Archive for October, 2015

The man behind the curtain (II Kings 12; II Timothy 2; Psalm 119:123-144; Hosea 3-4)

October 30, 2015

“And Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days, because Jehoiada the priest instructed him.”  II Kings 12:2

Question:  “Does anyone find success in life without the help of someone else?”

Before us in II Kings 12 is the overview of the great success of King Jehoash.  We see greater detail in II Chronicles 22.

Here is a King who is able to see His nation experience reform spiritually.  Here is a king who is able to see his people become a giving people in the reform of the temple.  And here is a king who started as a kid!!!

The last part is amazing to me, “he started as a kid.”  Bottom line: “There was a man behind the curtain.”  The priest Jehoiada followed the Lord and he mentored this young king to follow the Lord.

Think it through:

This is heavy on my heart this day.  We need more people behind the curtain who will be willing to mentor others!!!

I want to challenge you to get involved in this work of mentoring others!!!  It is this work that truly can be used of God to make wide sweeping reform in the work of the Lord.

  • Pray for the Lord to place someone in your path that you can mentor.
  • Put together a mentoring program for your church.
  • Recruit others to join you in the work that has potential that is so amazing.
  • Be the first in your church to mentor someone.

A door of hope (Hosea 2; II Timothy 1; II Kings 10-11; Psalm 119:97-120)

October 29, 2015

And there I will give her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.  And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.”  Hosea 2: 15

Gods’ man, “Hosea,” was raised up to be a prophet in a difficult time in Israel history (753-722 B.C.).  This was a time just before the northern kingdom went into exile.

In this moment one could consider our world to be a very difficult place.

One could also ask, “What can I do about the difficulty in our world?”

Think through what God called Hosea to do:

  • He was to prophecy the truth about the heart-breaking judgment and its reasons, Vs: 1-13

Hosea was faithful in revealing the sins of the people and the severity of God’s judgment.  Question, “How long has it been since you and I considered God’s truth concerning people and nations that sin against God?”  Take time to consider all God has to say, for example Revelation 6-9; Daniel 7-10; and the book of Hosea.

  • He was to prophecy of the coming hope for all who would turn to God, Vs: 14023

Hosea was again faithful in revealing God’s Word.  There would be a day of mercy for all who would turn from their sin.  God would give them, in days still to come, a new heart, Jeremiah 31:31-34.   This is ultimately fulfilled when the Lord returns, II Corinthians 3:3, II Peter 2:9-10.

Think through what God is calling us to do:

Where are you and I in God’s prophetic calendar?  Where are you and I in God’s calling to share the truth?

I believe we as a nation are experiencing heartbreak coming down the dusty road in the form of judgment.  I believe we as a world are on the same path.  The hour is short, the message of the gospel is needed more than ever.  God help me to look for your coming, I Thessalonians 4:13-17 and help me with urgency to share your Message!!!

A productive day of work (I Timothy 6; II Kings 9; Psalm 119:73-96; Hosea 1)

October 28, 2015

To keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  I Timothy 6:11

Yesterday was an extremely busy day.  Certainly most who read this blog can say the same thing about each of your days as well.  Sometimes we come to the end of the day and we ask ourselves, “What did I accomplish?”  Sadly, for most of us, our busyness keeps us so locked in that we do not even have time to pause and access our days.

Consider Timothy, the pastor of the church in Ephesus.  Paul is writing a letter of both encouragement and instruction to the man of God in whom he considered to be a son in the faith.  The encouragement was to simply stay the course in proclaiming the gospel.  The instruction was for Timothy to be able to lead the church to conduct themselves properly as the church of God, 3:14.

Here in chapter 6 Paul deals with two groups of people:

  • False teachers who thought godliness (teaching) was a way of gain on the earth.
  • True teaches who would practice godliness because this is what God requires.

As a true teacher, Timothy is being taught how to be productive in each day of work.

Think it through:

Here are two guidelines to follow if you want to be productive each day for the Lord:

  1.  We must engage in the work of faith, Vs; 4-13

Check out the things we are to stay away from, Vs: 8-10, and check out the things we are strive to work on, Vs: 11-13.

2.  We must engage in worship of faith, Vs: 14-17

This is where God greatly convicted my life this morning.  I often stay so busy doing the work that I fail to worship the one I am supposed to be working for.

