Monday, June 30, 2014
Read: 2 Kings 17:1-18:12, Acts 20:1-38, Ps. 148:1-14, Pr. 18:6-7 It’s easy to get lost in the annuls of the kings so here are a few tips. Samaria is the capital of Israel where Jerusalem is the capital of Judah. Most of the kings of Israel are bad. Judah has more good kings than Israel. When Israel is out of their land, God’s timetable stops for them. It had stopped for centuries until 1948 when Israel once again became a nation and the timetable started again. Every time Israel or Judah sinned, God sent them prophets to warn them to turn back to God. Israel’s sins began with the two golden calves that Jeroboam made and they went down hill from there. The king of Assyria displaced many of the Israelites and put people from five different nations in Samaria in their place. God sent lions to punish them. The Assyrian king put a priest in Samaria to teach them God’s ways since this was God’s capital. The people chose to follow after their own gods and brought in brothels (the meaning of Succoth-benoth), gods of wrath, gods of perversity, etc. It says several times that they feared the Lord, and served their gods. That’s an oxymoron. I would have to say we do that in our nation. We fear God enough to attend church or say we fear Him, but many choose to serve other gods like video games, material status, popularity, knowledge, their children, etc. Finally, in chapter 18 we get a good king of Judah named Hezekiah. God blesses Judah during his reign, but in Israel, Samaria is being besieged and finally taken for their refusal to repent. In Acts, Paul is determined to go to Jerusalem even though he knows that persecution awaits him. He does not love his life but has laid it down for the glory of God. Lord, today we give you praise!
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Read: 2 Kings 15:1-16:20, Acts 19:13-41, Ps. 147:1-20, Pr. 18:4-5 Reading about the kings seems like a long list of bad kings who did evil in the sight of the Lord and good kings who didn’t remove the high places. Because of their rebellion toward God, they were in constant fear of other kingdoms more powerful than they were and had to pay them off just to let them stay in their own land. If only these kings would have been leaders who stood up to the evil in their own land. Because they were afraid of their own people, God made them afraid of their enemies also. When Jesus is lifted up, kingdoms are shaken. In Acts we see the kingdom of the devil’s being shaken. When unbelieving Jews tried to use the name of Jesus to cast out demons, the demons attacked them and sent them out naked and humiliated. This happened in Ephesus which was the center of worship to Diana, this goddess who supposedly dropped to earth from Jupiter. Paul preached that gods were not made by hand and that God was the only god. The silver smiths were more concerned about their dying business than the truth so they instigated a riot in the theater. Most of the people didn’t even know why they were there. (The devil is the author of confusion.) Paul’s disciples forbid him to go in because they feared for his life. Finally, the town clerk stood up and calmed the people down and advised them to take up their arguments in court. Then he broke them up and told them to go back home. When we start lifting Jesus’ name, we can expect to have opposition in the spirit. It will come through men and look like rejection, failure, confusion, defeat, etc. but if we will continue to stand firm, we will see the victory. Lord, you take pleasure in those who fear You and hope in Your mercy. May we be that people.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Read: 2 Kings 13:1-14:29, Acts 18:23-19:12, Ps. 146:1-10, Pr. 18:2-3 When Elijah died, Elisha had asked for a double portion of his anointing. Elisha did twice the miracles Elijah did but needed to raise one more person from the dead. What he didn’t accomplish in life he did in death when the dead man’s body was placed in his grave and sprung back to life. The Word of God will never return void but will accomplish what it is set out to do. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is the book of all the people that had faith. In the thirteenth verse it says that they all died, not having received the promises, but seeing them afar off. They believed them and embraced the promises, but they weren’t for their lifetime. I wonder if some of our promises we have received are something we are to contend with for the next generation. We can see it, but we won’t see it manifest. We are to pray it in. Then we will be part of the crowd of witnesses that get to watch it from a heavenly viewpoint. In Acts, we see that there are clearly two baptisms. The first one is John’s baptism of repentance. The next one is the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The first one seals our salvation the second one sends us out with power. Tongues and prophecy were manifestations of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is evidence that you have entered a new kingdom with a new language and you now have access to the realm of the unseen. Lord, You are our God who sets prisoners free, gives sight to the blind and lifts up those who are bowed down.
