Tag Archives: faithfulness

2 Kings 11-13; As His Father Did

As we are introduced to one king after another in the northern and southern kingdoms of the Jewish nation, we are told whether they were good kings or bad. And very often we find out whether or not they followed in their fathers’ footsteps.

There are a lot of things about my own dad I would like to exhibit in my life. His quick wit and generosity, his love of God’s creation and his sense of adventure. But there are also some things I don’t want to model, like his quick temper and critical spirit.

When I take inventory of myself, I see a lot of Dad in me, both the good and the bad. It makes me stop and consider what influence I am having on the little ones in my life. Would it be a good thing or a bad thing if they did as Aunt Connie did?

One of my nephews has a birthday today. He’s a daddy himself, with four precious children who will have to decide one day whether they want to  follow in his footsteps or not. I hope they choose to be like their father who loves God and follows Him unashamedly. Happy birthday, Ryan. I have tears of joy in my eyes as I remember the past thirty something years, watching you grow into the man you are today. I wonder what kind of influence I have been on you, your brothers and sister, your cousins, and now the next generation of people I love with all my heart.

When I read about Elisha here in 2 Kings I see the kind of influence I’d like to have myself. Elisha was a godly man, a man who never compromised his faith, a man everyone knew as a man of God. And when Elisha died, his influence didn’t die with him. Touching Elisha’s bones brought life.

I have Steve Green’s “Find Us Faithful” running through my head.

You see, this life I’m living isn’t just about me. In fact, it’s not about me at all. As a Jesus follower, my life is about Him, and the impact I have on my world in His Name. It’s living a life that would inspire my loved ones to live lives doing what is “right in the eyes of the Lord” because they saw that in me.

Even after I am gone, I want the fire of my devotion to continue to light their way, my footprints to lead them to believe in Jesus as their Savior.

I hope you’ll go to You Tube and listen to “Find Us Faithful” today. May it be the prayer of your heart, as it is the prayer of mine. And may we live lives that would please God if our children did as their father or mother or aunt did.

My dear Heavenly Father, thank you for my parents and the influence they still have on me today, years after they’ve gone to live with you. God, I want to be gentle like my mom, to pray like she prayed, to love You like she loved You. I want to be self-sacrificing like Dad was, and to be uncompromising in my belief the way he stood firm. God, I want my love for You to translate into something my nieces and nephews want for themselves. And I pray my sweet great-nieces and nephews will see Jesus in me, and be drawn to You. Find me faithful, Lord. Find us all faithful.

Numbers 13-14; Turn Down The Volume

When I was a middle school teacher I found that, when the kids in my classroom started to get noisy, the louder I spoke, the louder they got. If I tried to teach over their chatter, the noise level rose (and so did my frustration level).

It’s like that with arguments, isn’t it? Voice level rises, and anger escalates.

Ten spies came back from checking out the Promised Land, and threw fear into the people. I can almost see the Jews getting caught up in the frenzy. So rather than trying to out-shout them, Moses and Aaron fell to the ground, face down in front of the people gathered there. Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes, a sign of distress and grief.

That got the people’s attention.

Several of my closest friends at the middle school and I had our breaks scheduled at the same time. Usually, unless there were papers to grade, lessons to tweak, or parents to talk to, we would meet in the teacher’s lounge for a cup of coffee and a few laughs. Most of the time five or six of us would sit around the table and talk about recipes, husbands, and TV shows, for twenty minutes. It was a much needed break from our day.

Two of the women were friends in school and out. They socialized together with their husbands, and enjoyed a special friendship. Most of the time, they would join the rest of us. But occasionally, they would sit together on the couch, heads together, and whisper about something they didn’t want the rest of us to hear.

What do you do when someone whispers? Do your ears perk up, your senses heighten? Well, mine did. I could be in the middle of a conversation with another teacher at the table, but as soon as my friends on the couch began to whisper, I found myself trying to listen to them, too.

I couldn’t help myself. The whispering got my attention, even if I really didn’t care what they are saying.

I got to thinking about how I share Christ with others. Do I stand on a street corner and shout “Repent! The end is near!”? Do I take my Bible and hit them over the head with it? Do I talk about Jesus, or do I live His love? Do I listen to my friend, instead of rushing in with answers? Do I argue? Debate? Lecture?

Moses and Aaron fell on their faces, rather than trying to out-shout the crowd. I think I can learn a lesson from this. Oh, if you read on you’ll find out that some of the people didn’t heed what Moses had to say. They ended up facing God’s judgment in spite of his warning.

But at least Moses got their attention, and was faithful to say what God wanted him to say. I want that to be true about me, too.

So, maybe I should learn to turn down the volume. Someone said, “if you want people to hear you… whisper.” I want my life to whisper, “Jesus.”

I’m thinking that, if I want someone to hear my testimony, I should get together with them in a quiet place. I should demonstrate my love for God by quietly serving, by reaching out to them in friendship.

Then, I want to be ready to give an answer for the hope I have in my Savior. I just need to get their attention first so that they’ll ask me to.

 

 

 

September 15 – Tell It Like It Is

Daniel 4-6

Every so often you hear about people who honor God in a very public way. A high school athlete who bends a knee after scoring a touchdown, a MLB player who crosses himself before his at-bat, a singer who thanks God after receiving an award, a politician who stands for the Truth of Scripture, or Christians beheaded because they will not denounce Jesus.

Daniel has me asking myself the lengths I’d go to proclaim the God of the Bible. He stood before kings and boldly told them the truth:

“Nebuchadnezzar, you are going to lose your mind.”

