Thursday, June 30, 2011


"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
II Kings 17:1-18:12

"He (Hezekiah) removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan." II Kings 18:4 (NKJV)

As Israel travelled for forty years through the wilderness, God did incredible miracles of provision, deliverance, and healing. In Numbers 21, we read of a time when "fiery serpents" came among the people. Deliverance from the bite of the serpent only came when Moses fashioned a snake of brass and lifted it on a pole. All who looked on the bronze serpent were healed. It was a landmark miracle pointing to Jesus on the Cross. Jesus Himself underscored the significance of this miracle (John 3:14).

Nearly 500 years later, the bronze serpent was still around. There were no longer any miracles surrounding this artifact - only memories of what had happened. But an added dimension had surfaced. Israel now BURNED INCENSE to it. They worshipped the memory of a miracle.

This is a strange danger for all who follow Almighty God. We can begin to worship not just Who God is but what He has done. This is a subtle form of idolatry.

Here's the lesson: WE CANNOT LIVE ON YESTERDAY'S MIRACLES. Great as they are and glad as we are that they happened, we must have FRESH BREAD.

The Israelites called it Nehushtan, meaning "bronze thing." Do you have a Nehushtan? Are you living in the past?  Let's thank God for what He has done. But let us reach forth for greater things in our day. Remember, He is not "I WAS". He is "I AM".

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Getting the Foundation Right

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
II Kings 15:1-16:20

"...he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin."  II Kings 15:9,18,24,28 (NKJV)

The Northern Kingdom (which we call Israel as compared to Judah in the south) was in trouble from Day One.  When Jeroboam rebelled against Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, he immediately set up an alternative worship system.  This new system was no longer based in Jerusalem but instead in Bethel and Dan (I Kings 12:29).

Foundations are extremely important.  If a house is built on the wrong thing, it will never be right until the correction is made.  This applies to every area of life.  This is why REPENTANCE is so important.

Repentance means that we return to right foundation.  We get back to the way God wants things to be.  Unfortunately, many people try to build their lives on a mixture.  Sure enough, they love Jesus.  But they mix in a few compromises.  They never deal with some very important foundational matters.  They are totally devoted in MOST of their life, but there are these one or two areas that never get touched, never get ministered to.

As a result, even though a certain degree of God's blessing rests on them, they always come up short in some way.  They are like many of the good kings of Israel.  They do really great things, but a little phrase always follows: "he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam."  Another way of saying this would be: he/she did really fantastic things, but he never quite dealt with that lying thing... or he never really dealt with the anger thing...or he never let God handle the secret compromises.

Repentance does not mean that YOU deal with these things.  It means you LET GOD deal with these things.  You may not have the power -- but God does!  Repentance is allowing God to clean the house up.  Let's do that today.  May we rise to new levels of blessing as we allow God to correct all the bad foundations.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

You've Gotta Want It!

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
II Kings 13:1-14:29

"Then he (Elisha) said, 'Take the arrows'; so he took them.  And he said to the king of Israel, 'Strike the ground'; so he struck three times, and stopped.  And the man of God was angry with him, and said, 'You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck Syria till you had destroyed it! But now you will strike Syria only three times.'"  II Kings 13:18-19 (NKJV)

We are at war.  The spiritual battle that surrounds us is bigger than we usually realize.  Warfare can bring out the best or the worst in us.  It is in war that heroism shines.  It is also in war that cowardice is revealed.  The challenges of warfare flush out our true character.

In order to win in battle, we must make some very basic decisions.  DO WE REALLY WANT TO WIN.  If so, then we pull out all the stops, we declare war, and we do not let up until victory is ours.

This is the lesson from the passage today. Elisha commanded the king of Israel to strike the ground with arrows.  King Joash tentatively struck the ground only three times.  He hesitated.  Elisha declared to him that if he had been decisive and struck the ground repeatedly, then he would have gotten complete victory over his enemies.  Instead, he would only attain partial success. 

