Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Altar

7/4/17  
Scripture  
2 Kings 16:10,11.12, 15b  Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-Pileser, King of Assyria.  
He saw an altar in Damascus and sent Uriah the priest a sketch of the altar, with detailed plans for it's construction.  So Uriah the priest built an altar in accordance with all the plans that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus and finished it before King Ahaz returned.  When the king came back from Damascus and saw the altar, he approached it and presented offerings on it.  v15b But I will use the bronze altar for seeking guidance.

Observation
Ahaz saw something he wanted and had it replicated and it became the large new altar for sacrifice offerings - but Ahaz used the bronze altar for divination - seeking guidance.  He mixed the Israelite religion with a pagan religion.  Ahaz tried to improve on what God had already divinely ordained for the exact dimensions and look the altars in the temple were to be.  Ahaz wanted a bigger, better altar.  Ahaz was trying to 'enhance'  his worship to God and instead it turned his devotion from God to the new altar.  He used the bronze altar for seeking guidance instead of asking God for guidance.  

Application
Bigger is not always better.  Keep worship simple.  Don't covet!  Seek guidance from the Lord. 

Prayer
Father, You are my all in all.   I love reading Your word and wondering what I can glean from all the wonderful stories.  Teach me Lord through Your word, the life lessons You want me to learn.  Cleanse my heart O God - I seek Your will and Your way.  I am a life long learner, an eager student, and a willing teacher,  in Jesus Name, A-men.  

Seek the Lord

7/3/17 
Scripture 
2 Chronicles 26:5  He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.

Observation
Uzziah's success eventually led to pride, and he coveted to have spiritual as well as already having political authority.  Going against God's law, he brought incense into the temple - acting as a priest.  Instead of repenting when confronted, he got angry.  The Lord struck him with leprosy.  God humbled Uzziah.

Application
Seek the Lord.  Guard my heart against stubborn pride and repent of it.  Pride deceives and hardens the heart.  
Romans 12:3 "Do not think yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith."

Prayer
Father, forgive my sinful pride and arrogance.  Help me to seek You all the days of my life.  May You continue to show me areas of my life that I need to repent and submit to You.  In Jesus Name, A-men.

The Valley of Decision

6/25/17
Scripture
Joel 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!  For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.

Observation
Multitudes!  All the people of the world, standing before the Lord in judgment.  The Valley of Jehoshaphat is the 'valley of judgment.'  The certainty of doom for those who have not yet opened their hearts to Jesus' love and forgiveness.  
Matthew 9:37-38 The harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers few!  Pray therefore earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

Application
The valley of decision is not a safe place!  Pray for those who linger in the valley of decision - that they might come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior!  The judgment of God will come upon those who have NOT made a decision to accept Him as Savior.  
Somehow in my thinking, I always thought, I have all the time in the world to make the decision to follow Jesus or not.  But I have learned, we do not know how much time we have.  

When I was a young girl and very sick in the hospital with appendicitis and double pneumonia - I remember praying to God for help.  I was alone.  Away from home, away from family and the familiar.  I called out to God from my hospital bed - and He heard me.  I got better and got to go home after a surgery and about 50 shots of penicillin!  It was another 12 years or so before I bowed my head and my heart in the living room of Uncle Bruce and Aunt Dottie to open my life to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords who died for me on the cross.  Jesus forgave me of my sins, and gave me a clean heart and hope for my future - relationship with God, a solid marriage, a wonderful family, and He filled me with power when I asked Him for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!  
I was able to lead my mom and dad, and brother Billy out of the valley of decision to knowing Christ before they died.  I am so thankful for God's love, grace, and forgiveness!  

Prayer
Father, may I be a vessel fit for Your use in bringing others to know You - to come out of the valley of decision by saying 'YES' to Jesus!  A-men!

Humble Yourself

6/17/17
Scripture 
1 Kings 21:27-29  It came about when Ahab heard 'those words', that he tore his clothes, and put on sackcloth and fasted, and he lay in sackcloth and went about despondently.
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 
"Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? . . . "

Observation 
Ahab heard the pronouncement of judgment for the evil, wickedness, idol worshiping, murderous acts he had done as king, leading all of Israel to sin.  He humbled himself before God and God sees.  God sees when we truly humble ourselves before Him and seek His forgiveness.  God sees the humble repentant heart of Ahab, and the judgment is postponed until the days of Ahab's son.

Application
James 4:10 "Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up."  Humility is from God.  Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to the death of the cross.  A place to begin is to fast and pray, and ask God to reveal areas of my heart, thoughts, and attitude, that need adjustment.  

Prayer
Father teach me Your ways.  Give me strength to humble myself with prayer and fasting.  Free me from the things that keep me from drawing near to You.  In Jesus Name, A-men.

