Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Mother's Testimony

1 Chronicles 19-23

After Jehoshaphat was considered a decent king, but later in his life he did join unto them that did wickedly. He dies and his son Jehoram becomes king. I guess, fearing his brethren would try to dethrone him, he "slew them" all. Talk about sincere greed and insecurity! Because of his wicked ways, God promises that a great plague would smite his people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods. The end of his life is horrible...

21:20 And it came to pass, that in process of time, after the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness: so he died of sore diseases. and his people made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers.

Doesn't sound like a pleasant way to die if you ask me! Ahaziah now becomes king. I see a sad testament of his mother.

22:3 He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly.

What a horrible mother! Far different from what the Bible instructs to "train them up in the nuture and admonish of the Lord". It wasn't that she just allowed him to do wickedly, but she taught him to do so. Sadly, I see this in my generation. Mothers that train their kids to drink, to lie, to commit fornication. Abba, I know my job as even a step-mom is important. Help my actions, my words to train to do good and not evil.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Not for Sale

1 Kings 21

Naboth's Vineyard...King Ahab comes to Naboth demanding that he sell his vineyard to him or be willing to trade it for another one better. Naboth refuses because it's a vineyard that was passed down from his family. Ahab mopes like a jealous spoiled child at home to his wife, Jezebel. Jezebel arranges to have Naboth stoned and killed so Ahab can have the vineyard. Because of this Elijah comes to Ahab with a message from God; here's the conversation:

21:20-23 And Ahab said unto Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found theee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD. Behold I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel...and of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel."

I love that..."O mine enemy"...that shows that Elijah wasn't afraid to tell the truth to anyone, even the king.

As I read this story, I am reminded of a sermon from Bro. Hyles. I call recall him chanting "You can't have it; my father gave it to me! You can't have it! My father gave it to me!" His sermon related to how there are those who are trying to take our Bible, the King James Version, away from us. Trying to give us a "better" version. But just as Naboth was determined not to sell out; so should we have the same stance toward our precious KJV.
Of course, I can relate this to anything that is not for sale---my LORD, my values, my morals, my principles, my family, etc. Though Naboth died for his stance, he went out a hero in my eyes. He believed and stood for something. Help me to do the same, Abba.

After Elijah's declaration, we find Ahab actually humbled himself and God promises...

21:29 Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.
This reminds me, God, of how You are no respector of persons. All you require after we sin or even do evil in this case is that we humble ourselves. You could have refused Ahab humilty seeing what a wicked king he was, but you still extended the same mercy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thyself Hast Decided It

1 Kings 20

Benhadad, king of Syria, has come up against Ahab, king of Israel. He take the best of what Ahab has---silver, gold, wives and children. Then Benhadad comes back and demands that he be allowed to come in and take whatever else he wants. Ahab refuses that and a war ensues. A prophet tells Ahab that he will deliver them into his hand "and thou shalt know that I am the LORD." They do defeat the army, but not Benhadad. He escapes and a year later Benhadad tries to defeat Israel again. Again Israel wins, but Benhadad escapes and hides.
An interesting turn to the story...the servant's of Benhadad say to him

20:31 "And his servants said unto him, Behold, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are mericul kings: let us, I pray the, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save thy life."

As expected, Ahab does extends mercy to Benhadad and makes a covenant with him and sends him away.
In the next verse it describes a son of the prophets asking neighbors to smite him "in the word of the Lord". One disobeys, and a lion kills him for not obeying God's word. Another obeys and smites him to wound him. This wounded prophet disguised waits for king Ahab and tells him a story about how he was commanded to keep a man and not let him go missing and if he did his life would be required for his. The prophet explains that he was busy here and there, and the man went missing. Ahab responds,

20:40 " so shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it."

Of course this was all a story to symbolize what Ahab had done. The prophet says..

20:42 And he said unto him, Thus said the LORD, because thous hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.

