September 16, 2020 – Stripped Bear

What I Read Today:

Romans 12: Matthew 12: Isaiah 20: Psalm 71: 2 Chronicles 32: Exodus 31

In Isaiah 20, God tells Isaiah to strip off all his clothes and to walk around the countryside naked. As he’s walking around the countryside he’s to tell the people a prophesy of the capture and exile of the people of Egypt and Cush.

Israel, had come to rely on the military power of it’s neighbors for it’s security. So sure of their safety they forgot that it was God who provided their safety and security. They had become so comfortable that they had grown lax in their worship, and fallen away from God.

Human beings often find themselves in a place of comfort. Especially, here in the United States. We come to rely on our pensions, our 401k’s the equity in our homes, or our ability to earn an income from our professions. We come to the point where we believe that those “things” are what guarantee our security.

Even the Church gets into a comfort zone. We rely on our buildings, our committees, our youth groups or our fellowship groups. We forget to give credit to our God. We fail to see that everything we have is from God.

This current pandemic should have taught us that all those things are fleeting. They can be taken away in an instant.

As I get older I realize that there have been many moments in my life where I was stripped bear. Times of financial crisis, times of health problems, and times of trouble at work. Moments when if I hadn’t had God to rely on, I would have crumbled.

In those moments of struggle, it is important to remember that God is refocusing you and me. He’s reminding you and me to rely on our God not our things. He’s gently nudging us back to complete reliance on Jesus.

September 15, 2020 – Peace in the Middle East

What I Read Today;

Romans 11; Matthew 11; Isaiah 19; Psalm 70; 2 Chronicles 31; Exodus 30

Today there was quite a scene at the White House.  Two Arab nations came together to make peace with the nation of Israel.  A momentous occasion.

Peace in the middle east has been elusive for centuries dating back to Roman times.  I guess that it will remain elusive for centuries to come.  In a part of the world where the three great religions were born, peace will be difficult to attain.  Every President since Harry Truman has stumbled into the mess known as middle east peace. Let’s pray that President Trump continues to have success, where others have failed.

I think it’s essential that we keep striving for peace in any event.  Isaiah 19 vs. 23-25, speaks of a day when from Egypt to Assyria, all will worship our God.  Our prayer should be that all who live in the middle east will come to a knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Pray for those brave souls who are on the ground in these nations proclaiming the peace of Jesus!  They are genuinely risking their lives for our Savior! 

September 10, 2020 – True Leadership

What I Read Today;

Romans 10; Matthew 10; Isaiah 17-18; Psalm 69; 2 Chronicles 30; Exodus 29

In 2 Chronicles 30, King Hezekiah calls the entire nation to a celebration of the Passover.  The country hadn’t celebrated the Passover in years.  He also called his people to repent.  The King asked his people to humble themselves before their God.

Congress begins every day with a chaplain open the session with prayer.  At the inauguration of a President, we make a show of having a high profile preacher praying.

What Hezekiah was doing was very different.  He knew how far the nation had fallen.  Hezekiah was trying to turn the ship around.  For that to happen, he humbly called his people to worship and pray.  Not everyone showed up.  Yet those that did God blessed.

What would the scene be like today if instead of giving a State of the Union, a President called the nation to repent and pray?  Could we possibly bridge some of the divisions?  Or would it be ridiculed as self-righteous?  

I don’t know, but I’d like to see a real leader try it sometime!

September 9, 2020 – Our Faith Isn’t Dependent On Our Parents

What I Read Today;

Romans 9; Matthew 9; Isaiah 15-16; Psalm 68; 2 Chronicles 29; Exodus 28

In 2 Chronicles 29, we meet King Hezekiah.  His father, King Ahaz, was not a good king.  He rejected God and neglected his duties. Yet somehow, his sone Hezekiah did not follow in his footsteps.

Maybe, Hezekiah remembered his grandfather King Jotham.  It could be that his mother Abijah taught him the lessons she learned from her father, Zechariah.  Whatever the reason, As soon as Hezekiah assumes the throne, he begins a cleansing.  Both a physical cleansing of the temple and spiritual cleansing of the people.

We are not bound by what our parents or family have done.  We are only bound by what we do.  Our God allows every one of us to live our lives for God.  He offers us grace and mercy and wants us to come into his presence.  Yet, he won’t force the issue.  

Hezekiah was able to save an empire.  He did it by trusting God throughout his entire 29-year reign as king.  God would show him miracles and healings.  

That’s a life he offers all of us!

September 8, 2020 – The Light of An Old Lamp

What I Read Today:

Romans 8; Matthew 8; Isaiah 13-14; Psalm 7; 2 Chronicles 28; Exodus 27

When we were first married, my wife loved to light oil-filled lamps in our house.  Sometimes we would shut off all the other lights and just let one or two lights burn all evening.  

It’s incredible how one small lamp could light an entire room.

Oil-filled lamps are going out of style nowadays.  I think that’s a shame.  We still own a couple of them, but we seldom light them anymore.  I’ll always remember those early days of our marriage sitting in the living room lit by only one small lamp.

In Exodus 27, the Israelites were instructed to bring offerings of oil.  This oil would be used to light the lampstands.  This oil would ensure that the light of the lampstand was always burning.  This would show the Israelites that God’s light was still lit.

For Christians living in these dark times, Jesus is our lamp.  He always promises to be there to light up the way for you and me.  When our days are filled with struggle, we know that we can see Jesus face and have God’s light replace the darkness all around us!