Trusting the LORD

“And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying, Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: with him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.” 2 Chronicles 32:6-8 (KJV)

Hezekiah was a king who was pleasing to the LORD and walked in His ways.  When the Assyrian army taunted, and spouted hateful rhetoric at them the king of Judah called all the captains over the people to gather at the gate of the city, and spoke to them with courageous and encouraging words, because of his trust in the LORD God of Israel.

For all of us there are fearful situations.  That is where faith in Christ comes in.  When we trust Him for our salvation what is there to fear.  Are you aware that to perish in this life without God is the greatest tragedy that can happen to you?

The LORD God has made a way of salvation.  That is through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.  When you trust Him there is no enemy, or weapon that comes against us that we need fear.  We can say with the apostle Paul…

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galations 2:20

No matter what you are facing in this life today God will deliver you.

The Stirring of the Enemy

Does God have his hand on the dealings of and with His people, and even the wicked of the world?  A short, but true answer is “Of course He does”.  You will believe that if you believe God and His word.  If you do not believe it.  Guess what?  Does not take a whole lot of guessing.

When the people of God walk with Him through faith there is not a need for worry or fear.  The enemy will stay away.  Mostly out of fear because of who you know; and Him knowing you too.  However there is a negative side – we have not banned the word “Negative” have we?  Hear what is written in 1 Chronicles…

“And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them. And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.” 1 Chronicles 5:25-26 (KJV)

Remember what I shared in yesterday’s post from Proverbs about our ways pleasing the LORD?  That fits right in with the theme of today’s word.

When we turn our hearts and backs against the LORD, His Son, His Spirit and His word then we can expect to find ourselves plagued by enemy attacks.  Do not get me wrong; I know that when things are going well between you and the Lord the enemy will attack too.  When the enemy attacks as in the above verse in Chronicles God uses it to drive us back to Him.  The enemy will attack us when we are right with God to distract us from loving God, and His word.  That calls for much prayer and discernment.

Those of us who truly love God know when we are walking with God or not.  When we are walking with God the fruit of the Spirit is evident in our walk in life (Galations 5:22-26).  You know when you are not right with Him too, because there will be no love, no peace, no joy;  your heart and mouth will be filled with vulgarity, rudeness, bitterness and anger; these things will proceed from you mouth.

If the enemy is stirring against you God is calling you to repent.  All it takes is to say something simple from your pleading heart… “Lord help me.”  He will hear and He will deliver you.  He has mad that possible through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ; the God-Man, God the Son.

Some Sermon Thoughts from 2 Chronicles 17:1-19

When We Walk in the LORD

  1.  Hearts will trust the LORD and not in the supposed power of man and politics (vv. 1-6).
  2.   The Word of God will be proclaimed in life and land (vv. 7-9).
  3.   The People around will fear God and respect you (vv. 10-11).  See Proverbs 16:7
  4.   Your land and life is blessed by God (vv. 12-19).

From a sermon preached on May 15, 2016

Christmas Day Two Hundred Fifty and One

What do I want for Christmas?

I want God to show Himself strong in the behalf of those whose hearts are perfect through faith in Jesus Christ, and His cross, burial and resurrection.

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9a

Day Two Hundred Eighty and Eight

What do I want for Christmas?

I want power with God in praying, and prayer; to pray for a soul to be saved, and they are; to pray for God to show Himself strong and He is; to pray for healing in marriages, and they are.

This is another LORD’S Day; let us pray now and when we are in our houses of worship.

Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25 (KJV)

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

“And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” James 5:15

Day Three Hundred Thirty and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

I want GOD to show Himself strong in and through me that others may see what is going on in me is GOD.  In this I also desire that it be so of my family, friends, neighbors, my community, State, Nation, and the world.

Help me, O LORD my God! Oh, save me according to Your mercy, That they may know that this is Your hand—That You, LORD, have done it!” Psalm 109:26-27 (NKJV)

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…” 2 Chronicles 16:9a

Our GOD to Help Us

“Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: with him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.” 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 (KJV)

Hezekiah was a faithful king doing that which was right in the sight of the LORD (29:2). Yet, he was not perfect, because he got full of himself (v. 25); as sometimes great leaders do.

The above words were spoken by the king when the city of Jerusalem was being threatened by the Assyrian king.

They are words not just for the army, the people of Judah, but for all God’s people down through the ages.

