Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 30, 2012 … Don’t Mess With God’s Chosen!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Obadiah, Chapter 1 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: Obadiah 1: 1-4 :[NIV] … 1 The vision of Obadiah. This is what the Sovereign Lord says about Edom — We have heard a message from the Lord: An envoy was sent to the nations to say, "Rise, let us go against her for battle" — 2 "See, I will make you small among the nations; you will be utterly despised. 3 The pride of your heart has deceived you; … you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, 'Who can bring me down to the ground?' 4 Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down," declares the Lord. 
 Highlight Passage #2: Obadiah 1: 8-10 :[NIV] … 8 "In that day," declares the Lord, "will I not destroy the wise men of Edom, those of understanding in the mountains of Esau? 9 Your warriors, Teman, will be terrified, and everyone in Esau's mountains will be cut down in the slaughter. 10 Because of the violence against your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame; you will be destroyed forever. 

My Journal for Today: Today in my chronological read, I was taken from the historical failings of God’s chosen people described in 1st Kings and 2nd Chronicles to the little poetic and prophetic book of Obadiah, the shortest of the books in the Old Testament. But though called one of the “minor prophets,” Obadiah spoke words of truth in the times of King Jehorham, as a contemporary of Elijah, speaking to the neighboring nation of Edom, … words which ring with warning even today.

The Edomites where neighboring tribesman to Judah. They were descendants of Esau and lived in what is now Jordan in the mountains around their capital of Sela, which today is known as Petra. If you’ve ever seen the Indiana Jones movies, you may remember the remarkable area of Petra, where the Edomites carved a city out of the side of a mountain; and you can see what my wife and I were privileged to see a few years ago by going to this link for a You Tube clip showing Petra. I have put my own picture of the dwellings in Petra attached to this blog.

But in today’s reading of the one chapter poem of Obadiah’s prophesy, we read that God spoke words of curse for the Edomites. They had become prideful and felt that no one could invade their tribes in the mountains of Sela; and they hated and came against their cousins and blood brothers, the tribes in Judah. For this God, through Obadiah, prophesied their doom. And we now know that these mountain-dwelling warriors were decimated for encouraging the Babylonians to overtake Israel; and in Obadiah’s poem we read God’s warning to any people, on their own, who would come against God’s chosen peoples.

 And today, the descendants of Esau, the Arab nations, still hate the Jews and Israel; and they war against them. And, as Obadiah prophesied, somewhere around 853 BC, any nation who comes against God’s chosen peoples may have temporary and temporal victories; but ultimately God’s justice from His eternal covenant with Israel – His Holy Nation – will bring down His final curse upon any who come against God’s chosen ones.

In other words, to paraphrase Obadiah’s warning into modern language, God is saying, “Don’t mess with My people!” And if you are a Christian today, my friend, you have been grafted into God’s family; and anyone who comes against you, as a remnant of God’s chosen nation, will ultimately experience doom and you will have God’s eternal protection God said it; … Jesus sealed it; … “It is finished!”

My Prayer Today: … Lord, we read Your warning; and we hear Your truth being spoken. May we always love and speak in support of Your chosen ones, of which we are a grafted remnant. Amen

Friday, June 29, 2012

June 29, 2012 … Promises … promises!!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Chronicles, Chapter 18 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: 2ND Chronicles 19: 4-7 :[NIV] … 4 Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and turned them back to the Lord, the God of their ancestors.5 He appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah.6 He told them, "Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for mere mortals but for the Lord, who is with you whenever you give a verdict.7 Now let the fear of the Lord be on you. Judge carefully, for with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery." 
Highlight Passage #2: 2ND Chronicles 20: 3, 6, 15, 21, 24, 32-33 :[NIV] … 3 Alarmed [at the prospects of war with strong neighboring armies], Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 4 The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. … 6 And [Jehoshaphat] said: "Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. …15  [And Jahaziel, anointed of God, said to Jehoshaphat and the people] … "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's.’ “ …21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: "Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever." … 24 When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army [after God’s deliverance from battle] …32 He [Jehoshaphat] followed the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.33 The high places, however, were not removed, and the people still had not set their hearts on the God of their ancestors. , they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. 
Highlight Passage #3: 2ND Chronicles 21: 6-7; 16-17 :[NIV] … 5 Jehoram [son of Jehoshaphat] was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. 6 He followed the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.7 Nevertheless, because of the covenant the Lord had made with David, the Lord was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants forever. … 16 The Lord aroused against Jehoram the hostility of the Philistines and of the Arabs who lived near the Cushites. 17 They attacked Judah, invaded it and carried off all the goods found in the king's palace, together with his sons and wives. Not a son was left to him except Ahaziah, the youngest….
Highlight Passage #4: 2ND Chronicles 22: 2-4: :[NIV] … 2 Ahaziah [youngest son of Jehoram] was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother's name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri. … 3 He too followed the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him to act wickedly. 4 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done, for after his father's death they became his advisers, to his undoing.
Highlight Passage #5: 2ND Chronicles 23: 18-20 :[NIV] … 16 Jehoiada [a leader among the Levite priests] then made a covenant that he, the people and the king [Joash, son of Ahaziah] would be the Lord's people. 17 All the people went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars. 18 Then Jehoiada placed the oversight of the temple of the Lord in the hands of the Levitical priests, to whom David had made assignments in the temple, to present the burnt offerings of the Lord as written in the Law of Moses, with rejoicing and singing, as David had ordered. 

My Journal for Today: My chronological reading assignments from are getting lengthier and a bit historically complex. I hope, if you’re following my journaling, you are not put off by the lengthier citations, in this case from 2nd Chronicles, Chapters 19-23, where a succession of kings of Judah is chronicled, illustrating that God’s covenant that David’s lineage of kingship would eternally be protected.

As you can read above from the highlight passages, various of the kings of Judah, from Jehoshaphat to Joash, allowed the throne in Judah to become politically and spiritually polluted, letting pagan and idol worship back into the southern kingdoms; and this ultimately led to the weakening of the throne in Judah, even to the point of defeat at the hands of Israel’s old nemesis, the Philistines.

But through all of this, God’s covenant with David’s line remained in tact, even though various of the kings allowed for their part of the covenant (i.e., obedience to God’s will/ways) to be desecrated and dissolved, God’s promises prevailed. However, as I hope you have read (at least from the highlight passages cited above) that God saw fit to protect David’s line of the throne; and even though, as one reads ahead in Scripture, though the political line of the kings of Israel and the temple would ultimately be destroyed, the line of David’s kingship was reestablished and forever restored in the coming of Jesus, the Christ and Messiah, …Who has, with His blood, renewed the line of David and will one day sit on God’s throne in Jerusalem forever.

 It is a story of God’s promises (i.e., His covenant with His people) being established in the line of David and ultimately fulfilled in the person of the Son of God, … Jesus Christ.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, Jesus, … You are the King of kings and Lord of lords … forever! Amen

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 28, 2012 … Compromising With Evil

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Kings, Chapter 22 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Chronicles, Chapter 18 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

 Highlight Passage: 1st Kings 22: 41-44: 51-53 :[NIV] … 41 Jehoshaphat son of Asa became king of Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel. 42 Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother's name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. 43 In everything he followed the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. The high places, however, were not removed, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. 44 Jehoshaphat was also at peace with the king of Israel. … 51 Ahaziah son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years.52 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, because he followed the ways of his father and mother and of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin.53 He served and worshiped Baal and aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, just as his father had done. 