Observations from this story..
1. God was still willing to fight for Israel, in fact He was still wanting to show Himself to King Ahab although he was a wicked king.
2. Being merciful isn't admirable if it requires me being disobedient.
3. Allowing a small percentage of a battle unwon sometimes causes the whole war to be lost. Abba, what one little area in my life do I keep "letting go out of my hand" that could lead to my destruction? It's often those "pesky" little sins that lead to major destruction later. Help me, as that one song says to "Nip it in the bud." I especially pray for this in my marriage. I know little seeds of bitterness, dishonesty, unfaithfulness can lead to great destruction. Help me to be careful of the relationships/ conversations I have with other men. Help me to forgive quickly and love often. Those words Ahab said really describe it when I choose not to obey completely "so thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What If?

1 Kings 15, 2 Chron 13-16

Asa is made king over Judah. He drives out the wickedness in his land and turns to the Lord (unlike his father did) He even had a wicked mother, in fact, he removes her from being queen because she built an idol. Asa seeks the Lord's help to deliver them from their enemies. The prophet Azariah tells Asa that God will indeed be with them because they have turned to Him. After hearing this, Asa makes a covenant with his nation to God...

15:12-13 And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; that whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

What if there was a convenant made like that in our nation? Yikes! "All their heart...all their soul"...Would I be one of those put to death? So much for half-hearted Christianity. These verses, though, give me hope for America. Judah was wicked! Sodomites were rapant; idolatry was overwhelming; the rulers were vile, but God used Asa as a king to bring revival to this nation. This same nation was later declaring..

15:15 And all Judah rejoiced a tthe oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with thier whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about.

What a strong stand! Asa's life sadly, doesn't end on the best note. Later Baasha, king of Israel comes up against Asa. Asa calls on the king of Syria to help him. Asa is later repuked by a seer, Hanani, saying..

16:7-9 And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the kind of Syria escaped out of thine hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therfore from henceforth thou shalt have wars."

In other words, "You depended on God before when the battle was tougher, and now you don't. So continue on with wars without God's help."

I wish Asa would have repented and changed his way after the rebuke but instead...

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

Abba, what in my life am I relying on others, instead of relying on You? Lord, I want to show Yourself strong on my behalf. Do a work in my life in our specific situation. I must admit, LORD, sometimes this is hard. We seek....well truthfully we just casually ask...You to help us, but then we go to others that we feel You've put in our path to help us. But LORD perhaps the problem is the truly SEEKING part. Help me to do a lot better at that. I love You, Abba.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Knowing What You Believe

1 Kings 13

Wow! How did I miss this story before? I guess I've skimmed over it before, but I never really paid attention to it, and I don't think I've heard a sermon from it.
A man of God is sent to Jeroboam to let him know that God said Josiah was going to be born and the priests of Jeroboam would be burnt upon the altars Jeroboam built. The man of God says it will be proven with a sign: that altar will be torn apart and ashes will pour from it. Jeroboam is outraged; he lays his hand on the altar basically cursing this man of God. The hand he put on the altar dries up, so that he can not pull in again to him. (Not sure what that exactly entails, but it does sound painfully and freaky.) Then the altar does tear apart and ashes come out. Obviously Jeroboam now sees that this was no joke. He begs the man of God to plead for his hand to be restored. God restores it, and Jeroboam asks the man of God to come home with him and "refresh thyself" and he will give him a reward.
I love this man's answer...

13:8-9"And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half of thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest."

He was confident in what God had told him and despite the bribe--he's wasn't going against that.
An old prophet that lives in Bethel hears about this whole incident and seeks the man of God out and extends the same invitation as Jeroboam did: to stay and eat in his house. Still confident in what God has said, the man of God refuses and tells him what the LORD said. The prophet replies:

13:18 "He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him."

Obviously believing him, the man of God follows him to his house. He eats and drinks and there the prophet rebukes him for not obeying the LORD and says "thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers." The man of God leaves and during his travels he is attacked by a lion and killed; his carcase left on the side of the road. The old prophet hears of the news and brings the prophet back and buries his body in his own sepulchre and asks his sons to bury him beside the man of God when he dies, too. The prophet realizes what the man of God said to Jeroboam is indeed true. And the Bible says...

