The Grass Withers

Isaiah 40:8 – The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”
 
Over my lifetime, I have witnessed many fads. I have seen the “Pet Rock”, the “Chia Pet”, and many crazy diets, just to name a few. Unfortunately, I have also witnessed many “fads” inside of the church. People have taken the Word of God and altered it to meet their needs and the needs of their churches. Just like any other fad, a new theology will be appealing to some for a while, but then it must be changed to something new to keep people’s attention.
 
Today’s passage reminds us that the word of our God stands forever.” The same truth that was taught by the apostles and writers of the Bible is the same truth that we should all be following and teaching today. No, it might not be as appealing to some today. No, it might not be as exciting to some today. But, God’s Word is still God’s Word. How people in the Bible were encouraged to live is still how we are to live. What was a sin in the Bible is still a sin. How people were saved and reunited with Jesus in the Bible still applies to us. Remember, no matter how many times people try to change the Word of God, “the grass withers”. The only thing that we can stand firm on is the Word of God, which is the Word of God in the Bible, because it “stands forever”.
 
I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!

 

Because of His Promise

2 Kings 13:23 – 23 But the Lord was gracious to them, had compassion on them, and regarded them, because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not yet destroy them or cast them from His presence.
We are told at an early age that if we “want to get anywhere in life, we must work hard”. This is a philosophy that my wife and I have lived by and it is the philosophy that we have raised our two sons with. Yes, if you want something bad enough, you must be willing to put in the effort and work to attain it. Whether it be at school, at work or in the community, what you desire is available to you if you are willing to work hard enough for it.
I believe that this also applies to our walk with Jesus, with one exception. Yes, the Bible tells us that if our goal is to spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus, we must live a life that honors Him, follows His Word and applies Biblical principles into our daily routine. Today’s passage, however, also reminded me that no matter how hard we work, God is not gracious to us because we deserve it, He is gracious to us because He has promised it. If our goal is Heaven, if we live a life that is pleasing to the Lord, then the Lord promises that He will be gracious and compassionate. He is not just saying it, He promises it.
I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!

 

What Will Your Dash Say?

2 Kings 13:10 – 13 – 10 In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz became king over Israel in Samaria, and reigned sixteen years. 11 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, but walked in them. 12 Now the rest of the acts of Joash, all that he did, and his might with which he fought against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 13 So Joash rested with his fathers. Then Jeroboam sat on his throne. And Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.
Recently, I put a “thought of the day” on our Facebook page that said: “One’s funeral will define what mattered most to them.” I think that this statement is very true. I have also heard that when you look at a person’s tombstone, it is not the birth or death date that matters, it is the dash in between. What will the dash between the two dates say about you? What will the people that speak at your funeral say about you? When I perform a funeral service, I often remind the audience that the message that is given was not prepared by me, but rather it was prepared by the person as they lived each day. Was their message an example that we should follow? Was their life a reminder of things to avoid? Or, was it a combination of both?
As I read today verses, I was surprised to see that there was really nothing to say about a king that “reigned sixteen years” over Israel except to say that “he did evil in the sight of the Lord“. That was it — “he did evil“. Did he do nothing to help Israel? Was he a great conqueror? Did he do anything to help improve the lives of the people? Apparently, the dash between his two dates didn’t have much to say. What about you? As you look at your life, what is your dash saying? Are you honoring and serving the Lord the way that He intended you to? Or, are you doing evil in the sight of the Lord? Unfortunately, we only get one shot at our dash and it is your dash that people will remember you by. Make sure you live your life today in such a way that will make you and the Lord proud of your dash.
I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!

 

The Lord Gave Israel a Deliverer

2 Kings 13:5-6 – Then the Lord gave Israel a deliverer, so that they escaped from under the hand of the Syrians; and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents as before. Nevertheless they did not depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who had made Israel sin, but walked in them; and the wooden image also remained in Samaria.
I have often heard that the Lord will not give us more than what we can handle. Whether it be temptation, trials, stress or problems, God knows what we can deal with and what is too much for us. That saying is meant to serve as a comfort and encouragement to us during those difficulties. “If God knows what I can handle, then I can handle this”.  Many of us have said this and many of us have used this to persevere and triumph over those hurdles in life.
This passage talks about the Lord delivering Israel “from under the hand of the Syrians“. The Lord knew what they could handle and delivered them when it was too much for them. But how did they respond?  “Nevertheless they did not depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam” the Lord delivered them, but they did not change. The Lord did not deliver Israel so that they could remain the same, He delivered them so that they could be changed. He does the same things in our lives. The Lord will always give us an “out” for our sin, the question is will we take it and be grateful for that opportunity. Or, will we continue without receiving the benefit and blessing of what the Lord has done for us?
I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!

