Monthly Archives: June 2013

June 30

Isaiah 7:1-10:4, 17:1-14

Isaiah has some bad news for the flesh and blood kingdom of Israel. Their days are numbered. They will acknowledge God and fear him once again but it will be under some pretty awful circumstances.

Then Isaiah introduces them to Jesus. 9:6&7 promise the King who will sit on David’s throne and reign forever. Isaiah continues to talk to them about God’s wrath which will come to them. But the seed has been planted. Jesus is coming.

As I look for a spiritual application from today’s scripture I am reminded that no matter how bad things get in this lifetime, we who live after the cross realize the precious Truth in the titles Isaiah gives the Savior. Wonderful Counselor! Mighty God! Everlasting Father! Prince of Peace! And he shall reign forever and ever. (Thank you Handel for the beautiful music running through my head this morning)

There is no one like Jesus. There is no God like our Heavenly Father. There is no peace like that which comes from knowing Him as Savior.

I hope you go to church today where Jesus is proclaimed as God in human form, Savior of the world. Let’s just stop and worship God today in all his holiness and splendor. Let’s praise Jesus!

June 29

2 Kings 15:17-20, 6-7, 21-29, 32-38, 16:1-9; 1 Chronicles 5:23-26, 26:22-23, 27:1-9, 28:1-21; Isaiah 6:1-13; I Chronicles 5:11-17

I am sure that the Israelites who had begged God for a flesh and blood king had no idea what the future held. Even after God spelled it out they could not have seen generations down the road. The nation split in two. Rampant idolatry, Slavery. War. One king after another would come and go (usually as a result of a violent death). And the Jewish people would suffer.

Do you care that your decisions today will have an effect years, perhaps generations from now? Maybe the Jews back in Saul’s day thought, oh well, I won’t be around to see the awful things my grandchildren will suffer Is that your attitude as well?

If you think your relationship with the Lord is just about you – you’re wrong. If you think holding on to a sin or putting off living for the Lord doesn’t effect anyone – think again. If God is not King in your life today, there may be people down the road who will have to live with the consequences.

Our society has accepted the lie that each individual is number one, that I have the right to live the way I want, do what makes me feel good, that I don’t have to follow any rule that I don’t like. I’m just saying I’m glad Jesus didn’t have that attitude.

May Jesus be my example. May I live my life intentionally aware that the little ones in my life will have to live with the results of the way I vote, the debt I incur, the standards I uphold. And my example of what it means to be a Christian is being watched by someone who will either accept Jesus as Savior or reject him on the basis of what they see in me. And their lives touch their own little ones as well who will live with the way they vote, the debt they incur, and the standards they uphold. And so on. And so on. And so on.

Dear God, help us to live like Jesus lived. Not focused on ourselves and our comforts. Help us live understanding that we have a responsibility to the generations after us. May they serve You because we did.

June 28

Hosea 4:1-5:7; Jonah 1:1-4:11; 2 Kings 14:24-28, 15:8-16

Long story short: God told Jonah to go to Nineveh. Jonah thought he had a better idea and headed for Tarshish. God sent a storm so the sailors threw Jonah overboard. God provided a fish. After three days in the fish God caused the fish to vomit Jonah up. Where? Nineveh. Jonah preached. 120,000 people were saved. Jonah pouted. See, I told you that would happen, Lord. God provided shade for Jonah while he stubbornly waited for God to destroy Nineveh. Jonah liked the shade. God killed the vine that provided the shade. Jonah pouted. God tells Jonah to get over himself.

Many lessons can be gleaned from Jonah’s story. But I think God’s asking us today if we are guilty of picking and choosing with whom we share Jesus. 

Go into prisons? Seriously, God, there are criminals there.

Preach in the inner city? Not me! There are druggies and prostitutes and gang members there.

Befriend a homeless person for Jesus’ sake? He’s just a dead-beat, God.

What about sharing Christ with that person at work who has said some awful things about you or that neighbor who is too lazy to mow his lawn? What about homosexuals, unwed moms, alcoholics, child abusers? What about Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Satanists?

And how about that person who comes to your church with dirty hair and body odor? What about the one who comes with tattoos and rings in her eyebrows? 

Are we going to be like Jonah and say this person deserves God’s forgiveness but this one doesn’t? I doubt God is going to physically pick any of us up and drop us in the middle of downtown or on the streets of Iran. But we have to know he is serious about not wanting ANY to perish but for everyone to receive him. And he is calling us to share his Gospel with others regardless of our personal opinion of them.

If God is nudging you toward sharing him with someone you don’t like or to go somewhere you don’t want to go, I think he just might be telling you today to get over yourself.