For Christians today we need to be strong and courageous. It is not the time to be silent. It is time to let the light of Jesus Christ shine. When people tell us, “Go away Christian” because we take a stand on the Biblical definition of marriage; and/or any moral issue; such as abortion, adultery, etc., we stand anyway. We speak what God speaks. We do not make decisions based on culture, society, or what might be popular.  We make decisions based on Christ Jesus and His Word; the word of God.

The gods of the world are already defeated. They are mere stone, wood, stubble; but GOD is God of all that is. He has made all things, and loved us enough to send us His Son as our Saviour that we might be delivered from our sin and its condemnation; putting to death our sin on His cross.

Christian; BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. Begin now. Begin today.

Revival

“Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.” 2 Chronicles 31:1 (KJV)

Hezekiah was a godly king, and did that which was right in the sight of the LORD (29:1-2). He called the remnant of the northern kingdom to join with the people of the southern kingdom to restore the Passover, and proper worship to the Lord in Jerusalem; and many of the people came (30:1-12).

Both kingdoms were guilty of godless kings, leading the people away from God and the proper worship of Him who alone is worthy of worship. Ahaz; Hezekiah’s father was one of the worst of Judah.

As a result of the people of the remnant of the northern kingdom coming to Jerusalem and worshipping with the people of the southern kingdom was that they all returned to their lands, and destroyed the idols, images, high places, and done what was right and godly. They had a revival in the land.

People of God of any day when they get right with God will rid themselves, their land, their homes of anything that is an offense to God, the LORD. The greatest enemy to God’s people – To the Christian today is harboring, hanging on to that sinful thing that we want to hang on to. What is it? That thing that keeps you from a right fellowship with God.

Pride, greed, lust, lying, shedding innocent blood, wicked mind and thoughts, sowing discord among brethren: you can apply your own there. What is our greatest enemy? See 2 Corinthians 10:5. Throw it down.

The Worship of Demons

“And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz. For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem. And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers.” 2 Chronicles 28:22-25 (KJV)

Ahaz was an evil king of Judah. He was in distress, and against the only, and Holy God of Judah and Israel; and the world for that matter. He had sacrificed his sons to fire according to the ways of those who had been driven out of Canaan (28:3). He had no heart for the LORD.

You may wonder why this is titled “Worshipping Demons”. It is because of what he apostle Paul says,

“What say I then? That the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” 1 Corinthians 10:19-22

The worship of any “god” other than Jehovah through His Son Jesus Christ, and His atoning blood is demon worship.

If that offends you, then repent of your sins and turn to the One who died for your sins, was buried and rose again, and He will forgive your sins and give you eternal life in the presence of holy GOD.

Break Down the Barriers

“And Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be the LORD’S people. Then all the people went to the house of Baal, and brake it down, and brake his altars and his images in pieces, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars.” 2 Chronicles 23:16-17 (KJV)

Jehoiada was a priest of God who was zealous to bring back a son of David as king in Judah. Athaliah was an evil daughter of Omri who had tried to kill all the sons of David, because her son had died.

The proper thing to do for a Christian is to get back to God’s Word, and calling for our lives. That will mean breaking down every wall and barrier that keeps us from God, His Word, and His way for our lives.

The care of anything in our lives that distracts us from the love and worship of the only true God through His Son Jesus Christ is a “Baal”; a false god, and idol; that is used by the enemy [the devil] to ruin our fellowship with God.

If you have a “Baal” in your life destroy it. Put it away. Break down the altars and its images and go to the only One who is the image of the invisible God. That One is Jesus who bled and died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose from death. Check out these New Testament passages: 2 Corinthians 10:5; Ephesians 4:25, 31)

The Fear of God

“And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about.” 2 Chronicles 20:29-30 (KJV)

Jehoshaphat was noted as a man who did right in the sight of the LORD (v. 32).  He was facing a large contingent of  united armies against Judah, and he sought the LORD, believed Him and was delivered.

For the Christian of today the enemy is sin and the devil.  The reason there is little or no fear of God in our land is due to the unconfessed, lack of repentance of the Christian; and tolerance of evil deeds and men.

MY PRAYER:

Father send down Your Spirit in power, glory, and honor to Your name upon all who are Your people.  Send down fire from heaven.

Put the fear of God back in Your people; then there will be a fear of God in the hearts of the enemy – all who are evil, all who exalt themselves against You, Your Spirit and Your Word.

Bless the Lord. Amen.

