What voice do you listen to ?

You are in a situation where a decision must be made. What do you do? Some say one thing, some say another, whose voice is right?

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2Chron 10 Voices can be misleading or they can lead to the truth. We are bombarded with voices from the tempter, the world, and the flesh. We must be “discerning regarding truth and error;…and “listen to the voice of the Spirit.” (Heb 5 & 3)

Rehoboam is presented to us as a foolish king who listened not to the Spirit but to two groups of men; the first his father’s former advisors and his boyhood friends.  He chose the latter and as the tale unfolded disaster came about because he forsook wisdom for folly, righteousness for power. The kingdom experienced a divorce a magnitude never before was seen. God hates divorce and He hated that His beloved kingdom would suffer over a foolish decision.

Rehoboam might have avoided this had he sought the counsel of God as his grandfather David had done. The disasters in our life such as separation and divorce come about when we listen to the voices of the Tempter; it would be easier if…(you fill in the blank).

But, what if we seek the counsel of God instead? God is not a man that changes his mind. He is ever and always wise and discerning to counsel us aright and the Holy Spirit as part of the triune God would never contradict God’s Word.

The wisest and most blessed man/woman is the one who listens to the voice of the Spirit speaking the words of God. But also, you cannot hear the voice of the Spirit unless you are Spirit-filled.

Have you experienced the indwelling Spirit of God?

 

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Something to Think About

What is your opinion on how we should pray? Should we kneel? Should we raise our hands? Is there only one way?

2Chronicles 7 From Genesis to Revelation the fire of God is used as a picture of the holiness and majesty of God. In Genesis, He consumes the cities of abomination. In Exodus He is in the burning bush and yet it was not consumed. In 1Kings He consumed the sacrifice of Elijah, licked up the water but spared the people. In 2Chronicles the sacrifices are consumed and His splendor is revealed. Ezekiel saw the vision of His holiness and majesty and he fell face down. Try to place yourself in each of these situations and ask yourself, how would I have responded?

Today, God doesn’t reveal his power in fire but what if He did?

When the people saw this manifestation of God they got on their knees to offer praise to God for His holiness and splendor. Have you ever wondered why we don’t do that much anymore? Have you ever wondered if that might change our perspective? Getting on our knees is one picture of submission but as Solomon showed, lifting our hands is another. And then there is Nehemiah who sat and prayed, worked and prayed.

It is not the outward expression but the expression of the heart that reveals to God how much His splendor impacts us.  

Will you share with us a time you reverently listened to His Word and then you were filled with such awesomeness at the picture of His holiness that you were overcome?

A Parent’s Prayer

What do you pray for your child or if you don’t have a child yet what should your prayer be?

1chron 29 willing heart2a

1Chron 29:19  How many times have you stopped and read the obituaries of others who have died? They offer a glimpse into the life of their accomplishments both materially and physically. But, how many times have you read one with a prayer for those who will now take up the mantle and carry on? King David did just that so that we might have an example.

Vs 19: Make/Give/Grant my son Solomon a willing heart. David had planned, prepared and wanted to build the Temple. Now David relinquishes the crown to Solomon praying that God would give him a willing heart not just to build the Temple but a willing heart of obedience to all that God had commanded.

Is that your prayer for your child/children? They can spend their lives adding to their bank accounts but what of their spiritual accounts? David had prepared the blueprints but the most important blueprint was this:  “tell the next generation about the Lord’s praiseworthy acts.” But all the telling does little unless the heart is willing and it begins early on when we take time to teach our children and speak of these acts as you sit, walk, and all other times in between.

Take time today to read Deut 6, Psalm 78 and then pray that your child/children have a willing heart of obedience.

 

 

 

How do stories like God killing someone make you feel? Queezy? Sad? God has a lesson for us in how we are to treat him.

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1Chron 10-13  These chapters begin and end in the same way: The Lord killed.

