Category: General epistles-BibleTrekToday

Asking for wisdom!

Scripture Reading for April 2: 1st Kings1-4

1 Kings 3:3 “Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places.” . . vs. 5-6 “At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before You in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you.” . .vs 9 “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern Your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this Your great people?”

Newly crowned King Solomon had an encounter with the Lord.  He had gone to Gibeon to sacrifice to the Lord and that day offered a thousand burnt offerings!  Extravagant worship marked the life of this newly anointed king!  That night as Solomon lay asleep, the Lord appeared to him  in a dream and said: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” (1st Kings 3:4-5)  Solomon first thanked the Lord for his kindness to his father David in placing him on the throne.  Then he confessed his need for God’s help in ruling His people, asking for a discerning heart and wisdom to rule wisely.  (1st Kings 3:7-9)

This pleased the Lord!  Solomon was granted what he asked for and also given by grace what he did not ask for!  God gave him riches and honor so that there would be no equal among kings of that time. (1st Kings 3:10-14)  Jesus Christ has been made to us wisdom from God! (1st Corinthians 1:30)  We are told that if we lack wisdom, we can ask God for it and He will give us liberally! James 1:5-7) Praise the Lord!

In considering Solomon’s walk with the Lord, how would God say that you felt toward Him? How might God describe your walk with Him? How are you at asking God for what you want or need?

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Leaving a legacy–last words!

Scripture reading for April 1: 2nd Samuel 21-24

These are the last words of David: ” The oracle of David son of Jesse, the oracle of the man exalted by the Most High, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, Israel’s singer of songs:  “The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me; His word was on my tongue.  The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me:  ‘When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.’ (2nd Samuel 23:1-4)

David, the shepherd boy, anointed King by the Lord, speaks prophetically under the Spirit of the Lord.  His last words are inspired by the “Most High”, “God of Jacob”, “God of Israel” and “Rock of Israel”.  The Bible states that no prophet speaks on his own but is moved on by the Holy Spirit.  ( 2nd Peter 1:20-21)  After seventy years of walking with God, he writes not so much for himself, but for those who will follow him in the walk of faith.

David left a mighty legacy for us.  His Psalms are prophetic of the coming Messiah, his life, suffering and death!  As a young boy, he knew God as his own Shepherd.  Jesus Christ is the good Shepherd Who so cares for His sheep that He lays His own life down for them.  David knew God as the “Rock of Israel”!  That Rock was a firm place to stand in the trials that continually came to this man.  That Rock was a source of water and refreshment in a dry and weary land as David was being pursued by his enemies.  His Psalms flow with an anointing of truth and grace that make them easy reading for people from every age and generation.  His last words still speak to us and encourage us to press on to meet our great “High God”! 

Have you ever thought about what your ‘last words’ might be? What legacy would you like to leave for the next generations? What names might you ascribe to God in your walk of faith today?

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A Pardon from the King

Scripture Reading for March 30: 2nd Samuel 19-20

2 Samuel 19:18-20 “And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was about to cross the Jordan, and said to the king, “Let not my lord hold me guilty or remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. Do not let the king take it to heart. For your servant knows that I have sinned.”

As David left the city when he fled from Absalom, Shimei yelled curses at him.   (2nd Samuel 16:5-8)    Although Abishai, a son of Zeruiah loyal to David, wanted to kill Shimei, David refused to do so.  David realized that his current situation was a result of his own sin. God had warned him that trouble would come to him from his own household.  (2nd Samuel 12:10-13)  Shimei’s curses were reminding David of his sin and of God’s promise.

After Absalom’s rebellion had been stopped by his untimely death, David was returning to Jerusalem as King over God’s people.  Shimei was one of the first to greet him.  He immediately fell at the King’s feet and asked for mercy, confessing his sin and taking responsibility. (2nd Samuel 19:16-20)  His humble attitude found a receptive heart in the King.  The sons of Zeruiah still wanted to get revenge and had to be rebuked again by the King.  (2nd Samuel 19:21-23)  The King granted a pardon to Shimei! He understood God’s mercy when he, himself, cried out to God for it.  (Psalm 51:1-2)

We can all identify with Shimei in that we have all sinned against the King of Heaven, our Lord Jesus Christ!  We have rebelled against Him and deserve punishment.  Our accuser, Satan, tries to condemn us to death.  But the Lord has mercy on those who humbly confess and call upon Him for pardon.  God forgives us our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness!  (1st John 1:9)   This is good news!  We can have a pardon from the King!  Honest confession and repentance will bring forgiveness and restoration.  Take the action needed today to deal with sins against God or man who is made in God’s image!  Psalm 51 is a great pattern.  Forgive yourself too!  We have a pardon from the King!