This is one of the besetting problems of the church today.  We attain on a half victory.  The reason for our lack of success is not that we don't have talent or resources.  It is because we lack follow-through.  DO NOT LET UP UNTIL THE VICTORY IS COMPLETE!  Declare war!  Do not hesitate!  Do not faint!  The victory belongs to those who carry the calling all the way to the finish line.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Selling Out the Sacred Things

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
II Kings 10:32-12:21

"And Jehoash king of Judah took all the sacred things that his fathers, Jehoshaphat and Jehoram and Ahaziah, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own sacred things, and all the gold found in the treasuries of the house of the Lord and in the king's house, and sent them to Hazael king of Syria.  Then he went away from Jerusalem."  II Kings 12:18 (NKJV)

Fear can cause people to do foolish things.  Fear can push a person to give up the fight and cave in to compromise.  Fear can lead a person directly into bondage.

Jehoash was one of the better kings that ruled Judah.  But, in his latter days, a fierce enemy arose in the person of Hazael, king of Syria.  Hazael conquered the lands surrounding Judah and proceeded to advance on Jerusalem.  Out of fear, Jehoash sold all of "the sacred things" to buy his freedom. 

These "sacred things" are symbolic of those vows we have made to the Lord.  They represent those areas of dedication we have risen to as we worship and follow our King.  But, we should remember a very important principle:  EVERY VOW WILL BE TESTED; EVERY COMMITMENT WILL BE CHALLENGED.

Fear threatens us with ruin.  Fear intimidates us with disaster.  Fear pushes us into self-preservation.  Just as surely as a man or woman sets themselves to serve the Lord, there will be a challenge to that commitment.  The devil will threaten you with ruin.  He will bargain with you to allow you to survive.

In these moments, we are tempted to sell "the sacred things."  After all, we think, better to survive another day, than to die under our enemies threats.

So, I speak to you today:  DO NOT BACK AWAY FROM YOUR SACRED VOWS.  Do not allow the enemy to threaten you into a "sell-out."  God will uphold you.  You will survive.  You will even prevail.  That is God's best plan for you!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Facing Jezebel

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
II Kings 9:14-10:31

"Then he said, 'Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord.' So they had him ride in his chariot." II Kings 10:16 (NKJV)

Jehu was a dynamic and courageous leader. For a very short period of time, he banished Baal worship from Israel. He withstood evil kings. He rallied God's people. Most importantly, he brought down the evil actions and influence of Jezebel.

Jezebel was a woman who subverted the godly rule of Israel. She used cunning and treachery to steal and to kill. She was INTIMIDATION personified.

Each of us must face down the Jezebel spirit. It seeks to manipulate you into bondage. It works behind the scenes to exert pressure toward compromise.

The only answer to Jezebel is pure COURAGE. You can not out maneuver the Jezebel spirit. You can only face it and challenge it straight up. This is exactly what Jedu did.

What seeks to intimidate you? What seeks to bully you into bondage. Face it with courage and faith. Jezebel will come down!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Open Our Eyes

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
II Kings 6:1-7:20

"So he answered, 'Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' And Elisha prayed and said, 'Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.' Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." II Kings 6:16-17 (NKJV)

There is an invisible world around us. It is the spiritual world in which God operates by the power of the Holy Spirit and his angelic hosts. It is also the realm in which the spiritual battle against Satan and his demonic forces takes place.

Our present visible world is largely a reflection of this hidden spiritual realm. This is why prayer and righteousness are such powerful forces. It is also why sin and ungodliness can rise up with such devastating impact almost instantly.

Elisha and his servant met this hidden realm in the most dramatic fashion. They were cornered, with no way of escape. It seemed that EVERYTHING was lined up against them. Then Elisha prayed a pray, and the entire situation shifted.

Their eyes were opened to the forces of righteousness surrounding them. As a result, the flow of the conflict turned in their direction.