Friday, June 27, 2014
Read: 2 Kings 10:32-12:21, Acts 18:1-22, Ps. 145:1-21, Pr. 18:1 The Lord started whittling down Israel’s power and population. King Jehoahaz died and his mother and queen, Athaliah, had all the royal seed killed so she could be the ruler. The priest, Jehoida, hid one of the baby sons and raised him in the temple in seclusion. At his 7th birthday, Jehoida brought him forth surrounded by other priests and with the support of the people. They killed Athaliah and then broke down the altars and images of Baal. That is exactly how it will come down in the 7th millennium. The devil will be dethroned and Jesus will sit upon the throne along with his bride. In Acts, Paul teams up with husband and wife, Aquila and Priscilla. They work with Paul in his secular job and in his ministry. When Paul preached the gospel in the synagogue and the Jews refused to hear the message, he proclaimed he was taking his teaching to the Gentiles. A few Jews like Titius Justus, and Crispus did believe and were baptized. God came to Paul in a vision and encouraged him to keep speaking that He was with Paul and he would not let anyone hurt him. God had many people in the city who needed Paul’s teaching. Paul stayed there for a year and a half. God was true to his promise to protect Paul. The Jewish leaders instigated a case against Paul but it turned on the leader and he got the punishment from his own people instead. Lord, Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion through all generations. You are faithful to all Your promises.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Read: 2 Kings 9:14-10:31, Acts 17:1-34, Ps. 144:1-15, Pr. 17:27-28 Jehu was a force. He was determined to be God’s hand of judgment on the house of Ahab. Jehu had all of Ahab’s sons beheaded and set at the city gate for all to see. He destroyed the rest of the house of Ahab in the name of God to fulfill Elijah’s prophecy. He took out all the priests of Baal in one fell swoop. But…once he had done all this for God and God was pleased, he went to worshipping the golden calfs that Jeroboam worshipped. In Acts, God gave Paul wisdom in how to speak to an idol-worshipping people. He found an altar with the inscription: “To an Unknown God”. He used that to launch his sermon. God sent Paul to introduce them to this ‘unknown god’. He is the God of the universe who is the only god that can save them. I am reading the book, “The Fault in Our Stars”. The reason I’m reading it is because one of the girls I teach is reading it and being a teen writer, I wanted to see what they deemed as good reading. Her comment was how well written it was. It is well written, but it is such a picture of the idols of this generation. The main characters have the rhetoric of a college philosophy professor and use it to intimidate the reader and everyone else in their path. Their “Bible” is the book “An Imperial Affection”. Their god is the author. The sad part is when they meet him, he is not the god of love or compassion, but uses their weapon of intelligent command of words on them to make them feel as foolish as they make everyone else feel. I haven’t finished the book so I will stop there. Sadly, this philosophy leaves God out and makes the belief of Him sound foolish and unintelligent. They should read Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. It just reminds me that our gods are not images carved, but ideas verbalized. Lord, I pray for our next generation of Christian warriors, that they not get enamored by worldly knowledge but the wisdom that comes from above. You cannot be confined by words. You are The Word.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Read: 2 Kings 8:1-9:13, Acts 16:16-40, Ps. 143:1-12, Pr. 17:26 The woman who cared for Elijah, was returned the kindness with a son, his rebirth, and now a warning to leave because of the famine coming. She left to live in the land of the Philistines seven years till the famine was over. God remembered her and gave her back her land and all its proceeds while she was gone. Investment into the kingdom is the only sure deal. This woman’s act of kindness reaped years of benefits. I love how God had the king ask Gehazi to tell him Elijah stories and he was right on the part about the woman who had the son that Elijah prayed back to life when she walked in to ask for her land back. That was God’s perfect timing. Ben-hadad had had some bad experiences with Israel and Elijah but when he got sick, who does he turn to for truth but Elijah. In Acts the girl witch was saying the truth but her proclamation was disturbing the peace of those trying to listen to what Paul and Silas had to say. Paul finally had had enough and cast the spirit of divination out of her which caused them to be put in prison. Warring against the devil will always stir up spirits but God always wins. Although Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned, they were privileged to lead the prison guard to Jesus. Can you imagine the ministry he had with the prisoners under his watch from then on? Not only were Paul and Silas released but they were lead out of the city and told not to return. Paul cast out their spirit and they cast them out of town. Lord, let us walk in your perfect timing and destiny for our lives.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Read: 1 Chronicles 7:1-8:40, Acts 27:1-20, Ps. 7:1-17, Pr. 18:22 Benjamin has an interesting family. It is full of family riffs. They deported some of their own family out of the land and one guy divorced two of his wives. Benjamin also had some mighty men of valor in his line. I’ve always thought that Benjamin was a type of the Gentile church since he was the brother that wasn’t there to kill Joseph just like the Gentiles didn’t kill Jesus, the Jews did. So I guess that sounds about right…we have divisions, divorces, and mighty warriors in the church today. In Acts, we have the account of Paul’s trip to Rome. There are some people who don’t believe or are afraid of, or don’t understand the prophetic. Paul happened to be on a ship with a person like this. God showed Paul what would happen if they set out to sail, but the centurion believed the master of the ship more. The owner of the ship would naturally know more about storms and sailing than Paul since Paul was a tent maker by trade, not a sailor. Paul wasn’t reading the signs of the weather, he was reading God’s mind. A tempest on the water comes up with no warning so only by the help of the Holy Spirit, could anyone predict a tempest. I wonder what the centurion thought after hours of fighting the storm. Paul stood up and told them no one was going to die and the centurion believed Paul this time. We all have gifts and sometimes they have to be proven before people honor them, but God knows just how to do that. Lord, You are our refuge and our deliverer. You search the minds and hearts of every man. May ours be pure.
Read: 2 Kings 6:1-7:20, Acts 15:36-16:15, Ps. 142:1-7, Pr. 17:24-25 Elisha did some unconventional things. He threw a stick in the water to make the iron axe head float. He led the Aramean army blindly into Israel’s capital, Samaria, and had the king prepare them a feast and send them home. Years later, when the Arameans came back and besieged Sarmaria, Elisha prophesied its quick wealth and deliverance. To the man who mocked him, he prophesied his death. It all happened just as Elisha said it would. Elisha had eyes to see the mighty power of God. When everyone else saw gloom and doom, he saw chariots of fire and God’s army. We need to have his eyes to see. God is always in control of the situation. It doesn’t matter how small (the borrowed axe head) or how large (the nation of Israel). God has a plan of deliverance for those who are His. In Acts, Paul and Barnabas can’t agree about taking Mark, so they part ways and Paul and Silas goes to to the churches and Barnabas and mark go to Cyprus. We get the account of Paul and Silas, but I’m sure Barnabas and Mark have great stories also. I love that God sent an angel to tell Paul and Silas to go to Macedonia because there were a group of women who were hungry to hear the truth. Lord, You are our refuge and deliverer.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Read: 2 Kings 4:18-27, Acts 15:1-35, Ps. 14:1-10, Pr. 17:23 The woman of Shunem was a woman of great insight and faith. She had perceived that Elijah was a prophet and willingly built him a place to stay asking nothing in return. When the son he promised her died she refused to let anyone know till she had spoken to Elijah first. Her response to everyone else was always that everything was all right, even when it wasn’t. She was putting her faith in the only one who could help her and he was the only one she was going to tell the truth to. We need to have this kind of faith. The first person we run to needs to be the one who can do something about it…our Source. The servant of Naaman’s knew where the source could be found also. Elijah wasn’t God, he was the one who was carrying God’s power. When people recognize the power of God in you, they will come to you. We can learn a lesson from Gehazi. He had been a faithful servant of Elijah’s for years and must have gotten tired of seeing the power that Elijah possessed go unrewarded. He let the physical reward blind him to the truth. A gift or position that God gives us is not for our gain, it is for the kingdom’s gain. It cost Gehazi his health. In Acts, the Jews must have been jealous of the Gentiles coming into their kingdom of God. They had not fully understand the new dispensation they were now in and tried to bring the old with them. They wanted the Gentiles to have to go through what they had to go through to come to God. They wanted the Gentiles to have to be circumcised and follow the law. They were now free from all that, but somehow they wanted the Gentiles to have to go through what they had had to suffer. The apostles received God’s wisdom and explained that now to enter the kingdom it just takes faith. Thank God! Lord, thank you for the freedom of grace and mercy that we live in. Thank you that our salvation doesn’t depend on what we have done to deserve it, but it has to do with what You have done. We are grateful!
