This little story really rattles my cage. What do you think??
“Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah began to reign. … He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. … The Lord afflicted Azariah with leprosy until the day he died, and he lived in a separate house.” (2 Kings 15:1-5 NIV)
What?! This man obeyed God, was a good king and yet it specifically says the Lord gave him leprosy – the most dreaded disease of that day. That stinks.
Where is the justice in that? How can God do such a thing to a man who is walking in obedience? It would be one thing if it said God “allowed” it but it clearly says God caused it. Can we even trust God to be just when He does stuff like this to a good king who is faithfully serving Him? Continue reading
In Exodus 3 God referred to Himself as I AM. Grammatically that leaves a blank that I want to fill in. I am … what? And the words that we could use to fill that blank are nearly endless.
He is love. He is joy. He is peace. He is patient. He is kind. He is holy. He is faithful. He is …
In worship this morning I was thinking of all that He is and realizing that if He is the Great I AM, then I am the great I am not.
He is Holy. I am not. He is always kind. I am not. He is always faithful. I am not. He never fails. I do. He does not judge by outward appearance. I do. He always thinks the best. I don’t. In every area where He is the I AM, I am the I-am-not. Continue reading
Everything that can go wrong will go wrong – and at the worst possible time.
We call that Murphy’s Law and all of us have experienced it. In fact, I’ll bet there have been times things were so rotten that you thought Murphy was an optimist.
So what do you do at times like that? In 1 Samuel 4:3 the army of Israel got their tail kicked in battle. “When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord bring defeat on us today before the Philistines?”
When things fell apart for them, they blamed God for their problem – “the Lord brought the defeat”.
But instead of asking God what was wrong they devised their own plan.
“Let us bring the ark of the Lord ’s covenant from Shiloh, so that he may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.” (1 Samuel 4:3)
Instead of going to God with the problem they discuss it among themselves, they plan, they scheme, they come up with a great idea. Send the ark of the covenant into battle ahead of the troops. Surely God won’t let us be defeated if we have the ark with us. He wouldn’t let the enemy steal His box. This plan can’t fail. Continue reading
Babe Ruth was one of the greatest hitters and perhaps one of the greatest baseball players of all time. I recently read a story about this great hitter striking out. He let the pitch pass and the umpire screamed, “Strike three. You’re out.” Babe turned to him and said, “There are 40,000 fans in this stadium that all think that was a ball.” The ump calmly responded, “That might be true but my opinion is the only one that counts.”
The 40,000 voices from the stands today make some pretty bold declarations about what is moral and what is immoral, about what is right and what is wrong, about what we should tolerate and what we should not tolerate. The majority of the experts proclaim God’s Word to be outdated, out of touch and irrelevant. As a believer it may seem like you are swimming upstream against Niagara Falls.
But, there is only One whose opinion counts. Disagree with Him and “You’re out!”
There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.
Psalm 2:2, 4
The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one. … But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.
Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight.
I’ve been fooled. I listened to one side of a story and because I trusted and respected the person, I believed what they told me was accurate. “They wouldn’t lie to me”, I reasoned. However, experience has taught me even mature Christians often present a side which “sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight.”
With an arrogant attitude she informed me, “My Dad refused to sign the disciplinary notice and he said he doesn’t care what you do about it.” I was principal of a Christian school and the high school girl had been brought to my office. I felt a twinge of anger rising up at Dad’s refusal to cooperate. We were bending over backwards to help get his daughter on the right path and he was refusing to cooperate. I called him but … I had been coached to always go into these conversation like a cat, gently. You can always turn into a bear later if you have to but start quietly, calmly. (Proverbs 15:1, 25:15) Continue reading
Romans despised Christians because everyone knew they were horridly wicked people who were cannibalistic, incestuous, atheists. It was primarily these accusations that caused even the immoral Romans to despise, persecute and slaughter the “vile” Christians who deserved to perish.
Christians were atheists because they denied the existence of the Roman gods, cannibalistic because at their secret meetings they would eat flesh and drink blood (references to the Communion / Eucharist). And in the perverted mind of the Romans, talk of loving your brothers and sisters could only mean one thing, incest. Christians were evil people who held secret meetings to do the vilest of things and deserved torture and death. Continue reading
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.
Someone was commenting on the deal they got on a new car because of “good financing”. Instead of minding my own business I let them know I think the term “good financing” is an oxymoron. How can anything that makes us a slave to another be “good”?
It is so easy to go into debt to demonstrate our love, or meet a “need” we feel we have, to comfort ourselves, pass time shopping, etc. Before we do however, it is wise to invest some time meditating on the warning of Proverbs 22:7. Continue reading
Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue.
What an important message for parents. When our children misbehave we are tempted to look away, ignore it, if in public to act like we don’t even know who these kids belong to. Sometimes it seems impossible to muster the strength to deal with it one more time. And sometimes our attitude (anger?) is such that we shouldn’t try to deal with it right now.
But this passage makes a promise for worn out parents who do rise to the occasion and rebuke, discipline, even chastise if necessary “one more time”. If we dig deep and find the energy (and self control) to make the effort, endure the grief and embarrassment it causes us, we “will in the end gain favor”. Continue reading