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God sees our heart!

Scripture reading for March 20: 1st Samuel 16-19

Our culture prizes youth, beauty, intelligence, power, and money!  We tend to judge people by what we see or know about their life.  Where do they live?  What kind of car do they drive?  Are they handsome or beautiful?  What position do they hold?  Who are their friends?  We are very driven by our senses and peer pressure.  But God sees things differently!

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance, or his height, for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1st Samuel 16:7)

God is looking for a heart after God, a heart that will trust God and live by faith in His Word! (2nd Chronicles 16:9)  When we put God first, and not our “self”, He is pleased!   He is looking for a “humble and contrite” heart. (Isaiah 66:2)  He needs a heart that can be taught, corrected, and shaped for His habitation.  Jesus taught that only those who are pure in heart can see God.  (Matthew 5:8

Jesus Christ had the perfect heart!  He was fully sold out to God, his Father.  He did only what he saw His Father do and said only what He heard His father say!(John 5:19-20)  Jesus was humble of heart–and wants to teach us the same!  (Matthew 11:28-32)  Jesus was pure of heart–completely without sin!  He offered His own life on our behalf!  If we confess our sins to Him, He will cleanse us of our sins and all unrighteousness!  (1st John 1:9)  We can have a pure heart too!  We can learn from Him by receiving the Holy Spirit of Truth. 

Praise the Lord, God still looks at the heart!  Does He see Jesus Christ as Lord in your heart today?  How would you evaluate the state of your heart for being humble and teachable?

“The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”  (John 3:35-36)

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False accusations

Scripture reading for March 15: 1st Samuel 1-3

1 Samuel 1:13-15 “Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you. But Hannah answered, No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring my soul out before the Lord.”

Have you ever been falsely accused of doing something wicked?  How would you feel about a false accusation coming from a man or woman of God?  The temptation would be strong to get angry at the person or worse yet, to get angry at God!  Our journey in 1 Samuel begins with such an opportunity!

Hannah was barren and sought God for a child .  Her husband, Elkanah, had two wives.  His other wife had children but Hannah cried out to God for a child.    The Scripture specifically stated that “the Lord had closed her womb”.  (1st Samuel 1:6)  There was also strife between the two women over this issue. Hannah took her case before the Lord in Shiloh where Eli was priest.

As Hannah is praying desperately for a child at the temple at Shiloh, weeping and crying out to the Lord, Eli thought that she has had too much wine and was drunk!  He told her not to come drunk and to give up the wine! (1st Samuel 1:12-16)  To her credit, she did not become angry or disrespect him.  She patiently explained her dilemma and Eli blessed her.   God answered her prayer and she got her child!  She promised to dedicate him to the Lord. She named him ‘Samuel’ who became a prophet of God.

How should we handle false accusations? How should we treat those in authority who may also jump to wrong conclusions? How did Jesus handle false accusations and reviling words? 1 Peter 2:22-23

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Sunday rest and reflection-a house for God.

Greetings on this day of rest!  May the peace of Jesus Christ fill your heart today as you rest in His love and kindness!

As I stopped to ponder the reading of this past week, I thought of King David’s desire to build a house for the Lord. (2nd Samuel 7:1)  This is one of the most important conversations found in the Old Testament pointing to Jesus Christ.  King David had rest from his battles and had built himself a palace of cedar.  He realized that God was living in a tent and wanted something better for God.  He shared his desire with Nathan the Prophet who encouraged him to do whatever was on his heart.(2nd Samuel 7:3)

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”. (Psalms 37:4)  David was a man who delighted himself in the Lord.  As he put his faith and trust in God, God gave him desires that flowed from His heart!   God did want to build a house for Himself.  The house God desired was not made of wood or stone or overlaid with silver and gold.  The house that the Lord wanted built would have to come from the most precious of materials:  His own Son’s Blood and Body!  David was granted grace to become a part of God’s greater plan to build the ultimate house–a people from every tribe, tongue and nation who would believe on Him!

As you gather today to worship the Lord with others of like precious faith, remember that you are the living stones of that House for the Lord! (1st Peter 2:4-10)  You are a royal priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices to the One who gave His own son as the foundation–God your Father!  Delight yourself in Him today, and He will surely give you the desires of your heart!

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A negative translation!