13:33-34 "After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again the lowest of the poeple priests of the hight places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became on of the priests of the high places. And this thing became sine unt the house of Jereboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth."

So many thoughts...
1. Have courage and be strong in what God tells you like this man of God was initially.
2. Though he had courage, sadly, the devil used confusion to side-track him. Satan knew he couldn't be bribed, but he knew he could confuse him with a seemingly trusted source. I'm not sure why the Bible makes sure to tell us he was an "old prophet". Maybe he used to preach and had backslidden; obviously he wasn't living completely right because he lied.
I think Satan still tries this trick on sincere Christians today. So often we take "God's word" from someone else instead of knowing it ourselves. Or we know God's word suredly, but when a seemingly sincere Christian offers a suggestion that is against what we know to be God's word and appeases us, we follow their words instead. I'm sure this man of God was hungry and thirsty and maybe even longed for some fellowship with another "man of God". Abba, help me to KNOW Your commandments and STICK to them even when others I respect may tell me otherwise. I think of what Paul warned the early Christians...

Gal 1:6-8 "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel form heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."

I've got to KNOW what the BIBLE says, and not waiver from it despite what even good Christians may otherwise say.

3. God is not a respector of persons. He brings judgment on the just and unjust. The word of GOD was fulfilled just as surely for the good Christian who disobeys as it is for the ungodly man that disobeys.
4. Perhaps this whole incident from the man of God was for the "old prophet". Maybe he doubted God's true judgment and decided he would "try" God out. He certainly found that God's word is true and sure judgment would come. I look forward to meeting him in heaven one day to see how his life changed after that. So, sometimes God uses good Christians, to help doubting Christians to believe again.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Leadership, God's Cause, and Traditions

1 Kings 12-14

Rehoboam is now king. Jeroboam and the congregation of Israel request that he make the yoke lighter than what Solomon made it on the people.
Just thinking...I wonder what Solomon did to make things so grievous for them. Maybe it was the building of the temple that wearied them? Back to the story...
Rehoboam, wisely, first consults the old men, and they tell Rehoboam...

12:7 "If thou wilt be a servant unto this poeple this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they wil be thy servants for ever."

So true, in leadership...the way to be a great leader is to be a great servant. Obviously, Rehoboam didn't like that answer. He wanted to feel powerful and to be mighty king, not a lowly servant, so the counsel of his friends catered more along of what he was thinking...

12:10-11 "And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thous speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. And no whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions."

Whoa! That's pretty severe! That declaration is filled with so much hatred and oppression. Rehoboam forgot where he came from. He forgot that his job was to serve His people as king. Abba, help me to realize my greatest influence is gained as a leader when I love people and serve them---not oppress them.
Lord, though, this was prophesied. Oppression was sure to come to Israel because Solomon followed those strange women and their gods. His sin brought punishment onto more than just himself.

12:15 "Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the Lord..."

The kingdoms now become divided. Only the tribe of Judah remains with Rehoboam. The rest follow Jereboam as a king. Rehoboam plots to fight against Jeroboam, but the man of God with counsel from God stops them.
The time of sacrifice is coming near when the Israelittes travel to Jerusalem, Jeroboam fears that his followers will go back to the house of David, Jerusalem, and not follow him any more, but go back to Rehoboam and kill Jeroboam. His fear makes him decide to make two golden calves for them to worship in Shechem instead of returning to worship God in Jerusalem. Another example of pride and desire for power of a king.
This also is a good example of the verse

Mark 7:13 "Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered; and many such like things do ye."

The people were wrapped up in the tradition of sacrifice, but forgot the purpose, the meaning of the sacrifice-a picture of the Saviour to come.