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Read: 2 Kings 3:1-4:17, Acts 14:8-28, Ps. 140:1-13, Pr. 17:22 Ahab’s son Jehoram came to power and though he put away the images of Baal, he did the same sins Jeroboam did. One of Jeroboam’s major sin was that he didn’t honor God’s priesthood. He ordained a new feast, offered incense himself and ordained priests who weren’t from the tribe of Levi. Bascially, he didn’t honor God’s laws; he made his own laws. In our reading today we have three needs: an army without water, a widower without a livelihood, and a lady without a son. God answered each one of these needs. He is the God of the nations and He is the God of the poorest and the richest. God has no respect for persons, but man does as we see in the New Testament. When the disciples heal a cripple man’s feet by the power of God, they want to make them gods. Once they learn they are just men, they stone them instead. How fickle man is. They love us one day and hate us the next, especially if you are a leader in any way. That is why we have to keep our heart set on Jesus and let him take care of other people. There is a real battle going on in the spirit and we are in it, whether we want to be or not. We have to keep our armor on and use our sword. Love and forgiveness are one of the greatest weapons we possess. God elevated loving your neighbor to the second highest commandment. Lord, thank you for providing for our needs above what we can ask or even think. May we have a merry heart today and be medicine to those we meet.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Read: 2 Kings 1:1-2:25, Acts 13:42-14:7, Ps. 139:1-24, Pr. 17:19-21 I wonder why God sent Elijah to Bethel, then Jericho, then the Jordan. I think of Abraham and Jacob when I think of Bethel. That was where Jacob saw the portal to heaven with the angels that ascended and descended up and down the ladder. Jericho was the first city into the Promised land that they encountered and the Jordan was where John the Baptist would station his ministry. For some reason, God wanted Elijah to revisit these places. Personally, I think they were all portals to heaven. The place God finally took Elijah was the Jordan River. Elijah never tasted death. His spirit came back in John the Baptist (Luke 9:8) and will come back and prepare the world for the second coming of Jesus (Mal. 4:5). It is worthy to note that all the prophets knew Elijah was being taken that day. All the prophets should be saying the same thing - they should all agree. If you get the Elijah List then you know that the prophets are agreeing for the first time which is a good sign. We are all getting on the same page…God’s page. In Acts people were choosing sides. The Jews were jealous of the disciples and their popularity with the people. When the disciples announced they were taking their message to the Gentiles - a people that would listen, it incited the Jews to want to kill them. They fled to the region around Lycaonia and continued to preach the gospel. Today’s Psalms is one of my favorites. Lord, it is so comforting to know how much you love us and know everything about us. May we hear Your voice today and be bold.