Heavenly Father, help us to view mankind like you do. Help us to see all people as ones for whom Christ died. May we be willing to go where you want us to go, share you with others in spite of personal prejudices because you are preparing hearts to receive you. May we not be guilty of the sin of Jonah and try to withhold your grace from someone we decide doesn’t deserve you because in reality, we don’t deserve you, either. May you find us obedient today.

June 27

Amos 7:1-9:15; Hosea 1:1-3:5

When I read things authors like Amos and Hosea have written from the inspiration of God I am reminded that what God said to the material kingdom of Israel he is saying to the spiritual kingdom of his church in 2013. We are the adulteress he has taken to be his bride. We are the ones whose lives he bought to make his own. And we are the ones who should heed his warnings.

Because, like Hosea’s wife, we are inclined to revert back to our old ways. And like Amos warns, there will come a time when there will be a famine in the land. Not for food, but for the Word of the Lord. Men will search for it but they will not find it.

Many people look for signs in the Middle East for the Lord’s return. I think we need to look at ourselves. At the church. At how effective is our witness. How many people are coming to the Lord in Truth?

I think the signs announcing the Lord’s return are in the congregations where heresy is preached disguised as truth. Where people go to be entertained and come away with a feel-good message. Where the emphasis is on a worship “experience” (which is focused inward) instead of true worship which comes from the heart toward God. 

It’s in the idea that we need to disguise the church (heaven forbid our church building have a steeple or that our name identifies our denominational theology), not put pressure on people, be casual in our worship and make everyone feel welcome. Sinners should not feel welcome in our pews. If they do, there just might be a famine in the land.

Holy God, I pray for your church today. May we read and understand your Word throughout the pages of the Bible. May we heed your warnings. May we stand for the Truth, lead our neighbors and friends to the Lord, and may our Sunday worship services glorify you, convict us, and prepare us to lead our neighbors and friends to the Lord. I pray that your Holy Spirit will still find hearts open to you, that you will hold off the famine that is to come, that you will find us who know you faithful in the work you have for us to do.

June 26

Amos 2-6

God is angry with the Jewish people. Amos reminds them the lengths to which God has gone to get their attention in order to bring them back to himself. But they still disobey. They still cling to evil and despise him who tells the truth.

God is telling Israel about the destruction that is coming as a consequence for their disobedience. I know there are different interpretations of “the day of the Lord” and what that means to us in 2013. I, myself, have strong opinions. But if Amos is talking about the rapture in 5:16-20 we need to take note.

I cringe when I hear someone say, “Bring back the King”, or say that this world is just too corrupt they wish God would just come back and end it all. These people may believe that lost souls will continue to be saved once the church is removed but I’m not so sure about that.

Amos says – woe to you who long for the day of the Lord. It’s going to be so much worse than you can imagine.

I would suggest that as Christians our prayer needs to be, tarry Lord. I still haven’t reached my neighbor, my brother, my co-worker for you. There is still so much to do before you come back, dear Jesus.

Instead of throwing our hands up in defeat, maybe we should get off our couches and get out there where people need to know the Lord. There are people who will spend eternity in hell if we don’t. 

June 25

2 Kings 7:3-20, 8:7-15, 13:14-21, 24-25, 12-13, 14:15-16, 23, 17-22, 15:1-5; 2 Chronicles 25:25-28, 26:1-21; Amos 1:1-15

Elisha died. His death certainly wasn’t as dramatic as Elijah’s ascent into heaven by way of a chariot of fire. 2 Kings 13:20 says – Elisha died and was buried.

But read on. Elisha’s story doesn’t end there. The friends of a dead man threw the lifeless body into Elisha’s grave in a moment of panic. When the dead body touched Elisha’s remains, the dead man jumped up – alive.

Let me thank you for praying for me and my family yesterday. My sisters, some of my nieces, and nephews and a brother-in-law just kind of hung out together. We went to Geoff’s grave and sat there talking, laughing at memories, and praying. Then we went to my sister’s house for lasagna and talked and laughed some more. We just wanted to be together.

As I think about Geoff’s life and as I read about Elisha here in 2 Kings I am reminded that our influence continues even after God calls us home. I read Geoff’s Facebook page and see where many of his friends posted thoughts yesterday remembering Geoff and sharing the impact he continues to have on their lives. 

So I guess my question for us today is, what will you (will I) be remembered for when we no longer walk this earth? Will people remember love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control? The life you live today is making memories for someone for the future.

Read I Peter 3:8. That is engraved on Geoff’s headstone. That describes who Geoff was and continues to be in our hearts. 

May it be true of me.

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for providing exactly what we need when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Thank you for being with us as we begin year two without Geoffrey. Lord, may your people live today aware of the impact we have on those around us, for good or for bad. May the fruit of your spirit be evident in us today and every day in every situation. Please bless those who remembered my family in prayer as we continue to adjust to life without Geoff. May you be glorified. 

