, to shame, to poverty, to reproach, and perhaps will himself be abusive to her and give her ill language.” – Matthew Henry.

Let me expand a little on #2 here. I know of a family where the wife was a heavy drinker. They had a son. Every time the son would do something bad, she would laugh as if to say how cute. The son grew, and had to be baled out of jail several times for beating his girlfriends. You can see the same results today of years of not disciplining children. They run around selling drugs and shooting each other without a care to what the law says.

Train up a child in the way he should go. Teach him right from wrong. Help him to understand with the rod of correction that sin has a price.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:1-4)

Peace.


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Living for the Lord – A Formula for Success

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Plenty More Where That Came From

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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