Friday, June 20, 2014
Read 1 Kings 22:1-53, Acts 13:16-41, Ps. 138:1-8, Pr. 17:17-18 For the first time the king of Judah is visiting with the king of Israel in a peaceful meeting. They discuss the fact that Ramoth Gilead is part of their land but Aram has controlled it and they need to take it back. Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, agrees to help Ahab but first wants to ask the prophets if they will succeed. Ahab has found himself more false prophets after Elijah had his other ones killed. They all prophesied that they should go to war and that they would win. Jehosaphat asked if there might be a prophet of God they could ask. Ahab knows only one, Micaiah, and doesn’t like him because he never prophesies anything favorable to Ahab. Jehoshaphat rebuked him for dishonoring the prophet so they sent for him. Micaiah lied at first and agreed with the other prophets. Finally, he told the truth and prophesied defeat for the army and Ahab’s death if he went to war. Instead of heading the warning, they put Micaiah in prison and prepared for war. I think it would have been better for the kings not to have asked the prophet than to ask and not listen. It happened just like Micaiah said and a random arrow found the small crack in Ahab’s armor and he was killed. There is little good found in Ahab and his reign however Jehoshaphat walked in the ways of his father Asa who walked in the ways of God. He personally did what was right but he didn’t make sure his people honored God and allowed them to worship their gods with incense and sacrifices. His son Jehoram succeeded him as king over Judah and Ahaziah, son of Ahab, became king of Israel. In Acts, Saul is preaching in the synagogue and takes the people through their history as a nation. He preached Jesus crucified, buried and resurrected. He gave them the good news that now everyone can be justified. He told them they were watching the prophecies of the Old Testament be fulfilled. We are also seeing prophecy fulfilled before our eyes. We are definitely close to the end of time so God is doing amazing things. Lord, we want to be aware of the times we live in and participate with You.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Read: 1 Kings 20:1-21:29, Acts 12:24-13:15, Ps. 137:1-9, Pr. 17:16 Against unbeatable odds, the children of Israel defeated King Hadad’s army. King Ahab should have killed him or taken him captive, but instead he made a treaty with him and set him free. God sent Elijah to tell Ahab that setting Hadad free was going to cost him his life. Ahab’s grieving must have been short because next we see him lusting over Naboth’s vineyard. It would be a perfect place for his vegetable garden. When Naboth refused to sell his family inheritance, Ahab mourned like a spoiled brat. Jezebel decided to put an end to his mourning and had Naboth falsely accused and killed so Ahab could have his vineyard. This cost Ahab his kingdom and his own inheritance. He also learned how he and Jezebel would die. When Ahab repented, God prolonged his families executions till after his death. The church met to see what God wanted them to do. After much fasting and prayer, God sent Saul and Barnabas on a traveling mission. They encountered a sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus. Saul, by the power of the Holy Spirit called Bar-Jesus a child of the devil and enemy of everything that is right. You gotta love his boldness! He proclaimed him blind and in his blindness he found Jesus. When the pro-counsel witnessed this, he too became a believer. Signs and wonders are to make unbelievers become believers. Miracles proclaim God’s majesty and power and that is why we need them today. In Antioch, they entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and after hearing the Bible reading of that day, they stood up to give the people a message….to be continued. Lord, may we walk in the same power and authority of the early Christians. May signs and wonders follow us.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Read 1 Kings 19:1-21, Acts 12:1-23, Ps. 136:1-26, Pr. 17:14-15 Elijah defeats 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah then runs at a threat from Jezebel. No wonder he lost his position as prophet of Israel. He succumbs to fear, self-pity and defeat. Where is the Elijah who called down fire? God wanted to know that too. He asked him twice what he was doing there. When Isaiah gave God his sob story God passed by him with a whisper. He told him to retrace his steps and get back on the right path. Then he gave him his last orders: anoint Hazael king over Aram, Jehu over Israel and Elisha to succeed him. I understand how quickly Elijah lost his confidence. I had just told God yesterday that I would like to run and hide because I felt so overwhelmed with things. God gave me a dream last night of running from the police and hiding in a sandpit along with other people who were hiding there. They were totally covered in sand that adhered to their bodies so they still kept their shape. I hid under a crack in the side of the pit but every time I tried to put the sand on me it kept sliding off. Everyone could still see me and I couldn’t hide. When I woke up I understood that God didn’t want me to hide in the sand because that was not useful to Him. So, today, I put on God’s armor and faced the day with the courage only God can give! I felt foolish for being afraid and I’m sure Elijah did also. Thank God for his love that endures forever. In Acts, the church was at Mary’s house praying for Peter and when God answered their prayer and released him, they couldn’t believe it. Herod didn’t know what to do either so he killed the soldiers in charge of Peter. Then he proclaimed himself a god and was killed by God. When God starts doing miracles, He also brings judgment to those who stand against Him. Lord, may we cooperate with You in whatever You choose to do.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Read: 1 Kings 18:1-46, Acts 11:1-30, Ps. 135:1-21, Pr. 17:12-13 We all know the story of Isaiah and the prophets of Baal. When sin gets to the top, God always sends a deliverer. Obadiah hid the true prophets and Isaiah defied the false ones. Each had their calling and did it. What made Isaiah so effective is that he was not afraid of the devil’s gods. He knew who his god was and that he was the True God. Isaiah took 12 stones which represented the twelve tribes of Israel, then he took twelve jars of water to represent each tribe being immersed in the Holy Spirit. Next he told the Lord that he had done all this at His command. He didn’t decide to challenge Satan on his own. God had led him each step. That is sometimes the missing ingredient. I think we can pray God’s Word and expect results but if we want to insure results we have to hear God tell us which scriptures to quote. Then God will move. Peter obeyed the Holy Spirit and preached to the Gentiles. God moved and they were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. God showed Agabus there would be a famine so they could prepare. That is the roll of a prophet. We should know the things God is about to do before He does them. Jesus did and we carry Him inside us. Lord, may we walk in Your Holy Spirit today.