Always Trust, Rely on the LORD

“And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, He delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars. Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.” 2 Chronicles 16:7-10 (KJV)

It has previously been written that Asa did right in the eyes of the LORD (14:2). He also trusted the LORD in a battle against a massive enemy from Ethiopia (14:9-15).

It shows the man, the king of Judah, who did right in the eyes of the LORD, also was a weak, fickle, man and king; when we see him dependent upon an enemy [Syria] against his brethren of the northern kingdom (16:1-6).

We can see in these verses that the word of God is sure, it will stand; and even though kings and presidents do not like it; GOD is correct, and His word will come to pass.

The One we are to rely on is the LORD our God, through His Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again. You or I cannot depend or rely on anything or anyone else but Him.

Walk with GOD

“Now Mine eyes shall be open, and Mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there for ever: and Mine eyes and Mine heart shall be there perpetually. And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before Me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe My statutes and My judgments; then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel.” 2 Chronicles 7:15-18 (KJV)

Chapter six records Solomon’s prayer to Jehovah (the LORD). In chapter seven God comes to Solomon and gives him this promise.

He is promised a continuing kingdom… “I you will walk before Me…” Of course we know that Solomon’s heart is turned by his many wives. However, God’s promise to David still stands.

To walk before GOD is to walk in obedience to His law, His statutes, His judgments, and to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

The promise of God stands eternally. It will never fail. If you have fallen, then He awaits your plea for help.

Christ Jesus is the descendant of David who fulfills the eternal kingdom promise.

House of Glory

“And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: (for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course: also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:) It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.” 2 Chronicles 5:11-14 (KJV)

There is nothing more glorious than the glory of the LORD. There are more details given us in the Chronicles of the building of Solomon’s temple than in the Kings, and these details are helpful to us; and to the generations which returned from captivity.

Thinking of the “glory of the LORD” it would be good to remember the events of 1 Samuel 4:11-22. Remember the ark of the covenant represents the person, power and glory of God.

It would also be good to read Matthew 23:37 – 24:1. Jesus is the Person of the glory of God. His name “Immanuel” meaning “God with us”. Also see Hebrews 1:1-3.

If Jesus Christ; the Son of God, God the Son; is not present the glory is gone.

Robes of Priests and Kings

“And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen. Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps. And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.” 1 Chronicles 15:27-29 (KJV)

The “linen robe” and the “ephod of linen” were garments of the priests (Exodus 28:5-14). King David was celebrating the bringing of the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem because in his first attempt he had failed to consult the LORD and His word on the matter (15:13).

There was singing. There was dancing. There was such a jubilant celebration of worship to the LORD as the ark is brought into the city.

Michal, David’s wife, was not pleased with David. What was her problem. It was not because he was actually naked as what some suppose; but it was because he had stripped off his robes, the garments of being king, and put on the garments of a priest.

On David’s part it was an act of humility. On Michal’s part it was vanity and pride. Because of Michal’s act she would never have children.

David is representative of all Christians, in that when we come to God through His Son Jesus we are made priests ourselves and can through the blood of Jesus go directly to the throne room of the Most High (1 Peter 2:9;  Hebrews 4:16).

For further reading you may want to check out Shoulders of Blessing and On a Cart

Single Minded

“And of the half tribe of Manasseh eighteen thousand, which were expressed by name, to come and make David king. And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment. Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart.” 1 Chronicles 12:31-33 (KJV)

These verses make up a part of a list of men of war who came to David to establish him as king in the stead of Saul (v. 23). These three particular tribesmen caught my attention.

The half tribe of Manasseh, came with one purpose “To come and make David king”. The men of Issachar had that purpose as well as having an “understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do”; and I take that to mean establishing David as king starting in Hebron. The men of Zebulon are “expert in war”, they also had “all the instruments of war”, and “could keep rank”. These all made for a strong military force.

There is one thing said of the Zebulonites that catches my heart, mind and thoughts; “They were not of double heart”. They had a singleness of mind and heart; and that most likely was to make David the king of all Israel.

One day Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son will be King; not just of Israel, but over the whole earth, and He will reign in Righteousness, Justice, and Peace.

In the mean time those of us who are Christians must live with singleness of mind for Him, His honor, His glory, and praise. We cannot be double-minded:

“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8

You cannot glorify the God of glory with a mind on the things of the flesh and the world; and on the things of God. Like Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters…” (Matthew 6:24).

