Punishment for those who disobey God.

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Amos 2

OBSERVATION

  1. Amos 2:4 ~ The LORD said: I will punish Judah for countless crimes, and I won’t change my mind. They have rejected my teachings and refused to obey me. They were led astray by the same false gods their ancestors worshiped.

APPLICATION

  1. As a nation we have truly rejected God’s teachings and refused to obey Him in so many ways. Abortion, treating His day of rest like any other day, serving/worshipping other gods rather than Him – and while some may quickly think that they are not worshipping any golden images or other gods like that, I must remind myself that anytime we put God in second place when it comes to assembling ourselves to worship the one true God, then we have idolized that thing or person above God. God made us in His own image, and since we were so incapable of keeping His laws and following His commands, He then went a step further and provided His only Son as a sacrifice that we may have eternal life with Him. After doing all this for us, should we dare question why He would become upset when we reject His teachings and refuse to obey Him? Just like He punished Judah, I’m sure that He is punishing the USA for all that He sees going on with His people (church folk) and even more so with others that He created and now to hear them say that they are atheist, or that they are not pleased with the gender that they were created? Oh my, this is mockery in the face of the Almighty God that created us.

PRAYER

  1. Please have mercy on us oh Lord God. Thank You for reminding me day after day about Your love for me and how You carefully watch over me each and every day. Thank You for loving me so much that You gave it all so that I could be prepared to meet You in glory whenever You see fit to call me home. “Oh how I love Jesus, Oh how I love Jesus, Oh how I love Jesus, because He first loved me”! “There is strength in the name of the Lord, There is power in the name of the Lord, there is hope in the name of the Lord, Blessed is he who comes, in the name of the Lord”. Let us turn to Jesus for all that we may feel inadequate in handling on our own. Speak to Him as a brother or friend, for the Word says that He will stick closer to us than a brother, and He will hear our prayer.

Fan the Flame and be used of God!

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Joel 2; Joel 3; 2 Timothy 1

OBSERVATION

  1. Joel 2:13 ~ Tear your hearts, not your clothes. Return to the Lord your God. He is merciful and compassionate, patient, and always ready to forgive and to change his plans about disaster.
  2. 2 Timothy 1:6-7 ~ This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

APPLICATION

  1. Praise God that we have a Father who is a lot more forgiving than we tend to be, for this verse encourages us to humble our hearts and return to the Lord God, for He is not only merciful, compassionate, patient and forgiving, but He may even change His mind about disaster that may be destined for us. Wow, this is powerful! I was once corrected by an elderly gentlemen about praying for rain, for he told me that I should never pray for natural things that is controlled solely by God. This verse tends to contradict that advice, and give some validity to those Christians that have gone to our Florida coast and prayed God’s protection upon our shorelines, wildlife and sea life with such a disastrous oil spill just off our coast. It also serves to remind me that we should pray for God to redirect or dissipate hurricanes headed our way. However, there is a pre-cursor to all this, we must first tender our hearts and come before God with a broken heart about the sin that has edged into our lives and the life of our churches and towns and state. In other words, we needn’t go before a holy and just God with a pompous, sinful, and proud heart, for God wants a life that is truly sorry for the ways that we have let our lives go unchecked by His Word, and how we have been a stumbling block to those that are desperate to find a mentor of Jesus. Those that are weak, or don’t know Jesus at all, have a desperate need to see Jesus working in the flesh through us, for we are the only Bible that they will read. Let’s not disappoint them!
  2. Paul took his mentoring of those that he led to the Lord very seriously. I believe that if only we would practice this today, we will see a much stronger church. Imagine if we said to a brother or sister that we were instrumental in leading them to Christ, that they should now fan the flame that Christ has lit in their lives, let those gifts that God has highlighted in their new spiritual walk shine with such intensity that God’s power and love will be promoted through them to reach a lost world, and that they would have the self-discipline to live a life that exemplifies Christ! This would have such an impact of our world for Jesus! If only we could be a mentor for life, of those that we have led to Christ! I believe that the back doors to our churches will be permanently shut and our churches will be in a constant growth mode instead.