My God open your eyes today to see spiritual reality. May you see clearly what God wants. He will lead you in victory. This is the breakthrough that God wants! We can begin now to praise Him for that which is coming our way.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Total Identification

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
II Kings 4:18-5:27

"And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm.  He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes."  II Kings 4:34-35 (NKJV)

The Shunammite woman's son had died of an appartent cerebral hemorrhage.  Displaying incredible faith, the woman ran to the man of God seeking healing for her son.  When Elijah came to the child, he did an amazing thing.  This is a demonstration of how God wants to heal.

Elijah stretched himself out on the child in TOTAL IDENTIFICATION -- mouth to mouth, eye to eye, hand to hand.  This is a picture of what Jesus has done for us.  Initially, Elijah had sent his servant Gahazi with his staff.  He had commanded Gahazi to place the staff on the face of the child.  When this had not brought about the healing, Elijah, the old man, finally walked into the room.

Jesus does not just send a token of His presence.  He does not give us techniques or formulas.  HE COMES HIMSELF.

When He comes, He totally identifies with our condition.  He breathes into us.  This is how He totally heals us!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Only Limitations on God

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
II Kings 3:1-4:17

"Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, 'Bring me another vessel.' And he said to her. "There is not another vessel.' So the oil ceased."  II Kings 4:6 (NKJV)

God's river is abundant.  There is no limit to what CAN do or what He WANTS to do.  If there is any limitation, it will be on our part.

The widow in this passage was commanded to prepare for a miracle.  God wanted to provide for her need, but He did it in an interesting way.  He could well have rained down shekels on her house.  He could have moved on the heart of a friend to give her money.  He could have intervened with the creditor and had the debt cancelled.  Instead, He chose to multiply the small resources in the widow's house. 

She had a small jar of oil.  She was commanded to gather vessels AS IF she had a vast supply.  Then, interestingly enough, she was to simply pour the small jar of oil into the larger vessels.  As she did this, a miracle took place.

We are called to POUR OUT the small amount that we possess -- nothing more, nothing less.  The only limitation we will find will be in the area of PREPARATION.  Are you preparing for a little bit, or are you preparing for a vast harvest?

This widow's need was met.  The supply that God gave her flowed out of His heart of love for her.  All she was called to do was OBEY and BELIEVE.  May God do a similar work in us today.  Go out and find many vessels that can receive the oil of God's blessing.  He will fill every one.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No Matter What

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
II Kings 1:1-2:25

"And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, 'Ask! What may I do for you?'  Elisha said, 'Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.'"  II Kings 2:9 (NKJV)

The call to discipleship is a call to follow NO MATTER WHAT.  A disciple is one who has made a commitment and, having set his hand to the plow, does not look back (Luke 9:62).  Such a commitment has become rare in our day.  Many people make bargains with God in which they give only "so much", and God must then give them "so much." 

Each step of discipleship will call for you to lay your life down.  This is the path that Elisha had chosen.  He made a commitment to follow Elijah.  Despite three attempts to get Elisha to turn back, he remained resolved saying, "I will not leave you!" (vss. 2,4,6).  HE WOULD NOT QUIT!

Finally, Elijah, in exasperation, asked Elisha, "What is it you are after, young man?"  Elisha's answer was that he wanted ANOINTING.  He wanted FULL ANOINTING.  He wanted a double portion!

Here's the question for us today.  How much of God do we want?  There are ample opportunities to turn aside and stop.  God will even bless you if you do.  But, what are you really after?  If you want more of God, you must continue to pursue.  You must follow NO MATTER WHAT.  This is the calling and definition of a true disciple.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Need for Good Leadership

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
I Kings 22:1-53

"Then he (Micaiah the prophet) said to him (Ahad, king of Israel), 'I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd.  And the Lord said, These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace.'"  I Kings 22:17 (NKJV)

Ahab went to the prophet seeking the word of the Lord concerning military actions he was about to undertake.  He wanted to know what the Lord had to say.  This is a very wise thing to do, but we should be prepared to hear from God, no matter what He should say.