“Belshazzar, God is going to rip your kingdom from you.”

“Darius, I will never worship you.”

So how serious am I about taking a stand when someone offers an opinion that is different than what I know to be true according to God’s Word? Do I say something or let it ride? When I have an opportunity to share the Gospel, do I wimp out? Am I tolerant of false doctrine, of anti-Christ policies, of sin? Or can I find the strength to tell it like it is, no matter what others might think of me, or do to me?

God, I want Daniel’s unwavering faith, his boldness to tell the Truth regardless of what it might cost him. Give me a chance to share You with someone today. And may You find me willing to take Your lead, to be Your voice, and to take a stand for the blessing of knowing You.

August 26 – God’s Weapon Of War

Jeremiah 51-52

Listen to what God says to His people concerning His battle plan:

You are my war-club, my weapon of war; and with you I shatter nations, and with you I destroy kingdoms. With you… and with you… and with you… (51:20 ff)

God has chosen to fight this war against our enemy, Satan, along side of us. He is not up there pushing buttons on a game system controller. He wants you and me to go into battle with Him.

Are you a sharpened sword? A sturdy shield? An obedient soldier? This is war. God has a battle plan that includes you and me. We are His weapons of war as we share the Gospel, as we live lives set apart, as we study and pray and go and stand for the Truth of Scripture.

Don’t minimize your role in this. God is depending on each of us to be faithful.

“And with you I shatter…” He says.

Could God defeat Satan without us? Sure. But He has devised a battle plan that depends on our faithfulness.

May faithfulness describe all of us who consider ourselves His people. May we be God’s effective weapons of war.

August 22 – Yet

Habakkuk

These days it’s easy to be fearful of what lies ahead for planet Earth. The persecution of Christians is seen in parts of the world and, the signs are such to believe it will happen here. We read about a child who is strapped with a bomb, going to a wedding and blowing himself and 51 people up as an act of terrorism. We see sin celebrated like we’ve never seen before, and Jesus reduced to just another religious leader.

How long is God going to tolerate our depravity before He punishes us? How long before we realize God’s wrath?

Habakkuk was fearful about his future, too. In 3:16 he said he had butterflies in his stomach, his lip quivered, he felt sick because he found himself waiting for “the day of distress” when God would send people to invade them. The signs were there. God’s wrath was inevitable. And Habakkuk was scared to death.

But Habakkuk ends his book with a determination I want for myself. He says no matter what happens, if the vines quit producing fruit, if there is no food, if the livestock is cut off and no cattle are in the stalls:

Yet I will exult the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength… (3:18-19a) (emphasis mine)

I don’t know what is around the corner for us here in 2016. I could make myself crazy worrying about it. But Habakkuk has a better idea.

I’m going to praise God every day. I will rejoice in the fact that my sins are forgiven and I walk with God. I will allow Him to be my strength and to direct my path. I will be faithful to Him no matter what, and will share the Gospel until I have no breath left.

That might not be easy, depending on what lies ahead. But, with Habakkuk I want to say no matter how bad it gets…

YET I will exult the Lord.

August 21 – Destroying The Temple

2 Kings 24-25; 2 Chronicles 36

Solomon’s Temple is destroyed. The building burned, the pillars broken in pieces, all the gold and silver utensils stolen. That beautiful place where God had made His earthly home was nothing but ruin.

How could this happen? Was God powerless before King Nebuchadnessar?

Hardly!

The destruction of God’s dwelling place was actually a slow process. It started almost the minute Solomon had completed it. Over the years, sin had takin its toll on the temple and on God’s people. One king after another did “evil in the sight of the Lord.” The Jews began worshiping other gods. God’s own people were the ones responsible for what happened to the Temple more than the Babylonian king.

I am reminded, as a heart where God dwells on this earth, to protect this temple, to obey God, to worship Him only, serve Him gladly. God’s will is that this temple stand until He calls me home.

May He find me faithful, my heart a place that welcomes Him in, a life that radiates His Presence. I don’t want to neglect the temple that is my heart, or give Satan a foothold. I want to choose every day to be a temple as beautiful as Solomon’s, and occupied by my Lord and Savior.

 

August 16 – At Any Cost

Jeremiah 26-29

If you are reading this blog you are probably sitting in air-conditioning, or looking at your cell phone with a cup of coffee in your hand. I know that is an exaggeration, but most of us have to admit we’re pretty comfortable.

Most of us go about our day without too much difficulty, and I would imagine none of us fear we’re gong to be killed today just because we love Jesus. Not so in some parts of our world. The reality is, some people WILL die today because they are Christians.

Jeremiah was facing death because he was a true prophet of God. He told it like God told him to tell it, and refused to tickle the ears of the people, or to be politically correct. Listen to what he said to those who had given him a death sentence:

… The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that you have heard. Now therefore amend your ways and your deeds and obey the voice of the Lord your God; and the Lord will change his mind about the misfortune which He has pronounced against you. But as for me, behold, I am in your hands; do with me as is good and right in your sight. Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood on yourselves, and on this city and on its inhabitants; for truly the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing. (26:12b-15) (emphasis mine)

In the face of death, he didn’t back down. Jeremiah was willing to die. But he was determined to live for God at any cost.

Does that describe me? Am I determined to follow Christ even if it costs me friendships, a career, a dream, my health, my life? I pray that I will live every day unashamed of the Gospel, that I will not compromise the Truth “for truly the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”

At any cost.