Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Altar

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.

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.  

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

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

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.

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.

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."

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

Joel 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!  For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.

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.

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!  

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

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? . . . "

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.

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.  

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.


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.

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.

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.  

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

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."  

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.  

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! 

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.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Constant Friend

1 Samuel 23:15-18 While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life.  And Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.  "Don't be afraid," he said.  "My father Saul will not lay a hand on you.  You will be king over Israel, I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this."  The two of them made a covenant before the Lord.  Then Jonathan went home, but David remained in Horesh.  

David was being pursued by Saul so he could kill him.  Saul felt threatened by David and was going to get rid of him.  Jonathan, Saul's son, knew how to find David and went to him to encourage and comfort him.  A 'constant' friend who is faithful, dependable - it's Jonathan.  Pure, noble, and self-denying Jonathan came along side to support David and strengthen him in God.  He tells him not to be afraid - God has his back!  God has said David will be king and Jonathan reminds David, "You will be king over Israel!"  Jonathan gladly puts himself as second to David even though Saul wants Jonathan to be king.

The friendship of Jonathan and David is a great example of how God wants me to be a friend and also receive friendship from others.  One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)  Christ Jesus, will never forsake those who trust in him and love him.  He has given His Holy Spirit to encourage and strengthen me in my walk with God.  

Father, You have sent me friends at specific times in my life to come along side and encourage me to trust in You and not be afraid of whatever I may be facing.  You've given Your beloved Son, who is my Friend and Savior, and Risen Lord, along with Your Holy Spirit power and grace to be my Helper and Teacher.  You have not left me alone but have given me all I need.  May I not only be a true and faithful friend to others, but also be willing to receive friendship from those You send my way.  In Jesus Name, A-men.  

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Regular Check Up! 4/13/17

2 Corinthians 13:5-6  Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith, test yourselves.  Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you ?  - unless of course, you fail the test.  And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

Genuine faith is Christ in me.  Look into your heart - is faith and trust there?  No matter the circumstances of life - trust in God and you will prove your faith is ROCK solid!

When life gets tough, no matter how bleak, no matter if it seems God doesn't care or see - trust in Him.  Wait for Him.
Examine myself to see whether I am in the faith.  Test myself and have a regular check up.  Do the right thing and wait for God.

Father, praise be to Your name!  You do not withhold Your love from me even when I mess up.  I submit to You for correction and instruction.  Guide me with Your Holy Spirit and lead me in the way I should go.  Purge from me anything not of You.  In Jesus Name, A-men.

A Passing Visit 3/31/17

1 Corinthians 16:7  For I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you . . . 

A passing visit - a greeting, a wave of the hand - a brief hello.  God doesn't want an informal 'howdy do' from us, anymore than Paul the Apostle did with his friends!  He desires quality time, sweet fellowship, and to commune with Him.  And we need it!

Time with God must be a priority in my life.  Not just a few moments here and there, or having a set devotional time, but to learn to live a life of devotion - 24/7.  To learn to sit at His feet.

Forgive me Lord for the busyness of my life and my shallowness in times of reading and worship.  My mind wanders, and I start thinking about all kinds of things.  May I draw near to You dear Lord and will You show me how to live a life of devotion and worship?  I love You Lord.   In Jesus Name, A-men. 

Just Because I Asked 3/16/17

1 Corinthians 1:26-29, 31 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were influential, not many were of noble birth.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  God chose the lowly things of this world and despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are.  So that no one may boast before Him.  Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.

Consider your life before Christ.  God chose us not because of anything good in us, but because we need Him.  We are foolish, weak, base - the lowest of low without a moral compass to guide us.  Despised, selfish, and self-centered.  We have nothing to boast about.  But God called us and by His love and grace - we are in Christ Jesus.  Jesus who is Wisdom, Righteous, and saves and redeems us. 

Just because I asked - God gave me the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.  I will therefore boast in Him and talk excessively about what great things He has done for me.