Loving the King

“And David was then in the hold, and the Philistines’ garrison was then at Bethlehem. And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate! And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the LORD, and said, My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy? For with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it. Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mightiest.” 1 Chronicles 11:16-19 (KJV)

This is an historical account of the events of 2 Samuel 23:15-17. It is written following the returning of the Babylonian exiles some 430 plus years before the birth of Jesus Christ.

What would you do for love of the king? These three mighty men of David heard his desire for a drink of the cool, fresh water from the well of Bethlehem; and they broke through enemy lines; risking their lives; to get king David a drink of it.

For the Christian; we have no king but King Jesus. He is the Son of God, and God the Son. He is the Redeemer of all men. He gave His life for all upon the cruel, rugged cross of calvary. He gave His life that we might live. Yet, He rose again, and came out of that grave three days later victorious over sin and death, hell and the grave; and He lives forever. He will save all who will call upon His name. He saves from sin’s condemnation, death, hell, shame.

What would you do now; for love of the King?

The Archers Arrow of Accuracy

“And the sons of Ulam were mighty men of valour, archers, and had many sons, and sons’ sons, an hundred and fifty. All these are of the sons of Benjamin.” 1 Chronicles 8:40 (KJV)

The names of this genealogy are of the lineage of Benjamin. This genealogy from chapter one through ten is of the returning remnant from the Babylonian captivity; that they might remember who goes where, and proof of ownership of any land in the land of Promise.

It is noted by the above verse that the “sons of Ulam were mighty men of valor, archers…” What is valor? It can be defined as bravery in the face of seeming defeat; it is courage when it seems that defeat is inevitable. That is what Christians need in the world today.

Christian men, especially need to step up and stand in the face of the enemy; whatever that enemy may be; whoever that enemy may be; and we know the enemy of us all is the devil himself. He hates Christ Jesus, he hates Christians who love Jesus more than life itself. Christian men and women need to stand in this day.

Ulam’s sons must have been excellent archers, being recognized for it in Scriptures. May God Jehovah direct every word to accomplish that which He pleases in the hearts of men and women.

Praising and Honoring God With Music

“And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest. And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem: and then they waited on their office according to their order.” 1 Chronicles 6:31-32 (KJV)

These verses begin a chronicled list of Levites whom David placed as the authority over the singing in the “Tabernacle of the congregation” after it was brought to Jerusalem thus the phrase “after that the ark had rest”. You find that genealogy from verses 33-48.

I believe the LORD likes us to sing unto Him in worship. I also believe He is glorified with instruments of music, as they are played unto Him. He is glorified when we are enjoying Him. John Piper has written, “God is most glorified in us; when we are most satisfied in Him” and music is one way that is expressed when it honors His name, His holiness, and His righteousness.

I sometimes laugh as I drive in a city once in a while, and occasionally I will see folks in their cars tapping the steering wheel, or moving to the rhythm of a song they are listening; maybe even singing along. I laugh, because I find myself doing that, just about every time I have the car radio on, and listening to a good uplifting God honoring song.

Sing a song today, and honor God in your music.

When We Pray God Hears: When We Sin God Chastises

“The sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, of valiant men, men able to bear buckler and sword, and to shoot with bow, and skilful in war, were four and forty thousand seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war. And they made war with the Hagarites, with Jetur, and Nephish, and Nodab. And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and He was intreated of them; because they put their trust in Him…” 1 Chronicles 5:18-20
“…And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them.” 1 Chronicles 5:25 (KJV)

These tribes had their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan River. They had to fight to keep it. It is believed that these Hagarites were a desert people, that were growing restless due to the numbers of Israelites dwelling in the land.

They attack, and by the prayers of God’s people have God’s help in the victory over the Hagarites. “They cried to God in the battle…” He heard them, gave them the victory, because they trusted Him.

The people of God are warned to trust only in Him; remember the first commandment – “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” Then these 2 and one half tribes transgress the law.

Because of the transgression God sent Tilgathpilneser to judge and discipline them to bring them back to Himself.

“And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.” (v. 26)

God does not leave His people without discipline, without correction, without judgment. Peter says, “Judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). One thing we must remember; and that is that “God loves us the way we are when we are coming to Him, but He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.” He will accomplish His work in us. He will be glorified.

