What should I have expected?

“How can there be peace,” Jehu replied, “as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?”  2 Kings 9:22.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 2 Kings 8-9, 2 Chronicles 21, and 1 Timothy 4.

We should expect this would happen: evil leads to more evil.

We live in a world that is filled with evil.  Don’t think so?  Watch the news!

People do things that are unconscionable and become upset about it only when they are caught.  Right is often whatever they want it to be.

For those of us who claim to be God’s children, we must know how to deal with evil.  We must be able to identify it and know what actions to take.

An important step is to limit our exposure to evil.  The TV is packed with materials that the Godly need to avoid.  I guess that’s why they invented the clicker!

It is certainly important for the Godly to be constantly seeking His Will.  I still get troubled by having too much time go by in which I am disconnected from Him.

“Lord, deliver me from evil.  Protect me.  Prick my conscience when I am venturing into, or close to, where You wouldn’t want me to be.  I want to do Your Will.  Enable me, I beg.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

If you walk in mud, you’re going to get muddy.

 

 

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Doing the little things

“Naaman’s servants went to him and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it?’ How much more, then when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed!’” 2 Kings 5:13.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 2 Kings 4-5, Psalm 83, and 1 Timothy 2.

Naaman was insulted when Elisha told him to dip seven times in the Jordan River.

Naaman, like us, had his own idea of how God works.  He had a framework in mind………and it wasn’t to dip in the Jordan when there were better rivers where he came from.

We do not know what is best for us.  God does.  That does not mean that we reduce our praying to, “Bless us.”  Using Naaman’s example, it means that when we want to see or experience healing, we are to completely open ourselves to the way God will carry it out.  Preconceived notions need not apply.

I have experienced times where I have been praying specifically for something but I get weary doing it.  I pray about it less, and I start to lose interest.  Sometimes when I relax a bit, my prayers get answers.  We must trust Him with the arrangements.

“Lord, forgive me for trying to run Your Business.  I beg to have Your Timing in place in my life.  I covet Your Guidance in all that I do.  O Lord, I cannot do without You in any aspect of my life.”

We must let God make the arrangements.

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Are you impartial?

“How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?” Psalm 82:2.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 2 Kings 1-3, Psalm 82, and 1 Timothy 1.

Someone does something wrong and you deem it to be horrible.  You do the same thing wrong and it’s not so bad.

Hypocrisy!  But we are all guilty of it.

I am troubled by the behavior of the political partisans in my life.  They easily rant about the antics of the opposing party but when someone on their side behaves similarly there is hardly a peep out of them.

Many of these folks isolate themselves from perspective by limiting their viewing to a confirming network.  Few mentions on those networks about the failings of their political party.

Today’s verse rails against such behavior.  God is very unhappy with it.

We need to be impartial.  If something is wrong, it is wrong for everyone.  God is not mocked.  He clearly sees our inconsistencies.

I must do what God wants in every situation.  If I am filled with His Holy Spirit I will get it right.

“Lord, I need You every second.  Forgive me for being better at seeing the sin in others’ lives instead of my own.  Forgive me for giving folks I favor a pass on things that You deem wrong.  Fill me with You.  Take me over, Father.”

Do we magnify the faults in others and minimize our own?

 

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Speaking God to others

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”  Colossians 4:6.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 2 Kings 22, 2 Chronicles 18-19, and Colossians 4.

“No Christian should have a dull, tiresome, know-it-all monologue of his faith.  Instead, Christians, who have the most exciting news in the world to share, should be able to share that message with excitement, ability to invoke interest, an understanding of the basics, a willingness to listen and discuss, and a desire to answer everyone’s questions gracefully.” Life Applications New Testament Commentary: Colossians 4:6.

Certainly well put by the commentator.

I want so much to be able to be to express my faith to others.  I falter at the prospect because I trust my own abilities rather than following the Holy Spirit’s lead.

I tend to pre-plan a conversation and that won’t work.  I need to be grounded in what I believe and be ready to give an appropriate response to what comes along.

I need to trust the Holy Spirit to direct me verbally.  It sure would be easier if everyone was at the same place spiritually.  Then one solution would work with many.  Instead, people are at various places and my words need to factor that in.  Bottom line is that I will always need His Words.  Mine will mess things up.

