Uncategorized

WITH ALL MY HEART

2 Chronicles 31:21 “Every work which he began in the service of the house of God in law and in commandment, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and prospered.”

 TOTALLY DEVOTED

Have you ever told someone, “I love you with all my heart”?  Did you mean it?  I will have to say I have said that at times when I really did not mean it. In fact, I have said it to people in the past whom I haven’t seen in years.  Isn’t it funny how we think we love someone or something so much and how quick that love fades?

Hezekiah, however, loved his Lord with all his heart.  It must have been true because Scripture tells us that.  And we know that all Scripture is true.  Right?  Right! Look at the result of that love.  He prospered. Because he was committed to obeying and loving his God, God prospered him.  Who doesn’t want that?

TEACHING MOMENT

The next time little Gertrude or Elrod tell you they love you with all their heart, read them this story.  Then explain what loving someone with all their heart means.  That kind of love moves from the emotional to the mental. It is a choice to love.  Even when your emotions are fading, you choose to love. You give yourself to them wholeheartedly.

Your children are going to give their hearts away many times as they grow up. They are probably going to have their hearts broken by someone along the way.  Bring them back to this passage. The only sure love is God’s love.  The only constant love is through Him.  That love will never end.

How do you love?  Do you love with all your heart?  What are you holding back today?  Give it up to Him.  Let Him take all that excess stuff in your life that is holding you back.  He can show you what real love is if you will let Him. Love Him!

Lover of my soul, I do love you.  Help me to love you as Hezekiah did – with all my heart. Show me how to love others as You do.

Standard
Uncategorized

HYPOCRISY

2 Chronicles 23:13c “Then Athaliah tore her clothes and said, ‘Treason! Treason!’”

 THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK

 When Athaliah’s son, Ahaziah, was killed, she decided to usurp the throne herself. So, she killed all the royal family of Judah.  This is the woman who had herself committed treason hollering, “Treason!  Treason!”  That is, as the saying goes, the pot calling the kettle black.  She was the ultimate example of hypocrisy.  It is like someone striking a match and burning a house down while yelling, “Fire!  Fire!”

But do you know what I thought of when I read this?  We are the same.  We don’t kill people, but we point at their sins and scream, “Sinner!  Sinner!”  All the while, we are just as guilty of our own sin.  When is the last time you have “judged” someone for their sin?  Remember, when you point your finger at them there are three fingers pointing right back at you.

TEACHING MOMENT

 I bet your little Johnny or Susie have come home talking about someone at school or church.  All kids do that.  As the parent, you need to nip that quick.  Playing judge is not only not right, it’s not fair.  As I mentioned above, we all have issues.  Some are just more visible than others.

But do your children hear you judging others?  Do they watch you putting people down for their “faults”?  They will model what they see in you.  If you want them to treat others like Jesus, guess what?  You have to do the same.

Will you today be extra cautious of judging others?  Make a point to see their strengths rather than their weaknesses.  Find a way to build them up and not tear them down. You will feel much better about them and yourself at the end of the day.

Father, I am thankful that You see me with eternal eyes. Help me see Jesus in others and not their failures.  Give me the words today to encourage someone.

Standard
Uncategorized

BUT I’M KING

2 Chronicles 16:10a “Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him for this.”

 UNWANTED CRITICISM

 Asa was a good king for most of his reign, but towards the end he stopped relying solely on the Lord for deliverance and healing. Because the Lord loved Asa He sent Hanani to rebuke him.  I can just hear Asa now.  “You, Hanani, come to me and tell me I’m wrong?  I’m the king.”  So, he threw Hanani in prison.

We may not throw people in prison for confronting our sins, but we act the same way.  “But I’m king of my castle.  I don’t need your approval.”  Have you ever felt that way when someone came to you as a brother or sister in Christ? It’s hard to take criticism.  None of us like it.  But God may just be using them, like He did Hanani, to correct your path.