This morning I took time to walk through all the things Paul was praising the Lord for. Allow me to challenge to stop and do the same:

  • He is sovereign-he has all authority.
  • He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords-all other leaders bow before Him.
  • He is immortal-He exists for all eternity.
  • He is in unapproachable light-He is perfect in every way.
  • He is one in whom no one has ever seen.

He alone deserves glory, praise, honor, and eternal dominion!!!

Brothers and sisters, “If we keep our worship in front of us, our work will always be productive!!!”

He really cares (II Kings 8; I Timothy 5; Daniel 12; Psalm 119:49-72)

October 27, 2015

“And he fixed his gaze and stared at him, until he was embarrassed.  And the man of God wept,”  II Kings 8:11

In a world of drama and make-believe love it is refreshing when you encounter someone who really cares.  In II Kings 8 we encounter the caring love of the Prophet Elisha.  The scene is one of sorrow for the Prophet of God.  He has been called of God to announce the news of the death of the current king of Syria and to announce the news of the next king of Syria.

As he speaks, he is able to see into the future.  As he looks his heart is broken for what is ahead.  Here is what the Bible records, “And Hazael said, ‘Why does my Lord weep?’  He answered, ‘Because I know the evil that you will do to the people of Israel.”  

The description of his evil that follows, would cause anyone who cares about people to weep.  God’s judgment upon his people, for their rebellion, would come through the hands of this wicked king and it broken Elisha’s heart.

Think it through:

As I finished the chapter the following thoughts flooded my mind?

  • Has our nation (the USA) or has your nation gone to far in her rebellion against God?
  • Has God raised up an enemy that will soon come and make war carrying out the judgment of God?
  • Will this war be the war that ends all wars in our world?

It was the Prophet Daniel who saw the scene of the questions I raised above, Daniel 12.

Elisha stood in the gap in this moment for his people.  You and I have been called as God’s children to stand in the gap as well.

Here are 4 things we should be doing as people who care:

  • Pray for the movement of God in our land, I Timothy 2:1-2
  • Participate in the work of calling our land to repentance, II Chronicles 7:14
  • Plead with people to come to Jesus, II Corinthians 5:20
  • Prepare your family and as many as will listen for the coming of the Lord, I Thessalonians 5:1-10

Dear Father, help me to care about the things you care about the most, which is the souls of men and women in our world!

The especially is important (I Timothy 4; II Kings 7; Daniel 11; Psalm 116)

October 26, 2015

“For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”  I Timothy 4:10

As Paul continues to write words of instruction to Timothy concerning the church and his leadership in the church, we come to the moment where Paul speaks personally to Timothy of his continual need of walking in godliness.  This is amazing truth of a world that is often seeing churches allowing ungodliness in our midst to change how we live our lives.

As I read the chapter I found myself gripped by the words of Paul in Vs: 10.

There are two realities in the verse:

This Gospel is to be proclaimed to all people.

The Bible is clear, over and over again, “Matthew 11:28; John 10:15; I Timothy 2:5; God desires for all people to be saved.  As we walk in Godly ways, we share a common burden that all men need the gospel.  So we mobilize our individual churches and we partner with other churches to take this gospel to all people.

This Gospel is the prize of all people who believe. 

The Bible is clear, over and over again, Romans 10:13; Romans 8:30; Matthew 22:14; all who believe will be saved.  This is where the especially comes in.

Not all people will believe.  But especially some people will believe.  I am thankful that God has made me one of his especially ones.  God will also make you one of his especially ones if we believe.

As God’s children we have the task of taking the gospel to the especially people.  Unless we go they can never be the especially people.

“Lord mobilize every church that reads this blog to take the gospel to the world.  This is especially important!!!

What can I do (II Kings 4; Psalm 116; Daniel 7; I Timothy 1)

October 23, 2015

“And Elisha said to her, “what shall I so do for you?  Tell me; what have you in the house? And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil”  II Kings 4:2

Yesterday I had the joy of leading the devotion for our monthly city-wide pastors luncheon.  As I prepared to speak, I was able to hear the heart cries of fellow servants of God, who find themselves in difficult positions with many needs.

Their needs (as well as yours and mine) mirror the needs in II Kings 4.  There are listed 5 supernatural problems in the chapter:

  • A widow who has an insurmountable debt, Vs: 1-7
  • An older woman who was barren, Vs: 8-17
  • A young boy who has died, Vs: 18-37
  • Food that has been poisoned, Vs: 38-41
  • Inadequate resources for food, Vs: 42-44

These are supernatural problems that are a daily part of our lives.  The question that you and I often bear is this, “What can I do?”