PRAYER

  1. Father for those times that the flesh (my own selfish/sinful desires) has taken control and not been obedient to Your Word, I truly seek your forgiveness this morning. I pray that Your Spirit would have such an impact on my life that I would be quickly alerted to those times that I am representing You poorly, or not at all. I want to be like Jesus in all that I say or do. I want You to be able to work in and through me so that You may not only grow me spiritually, but so that Your work may be accomplished through me. This old world is falling apart very quickly with earthquakes, volcanoes, oil spills, hurricanes, tornadoes, and just evil works of the devil. Please help me to be a part of the solution in seeing my family, friends, coworkers, community, state, country and world won for You, and not a part of the problem that is causing this old world to suffer through the last days of sin and strife that leads only to destruction/hell. Please be a constant reminder to me to tender my heart and surrender myself to You daily, so that I may rid myself of sin and selfish desires.
  2. Lord I pray that You will first of all help me to fan into flames the spiritual gift that You have blessed me with so that I may be on fire for You and shining before a lost world. Secondly, I pray that You will constantly remind me to check on those that I have led to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and encourage them along the way, and help them to also fan the flames of the spiritual gift that You have given to them. Please allow Your church to become so engulfed with fanning the flames within our spiritual beings and corporate body, that we will soar to new heights into reaching the world around us, and encouraging those around us, that are disheartened and discouraged because they have lost sight of the gift You have blessed them with.

The High Priority of Prayer

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Joel 1; Joel 2

OBSERVATION

  1. Joel 1:14 ~ Tell the leaders and people to come together at the temple. Order them to go without eating and to pray sincerely.
  2. Joel 2:12 ~
    The LORD said: it isn’t too late. You can still return to me with all your heart. Start crying and mourning! Go without eating.

APPLICATION

  1. This is interesting seeing what Joel ordered the leaders to do here. Just this past Wednesday evening we studied about fasting, and here it is again in this passage. Joel saw such a desperate need for the leaders to seek God’s ear until he urged them to make prayer a very high priority, even more so than food itself. I can think of several situations in our world today that require our urgent attention. In my situation, I feel like prayer is urgently needed for the local churches. Like our church, so are several around really hurting right now. As a Christian, it appears like we are losing the battle to the devil, and that the things and places of this world are attracting our people more so than the importance of meeting together with other believers. 2 Chronicles 7:14 reminds us that: if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Such important keywords in this verse: humble, pray, seek and turn. We often become frustrated over the condition of our world, but God gives us the answers on how these matters can be resolved, all we have to do is listen and obey!
  2. I thank God that He allows us to come back to Him to seek His face and petition before Him. From a worldly position, we would have written some folk off a long time ago because of things they may have said or done, however God is always working on us to live more noble lives for Him. Again this verse tells us to forget about food and concentrate on getting ourselves right with God, an action that should always have more priority than anything else. God has provided the way, the means and the book of instructions on how to get to a right place with Him, what excuse can we possibly have for not following Him for the rest of our lives? There’s a song whose lyrics read in part, “I want to be just like You”. Why don’t we put food aside and concentrate on that thought today? Being just like Christ will mean riding ourselves of actions and words that displease God; mending friendship and relationships that may currently not be in order; putting Christ first in our decision making, planning, worship and daily decisions; and with His help, seek to be more like Him in our actions and through the words that we speak. Let ‘love’ rule our lives!

PRAYER

  1. Lord, You have opened my eyes of understanding to remind me of what is needed to see things changed in my life, and in the lives of Your people. May this be the day that things will change for Your kingdom’s sake. Please begin a new work in me so that I may be more urgently about Your work.
  2. Lord, Your Word is powerful and it has spoken to me in very practical ways this morning. I can only be the kind of person that imitates You, if I truly allow You to control everything about my life. Again I pray that as I call on Your name, humble myself, pray, seek Your face and turn from my wicked way, that You will hear from heaven, forgive my sin and heal this old world that I live in. Please have Your will and way today dear Lord!

Live as ‘Family of God’

SCRIPTURE

Studied: 1 Timothy 3

 

OBSERVATION

  1. 1 Timothy 3:14-15 ~ Although I hope I can come to you soon, I am writing these things to you now. Then, even if I am delayed, you will know how to live in the family of God. That family is the church of the living God, the support and foundation of the truth.