Prayer from Sorrow

“And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.” 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (KJV)

Several years ago I was reading the genealogies of 1 Chronicles, as I was following my daily reading schedule, and I discovered these two verses; and I had not noticed them before. It was like finding a diamond in a trainload of coal. It still is. After discovering this verse I preached a sermon on it, then a year or so later a man wrote a book on it; and it was very popular.

It still blesses my heart as I look through these genealogies, and find this oasis reminding us of the power of prayer to GOD.

The name Jabez means sorrowful. It seems that in giving birth to the child he had caused great pain to his mother – not his fault though. This prayer is asked that he might be a blessing rather than a curse to others. God answered.

We all ought to pray a prayer similar to this; maybe every day. Especially that we be a blessing to others. God more than meets needs – enlarging our “coast” or “borders”. His hand is with us continually protecting us, keeping us; and Jesus taught us “Deliver us from evil for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever” (Matthew 6:13).

Still we must pray. Still we must trust. Still we must bless others.

Day 29 – The Pride and a Fall

It is written in Proverbs, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18).  Pride even gets into the hearts and minds of the best among us; and that is never more clear to me than when I was reading in 2 Chronicles 23 – 36 this morning.

I read of several kings, three of which, Uzziah, Hezekiah, and Josiah were noted as “Doing what was right in the sight of the LORD”; and they did wonderful things to restore Judah and Jerusalem to the right worship of the LORD.  The LORD prospered them, the nation and the city because of the fine works of these godly kings.  The death of Uzziah is mourned by Isaiah the prophet in Isaiah 6.

Uzziah, however became prideful.  Hear what the Scripture says of him –

“But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.” 2 Chronicles 26:16 (KJV)

In his pride he usurped the office of the priest; an office that did not belong to him; nor a work that was his.  When Uzziah was approached, and rebuked by the chief priest Azariah it is like he had the attitude, “I am king.  Who do you think you are correcting the king?”

“And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him.  And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.”  26:20-21

Uzziah died a leper, due to his prideful fall.

King Hezekiah too is recognized as a king who did what “…was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done” (29:2).  King Hezekiah brought back the Passover, and brought back a unity between part of the people of the Northern kingdom of Israel (30:1-12).  Hezekiah did many wonderful things in Judah and Jerusalem, and God blessed him greatly; yet his heart became prideful;

“In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and He spake unto him, and He gave him a sign.   But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.  Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.” 32:24-25

We also see that God did something in the life of Hezekiah which we may find a bit puzzling;

“Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart.” 32:31 (See 2 Kings 20:12-19)

What I am referring to is the phrase, “God left him, to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart.”  Have you ever had a time when it seemed the Lord had “left” you?  It was probably a test.  It is a time of God’s silence.  Your real heart and mind will be revealed during those times.  The warning here is be cautious, very cautious of pride.

Now, let us look at Josiah who was only eight years of age when he became king of Judah, and he too “…did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father…” (34:1-2).  Josiah heard the word of the LORD, after the reading of it, called the nation to repentance, and was promised to die in peace (34:21-28).

For some reason, and I believe this to be an element of his pride, though it is not named; the king sees a battle that is not his, and he goes to war against Necho, king of Egypt.  The Egyptian kings sends ambassadors saying to Josiah,

“After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him.  But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, ‘What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.’   Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo.  And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, ‘Have me away; for I am sore wounded.’   His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.” 2 Chronicles 35:20-24 (KJV)

Josiah goes against the word of the LORD by the prophet (34:21-28), and proceeds to war when he has none to fight.  O, the futility, and death that pride brings.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God humbled Himself to the point of death, and went to the cross to die for the sins of the world; mine and yours; He was buried, and rose bodily from the grave, and He still lives, exalted at the Father’s right hand.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 28 – Music in Battle

Music and singing are not often thought of as tools of fighting a battle, especially by armies.  In the reading for today 2 Chronicles 9 – 22 there is a king, Jehoshaphat, who sets the musicians at the forefront of a battle.

I use to think that musicals for a movie, even a theatrical play, were somewhat ludicrous.  However, in recent years I have began to see the power music has over life.  Our lives are musicals when you stop and think about it.  I do not know a single individual who does not enjoy music of one kind or another.  I heard music all my life.  I grew up with my Dad playing guitar, a grand father who played the fiddle (that is a a violin, for you city, society folk).

Music has a way of building a mood, good or bad mood.  It can encourage, make fearful, distrustful, suspicious, doubtful, angry; or discourage, bold, trusting, full of faith, and loving.  There are even certain kinds of music that can cause one to go crazy; at least in my estimation.

