The Faithful Stand Out

1 Kings 16; 2 Chron. 17

2 Chronicles 17:3-5 (NASB)
3  The LORD was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father David’s earlier days and did not seek the Baals,
4  but sought the God of his father, followed His commandments, and did not act as Israel did.
5  So the LORD established the kingdom in his control, and all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor.  

As we read of the Kings of Judah and Israel, there is a common theme. The Kings who are faithful and loyal to God are blessed and those who are not are cursed. Baasha, Elah, Zimri and Omri all sinned according to the ones before them and were all cursed. Asa and Jeshoshaphat were different. They were faithful and they were blessed.

In today’s day and age, we experience the same. While being a Christian does not guarantee that we will have an easy life, it does guarantee that we will be blessed! I have witnessed people who live in bondage to sin. However, those who trust God and follow His example are blessed. I was recently interviewed by a Psychologist who does not know the Lord and he agreed that those who have faith are truly blessed.

The faithful do stand out!

 


Eyes Of The Lord

Reading Plan: 1 Kings 15; 2 Chron. 13-16

2 Chronicles 16:9 (NASB)
9  For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”

Has something ever caught your eye? What catches God’s eyes is someone whose heart is completely His. He is looking for hearts that are truly in love with Him & trust in Him. His eyes gravitate towards those that desire to be completely obedient.

God strongly supports those that abide in Him. He moves on their behalf. If your heart is right, you will not be overlooked.

Do you catch God’s eye?


3 Ways To Lead With Wisdom

Reading Plan: 2 Chron. 10-12

2 Chronicles 10:6-7 (NASB)
6  Then King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you counsel me to answer this people?”
7  They spoke to him, saying, “If you will be kind to this people and please them and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.”

At Crossroads Church, we have a vision to raise up servant leaders! Leading is exciting and can also be difficult. Rehoboam learned that when he did not serve those he was leading it would cost him his position and kingdom. Rehoboam violated the act of servant leadership. In verse 7, there are three aspects of what a good servant leader should do:

  1. Be Kind: Prov. 3:3 calls us to bind kindness and truth around our necks and write them on the tablet of our hearts. We are always to be kind. We are to speak with kindness and act with kindness. Truth should be exhibited with kindness.
  2. Please them: the Hebrew word for “please” has the idea of bringing pleasure, delight and favor. A servant leader will be a delight to serve with. They will actually be fun. While tough and challenging seasons may arise, the overriding atmosphere should be fun and favorable.
  3. Encourage: Speak good words. Look for ways to build people up. Speak the truth in love, bringing edification. Say words that let people know they matter.

Sadly, Rehoboam was not a servant leader. His reign would end in failure. We do not have to repeat his same mistake. Choose to lead in love!


Events From The Lord

Reading Plan: 1 Kings 12-14

1 Kings 12:15 (NASB)
15  So the king did not listen to the people; for it was a turn of events from the LORD, that He might establish His word, which the LORD spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

The nation of Israel would go from a place of grander to a place of disaster. They would transition from receiving God’s promises to living in poverty. They had a choice. However, God was moving and would use their unfaithfulness to bring about something very good.

God would use the darkness that came upon the Israelites & cause the light to shine out.  Those who lived righteously would be highly distinguished from the ones who did not.  This process would protect the line of Christ and would lead to His coming. In the midst of their unfaithfulness,  the promise of the Messiah would come to pass.

God works all things together for our good. In the end, the promise of the Messiah will shine forth in your life.


Never Enough

Reading Plan: Proverbs 30-31

Proverbs 30:11-16 (NKJV)
11  There is a generation that curses its father, And does not bless its mother.
12  There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness.
13  There is a generation–oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up.
14  There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives, To devour the poor from off the earth, And the needy from among men.
15  The leech has two daughters– Give and Give! There are three things that are never satisfied, Four never say, “Enough!”:
16  The grave, The barren womb, The earth that is not satisfied with water– And the fire never says, “Enough!”  

