Sunday, April 11, 2021

Because You Prayed

 How many things have happened in your life because you prayed to the Lord about them? No one knows the answer to that except you. However, I can say that the best things that have happened in any of our lives have happened because we prayed to the Lord. Prayer changed things, and it changes things as God wants them to be changed, not as we desire. Hezekiah is a great example of this spiritual principle. When the king of Assyria sent messengers to Jerusalem to tell Hezekiah and all the people of his intentions to conquer Jerusalem, Hezekiah took this situation to the Lord in prayer in the house of the Lord. (II Kings 19:20) Then, God sent Isaiah to Hezekiah to assure him that because he prayed to the Lord about Sennacherib, king of Assyria,, the Lord had heard him. God intended to answer his prayer by defending the city and defeating the Assyrians. Hallelujah! This is what can happen when we take everything to the Lord in prayer.

Prayer is trusting God and entrusting to Him everything that happens in us and to us. If we will just pray first before we try to do it ourselves, we will save ourselves much grief in life. Why not talk with God about everything? He never sleeps. He always listens to the prayers of His children. He is ready to answer us according to His will for us, and His will is always better than our will. This is true even when we don't understand His will at the time. God is All-powerful. He is All-knowing. He never makes a mistake. We make huge mistakes. The worst mistake is when we fail to pray and to entrust everything to the Lord first. I pray we will all be like Hezekiah and take everything to the Lord in prayer. When we do that in faith, God will give us the correct answer. Then, we accept what He says and does and move forward to the next thing in our lives.

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Tomorrow, I intend to read II Kings 21-23.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Fearing God Plus Serving Idols

 Jesus is either Lord of all or not Lord at all. It is impossible for us to really trust in the Lord and fear Him as He deserves, while serving idols at the same time. However, this is going on around us and around the world all the time. That is what happened in the northern kingdom of Israel, after the Assyrians conquered them. The Assyrians took the people into exile in various lands, and brought people from other nations to live in Israel. The king even gave them a priest to teach them about the God of Israel. However, these nations or people groups feared the Lord and served their idols from where they were from. (II Kings 17:41) This was passed down to their children and grandchildren so that it was ingrained in their culture to do both. This only leads people away from the Lord and into confusion.

The mixing of beliefs is called syncretism. In many countries today the missionaries have come bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The people listen, and some really get right with God. At the same time most of the people begin to try to do both what the church says and continue in their previous ways. This is a cycle that is hard to break. It is the devil's way to keep people in darkness. Here is the USA it is the same way for many people. They hear the Gospel, and they decide to trust Christ in their mind. They do not fully follow Jesus by turning from their sins, trusting in Him alone to forgive their sins, and surrendering to Him as Lord. They say a prayer and maybe join a church, but the rest of the time they follow their idols. They try to practice both the fear of the Lord and serving idols. This is very offensive to the Lord, because it lowers Him to the level of other gods. We must realize once and for all, Jesus is either Lord of all or not Lord at all. He alone is to be feared, trusted, and served.

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Tomorrow, I intend to read II Kings 18-20. 

Friday, April 09, 2021

God Honors His Covenant

 God is faithful, and He honors any covenant He makes. The Old Covenant was made with the descendants of Abraham. It was a perpetual covenant, and it is still in effect today. God is still blessing the Jewish people, and He has a plan to use them and to save them before Jesus returns to reign in Jerusalem. God is honoring that covenant now, even though the Jewish people are not being fully faithful to Him. This was true in the northern kingdom of Israel at the time of king Jehoahaz. (II Kings 13:23) Even though the people of Israel had not been faithful to God, and He allowed the king a Aram to oppress them, He was gracious and had compassion on them to turn to them because of the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob so many years before. Therefore, He would not cast them from His presence. God is still faithful to us today, too.

The New Covenant is made with individuals Jews and Gentiles, not with a group of people, like the Old Covenant. Jesus died and rose again to establish the New Covenant in His blood. He paid it all, so that anyone who turns from their sins, puts their trust in Him, and surrenders to Jesus as Lord enters the New Covenant. It is an eternal covenant, also. Once we trust Him, Jesus forgives all of our sins and adopts us into the family of God. He will never cast us away from His presence. He will punish us, if we are unfaithful to Him, like He punished Israel. We could be oppressed if we fail to follow Him well. However, He will be gracious to us, have compassion on us, and turn to us to encourage us to return to Him and receive His full blessing. Please, don't let anyone tell you that you can lose your salvation. (John 10:28-30) Do not give up on God when you fail Him. He is not going to give up on you. Live up to your part of the covenant which is to live for Him and become like Jesus in the power of the Spirit. Then, you will live the abundant life He has planned for you.

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Tomorrow, I intend to read II Kings 14-17. 