The passage of Scripture I have in mind is,

“And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper.’  And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, ‘Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.’   And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.     For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.   And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.”  2 Chronicles 20:20-24 (KJV)

A vast army made up of Ammon, Moab, and Seir; nations whom the LORD had told Israel to let be as they were journeying through the wilderness from Egypt; were not attacking in joint effort to conquer Judah, and king Jehoshaphat.  This king was a good king who made several mistakes, but forsaking the LORD was not one of them.

Jehoshaphat’s first act when he realizes they are being attacked is to call on the LORD for help (20:3-13).  A Levite named Jahaziel receives a message from the Spirit of the LORD;

“Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, ‘Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.  To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.   Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.'”   2 Chronicles 20:15-17

Notice in those verses that the LORD, speaking through his prophet, says, “Ye shall not need to fight this battle…”.  It was God’s battle, and then all Jehoshaphat did was arrange a choir to sing praise unto the LORD and the beauty of His holiness.  It would seem that to do this in faith they would have gone out without a weapon, except the singers.

In the Bible the LORD thinks much of music and singing.  We find the Song of Moses (Exodus 15); the Song of Deborah (Judges 5); and then there is a whole Hymnal in the center of the Bible called The Psalms.  There are songs in the Revelation.

Many of us face stress, distress, fear, in various forms and for many reasons.  If we would apply certain music to our lives that is some battles that we can overcome.  Music that praises the LORD, and glorifies Him will lift our hearts from fear to faith; and a battle is won.

The people of Judah went out against Ammon, Moab, and Seir believing God would give them victory.  A choir went forth singing praises to the beauty of holiness of the LORD, and the invading armies turned on one another.  Not a single weapon was raised by Judah that day; not a soul was lost of Judah; because they trusted in the LORD for their deliverance.

Are you fearful today?  Are you distressed?  Does the battle you are facing seem too much for you to handle?  There is nothing too big for God.  Trust His Son Jesus Christ, and you will need not fear anything ever again.

For the Christian singing means being filled with the Spirit,

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”  Ephesians 5:18-21 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 27 – The Glory of the LORD Filled the House

I love reading the events where the glory of God comes down like fire, fills the house, and even the priests cannot enter, because the glory is so bright no human being can enter it in the flesh.

My reading this morning was 1 Chronicles 24 – 2 Chronicles 8.  The seventh chapter is well known among Christians for verse 14.  A verse many of us like to memorize, quote, and pastors and preachers like to preach, but I fear it is often applied in the wrong way.  It is often applied as though it applies to the United States of America.  I do not want to destroy anyone’s hopes and dreams for our nation, but there are no promises of God in the Bible for the U. S. of A.  None.

Enough on that for now.

When we look at the first three verses of chapter 7 of Second Chronicles,

“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.  And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house.  And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, ‘For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.'”  2 Chronicles 7:1-3 (KJV)

King Solomon had closed his prayer, and God shows up.  Fire came down from heaven, consumed the burnt offering and sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the house.  There was no room for anyone else.  Now, is it not the glory of the LORD  that all God’s children desire?  I think so.

In chapter seven when the glory of God comes down God speaks with Solomon, appearing to him (v. 12) and saying,

“If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people; if My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (vv. 13-14)

This word from God is to Solomon and the people of Israel.  Let us be not ignorant of this; there is no promise of God to any nation on the earth, previous to today, today, or after today; other than Israel.  There is one thing for certain; the people of God are the people of God through their faith in God, and through His Son Jesus Christ.

There is certainly a principle given us in these precious words.  Promise we can rest on and apply to life.

We need the hope these words give us.  We can rest in God that He will do what is best for His people, but not necessarily for a nation.  Let us be clear on this matter;  the hope of the world is not the United States of America, Democracy, our Constitution, Bill or Rights, the Amendments to the Constitution, our President, Vice President, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Congress, Senate, Supreme Court or State governments.  The hope of the world lies in the hands of God through faith in His Son.  Our hope is not in the liberal agenda, the conservative agenda, the stock market, or the economy.  All of these things can and will fail and fall; but our God lives forever.

