Monthly Archives: June 2019

June 24; The Truth Hurts

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

The truth really does hurt sometimes. Especially if the truth reveals a sin or proves us wrong. It’s like looking in the mirror first thing in the morning. You just don’t like what’s looking back at you.

So often in the Bible we read about God’s prophets proclaiming the truth, then being persecuted for it. But what spoke to me today as I read God’s Word is that the men of God didn’t back down or change their message to make life easier for themselves. The truth was more important than their comfort, or acceptance, or even their lives.

We might look in that mirror in the morning and throw it crashing to the ground. But breaking a mirror doesn’t change what that mirror revealed. You still have that sleepy morning look. You just don’t have to look at it.

Being angry at God, or throwing out His Word doesn’t change what is revealed there, either. That sin God laid a finger on is still a sin. And until you repent of it, you will pay, whether or not you want to admit it or not.

Dear Ones, we need to know what the Truth is. We need to know what the Bible says. And we need to keep proclaiming it, even if it makes us uncomfortable, or results in persecution.

Because the Truth also heals. It is life-altering, wonderfully beautiful, and worth any grief we might receive in sharing it. God hates sin. God loves sinners. Sin comes with a death penalty. Jesus died. Grace is ours for the taking.

Speak the Truth, even if it hurts. Let’s be as faithful as the prophets we read about today, no matter what.

June 23; As Surely As I Live

2 Chronicles 24:17-25a, 25:1-40; 2 Kings 12:17-21, 4:1-44, 13:4-11, 8:1-2

It spoke to me this morning when I read about the Shunamite woman. She had treated Elisha with kindness, and as a result, God blessed her with a son. But years later, the boy died suddenly. The Shunamite woman, without hesitation, went straight to Elisha.

When Elisha heard her story, that her son had died, he immediately sent a servant with specific instructions. Then the woman said this to the man of God:

As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.

So often we hear of people facing hardship and loss and their response is to get angry with God, and walk away from Him. The woman had the opposite response.

And that’s the response I want to have myself. Whether good times or bad, I never want to leave God. I’ve lived long enough to have gone through some hard times. I’ve had loss, and faced giants. I can honestly say I’ve never been tempted to walk away from my Lord. In fact, I will say I was probably the closest to Him during those hard times.

As surely as You live, I will not leave You, Lord.

June 22; Sitting On A Fortune

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

Young King Joash gave a directive to the priests. Go and collect the taxes from the people in Judah, and use the money to repair the temple. Then he waited. And waited. Repairs were not being made.

He went again to the priests and asked them why they weren’t using the tax money to repair the temple like he’d told them to. The result of this meeting was the temple repairs.

I’m not sure why it took so long for the priests to get the job done. Maybe they were hoping the stock market would make an upward turn or something. They were sitting on a fortune. Just sitting. I guess the “why” doesn’t matter.

I’m not about to criticize the priests, because I’m not always so quick to get started on things God asks of me, either. “Go into all the world…,” and I can’t even walk across the street. “Love one another…,” and I can hold back from showing love to people I think don’t deserve it. “Be holy…, come out from among them and be separate…, offer your body as a living sacrifice..,” and I continue to blend in with the world.

So many things God has commanded come to mind right now. And I realize I am sitting on a fortune without using it for what it is intended. I have Jesus. I have forgiveness through His precious blood. I have eternity in paradise. I have the Truth, and sometimes I just sit on it.

“Why” doesn’t matter. But now that I realize my sin, what am I going to do? The answer to that question matters a lot!

 

June 21; That’s Harsh

2 Kings 9:1-11:3; 2 Chronicles 22:7-12

Jehu obeyed God, as hard as it might have been. Every person in Ahab’s family from the oldest to the youngest was executed. All the priests of Baal were also killed. These were enemies of God, and they had to be eliminated. Sin had to be removed at all cost.

It’s tempting to think God through Jehu is too harsh, the penalty for being related to Ahab too severe. But that’s because we don’t understand how much God hates sin, no matter how small or how innocent we think the sin may be.

God abhors sin. God cannot exist where sin is; not in a nation, or a heart. Until we see sin through God’s eyes we will allow God’s enemy to live.

I’m certainly not talking about killing people. Jesus died so sin can be eliminated through His own blood, so no one ever has to die for sin ever again. But in order to receive the forgiveness Jesus bought there on the cross, we have to make that choice and accept it.