Think this through:

We see a supernatural provision for the supernatural problems.  God provided oil to sell to meet the need of the debt.  He provided life in the womb of the barren woman.  He raised the boy from death to life.  He purified the food and he multiplied the bread to meet their need.

In this moment I realize, I cannot do any of these things.  So how can I be encouraged when I read of such miracles in Elisha’ life, but see only the problems in my life?  Answer, “Look to the supernatural picture.”

John 10:10 “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”

All of this points us to our need of Christ.  It was Christ who meet all of these needs in his earthly ministry.

Ours must be the reality of calling on Jesus to meet the needs of supernatural problems with His supernatural provision.

Our response:

This very day I claim James 5:16 in the midst of my life.  This is what I can do.

“Until” (Daniel 7; II Kings 3; Psalm 114-115; II Thessalonians 3)

October 22, 2015

“As I looked the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them unto the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.”  Daniel 7:21-22

Beginning in Daniel 7 we are introduced to the prophetic section in Daniel’s writing.  These chapters, unlike chapters 1-6, are not in chronological order.  Actually Daniel 7 takes places between chapters 4 and 5 in the book of Daniel.

Daniel has a vision in chapter 7 that greatly alarms him (Vs: 28).

You and I can identity with the alarming reality of what Daniel was writing about.  Take time to reread Daniel 7.  Place this simply outline before you:

  • We see the things that have been, Vs: 1-8.

Daniel sees the 4 kingdoms that would rule the then known world for centuries:  Babylon; Medes and Persian’s; Greece; and Rome.  What Daniel saw in the future is now in our rear view mirror.

  • We see the things that are, Vs: 9-10.

God the Father (Ancient of Days) is firmly planted on the throne in heaven.  He is keep a record of the deeds of all men.  The little horn (some believe is The Antichrist) could be alive today!

  • We see the things that will be, Vs: 11-27.

There will be a Great Tribulation (Greater than the daily tribulations we face).  There will be a battle to end all battles and we will see the Second Coming of Christ.

Certainly, Daniel saw all of this as what will be and it troubled him.  When you and I read the book of Revelation we see these same troubling truths:

  • Revelation 1-3, “The things that have been.”
  • Revelation 4-5, “The things that are.”
  • Revelation 6-22, “The things that will be.”

The great joy in all of this is simply, “God will be victorious in the end.”  Because of this, the until in our daily lives is not so scary nor does it keep us from the goal of making disciples of all people.

Brothers and sisters, let us live with confidence trusting in the God of the Until!!!  Check out Psalm 114 as a great encouragement for your day!!!

Why does it have to be this way? (Daniel 6; II Kings 2; Psalm 112-113; II Thessalonians 2)

October 21, 2015

“When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper room opened toward Jerusalem.  He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and have thanks before his God, as he had done previously.”  Daniel 6: 10

There is much in life that does not make sense!  For example, a brother posted on Facebook how that a solider was wounded for his country and received no press attention while a basketball star overdosed and almost died, but received much press.  Somethings do not make sense.

Question:  “Are you facing somethings that do not make sense?”  Maybe you are asking God, “Why does it have to be this way?”

Think it through:

I believe God’s Word has the answer to why of what we sometimes have to go through.  Consider Daniel 6 as an example.

Daniel is in exile along with the nation of Israel.  The nation is facing 70 years of judgment because of their rebellion against God.  Daniel stands out as one who choses to follow God despite the rebellion of his people and despite the opportunities to compromise in a foreign land.

Here in chapter 6, Daniel is an older man, but still with an excellent spirit for God (Vs: 3-7).

One would think Daniel had earned a time of ease or maybe retirement, but this was not to be here on the earth.  Notice 2 reasons for the conflict in chapter 6:

  • Daniel would go to the lion’s den because of faith.

The enemy was jealous of God’s name being lifted up and the enemy wanted jurisdiction over everything and everyone.  He was going to take Daniel out.

  • Daniel would come through the lion’s den to increase the fame of God.

I am amazed at the miracle of God here.  The king comes to see God for who He really is.  Here is the Kings decree:

26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel,

for he is the living God,
    enduring forever;
his kingdom shall never be destroyed,
    and his dominion shall be to the end.
27 He delivers and rescues;
    he works signs and wonders
    in heaven and on earth,
he who has saved Daniel
    from the power of the lions.”

Could it be, that God is allowing you to go through Lion’s Den moments for these very purposes?