TEACHING MOMENT

 When children learn to accept criticism, wanted or unwanted, as a message from the Lord, they will live more humble, obedient lives.  It is hard for our children to hear they aren’t doing something right.  One of our jobs as parents is to show them how to hear criticism and measure it against God’s Word.  If the correction is from the Lord, it will not conflict with the Bible.

I have tried to always give my children advice through the lens of His Word.  I haven’t always been successful in that, but it is my goal.  When I did that, and they didn’t receive the advice, I knew it wasn’t me they were rejecting.  It was the Lord.  I had done my job.  The rest was up to the Lord and them.

Today, if someone critiques you, before you react, ask the Lord if this is from Him.  The answer may just surprise you.  I have always struggled with unwanted criticism.  It just goes to show that you are never too old to learn a new Biblical truth.

Lord God, thank You for using others to point out the error of my ways.  I know I get blinded sometimes by my own agenda. You are faithful to lead me.

Standard
Uncategorized

YOUR REP

2 Chronicles 14:2 “Asa did good and right in the sight of the Lord his God,”

 WHAT ARE YOU KNOWN FOR?

 Asa had a good reputation.  He “did good and right.”  But he didn’t just do that. He did it “in the sight of the Lord his God.” In other words, Asa wasn’t trying to impress people.  He was trying to please his God.  His motivation for doing good and right was a holy one, not self-serving.

We, on the other hand, tend to do what’s right only when we can get the glory.  We are more concerned about people noticing what we do.  We won’t say this, but we had rather have the praise of people we can see than from God who we can’t see.  There are not many people who do “good and right” just to please the Father.

TEACHING MOMENT

May I ask you a favor?  Will you teach your children to not worry about pleasing you?  “What? I will not teach my children that, Carl.”  No wait a minute.  Think about it.  If their sole motivation for doing what is right and good is to please God, don’t you think that will please you too?  You can bet on it.

The problem with them pleasing us is we are fickle.  We change our minds.  We have different priorities at times.  That can confuse our children.  But God never changes.  His Word doesn’t change.  They will know what is good and right when they are 5 or 15 just by seeking His Will through His Word.  God won’t change midstream.

Have you ever struggled with doing right and good?  Well, maybe you are trying to please the wrong people. Focus on pleasing the Father. When you do that He is honored. When you do that He is pleased. Now, I will have to say that sometimes doing the right and good thing will make other people upset or uncomfortable. That’s okay.  Just please God.  He is the one who holds your eternity.

Lord God, You are the only one who I should try to please. I know by doing that those who love You will be pleased also.  Let me be like Asa and do good and right in Your eyes.

Standard
Uncategorized

A SAFE PLACE

2 Chronicles 11:5-6a “5 Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and built cities for defense in Judah. 6 Thus he built Bethlehem,” 

 A DESIGNATED PLACE

 Rehoboam probably had no idea when he fortified Bethlehem as a city of defense in Judah that one day the Messiah would be born there.  I think it is only fitting that Jesus would be born in a safe place.  After all, He IS the safe place.  He is the designated Savior of the world.  Who better to be from a safe place?

Now, there were a lot of years between Rehoboam and the birth of Christ.  I don’t know all that happened to the city of Bethlehem in that time, but one thing I do know – it remained the safest place in the world for Jesus to be born.  God the Father chose a place to bring an infant into the world that would allow Him to be born safely.  He does the same for us – He gives us a safe place.

TEACHING MOMENT

 What kind of safe place do your children have?  They have you to protect them?  They have parents who will do anything to keep them safe, right?  But as diligent as you are, you cannot protect their hearts and souls.  That is God’s job.  That is why you must lead them to Him as early as you can.

I get so puzzled by parents who will make their kids go to school, ball games and family events, but will let them make their own choice about attending church.  “Well, Gertrude has to make her own mind up about religion.” Hogwash!  If you allowed her to make her mind up about school, do you think she would go?  We cannot MAKE them accept Christ, but we must have them in the environment where He is taught.  That’s their ultimate safe place – their Bethlehem.