Monday, June 16, 2014
Read 1 Kings 15:25-17:24, Acts 10:23b-48, Ps. 134:1-3. Pr. 17:9-11 With great responsibility comes great accountability. Jeroboam reaped what he sowed and was killed on the battlefield by one of his own men, Baasha. To fulfill prophecy, all of Jeroboam’s family was killed also. Meanwhile, Asa was ruling in Judah. Baasha was a bad king so when he died his son, Elah only reigned two years before he was killed while drunk by Zimri. Zimri killed off all of Baasha’s family. Note: it was not safe to be royalty back then…unless you follow God. Asa, a follower of God, was on his twenty-seventh year of reigning in Judah while Israel’s kings were dropping like flies. Zimri only reigned seven days. He was burned in his own palace by his own people. Israel was split in allegiance: part for Tibni, and the other for Omri, who had Zimri killed. Omri’s men won and killed Timbi. Asa has now reigned thirty-one years. Omri was more evil than all the other kings before him and when he died, Ahab, his son reigned. Asa is on his third-eighth year. Ahab surpassed them all in idolatry. He married Jezebel and started worshipping Baal and Asherah. It was in Ahab’s reign that Hiel started to rebuild Jericho. His firstborn died the day they laid its foundation and his youngest son died when he set up the gates just like was prophesied by Joshua. (Joshua 6:26) A few years ago a man with three sons tried to rebuild Jericho. His firstborn died when they laid the foundation and he stopped building it. The Word of God is eternal; years don’t make it lose it’s power. In the midst of this sinful generation, God raised up Elijah who prophesied a drought and sustained a widow woman with flour and oil supernaturally. He also raised her son up from the dead by breathing life into him. Where sin abounds, grace does even more! In Acts, God blesses the Gentiles that are hungry with His Word through Peter and His Holy Spirit. Lord, thank you for Your Holy Spirit. May we promote love today by covering another’s offense.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Read: 1 Kings 14:1-15:24, Acts 10:1-23a, Ps. 133:1-3, Pr. 17:7-8 Now we begin the roll call of the kings. They will all be compared to King David and his reign. Most of them will not walk with God, but a few, like Asa will. Judah and Israel remain bitter enemies for centuries. In today’s reading, Abijah, the very prophet that prophesied Jeroboam’s kingship, proclaims his death and the death of his son that was probably named after him. Nadab, his son became the next king. This is Israel. In Judah, Reoboam is an evil king and during his reign the Temple and Solomon’s house is robbed of its gold and treasures. Abijah, his son replaced him as king. (Abijah must have been a popular name back then.) He didn’t follow after God either. He died and Asa his son became king. Asa did what was right in God’s eyes. He rid the country of evil and idolatry. He even had his mother removed from being the queen because she had an idol. By this time Baasha had become king of Israel, the northern kingdom. Asa bought the allegiance of Syria with all the silver and gold he had. They helped him stop Israel from building a fortress in their land. In the Old Testament we are reading of common men in God’s eyes made royalty in the world’s while in the New Testament we are reading of common men that God calls royal. God sent Peter a dream so that when an Italian man named Cornelius came to visit him, he would not cast him out as common. God showed him that what He has cleansed, should never be called common. Most of us are Gentiles who would have been considered common in that day, yet God chose to close the eyes of His chosen, for a time, and open our eyes and choose us. We can never see ourselves as common again. We are chosen just as Cornelius was. Lord, thank you for the gift of seeing and being called chosen.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Read: 1 Kings 12:20-13:34, Acts 9:26-43, Ps. 132:1-18, Pr. 17:6 Jeroboam is made king over ten of the tribes of Israel and Rehoboam is king over Benjamin and Judah. As soon as Jeroboam is crowned king, Rehoboam rally’s his army to fight him. God intervenes and sends a prophet to tell the king not to fight because this is God’s doing. Rehoboam actually listens and obeys. In the meantime, Jeroboam sets up places of worship in his land so the people won’t go to Jerusalem to worship and become loyal to Rehoboam. Of all things, Jeroboam makes two golden calves for them to worship and places one in Bethel (house of God) and the other in Dan (judge). Then he made priests of anyone who wanted to be a priest. He ordains a feast in a non-feast month and offers sacrifices on the altar in Bethel. God sends a prophet to prophecy about a child named Josiah that would come and make things right. As a sign he was from God the altar split in two and all the ashes poured out on the ground. When Jeroboam went to stop the prophet, his hand turned leprous. Jeroboam sobered up and begged the prophet to heal his hand. He did, but refused to stay and be rewarded or to stay and eat food from the feast. He was to leave a different way than he came so he did. Another prophet heard of the signs the prophet did and what he said and ran after him. He told him he was a prophet also and begged him to come to his house and eat with him. He lied and told the prophet that God had told him to bring the man home and eat with him. I don’t know if prophet number two just wanted some fellowship or wanted to glean some of his power or what but it cost the first prophet his life. He was eaten by a lion and laid to rest in the second prophet’s grave instead of with his own family. The saddest part is that Jeroboam didn’t repent in his heart and became more and more sinful. In Acts, the apostles are going all over Judea, Galilee, and Samaria where Jesus had taught, doing the same miraculous things He did. Even the threat of death couldn’t stop them. Lord, help us to learn to follow what You say above the most powerful of men.
Friday, June 13, 2014
Read: 1 Kings 11:1-12:19, Acts 9:1-25, Ps. 131:1-3, Pr. 17:4-5 When I think of the contrast of Solomon and Paul I wonder what made the difference. Both of these men had an encounter with God and heard his voice. One became more and more earthly and the other became more and more sold out to heavenly things. The difference is the Holy Spirit. Paul had the Holy Spirit inside him where Solomon only had him on the outside. Solomon grew bored and loved women more than God. The women he chose worshipped demonic gods and Solomon let theses wives turn his heart away from the one true God. Solomon participated in the worship of their gods which consisted of sexual perversion and orgies. God was not happy and it cost Solomon his kingdom. Solomon’s kingdom was ripped apart with Judah and Benjamin against all the other tribes. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son would reign over Judah and Benjamin and Jeroboam would rule over the other tribes of Israel. They would stay divided enemies for years. Acts is one of my favorite books. It is so exciting to see how God talks to his people specifically. Our lives should look like the lives in the book of Acts. God called Ananias in a vision and told him the street address, the man’s name of the owner of the house and who to ask for when he went to the door. Then God told him what to do once he found this man. When Ananias heard who he was to heal, he was astonished. He’d heard about Saul from man, but God had a different description. God called Saul a chosen vessel of His that would testify before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. God’s opinion was the only one that mattered to Ananias. He did just as God told him and Saul was healed and filled with the Holy Spirit. He spent a few days with the disciples and then Saul was on the streets preaching Christ crucified. What if Ananias had said ‘no’ to God? God would have found another way but Ananias would have missed out on a huge blessing. Lord, cause us to hear your voice. We chose to obey.