Tag Archives: daily walk

Your Faith

Isaiah 7

Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm. (7:9b, NLT)

What are your thoughts? God said this to King Ahaz when the kingdom of Judah was in serious trouble from Syria and Israel. Those two nations were primed and ready to attack the Jews in Judah, and they had the manpower to do some damage.

Ahaz was understandably nervous about the situation. Maybe nervous isn’t a strong enough word. Terrified might be more accurate. The king and the people “trembled with fear like trees shaking in a storm.” (vs2b)

God saw the fear, but He also had a plan that was much bigger than the fear the people were experiencing. So He sent Isaiah to Ahaz to encourage him.

Don’t worry, Ahaz. God’s got this. You don’t need to “fear the fierce anger of those two burned-out embers.” Sure, they are plotting an attack, but it will never happen.”

Now you’d think those words from God Himself would alleviate any uncertainty Ahaz was having. He had been looking at his enemies as formidable foes, but God saw them as has-been, ineffective weaklings. Ahaz had been looking at his enemies, thinking he needed to face them in his own power. God told him they had no power!

God said this about the threatening kings:

Syria is no stronger than its capital, Damascus, and Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin. (vs 8)

Israel is not stronger than its capital, Samaria, and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah. (vs 9)

But then he said the words I quoted at the beginning of this post. The King James version says it like this:

If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.

Ahaz had a choice. He could trust God to come through like He’d promised. Or he could face his enemy in his own strength, and take his chances. On the surface it seems like a no-brainer. But I’m not so sure it was.

In our present culture we celebrate self-reliance, don’t we? We admire people who have worked hard, who’ve overcome obstacles by sheer will, and who are self-made men. Yet I think that’s been true since the garden when Adam thought he didn’t need God, that he could make up his own set of rules and do just fine.

I read a post from a fellow-blogger, Darryl Dash (DashHouse.com), entitled “In Whom Do You Trust?). He said something that has me thinking:

“Whatever we trust in place of God will eventually turn on us and destroy us.”

Money? Popularity? Relationships? Power? Self? What is it you trust for your happiness and well-being? What is it you trust for your eternity?

Pastor Dash says, “Self-reliance is deadly.” I think Adam would agree.

If you read on in this chapter of Isaiah you’ll hear God say, instead of looking toward armies to protect you, look toward a child. A virgin will be with child…

There’s the crux of the matter. If you are trusting anyone or anything other than Jesus, you’re putting your faith in burnt embers and has-been kings. If you are trusting anyone or anything other than Jesus, God cannot and will not make you strong.

But, my friend. If you let go of self and shut out all the other voices out there, if you put your faith in God alone, there is no battle you need to face alone. There is no enemy too strong for God to defeat. There need be no fear, because God’s got this.

I hope you’ll take a serious look at your faith today. You might say you have faith in God. In fact, I hope you do. But do you really have faith in God? Or do you have faith in God, plus something else. You know, just in case God doesn’t come through.

Can you have equal parts of faith in God and in yourself? What could be wrong with that?

Simply put, that’s not faith in God.

And unless your faith is firm, God cannot make you stand firm.

Who Are Your Friends?

2 Chronicles 24

What kinds of people do you surround yourself with? The old saying, “You are who your friends are,” is true.

Ben Franklin, in his Poor Richard’s Almanac wrote: “If you lie with dogs, you get up with fleas.”

Studies show that people who hang out together eventually adopt each other’s clothing styles, opinions, hand and facial gestures, and even voice intonation. I bet you’ve noticed some of that in siblings. Do you recognize it in your group of friends? It’s probably there.

When King Joash hung out with Jehoiada the priest, he did amazing things for the Lord. The people restored the Temple under Joash’s leadership, and true worship of God was once again filling those walls.

But it seems the minute Jehoiada died, Joash moved on. He surrounded himself with the “leaders of Judah” (vs 17) and reinstated idolatry. The nation would suffer God’s judgment for that.