Father, just because I asked, You saved me, called me, filled me with Your Holy Spirit power and grace.  I need You in my life every hour of every day.  You are my strength and song!  I pray that the lost will come to you and just ask and receive your love and forgiveness.  I am thankful, I asked - in Jesus Name, A-men.  

Believe! 3/2/17

Mark 9:23-24 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief."

Faith, belief, is a gift given to us by God.  Is is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Unfortunately, we have unbelief hidden in us too.   Believe in God and the faith we have, though it may be as small as a mustard seed, can move mountains!
Don't focus on the unbelief -  focus on the promises of God and believe and trust that with God 'all things are possible.'

Wait for God.  Trust and believe.  Have faith, hope, and love in your mind and in your thoughts and actions.  Be ready and walk everyday with a prepared heart.  Seek God, live a life of devotion, set your heart's direction and don't be negative.  Pray and obey.

Father, a mustard seed is so very small but like faith, it can begin small and grow and flourish!  You have given me renewed hope to believe and take hold of the promises You have given.  In Jesus Name, A-men. 

Shepherdess Call 2/28/17

Numbers 27:15-17  Moses said to the Lord, "May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord's people will not be like sheep with a shepherd.

Moses is going to the mountain to see the promised land, and to die.  But Moses asks God to appoint a new leader; not to leave the people without a shepherd.  His love for God and love for God's people, are Moses main concern.  

Nurture a shepherd's heart within myself by loving God and loving people.  Lead with love, wisdom, understanding, kindness, patience, humility, grace and the power and strength of God.

Father, give me courage today to follow you and help me embrace all you have for me in these days.  In Jesus Name, A-men.

Come With Us - 2/22/17

Numbers 10:29,32,33  Now Moses said to Hobab, son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses father in law, "We are setting out for the place about which the Lord said, 'I will give it to you.' Come with us and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised good things to Israel."  
He answered, "No, I will not go.  I am going back to my own land and my own people."  
But Moses said, "Please do not leave us.  You know where we should camp in the wilderness and you can be our eyes.  If you come with us, we will share with you whatever good things the Lord gives us."  

Hobab was Moses' brother in law - Zipporah's brother.  He was very familiar with the terrain and all the good land as the Israelites traveled the wilderness led at night by a pillar of fire, and a cloud by day.  Moses promises favor and good treatment if Hobab just comes along.  Moses earnestly implores Hobab to stay with them.  His final plea was to say, "If you come with us, we will share with you whatever the Lord gives us.  Receive the promises of God."  

Moses is headed to the promised land - Canaan.  We should ask/plead with family, friends, and acquaintances, to come with us. Come with us as we follow God.

I want to take as many as will come with me Lord.  Give wisdom and grace I pray as I encourage others to join me in my pilgrimage to the promised land to receive all your blessings and promises.  In Jesus Name.  A-men.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Don't Let Your Heart Be Hardened

Scripture  Acts 28:27  For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears and they have closed their eyes.  

Observation  Disbelief and arrogance kept the Jews from hearing and seeing the truths the Apostle Paul was proclaiming the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ.  They refused to listen and submit themselves to the love of God, His righteousness, and the gift of His beloved Son Jesus.  Some believed but some did not.  The word of God presented to some who were sincere and seeking God while others closed their minds and hearts to God.  They had heard about this 'sect' that Paul was a part of - and they came, but their minds were already made up and their hearts hardened and closed to the the truth that would set them free!  

Application  Guard my heart!  Keep my heart before Jesus and be thankful - keep my heart from sin, prejudice, and self righteous attitudes.  Open myself to God's instruction, correction, and healing.  Allow the Holy Spirit to open up areas of my heart that have become hardened and calloused.  