But the High Places Were Not Taken Away

2 Kings 12: 1-3 – 12 In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him. But the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.
When my family was looking for a home years ago, we looked at many, many houses. In fact, we looked at so many, got so discouraged that we stopped looking for a while. Some houses, we could tell right away, were not for us. We didn’t like the way the looked on the outside, the location, etc. Others, however, “tricked” us. We liked what they looked like on the outside, but when we entered into the house, we could tell right away that there were a lot of problems which meant a lot of work. Even though all looked well on the outside, all was not well on the inside.
Today’s scripture reminded me of that process. There are many Christians that appear to do “what was right in the sight of the Lord“, yet “the high places were not taken away“. In other words, all looks well on the outside, but there are still problems on the inside. We spend so much time and effort looking good on the outside, yet not much care is given to what we look on the inside. In the Lord’s eyes, He is concerned about what others can’t see because He can still see it. While we all may look well on the outside, are there high places in our lives that we have not gotten rid of?

 

How Long Will You Falter?

1 Kings 18:21 – 21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word.
There is a popular phrase, “sitting on the fence” that refers to people that cannot make a decision about something. Perhaps it is what to eat for dinner. Maybe it is what type of car to buy. For some, it even refers to which god they will follow.
In this verse, Elijah asked all the people, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” How many of us are “sitting on the fence” when it comes to our walk with Jesus. Yes, we may say that we have a real relationship with Jesus, but our actions and words always seem to suggest just the opposite. God may be important to us, but we always find “better things to do” than spend time with Him. Elijah’s question is still important to us today — “How long will you falter between two opinions?” Remember, “if the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him“. Make the choice today before the choice is made for you.
I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!

I Have Not Troubled Israel

1 Kings 18:18 –  18 And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals.
One of the most unpleasant things to watch is an innocent person be ridiculed and persecuted by those around them for something that they did not do. While it may be unpleasant to watch in our society, it is heartbreaking to see it happening in our churches. Why is it that so many “Christians” spend so much of their time and energy causing problems within their churches and churches that they do not belong to? They claim that it is done out of love, but I suspect that their motives are for other reasons.  I have often said that the greatest trouble for the church is the trouble that comes from inside the church.
In today’s passage, Elijah is accused by some of causing trouble within Israel. His response was “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals.” The desire of these people were to damage Elijah and the Lord’s ministry that was occurring through Elijah. Elijah quickly pointed out that the damage was not from the one they were accusing, but from those doing the accusing. As you look at those in your churches that seem to be quick to blame others, ask for the Lord’s wisdom and guidance to see what is really driving that. As followers of Christ, we are to love as Christ loved. Are the words of those making accusations words of love from God? If not, then where are they from?
I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!

 

Drink From the Brook

1 Kings 17:5-6 – So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.
 
Most of us are aware that California has been enduring a severe drought for several years. As the drought has gotten worse, we have been asked, and sometimes required, to reduce the amount of water that we use. We can only water our lawns on certain days, we cannot rinse off our sidewalks, just to name a few. During this process, people have become increasingly aware of their dependency on “mother nature”. I am glad that people are more aware of their dependency, however, I believe that it is not mother nature that we are dependent upon.
In today’s scripture, Elijah the great prophet, was instructed to stay by “the Brook Cherith”. The Lord had promised him that it was there that the Lord would provide food, water and rest for Elijah. Elijah followed God’s command and he was well taken care of. You see, Elijah understood that he was dependent upon the Lord for his safety and provision. While we must use wisely the resources that the Lord has given us (water, clean air, etc.), may we never forget that it is not “mother nature” that has provided for us, but our Heavenly Father who makes all things and gives all things.
I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!

Training for Eternity

1 Kings 11:1-4 – 11 But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites— from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David.

Recently during a Father’s Day message, I reminded the men of our church that each day we are training for eternity. It will either be an eternity of peace and joy or it will be an eternity of death. People might not agree with that statement, but it is what the Bible says. I asked the men what was their goal for eternity and how hard were they working to get there. Do they spend each day training for an eternity in Heaven, or do they see each day as an opportunity to live for the world. I reminded the men that what they do today really does matter for eternity.

King Solomon, with all of his wisdom and blessing from God, made one catastrophic mistake — he stopped training for eternity and began to live for the world. The Lord warned him to stay away from foreign women (women that worshiped other Gods). He let his guard down, disobeyed the Lord and “turned his heart after other Gods”.  Each day is a battle, each day is an opportunity. Are you living your life today in such a way that your actions, thoughts and words will honor the Lord? Or, have you turned your heart to the god’s of this world? We are all training for eternity, the only question is what eternity are you training for.

I pray for blessings today for you on your Journey!

People Want to Hear

1 Kings 10:24-25 – 24 Now all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. 25 Each man brought his present: articles of silver and gold, garments, armor, spices, horses, and mules, at a set rate year by year.

We often hear that people are trying to silence the Word of God. People have been forbidden to pray in public, students have been prohibited from bring Bibles to school or writing book reports on it, we can no longer display the 10 commandments or crosses in public areas. To many, it would seem that people no longer want to hear about God or hear from God.

Today’s passage reminded me that regardless of what people may want us to believe, people do want to hear the Word of God. That is why it is our responsibility to continue to preach the message of Good News in Jesus Christ in love, grace and mercy. God has placed wisdom in your heart for all to hear and we must trust that the Lord will send those to us that seek to hear it. May your prayer today be to be filled with the Holy Spirit, anointed with His Words and given people to share with. Remember, people really do want to hear what we have to say.

 

 

 

Regardless of what the world may have us think, people do want to hear the Word of God.