We ought to follow Jesus’ example. He went to sinners, ate with them in their homes, touched them. But He didn’t park there. He surrounded Himself with believers, those who had left their old way of life to follow Him.

Jesus commands us to GO and make disciples. But Scripture also tells us to be separate from unbelievers, to not neglect the fellowship with believers. We are told to join together as children of God so that we are ready to venture out into the world to share Jesus with the lost.

But we aren’t to look or sound like the world, not to accept or copy their sin.

I believe if we spend more time surrounded by non-believers, we run into the danger of looking and thinking like them. It’s human nature.

So again, what kinds of people do you surround yourself with? If your closest friends aren’t born again Christians, if you aren’t spending quality time in church and in small groups studying God’s Word with friends who will hold you accountable, you need to do better. Choose friends better.

You can pet a flea infested dog, you can feed it, and not get fleas. But if you lie down with a flea infested dog, you’ll get up with those little buggers on you.

And there’s a price to pay for that.

All or Nothing

Reading 2 Kings 10 today, I wondered why Jehu went through with sacrificing the burnt offering to Baal. I mean, I get why he called the prophets and worshipers of Baal to the temple with the promise of a big corporate worship service. Get them all in one place, then kill them all while you have them cornered.

But why go through the worship before destroying everything Baal?

Then I read on and it made sense. Jehu never intended to actually give up Baal. Oh, he obeyed God. He destroyed the idolators and their idols. But Jehu kept Baal in his heart.

He mostly obeyed. But mostly obeying is disobedience.

In fact, Scripture tells us “he refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit.” (10:31)

It’s possible to look like an obedient servant of God, to go to church every Sunday, sing in the choir, maybe teach Sunday School. It’s possible to abstain from alcohol, show love to your neighbor, and say, “Praise Jesus” twenty times a day, and still be disobedient.

God’s not fooled by what we do or say. God sees our hearts. You can read your Bible every day, and be as disobedient as an atheist if you are refusing to totally submit your heart to the Lord.

You can’t mostly obey, and think it balances the scale. It doesn’t. True Christianity – the heart that God approves – is all in. It has to be all or nothing.

Perspective

2 Kings 3

It was just water.

The Jews were heading toward battle and had run out of water for themselves and their horses. Of course, their first reaction was to blame God for “calling” them to war just to kill them.

God delivered them anyway. And without any rain, God filled the valley with water enough to satisfy their need.

Here’s what struck me this morning. The Moabites were positioned on the other side of the valley. When the rising sun reflected off the water, it looked red and the enemy thought – blood!! “Those stupid Jews just killed each other. Let’s go collect the plunder!”

But the Jewish armies weren’t dead. They were armed and ready for battle and soundly defeated the unsuspecting Moabites who’d mistakenly thought they had won.

Christians and non-Christians are on opposite sides of the valley. We look at the events of life, the state of our nation, our health, our struggles, and the world from different perspectives. Non-Christians can see something as a victory, not realizing it will end in defeat. Non-Christians can fight the battle by their own logic and strength, but they will end up looking foolish when they do not win.

We Christians know that a battle is not the war. Things might be hard, we might lose a battle with evil here and there. But the war is already won. Jesus wins. And as His followers, we are on the winning side.

So, on which side of the valley do you stand? What is your perspective on the events of life? I pray your feet are firmly planted on the side of God, according to His Word the Bible, and through the blood of Jesus. Because, my friend, that is the only winning side. I don’t care if you’re seeing something else from a different perspective.

What Have You Done To Me?

1 Kings 17:8-24

When I think about the prophet Elijah, certain pictures come to mind: ravens, a soggy altar on fire, the starving widow, etc. Today I read about the miracle of the flour and oil in the hands of that widow. During a time of famine in the land, the little bit of flour and oil she had when she met Elijah never ran out. She had enough every day to feed herself, her son, and the prophet. Every day she was reminded of God’s power and provision. Every day she had tangible proof that God is greater than her need.

What rejoicing must have gone on in that house!