My Journal for Today: This entry from today’s parallel passages in 1st Kings 22 and 2nd Chronicles 18 may not be very long; and if you follow my habitually verbose blogs, you’re probably saying, “Whew; … finally, … some brevity!” But there’s really not much to say about this historical lesson.

Here we have two Israeli kings, Jehoshaphat and Ahab negotiating with each other and getting advice from a bunch of fools, calling themselves prophets; and we see these leaders ignoring the one prophet, Micaiah, who was the only prophet really tuned into the Lord. And the result … well, Ahab is killed, even though the Jews defeat their powerful enemies, the Arameans. And then Jehoshaphat consorts with the northern tribes in Israel by having his son marry into Ahab’s family, which ultimately leads from division to disaster for these recalcitrant and resistant children of God, … foolish followers of God who let themselves become politically polluted by idolatry and selfishness, … unwilling to live up to their part of the covenant God made with David, … and paying the price for their disobedience.

As a believer in the same God who promised protection to king David for His people if they were obedient and followed His will and His ways from His word, do you ever find yourself compromising with what you know is ungodly in the world? Do you ever go off and make allies with pagan forces in the world like Jehoshaphat, … a marginalized believer in God, consorting and bargaining with idolatry?

It’s easy to read these two chapters today and become self-righteous, seeing how much of a fool Ahab was to be sucked into idolatry by his wicked wife Jezebel. And it’s easy to see that Jehoshaphat was unwilling to give His God 100% allegiance, foolishly promoting the marriage of his son to Ahab’s daughter. Oh how easy is it to see how the kings of the northern tribes, who became divided from the southern Israeli kingdom, letting themselves become sucked into worshiping idols; and we can see how the divisions and spiritual compromises with evil led Israel and Judah down a path of disaster for God’s chosen nation.

 But then, as we’re pointing a finger of discerning blame at these foolish ancients, are we really looking at how we compromise with evil in our world? How often do we find ourselves making alliances with unGodly forces such as the media, choosing to watch evil influences on TV or by choosing to pay to see movies which mock God with hypersexual images? How often do we choose to pollute the Temple of God – our bodies – because we are sucked in by TV ads or by other “friends” who offer us tempting, but somewhat poisonous, dietary choices?

Oh, I know … I’m meddling now, aren’t I? … But that’s what this study today has done to me in conviction. God’s word often “meddles” with my soul when I really go deep into God’s messages of personal meaning and His direction for my life (as, for example, it says in Psalm 119: 105), becoming a “light unto my path.” And quite simply – and powerfully – these chapters from 1st Kings and 2nd Chronicles have shined a light on my tendency to let the world influence my choices when I should be seeking, finding, and holding on to God’s way for my life.

I’ll leave it to you to decide how deeply and how strongly you’re holding to God’s will and way and whether the world has become too much of an influence in your life. I’m just going to be taking the conviction from my study today into God’s word and trying to let God’s light of truth guide my way more clearly in the f

 My Prayer Today: … Lord, as I so often pray, shine Your light brightly on my path, especially from Your word that I might clearly follow You in ALL things. Amen

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 27, 2012 … God Hears Repentance

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Kings, Chapter 20-21 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: 1st Kings 20: 41-43 :[NIV] … 41 Then the prophet quickly removed the headband from his eyes, and the king of Israel [Ahab] recognized him as one of the prophets. 42 He said to the king, "This is what the Lord says: 'You have set free a man I had determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people.'" 43 Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria.
Highlight Passage #2: 1st Kings 21: 27-29 :[NIV] … 27 When Ahab heard these words [i.e., the prophesy of Elijah as to the elimination of Ahab and Jezebel], he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly. 28 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 29 "Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son." 

My Journal for Today: If you’re reading along with me in this journal entry of my chronological reading plan today, I charge you to read and mediate on the two chapters from 1st Kings which I was led to study this day and to which I link you above. And when you do, I think you’ll be impressed, as was I, as to the reality of the Bible, not pulling any punches about what was going on during the reign of Ahab and Jezebel in the times of Elijah, God’s prophet.

In these chapters we read how God was trying to teach Ahab a lesson. The Lord allowed Ahab to overwhelm a vastly superior enemy force, the Arameans; and God even gave Ahab this lesson twice, the last time really showing Ahab that following God’s will and His way is the ONLY WAY to success in life. But Ahab was totally bamboozled by his queen Jezebel, the crafty weasel of a wife who had Ahab totally wrapped around her selfish and manipulative fingers. And in these chapters we read how this idolatrous wench even maneuvered a Godly man, Naboth, to be murdered and to take his ancestor’s lands. Jezebel was relentless and ruthless in influencing Ahab into following her worship of Baal and Asherah; and Ahab simply followed her influence down the wretched path of idolatry, leading the Northern Kingdom of Israel to disaster.

 However, right at the end of Chapter 21 of 1st Kings, in verses 27-29, we read a very revealing passage about the loving and forgiving nature of our God. Ahab heard the prophesy of doom, which Elijah was led to speak to the northern king; and Elijah’s proclamation caused Ahab to repent in true brokenness. And we read of his honest repentance in this passage; and we see God’s response, being willing to reduce the punishment of death which would be put upon Jezebel and the rest of Ahab’s family.

The lessons from these two chapters, and especially from this latter passage, is that absolute and total surrender to the one, true God is essential as we live, surrounded by a world of idolatry and evil; and God will not tolerate any who war with Him and mock His holiness with their unholy surrender to selfishness and evil and worthless gods.  However, there is a second – incredibly hopeful – message which comes out loud and clear in these last two verses of Chapter 21; and that is that God’s loving grace is always available, along with His willingness to dole it out as a free gift, to any who come to Him with a truly repentant heart, surrendering and seeking the Lord’s mercy.

Now, did God ultimately spare Ahab, in this temporary episode of repentance, forever? No; and if one reads on ahead in 1st Kings, Chapter 22, as a student of God’s truth, one will see that Ahab’s repentance was later eclipsed by a backsliding of selfishness as he had one of God’s prophets, Micaiah, imprisoned, trying to force him to take back God’s prophesy of Ahab’s death. And even though God had held off Ahab’s demise for a period of time because the repentance we read about above, ultimately Ahab’s selfish and God-ignoring ways became his undoing.

Again my lesions today - #1 … Obey God’s way AT ALL TIMES and IN ALL WAYS!! And #2, when I’m convicted of breeching God’s will, REPENT HONESTLY AND COMPLETELY!! …

And if we, as saved and Sainted sinners, can live, as much as we can, by these two provisions of truth, as illustrated by today’s history lesson, we can – and will – walk in the victory Christ has won for us on the cross. And may God have mercy on all of us who are the remnant of believers in this very idolatrous and unbelieving world.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, have mercy on Your people, struggling to follow Your ways and surrounded by forces mocking Your truth daily. Amen

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 26, 2012 … Listen for God’s Still, Small Voice

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Kings, Chapter 17-19 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: 1st Kings 17: 1; 13-14; 22-24 :[NIV] … 1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbet in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word." … 13 Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.'" … 22 The Lord heard Elijah's cry, and the boy's life returned to him, and he lived.23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, "Look, your son is alive!" 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth." 
Highlight Passage #2: 1st Kings 18: 36-39 :[NIV] … 36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command.37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again." 38 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. … 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!"
Highlight Passage #3: 1st Kings 19: 1-4; 11-12; 18-19; 21:[NIV] … 1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them." … 3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, Lord," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." … 11 The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by." … Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. … [And God told Elijah] 18 “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him." … 19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. … 21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.