June 24

2 Kings 14:7-14, 5:1-7:2; 2 Chronicles 25:11-24

God continues to perform miracles through Elisha. Naaman is healed of leprosy, an axe head floats, a famine ends. But miracles don’t always happen, do they? What do you do when prayers aren’t answered like you believe they should?

My life change drastically one year ago today. A sunny Sunday afternoon turned into the darkest day of my life in an instant. My twenty-two year old nephew lost control of his pickup and was killed, leaving us with broken hearts and a grief that is unspeakable.

We had been praying for Geoff. Some of his life choices concerned us. Geoff was a Christian but ran with young people who had no interest in the Lord. We prayed God would intervene, would bring Christian friends into his life, that he would tire of that life style. His mom prayed that God would bring him through this season of life.

We didn’t get our miracle that day. God didn’t take over the controls of that truck and steer it away from the trees. 

We didn’t get our miracle that day. But Geoff did. We are living with death. Geoff is living life. We grieve. He praises God. We mourn. He rejoices.

We are a family of faith. And I can honestly say that we don’t blame God. We’re not angry that we didn’t get our miracle. We know God loves Geoff more than we ever could. But people of faith still hurt when a loved one dies. That void, that empty chair will always be there this side of heaven.

But we don’t grieve like those who have no hope. Because, one day I’ll see those sparkling big brown eyes again and I’ll see that ornery grin. My hope is built on Jesus and he promised he was preparing a place for us in heaven. Geoff is there because he knew Christ as his Savior. 

Can I ask you to pray for us today? Geoff’s mom, dad and sister, his aunts and uncle, cousins who loved him like a brother. We are hurting today. The memory of what happened one year ago is still so fresh. My prayer is that we will honor God in our time of grief. May we still choose to praise God for the privilege of having Geoff in our lives. I wish you’d known him. You would have loved him, too.

June 23

2 Chronicles 24:17-27, 25:1-10; 2 Kings 2:17-18, 4:1-44, 13:4-11, 8:1-6, 12:19-21, 14:1-6

Amaziah wanted to do the right thing. He prepared the men of Judah for battle and even paid a hundred thousand Israeli soldiers to fight with them. It cost the king about 4 tons of silver, but with the extra troops Amaziah felt Judah was unstoppable.

But God sent word to Amaziah to send the Israelite soldiers home. The nation of Israel was still disobeying God and God could not go with them into battle. In fact, even if they fought courageously God would overthrow Judah for uniting with Israel.

Amaziah said – what about all my silver? And the man of God told him, “God can give you much more than that.”

Paul warns us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14) for the same reason Amaziah was warned to separate himself from Israel’s army. It’s one thing to befriend an unsaved person with the intent of leading him to the Lord. It’s another to join forces with non-believers and find yourself compromising to do so.

Remember God can’t tolerate sin and if you hitch your wagon to a sinner God won’t bless you. And if you find yourself worried about what you’ve invested in the relationship, remember the words of the man of God in 2 Chronicles 25:9. 

The Lord can give you so much more than that.

June 22

2 Kings 11:4-21, 12:1-16, 10:28-36, 13:1-3, 22-23; 2 Chronicles 23:1-21, 24:1-16

I used to be a good clarinet player. I use the past tense because I haven’t played in years. Someone has said if you don’t use it, you lose it. I know that’s true.

As I was reading our scripture this morning, Jehoiada’s words to the Levites reminded me of my clarinet. The priest certainly wasn’t talking about music but God seemed to bring it to my mind as I read, “… all the other men are to guard what the Lord has assigned to them.” (2 Chronicles 23:6)

Now I know we need to be careful about pulling a scripture out of context. But I think God is convicting me for not guarding what he assigned to me. He gave me musical ability and I’ve squandered that away.

Can you identify the gifts and talents God blessed you with? Maybe God is asking you to guard them. Use them for his glory. He gave those things to us for a reason. Don’t miss out on the blessings that come from using them in service to our Lord.

Guard what the Lord has assigned to you.

June 21

2 Kings 9:1-37, 10:1-27, 11:1-3; 2 Chronicles 22:7-12

What do you have to do with peace? Joram asked that question of the men sent to find out what were his intentions. Then, when King Ahaziah came to Joram and asked if Joram came in peace, Joram replied: How can there be peace as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?

Are you restless or anxious today? Or do you enjoy peace in your soul? Joram would tell us that there can be no real peace as long as we entertain sin in our lives. As you read this today did God bring to mind an unconfessed sin? Can you identify an idol in your life that has taken your focus from God? Do you harbor jealousy or anger toward someone?

You cannot hope to have peace if you are holding on to sin.

I pray for peace in your life today. May God convict your heart, dear restless soul. May you confess and repent and may you know the peace that passes all understanding. May you know that sweet peace that comes from a pure heart made clean by Jesus’ blood.