How safe are you today?  Are you relying on Him to keep you safe or are you making it on your own?  “God, I’ve got this.”  That kind of attitude will lead you into very unsafe territory.  Turn to the Child of Bethlehem, the fortified city.

God, thank You for sending Your Son to be my safe place. I know I can rest in Him.  He will guard my soul and heart.

Standard
Uncategorized

DEVILED HAM

Matthew 8:32 “And He said to them, ‘Go!’ And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters.”

 ONE WORD

 I have always loved this story. My uncle was a pig farmer, so I saw pigs a lot.  They are nasty animals.  They smell. They stay dirty.  They are just nasty.  But to see them full of demons – now that would be a sight.  And then to see them all run in the water and drown – that would have been crazy.

But that is exactly what happened. Jesus commanded the demons inside the two men to leave.  But notice He just said one word – GO!  The demons had chosen the pigs.  I guess pigs are better than nothing.  With one word He sent them.  They didn’t leave until He said, “Go!”  But then they obeyed Him.

TEACHING MOMENT

 There are a couple of lessons here for our children.  One – Jesus loves everyone, even those who may appear a little crazy.  He had compassion on these two deranged, tormented souls.  He set them free.  We don’t know what happened to them afterwards, but I have to believe their lives were changed and they couldn’t help but tell the story to everyone.

Secondly, children need to understand that Jesus is the ultimate authority.  Even the demons have to obey Him.  And if demons, who hate Jesus, have to obey Him when He speaks, why wouldn’t we, who love Him, want to obey Him?  Hearing the Lord’s voice is one thing, but obeying it is so much more important.  And they obeyed immediately.  They didn’t ask for more time or a better breed of pigs.  They obeyed.

Are you obeying the Lord’s commands? Or are you picking and choosing which commands fit your schedule or your lifestyle?  Obedience is not optional.  If you are a follower of Christ, you must obey His commands. Followers follow.  Ask Him right now what His orders are for today.  He may just surprise you.

Father God, thank You for sending Your Son to rescue me. I, too, was tormented and deranged before He came into my life.  Help me obey each day and do it with joy.

Standard
Uncategorized

HOUSEHOLD FURNISHINGS

2 Chronicles 4:10a “Solomon also made all the things that were in the house of God:”

 NOTHING LEFT TO CHANCE

 You may read 2 Chronicles 4 and start yawning.  Don’t! It’s a short chapter.  Read the whole chapter two or three times and then tell me what you read.  Did you see it?  God left nothing to chance when He gave all the details to David to give to Solomon. And then Solomon “made all the things that were in the house of God.”

 Look at the numbers.  Look at all the furnishings.  This was going to be God’s house, and it was going to look right. How many times have you hurried to straighten your house when company was coming?  You made sure everything was just right.  Why?  Because you wanted your house to look respectable.  Solomon wanted to make sure God’s house was the talk of the known world. He was honoring God by his actions.

 TEACHING MOMENT

 This is a perfect verse to read to your children when you send them to clean their room.  Keeping their room clean is important.  Why?  Because cleanliness is next to godliness?  Well, maybe. But that’s not the reason.  You are teaching them to care for their things. Everything they have in that room really belongs to God, right?  Every toy! Every sock!  Every piece of furniture.  As believers, we believe that.  It’s all His.  And if it is His, take care of it.

I truly believe if we teach our children that when they are young they will learn to care for their possessions in a whole different way.  They will learn to only purchase things that would give glory to God.  That leaves those questionable cd’s out.  That leaves the wrong kind of clothing out.  Just as Solomon took care of God’s house, we need to take care of His stuff He is letting use.

Do you have a reverent respect for God’s stuff?  Don’t you wish you could have made some of those items for the temple?  Remember, all your stuff is God’s too.  Treat it that way!  Honor God by seeing all your possessions as totally His.

Thank You, Father, for blessing me with all I have. I want to hold these as if I am holding Your possessions.  I am truly in awe of how You have blessed me.

Standard