My Journal for Today: Another big gulp from God’s pool of wisdom in His word. And today’s reading plan, in Chapters 17-19 of 1st Kings gives the historical account of the Prophet Elijah and even a brief introduction to his mentee, Elisha. And this character story is a rich one to learn a lot about our relationship with God. But in Elijah’s story we might have a tendency to be a bit overwhelmed by the way-big miracles and lose sight of God’s still, small voice … which can be a big part of our relationship with God and not just part of Elijah’s story.

The overriding lesson of these chapters, at least for me from the account of Elijah’s life, is the on-going and deepening relationship of faith that Elijah had with God. It’s very easy to be awed by all that Elijah did as God’s anointed prophet, … events such as Elijah bringing a child back from the dead in Chapter 17 or calling rain and fire down from heaven in Chapter 18 or Elijah interacting with God in Chapters 19 on the same mountain which Moses had received God’s word.

 But with all of those wondrous events and God’s calling out Elijah as His prophet to a rebellious and wayward people, we should not lose sight of many of the very human parts of Elijah’s story with which any of us can identify. … For example, there was the time (from 1st Kings 19: 3-4) when Elijah, being pursued by the wicked queen Jezebel, that Elijah became so fatigued and wracked by despair that he actually prayed to God to die; but God had other things in his will for Elijah; and aren’t we glad that God will answer our prayers with what we need and not necessarily what we want or feel?

And then, there was the time (also in 1st Kings 19, verses 11-12) that Elijah was having trouble hearing God with all the clamor of the disbelieving world around him; and God gave the Prophet a listening lesson. And here we learn to listen for and even watch for the messages of God in the quiet, small things of life, where God may be speaking big messages in a quieting, small voice. That’s why Jesus so often went off to quiet places in the mornings to be with His Father; and it’s why we should have a quiet place to end or start each day where we might be able to listen for God’s still, small voice speaking His mind and His will for our lives. Do you have such a place in your life and in your regular, preferably daily, relationship with God, … a place where you, as where I’m writing this, can get alone and not be interrupted or confused by all the noise of the world? I hope you do; because I so covet the solitude of each morning where I can be here with my God and quietly listen for His still, small voice.

Finally, we see how God, at the end of Chapter 19 of 1st Kings, shows Elijah that he’s not alone, where the Prophet had felt so alone in his calling from God. God showed Elijah that He, the Lord, would always protect a remnant of the faithful; and He would even provide the Prophet with a disciple, who was to be Elisha, to come along side Elijah as he was to speak truth to God’s rebellious people and to confront the idolatrous world. It’s easy these days to think that we’re totally engulfed and overwhelmed by an pleasure-seeking, idol-worshiping world, isn’t it? But God will always watch over and hold out protection for those who truly love Him and are THE CALLED according to His purpose; and if you seek out an Elisha to your being an Elijah … or maybe a Timothy or a Barnabas to your being a Paul, … God will send you someone to walk through the minefields of life together.

Do you have an Elisha in your life if you are a leader in God’s kingdom? Do you have a Paul if you are a growing disciple, like Timothy? Do you have a Barnabas if you need encouragement as a follower of Christ? It’s a powerful lesson to learn from this story of Elijah today. We all need what I call “power-partners” in this life of discipleship; because finding them and holding on to them gives God a relational vessel to keep us going when we feel weak … to encourage us when we feel discouraged … and to have our backs in the battles of life. I pray that if you are an Elisha that you find an Elijah; and if you are an Elijah, I pray that you are led to an Elisha to walk with you in the trials of life.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I’m so grateful for the Elishas and the Elijahs in my life. Amen

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012 … Ahab or Jehoshaphat?? … We Choose!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Kings, Chapter 16 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Chronicles, Chapter 17 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: 1st Kings 16: 29-33 :[NIV] … 29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years.30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him.31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him.32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria.33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.
Highlight Passage #2: 2nd Chronicles 17: 1; 7-9 :[NIV] … 1 Jehoshaphat his son succeeded him [Asa] as king and strengthened himself against Israel. … 7 In the third year of his reign he sent his officials Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel and Micaiah to teach in the towns of Judah.8 With them were certain Levites—Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah and Tob-Adonijah—and the priests Elishama and Jehoram. 9 They taught throughout Judah, taking with them the Book of the Law of the Lord; they went around to all the towns of Judah and taught the people.

My Journal for Today: I really love the way this chronological reading plan takes me through the characters of the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, teaching me, from the characters in God’s word – i.e., HISTORY … His Story – about who we are in God’s kingdom. Today, I learn, from the contrast of what was going on the northern kingdom of Israel and southern kingdom of Judah, two vastly different approaches to life (i.e., world views), and how these two, personified in Ahab and Jehoshaphat, dictate how we live and move and have our being in this world and times as overseen by the God of all of life; and that is Jehovah, … Whom we know of as Jesus in our time and dispensation of living.

There could not have been two more different men, kings, or rulers than these two. Both were definitely influenced by how they were raised by their own earthly fathers, Ahab being raised and influenced by his evil daddy, Omri; and Jehoshaphat, being raised by his, imperfect, but Godly-directed, father, Asa. They were molded by God and the parenting of their fathers to become contrasting lessons in character and world views, teaching us that the one, who learns from God’s word and pursues God’s truth, will ultimately prevail in life.

So, we take note of how Jehoshaphat lived, seeing in 2nd Chronicles 17: 7-9 how the leader of God’s people in Judah tried to insure that God’s people followed God’s way by having them instructed and steeped in God’s word. Ahab, on the other hand, fell prey to his wife, Jezebel’s, idolatry and did all he could, by building a temple to Baal and constructing Asherah poles for the worship of evil idols, leading the people unto a life of destructive false worship. The former was doing all he could to lead his people to the life-giving message of the one, true God; and the latter choosing to be duped, by his own flesh and deceit-ridden heart, into the path leading to anti-god, deathly influences.

And we, like Ahab and Jehoshaphat, make the same ultimate choice, don’t we? We either choose to pursue God’s way, led by His word unto life; or we choose the anti-God way, led by our flesh unto death. Yes, history – HIS STORY – shows us that even though we live in these post NT times, the choices remain much the same.

So, my dear one, are we choosing to follow the ways of Ahab and live for the glory of self, by following Satan; or are we choosing to follow the ways of Jehoshaphat and to live for God’s glory, learning to and living by God’s word?

We choose!!!

My Prayer Today: … I choose Your way, Lord! Amen

Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 24, 2012 … Always Vigilant; … Never Quit!!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Kings, Chapter 15 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Chronicles, Chapters 13-16 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: 2nd Chronicles 13: 18-20 :[NIV] … 18 The Israelites [under King Jeroboam] were subdued on that occasion, and the people of Judah [under their King, Abijah, and in the line of David] were victorious because they relied on the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 19 Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took from him the towns of Bethel, Jeshanah and Ephron, with their surrounding villages. 20 Jeroboam did not regain power during the time of Abijah. And the Lord struck him down and he died. 
Highlight Passage #2: 2nd Chronicles 14: 1-7; 11-12 :[NIV] … 1 And Abijah rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. Asa his son succeeded him as king, and in his days the country was at peace for ten years. 2 Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. 3 He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. 4 He commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his laws and commands. 5 He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him. 6 He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the Lord gave him rest. 7 "Let us build up these towns," he said to Judah, "and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side." So they built and prospered. 11 Then [when Judah was attacked by over a million Ethiopian Cushites] Asa called to the Lord his God and said, "Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you." 12 The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, …
Highlight Passage #3: 2nd Chronicles 15: 1-2; 8; 17 :[NIV] … 1 The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded.2 He went out to meet Asa and said to him, "Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. … 8 When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son oft Oded the prophet, he took courage. He removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the portico of the Lord's temple. … 17 Although he did not remove the high places from Israel, Asa's heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life. 
Highlight Passage #4: 2nd Chronicles 16: 9-10 :[NIV] … 9 “… [Hanani, the prophet, to Asa, the King of Judah] For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war." 10 Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison. At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.