When the heavens are shut up and what we have is drought, cattle are dying, crops will not grow, wells are drying up, lakes and reservoirs are drying, and people are dying of thirst; then we had better be praying, and seeking the face of God and His glory.  When diseases are running rampant, pestilences, and plagues are destroying the land; and afflicting the people; then we better be seeking the face of our Creator, humbling ourselves before Him.  Seeking government aid is not seeking God.  That is seeking an idol

The only hope for the U. S. of A. is Jesus Christ and Him crucified, buried and risen again bodily from the grave, seated at the Father’s right hand.  The only  hope for the world is Jesus Christ and Him crucified, buried and bodily raised from the grave, and seated at the Father’s right hand.  He is coming again.  Be ready.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 26 – David, Priest and King

David, as a shepherd boy, had a heart for God.  While he was doing the task of taking care of the family flock and herds he meditated upon God and His Word; writing and singing songs [Psalms].  He would become angry when ever he heard and enemy or anyone defy the name of Jehovah [YHWH].  While Saul is still king David is anointed by Samuel to be the future king of Israel; and he honors God’s anointed king Saul, serving him faithfully; even thought king Saul hates him.

There is an episode in David’s life after he becomes king of Israel when he endeavors to bring the Ark of the covenant to Jerusalem; the holy city; the city of David.  In his first attempt he fails to follow the direction of God’s Word and commandments, and a man named Uzzah perishes as he reaches out to secure the ark as the oxen stumble (2 Samuel 6:1-11; 1 Chronicles 13:7-14).

I have heard several individuals say something like, “David danced naked before the LORD”, but that is a very false assumption, based on the words of David’s angry wife, Michal, daughter of Saul.

My reading this morning was 1 Chronicles 10 -23, and this story was retold for our benefit, and maybe with a little more detail.  That is why we must, as Christians, be diligent in the reading and study of the Word of God.

After the failed attempt at bringing the Ark to Jerusalem David went to the Word of God, rather than following the example of the Philistines (carrying the ark on a cart, pulled by oxen), and David discovered.

“For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought Him not after the due order.  So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel.  And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD.” 1 Chronicles 15:13-15 (KJV)

In Second Samuel 6:14 we read, “David was girded with a linen ephod”, and in First Chronicles 15:27 we read,

“And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen.”

In this we see David has taken on the role of priest.  David is a picture of Christ here.  When king Saul tried to be a priest (1 Samuel 13:8-16) he was soundly rebuked for doing so, and lost the kingdom for it.  What marks the difference for these two kings?  First Saul was of a rebellious spirit, and refused to wait on the LORD; David on the other hand had a heart to do what God pleased, and seek His counsel.

If an individual has a heart for God, loving His commandments, hiding His Word in the heart, and cherishing His every moment with Him, then they will have the heart of a priest; as David did, and as Jesus Christ the Son of God has as well.

Michal, Saul’s daughter despises David when she sees him coming into Jerusalem without the garments of a king; but rather the garments of a priest;

“Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, ‘How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!”  2 Samuel 6:20

Maybe it was her pride of being a kings daughter; her lack of a  heart for God, but due to her actions against her husband she never gave birth to children.

Those who are in Christ Jesus are priests and kings, according to Revelation 1:6 and 5:10.  If you, however, do not love the Word of God, and are failing to hid it in your heart that you not sin against Him; then it is highly questionable whether you are known by Him.

David danced before the Lord in priestly garments.  When we put on Christ He is the King of kings and Priests of all priest; and we are kings and priests through Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 25 – What the LORD Does With Evil in His People

In reading through the Bible in 90 days there are passages which, to be honest, I find difficult to read; and today’s reading was no exception.  I am speaking particularly of 1 Chronicles 1 – 9 which gives us a genealogy from Adam through the Babylonian captivity of Israel.  I must admit that I cheat when I come to these and pretty much just scan the pages trying to take note of the main names.  Ever once in a while I will notice something I had not seen before.

The one main thing I noticed this morning is that there is more mention of Bathsheba than I had noticed before, in the genealogy, and that may be due to the KJV use of “Bathshua” rather than Bathsheba.  Bathsheba according to this text (1 Chronicles 3:5) is the daughter of Ammiel; who is known as Eliam in 2 Samuel 11:3.  There is also the famous Jabez in chapter 4; who prayed and God answered his prayer (vv.9-10). His name [Jabez] means that he was a pain in birth.

My reading this morning started in 2 Kings 21 and extended through 1 Chronicles 9.

The statement in the title “What the LORD Does With Evil in His People” is answered in 2 Kings 21 – 25.  The short answer to that question is – He judges it severely.  I will not just leave it there though.