Ahab was one of the worst leaders in the history of Israel.  It is no surprise that the prophet brought him a negative word from the Lord.  Here's what God said:

Israel was LEADERLESS.  They were scattered.  They were live sheep without a shepherd, scattered on the many hills of Israel.  This was hard to hear, but it was true.  There had been a failure of leadership in Israel.  Therefore, they were not ready to go to battle. 

We always want to hear positive, encouraging words from God.  But are we ready to hear correction or rebuke.  We are anxious to here Him say, "Go forward."  But are we willing to hear Him say, "Not now."

What happens when there is a failure of leadership.  Scripture says that each one returned to his own house in peace.  What this means is that when people do not rally around a cause, they slack off and go home.  They fall back into personal interests. 

May a powerful zealous people rise up in our day that will be united to serve the King!  May our hands be cast in decisive action to advance Christ's kingdom.  May our hearts be yielded to the leadership of the Holy Spirit! 

Israel failed in their day.  May we succeed in ours.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Still Small Voice

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
I Kings 19:1-21

"and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'" I Kings 19:12-13 (NKJV)

After some of our highest victories can come some our lowest moments. Such was the case for Elijah. There are few more dramatic victories than the one at Mt. Carmel. In a clear face-off between Elijah and the prophets of Baal, Elijah showed the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be the ONE TRUE GOD. But this victory was followed closely but a deep depression. Some have called it Elijah's "cave experience".

He wanted to die! He felt that he was all alone and there was no future. He hid in the dark recesses of a cave. But it was there that God met him and renewed his calling.

Self-doubt is a terrible thing. It makes the greatest warriors want to quit. It undermines confidence to the point that we doubt everything. This was Elijah's condition.

God did not overwhelm him with wind, fire, or earthquake. God's highest plan is not to YELL at us. God spoke softly - yet with awesome authority.

Scripture says that when Elijah heard the still, small voice, he "hid is face in his mantle". The mantle symbolizes your original calling, your original mandate, your special assignment from God. He will always call us to return to that original calling. It is still true. It is still operating. No matter how up or down your life may be, there is a primary purpose for which God placed you on earth.

Don't stay in the cave. Hear God speak to you today. "I yet have work for you to do."

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Call to Follow

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
I Kings 18:1-46

"Then Elijah came to all the people, and said, 'How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.' But the people answered him not a word." I Kings 18:21 (NKJV)

Elijah is one of the most dynamic figures in the Bible. He lived and ministered during an extremely difficult era. The grand vision of a holy people was nowhere in sight. Israel and Judah had divided, ungodly practices abounded, and the worship of God was rare.

With power and authority, Elijah spoke into his world and he speaks to us today, too. Israel was a mixture. They worshipped many "gods". They still worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but they had added a few other gods too - most notably Baal.

Elijah speaks to the Church of our day. This is not just a call to believe, or to agree. It is a call to FOLLOW. Christianity is not just an ingredient in a good life. Jesus is not just our example. HE IS OUR LIFE. If we believe He is who He says He is, then FOLLOW HIM!

From time to time, we need a wake-up call. We far too easily drift into compromise. The prophet calls us to return to single-minded devotion. This is an important message for our day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Miraculous Provision

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
I Kings 15:25-17:24

"And Elijah said to her, 'Do not fear; go and od as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son.  For thus says the Lord God of Israel: The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.'"  I Kings 17:14-15 (NKJV)

Elijah began his ministry during a time of severe drought.  There was no water and therefore there was no grain or produce.  It was a very hard time.  GOD ALWAYS USES HARD TIMES TO TEACH US LESSONS. 

Elijah was sent to a widow.  God told her that this widow would provide for Elijah's needs.  What an unlikely scenario!!!  Of all people!  God sent Elijah to an individual who was the the least likely to be able to help him.  In fact, she was "on her last leg." 

When he met the lady, he asked her to GIVE HIM HER LAST RESOURCES!  She probably couldn't believe it.  Here she was about to die from starvation, and the man of God asks her to fix a cake for him, and if anything is left over, she could have that.  This seems so cruel and insenstive.  BUT GOD HAD A PLAN!