My Journal for Today: A lot of reading and study in today’s chronological reading plan; but it was well worth it; and if you’re reading along with me, I challenge you to at least read the highlight passages I’ve copied/pasted above from 2nd Chronicles 13-16, where the life of two kings of Judah are related historically; and there are important lessons we can learn from the life of these two, especially that of King Asa, the King of Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel, who turned the tribes of Judah and Benjamin back to the worship of God, helping them to learn to remain vigilant in their worship of the God of their ancestors, … the one, true God, … Jehovah.

But then, sadly, as one reads on toward the end of this assigned reading, we learn that Asa lapsed in his vigilance, even warned by the prophet/seer, Azariah, that God’s kings must remain strong in the ways of the Lord. Yet, Asa’s vigilance for worship waned; and once again God’s people paid the price of letting their worship lapse into selfish and sinful living.

I’m going to make my comments brief today; primarily because the reading of these chapters in 2nd Chronicles and 1st Kings are enough to get the point across. It is all too easy for us to let our guard of worship down and to let our fleshly feelings taint our attitude of worship for our God. Satan knows this; and he will do anything he can, as I’m sure was the case with Asa, to divert our attention from our disciplines of worship, to distract us with worldly urgencies, and to discourage us with feelings of inadequacy.

Go to this link and hear the brief, but powerful, words of Winston Churchill as he spoke them in his famous “never quit” speech; and remember that it is only in taking the high ground of life with our faith in God that we can – and must – remain vigilant and “never quit” in our daily battles against our spiritual foes. We must stand the ground, … knowing, … as it says in 2nd Cor. 12: 9 that God’s empowering grace is “always sufficient” for us to keep on keeping on in Christ.

My Prayer Today: … Yes, Lord, that is my goal and my choice … to remain in You and to know that You are in me as I fight my battles this day in Your Name and for Your glory. Amen

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 23, 2012 … Wise Leaders Learn and Lead Lovingly

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Chronicles, Chapters 10-12 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: 2nd Chronicles 10: 6-8; 13-14 :[NIV] … 6 Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. "How would you advise me to answer these people?" he asked. … 7 They replied, "If you will be kind to these people and please them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants." …8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. … 13 The king answered them [the people, led by Jeroboam] harshly. Rejecting the advice of the elders,14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, "My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions." 
Highlight Passage #2: 2nd Chronicles 11: 1; 13-17 :[NIV] … 1 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered Judah and Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam. … 13 The priests and Levites from all their districts throughout Israel sided with him.14 The Levites even abandoned their pasturelands and property and came to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them as priests of the Lord15 when he appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat and calf idols he had made.16 Those from every tribe of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the Lord, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to the Lord, the God of their ancestors.17 They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon three years, following the ways of David and Solomon during this time. 
Highlight Passage #3: 2nd Chronicles 12: 1-2 :[NIV] … 1 After Rehoboam's position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him [i.e., the Southern Kingdom of Judah] abandoned the law of the Lord. 2 Because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam.  

My Journal for Today: Yesterday, in my chronological read of 1st Kings, Chapters 12-14, I was led to study about Rehoboam and Jeroboam, whose squabble for power in Israel following the death of Solomon led to division and a weakening of the kingdom of Israel, with Rehoboam moving to the southern portion of the kingdom to rule of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The Levites also came with Rehoboam as well as many people from the northern tribes in Israel because of the Temple being in Jerusalem.

 But today’s parallel historical reading in 2nd Chronicles, chapters 10-12 reinforced my application conclusions from my journal entry yesterday, … that the nation of Israel was weakened and became vulnerable to an invasion from Israel’s old, arch nemesis, Egypt, primarily because Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, and the proper anointed king of Israel, took bad advice from the younger men in Israel at the time rather than listening to the more Godly elders of the tribes [see the reading from 2nd Chronicles 10 above]; and then Rehoboam let his selfish ego get in the way of seeking and leading as God would have him lead Israel; and we see the result in the three chapters of today’s reading assignment.

 Israel became fragmented, divided, and weakened because they were led by unGodly leadership and by worldly idol worship; and God simply lifted His hand of protection from His chosen nation; and the Egyptians, who were no where nearly as powerful as the nation which had enslaved them prior to the deliverance by Moses, swooped in and took charge of Israel. And this had to be the ultimate slap-in-the-face for Israel, who had been subjugated by and delivered from Egypt in their glorious past.

 I’ll not belabor, but I will repeat, the obvious application to today’s world and our nation. Yesterday, I made reference to a New Testament passage - Romans 1: 18-32 - where the Apostle Paul in post-resurrection Israel was warning, primarily Jewish Christian believers, who had been enslaved by Rome, that God cannot continue to mercifully protect a people who “go over to the dark side,” to use Trekky language. When leaders leading, and people following, are unwilling to do life and worship God’s way, as given to us in His word, God will lift His hand of protection and the results will be disastrous for a nation founded and built upon God’s will and His ways as spelled out in His word.

My friends, it doesn’t take the brains of a rocket-scientist, nor the training of a Christian theologian, to see what is going on in our country today, moving SO away from the principles of our American Christian founding-fathers, who desired that we become a land where Christianity could thrive and where people could live and worship under the Biblical principles upon which this nation was founded. But we now have a leader – our President – who has openly disavowed that this is a “Christian nation;” and so many in our country are following him away from our Christian/Biblical moorings.

 Dear ones, if we don’t have a revival soon in this land – for which we Christians should be praying – I’m afraid we’re going to experience a cataclysmic disaster of the type described in today’s study of 2nd Chronicles involving Israel. I’ll leave it to your own prayer-life; but personally I repeat my continual prayer from 2nd Chronicles 7: 14; and I’ll leave it to you to pray for our nation as God leads you.

 My Prayer Today: … Lord, help us, heal us, … have mercy on us. Amen

Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22, 2012 … Remaining Loyal To Our King

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Kings, Chapters 12-14 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: 1st Kings 12: 18-20 :[NIV] … 18 King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem.19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day. … 20 When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David.  
Highlight Passage #2: 1st Kings 13: 33-34 :[NIV] … 33 Even after this, Jeroboam did not change his evil ways, but once more appointed priests for the high places from all sorts of people. Anyone who wanted to become a priest he consecrated for the high places.34 This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth.
Highlight Passage #3: 1st Kings 14: 22-26 :[NIV] … 22 Judah did evil in the eyes of the Lord. By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than those who were before them had done.23 They also set up for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree.24 There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. … 25 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem.26 He carried off the treasures of the temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made.  

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Romans 1: 18-32 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link 

My Journal for Today: Reading and meditating on my chronological reading assignment for today is very scary when I consider what’s going on in the world today. In Chapters 12-14 of 1st Kings one reads of what happened when a mighty and supposedly wise king, like Solomon, wavers from steadfast devotion to our Lord and succumbs, as he did, to idols. Literally, in reading about what happened between Rehoboam and Jeroboam, “all hell breaks loose” when leaders and societies ignore God’s way and go it on their own, worshiping idols and spurning God’s written will from His word.

When one reads and studies what happened in just five short years after Solomon died, with the Temple he had built under David’s instruction being ransacked and desecrated, we can see what can happen when a nation let’s idol worship lead them away from God’s way, which is clearly written in His word.