Prayer  Father God, help me to guard my heart and open myself to your correction.  Where there is anything in me that keeps me from loving You and loving others, purge me and make me clean.  Forgive me for attitudes of prejudice, arrogance, self righteous thinking.  Restore to me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.  May I hear Your voice, may I see Your face, and know the depth of Your love and grace, In Jesus Name, A-men.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

"I Am With You"

Acts 18:9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision:  "Do not be afraid, keep on speaking, do not be silent.  For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city."  
2 Kings 6:16 "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered.  "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."

The Lord speaks to Paul and reassures him not to be afraid of the opposition he is facing.  The Lord is with him - and not only the Lord, but there are many of His people in the city.  God knows those who are His and that together,  in one accord and purpose, we can face the enemy with boldness and confidence and know that God is with His people! Paul is encouraged to keep speaking the 'good news', teaching, and not to keep quiet.  
I'm also reminded of the story in 2 Kings about Elisha asking God to open the eyes of his servant so that he could see - "that those who are with us are more than those who are with them."  His eyes were open to the spiritual realm and he indeed saw the armies and chariots of heaven surrounding the enemy!

What comforting words in times of fear, threats, and opposition!  "I am with you."  Who else calms my heart and quiets my fears?  Only God can.  When I know He is with me and He has others who will watch my back, I can trust in Him.  Trust that He is with me - and I am not alone!

Father, thank You.  Thank You for the power of Your word and the promise of Your Presence in times of difficulty, stress, trials, and opposition.  I will draw near to You with assurance and peace knowing You are with me. I will keep proclaiming Your good news to all who have ears to hear.   In Jesus Name, A-men.

Friday, January 13, 2017

A New Name - Israel

The nations will see your righteousness.
World leaders will be blinded by your glory.
And you will be given a new name by the Lord’s own mouth.
The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see—
a splendid crown in the hand of God.
Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City”
or “The Desolate Land.”
Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight”
and “The Bride of God,”
for the Lord delights in you
and will claim you as his bride. 
- Isaiah 62:2-4

Genesis 32:24-28
. . . This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!”
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
“What is your name?” the man asked.
He replied, “Jacob.”
“Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”

Jacob, alone, filled with fears and distress prays to God.  He wrestles all through the night.  Jacob did not give up.  He wept and sought God's favor - a blessing.  He contended with God and prevailed.  Hosea 12:4,5  "Your name will no longer be Jacob - supplanter, deceiver, over-reacher, but from now on you will be called Israel" - a prince of God, one who strives with God, and God blessed Israel.

Continue to persevere in prayer until the Lord answers.  Don't give up and don't quit - no matter how difficult the situation, no matter the pain.

May I continue to press on and persevere in my prayers!  May hope in You Father God, ignite in me a renewed vitality that only You can give.  As I stand my ground and contend for all you have for our family - the precious promises of new life and blessings, give me grace for the day, and baptize me freshly with Your Holy Spirit.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hesitation or Hope for the Future?

January 7, 2017
Genesis 19:16-17 
When he (Lot) hesitated, the men grasped his hands and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters, and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them.
As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, "Flee for your lives!  Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain!  Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!"

(But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.)

I'm mindful of Lot's hesitation to leave behind the past and move to a new place - to flee!  With a warning, "Don't look back!"
He didn't seem to pick up on the urgency to leave.  His sons in law thought he was joking.
Obedience to God is necessary for life.  When we hesitate to obey the Lord, it reveals what is in our heart; such as, doubt, indecision, non-commitment, and fear.  Spending too much time thinking about what the angels were saying almost cost Lot his life.
Hesitation is not an option in responding to God.  Looking back can kill!

When God is talking to me about change - don't hesitate.  Obey God immediately when I hear Him and do what He says.  Don't dwell on the past or the way things were.  Looking back can 'sweep me away' . . . there is no future when I dwell in the past.  

Father, what vivid stories in the Bible!  Yes, they really happened that I might learn!  As I journey through Your Word this year, speak to me, that I might take to heart all You want to teach me.  Give me hope for the future!  No turning back!  I press on to the goal - to win the prize of God's high calling, in Jesus Christ my Lord!

Romans 15:4 Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide, we might have hope!