These verses seem to adequately describe our current generation. In today’s world, contentment is a foreign concept. Our world is inhabited by people who are greedy, selfish, lofty, and filthy. We need to fight against the tendencies of this world and abide in Christ! Take a look at how Proverbs 30 describes a crooked generation…

  • Dishonoring
  • Arrogant
  • Critical
  • Entitled
  • Discontent

 


The Doom Of Solomon

Reading Plan: 1 Kings 10-11; 2 Chron. 9

1 Kings 11:1-9 (NASB)
1 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women,
2 from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love.
3 He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away.
4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites.
6 Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father had done.
7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon.
8 Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
9 Now theLORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from theLORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice,

– Solomon’s downfall is heartbreaking. He neglected to heed God’s warning to guard his heart. His heart became corrupt & he turned from God.

– Solomon was clearly warned not to marry those who did not love the Lord. He did not listen. Solomon was warned in Dt. 17:17 not to multiply wives.

– Solomon was warned in 1 Chron. 28:9 that if he were to forsake God then God would reject him forever.

When I read the words of Jeremiah I am reminded that wisdom, riches and power are not what matters. What matters is that we know the Lord and abide by His Word. Let’s take a look at what Jeremiah says in the following verses…

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NASB)
23 Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;
24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.

 


Everyone’s Duty

Reading Plan: Ecclesiastes 7-12

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NLT)
13  That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.
14  God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.

If you had unlimited resources, what would you do? What would make you happy? What would matter most? Solomon was affluent and possessed great power. He could have had almost anything he wanted.

Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s journal. Some of what he writes is erroneous. He wrestled with his thoughts and emotions and writes as he is in the midst of seeking clarity. After some trial and error he comes to the right conclusion.

Solomon comes to an understanding of what matters most: fear God and obey His commands. That is something we all should do. Whether you are rich or poor, everyone can experience and  know God’s love. Everyone has the same opportunity to obey His commands. Ask yourself, “Do I obey God and keep all of His commands?” When you do, your life will be meaningful & truly blessed!


Without God You Have Nothing

Reading Plan: Ecclesiastes 1-6

Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 (NLT)
11  Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
12  So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.
13  And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

In the first two chapters of Ecclesiastes there is a man who is on the verge of despair. All that he sees does not matter. He perceives that in the end nothing seems to be worth enjoying; nothing anyone does makes a lasting difference.

This is Solomon’s journal. He shares what failed and what worked. From Ecclesiastes, we derive the knowledge that nothing matters unless it is with God and for God. All the wealth in the world is vanity without God. All the pleasures we experience will not fulfill us unless God is at the center. Solomon also writes that God makes everything beautiful.

What does the wisest man in that day and age (except for Jesus) come to know is true? That with God you have everything and without God you have nothing.

 

 


Feelings

Reading Plan: Proverbs 27-29

Proverbs 28:26 (NASB)
26  He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered. 

The Bible implores that we walk by faith and not by sight. We are also called to walk by faith and not by feelings. Our feelings matter but they are not always aligned with God’s will. A wise person knows that our feelings cannot be trusted. That is why Jeremiah was inspired to write the following…

Jer 17:9“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

Those who live directed by God’s Word are wise. We walk by faith when we choose God’s Word and Ways over the feelings of the moment. Rely on God’s word!

 


Redeeming Relationships

Reading Plan: Proverbs 25-26

Proverbs 25:8-10 (NASB)
8  Do not go out hastily to argue your case; Otherwise, what will you do in the end, When your neighbor humiliates you?
9  Argue your case with your neighbor, And do not reveal the secret of another,
10  Or he who hears it will reproach you, And the evil report about you will not pass away.  

There are two prime directives God has for us. First and foremost, we are called to love the Lord our God with everything. We were designed to love Him first, above all, and be loved by Him. God deeply values our relationship with Him. He gave His only begotten Son for us. Jesus died for us so that nothing would get in the way of our relationship with the Father.

The second prime directive is that we love others the way Jesus loves us. When there is an issue that inhibits us from cultivating a loving relationship with someone, we should love them enough to go to them & seek to restore the relationship.

Proverbs 25, Matthew 5:23-24 and Matthew 18:15-20 describe how we should seek to redeem the relationship whenever we have an issue with someone. Note what we are instructed to do in Proverbs 25. Meditate on every phrase and write down what we are to do and what we are not to do. Afterwards, compare what you observed in this passage to the passages in Matthew. This will serve as a gold mine of wisdom on how to effectively  resolve conflict.

 


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