Again, as I did a few days ago [see my journal entry for June 20], my heart was taken to Romans 1: 18-32, linked above for your study if you’re following here, … where the Apostle Paul, inspired by God’s Spirit, writes of what happens when God’s people, or a nation, ignore, or, even worse, spurn God’s will and worship idols in their lives. God turns them over to their own wickedness; and they become vulnerable to Satan and his worldly ways. And here is where my deep concern lies as I see what is happening in this country and our world these times.

I see a worldly leader, … our President, … spurning God’s will, as clearly spelled out in His word; and the President and his followers are totally turning away from the principles and purposes upon which this nation was founded, … that being the perpetuation of the Gospel and our foundation of laws based on God’s word. And many, many are falling prey to the forces of idolatry, which are leading us away from God. And in seeing what God did to His own, chosen, people in the days following Solomon’s death, and in reading Paul’s warning, from God’s own word (in Romans 1), how would we not expect God not to lift His hand of protection from this nation as He did with Israel?

It’s scary business! And it’s most worthy of the remnant of believers, i.e., Christians who still desire to follow the real King, … our Lord, Jesus Christ, … to pray as we’re instructed to humbly pray in 2nd Chronicles 7: 14, that God would somehow – in His way and timing – forgive us and restore us to follow His greatness, turning away from the idols of this world.  

My Prayer Today: … Lord, have mercy on Your remnant, … the ones who follow You and seek Your will and ways from Your word. Amen

Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 21, 2012 … A Fire-hydrant of Wisdom

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Proverbs, Chapters 30-31 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Proverbs 30: 1, 3, 5-6 :[NIV] … 1 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh—an inspired utterance. This man's utterance to Ithiel: "I am weary, God, but I can prevail. … 3 I have not learned wisdom, nor have I attained to the knowledge of the Holy One…. 5 "Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. 6 Do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar”. 
Highlight Passage #2: Proverbs 31: 1 :[NIV] … The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him. 
Highlight Passage #3: Proverbs 31: 10-31 :[NIV] … To study this passage, go to this link -  ============  

Reference Passage #1: Ephesians 5: 22 :[NKJV] …  Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  

My Journal for Today: Wow! … Way wow!!! … My reading plan today had me read, study, and mediate on Proverbs 30 and 31; but that’s like trying to get a drink of refreshing water from a fire hydrant. It’s just WAY TOO MUCH wisdom to take in and write about in one morning!

Most certainly the section of these two chapters of proverbs which would grab the eye/heart of most Christians would be that one from Proverbs 31: 10-31 to which I’ve linked any of you to read above. Apparently a King Lemuel from one of the northern Arabic kingdoms, wrote down some of the musings of his mother about Godly womanhood; and in this passage we have one of the clearest pictures in God’s word of what a “Godly woman” might look like. And it certainly refutes the stereotype that many get – inaccurately – from Paul’s picture of the surrendered wife in a marriage of mutual submission.

That passage, to which I’ve quoted above, seems to create an image of Godly womanhood, especially married women, as being passive and not actively and assertively working in life, … always looking to the husband for guidance. But as one reads in Proverbs 31, the woman of God, who is actively living her life out in surrender to God, is pictured as industrious, creative, and self-assured. And the key to understanding God’s picture of womanhood is to merge these two images into a biblical understanding of how God pictures the woman in relation to Godly manhood; and how they must be mutually submissive – first to God and then to one another [especially in marriage]. Books and books have been written on this subject; and I’ll not attempt to even blog about it here today.

 But for my own edification and journal entry today, I’d like to focus on Proverb 30, apparently written by a man named Agur, about whom little is known. Scholars have speculated that he was a wise man who may have been a subject of King Lemuel, the author of Proverbs 31. But in reading Chapter 30 of Proverbs, we read that Agur hardly felt like a wise man. He was rather self-deprecating early in chapter 30, reporting that he really knew nothing. But then he gives those who are reading his ancient scriptural blog some incredibly insightful wisdom, … the first being that God’s word is the main source of our human insights (see Prov. 30: 5-6, copied above). And then Agur goes on to give us some very powerful word pictures, primarily taken from observations about God’s creation and nature, which help us to gain great insights into how we should live.

Have you ever thought that we could learn lessons in life from leeches, ants, locusts, or lizards? Well, when Agur paints pictures of how these creatures of God live and have their being, they become lessons in living life with more purpose, industriousness, and productivity; and we see just how much more we could glean from life if we lived by learning and applying the lessons God teaches us through the creatures He has created. I certainly got a lot more out of the lessons of life from Proverbs 30 this morning than I ever had in my past readings of this chapter; and I hope, with your meditation on this chapter, you did as well.

Now, having gone through all the proverbs again in these past few weeks of my reading plan, I see why Christian teachers will say that’s is a good discipline to read one chapter of Proverbs per day on the date number of the chapter we study. Being that there are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs, one would read and meditate on the first 30 chapters twelve times in a year and Chapter 31 eight times. That’s putting a lot of Godly wisdom in front of us every day during a year of devotions; and I might suggest that one add to this exercise in Godly discipline, reading these chapters ALOUD each day after praying that God would give you (or me) His mind/heart (i.e., wisdom) from this exercise of faith (see James 1: 5-6). If we did this, … for one year, I would predict, based on the truth of Isaiah 55; 11, all of Psalm 119, and 2nd Timothy 3: 16-17 that we’d experience God’s transforming grace by this commitment to His word in seeking His will and His way in life. A worthy exercise, I would say.  

My Prayer Today: … Lord, thank You for Your wisdom in the Proverbs. Help me to incorporate Your mind and to follow Your wise ways from Your word. Amen

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 20, 2012 … The Wise One Blew It !!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Kings, Chapters 10-11 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day #2: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Chronicles, Chapters 9 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link 

Highlight Passage: 1st Kings 10: 23-25 :[NIV] … 23 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 24 The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 25 Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.
Highlight Passage #2: 1st Kings 11: 1-13 : [NIV] To study this passage, go to this link -  ============  

Reference Passage #1: Romans 1: 18-32 :[NKJV] … Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Romans 1: 18-32 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link 

My Journal for Today: Back to the parallel accounts of Solomon’s reign as King in 1st Kings 10-11 and 2nd Chronicles 9; and reading these historical records and stories is most revealing and should be a red-flag warning for all of us.

 Solomon had an incredible opportunity to take the promises which God had given to his father, David, and to watch over God’s people, using the wisdom, wealth, and power which God had given Solomon to be God’s emissary on earth, … a shining light of God’s glory in the world in those days. And to some degree he did that; and kings, queens (like the Queen of Sheba), and potentates from all over the world came to see this light of God, shining with God’s glory in the world.

BUT … (and here’s another of those big “buts” in the Bible); … what happened? Solomon let what God had given the King, for God’s glory, to become a reflection of Solomon’s pride; and slowly – but very certainly – Solomon began ignoring God’s way; and he did life, as king, his own (very pride-filled) way. He let his flesh and sinful arrogance get in the way of the very wisdom God had given him to rule. He simply – but flagrantly – ignored God’s clear instructions for kings (found in Deut. 17: 14-20); and slowly but surely, taking many wives and building up coffers of God and silver and chariots and horses, God watched Solomon become corrupted, seeking after his (Solomon’s) own way rather than living for Gods’ way and glory. In a nutshell … Solomon, the wisest man on earth, … blew it!!

