Monthly Archives: June 2019

June 30; Hear It

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

We’ve already established that Ahaz was an evil king. Yet in the chapters we read today, God inspired the prophet Isaiah to go to Ahaz and give him a word of encouragement. And, to prove God was true to His word, Isaiah told Ahaz he could ask for a sign – any sign – and God would do it.

Ahaz replied, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”

Sounds rather pious, doesn’t it? Well, neither Isaiah nor God were impressed.

The truth is, God is always giving signs to prove His existence, His power, His Son. Some people flat out say, like Ahaz, “I don’t want to hear it.” Period.

I see this attitude in tons of literature written, and the multitude of “experts” on TV who attempt to disprove God, or to get around God, or to make ourselves God. I see it in the lives of people who live like there is no God. Yet God continues to reveal Himself day after day after day.

I bet the sun rose where you are this morning. I bet your heart is beating, that your lungs are filled with oxygen. I bet the tide came in sometime today, went out, and will come in again just like it did yesterday. And I bet, if you let yourself, every time you held a newborn baby, you recognized the amazing work of God with awe and wonder.

Did you know it was to Ahaz that God inspired Isaiah to pen the famous prophesy about the coming of Jesus?

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel… For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…

That was written about 500 years before Jesus’ birth. That and so many other prophesies written and fulfilled concerning the Messiah prove without a doubt God is who He says He is, and that Jesus is the Son. For those of us who know Him, we read these prophesies and our hearts soar, our love for Him overflows.

Please don’t be one who refuses to accept the signs, or who rejects His word. My prayer for all of us today is that we will not only WANT to hear it, we will look for it in nature, in the face of a loved one, in the peace that comes from His presence, and the overwhelming joy of sins forgiven through Jesus’ blood.

Oh, He’s out there. He’s throwing out sign after sign to get our attention. Don’t ignore it.

Hear it. Hear Him.

 

 

June 29; Are You Willing To Take The Chance?

2 Kings 15:6-7, 17-29, 32-38; I Chronicles 5:11-17, 22-26; 2 Chronicles 26:22-23, 27:1-9, 28:1-4; Isaiah 6:1-13

Uzziah and his son Jothan, who ruled after him, were both good kings. The Bible tells us they did what was right in the eyes of the Lord – sort of. It seems both rulers turned a blind eye to the pagan worship that took place on the high places, while at the same time they themselves worshiped God in the temple.

We don’t know what prompted them to allow the Jewish people to worship idols. We just know they did. Maybe, like so many people today, they thought it’s ok for people to believe what they want to believe. Maybe they thought there was no harm in the worship of idols because idolaters are good people, and sincere in their worship. Live and let live, you know.

Maybe they felt their faith in the True God was so strong, idolatry couldn’t touch them, that they could exist along with the sin of idolatry without it having any effect on their faith. They were wrong if that’s what they thought.

Jothan died, and his son Ahaz became king. Ahaz became a full-blown idolater, who even threw his own son into the fire as a sacrifice to a pretend god. Grandpa Uzziah and Daddy Jothan might have successfully escaped idolatry, but the next generation was deeply involved in the worship of lies.

Parents, you have got to be training up your children in the fear and adoration of the one and only God. You can’t assume your children will automatically follow your footsteps. I’ve heard that some parents think their children have the right to choose for themselves who or what they will believe, so they don’t talk about spiritual things or take their children to church.

Oh, your children have the responsibility to choose for themselves as soon as they understand sin and its consequence, and what Jesus died to give them. But are you going to allow someone else, the media, Hollywood, Oprah or Joel Osteen, or even the guy down the street guide your children in spiritual things?

That’s your job. It’s your responsibility and privilege to talk about the Truth, to live that Truth, and to guide your children in the Truth. Are you willing to take the chance that your kids will just somehow figure things out on their own?

You are taking a chance with their eternal souls. Is that a chance you are willing to take?

June 28; We Are The World

Hosea 4-5; 2 Kings 14:24-29, 15:8-12,13-16; Jonah

The book of Jonah is really two stories in one. The first is about our God who loves the world. It’s about a God who does not want anyone dying without Him, who wants all people everywhere to be saved, even those we might think are unworthy or beyond hope. It’s a story about our amazing God who goes to great lengths to draw all of us to Him, a story about God who forgives the sin of anyone who repents.

