Monday, August 29, 2011


God wants us to live humbled under His loving rule. The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:5-6, God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. It’s the way to experiencing God’s best in our lives. It’s the way God blesses us.

How do we learn to live humbly under God’s love and leadership? We make use of opportunities to repent.

God gave opportunities to King Ahaziah to repent and humble himself before the Lord and worship Him as God. But he was stubborn and arrogant.

God allowed political difficulties to trouble Ahaziah.
When Ahaziah became king, the nation of Moab rebelled against Israel. This meant political trouble for Ahaziah. Since the days of David, Moab had been subject to Israel, but when the people of Moab realized that Ahaziah was a weak king they rebelled. The rebellion of Moab caused great political humiliation for King Ahaziah. But who was behind this humiliation? God. This was God’s plan to help Ahaziah humble himself and call upon the name of God to help him. Did political humiliation cause Ahaziah repent and call upon the Lord? No. So God dealt with Ahaziah in a different way.

God then allowed Ahaziah to experience economic trouble.
In 2 Chronicles 20 we find that Ahaziah entered into a shipbuilding venture with King Jehoshaphat. Both kings wanted to trade and make a lot of money with this great business venture that joined Judah with Israel. But Ahaziah was not serving God and so God was against him. God used this occasion to put economic pressure on Ahaziah. Ahaziah and Jehoshaphat had spent a lot of money to build these ships. They were no doubt counting on a great return on their investment. But instead they lost everything. Did this cause Ahaziah to repent? No.

God then dealt with Ahaziah in a personal way, by allowing his health to suffer.
Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. 2 Kings 1:2. We don’t know how it happened. Did he stumble? Was he drunk? Was this an accident? In any case, God allowed it to happen in an attempt to get his attention. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:11-13 (NLT) No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful. But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

God brings opportunities into our lives in order for us to give Him our attention once again. He allows things to cause us to turn back to Him, to walk closer with Him, to take our love for Him to the next level.

Monday, August 22, 2011


The Bible teaches God is righteous and just. He judges everyone. He judges the unbeliever and He judges the believer. The Bible also uses the word “judgment” to refer to the discipline the Lord gives his people. Heb. 10:30 “The Lord will judge his people.” That means the Lord “chastens” his people. He doesn’t “condemn” believers; He disciplines them. And it’s called “judgment” many times in the Scripture for the believer.

How are we to live in the presence of a righteous God?


In 1 Kings 21, the Bible tells how King Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard. You find story after story in the Bible where people get in trouble for wanting what someone else has. And it’s not just a matter of wanting something “like” what they have but wanting the thing or person that someone else has. On the surface Ahab’s request seemed reasonable. He didn’t conscript the land as other kings of the region might have done. He offered to buy it or swap for some better place. But Naboth would not sell his vineyard, because God forbade it. He refused to sell because in Numbers 36:7 God said that if a family had been given a plot of land; it was to be handed down from father to son from generation to generation. Naboth’s refusal was an act of godliness.

From Naboth we learn that just because you do the right things and live for the Lord, doesn’t mean that you will be accepted and honored by the world. On the contrary don’t be surprised when the world mistreats you, when sinners sin against you, when you’re put down for standing up for what’s true and right. Jesus said in John 15:18-20, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”

From King Ahab we learn what happens when someone gives in to being self-focused and does what his old fleshly tendency wants to do. When we give in to the flesh, the devil paves the way for sin. Under the power of sin we become deceitful and dishonest in order to get our way.

To obtain the vineyard for Ahab, Jezebel his wife devised an extensive and devious plot. She ordered a phony trial in which false witnesses would bring testimony against Naboth and condemn him for blaspheming God and the king. Our sin always causes harm to others. Jezebel’s plot ordered that Naboth should be found guilty and executed. If we choose to live fleshly, in sin, it’s easy to find others who’ll go along with us. What is even more hideous about this plot is that the civil leadership fell right in line with Jezebel’s plan. They seemed to have no scruples about helping to put an innocent man to death. The Bible tells us in Gen. 4:7 (NLT) If you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.