And this reading today caused me to return to the New Testament reference passage, to which I’ve linked you above; and I charge you to meditate on it as well as the OT passages we’re studying today. The passage Paul wrote to Christians in Romans 1: 18-32 is one which, historically in our own times, I see God doing what He told Solomon he would do for Israel in those ancient days, … to let them be overwhelmed by other nations, giving His chosen people over to their own sinful pursuits and being weakened to the point of not being able to resist the wiles and power of Satan. And that, my dear ones, is what is happening to this nation, founded on Godly pursuits and God’s principles, but being corrupted to the core by political leaders who seek after their own selfish and flesh-driven pursuits rather than following the clear dictates (in God’s word) of how God’s leaders must rule over God’s people.

If one reads what happened to Solomon – believing in the truth of God’s word as witnessed in 2nd Timothy 3: 16-17 – and then reads the Romans 1 passage linked above, you have to be able to see that God is only going to keep His hand of protection on this country for so long; and He will ultimately visit this nation with His “wrath of abandonment,” as John MacArthur calls it, on American the way we read the Lord promised He would do to Israel following Solomon’s reign. And when one reads what transpired later in Israel’s history, we know that’s exactly the scenario we can expect as we head down this road today. And my friend, it will also happen just as we read in Romans 1 to America if those we put in power here in the USA lead as Solomon led and let their pride ignore the warnings of God from His word.

May God have mercy on His remnant, i.e., those who recognize what is happening and who pray for leaders to come into power who’ll live by God’s word, seek His will, and lead our country in His ways.  

My Prayer Today: … Lord, have mercy on us; as we humbly pray in the Spirit as You charged Your peoples in 2nd Chronicles 7: 14. Amen

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June 19, 2012 … Seek Him! … Know Him! … Trust Him!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Ecclesiastes, Chapters 7-12 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Ecclesiastes 7: 14 :[NIV] … When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future. 
Highlight Passage #2: Ecclesiastes 8: 1; 16-17 :[NIV] … 1 Who is like the wise? … Who knows the explanation of things? … A person's wisdom brightens their face and changes its hard appearance. … 16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe the labor that is done on earth - people getting no sleep day or night - 17 then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.  
Highlight Passage #3: Ecclesiastes 9: 5. 10 :[NIV] … 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. … 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
Highlight Passage #4: Ecclesiastes 10: 10 :[NIV] … If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.  
Highlight Passage #5: Ecclesiastes 11: 4, 9 : … [NIV] 4 Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. [NLT - If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.] … [NIV] 9 You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
Highlight Passage #6: Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14 :[NIV] … 13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. 

Reference Passage #1: Romans 8: 28 :[NKJV] … All things work together for those who love the Lord and who are the called according to His purpose.
Reference Passage #2: Proverbs 3: 5-6 :[NKJV] … Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understand. In ALL your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.  

My Journal for Today: Whew, … again! I said that yesterday after studying and meditating on the first six chapters of Ecclesiastes. Now, here my chronological reading plan takes me through these last six chapters; and they seem to be more personally engulfing than the first six.

In these chapters, using his old Proverbial style of poetic couplets, Solomon takes his readers on a reflection of life, especially seeming to focus on the younger generation, as he did in the first nine chapters of the Book of Proverbs; and trying to get any believer to see that we need to do all we can to seek out and sharpen our wisdom, which really is to know God as deeply and as intimately as we can. Then, … we simply (but never easily) need to trust the God we know because all things in life come from Him.

That’s why all of Solomon’s reflections on life in Ecclesiastes boil down to the very brief, but powerful, summary statement in Ecclesiastes, Chapter 12, verses 13-14, which you can read and meditate on above, especially noting the exhortation in verse 13b to “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” And that’s why, when I was studying through these last six chapters of Ecclesiastes today, I was taken back from my remembered Scripture to the same reference passage I copied yesterday in Roman 8: 28 as well as one of Solomon’s tried and true proverbs, one which my wife refers to often as her life verse, Prov. 3: 5-6, one which many of you probably have memorized. These two truths really – to me – summarize much of what Solomon tries to get his readers in Ecclesiastes to capture and to live out; and it’s why I titled my devotional today … "SEEK HIM … KNOW HIM … TRUST HIM!” 

 Dear fellow Christian, … if we live out our lives seeking out the mind of God, with the mentoring of His Spirit, Whom we have in our hearts as Christians, and we come to know our Lord deeply and intimately, I believe we will be driven to trust the God Whom we’ll get to know and love so abidingly. And from this pursuit, we’ll be able to avoid many of the pitfalls which Solomon discovered from his own life, mistakes, and reflections.  

My Prayer Today: … That’s my prayer today, Lord … that I do all I can in life to know you, seek Your will/way from Your word, and to trust You in all I think, say, and do. Help, me, dear Holy Spirit, to make that my trek in life. Amen

June 18, 2012 … Chasing the Wind

Bloggers's Note: Yesterday, because of a set of circumstances beyond my control, I didn't get the devotional I did yesterday morning posted here. Therefore, I will be posting two of my devotionals today (6/19). If you're reading along with me here, please forgive this personal glitch in the discipline of my posting schedule. … wrb

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Ecclesiastes, Chapters 1-6 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: Ecclesiastes 1: 12-14 :[NIV] … 12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Highlight Passage #2: Ecclesiastes 2: 9-11, 26 :[NIV] … 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. 10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. … 11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. … 26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 
Highlight Passage #3: Ecclesiastes 3: 14-15 :[NIV] … 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. … 15 Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account. 
Highlight Passage #4: Ecclesiastes 4: 4; 16 :[NIV] … 4 And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person's envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. . … 16 There was no end to all the people who were before them. But those who came later were not pleased with the successor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 
Highlight Passage #5: Ecclesiastes 5: 16 :[NIV] … 16 This too [i.e., toiling for wealth] is a grievous evil: As everyone comes, so they depart, and what do they gain, since they toil for the wind?
Highlight Passage #6: Ecclesiastes 6: 9 :[NIV] … 9 Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.  

Reference Passage #1: Romans 8: 28 :[NKJV] … All things work together for those who love the Lord and who are the called according to His purpose.
Reference Passage #2: 1st John 2: 15-16 :[NKJV] … 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.  

My Journal for Today: Whew! Today’s chronological reading assignment was rather rigorous – all of Chapters 1-6 of the Book of Ecclesiastes, … Solomon’s later-life journal on the meaning of our existence from his own life experiences. And the first six chapters are rather grim upon surface reading.

And as I read this morning, one phrase kept repeating itself through these chapters, which I’ve emboldened and underlined above in the highlighted passages, which write of “… chasing after the wind.” This is Solomon’s repetitive discovery about his own life. I read earlier this year in my devotionals that when Solomon became king, he asked God for wisdom (2nd Chronicles 1:7-12), and he became the wisest man in the world (1st Kings 4:29-34). … BUT … here we are, years later, and Solomon has discovered much about life, which he now wants to be our “teacher” (which he even labels himself early in Ecclesiastes), telling us that life can be “chasing after the wind” if we let our HUMAN wisdom be our guide rather than a pursuing Godly wisdom.

God gave Solomon all the wisdom a human could every want or use; but Solomon did not use it for God’s glory; and he chose to ignore God’s teaching in the Book of the Law or from the lessons life taught him along the way. And King Solomon, supposedly the wisest man who ever lived (other than Jesus, of course), found out that life was merely “chasing after the wind” when man pursued what men normally pursue … and that is education, position, power, recognition, and wealth, … all of which are merely “chasing after the wind.”

