Monthly Archives: July 2018

2 Kings 13-14; 2 Chronicles 25; Psalms 53; Matthew 12

“Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a loyal heart.” 2 Chronicles 25:1&2 NKJV

Amaziah did what was right, but his heart wasn’t in it. It makes me stop and think about my motives. The times when my heart wasn’t all in.  It may be easy to fake on the outside, but I can’t fool God.  Eventually the ugliness will seep out when I am not surrendering to him every day.

A word that I didn’t mean to say and can’t take back.

Yelling at my kids.

Thinking angry thoughts.

Jeslousy, envy, bitterness…to name a few.

“Either make the tree good and its fruit, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-36 NKJV

I have prayed for changed hearts and have seen him answer. But, sometimes he is trying to change mine.

“The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good. God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.” Psalms 53:1&2 NKJV

Dear Father, I rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to change me from the inside out.  Give me eyes to see others with a heart like yours. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Jonah; Matthew 11

Matthew 11 is one of my favorite chapters in all of Scripture.

2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” (Matthew 11:2-6 [NASB]

John the Baptist was sitting in prison for doing what was morally right. He called out sin and was placed in jail for it and soon would be executed. In his mind it wasn’t turning out the way he expected. He didn’t see himself rotting away in some jail, but serving God. What a huge difference between the crowds that came to see him preach and now sitting in jail his life wasting away.

So he sends his men to Jesus to see if he is the real Messiah or whether they should wait for another. Jesus replies to their questions by reporting what he is doing. And then he shares with the crowd what an awesome person John the Baptist was. He didn’t scold him or deride him. Jesus praises his cousin John.

Later in the chapter he talks about the the Kingdom of God and he puts it this way (paraphrased), The Kingdom of God has been forcefully advancing and forceful men and woman take hold of it. In other words the Kingdom of God is not for sissies. It is moving forward to strong people take hold of it and help move it forward. People like John the Baptist.

Soon John would lose his head. Although the church had not been born yet, John epitomizes this watchword of the church. The Church advances on the blood of Her martyrs.

I guess the question this morning to you is, Are you ready for the challenge. Will you join the men and women through the ages who have been forceful enough and even brave enough to give their lives in seeing the advancement of God’s Kingdom.

 

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Joel; Matthew 10

Matthew 10 begins with Jesus sending the 12 disciples out to proclaim the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. After instructing them on how to act, he transitions to warning them of the dangers they will face.

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.” Matthew 10:16-18 ESV

Jesus’ warning of persecution rings just as true for many Christians today as it did to his disciples and the other early Christians when the they were seized and killed for their beliefs. However, God promises that He will be with me through all trials and persecution I may face.

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10: 26,28-29, 32 ESV

Jesus tells his disciples not to fear or bend to the will of those on earth who persecute or even kill them, but to instead fear God, who ultimately cares for them. God showed His power and care for the disciples when He poured His Spirit upon them at Pentecost, the event of which seems to be foreshadowed in Joel Chapter 4.

“And it shall come to pass afterword, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see vision. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.” Joel 2:28-29 ESV

Dear God, thank you for sending your Spirit to strengthen me. Thank you for reminding me that I should not fear persecution but should instead trust in You for You alone can save me. Please help me trust in You and look to You for guidance. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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2 Chronicles 24; 2 Kings 12; Psalm 50; Matthew 9

9When Jesus was leaving, he saw a man named Matthew. Matthew was sitting in the tax office. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” And Matthew stood up and followed Jesus.

 10Jesus had dinner at Matthew’s house. Many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with Jesus and his followers. 11The Pharisees saw this and asked Jesus’ followers, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

12Jesus heard the Pharisees ask this. So he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor. Only the sick need a doctor. 13Go and learn what this means: ‘I want faithful love more than I want animal sacrifices.’ I did not come to invite good people. I came to invite sinners.” Matthew 9:9-13

In my reading today, I was intrigued Jesus’ words to the Pharisees, especially the words “faithful love”. Looking deeper, I learned that one of the definitions of the original Greek word eleos is “covenant loyalty”.

When Jesus said the phrase, “I want faithful love more than I want animal sacrifices…” He was referring to a passage in the prophecies of Hosea, that continues, “…I want people to know me more than I want burnt offerings.”

From the beginning of the earth, God has always wanted relationship with His children. He demonstrated that with Adam, when He walked with him in the cool of the day. He demonstrated that all through the Old Testament, with His relationship with Abraham, Enoch, Elijah, Moses, and many more. And, through Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection, He reestablished the possibility of a face-to-face relationship with Heavenly Father through Holy Spirit.

 8I do not scold you for your sacrifices.

You always bring me your burnt offerings.

9But I do not need the bulls from your stalls

or the goats from your pens.

10Every animal of the forest is already mine.

The cattle on a thousand hills are mine.

11I know every bird on the mountains.

Every living thing in the fields is mine. Psalm 50:8-11

He didn’t need the animal sacrifices before Jesus came to the world, because those animals already belonged to Him. He accepted the sacrifices because the blood sacrifice was what temporarily allowed man to be close. Just like He didn’t need the temple to be repaired by King Joash and the priests and He didn’t need any of the new “stuff” bought by the received offerings.

What He wanted then and continues to yearn for today is for me, for all of His children, to seek His face, to desire to know Him, to walk in relationship with Him all the days of my life. It doesn’t matter that I have sinned, that I need(ed) a hospital. He has loved me in the midst of my sin and will forever invite me into His presence.

Yesappa, Thank You for wanting to be in relationship with me. Thank You for providing the ultimate sacrifice through Jesus that allows my sin to be forever washed in the blood. Thank you for loving me before I even knew Your name. Help me to know You better, to know Your heart, Your will, and Your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

From the archives. Originally published July 27, 2016.

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2 Chronicles 22-23; 2 Kings 11; Psalms 131; Matthew 8

Ahaziah, son of Ahab, did what was evil in God’s sight so he was killed.  Then his mother, who was in counselor in doing wicked deeds, took over for him.

“Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal family of the house of Judah.” (2 Chronicles 22:10 ESV)

By hiding the king’s son for seven years to keep him away from his grandmother, they were able to make Joash king and get rid of Athaliah.

Then they brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him and gave him the testimony.  And they proclaimed him king, and Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and they said “long live the king!  When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she went into the house of the Lord to the people.  And when she looked, there was the king standing by his pillar at the entrance, and the captains and the trumpeters beside the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and the singers with their musical instruments leading in the celebration,” (2 Chronicles 23:11-14 ESV)

As I write the scripture listed above, I’m picturing KIng Jesus sitting on His throne, with all the believers praising Him and Satan realizing he had been defeated.

And the people said, “O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.” (Psalms 131:3 ESV)

The Centurion hoped in the Lord and the Lord used him as an example, as well as explaining how we are lost without Him.

“Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.  I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness.  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:10-12 ESV)

May we hope in the Lord from this day forward.  Amen!

Kellie

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