God wanted to release SUPERNATURAL PROVISION.  What we have is not enough.  We need God to get involved with us.  We need a miracle.  Miracles do not happen because we plan and manage well enough.  Miracles do not happen because we deserve a break.  Miracles happen because we RADICALLY TRUST THE LORD.

This widow did exactly as Elijah requested.  Sure enough, in the midst of a famine, God miraculously took care of her.  Her flour and her oil did not run out until rain fell again on the land. 

God produces seasons of famine for the express purpose of giving us MIRACULOUS PROVISION.  This pushes back to some very basic things:  TRUST IN THE LORD.  Do what He says.  No matter what your need, God has the plan and the power to provide for you today.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why We Seek

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
I Kings 14:1-15:24

"At that time Abijah the son of Jereboam became sick.  And Jereboam said to his wife, 'Please arise, and disguise yourself, that they may not recognize you as the wife of Jereboam, and go to Shiloh.  Indeed, Abijah the prophet is there, who told me that I would be king over this people.'"  I Kings 14:1-2 (NKJV)

Where do you turn when you are in trouble?  Unfortunately, far too many people do not come to the Lord until tragedy, danger, or disease strikes.  Such was the case with Jereboam, king of Israel.  The few verses above show some interesting insights into the heart of this desparate leader.

1. INSECURITY.  He didn't want anyone to know his son was sick.  Shiloh was within the boundaries of his rulership.  Why would he tell his wife to disguise herself when she went for help?  The only answer could possibly be that Jereboam felt that he had some sort of image to uphold.  He was afraid that PEOPLE WOULD TALK.  He was afraid they would no longer want to follow him if they knew that his son was sick.  I know that this sounds very strange, but it does appear to be what Jereboam was thinking.

Leaders can get this way.  We no longer live with transparency, but instead hide our sicknesses.  This is indicative of a deep heart problem.  Also, why did he get his wife to go calling on the prophet?  Again, he did not want to do it himself because he was INSECURE.

2.  GUILTY CONSCIENCE.  Jereboam sent his wife to the prophet Abijah.  He did not send her to a doctor or healer.  He sent her to the prophet who had originally prophecied over Jereboam that he would be king.  I see something in this.  Jereboam knew in his heart that he had done wrong when he built the golden calves at Dan and Bethel.  He knew that God was displeased with him.  Therefore when his son became sick, he put two and two together.  The origin of this whole mess was when Abijah had prophecied to him that he was to be king.  So, Jereboam sent his wife back to the prophet seeking answers for his dilemma.

Where do you turn when you are in trouble?  Why do you run to the Lord?  Some have called it "fire engine religion."  As in the case of Jereboam, it usually doesn't work.  The Bible says, "Seek the Lord while He may be found" (Is. 55:6).  Our motive should be desire to love and obey, not to escape His judgment.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Sins of Jereboam

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
I Kings 12:20-13:34

"Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, 'It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem.  Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!'  And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.  Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worhsip before the one as far as Dan."  I Kings 12:28-30 (NKJV)

Conflict produces confusion and compromise.  When Israel and Judah divided into the Northern and the Southern Kingdoms, it was like a family split.  It was like a divorce.  In the wake of this internal war, Israel (the Northern Kingdom) was faced with a serious dilemma.  Jerusalem was the designated place of worship.  But Jerusalem was now in Judah -- "enemy territory."  Israel's new king, Jereboam, knew that if his people were continually traveling down to Jerusalem to worship, they would eventually return their allegiance to the king of Judah.  He couldn't have that, so he came up with a solution: build new worship centers in Israeli territory.

Conflict produces compromise.  When people fight over rights and relationships, usually everyone loses.  The solution is often some makeshift arrangement that satisfies no one.  This is the tragedy of church splits and broken relationships.  We usually end up with something less than the best.  It's a compromise. 