Ironically, at the time Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes, he had already written, in Proverbs 3: 5-6, to lean not on one’s own understand and to trust in the Lord with ALL of one’s heart. But apparently that lesson went unheeded in Solomon’s life; and he quit pursuing God’s way of living and went down his own way. And so, here in Ecclesiastes, he wants to be “the teacher,” helping those who come after him to avoid “chasing after the wind” and pursuing the only way in life that is meaningful and that is to know God and pursue HIS WAY through life.

My friends, life doesn’t have to be meaningless or “chasing after the wind.” As I was reading and meditating through the first six chapters of Solomon’s reflections today, two Scripture passages bubbled up in my consciousness; and they are listed above as references. The first tells us that all things in life – for the Christian – can be “teachers.” If all of life is for our good, and it is; then even the tough stuff or what we see as “bad stuff” can help to guide us through life and avoid “chasing after the winds” of life.

And the second passage, from 1st John, helps to us red-flag and avoid what led Solomon to chase after the winds of life. Solomon got off track because he followed after “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life;” and these, according to God’s truth in 1st John 2, are those things which Satan uses to call us to chase after the winds and to find ourselves where Solomon found himself as he was writing, as “the teacher,” the book of Ecclesiastes.

I hope we all glean the lessons Solomon is teaching us as our “teacher” in this book; and we apply them to our lives so that we avoid “chasing after the wind.”  

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I chase after You and Your truth. Amen

Sunday, June 17, 2012

June 17, 2012 … Surrounded by Good People

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Proverbs, Chapters 27-29 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Proverbs 27: 6, 17, 21 :[NIV] … 6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. … 17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. … 21 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but people are tested by their praise. 
Highlight Passage #2: Proverbs 28: 9, 13 :[NIV] … 9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable. … 13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.  

Reference Passage #1: Jeremiah 17: 9 :[NKJV] … The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 

My Journal for Today: When you were growing up, did you ever have a parent or a mentor tell you, “You will become like the people you run with and the books you read.” That’s proverbial and biblically sound advice, … and you can read it above.

As I seem to be doing often, going through this chronological read of the Bible this year, I end up referring myself from Scripture memory and my followers here to the truth of Jeremiah 17: 9, which I’ve copied above. My friends, our very being (i.e., “the heart”) is deceitful – to the very core of who we are spiritually. Our flesh is wicked; and it will always make us vulnerable to our spiritual enemies … UNLESS we take action to protect ourselves against self, Satan, and the world. And one of the best ways to do that is to live in the light and avoid the darkness. … BUT, how do we do that?

Well, one of the best battle strategies is to take the advice of our parents who probably did all they could to shepherd us to be surrounded by good and Godly friends, … real friends who would not try to influence us with evil thoughts or choices. I’ve learned in my life that it’s wise, as it says above in Proverbs 27: 6, 17 to be surrounded by people who will give me the straight stuff, not just trying to tickle my fancy with flattery. It is absolutely true that “iron sharpens iron;” and I will never grow sharper and stronger if I only want people around me who’ll soothe my deceitful heart with niceties. What we all need in the everyday battles of life is real friends, Godly wise friends, who’re able and willing to tell us the hard truth when we need to hear it.

As Proverbs 28: 9, 13 tell us (see above), we have this default, human tendency to hide ourselves in the darkness when we sin. It’s inherited! We can’t help the tendency to cover-up our selfish choices. Even two-year-olds will lie to cover up when they know they’ve done wrong. You may have seen it in your kids or grandkids. As sinful creatures, we are much like cockroaches; … we want to hide our dirty selves in the darkness. Again, as Jeremiah 17: 9 attests, our hearts are just naturally deceitful and wicked; and we desperately need to have assistance in living in the light rather than more easily and naturally bolting back into the darkness.

Hence is our need to surround ourselves with Godly wisdom and staunchly righteous people who’ll hold us accountable to the truth. These are the real “friends” in life; and the more of these who “have our backs” in life, calling us out when we have sinned or when we’re trying to defend the evil in our lives, the more we’ll be able to live in God’s light, rather than succumbing to the darkness in our sin-ridden hearts.

 I pray, as I do below, you are connected with and closely surrounded by cohorts of warriors who “have your back” by being willing to continually shine the light of Christ on your life, never allowing you to bolt and run back into the darkness; and always being willing to sharpen you with God’s truth, gleaned from the ultimate source of light – the Bible. If you have such “real friends,” you’re very likely living in the light of Godliness; but if you are trying to do life as a lone ranger Christian, you’re very vulnerable to a very coy and crafty enemy who wants to draw you back into the darkness of your very vulnerable and deceit-ridden heart.  
 Beware, my dear one! Go to the light of God’s truth and surround yourselves with honorable and Godly friends who’ll have your back in the battles we face everyday. Be surrounded by fellow warriors who’re wearing God’s full armor, swordsmen who’re adept with the sword of the Spirit, and warriors who know how to take you to the high ground of battle in prayer. When you are surrounded by such co-warriors, my friend, you’ll be surrounded by God’s light and you’ll stay out of the darkness.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I pray here that all who read here will be surrounded by Your light and love in the honest and realness of friends who live in the light and honestly follow You. Amen

Saturday, June 16, 2012

June 16, 2012 … Using A Powerful Word Today

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Proverbs, Chapters 25-26 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: Proverbs 25: 11, 15, 18, 23 :[NIV] … 11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruling rightly given. … 15 Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. … 18 Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor. … 23 Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look.  
Highlight Passage #2: Proverbs 26: 20-28 :[NIV] … Read these nine proverbs from the link above for Chapters 25-26.  

Reference Passage #1: James 3: 1-12 :[NKJV] … To study this passage, go to this link

My Journal for Today: Today’s chronological reading segment, again taken from the Book of Proverbs, is, according to my Parsons Commentary, a section of proverbs apparently collected by King Hezekiah, primarily for kings, princes, and priests, … i.e., the leaders of God’s people. And from just these two chapters, you will likely note, as I did, that many of these directives deal with using and/or controlling the wild and powerful tongue.

And anytime this subject is discussed in Scripture, I immediately think of the discussion of “the tongue” we find in the book of the New Testament written by the half-brother of Jesus, the leader of the Church in post-resurrection Jerusalem, … James. Jesus’ brother was very concerned about how leaders and teachers used the power of influence in their speech; and hence you can read James’ powerful word pictures and treatise on the power of the tongue in James 3: 1-12 (linked above); and being a minister, Elder, and teacher in my church, verse 3: 1 is always daunting to me, which states that leaders/teachers in a church have greater responsibility to think and say the right things than do other disciples of Christ. Therefore, careful control of “the tongue” becomes something doubly (if not more) important for us church leaders; … but of course, it’s important for all witnesses for and disciples of Christ due to the powerful influence our words have in this age of information.

Have you ever been dealt a decisive, or even crippling, blow by the lying, slanderous, or gossiping tongue of someone else? And in today’s world of emailing, texting, and e-messaging on social websites, what we say – or how we use words from our keyboards – can very quickly and powerfully make or break relationships … or have devastating influence on others.

I think about how young people can – and do – use social media to bully or tear down the egos of their fellow teens; and adults can even be more vicious with the way they use “the tongue” in various social groupings, … yes, even in the church. How often does the effective testimony and/or witness of someone in a church or company become damaged or destroyed by gossip or an ill-used email or texting from one person to another? Today, someone’s reputation can be ripped asunder by one ill-place text or a casual comment of gossip.