APPLICATION

  1. Several things I noticed in this chapter, and particularly in these two verses:
    1. God, through Paul shows us how to live as ‘family of God’. Our job descriptions are uniquely designed by God! He knew that we would struggle in our efforts to live for Him so He gave us clear instruction on what to do and how to act. I do the same for my daughter, and so has God done it for us. We have the rule book, His book of instruction!
    2. I am seeking counsel on one matter that I recognized in this chapter for which I cannot reason why, or find the Biblical explanation. I noticed where the Overseer/Elder; Deacon and Women are specifically addressed, but I don’t see where those men who are not Elders or Deacons are addressed. Just an interesting point that I noticed!
    3. The family of God IS the church of the living God! No surprise here, but just an interesting reminder! The rest of verse 15 goes on to say that this ‘family of God’ is the support and foundation of the truth. This is awesome, as this indicated to me that we have a huge responsibility to the world, in that they should look to the family of God for an example of ‘truth’. Wow, will we guide the world aright, or is the world in trouble because we allow them to see a ‘family of God’ torn apart by mistrust, arguing, hatred, lying, gossip, hypocrisy, revenge or any other combination of characteristics of which God has shown us is wrong? In other words, are we missing the boat in showing them Christ in us? I think we are.

PRAYER

  1. Lord You have given us life itself, and more importantly, new life in Christ, so that we might share Your love with a lost and dying world that is longing to see You in and through the ‘family of God’. Shame on me, and on those of us that fail in our commitment to You. Please forgive me and begin a new work in me. Please help me to stay on track with the assignment You have given to me as a child in Your ‘family of God’. You have given me the instructions, and You have blessed me with life itself so that I have all I need to carry out Your instructions. Please give me boldness, wisdom and strength to represent You well, so that others may truly see Christ, and not a poor, distorted or hypocritical view of You. I want them to see You so clearly that they would surrender their life over to You and become a part of Your family also. Please tender and humble our hearts so that we may truly be the ‘Family of God’ that You meant for us to be.

A lesson on Faith!

SCRIPTURE

Studied: 2 Chronicles 20; 1 Timothy 3

 

OBSERVATION

  1. 2 Chronicles 20:18-19 ~ Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the LORD, the God of Israel, with very loud voice.
  2. 2 Chronicles 20:22 ~ As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.

APPLICATION

  1. In the verses leading up to this we see where Jahaziel had share with the king and his people a word that he had received from the Lord about His help in the battle the next day. This word was received with such faith that an awesome worship time began. This touched my heart, because there are so many times that we will wait until after the victory (the proof) before we praise the Lord. In recognition of God’s promise, King Jehoshaphat and his people had a praise service. Oh that I may have that kind of faith! Oh that my church may have that kind of faith!
  2. In verse 22, I am totally overwhelmed by God and His power. I am also overwhelmed in seeing how important it is to God that we recognize His presence, His power and His promises. As these men were preparing to go to war against a very large, mighty army, they had every reason to be nervous and weak in the knees. Instead they were so confident in what God had promised them that they broke into singing praises to God as they left for the battleground. This was the trigger for God to begin His work in having the large opposing army self-destuct. God has placed us on this earth in His image and for His glory. When He sees us recognize Him and honor Him and His Word, He is pleased. We know from past experiences that God will do what He says, now all we need is the faith to act on what He says in confidence and giving Him praise every step of the way. He will do His part, may we always do our part!

PRAYER

  1. Father I believe, please help my unbelief. Please help me to have the kind of faith demonstrated in this story today. When I receive a word from You, help me to act on it as a done deal and not force myself into waiting to see the finished product. If You said, then I must believe it to the extent that I am willing to act on it! I need that kind of faith that only You can bless me with. Thank You Jesus!
  2. Lord Jesus I come to You this morning acknowledging that I am one that have always needed to see the results first. I realize that this is evidence of little faith in You and Your ability to honor Your Word. Please help me to be firm in my faith and always willing to believe what You say. There is no one like You, and while I may need to have an earthly friend prove themselves, I should always know that if You said it I can confidently believe it, trust it, and begin praising You for it, because it is like a done deal! Thank You for watching over me and taking care of me like this. You are truly awesome, and I love You Lord.

Whom Then Shall I Fear?

SCRIPTURE

Studied: 2 Kings 7; 2 Chronicles 20

 

OBSERVATION

  1. 2 Kings 7:18-20 ~ Earlier, when the king was at Elisha’s house, Elisha had told him that flour or barley would sell for almost nothing. But the officer refused to believe that even the LORD could do that. So Elisha warned him that he would see it happen, but would not eat any of the food. And that’s exactly what happened–the officer was trampled to death.
  2. 2 Chronicles 20:13-15 ~ While every man, woman, and child of Judah was standing there at the temple, the LORD’s Spirit suddenly spoke to Jahaziel, a Levite from the Asaph clan. Then Jahaziel said: Your Majesty and everyone from Judah and Jerusalem, the LORD says that you don’t need to be afraid or let this powerful army discourage you. God will fight on your side!