Good, clean relationships are an invaluable ingredient to our walk with God.  When pride and self-preservation control the day, we usually end up with a golden calf. 

One last word: THIS IS NOT EASY.  By no means are the solutions simple.  It can get very complicated very quickly, so I by no means suggest that conflict resolution is a piece of cake.  But, we MUST seek with all our hearts to bridge the gap, to solve the problems, to correct the misunderstandings.  No only does the Word of God command this, but also, the rewards are fantastic!

Israel never really recovered from this original sin.  It became standard in the history of Israel to say, "they did not depart from the sins of Jereboam."  How they started ended up being how they finished.

Monday, June 13, 2011

When the Wise Become Foolish

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
I Kings 11:1-12:19

"For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David."  I Kings 11:4 (NKJV)

Solomon was a very wise leader.  His wisdom is legendary.  However, he allowed compromise to enter his life in the form of multiple wives.  Not only did he disobey God in terms of marrying many women (see God's instructions in Deuteronomy 17:17), he went even further and intermarried with pagan women. 

We today see this as immoral (and rightly so).  It is called polygamy and it is illegal.  It was not, however, uncommon in the culture of Solomon's day.  For us today, from a spiritual standpoint it stands for more than just marriage.  It involves commitments and covenants we make that are contrary to the will of God.

Solomon was a good man, but he made concessions and commitments that over time weakened him.  We can do the same thing.  It may not show up today, but in years to come, you will find yourself further and further from God.

As an old man, Solomon had lived with compromise for so long that he sank into deep deception.  This is like standing on a seashore while the tide comes in.  At first, it simply feels good as the waves wash up around your feet.  But there is an erosion taking place.  In seemingly no time at all, you find your feet buried in the sand. 

Solomon was wise in his dealings with the nation, but foolish in his personal life.  The result was not legendary wisdom, but legendary deception.  In some circles today, Solomon's name is associated with all kinds of occultic and mystical teachings and practices.  When he fell, he fell a LONG WAY.  May we today stay close to God and close to His Word.  That is the wisest way to live.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

When the World Comes Calling

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
I Kings 9:1-10:29

"Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions." I Kings 10:1 (NKJV)

Solomon was an incredibly wise leader. His wisdom was reflected in the way he led Isreal and in the manner in which he ordered his kingdom. Things were done the right way. It was beautiful to behold.

This is a message to us today. God wants us to bring to the world the ULTIMATE MESSAGE: the Gospel. He also wants us to display to the world the right way to live! Solomon not only knew the truth, he also DISPLAYED the truth. This is a high calling!

The queen of Sheba in this passage is symbolic of THE WORLD. The world comes to us with "hard questions". Truly this happening in our day. Solomon was able to answer those questions. WE MUST BE READY TO ANSWER THE HARD QUESTIONS BEING ASKED IN OUR DAY!

This requires a higher level of believing and living. We are called to not only speak and believe the truth, but also to demonstrate the truth. This is the great challenge of our day. May we rise to it!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Glory in the Temple

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
I Kings 8:1-66

"And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord." I Kings 8:10-11 (NKJV)

These verses describe something that all true believers desire more than anything else. May God fill His house! This is our great aspiration - that God come down in such power and presence that it is practically tangible. The shekinah glory of God settles like fog and lifts us into a new realm. In that realm people are saved, healed, delivered, filled with power. In that realm the presence of God is so manifest that we can virtually feel it, taste it, smell it. That's what happened in Solomon's day!

But, this did not happen "out of nowhere". A temple had been built. It was built according to a specific pattern. Solomon had taken eleven years to build this structure that would be the House of the Lord. This had been the first step.

The second step was the returning of the ark of the covenant to it's proper place. Structures are all very good, but they are really like the wineskins that contain the wine. The correct structure is necessary, but then we must bring back right priorities. The ark speaks of the presence of God in the midst of His people.