The tongue can so quickly rip apart someone’s life; … or … it can do just the opposite with a well-place word of encouragement or affirmation. And the latter is what we need so, so much more of in our culture these days, especially as words are bantered about so rapidly and powerfully. Could you use a word of encouragement today? I’ll bet you could. So, why don’t you turn that around, assuming that someone in your life could also use a little affirmation and let’s you and me make it a point to use our tongues, keyboards, or texting devices to powerfully lift up someone else’s life with a word of encouragement.

Being influenced by God’s word in Proverbs this morning, I’m going to choose to encourage someone today! How about you?!!

My Prayer Today: … Lord, show me someone who needs a word of Your love from my mouth or keyboard today; and help me to use the opportunity to shine Your light of love into their lives by a word of affirmation or encouragement. Amen

Friday, June 15, 2012

June 15, 2012 … So Easily We Forget!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Kings, Chapters 9 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day #2: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Chronicle, Chapters 8 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage: 1st Kings: 9: 4-9 :[NIV] … Go to link above for 1st Kings 9 and read this passage.  
Highlight Passage #2: 1st Kings: 9: 16 :[NIV] … Pharaoh king of Egypt had attacked and captured Gezer. He had set it on fire. He killed its Canaanite inhabitants and then gave it as a wedding gift to his daughter, Solomon's wife.  

Reference Passage #1: Deuteronomy 17: 16-17 :[NKJV] … 16 But he [any king over Israel] shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ 17 Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself. 

My Journal for Today: Back into the life and times of Solomon after he built the Temple; and we see how quickly one who has power can forget even the dictates of God, Himself. In today’s study passages, 1st Kings 9 and 2nd Chronicles 8, we read of God reappearing to Solomon to reiterate the covenant the Lord had made with David, i.e., that the line of succession in the progeny of David would never end, as well as God’s warning to David, repeated here to his son, about God’s protection over the Israelites as long as they, including the King and the Priests, were obedient to God’s commands in the Book of the Law.

And how quickly we see that Solomon snubbed God’s commands for any king in Israel (see Deut. 17: 16-17 copied above in the NKJV) as he took on the spoils of a multiple marriage, involving a daughter of the Pharaoh of Egypt, which would have been a double-NO-NO according to God’s regulations on kingship. And we know – from history – that Solomon went on to take on hundreds of wives, accumulating greater wealth in the form of horses, gold, and silver … more NO-NOs, according to God’s kingly boundaries.

And then there was all the subsequent disobedience of God’s people to God’s will, the worst case scenario being the Jews in Jesus’ day, ignoring the very Son of God and having Him crucified. And we know that all of the prophesies which we read meted out to God’s second instructions to Solomon (see 1st Kings 9: 4-9 have come to pass in that the Temple was later destroyed and God’s children were exiled and sent out all over the world.

Read God’s word to Solomon again: “ 6 But if you or your descendants turn away from Me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples.” 

And today I titled my journal entry - So Easily We Forget!”

If you’re a parent, have you ever set up a boundary for your children when they were young, giving them the consequences if they ignore or rebuff your instructions? Of course, in your mind, you are setting up these limits to protect your child because you don’t want them hurt or worse; but do you expect them to get it the first time? No, of course not, they’re just children; and they’re little sinners, aren’t they? In no time at all, vigilant parents will note the kiddos breaking the “rules” or going past the boundaries which you set for them; and then you have to exercise the punishment or consequences which you set up to show your child that you really meant it when you set up the boundaries. You have to punish the child – in love – even though the punishment might mean some real pain for the child.

Well, here in 1st Kings 9, God, the Father, is telling Solomon, “the child,” a second time, to beware of disobedience; but did Solomon, the child, get it? Obviously not; and it didn’t take him very long to go way past God’s boundaries for the kings of Israel. And he just kept on ignoring God’s boundaries for kings, didn’t he? And in the Book of Ecclesiastes we read of how Solomon – after many years of womanizing and arrogantly accumulating wealth – learned God’s lessons and wrote in the last words of that book (i.e., Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14 [NKJV]): 13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: “Fear God and keep His commandments, … for this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, .. whether good or evil.” 

My friends, as I go through God’s word this year in my chronological reading plan, I am reminded of many of His guidelines, statutes, and outright laws, many of which I have memorized over the years, … and all of which God has established for my good and for His protection. But … I know how vulnerable I am (again see Jer. 17: 9) to the ploys of our very powerful enemy, Satan, and his worldly sirens, trying to tempt me and pull me away from God’s way and worship and to draw me to do life MY WAY or Satan’s way, worshiping him or myself rather than having my life worship the LORD, Who is the only One worthy of my worship.

Obedience to God is our only viable choice; and living out of His word, showing us the way to live in obedience, is the only way we can succeed as disciples of the Living God. Again, as I have referred my readers here many times for memorization, I refer you to the exhortation of God’s word in Psalm 119: 9-11, 105 and Joshua 1: 8 and Proverbs 3: 5-6 to let God’s truth guide us away from our own sinful nature and to allow God Himself to guide our steps in life.

As God told Solomon [Elder Berry paraphrased] … “My way is the only way! … And it’s My way (of life) or the highway (of death)!” … Not really a choice, is it?

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I will stay in Your word to find Your way and stay with it! Amen

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 14, 2012 …. Yes, … Praise the Lord!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 134 … To study these chapters, go to this link
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Psalm 146-150 … To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passage : Psalm 134 1 Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minister by night in the house of the Lord. … 2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord. … 3 May the Lord bless you from Zion, … He who is the Maker of heaven and earth. 

Highlight Passage #2: Psalm 150: 1, 6 1 Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; … praise Him in His mighty heavens. … 6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. … Praise the Lord! 

My Journal for Today: If one takes the time, as I did this morning, to read through and meditate on the six Psalms in today’s chronological reading plan devotional study [linked above for your study], it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to grasp the theme which God, through the anonymous authors of these songs, has for His children. … Duh! … He wants us to PRASE HIM!

And there was a time, early in my discipleship, when I actually thought that all of these repetitive references to praising God seemed a bit self-centered for God to keep having song writers, poets, and authors of Scripture to make reference to our praising our God. But I have come to realize that these references to praise are coming from the authorship of believers just like you and me, men who have discovered that their (our) God is WAY WORTHY to be praised; and much more than songs and poems and prayers in the Bible, our primary attitude for our Lord should be the same attitude which Jesus had for His Father in Heaven … and that is PRAISE.

Today, the first – very short, but very powerful – Psalm (i.e., Psalm 134) makes reference to the Levites, who were charged by God’s Law to be the models and protectors of our worship and praise of God; and they kept watch over the Temple, continually watching over the place where God was to be praised. And what does this say to us – today? … Well, in today’s New Covenant age, WE ARE THE LEVITES! We are God’s royal priesthood [see 2nd Peter 1: 9]; and our hearts are the temple of God [see 1st Cor. 6: 19]. So when it comes to being the watchmen (or women) on the wall of the Temple so as to hold up continual praise to our Lord, we are the Priesthood, my friend!! And we are the ones to watch over and protect God’s Holy Temple – our own hearts – so that we will be praising God, not just with our prayers, and songs, and church services … but with our very lives! Our 24/7 living should be the place of our lifting of praises to God – by the way we live – and worship for our worthy God.

So, I need to ask myself, from these Psalms of Ascent, all of which start and end with “Praise the Lord!”; … am I God’s Temple of praise to Him by the way I think, say, and live? Because if I’m not being the Priest of God’s temple, serving Him with my life of praise, I am not living up to the role of a Royal Priest the way I should.

My Prayer Today: … Oh, yes, my Lord … PRAISE YOUR HOLY NAME … and may my life be a living worship of Your holiness. Amen