Tag Archives: evil

2 Kings 25; 2 Chronicles 36

A siege that lasts two years. A famine. A city succumbs. Its king (Zedekiah) tries to escape at night past enemy (Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon’s) troops. Zedekiah is caught. The last he sees before his sight is taken is the slaughter of his sons. A city is dismantled as an enemy carries off bronze, silver and gold that had been used by Solomon to adorn and uphold the temple of the Lord. That is one side of the story in Second Kings.

Second Chronicles tells another perspective–of a lineage that repeatedly did evil in the sight of the Lord. It tells of prophets who came to warn and a leadership that mocked, scoffed and refused to listen.

11 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. 12 But Zedekiah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and he refused to humble himself when the prophet Jeremiah spoke to him directly from the Lord. 13 He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, even though he had taken an oath of loyalty in God’s name. Zedekiah was a hard and stubborn man, refusing to turn to the Lord, the God of Israel.

14 Likewise, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful. They followed all the pagan practices of the surrounding nations, desecrating the Temple of the Lord that had been consecrated in Jerusalem.

15 The Lord, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple. 16 But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the Lord’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done.

17 So the Lord brought the king of Babylon against them. (2 Chronicles 36:11-17a, NLT)

While this may not be the birth of the saying, “Pride comes before the fall,” it certainly is another example of deceitful pride’s consequences. I wonder if one examines hardship or catastrophe, what would be the root? Even here, a list of heart attitudes that set a man, his entourage and an entire population against the Lord: refusal to humble; deceit; hard and stubborn; unfaithful; mocking and scoffing; disdain and contempt for/of truth. These thoughts are the birth of catastrophe–strong enough to not only bring down a man but an entire city, leaving behind ruin.

Lord, may I always be mindful of my heart attitudes, open to your direction and truth, and discerning of influences in my life.

Courtney (66books365)

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Daniel 7-9; Psalm 91; John 19

Daniel gets visions that terrify him, images and meanings he doesn’t understand.

26 “This vision about the 2,300 evenings and mornings is true. But none of these things will happen for a long time, so keep this vision a secret.”

27 Then I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for several days. Afterward I got up and performed my duties for the king, but I was greatly troubled by the vision and could not understand it. (Daniel 8:26-27, NLT)

They are explained to him, and the end result, after all the struggle, is victory.

26 “After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. (Daniel 9:26, NLT)

Psalm 91 proclaims the Lord’s presence and protection. Terrors, disease, deadly traps, the Lord says:

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16, NLT

They mocked Jesus, slapped him, crowned him with thorns. Pilate knew enough to fear.

Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!”

When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

“Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.”

The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever. He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. 10 “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?”

11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:5-11, NLT)

The love of the Lord and his victory are woven throughout the scriptures–the thread that breathed existence holds the world together. Forces that punish, manipulate, deceive are put in proper light. Battles waged on earth are fought also in heavenly realms. An Anointed One is killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing … taken down from a cross, wrapped in a cloth, and put in a tomb. It may have looked like an end, but the victory was and is always his.

This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him. (Psalm 91:2, NLT)

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 38-40; Hebrews 1

Happy Valentine’s Day!

My wife and I celebrated a little bit earlier in the week.  We attended a Comedy Night sponsored by Focus on the Family.  Leland Klassen is one of my favourite comedians and he did not disappoint.

I still remember the day I gave my heart to Jesus, still one of my favourite memories when it comes to matters of the heart. He promised to be with me always, to never leave me, to guide me and lead me in my life and for His purposes.

Those moments I experienced were usually not as intense as when the children of Israel were crossing the desert, however, His peace was just as reassuring.

 No matter where the people traveled, the Lord was with them. Each day his cloud was over the tent, and each night a fire could be seen in the cloud. – Exodus 40:38   CEV

There is something about giving my heart to Jesus that changed quite a few things in my life – but today I will tell you two of them.

First, there was a change in me from how I viewed life.  I was a mean kid, made my older brother mad and made my younger brother cry.  I was a bully at school. Love has a way of reaching into an angry heart and soothing it.  Jesus gave me eyes like His and I saw things differently and saw the needs of others more clearly.

Secondly, I noticed I was different from others and others noticed I was different than them.  Often people would come up to me and ask me how I stayed happy even when they could see the world against me.  I would gladly tell them of Jesus.