So much good stuff just from Chapter 12. I think I will stop there for today.
1. Lead with an attitude of servitude.
2. You often ordain oppression from leaders because of the sins of the previous generation.
3. Know why I do what I do--to make the word of God effective. Don't fall into the trap of doing things just for the sake of tradition, otherwise, it will eventually lose it's purpose.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

God's Longsuffering

A lot is on my mind today with one of my family members. It's really difficult to see someone struggle when they don't have to. You see the bad choices they continually make...continuing to go down that path of destruction. Then when almost destruction comes they come to you asking for help---not "Help, I've made some bad choices; I need to make some changes." But rather "Help me just temporarily, I'll make it somehow." I want to teach them. I want to help them understand what they are doing wrong, but they don't want to hear. They don't want to hear that the way they've been doing it all this time isn't right.

Abba, how incredibly frustrated You must get with me sometimes. How often am I guilty of the same thing. I'm doing things my own way and then I ask You to "bail me out." How many times do I continually make poor choices, especially with my time, and You know that if I would just follow my schedule of spending time with You and doing the work I am supposed to do...the day would go so much better, and I wouldn't have that feeling of remorse. Or how many times I fail to pray...You know, REALLY pray and instead I chose to watch TV. Abba, You have made me understand more and more how much I grieve Your heart as Your child when I feel the grief my family can cause me. Things seem so obvious to me of things they need to "fix." I think it must be that way with You. You see so many things I should just "fix" and things would certainly go a lot smoother.
On that note....You gave me a great verse today...

Proverbs 31:27-28 "She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her."

God, I want that to be my testimony. But that means that often I will have to do "What I don't want to do." I will have to live by principle and schedule and not by my emotions. Lord, help me to remember that in ever small choice I make each day. I love You. I need You today. You are wonderful!

Monday, July 13, 2009

1 Kings 10-11, 2 Chron 9

The queen of Sheba comes to Solomon's temple to see the greatness of the temple and to hear of Solomon's wisdom. She is greatly awed; Solomon doesn't hide anything from her, and he gave her all her desire. Perhaps this is the transition point that makes Solomon turn to strange women. His ego was stroked by the admiration of the queen of Sheba. Many other kings come to see his greatness and the things God bestowed to Solomon. Maybe he did, but I see no mention of Solomon giving glory to God. Not much longer he turns to the strange women and as the Bible says...

1 Kings 11:4
"For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father."

So sad...materialism can get the best of us. If I ever become blessed by God with riches...well I am blessed by God, but if it were to be monetarily--I would have to be careful that it doesn't become a curse. In fact, I must be careful of that now without great riches. I can get too comfortable in my "blessedness" that before I know it I've gradually made turns in the wrong direction that by the time I am old..."my heart is not perfect" God, I don't want that to be my testimony...the end of my life. That I had a good start, but my end meant getting Your blessing taken away from me.
Because of God's promise to David, He didn't take the kingdom away from Solomon, but He promised to take it from his Son. Perhaps that's the worst punishment. When our children have to reap what we have sown. Abba, please help me to be ever aware of when I stray. I don't want to lose out on not just Your blessing in my life, but Your favor...Your guidance.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Proverbs 27-29

27:1 You're not promised tomorrow--make the best of today
2 Don't brag about yourself--let others
3 Foolish wrath is a burden.
4 Envy is worse than wrath or anger.
5 If you love someone, make sure they know it.
6 Friends tell you what you don't want to hear sometimes to help you, but enemies are deceitful and tell you things you want to hear.
7 When you're full not even good things are appetizing. But when you're hungry you'll eat anything. Don't get full on the world that there's no room for God.
8 Stay where you're supposed to be.
9 When giving advice to friends, do it sweetly.
10 Be a friend to your friends. Don't bother family during your times of trouble?
11 A wise some makes a happy father.
12 Have a plan--be wise enough to know there are things you should avoid.
13 ?
14 Be quiet in the morning. :)
15-16 Women who stir up problems are soooooooooo annoying. They are impossible to get away from, too.
17 Good friends make you a better person.
18 Whoever does the work deserves the reward.--hint hint...American government
19 My heart reveal who I really am.
20 Men's eyes can never be satified.
21 If I want to refine or make someone shine, praise them.
22 Foolish people never learn.
23-27 Know your finances--be a good steward of them. Prepare for the uncertain future for your household.