APPLICATION

  1. There is a verse that this story has reminded me of, Hebrews 10:31~ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, for this is what happened to the king’s guard. Elisha was truly a man of God and just as he told the king’s guard after he doubted that even God could provide the amount of grain that Elisha spoke of, so it happened. These verses speak to me in telling me that it is crucial that I listen to, obey and believe God’s Word, without doubt and fear, for my God is no different today than He was in the days of Elisha. God can still move mountains, so I mustn’t doubt that He could also attend to the problems and challenges that I feel are so insurmountable today. God is still on the throne and He will remember His own, His promise is true, He will not forget me, God is still on the throne. What great promises are hidden in the words of this little chorus.
  2. I believe that God had two things to show me in these verses:
    1. Jehoshaphat prayed for help from God while this huge army was approaching to attack, yet God chose to speak to Jahaziel. I can only take my concerns to Jesus, but I have no right telling Him how or when to respond. For some reason He chose to answer through Jahaziel. Did He answer Jehoshaphat’s prayer? Yes He did, but in His time and to whom He wanted to speak.
    2. As I take my burdens before Jesus, I can rest assured that God will be on my side, so I needn’t be afraid or disheartened, for with God on my side whom then shall I fear? Absolutely no one or no circumstance!

PRAYER

  1. Thank You Father for being so attentive to me and my needs. Thank You for bringing these promises to mind today as this brings me strength to go on, knowing that the King of all Kings, my Savior and my Lord is in charge and will take care of all my needs today. I am reminded more and more everyday that I can do very little without You holding my hand. May You be that Guide, Deliverer, Strength and loving Savior that I need today. May I find comfort in knowing that the work that seem so backed up on my plate at work, will become lighter in my mind knowing that You are there to guide me and help me through it all in a very timely manner.
  2. Father You are truly awesome and I am so thankful that I know You and follow You each and every day. Thank You for these encouraging words this morning and the awesome reminder that with You on my side, I needn’t worry about a thing! Please help me to be the servant that You can use to be Your example in my family, in my church and in my realm of influence. I thank You Lord for accepting me as Your son. Please guide me each day into being the representative that You can be proud of, and used to glorify You and reach the lost.

They that Wait Upon The Lord

SCRIPTURE

Studied: 2 Kings 6

 

OBSERVATION

  1. 2 Kings 6:15-18 ~ When Elisha’s servant got up the next morning, he saw that Syrian troops had the town surrounded. “Sir, what are we going to do?” he asked. “Don’t be afraid,” Elisha answered. “There are more troops on our side than on theirs.” Then he prayed, “LORD, please help him to see.” And the LORD let the servant see that the hill was covered with fiery horses and flaming chariots all around Elisha. As the Syrian army came closer, Elisha prayed, “LORD, make those soldiers blind!” And the LORD blinded them with a bright light.

APPLICATION

  1. Sometimes we feel easily overwhelmed and easily defeated, and we are quick to cry out, “oh, poor me”. But as I am reminded from this passage this morning, I serve the King of all kings, the creator of this universe, the God that healed the blind, the lame, the sick and yes, the one who brought the dead back to life again. With God on my side, why should I doubt when the odds seem to be against me? Why don’t I put my faith where my mouth is? God was attentive to the needs of Elisha during a time that the odds were very much against Elisha, yet when asked, God provided the means for encouragement to Elisha’s men when they could saw a host of fiery horses and flaming chariots all around, plus God also provided a bright light to blind the soldiers that came in to capture Elisha. Another verse comes to mind, Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

PRAYER

  1. “Oh ye of little faith” comes to mind when I think about how limiting my faith is at times, dear Lord. As You have reminded me in these verses this morning, may I always be reminded that I serve an awesome God who loves me so much that You will do for me as You did for Elisha, and as You did for those in many New Testament stories of healing and protection. I can really use Your help today in several areas of life in which I feel limited on my own. Please give me strength to overcome these self-limiting weaknesses so that I may instead be victorious and feel relieved that You are truly in control. Instead of worry, help me to spend those energies on praising You and lifting up the name of Your Son that You sacrificed for all. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with so much to be done, please help me to feel victorious through the unlimited power and might of the almighty God that I serve. I have whispered three main concerns to You this morning Father, and I will go on in faith believing that You are now in control of all three situations and that I needn’t worry about these anymore. Thank You Jesus for being my provider! “I love You Lord, and I lift my voice, to worship You, Oh my soul, rejoice!….”