Jezebel’s plan worked, Naboth was killed. It appears that the king and his wife got away with murder. We may say, “Where is God? Doesn’t He know? Doesn’t He care? Where is God when one of His own is put to death? Where is God when the innocent are put to death? Where is God when the wicked rise to power? Where is God when a man like Ahab and a woman like Jezebel can get away with murder? Where is God when evil is let loose in the world?”

God instructs Elijah to intercept the king with a message of judgment. Numbers 32:23 You may be sure that your sin will find you out. No one can break God’s laws and not be hurt by them. When we break God’s laws or violate His rules or disobey His guidelines – we suffer.

There is coming a day of judgment when God will settle all accounts. God’s mercy will come to an end. When an unbeliever dies during this “age of grace” in which we live, and he stands before the Lord, its judgment time. Mercy is ended. When a believer dies and goes to Heaven, and stands before the Lord, his time to make the most of his life for Christ is ended and its judgment time for his actions and words. Did you build your life, your actions, your words on Christ or not? That’s what will be judged for the believer.

During this life on earth, there are moments of God’s judgment. There are times of judgment in people’s lives. There are times of judgment in nations. Because God is righteous and just, He doesn’t let anyone get away with anything. And His judgment comes sooner or later.


Repentance is more than just being sorry for our sin; it’s a change of direction in life. Repentance includes much more than just thinking it or saying it. It includes a change in the way we act, talk, relate, and live.


The Bible teaches that a day of judgment is coming. One day Ahab goes to battle against Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria. Rejecting the godly counsel of Micaiah the prophet, Ahab went into battle against a vastly superior Syrian army. And he was killed.

Be faithful to God with all that He’s entrusted to you. Be faithful in your worship of the Lord. Be faithful in serving others for the sake of Christ. We all need one another to build up one another’s courage and endurance to persevere to the end when our faith will become sight. Take comfort in the truth that God will settle the score one day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Depression is a major problem for many. Experts tell us that one out of every four women will suffer from clinical depression at some point and one out of every ten men. Researchers attribute that difference in numbers to the fact that men are less likely to admit their problems and less likely to seek help. Depression is spread across all segments of society. No one is exempt. It's not a matter of I.Q., age, or social class. Some of the greatest people in history have struggled with feelings of depression. “I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful soul on earth. To remain as I am is impossible. I must die to be better.” Those are the words of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.

Philip Keller writes “Most of us have our ‘desert days’ of despair. There are times when we forget the faithfulness of our Lord. God seems to become remote and far removed from our struggles. Life seems a relentless, remorseless erosion of our stamina and strength in the struggle to carry on. There seems so much more pain than pleasure in the pattern of our days. Forgetting the unremitting faithfulness of God to us in the past, we focus only on the futility and frustrations of the present. We can see no hope or cheering prospect for the future.”

What can you do to restore hope and joy when you’re discouraged?


Heb. 12:5-6, 10-11 (NLT) Have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves,”… But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Sometimes God allows the discouragement in order to “block our pride”, to keep us from becoming arrogant and self-centered, instead of trusting Him.


When Elijah was running for his life from Queen Jezebel, he was afraid, depressed, and exhausted. God gave Elijah time to rest and receive refreshment. This is really basic, but it seems that we find it difficult to do. To overcome stress we need to rest our bodies. Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to not take on another project but instead rest. God did not even begin to deal with Elijah’s depression or wrong thinking until he was rested and refreshed.


God confronted Elijah with truth. Elijah went into the mountains and hid a cave. And there God began to deal him. God asked Elijah a question, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” It was not that the Lord didn’t know. This question was not for God’s benefit, but for Elijah’s. Elijah responded by saying, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty.” But Elijah completely missed the point. God was not asking him what he had DONE. He was asking him what he was DOING. There comes a time when you must get up and get back to what God has given you to do.