The first mention in the reading is of Manasseh, son of Godly king Hezekiah who was a man pretty much after the fashion of king David.  Manasseh, however was a murdering, idol worshipping abomination to Judah.  He led the people of Judah away from the worship of Jehovah/YHWH.   He worshipped the sun, moon, stars, and all their supposed powers (21:5), he sacrificed his son to the fire (21:6), and to these things God will not turn away;

“And the LORD spake by His servants the prophets, saying,  ‘Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols: therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle.  And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.  And I will forsake the remnant of Mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies; because they have done that which was evil in My sight, and have provoked Me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.’  Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.”  2 Kings 21:10-16 (KJV)

In 2 Kings we get our first introduction to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.  He will be the instrument of God’s judgment upon Judah.  One of the things we should see about these things is that God is not pacified with good deeds.  We have seen a few kings of Judah who were pleasing to God David, Asa, Hezekiah, Josiah to name a few.  God does not have a set of balances weighing our good on one side and evil on the other; He judges sin, because He hates sin.  It separates us from Him.

God sent the Southern kingdom of Judah into Babylonian captivity because of their sin; but we find when we get through 2 Chronicles that He does bring them back to Jerusalem.  That is not a balancing of things; that is, however, grace.

The Son of God made it possible for all will call on His name to have eternal fellowship with the Creator of the Universe.  His name is Jesus

-Tim A. Blankenship

How Are We Doing?

In the past thirty years or so it would appear to me that Christians have fallen away from the idea of evangelism.  We have turned to the political arena, and there have been some good things happen from going to the polls and letting “our vote count”, and we must continue to do that.  However, dependence upon the political to legislate change, moral change in particular has given us government out of control.  We are gradually losing our freedom of speech, and will eventually lose it entirely.

The power of changing lives of individuals is solely in the hands of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Forcing moral change through law has never worked, and never will.  Paul the apostle wrote many years ago –

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”  Romans 1:16 (KJV)

It would appear that we [Christians] have stopped believing in the power of the gospel of Christ.  We place more hope in our government than in Christ.  We have more confidence in the power of the president’s pen, than in the quiet, soft voice of the Spirit of God.  We have more faith in the politicians power than the power of the Word of God.

Why do I say these things?  We will strongly urge everyone, “Go and vote on election day”, but rarely do we say something like, “Be sure and tell someone about Jesus today, or this week”.

Let me give you a personal example.  I am often asked, “What do ya know?”; and my answer is always disappointing to me.  “Not much”.  Though the question is often asked as a means of getting a conversation going it should give me the chance to tell what I do know about Jesus Christ, His life, death, burial, resurrection; and His second coming.  Boy!!! would that be a conversation grabber.  Now I know that everytime someone asks me “What do ya know?” they don’t really want to know what I know, but I should and could share with them anyway.  I have responded a time or two, “Do really want to know?”

At any rate the hope of this world is not power, popularity, politics, or prestige.  The hope of this world is Christ Jesus.  Paul said he was not ashamed.  No Christian will be ashamed of the very one who delivered and delivers us from our sin and eternal destruction.

Someone gave an acrostic for GOSPEL  as God Offers Sinful People Eternal Life.  That is what Jesus has done for us on His cross, and proved the power of the cross by the resurrection.  He lives, and because He lives we live.

There is no power greater than the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He possesses the power to change a murderer into one who loves life – his own and others lives.  He empowers the child molestor to become a man or woman who loves children, and would never do anything to harm, molest, or torment them.  He empowers the sexual deviant to become one who is moral, and respects his/her gender and the opposite gender in the correct, moral and Biblical manner.  He empowers the sinner to become a lover of God, His Son, His Spirit and His Word; and live according to the directives of His Spirit and Word.

We must never forget that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.  That means me, and that means you.  That means all with one exception, and His name is Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

Let’s be faithful in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ; “it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes”; and it matters not what sin they have sinned.  Legislate morality all you want, still lives are not changed until we meet Jesus, surrender our wills to His, and then we are changed with the desire to be like Him.

In answer to the question, “How Are We Doing?”  It does not seem too well.  We can do better.  I can do better.  God has not failed us. He will never fail us.  As the Lord has told us in His Word,

“The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” 2 Chronicles 16:9

Perfection is only through His Son Jesus.  Believe on Him and live.

-Tim A. Blankenship