Monthly Archives: July 2016

A Voice God Always Hears

You were sorry and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people that this land would be cursed and become desolate. You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord (2 Kings 22:19 NLT).

Josiah, one of the few righteous kings of his era, tore his clothes and repented of the sins of his nation. Josiah displayed the behavior and uttered the words that always catch the eye of the Father.

Josiah was a good man and King who did what was right according to knowledge he possessed. He was broken hearted over the sins of Judah as revealed by an ancient scroll. Although he may not have been involved in these transgressions himself, he identified with the sins perpetrated in his land. Judgment always starts at the household of God. A prayer that God always hears is not, forgive them because “they” have sinned, but forgive us because “we” have sinned. When we are appalled with the unrighteousness in our land, we must remember, but for the grace of God, there go I.

What precipitated the reforms that Josiah was able to accomplish? It was a serious reading of God’s Word along with a truly repentant heart. The outworking of these things was a commitment to obey completely the instructions given in the Holy Scriptures. Incomplete obedience is always disobedience. Josiah mourned over the sins of his people and cried out to the Lord with godly sorrow. The Father heard his weeping and gave him the will to rid Judah of all their idolatry.

Meditation by Ken Barnes

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The Maker

When our dishwasher broke, my husband researched the brand and its maker, was able to make contact with the maker, who could pinpoint the problem and guide us on repairing the dishwasher. The dishwasher is again working. We didn’t even think of investing in a new one, and I never fathomed a long-term duty of hand-washing all the dishes. There were no other routes worth considering than contacting the maker in hopes to repair our old broken dishwasher.

Parts of our own lives sometimes feel broken, in need of repair. So, it makes sense to contact the Maker of our lives for restoration. This begins with faith. Faith through Jesus gives our own lives worth, because we then personally know our own Maker. Mark 10:52(NIV)“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.This blind man turned to the Maker.

What an incomparable peace to know that when our hearts are broken, or when there’s a crack in our confidence, or our marriage is not running right, or when a sickness slows us down, and a sin gets stuck in our lives, we can turn to the Maker. Our Maker will mend our hearts, give us hope, free us from the bondage of sin, heal us, and guide us. There is not a comparable choice to contacting the Maker.

Dear Heavenly Father, You are the Maker of that roaring river that we can’t cross without You. Convict us and guide us to tightly grip Your hand, and to praise Your name through all that is broken, and through all that is good. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Meditation by Katy Foster

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Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

The next morning the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, who was David’s seer. This was the message: “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will give you three choices. Choose one of these punishments, and I will inflict it on you.'” (2 Samuel 24: 11-12 NLT).

David had sinned by ordering the census taken of Israel. Interestingly, David did not even receive the full extent of the shortest of the three punishments. When God finds a man willing to assume full responsibility for his transgressions, the Lord can be quick to extend mercy. God takes no delight in judgment.

David is told to choose between 7 years of famine, three months of war, or three days of plague. He chose the last option, the most severe but the shortest. The outbreak started in the morning. It was devastating as seventy thousand men of Israel died, but it appears to last only to the evening sacrifice of the first day (v. 16). Why? First, God is gracious and looking for a way to be merciful. Second, the Lord found a man who took full blame for his offense. In verse 17 David asks the Lord to chasten him and not his people. God looked down and saw a man with a repentant heart and relented of the full extent of his chastisement. The purpose of discipline is to bring a change of heart. When that has transpired, there is no further need for the pain of punishment.

Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. When we embrace God’s righteousness, accepting the consequences of our sin, the Lord can be swift to extend his mercy to us. Mercy always triumphs over judgment.

Meditation by Ken Barnes

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The Comparison Game

So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David (I Samuel 18:9 NLT).

The women sang, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” (v. 7), making Saul furious. Pride and jealousy prompted his downfall.

Why was Saul angry? David got what Saul wanted, recognition. Egotism seemed to set a pattern for Saul’s life. He sought the applause of people rather than the approval of God. Jealousy in the eye originates from pride in the heart. Saul sought to destroy the one he envied. The truth of the matter is that David pursued neither the power nor the pomp of the kingdom. Vanity always distorts the truth.

People do not care how much money or fame you have, as long as it is not more than they possess. It’s all about a comparison game we play. It’s not really about the wealth or the notoriety but what we think these things say about us. To feel good about ourselves we have to see ourselves as a little better than others. When we are continually comparing ourselves to others, it leads to either pride or unbelief. The former if we see ourselves as better than others. The latter if we feel others are better than we are. Either way, it leads to a downward spiral with God and man.

What is the solution for this problem? Only compare yourself with God. When Christ is our yardstick, the resulting response is humility. Where pride and envy had brought about Saul’s demise, modesty and kindheartedness ushered in David’s promotion.

Meditation by Ken Barnes

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IS YOUR PRAISE EMPTY?

What is praise? Some people imagine that God wants them to mumble platitudes and invent compliments all day long and repeat them forever. Nothing can be further from the truth. God is a joy, a delight, a happiness so immense that it is impossible to contain it for any of us. It spills over as praise, or gratitude, or endearment. In fact the happiness is so great that such response is unstoppable. That, if you please, is the only TRUE praise.

Of course, you first have to feel it, to have any praise. Why can’t you feel it? Have you invited Christ Jesus to be the ruler of your life? You have to invite Him for who He is, and He is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Jesus will settle for nothing less than to be the Ruler of our Lives. He is God. You don’t want Him that way? Why can’t you feel it? Have you rebuked sin? Are you willing to do to do things God’s way? Do you search the Bible to do the Will of your God?

Remove these barriers and ask God to love Him with all your heart. Then wait. You will have the surprise of your life. God is the “tree” we are the “branches”. No branch can survive separated from the tree. If you love Him and find yourself in the presence of God you will automatically resonate with Him, vibrate with Him – you will be unable to contain your happiness. You will cry for joy. No matter how hard-boiled you might be, there will be tears, tears of joy from your innermost being. Some call this a response, some call it PRAISE. Some might just call it pure happiness, or purest ecstasy. Some won’t even believe this.

Any dry repetition of prayer formulas or mumbling preconceived compliments is bunk. Only those who seek Him very hard will find Him. And understand praise. If you’re not there yet, just keep cleaning up your life with the Bible, until you find yourself in the very presence of the great I AM of John 8:24, the Alfa and Omega, the Lord God Almighty. He created you; He washed the feet of his disciples. Today He washes sinners like us with His blood, all those who come to Him. Serious, no? Can you imagine what will confront those who reject so great, SO GREAT a salvation?

Meditation by Eugene Lopatynsky

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