The scripture is plain and clear; death is the enemy we all face once and after that the judgment. Thus the sadness of that statement is overwhelming because of the stench of death is what we avoid. We euphemisms like one has passed, gone to a better place and others, but God simply says He killed.  Do you have trouble wrapping your mind around that statement? Like the world, we fail to realize that God is holy and He is the author of life and death.

Why does God kill someone? 

God killed Saul for his unfaithfulness and God killed Uzzah for the same reason. God is jealous and He is holy and we are to treat him as such. Both Saul and Uzzah treated God carelessly. Because Saul failed to listen to the prophet Samuel and failed to listen to God, God eventually quit listening to Saul. In the end, God finally killed him because Saul’s attitude was irreverent.  Because Uzzah had perhaps come too comfortable with the Ark in his home, he failed to remember that the Ark was the very presence of God. When he reached up to touch the Ark, his irreverence was revealed and God killed him.

Do these two stories cause you to be uncomfortable?

Perhaps it is because we, like Uzzah or Saul, have become too comfortable with God.

From Beauty to Ashes

1Chron 9  Yesterday, the world watched as Notre Dame Cathedral, an international treasure burned. The pictures were sent around the world and we watched with tears. Centuries before another international treasure burned, God’s holy Temple. However, in God’s graciousness, the Judahites taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar never saw the Temple burned.  The loss of both is/was great; never to be replicated again.

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The Chronicler tells us simply the people of Judah were carried away to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness. This took place to fulfill the Lord’s message spoken through Jeremiah and lasted until the land experienced its sabbatical years.  All the time of its desolation the land rested in order to fulfill the seventy years. [2Ch 36:21] This is another point of His grace; the land lay resting and no enemies conquered it. Under Cyrus, the Judahites returned and rebuilt. Ezra, the priest, records that many of those who returned wept at their memory of the former temple as they stood to honor the new temple because it was only a shadow of Solomon’s former temple.

In the 16th century some Huguenots damaged Notre Dame’s statues they considered idolatrous and in 1793 removed and decapitated statues. Yesterday’s fire by far is the worst the grand lady has experienced. So too God’s holy Temple was desecrated by King Nebuchadnezzar and later the new Temple by the Romans.

Buildings may be desecrated and lost but the church is not a building. The church is the people of God who have been born again because of one day long ago: Easter or Resurrection Morning. Satan’s plans were thwarted because of that day and no power or natural events can destroy it. Victory came because of the death of our Savior. Believers are the Temple of God.

 

Lessons from Jabez

Are you a complainer? Do you want “stuff” but don’t have it? Perhaps this lesson from Jabez might teach us all a practical lesson in trust, belief, and faith.

1Chronicles 4 “Lessons from Jabez”

“you don’t have because you don’t ask; you ask and don’t receive because you ask wrongly” [James 4] but Jabez did ask and asked correctly. And God was pleased! God answered. Let’s see why:

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Our story begins in the birth canal where Jabez struggled to come forth. It seems that Mother recorded that fact or reminded him of it throughout his life. Of all the men listed in this lengthy genealogical record, only Jabez is given the honor of his life’s story in a nutshell. It is as if the Chronicler wants us to note him. Jabez was “more honorable than his brothers.” He believed he could ask God all things and God would answer. That is true faith. Jabez was a God-fearer-worshiper. While others were busy with idols he was busy talking to God.

Jabez began: “if  you…” He simply told God that he wanted believing God would hear and answer. He precisely noted what that blessing would entail and included simply, protect me. For some reason he wanted or sensed he needed a hedge of protection and that he might not endure pain. That closes the circle from Mother’s words; I brought you forth in pain.

So why did the Chronicler insert these two verses? Could it be that too many of us are busy “working” our way to heaven rather than just seeking God who is generous giving His perfect gifts to those who believe Him.

Take a lesson from Jabez. Simply be bold and ask God to bless you.

 

 

Parenting Tough Kids

If you have raised a godly child, consider yourself blessed. Do you know of a parent that needs some godly counsel? Why not disciple them?