We have to put sin to death in our own lives, sever relationships if necessary, turn off the TV and computers, put down that glass or that bag of chips, forgive…

Hear God say to us that He is deathly serious about sin in all shapes and sizes. Hear Him say He will not tolerate your sin or mine. Hear Him as He shows us in His Word how He views sin, and how He deals with sin. His own Son died, took the penalty for every sin we’ve ever committed. God is that serious about sin.

It is harsh. You might think it’s too harsh. But you aren’t God. And the truth of the matter is, that harsh penalty was paid by Jesus on your behalf. I pray you accept it, embrace Him, and look at sin through His eyes.

June 20; Talk About It

I Kings 22:50; 2 Kings 2:1-25, 3:4-47, 8:16-29; 2 Chronicles 21:4-20, 22:1-6

God was going to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, and it seems everyone knew it. Wherever Elisha and Elijah went, prophets would give Elisha the news as though Elisha didn’t know what was happening himself. And Elisha’s response was always:

I don’t want to talk about it.

Sometimes things happen in our lives that are hard. Sometimes the signs are there that things are going to get worse up ahead. And sometimes we just don’t want to talk about it. What good would talking about it do, anyway? Right?

The Bible doesn’t record much of the conversation between the two prophets as they made their way to what would be Elijah’s last moment on earth. I hope as they walked that road together they said everything that needed to be said between them. I hope Elisha asked the questions that were on his mind, that Elijah gave his protege last words of wisdom and encouragement. I even hope they talked about what they were feeling.

The men knew God was going to come for Elijah, so they had plenty of time to say the things they wanted to say. But that isn’t always the case, is it? Sometimes we aren’t at the bedside of a loved one slowly dying. Sometimes we have no warning, no people telling us God is going to come for our loved one today. Sometimes our opportunity to say those things on our hearts is gone forever.

We don’t know for sure if Elisha took advantage of the knowledge that Elijah was going to heaven that day. The only thing we know for sure is that he didn’t want to talk about it with the other prophets. I only hope Elisha and Elijah didn’t waste the chance to say to each other what was on their minds and hearts.

I hope the same for each of us. Are there things you need to say to someone today? We don’t know if they will breathe their last breath before the day is done. We don’t know how life will change today, maybe a irreversible change. Let me encourage all of us to make that visit or pick up that phone and share what’s on our hearts while we still have the opportunity.

And may I suggest that you talk about your feelings, too. Those can be the most difficult conversations because it leaves us raw, exposed, vulnerable. But refusing to talk about how we are feeling can cause lasting damage, much more devastating than the immediate pain of getting those feelings out.

If you find it impossible to talk to that person about the things on your heart, and how you feel about it, find someone you can talk to. We need to say the words sometimes. We need to identify the feelings and admit to them. Ignoring them, or denying them, or minimizing them is never the answer.

Above all, say those things to God in prayer. I have found that when I just lay it out there, when I actually whisper those words of frustration, anger, confusion, bitterness, sadness, or whatever I’m feeling at the moment, brings a bit of release. I’m not bearing that burden on my own. The burden doesn’t always go away. But there is comfort in knowing Someone has put a bit of the load on His own shoulders.

What do you need to say to someone today? Do it. Talk about it.

June 19; Avoiding God

Psalms 49, 83, 91; I Kings 1:2-18, 3:1-3, 22:47-49; 2 Chronicles 20: 35-37

God, through the prophet Elijah, asked King Ahaziah, “Is it because there is no God in Israel for you to consult that you have sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?”

I think God is probably asking the same of us. Is it because there is no God in the USA for us to consult that we have to consult psychologists, scientists, historians, intellectuals, government officials, the media, and send out surveys to determine our direction and define our truth?

Ahaziah died because of his attempt to avoid God.

Just saying.

June 18; Reason to Praise

I Kings 1:1, 22:36-40; 2 Chronicles 19:1-11, 20:1-30; Psalms 46-48

When Jehoshaphat and the people praised God, amazing things happened. They were up against a formidable foe and didn’t know what to do except give it to God. And that’s exactly what needed to happen.

Sometimes we may find ourselves at a place where we don’t know what to do, either. I think we can take a lesson from Jehoshaphat: Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.

The psalms are full of reasons to praise God in every and all circumstances.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. (Psalm 47:7)

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise. (Psalm 48:1a)

We have reason to praise just for the very fact that God is Who He says He is, that He is on the throne, He is good, our helper, our strength, our Savior. He alone deserves our praise.