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Divine Appointments

God has a way of directing us to have divine appointments with just the right people. Of course, we have to be sensitive to His leading, and we have to be ready for these encounters to happen at any time. Then, we have to allow God to show us how to take full advantage of our divine appointment. This is what happened to Elisha's servant, Gehazi, as he was relating to the king how Elisha had restored to life the widow's son. (II Kings 8:5) The widow and her son had to go to the land of the Philistines for 7 years while there was a famine in the land, so they would have food to eat. They had just come back to appeal to the king for him to restore their house and their field. They came in while Gehazi was telling about the resurrection, proving to the king this was true. The king not only restored her house and field, but he ordered them to receive all of the produce that would have been theirs for those 7 years. Isn't that amazing? That is just how God works.

For us, as believers, there are no coincidences in our lives. God is leading us into situations and appointments for our good and for the good of others. We should pray every morning for God to direct us into these divine appointments, and to fill us with the Spirit, so we can say the right thing or do the right thing for His glory. This could be a routine visit to our doctor in which something unexpected is found which saves our life. It might be a meeting with our neighbor out by the mailbox, and God means for us to share the gospel with them. It could be that we meet someone at the store that we do not know, but they have a need, and we are God's hands or voice to meet that need. That is how God engineers our lives. That is why we must not just think about ourselves and what we want to do each day. We must be ready to be used by God any time He gives us a divine appointment. Then, we will be amazed at what God is able to do through us.

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Tomorrow, I intend to read II Kings 10-13.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Do Not Fear

 We have nothing to fear, if we belong to the Lord. Yes, there are many scary situations in life. We have enemies who will attack us. We might have diseases that could take away our physical life. We have financial needs that threaten us, at times. However, in all these things the Lord is with us. The forces of Satan are no match for God and His angelic host. Elisha knew this and rested in this reality. (II Kings 6:16,17) When his servant was terrorized by an army that was surrounding them, he told him that those who were with them were more than those who were with the enemy. Then, Elisha prayed for God to open his eyes. When He did, the servant saw the mountain around them was filled with horses and chariots of fire. God's army had come to their rescue. There was no reason to fear! The same is true today.

What are you fearing today? Whatever it may be, please know that fear comes from the devil. He is trying to keep you from having joy and from serving the Lord. Stop and ask the Lord in faith and sincerity to show you His protection for you, His plan for you. If we do this in faith, He will show us. We will see that His Spirit is everywhere. We will know that He has twice as many angels encamped around us as Satan has demons working for him. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them. Plus, the power of the devil is nothing compared to the power of God. God may not work a miracle for us. We may suffer in this life. However, we are always in His embrace, and if anything happens, He will ensure we reach our home with Him forever. See what I mean? There is no reason for His children to be afraid.

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Tomorrow, I intend to read II Kings 7-9.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Leaving this Earth for Heaven

 If you could choose how you would leave this earth to go to heaven, what would you choose? Now, I know we do not get a choice, but it is something to consider, because it will happen to all of us one way or another. The main thing is to be ready when that time comes. Elijah had a very special way to leave for heaven. God had shown him and Elisha that he was about to take him to heaven, so they were both watching out for this. (II Kings 2:11) As they were walking and talking, a chariot of fire with horses of fire swept between the two of them. It caught up Elijah in a whirlwind, and God took him to heaven without dying physically. I would say that is a great way to go and a wonderful blessing. Let's consider the next best thing, or even something better than that.

We do not need to fear death, if we are a true follower of Jesus, but pain and suffering at not much fun. I think most of us would skip that part if we could. A chariot of fire would be nice, but there is something even better. The Bible tells us about an event that could happen at any time now. Most people call it the Rapture of the church. (I Corinthians 15:51-52) In the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet, the dead in Christ will rise and those who are alive and remain at that time will be changed. We will receive our imperishable, eternal body, and we will be caught up with the others to meet Jesus in the air. Then, Jesus will usher us to heaven for the Marriage feast of the Lamb and the Judgment seat of Christ. I believe that would be even better than a chariot of fire. We would get to see Jesus, and He would take us to heaven personally. What a fantastic way to go to heaven!

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Tomorrow, I intend to read II Kings 4-6.

Monday, April 05, 2021

Humbling Ourselves before God

 Ahab did more evil than all the kings of Israel. His wife, Jezebel,  was the main one who incited him to worship Baal and to sin in many ways. God had determined to bring his life to an end in a terrible death to punish Ahab's sins. However, Ahab humbled himself before God, tearing his clothes in repentance. (I Kings 21:29) When God saw that his heart was truly humbled, he decided not to kill him. In fact, he decided to wait until the reign of his son to bring His punishment.  That is the amazing mercy of God.

Many people are not willing to humble themselves before God because of pride or stubbornness.  This prevents God from acting in mercy. We must never let that happen to us. We must be encouraged by how God forgives even the worst sinners like Ahab, when they humbly repent before Him from their heart. We must not listen to Satan and his demons telling us we are too bad. We must not listen to the pride of our human nature.  God is waiting with open arms for all who humble themselves before Him. Please, do it today.

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Tomorrow, I intend to read II Kings 1-3.