I must be in close relationship to God.  I must listen, walk, and talk with Him all the time so that His Words become my words. Those words would be appropriate.

The words of Jesus were not always well received.  If I’m looking to be popular I will revert to my words.  God’s truth is God’s truth!

“Lord, fill me with You.  Take me over entirely.  Forgive me for my hesitancy in talking about You.  Empower me with Your Holy Spirit so that I will be able to rightly represent You verbally.  The time is short and so many need to know what You did and why You should be trusted in.  I love You, Lord.”

I want His Words to replace my own in every conversation.

 

 

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How forgiving must I be?

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”  Colossians 3:13.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Kings 20-21, 2 Chronicles 17, and Colossians 3.

What a lofty standard!

I can’t even fathom the Lord’s forgiveness of me.

That I can fathom what it even is to forgive someone, shows that my level of forgiveness is zilch compared to what He did for me.

It is so easy to justify being upset with someone.  Look what they did to me!  They had it coming!

I have often wished that I could collect my words before I said them to prevent saying something I shouldn’t.  It might also be nice to have time to recall the way I was forgiven by God when I deal with reactionary possibilities during the day.

But I don’t have either facility UNLESS I am filled with the Holy Spirit.  It would enable me to be like Him as I react to things that happen.

Since I often react poorly, it is a clear indication that I am often less-than-filled with the Holy Spirit.  That needs to change.

“Lord, fill me with You.  Take over every part of me.  Forgive me for sinning against You.  What love!  Your forgiveness is amazing.  Fill me with You now, I beg.”

What is my level of forgiveness?  Certainly not where it should be by a long shot!

 

 

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Elijah: The runner

“The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak onto his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.”  1 Kings 18:46.

“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.”  1 Kings 19:3.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Kings 17-19, and Colossians 2.

Elijah was quite the runner, wasn’t he?

You can see quite quickly that Elijah wasn’t always running with God.

Only two verses separate the two chosen verses.

What happened in between?  Jezebel threatened Elijah.

Elijah was riding high after making fools (and dead men) of her prophets.  However, when she threatened Elijah with death he changed completely.

How like us.  We have our moments of closeness to God.  We are on the glory train!  And then something sends us drifting.  Sometimes it’s over-confidence in ourselves.

Elijah was in serious trouble with Jezebel in his own strength.  That serious trouble thing hadn’t bothered him on Mount Carmel.  There were death threats up there but Elijah persisted.

But along came Jezebel later and Elijah “ran for his life.”  He had obviously lost his closeness to God.

How embarrassing we all are to God.  How often we are overwhelmed by things that we should be reacting to better.

We are desperate for a full-time infilling of the Holy Spirit.  We can’t function effectively in all “seasons” without that attachment.

“Lord, thank You for the story of Elijah.  I see how much I am like him when I get overwhelmed by circumstances and loosen my attachment to You.  Forgive me, I beg.  I cling to You now.  I love You, Father.”

I must be running with God at all times.

 

 

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I will trust God

“Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen?  Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand.” 2 Chronicles 16:8.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Kings 16, 2 Chronicles 15-16, Colossians 1.

It is an easy place to fall into: trusting God selectively.

Some things are so big that they are beyond God’s reach.

Some things are so small that we can handle them without His help.

Total folly involved in both ways of thinking.

I need God every second.  There are no “little” things or “too big” things with God.  Anytime I exclude God from my thinking is a mistake.

How often I generalize prayers in the early going of the day, “Lord, direct my path today so that I will always do Your Will.”  Sadly, as the day unravels I have lost connection to Him.  I have drifted into my own ways without consulting Him for guidance.

I must be filled with the Holy Spirit.  That filling is an ongoing thing.  It takes so little to slip away from Him.  Later, I wonder why I wasn’t more aware of Him.

“Lord, there are counterfeit gods that lure me away from You.  There is also an unwillingness on my part to hold on to You full-time.  I start the day wanting to but that hold doesn’t last as it should.  As a result, I miss so much of You.  I need You.  Take me over and prick my conscience when I am loose from You.  I love You, Father.”

Will I commit to full-time trust in God?

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