When we are structured biblically and then centered on God's presence, God promises that He will fill the house with His glory. It happened in Solomon's day, and it will happen again in our day!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Stones and the Temple

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
I Kings 5:1-6:38

"And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built." I Kings 6:7 (NKJV)

Old Testament events often pre-figure New Testament truths. Solomon built an Old Testament temple that teaches us about the New Testament worship of God. The temple is a place of worship - of fellowship with God - of VERTICAL relationship with God.

In the days of Solomon, stones were used as building blocks - building material - in the temple. In similar fashion, we today are called "living stones" and are being built into a spiritual house (temple) for the Lord (I Peter 2:5). We are the building material today.

Scripture says that no sound of a hammer or chisel was heard at the Old Testament building cite. This translates into human effort, human, sweat, and carnal techniques. When we come to be built into God's house, He cares nothing for our wonderful human skills. He is not impressed with how hard we work or how difficult our path. He looks for only ONE THING: are you yielded? Are you His? Are you surrendered? Are you focused on how great HE IS?

That which happens at the quarry is so very important. God shapes us and works on us with a His hammer and His chisel. It is a necessary work. It affects our usefulness to Him in the world - and our personal happiness in life. But, when we come to be built into His temple, only ONE THING is important: HIM!!! Don't drag the quarry into the Holy Place!

What sounds do you hear in God's presence? Do you hear only the wonderful sounds of the glory and majesty of God? Or do you hear the sounds of human experience and human struggle? This is a sign of whether we are experiencing true worship or just man-made activity.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
I Kings 3:3-4:34

"And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places."  I Kings 3:3 (NKJV)

Solomon had a solid walk with the Lord.  Later in this chapter, he demonstrated a remarkable level of maturity.  God invited him to "Ask!"  God offered to give Solomon virtually anything he requested, and Solomon selflessly ask for wisdom to do his job with excellence.  He ask for a pure heart! 

Solomon was an exemplary servant of God.  But there was an "EXCEPT".  Scripture says that there was one "little area" that was out of order.  He still offered sacrifices to demons.  Just a little peccadillo.  Just a minor short-coming.  Certainly everyone has little faults like this -- don't they? 

Do you have an "except"?  Solomon had an awesome walk with God, but he also had a hidden point of vulnerability.  This "little area" ultimately caused his downfall.  Solomon began with great glory, but in his later years fell into wierd and arcane idolatry and confusion.  This "little" concession grew until it became a monster. 

Do you have an "except"?  It is these small flaws that can grow until they dominate and pollute your life.  So, what are we to do?  Begin today by confessing your weaknesses.  Get them covered by the blood of Jesus.  Then take them to the Cross.  Only Jesus can bring about full deliverance, healing, and strength.  AND HE WILL DO IT.  Seek help from trusted friends.  No battle to too big.  God can help us win every one.

Solomon was a great man.  But, he had flaws that were never yielded to God for correction.  Such is the case with far too many of God's quality people.  Let's let God bring us to new levels of victory.  It is worth the effort!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Those Who Follow Us

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
I Kings 2:1-3:2

"Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying, 'I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man.'"  I Kings 2:1-2 (NKJV)

David had lived a long and event-filled life.  At the end of his days, he prepared to turn over his throne to Solomon, his son.  Here are some observations about this significant moment.

1. David invested himself in something bigger than himself.  God had given prophetic words that reached beyond his own lifetime.  Today, we live in a world of instant gratification.  We want it all NOW.  David knew that there were bigger things ahead that he could only prepare others to enjoy. 

2. David knew that he had "carried the ball" well in his generation.  David knew that he had done his part.  Each of us has a role to play.  That part is unique and important. 

3. David charged the son who followed him to fulfill his destiny, too.  There is a God-shaped challenge before every one of us.  We can only fulfill that destiny by rising to courage, discipline, and faithfulness. 