28:1 Wicked people are weinies---always running from things even when there isn't a problem.
Okay, I'm going to stop right there, God. I feel like this is a verse You want me to pay special attention to in our circumstance. Lord, I will share this one with my husband, and if it's from You help him to be able to accept it and feel the same way too.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

He Knows Everything--Even the Smallest Details

Ps 147-4 "He telleth the number of stars; he calleth them all by [their] names."

I love that verse. There are BILLIONS of stars---He know all of their names! If He knows all their names, I'm sure He has no problem remembering mine. God for some reason is thinks that stars are important enough to have names, so it reminds me that God is a personal God that cares about the smallest details. Not only is He that caring...He's that smart. I think about some people that are so smart--could wow you with book knowledge, but they know very little about detailed little things. Abba, I praise You for Your omniscience and Your infinite attention to details.

147:5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

What a reassuring verse. So true. God, You know it all. You can do it all! I claim Your understanding and power in our situation. Lord, show us Your power and help us to know Your understanding as well.

147:9-11 He giveth the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry. He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

Ravens are considered the most despicable of birds, yet, You care for them, too, God. What the world looks at as great and pleasurable--You don't. You are absolutely pleased with those that worship and fear You, the Creator, not Your creation.

Monday, July 6, 2009

God's Judgment Before His Mercy

Ever feel like you are doing great in one area of your life and then another area seems to fall by the wayside? I am have fallen in that cycle. I have recently gotten back into the routine of exercising faithfully; it cut into my blogging time, though, and here I am trying to get back on track on that area. I have been reading still, but not blogging or meditating on what I have read as much. I can surely tell a difference in my Bible reading. It's not looked forward to with as much anticipation and I am doing it more as a duty of a checked list. I don't like that feeling, and I know my Bible holds so much more potential than that. Routine...it's something that the Christian constantly has to work at, but at the same time work against. The irony. :)

2 Chron 6-7, Psalm 136

Here Solomon is dedicating the temple to God and asking for Your divine judgment on Your children---punishment or reward--whatever they were deserving of.

6:30-31 --"Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:) That they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers."

Solomon understood Your balance of justice---reward for the upright and punishment for the forward. But he also understood Your mercy. He pleaded that when after deserved punishment was come, if the people repented and turned back to You that You would accept them and hear their prayers. You confirmed You will do this...

7:12-15 "And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, and if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer [that is made] in this place."

Wow! I have read and heard that verse so many times, but now I see that Your mercy cannot come until Your judgment has fell and it makes the people repentant. Abba, I pray that for our America. May Your people see Your judgment on our land. May we all be willing to humble ourselves---not depending on our strong economy or government leaders, but You and be willing to turn from our wicked ways, so You can then heal our land. Forgive my sin, Abba. Help me to change whatever little area You chose in my life that keeps revival from happening in my own life and then in America.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Prov 16-18
So much meet in those proverbs...like a buffet hard for me to get it all the first go around. Two meats I couldn't pass up...reproof entereth more into awise than a hundred stripes a fool...i believe the Bible teaches me that how I respond to reproof shows my true spirituality...do i scorn and despise the reprover or do i take the repoof and turn as the bible says?
I read a few verses also remarking about the impotance of a merry heart and the spirit as a part of good health. Its a proven fact that those who smile and are optomistic are healthier and often live longer lives. Today was Nancy Moore's funeral. She was only 52 but so much was said about her sweet spirit, though it didn't heal her...I think it healed those around her. Abba, I would rather like a short life and have great influence than live a long life with no influence for good. Abba, may my life be worth each breath that you invest into it.