Our response:

Take time today to ask God the following question:  “How will you glorify yourself in this hour of trial?”

Jesus understood this in John 17:3-5, “he wanted to bring glory to the Father.”

Paul understood this in Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good…”

Also take time today to ask God for the following:  “Give me wisdom, strength, and a desire to see your name glorified in my circumstances.”

Yes, you and I could dare to be a Daniel today!!!

The weight of it all (II Kings 1; Daniel 5; Psalm 110-11; II Thessalonians 1)

October 20, 2015

“You have been weighted on the balances and found wanting,” Daniel 5:27

Who is the judge?  Who is the sovereign ruler of the world?  Who is the sovereign ruler of the universe?

Through the years I have spent much time studying the history of our world. I have studied in particular from the Christian viewpoint of how God deals in the affairs of men.  In every generation there are leaders who rise in power, some believe God is to be Lord of a nation, but many other believe they are to be Lord of a nation.  The very mention of their names evokes emotions to those who lives have been radically affected by their actions.

For example, consider the name of Belshazzar.

Maybe, you do not recognize this name?  If you turn to Daniel 5 you will be introduced to this man who is the grandson of a recognizable name, “Nebuchadnezzar.”

As we are introduced to Belshazzar we find him partying into the evening with a 1000 political friends.  I believe he considers himself to be the untouchable sovereign ruler.  As he parties, God speaks as the ultimate sovereign ruler.

God writes a message, on the wall of the ball room, in the room where the party is taking place.  Suddenly the music stops and the king who things he is the untouchable sovereign ruler loses grip of his pride.  No one in his political arena can read who God has written.  However, there is a man in the kingdom.  An older man by the name of Daniel, who serves the one true sovereign king of the universe.

When Daniel speaks we understand the weight of it all:

  • “There is one God who established thrones”

He elevates those who serve his purposes, Romans 13:1-7.  He down grades those who stand in pride, Daniel 4.

  • “There is one God who extracts people from their thrones.”

Those who knowingly and willfully oppose God will be judged by God, II Thessalonians 1:6-9.

Think it through:

When God weights the works of kingdoms, will they be found to honor or dishonor him?  You and I need to daily pray for the leaders of our nations, I Timothy 2:8.  The judgment of our land is tied directly to the leadership of our respective nations.

When God weights the works of our person kingdoms, i.e our lives, will they be found to honor or dishonor him?  You and I need to daily be reminded of this fact, “God is to be Lord of our lives.”

Staying focused (I Kings 19; Daniel 1; Psalm 105; I Thessalonians 2)

October 16, 2015

…And he asked that he might die, saying, “it is enough, now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers,” I Kings 19:4b

There are days when it is really hard to stay focused!!!

Question:  “Do you and I know what we are to be focused on?”  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Paul was focused on the gospel in I Thessalonians 2:1-3
  • Paul was focused on caring for the family of God in I Thessalonians 2:4-11
  • The church was focused on receiving the gospel in I Thessalonians 2:13-17
  • The Psalmist was focused on the greatness of God in Psalm 105
  • Daniel was focused on being faithful to his commitment to God in Daniel 1

In our Christian lives there are many particular focuses we are led to live out as we walk in faith.  These focuses come out of a desire to live for God’s glory, I Corinthians 15:31.

However, there are days when it is hard to stay focused.  Consider Elijah in I Kings 19.

Admittedly, I have studied and taught this passage many times.  However, this morning was radically different.  Before I would focus on how Elijah lost his focus, Vs: 1-5 and how God gave grace to Elijah, Vs: 6-8.  I also would focus on how God led Elijah to understand there was more focused work to accomplish, Vs: 9-18.

But this morning I felt the weight that caused Elijah to lose focus:

  • Elijah had spent three and one half years as a fugitive from Ahab.
  • Elijah had accomplished a great victory in the showdown of I Kings 18, but he did not get to enjoy the victory because trouble came behind it.
  • Elijah was weary of always being in conflict.

In this moment I wrote in my journal, “Elijah, I get it.  I understand in my humanity.”

Think it through:

Each of us have those days when the weight of the world falls totally upon us.  In this days we must do the following:

  1.  We must own the fact, “we have taken upon ourselves a weight that belongs to God alone.”
  2. We must face the fact, “We need God every hour of every day.”
  3. We must come back to the fact:  “God wants us to follow not lead.”
  4. We must embrace the fact:  “Until we die, we will always face conflict.”

Bottom line:  “We must stay focused on the God who gives us victory in Him.”