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Staying with God

King Asa was the leader of the southern Kingdom of Judah. The Chronicle author, under inspiration said "he did what was pleasing and good in the sight of the Lord his God. He was an adamant follower and because of that he removed foreign altars, pagan shrines, smashed sacred pillars, and cut down Asherah poles. His alternative to all these idols was to "seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey His law and His commands" (2 Chronicles 14:4). Asa and his kingdom enjoyed a long period of peace because the Lord gave him rest from his enemies which allowed him to build up the fortified towns throughout Judah, a great example of a Ronald Reagan principle, peace through strength. His army consisted of 580,000 well-trained fighting men but he also recognized that no one but the Lord could help the powerless against the mighty. An Ethiopian named Zerah attacked with an army of 1-million men and 300,000 chariots. So Asa deployed his smaller army to fight, and cried out…

One Shining Moment

Have you ever had one of these? This is a time that everything went right. Your speaking, listening, answering questions, promoting positive thoughts, and even the little things came together like puzzle pieces fitting into place. It was a shining moment when you felt on the top of the world. During the Israelite conquest of their God given territory called the Promise Land the armies had to fight many battles. Joshua had encouraged the tribes of Reuben, Gad, the half tribe of Manasseh who already possessed their territories on the east side of the Jordan River to be the lead warriors for the other tribes. They fought along with the rest of the Israelites until they received their inheritance on the west side of the Jordan River and then were allowed to return to their own lands. There were 44,760 capable warriors, all skilled in combat and armed with shields, swords, and bows. In one instance "they cried out to God during the battle, and He answered their prayer because they trust…

Friend or Foe

In times of war it is often hard to determine who is a friend and who is a foe. Neither one is always wearing the uniform of their country and may even be in disguise. That makes it difficult to trust anyone who you encounter. And the question is usually asked, "Are you friend or foe?" You and I have friends and foes. It may not be easy to recognize which is which without some further investigation. That seems sad to say but sometimes a friend in appearance and words is really a foe. In fact, internally we can be a friend or a foe to ourselves. Have you ever done something that caused you pain? You were certainly not being a friend to yourself at that point. David's storied life allowed him to come across many friends and foes. His first wife, Michal the daughter of Saul, was a good friend at the beginning. She loved David and covered for him against Saul's guards who came to get him at their home. But later on she became a foe, ridiculing him for dancing in the street…

Detestable

Not normally bantered about, detestable describes an odious, abhorred, and intensely disliked moment. It identifies an horrible evil that is suggested to be okay but is really morally and ethically wrong. Solomon in his wisdom said, "Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent—both are detestable to the Lord" (Proverbs 17:15; 18:5). King Ahab, the ruler of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, illustrated this truth in his life in two crisp moments. He was faced with a war against Ben-hadad the King of Aram who had mobilized not only his own army but thirty-two other allies to attack Israel with him. God came to King Ahab through a prophet and told him how to gain the upper hand over these attackers. Victory was achieved and Ben-hadad retreated to Syria. However, the next spring he was back again with an even more powerful force. God came to Ahab and promised victory again, which He delivered on, but King Ben-hadad retreated to a nearby town and decided to humble himself and …

Praise Daily

How much praise do you give to God each day? What would it look like for you to perpetually be praising the Lord? As the psalmist completes his message about the Word of God, he says, "I will praise you seven times a day," and later, "Let praise flow from my lips" (Psalm 119:164, 171) When you begin to think about the times he has mentioned, it doesn't seem so hard to achieve. Consider you are up at 6am and go to bed at 10pm which would be a 16 hour day giving you 8 hours to sleep. That in itself would make for a more restored life but the psalmist includes praise to God as of upmost importance suggesting it be done seven times a day. What would that look like in your schedule? Think about it at 6am when you wake, then obviously at 8am at breakfast, certainly around mid-morning at 10am, and spending a quiet moment in praise before you eat your lunch. Can you believe it, you are already 4 praise times into the day. So, 3pm rolls around and you take a moment mid-af…

Assignment

Assignment This word can bring up memories of the classroom or a job. We had assignments necessary to complete if we were to pass the class or get a paycheck. These assignments required specific action to be completed. Jesus alludes to an assignment in a story referenced in the book of John. A curious verse in John 9 states, "We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the One who sent us" (9:4). This statement needs some context. John, as an author with a message, links together seven miracles and six discourses to prove Jesus as the Messiah in his Gospel. He declares it his purpose in writing in John 20:31, "These are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name." In this sixth miracle, Jesus healed a man born blind. This is the only miracle he performed that addressed an issue previous to birth. He came out of the womb blind. Those around the i…

A True Friend

What are two of the most important characteristics of a true friend? We could say, "A person who stands up for you," or "A person who will loan you money," or "A person who ____________" (you fill in the blank). There are many characteristics of a true friend but here are the two most important. First is an unfailing love for you that continues throughout your lives together. That covers a lot of ground since love enters into a lot of decisions in friendship. We can see from 1 Corinthians 13 that "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." This last sentence examples the second important characteristic of a true friend. It is their faithfulness. Th…