The second story is about our God who loves me. You. Jonah. Every one of His children. It’s about a God who doesn’t ignore our sins, who doesn’t throw a blanket of forgiveness over us once we come to Him. It’s about our loving God who patiently reveals our sins to us, so that we can repent and have fellowship with Him restored. We might try to run from God, to try to do something “Christian” even though we know He’s asking us to do something else. We might sleep while we should be praying. We might pout, or complain. But God is there, whispering truth in our ears, patiently waiting for each of us to swallow our pride, and run into His open arms.

The book of Jonah is about God who loves the world, and who loves individuals like you and me. Every time I think of John 3:16 I know I can substitute my name in there. Yes, it’s true that God so loved the world. But it is also true that God so loved Connie that He gave His Son Jesus to die in my place.

God so loved the world… and we are the world!

June 27; Not For Sale

Amos 7-9; Hosea 1-3

Amos did not have a college degree. He wasn’t a scholar or an authority on spiritual things. He was a shepherd, and we know tending sheep wasn’t exactly a career choice that was held in high esteem in those days. Yet God  spoke to this humble, plain, unassuming man and gave him an important word for Israel. That same word reaches to us centuries later.

The word is this: God is not fooled by religious activities. In fact, I don’t believe God even likes religion. God says the religious people, His chosen people, will prostitute themselves.  And He promises to destroy them.

We might go through the motions of religion by going to church, reciting prayers, giving of our finances, and wearing Jesus’ name like a get-out-of-jail-free-card by calling ourselves Christians, while at the same time selling ourselves to the world by compromise, by participating in things that dishonor God, or simply by harboring bitterness or hatred, and having a depraved thought life. We might look religious to those around us, but the reality is we are nothing more than prostitutes.

When I read God’s Word I realize He’s not fooled by my outward appearance. He knows my heart. And I want my heart to be totally, sincerely His. When the world knocks at my door and wants me to join in, when sin entices me to compromise, I want to slam the door in its face. Let it be known my heart is…

Not For Sale.

 

June 26; Sin is Sin

Amos 2-6

It might be tempting to believe that when I give my heart to the Lord, confess and repent of sin, and accept God’s grace, my sins (past, present, and future) are forgiven. Israel seemed to think that because God “chose” them, they could live like they wanted to live. God tells His people that is not the case.

All sin – even their’s- comes with a death penalty. “For three sins of Israel, even for four I will not turn back my wrath.” (2:6)

I hope everyone reading this post today is a Christian. I trust all of you will read these chapters in Amos today and allow God to speak to you. And I hope you take sin as seriously as God does.

God’s forgiveness of your sin and mine, our position as children in His family through the blood of Jesus, is not a license to sin. He hates the lie you told as much as he hates the rape of a child or the defiance of an atheist. He hates it.

And God is very honest to say there are consequences for sin in this lifetime – and in eternity.

May each of us recognize the sins in our lives and be quick to throw them under the Blood, to ask God to forgive, to turn from that sin never to repeat it. And let’s be as quick to thank God for His promise to forgive us when we ask Him to.

Sin is sin. Even yours.

June 25; A Good News Day

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

The lepers who were forced to live outside the city gates were starving, as were the people living inside the city because the famine was great. To make matters worse, the Aramean army had set up camp outside the city ready to attack.

Until God.

When the enemy army heard the sound of a great army approaching with chariots and horses, they dropped everything and fled. They knew they had no defense against such a great army. The thing is, they didn’t. What they heard was the sound of God’s army.

The lepers had given up hope. Not knowing what had transpired in the Aramean camp, they decided to throw themselves on the mercy of the enemy. They figured they were going to die anyway.

When they walked into the enemy camp – no one was there! The soldiers had disappeared. So the lepers ate the food and loaded themselves with the treasures that were left. They’d hit the mother-load!

Then they said to each other:

We’re not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves… Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace. (2 Kings 7:9)

The entire city was saved from the famine that day.

Dear Christian, today is the day of Good News! God has given us everything we need for this life and eternity. We have the treasures of heaven – Jesus Himself. We’ve hit the mother-load, and it’s not right to keep this Good News to ourselves.

Let’s shout it from the rooftops. Let’s talk about it over coffee. Let’s whisper it in the ear of a hurting friend.

Jesus saves!

This is the day of Good News!

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.