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Read: 1 Kings 9:1-10:29, Acts 8:14-40, Ps. 130:1-8, Pr. 17:2-3 God appeared to Solomon and put his stamp of approval on his house and temple. He promised to dwell there as long as Israel stayed true to Him. Sadly, Israel didn’t and God cut them off and cast them out of His sight. In 1948, there time of exile was over and God blessed them once again and brought them back to their land. Notice all the “6’s” in this reading. Solomon paid Hiram 666 talents of gold for helping him build all this buildings. The gold Solomon gave the queen of Sheba was 666 talents of gold, 600 shekels of gold went into each target, the throne had 6 steps, and the chariot from Egypt cost 600 shekels. Six is the number of man since man was created on the sixth day. Is Solomon becoming full of himself? Solomon made slaves of all his enemies and paid his own people to be in his army and his leaders. He also established a navy which brought him gold, peacocks, clothes, silver, armor, spices, horses and mules every year - not like any navy I’ve heard of :). Bottom line: Solomon was the richest man on the earth because God blessed him. He was a picture of God’s abundance. He couldn’t seem to keep his glory to himself and shared it with God’s enemies which brought him problems. In Acts, we see the apostles laying hands on the people so they could receive the Holy Ghost. When Simon, the once magician, saw this power he wanted it for all the wrong reasons. He was used to wowing the people with his magic and missed the power he once had. The devil does have power to do miracles and even good things, but his agenda is always to destroy. He’ll do anything for trust but he is the great deceiver. Simon had to be taught this new power that couldn’t be bought with man’s money. Interesting note is that the Ethiopian was from a place where queens rule like the queen of Sheba. They could have been from the same general place. Lord, help us to stay humble when You choose to bless us with Your abundance. Everything comes from You.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Read 1 Kings 8:1-66, Acts 7:51-8:13, Ps. 129:1-8, Pr. 17:1 The ark of the covenant was brought to the temple to be placed in the Holy of Holies in the month of the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles will be the fulfillment of God establishing his kingdom on earth and this was a type of that day. When the ark was laid in its place the cloud of God’s presence so filled the temple that them priests could not perform their duties. It was God’s presence dwelling under the shadow of the angel’s wings. 1 Co. 6:19 says that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Psalms 91:1 says, “He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” We house the Holy presence of God in our own bodies and when we dwell in God’s presence then we are protected and nothing can offend or harm us. There is no fear in God’s presence. In Acts, Stephen finishes his sermon with fire. He calls the Jew’s finest stiff-necked and uncircumcised of heart. Needless to say, they were greatly offended and broke out against Stephen but Stephen was dwelling in the secret place of the most High and he saw the glory of God. His body was stoned but something tells me, he didn’t feel a single hit. He was concentrated on seeing into heaven. They threw his clothes at Saul’s feet who would soon take up Stephen’s mantle much like Elisha took up Elijah’s and do even more harm to Satan’s kingdom. Lord, when all looks bad, may we, like Stephen, look up to heaven and see You. May we dwell in Your secret place today.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Read: 1 Kings 7:1-51, Acts 7:30-50, Ps 128:1-6, Pr. 16:31-33 It took Solomon 7 years to build the temple and 13 years to build his own palace. In his palace he had a Hall of Justice where he judged the people. Solomon hired Huram of Tyre to do his metal work. This is not the same Hiram of Tyre that supplied Solomon with cedar. I wonder if we will see a replica of Solomon’s Temple and Palace in heaven. God would not have given us such an elaborate description of Solomon’s temple if it wasn’t important. It was all to show the splendor of God. In Acts, Stephen is still giving the history of the Israelite people. He ends telling of the house Solomon built for God and says…however… the Most High does not live in houses made by men. Heaven is God’s throne, and the earth is his footstool. He asks the question: “What kind of house will you build for me?” As I think of that question I have to ask myself the same thing. If our bodies are to be the temple of the Holy Spirit then what kind of house am I building for God? In Matthew 16:18 Jesus told Peter that upon the Rock of Jesus He was going to build the church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. He also promised to give us the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever we should bind on earth would be bound in heaven: and whatsoever we should loose on earth should be loosed in heaven. In Mark 14:58 Jesus said that this temple would not be made of hands. Solomon’s temple was made of hands and it was splendid. How much more splendid is the temple that God is building in us! Lord, today, help us to build Your kingdom.
Monday, June 9, 2014
Read: 1 Kings 5:1-6:38, Acts 7:1-29, Ps. 127:1-5, Pr. 16:28-30 Solomon didn’t use his position to get something for free. He could have demanded that Hiram give him cedar since he was the king and had a much more powerful kingdom. Instead, he gave Hiram what he wanted in exchange. It was a fair trade. Hiram gave Solomon all the cedar he needed to build the temple and Solomon gave Hiram wheat and oil. Solomon sent his own men to cut the cedars and haul them home. They worked one month away and two months at home. No work was done in the temple itself. It was all done outside and brought in. The cedar was covered with gold. What a picture of the temple of God in our hearts. Our salvation was not built on works, but grace. Everything God has put into our hearts is a sweet smelling aroma to Him. He covers it with His glory. The cedar was the sweet-smelling aroma and it was covered with gold, the picture of glory. The angels in the Holy of Holies were seven and a half feet tall and wide. They were a picture of God’s holy presence. It took seven years to build it just like it will take 7,000 years to complete God’s promises about earth. In Acts, Stephen is giving his speech before the Sanhedrin. He starts at the beginning of the whole Jewish nation and is telling them of their history. I’m sure everyone was fine about what he was saying…so far. Lord, our Psalms goes right along with the building of the temple. Unless You build the house, we labor in vain. Please let our labor be fruitful and according to Your plan.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Read 1 Kings 3:4-4:34, Acts 6:1-15, Ps. 126:1-6, Pr. 16:26-27 God appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked him what he wanted. Solomon wanted discernment to rule the people with justice. God was pleased that he chose so wisely and added fame and riches to it. Solomon became the wisest man in history giving talks about science and human nature throughout the kingdom. People came from afar to hear his words and proverbs. Solomon was proficient in business and set up twelve able men to help him administer his twelve districts. These men were a type of the twelve apostles in Acts. The New Testament twelve traveled around to the churches to make sure things were going according to God’s Word. When they were told that the widows were being neglected, they chose seven men to be in charge of this duty. These men were to be full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. One of the men they chose was Stephen. Stephen was full of God’s grace and power and he did miracles in Jesus’ name. The leaders of the synagogue grew jealous of Stephen’s popularity and power and called him in on false charges. He was brought before the Sanhedrin where before their eyes, his face radiated like an angel. We’ll read tomorrow what happened to Stephen. Lord, may we be like today’s proverb and may our appetite for You drive us on.