Faithfulness

6/15/17
Scripture  
2 Chronicles 16:9,12 For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.
In the 39th year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet.  His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians.

Observation
The Lord is looking for faithful followers who love Him and seek Him with their whole heart so that He can pour out His love and strength to them.  Asa did not seek God for help with his feet, instead, sought help from the physicians for what ailed him.  Which is surprising because Asa was a good king.  He made a covenant to seek the Lord with all his heart and soul.  He removed the idols from the land and his heart was loyal to God.  But then he began to lack faith in God, and he made a treaty with Syria instead of seeking God.  He even began to oppress some of the people of the land.  In the end, he sought help from the physicians and did not seek God for healing or for help.

Application
Stay the course!  Do today well!  Finish well!  Be strong in the Lord!  Seek Him, love Him, ask Him for help in times of trouble.  If losing faith can happen to someone like Asa who was truly devoted to God, it can happen to any of us.  

Prayer
Father God, I want to be found faithful to You in all I do.  May I walk in a manner worthy of You; to please You in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work, and increase in the knowledge of You - and to be continually strengthened by Your Holy Spirit.  You are able to keep me from stumbling.  In Jesus Name, A-men. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Home Sweet Home

There's no place like home.  There are times to be on the go and running to and fro, having fun with friends, working, going places. But then there are times to rest and be quiet and just stay home.  I love being home.  It's where I can rest, recalibrate, refresh, reconnect - at home.    These are words that give me hope in this season.   

Yes, I love to travel and be on the go, visiting places, mingling with friends.  It's convention time for our church family and many of our friends and peers are there and having a grand time in Washington D.C.!  We had our tickets, reservations, tours scheduled, bags packed - everything.  Feeling a bit pressed, tired, and overbooked, we prayed.  A peace in knowing it was ok for us to 'not go' came to us.  The peace that passes understanding . . . so we stayed home and I'm so glad we did.

Our youngest son, Ben was our scheduled speaker for when we were to be gone . . .  by being home, we got to listen to him in person, and it was great!  We would have missed something very special and sweet if we had not been here.  Home sweet home.  A good decision for us with the crazy pace we sometimes set for ourselves.  

"Family ties are precious threads, no matter where we roam . . .  
they draw us close to those we love and pull our hearts towards home."

As I yield to You Lord, may You continue Your great work in me and help me to become more . . . 
  • Adoring and submissive like Sarah 
  • Loving and loyal like Mary of Bethany
  • Available and capable like Abigail
  • Becoming and humble like Elizabeth
  • Responsive and constant like Ruth
  • Respectful and self sacrificing like Esther
  • Virtuous and godly like Mary
  • Full of faith like the Syrophoenician woman 
  • Transformed by the Holy Spirit like Mary Magdalene
Teach me to make my home a sanctuary of love and safe haven for all who come through our door.  "There's no place like Home Sweet Home."   In Jesus Name, A-men.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Be A Giver

Scripture  
1 Samuel 30:9-10,18-24  David and the 600 men with him came to the Besor Valley, where some stayed behind, 200 of them were too exhausted to cross the valley, but David and the other 400 continued the pursuit.  

David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his 2 wives.  Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken.  David brought everything back.  He took all the flocks and herds and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying "This is David's plunder." 
But all the evil men and troublemakers among David's followers said, "Because they did not go out with us, will not share with them the plunder we recovered.  However, each man may take his wife and children and go."  David replied, "No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the Lord has given us.  He has protected us and delivered into our hands the raiding party that came against us.  The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle.  All will share alike."  

Observation
There were evil men and troublemakers among the "congregation" of David's followers.  Those men were 'stingy' and did not want to share the plunder with those who had stayed behind guarding the supplies. 
David recognized that it is the Lord who delivered and protected them to recover their families - it is the Lord's, not 'David's plunder.'
David was just and generous and showed kindness by sharing with all and even giving to his friends in Judah - 'giving them a gift of the plunder of the Lord's enemies.'
David recognized God is the Giver of the plunder and in turn, he distributed it with fairness and liberality.  

Application
God is the Giver, Deliverer, Rescuer, Protector . . . all belongs to Him.  We are the distributer of God's blessings.  God's ways are not our ways.  My idea of fairness is not the same as God's.  David was a man after God's own heart.  Don't be a 'stingy' person or hoarder - be a giver!  Become a cheerful giver! 

Prayer
Father, You are a Giver!  The giver of Your beloved Son,  the giver of the Holy Spirit, giver of life and breath, blessings, promises, provision, and all we possess.   All that I have is Yours Lord.  Teach me to be a good steward and to become a cheerful giver of the blessings You have given me.  In Jesus Name, A-men.