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2Kings 20-24  Although Hezekiah was a good king, he was not a faithful father. His son Manasseh was the worst of the worst! The Chronicle writer tells us however that after being captured by the Babylonians, he repented and God returned him to his homeland. His story is just what is needed when you face a hardened sinner who has done just about the worst sin you can think of and feels that there is no hope for him/her. Tuck that away for such a time as that. Manasseh is the story of us all: sinners saved by His grace.

Manasseh’s son Amon followed in his footsteps but never repented.  Manasseh’s grandson Josiah was the model king; faithful, obedient and godly. He obeyed the Law to the letter, cleansing and rebuilding the Temple. He cleansed the land and its people. God blessed him in many ways. Yet, as godly as he was, his son Jehoahaz returned to the ways of his grandfather and uncle.

There are some lessons here for parents who are discouraged because of their children’s choices. God was gracious to Josiah that he never saw the ultimate rebelliousness of his son. Sometimes that happens to us as well. Even when you raise them correctly, children make choices; some good and some bad. Tuck that lesson away when you are facing an uphill battle.

Parenting is the toughest job given to a person. We need to remember that and pray and disciple these young parents.   Come alongside them; encourage them; listen to them.

Who is in your life that you need to disciple?

Missing a Golden Opportunity

2kings 18 to 20 god tests our heart2a2Kings 18 – 20  If truth be known, boasting comes rather easily to us. The prophet Jeremiah said this:

“If people want to boast, they should boast about this: They should boast that they understand and know me. They should boast that they know and understand that I, the Lord, act out of faithfulness, fairness, and justice in the earth and that I desire people to do these things,” says the Lord”

Let’s see if Hezekiah passed that test and then check ourselves as well.

It seems that no matter how good, how powerful, how majestic God is, men vacillate between being faithful and unfaithful. An enemy surfaces and men capitulate and surrender failing to realize that God can and will drive them out. So it was with Hezekiah first time around. He saw the kingdom of Israel right next door surrender and taken captive to the land of Assyria yet he did not learn from that error of judgment. Instead when faced with the same scenario, used bribery instead of prayer. Having been successful, Assyria escalated the demand expecting the same result but this time Hezekiah submitted not to him but to God. God routed the enemy and peace returned because Hezekiah turned to God. If only we would learn the first time around.

Next Hezekiah is sick unto death and he prays for healing and God restores him to full health. But, then another enemy, Babylon comes knocking. Hezekiah misses an opportunity to share the power of God. Instead, Hezekiah shares his wealth. The Chronicle writer notes that God left Hezekiah alone when they came to “test what was in his heart.” Hezekiah missed a golden opportunity to share the power of God to heal.  It wasn’t his wealth that made him whole but God!

How many golden opportunities have we missed?  

Today, stop, use every opportunity to share Christ.  

The Next Generation Needs YOU!

2Kings 15 to 17  & Prov 1:4 “Fathers Listen Up”

2kings 15 to 17 and prov 1 pay attention2aA godly family does not just happen; it takes work. If we look back we see the failures of fathers like Eli, Samuel-a prophet yet had ungodly sons; David who did not confront sin and Solomon as wise but did not practice application.  Now in this set of chapters we see men who were given the privilege of raising sons and future kings yet failed miserably. It is heartbreaking as you read king after king fails to raise godly leaders of their homes; the nation and the church. It is into that heartbreaking scene we read these words “they did not pay attention.” And again they worshiped the Lord “AND” at the same time served idols.

So the question before us is how can that cycle be broken?  Men, (women too) here’s our challenge straight from Proverbs. If a man (or woman too) wants to know how to raise godly children who will be leaders, you must start at the foundational level. The book of Proverbs is given to impart shrewdness to the morally naïve; a discerning plan to the young person. Shrewdness is that quality that means you are sagacious; having or showing keen mental discernment and good judgment. Discernment is the ability to judge well especially with a view of obtaining spiritual guidance and understanding.

How does one accomplish this? By reading, meditating and practicing what the Word of God says. It is not too late. We must be training up the next generation and it starts with us.

May it not be said of us that we “didn’t pay attention.”