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Read: 1 Kings 2:1-3:3, Acts 5:1-42, Ps. 125:1-5, Pr. 16:25 David’s last words to Solomon were to follow the Lord and all his commands and to get retribution on all of David’s enemies, namely, Joab, Shimei, Adonijah, and Abiathar. David was closing the end of one dispensation and judgment came next. Solomon’s reign would mark a new dispensation. Solomon’s kingdom was established and immediately he made an alliance with Egypt and married the Pharoah’s daughter. What was he thinking? In Acts, they were beginning a new dispensation also. It was one of power and fulfillment. Ananias and Sapphira were still living in the old. They tried to impress the disciples by lying about the price of their property. They kept back some of it for themselves. It would have been okay if they had just told the truth. Lying cost them their lives because they were lying to the Holy Spirit who knows all. God’s judgment brought about the fear of God on the people. The disciples did it God’s way and He miraculously got them out of jail and confused the enemy. The Sanhedrin didn’t know what to do with men they couldn’t hold in prison. When we are operating under the power of the Holy Spirit, the devil cannot hold us in his prison. Depression won’t stick. Fear has no power and death has no sting! Lord, we want to walk in the realm that the disciples walked in. We refuse to let the devil hold us in his invisible prison of fear and intimidation.
Friday, June 6, 2014
Read: 1 Kings 1:1-53, Acts 4:1-37, Ps. 12:1-8, Pr. 16:24 David had promised Bathsheba years ago that Solomon would be the next king. It was his payback for what he did to Bathsheba and her husband. Solomon was also God’s choice so, of course, the devil devised a plan to stop it. The devil used Adonijah to try to usurp the kingdom in secrecy. Nathan was told about it and had the plan stopped and Solomon’s kingdom made secure. Solomon would be a type of Jesus just like David was only he would be a type of Jesus in his glorified sense. David was a warrior and had to fight for his kingdom. Solomon would be the king of peace and prosperity. He is a type of the Millennium where the lion will lie down with the lamb and God’s children will rule. We are getting closer and closer to that kingdom in the natural but we can have that kingdom in the spiritual right now. It is a kingdom of peace no matter what is going on in the world or in our world. Hebrews called it ‘entering into God’s rest’. In Acts, Peter has just finished explaining that they healed the cripple man by the name of Jesus, the one they crucified. The priests are not happy with Peter and his disciples because what they are preaching makes them look bad and worse than that…wrong. They bring Peter and John in for questioning and put them before the Sanhedrin. What would have been intimidating to them before was not now that they had been baptized in God’s Holy Spirit. They now had a new boldness that astonished the Sanhedrin. Instead, they were the ones afraid of Peter and John. All they could do was give them threats and send them home. Once home, they met with the other followers of Jesus and prayed for more boldness. The place they were in shook and they were filled even more. Lord, let the boldness of Peter and John be on us as we go a proclaim Your name.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Read: 2 Sam. 23:24-24:25, Acts 3:1-26, Ps. 123:1-4, Pr. 16:21-23 It is interesting to note that Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba’s husband is listed in the thirty mighty men of David’s. Another interesting thing is that God was angry at David and moved David to want to number the men of age that fit the requirements to fight for him if he needed them. It is easy for us to say that God is in control, but today we see that he really is in control. He moved David to count the men so he could discipline them. The fact that David wouldn’t listen to the advise of his men showed the condition of the heart of Israel. It had become proud and powerful and was drifting away from God. God revealed their heart and then had to discipline them. David chose to be disciplined by God instead of men and like he was hoping, God was merciful. He stopped the plague at the threshing floor of Araunah, but not before 70,000 had died of the plague. David bought the land from Araunah for fifty shekels of silver. Silver is the metal that means redemption. This would be the land the temple would be built on. In Acts, the lame beggar beside the gate was looking to the disciples for money, but received total healing instead. He went into the temple for the first time in his life walking, leaping, and praising God. Now that he was not cripple he was acceptable to God…according to Jewish law. According to the law of the spirit, he was always acceptable to God. When the people were perplexed, Peter saw this as a great opportunity to witness the power of Jesus and his resurrection. He explained that the one they rejected and refused was in fact the Messiah and they have been given His name to do the same miracles He did. We’ll see their reaction tomorrow. Lord, help us to be discerning and wise of heart.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Read: 2 Sam. 22:21-23:23, Acts 2:1-47, Ps. 122:1-9, Pr. 16:19-20 In Acts we are seeing the fulfillment of the Feast of Pentecost. Every feast will have literal fulfillments on its date. This was a big one. Jesus had died on Passover, was buried on Unleavened Bread, rose of First Fruits and sent His Holy Spirit on Pentecost. People are still living all of these fulfillments when they get saved, die of their sins, live for Jesus and get filled with the Holy Spirit. One of the signs of Pentecost was that the disciples had flames of fire on their heads and they spoke different languages. All of these still happen. The fire is the same fire that was on the mountain of Sinai when God gave his law. That was the first Pentecost. The mountain represented God and the fire was His presence. Now the mountain is God’s people. The Holy Spirit was given to give the people the same power Jesus had when He walked on the earth. The law ended up killing 3,000 people where the Spirit ended up saving 3,000 people. We can still experience this and be filled with the Holy Spirit and speak a new language. Tongues are a powerful tool because it is a language of the spirit that we can’t understand. It allows us to pray things we don’t know need to be prayed. It is the perfect prayer according to God’s will and not ours. When Peter stood and preached to the people he explained a Psalms that was given to David but was fulfilled in Jesus. David’s song he sang to the people starting in yesterday’s passage was also a Messianic Psalms. I have come to believe that it was what happened on the cross when darkness was over the land for three hours. I don’t have time to explain it so ask the Holy Spirit to show you. Lord, your Word amazes me. It helps me to understand even greater that You have our lives planned from the beginning and it is our joy to walk in Your ways.