Until her son got sick and died. How quickly she seems to have turned on Elijah and, in turn Elijah’s God.

“What have you done to me?” she asked. “Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?”

When God shows up, answers prayer, reveals Himself in tangible ways, it’s easy to get on board. It’s easy to believe in a good miracle-working God who meets our needs, then goes beyond to shower us with blessing after blessing.

But what happens when disaster strikes? The death of a loved one. A cancer diagnosis. The loss of a job or a relationship. What happens when we suddenly find ourselves drowning in sorrow or uncertainty?

“What have you done to me, God?”

Now, I am not assuming the widow’s question was a sin or showed lack of faith. Elijah doesn’t scold her for it. It may have been a natural question to ask considering the circumstances. We don’t know her heart.

But we know God raised her son to life again. The death of that boy gave God the opportunity to reveal that even death has no power over Him. Talk about a tangible object lesson!

So the next time trouble comes, ask. Go ahead and let God know your sorrow, your frustration, your questions. Then follow it up with, “Now, what do you want me to do about this, God? What do you want me to do, to say, to be so that You can be glorified?”

James 1 tells us to count it a joy to face trials of any kind. Read what the apostle says about that if you don’t believe me.

Paul, in Philippians 1 tells us he welcomed imprisonment because his troubles advanced the Gospel. Again, read it for yourself.

These men knew God can use the worst possible situation to pour out his greatest blessings. And, when we ask, He gives us the ability to do and be what He intends for our good, and in order to bring Him glory.

What have you done to me, God? Let’s do this!

A Sad Tale

Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, I Kings

I can’t read the Song of Solomon or the book of Ecclesiastes and not be sad at how Solomon turned out. 1 Kings tells us he loved God when he first became king of Israel, and I have no doubt he did. But 1 Kings 3 tells us Solomon loved God, BUT…

We find him offering sacrifices to God on the pagan high places. He may have loved God sincerely, but he wanted to worship God in his own way. He loved God but he wanted things the way he wanted them.

Like marrying an Egyptian woman, expressly forbidden by God. I believe Solomon loved this woman, especially if she is the main character in the book of Song of Solomon. His marriage to her even put the nation of Israel at peace with Egypt. That had to be a good thing, right? I mean, who doesn’t want world peace?

The problem was Solomon’s way wasn’t God’s way. Solomon’s way was disobedience. And God takes a dim view on disobedience, no matter who you are, and no matter what your intentions are. Solomon’s way led him down a path toward despair and destruction. It couldn’t lead anywhere else.

What started out as a hopeful reign for Solomon over Israel ended up with pagan worship and a king’s heart turned away from God. It ended up with the nation of Israel split in two, with both sides at each other’s throats for generations that followed.

It’s such a sad tale. It didn’t have to be that way.

If we want life to mean something, if we want to walk with God and be blessed by Him, we have to live life according to God’s way. Anything else is like chasing after the wind.

Why Is There So Much Evil In The World?

Proverbs 14:34

Our nation is reeling in the aftermath of pure evil, the vicious murder of innocent children and their teachers, the violent deaths of people in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, California, Arizona, Illinois, Colorado, Florida, all since May 20. (Google recent mass shootings and see for yourself. I just included states where there were deaths. And I included each state only once, even though some states were attacked more during this time period. It’s truly awful).

It’s not just gun violence. How many innocent children were murdered by abortion in the same time period? We in this nation are facing food shortages as a result of attacks on our food supply (not just human attackers, but accidents as well). Families are finding it hard to afford the basics needed to care for their families. The price of gas is out of control.

And we ask, “Why? Who is to blame? It must be the guns. It must be the schools, the government, Putin, and probably Trump.”

Solomon gives us the “why” in just a few words:

Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people. (Proverbs 14:34)

What is happening in our nation is a disgrace. But the cause of it, the people responsible for the rampant evil is you and me. It’s our godliness that can give us the ability to change the present course this nation is on. God will not bless a nation that turn its back on Him.