You loved justice
    and hated evil,
and so I, your God,
    have chosen you.
I appointed you
and made you happier
    than any of your friends. – Hebrews 1:9  CEV

It is my prayer today, that as we celebrate with the one we love, that we remember the One who loved us first.  I have found my love for Him is an incredible foundation and reservoir of love for me to give away.

Father, thank you for loving so much and giving so much love that when You asked me to love I had more than enough to give away.  I do thank you so much for my wife.  I love her more than any other person and am so happy that she is part of my life.  Today, as I take a moment to remember the day You became the holder of my heart, my love for You knows no bounds.  How often the English language fails me in expressing my love for You.

Erwin

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Leviticus 9, Psalm 10, Proverbs 24, I Thessalonians 3

Reading these passages about the wicked makes me uncomfortable.  I want to believe my world is filled with people who are good.  I want to say to them, “Oh, that’s not so bad, I’ve done worse.”  (Believe me, I could say that with all honesty.)  Working with people, however, who struggle with addiction has an inherent aspect to it – seeing the face of evil.  One day you are encouraging and congratulating this person who has obtained abstinence from using heroin or crack cocaine.  Peace has returned to their souls, families are embracing them again, material blessings are increasing, and sanity has been restored.  The gratitude on their faces is genuine and their hearts flutter with expectation of a new life.  Then, so unexpectedly (even though I’ve seen this hundreds of times), this face disappears.  The one who replaces it has hollowed eyes, tightly drawn lips over clenched jaws, blank or pinched expressions staring or glaring at me.  The black hole of slowly, rotting teeth spew words – caustic, guarded, and resentful.  At least this one has come back.  Some do not return; some die in the streets.

I struggle with evil each time the Destroyer’s discarded, ravaged bodies drag themselves or are deposited to my office door.  Don’t get me wrong; I am not suggesting that the face of evil is that person who heroically or desperately seeks treatment.  But evil is on that face and in that soul doing its death dance.

I think this is why I can relate to Proverbs 24:17, which says, “ Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him.”  In addiction, this is called ‘hitting bottom.’

The challenge is to maintain a balance of calling evil what it is without calling the person evil.  How natural to call a person with addiction evil, immoral, weak, a drunk, an addict.  It is tempting (dual meaning intended) to react with abhorrence, rejection, blaming, shaming, and punishment because the face of evil does that to you.  Instead, I have to call forth good, (my take on exorcism).  To do so, I must believe in God’s mercy.  I must remember that the sacrificial fire of acceptance burned hottest on the wood of Calvary, first for my sins. Remember Aaron who had to sacrifice a calf for his own sins before blessing the people.  I need never forget that I, too, wear this mask and have need of someone else that recognizes it and will help me remove it.  We who know Christ are responsible for the message of mercy, hope, and faith to the hostages beneath the evil masks.  At least that is what I think God has purposed me to do.

jansuwilkinson

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Ex. 32; John 11; Prov. 8; Eph. 1

I remember a conversation from a while back, about why people read the Bible. There were lots of responses.

I read it for wisdom.

Wisdom is all over the pages of today’s chapters: common sense, success, insight, strength, good judgment, knowledge, discernment. It stands in opposition of evil (pride, arrogance, corruption, perverse speech).

Wisdom is right, true, wholesome. Proverbs reads to choose wisdom over wealth.

Wisdom, created before the first handful of soil. Wisdom, God’s constant delight that rejoiced in His presence. Wisdom, Paul’s prayer for believers–that we would grow in knowledge of God.

15 Ever since I fIMG_6218irst heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. Ephesians 1:15-18 NLT.

I leafed through past posts that brought up very vivid memories of things I’ve faced these past few years. I felt thankful for God’s presence in my life, the power of His Word sustaining (correcting, encouraging, comforting, guiding) me. The look back is much more than notes across a page–these were very real events, real tears–and real truth about a real God.

His Word tells me who He is. What He can do. It tells me who I am and whose I am. And often, it tells me things that go very opposite of a faulty first response: bless an enemy, pray for those who persecute you, do not return evil for evil.

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1:7-8 NLT.

There’s so much more to learn about Him–and I don’t want to stop.

All praise to you, Father. And deepest thanks.

Courtney (66books365)

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