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Read: 2 Sam. 20:14-22:20, Acts 1:1-26, Ps. 121:1-8, Pr. 16:18 Joab pursued Bicri to a walled city. Joab had his men working on taking down the city wall when a woman intervened. When she found out Joab would spare the city if they gave up Bicri, she talked the city into throwing Bicri over the wall to Joab. They did and the city was spared and Joab returned to Jerusalem and was restored to his position as commander of the army. This is the power of intercession. When we are being attacked we need to seek to know why. Sometimes it’s something we need to get rid of or repent of. Once we surrender that, we get relief. David followed this when there was a famine in his land. He knew there was a reason his people were living in lack. Once he took care of the source, the blessings could flow again. For him it was the Gibeonites that Saul had killed in his zeal. He didn’t honor the fact that the Gibeonites had helped them generations before and they had promised to not kill them. David had to make things right. There are things in our family tree that have not been done correctly, and we can be the ones to right the wrong or repent for our ancestors. Since Saul had done the offense, his family had to pay the price. Many people are paying the price of the sins of their fathers. We can break that cycle with repentance and by making new covenants for our families. Mercy triumphs over judgment. In Acts, Jesus gave his disciples instruction to wait in Jerusalem to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. They had received John’s baptism in water which was a picture of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. First the natural, then the spirit (1 Cor. 15:46). In Matt. 3:11 John said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” This baptism in the Holy Spirit would give them power to be witnesses. After saying this, Jesus rose to heaven. We need this baptism. Lord, baptize us afresh in Your Holy Spirit.
Monday, June 2, 2014
Read: 2 Sam. 19:11-20:13, John 21:1-25, Ps. 120:1-7, Pr. 16:16-17 Crossing the Jordan is mentioned several times in today’s passage. Crossing the Red Sea was a picture of salvation. Crossing the Jordan was a picture of being baptized in God’s Holy Spirit. Friday we read about Shimei, the one who cursed David as he fled Jerusalem. Once he crosses the Jordan he falls prostrate before the king and repents. When David’s men wanted to kill Shimei, David offers him pardon. The king has returned to his kingdom and it is not a day for retribution but grace. We live in this realm if we have allowed Jesus to breathe on us His Holy Spirit. I used to think that this was a one time experience, but I have come to see the need to be baptized over and over in the Holy Spirit. David also pardoned Ziba who had deceived him into thinking Mephibosheth was a traitor. He also received Mephibosheth’s humble request. Bicri, one of Absalom’s followers led a rebellion against David’s returning reign. David had given Joab’s position of leading his army to Amasa since Joab had killed Absalom. Joab saw an opportunity to kill Amasa get his position back. He lead David’s army against Bicri. In John, the disciple’s boat was like the Jordan River in the Old. One side was fruitless, like the law and religion. The other side was full of life and potential, teeming with souls waiting to be caught. On this side, the possibilities are endless and without restraint. Notice that once Jesus came back glorified, no one seem to recognize him. When we are walking in the spirit, we are so different than what we were before that we are almost unrecognizable. Jesus always walked in the spirit, but now he was glorified which was a whole new dimension. We can walk in this dimension too if we ‘cross over the Jordan’. Ask Jesus to breathe on You His Holy Spirit. Lord, breathe on us afresh Your Holy Spirit!
Sunday, June 1, 2014
Read: 2 Sam. 18:1-19-19:10, John 20:1-31, Ps. 119:153-176, Pr. 16:12-13 The people decided that David should wait in the gate and not go to war because he was the reason they were fighting. If he died it would all be in vain. He agreed and they defeated Absalom’s men and Absalom was killed. David had commanded that he not be killed so when David learned of Absalom’s death he was full of grief. He had wanted to meet with Absalom and have some sort of closure but that was not possible now. As he grieved, his army felt betrayed. They had lost friends and family to fight for a king whose only concern seemed to be the head of the enemy. Joab finally talked some sense into David and David agreed to speak to the people. David had had his kingdom usurped just like Jesus had by the Jews and Pharisees. I wonder if Jesus feels the same way about Satan as David did about Absalom. Satan had once been one of Jesus’ friends or brothers and now they are arch-enemies. I do know that Jesus wept over Jerusalem and forgave his accusers. When Jesus appeared again to his disciples he breathed on them and told them to receive the Holy Spirit. Then he told them that if they would forgive others, they would be forgiven, but those we don’t forgive, don’t get forgiven. That is the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness brings peace. One of our Psalms says that great peace is for them that love Your law and nothing shall offend them. Lord, We love Your law. Help us to speak truth.