Unless you and I, unless the Church in America, make godliness our priority, we will continue to be a disgrace. And if you think it’s bad now…

Character

Proverbs 8-13

Wisdom. Integrity. Honesty. Discipline. Trust. A good work ethic. Good sense. Truth.

All these, and more, are mentioned in Solomon’s proverbs and ought to be present in every believer.

Yesterday in Sunday School, we talked about the fact that Paul used himself as an example of how to live this Christian life. “Imitate me,” he said in 2 Thessalonians 3. Paul had nothing to hide, and confidently put himself in a fishbowl.

Could I do that? Could you? Or are we trying to hide a tiny sin that would expose us as hypocrites?

The book of Proverbs reminds me that my character is as important as my testimony. Maybe more so as I represent my Savior to a world that needs Him.

Build On, Lord!

Psalm 127

Unless the Lord builds the house, the work of the builders is wasted.

We are about a month away from moving into our new church building on the north end of this island. To say we are excited is an understatement.

If I would tell you the many ways God has shown His hand in the twenty years since our church was formed, you would be amazed. We can see His direction and blessings at every turn. Just since we broke ground eighteen months ago (yes, during COVID), there has been one delay after another, the business building we owned and could not sell for years finally sold, we were faced with price increases and materials shortages. So many things that seemed like obstacles to us, turned out to be avenues for God to do His thing! And did He ever! We are almost ready to open our doors nearly debt-free.

It’s going to be a glorious day!

But our prayer is that this will be the LORD’S HOUSE in every aspect. We know He has built the structure. But more important is the building of the Church, those of us who will worship Him there.

The “building” has only begun.

May each of us allow God to continue teaching, leading, convicting, forgiving, growing each of us who call Frederica Baptist our church home. May our hearts be yielded to His will, our efforts be to His glory. May the Lord continue to build this house so that our work is not wasted.

He has been so faithful in bringing us this far. He will be faithful as we move ahead in our new digs. May He find us faithful.

Build on, Lord!

Daddy, Help

Psalm 86

We are told that we are powerful and capable individuals who can do anything we set our minds to. It’s a great thought. But it’s a lie. And I bet most of you, if you’re honest, would say it’s a lie, too.

Because we aren’t all that. We were never intended to be all that. We were created to need, and receive from God. The truth is, the most empowering thing an individual can do is to submit to God, admit a need, worship him, and receive His power to meet the need. There is something very freeing about admitting we need God.

Like a 2 1/2 foot child stretching, reaching, straining to get to the cookie jar on the kitchen counter. No amount of stretching is going to gain those extra inches he needs to reach his goal, no matter how much he believes in himself.

But let that child say, “Daddy, help!” and that father will take that child into his arms, lift him up, and place him in a position to open the cookie jar. And, more than likely, that daddy who loves his child, will hug that little one and give him a smooch.

Psalm 86:1-7 did that for me today. It reminds me my Heavenly Father is standing at the ready to forgive, to show mercy and love, to make me happy and help me in times of trouble. I just need to call out to Him.

Now, I know my example is imperfect. You might point out the child could pull a chair over to the counter and crawl up there himself to get to the cookie jar. Possibly. (especially if your name is Caleb and you are my great-nephew). But that child would miss out on that special moment with his daddy, the hug, the love expressed by his father who is bigger and much more capable than he.

And, if we’re pointing out the possibility the kid could crawl up there himself, we could also point out he could fall. The tragedy of that is, there is no need to go through the pain of a fall when all he had to do was ask his Daddy for help in the first place.

I hope, that if you are going through a difficult time right now and you think you have it in you to get through it on your own, think again. You don’t have to. There is no intrinsic value in sucking it up when God is standing there waiting for you to call on Him. And, my friend, the benefit of receiving His help goes way beyond whatever you are going through at the moment.

You have a Father who loves you. Allow Him to pick you up in His capable arms and BE the answer to your problem. I’m praying that today you will pray:

“Daddy, help”