God tells Elijah He’s going to pass by, so he stood in the mouth of the cave and looked for signs of the Lord’s passing. First, there came a hurricane force wind so powerful that it splintered rocks. As soon as the wind died down, a mighty earthquake shook the mountain with its force. No sooner had the dust settled from the earthquake than a firestorm descended out of the blue sky consuming everything in its path. In each of this powerful events Elijah had looked for signs that the Lord was in them, yet He was in none of them. And then Elijah heard a gentle whisper – a whisper from God. Sometimes in the busyness of life with its stress and burdens and pressures we lose our focus. What we desperately need is to refocus on God. God tells us in Psa. 46:10 (NLT) “Be still, and know that I am God.” We can learn as Elijah did to look for God in the small things He does. If we pay attention we will begin to see God in our everyday life, in a phone call of encouragement, or an unexpected kindness, or an email, or an answered prayer.

• God always speaks loud enough for those who are willing to hear.


In 1 Kings 19:15, The Lord said to Elijah, “Go back the way you came,” God was saying, “OK, time is up. It’s time to get back to the work I have called you to.” When we turn our attention away from ourselves to serving others, our problems and difficulties will seem less overwhelming. If you want to reduce your stress and increase your fulfillment find someone you can pour your life into.

We need to realize that a lot of times we’re not in a position to estimate our own effectiveness. When you think you’ve won, don’t be so sure. When you think you’ve failed, don’t count God out. Let Him have the last word. It’s not a sin to be discouraged. It’s not a sin to be depressed. It’s what you do when you are discouraged, depressed, and feeling hopeless that matters. Don’t fight the battle alone. Get help. And remember; God is still there.

• There is no pit so deep that the love of God is not deeper still.

Monday, August 1, 2011


The prophet Elijah challenged King Ahab to gather all the prophets of Baal to Mt Carmel to a contest to determine who really is the God of Israel. And it was there that the power of God was expressed in a mighty and convincing way.

We can learn from Elijah how to experience God’s strength and see His power by taking four actions.


So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing. 1 Kings 18: 20-21.

In our postmodernistic day there is the trend to deny “absolute truth”. Postmodernism is all about “being objective.” It’s not just okay; it is good and right to accept all beliefs about God. But the truth is that God desires and demands decision. You must be for Him or against Him. And He will not permit the option of remaining neutral. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:30.

One of the biggest problems with Christians today is spiritual indecision. To say nothing to God is to say, “No” to God. Years earlier Joshua had issued his famous challenge to the people of Israel: “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15. To experience God’s strength in your life stand up and be counted for Him.


Elijah was outnumbered 450 prophets to 1 but he was unafraid. This was designed to be a fair contest, but 450 prophets are not enough if you don’t have God on your side. And one is always enough if you’re on God’s side.

The misguided actions of the prophets of Baal remind us of a very important truth: Faith and sincerity are not enough. Faith is only as good as its object. It DOES MATTER who or what you place your faith in. All paths are not equally true. Neither is sincerity enough. No one could fault the prophets of the false god Baal as not being sincere but they were sincerely wrong. To experience God’s strength in your life be willing to stand alone, though God is with you.


Sometime in the afternoon Elijah began the process of rebuilding the altar and preparing his sacrifice. The fact that the altar was in a state of disrepair was a powerful symbol of just how far the people were from the Lord.

What in your life have you taken back for yourself that needs to be returned to the Lord in order to worship Him as the one true God so that you are completely surrendered to Him? In what areas of your life, public and private, have you neglected to let God rule? To experience God’s strength in your life give those places in your life back to God to serve Him.


Elijah offered a simple prayer. In his prayer he prayed for three things: 1) that God would be recognized as the one true God, 2) that people would know that he was truly God’s prophet, and 3) that the hearts of the people would be turned back to the Lord. The Bible tells us the result: Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!” 1 Kings 18:38-39. To experience God’s strength in your life get to know Him more and you’ll believe Him more.

If three frogs are sitting on a log and two decide to jump off, how many frogs are left sitting on the log? The answer is three. The two haven’t jumped off the log simply because they decided to. Deciding counts for nothing. They’re still on the log until they actually jump off the log.

We can say we have decided to follow Jesus. We can sing about following Jesus. We can shout about following Jesus. But we are not following Jesus until we’re following Him.

It’s not just your decision that matters; it’s your actions that matter. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says… Whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:22,25