These are words for us today, too.  God has a plan for your life.  Rise up to fulfill your destiny!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Raising Up the Next Generation

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
I Kings 1:1-53

"(And his father had not rebuked him at any time, by saying, 'Why have you done so?'  He was also very good-looking.  His mother had borne him after Absalom.)"  I Kings 1:6 (NKJV)

I very much appreciate how the Bible gives us the WHOLE STORY.  The Bible is full of real-life examples of both right and wrong ways to live.  We read about the successes and the failures of some of the greatest men and women of history.

David was obviously one the greatest leaders to ever sit on the throne of Israel.  But, here we get a glimpse of why problems attended his private life.  He spoiled his children! 

The son in question here is named Adonijah.  His older brother Absalom had sought to steal the throne from his father, David.  Now Adonijah is following Absalom's example.  There is severe rebellion among the sons of David.  Why did this happen?  Is it just a part of raising children?

Scripture says that David "had not rebuked him at any time."  An alternate translation says that David had not "pained" Adonijah.  Another way of saying this is, he had not spanked him.  He had not disciplined him.  David had not crossed Adonijah's will.  The result was that Adonijah lost respect for his father, and ultimately turned against him.

One of the major jobs of any parent is to provide limits and boundaries for their children.  Those limits must be inforced by strong loving discipline when necessary.  Foolishness if bound in the heart of a child and only the rod of correction can drive it far from them (Prov. 22:15).  This is the hard work of parenting.  It can be exhausting and discouraging to cause temporary unhappiness or pain to your own child.  But the fruit of it will last a lifetime. 

David failed to guide his own children.  Perhaps he was TOO BUSY.  The result was more pain than any temporary tears could have been. 

May we raise up a new generation who knows the fear of the Lord and who walk under godly discipline and authority.  It is hard work, but the rewards are fantastic!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

God's Gift - Our Gifts

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
II Samuel 23:24-24:25

"Then the king said to Araunah, 'No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; not will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.' So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver." II Samuel 24:24 (NKJV)

Forgiveness is absolutely FREE. It is God's gift of grace to us. We can do no work to earn it. We can only receive it by faith. Yet, David has here unlocked a great truth that is often misunderstood. That which we receive FROM the Lord will cost us nothing. But, that which we offer TO the Lord will cost us dearly.

This is the nature of discipleship. Jesus calls us not only to BELIEVE in Him, but also to FOLLOW Him. Faith demands only that we say "Yes" to Jesus. Discipleship calls us to lay down our lives.

When David came to the place of worship and commitment, he WANTED to give his best. He wanted to make a sacrificial gift to the Lord. This was not so that he could buy God's blessing, but rather because he wanted to focus totally on the goodness and grandeur of God - not the gratification of his own self-interests.

The glory of God is priceless. It surpasses the cost of our most extravagant gifts. HE IS WORTHY!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Greatest Challenge

"One Year Bible" Old Testament History Passage
II Samuel 18:1-19:10

"Now all the people were in a dispute throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, 'The king saved us from the hand of our enemies, he delivered us from the hand of the Philistines, and now he has fled from the land because of Absalom.'"  II Samuel 19:9 (NKJV)

Personal problems have sidetracked many a great leader.  Internal family discord or trouble has crippled many gifted men or women from doing great things for God.

David was one of the greatest warriors in history.  Certainly his exploits are legendary.  The people of Israel looked up to him because of his courage and decisiveness.  It was not enemies from outside Israel that nearly destroyed him.  It was his own son, Absalom.

God is greatly concerned about our private lives.  All public leaders (and, in fact, public Christians) should pay close attention to the state of their private lives.  Weakness behind the scenes can destroy effectiveness in the public eye.

In the story of David and Absalom, we find a change come over David.  He appears to be plagued by internal conflict.  He suddenly becomes self-defeating and non-assertive.  That's what happens when your home is in trouble.  It hurts, and the greatest leader can often be reduced to indecisiveness.

Therefore, pray today for God's integrity to grow in your personal life.  Be open to friends who can help you work through the difficult challenges.  Stay in touch with the clear instructions of Scripture about how to live your life.  This will produce a solid foundation that will hold you steady in the day of trouble.