Scripture Reading for February 15: Numbers 17-20

God’s wrath against rebellion is recorded for us.  The earth actually opened up and swallowed Korah, a son of Levi and other leaders of Israel. (Numbers 16:31-34)  The Israelites heard their screams as they fell to their deaths. It’s so easy for people to criticize leadership.  Each person thinks they see a different or better way to do things.  And each leader has his own faults as well for none are perfect!  God chooses leaders and places them in authority.  When we rebel or criticize leadership, we are rebelling and criticizing God and He is not pleased with grumbling and rebellion!

In Numbers 17, we have a record of God’s mercy towards the people of Israel.  He had the leaders of each tribe bring their staffs and lay them before the Lord in the Tent of Meeting.  The next morning, Aaron’s staff had budded, blossomed, and produced ripe almonds! (Numbers 17:8)  The other staffs were still dry sticks of wood!  God had demonstrated his choice of authority!  Only Aaron and his sons would be High Priests!  Moses was to take this rod and place it in the Tabernacle of Testimony as a reminder of God’s chosen authority.

This incident is a picture of Jesus Christ as God’s chosen authority!  He meekly and obediently followed God’s instructions as he lived and walked on earth. He lived a sinless life and was crucified and laid in a tomb.  All religious Jews had criticized His leadership and servant ministry.  But God raised Him from the dead!  He produces fruit in raising to eternal life all who put their trust in Him.  He is presently God’s “rod of authority” seated at God’s right hand.  He is our High Priest forever!  He ever lives to make intercession for us!  What a pleasure to trust God’s authority!  All those who won’t trust will end up like Korah!  The earth will open up and Sheol will swallow them with weeping, crying and gnashing of teeth!

Take some time today and pray for those in authority over you. Give them a call or drop them a note and let them know that you appreciate them. Practice giving honor to God’s chosen authority! “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” 1st Peter 2:17)

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Fatal attraction?

Scripture reading for February 3th: Leviticus 8-10

Preacher’s kids are sometimes a mess! (Not mine of course!)  The sons of Aaron and nephews of Moses had experienced the miraculous deliverance from the plagues and seen God act in power at the Red Sea when the Egyptian army was drowned.  They had witnessed the miraculous events of the journey, eaten the “manna” and heard God’s voice on the mountain.  They were dressed, instructed, and anointed for ministry along with their father and other brothers.  They were sprinkled with the blood of sacrifice.  (Leviticus 8)  You would think that they knew enough to take seriously God’s power and presence!  But sometimes, those in ministry or close to it, become complacent.  Worse yet, they behaved disrespectfully towards God in front of others who were looking to them for spiritual leadership!

Nadab and Abihu had witnessed Moses and Aaron going into the Tent of Meeting and the visible Glory of the Lord appearing to the people. (Leviticus 9:23-24.)  Fire came from the Lord and consumed the sacrifice.  All the people shouted for joy and fell face down.  Evidently, Nadab and Abihu were fascinated with the Tent of Meeting.  They decided to go in there themselves and experience God.  They took “strange” fire with them and God took their lives right on the spot. 

It appears that these boys might have been drinking or possibly drunk.  In Leviticus 10:8-11, Aaron warns his other sons not to drink wine or any other fermented drink when they went into the Tent of Meeting!  Paul the Apostle also gives the same warning to believers: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery, instead be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) God is not mocked and holds those with more responsibility accountable for their conduct!  Alcohol affects our ability to reason and think clearly. It lowers our inhibitions and brings out fleshly behaviors that can lead to destruction or death.

Has alcohol or drugs caused difficulty in your home or family? Why do children of those in God’s service sometimes have a problem with proper respect for God? Pray for those you know who struggle with this.

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Being intentional with unintentional sins

Scripture Reading for February 2rd: Leviticus 4-7

Leviticus 4:27-29 “”If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally in doing any one of the things that by the Lord’s commandments ought not to be done, and realizes his guilt, or the sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering in the place of the burnt offering.””

What is the difference between an “intentional” sin and an “unintentional” sin?  Does ignorance excuse us?  How does God look at the person who doesn’t know anything about God’s law?  Is there really such a person who is totally ignorant of God’s basic laws?  If after we “ignorantly” sin, someone informs us that what we “ignorantly” did was a sin in God’s eyes and reads us God’s view from the Bible, are we thereafter guilty of an “intentional” sin?   Is there any sacrifice for a willfully defiant sin?  These questions come to my mind as I read these chapters of Leviticus. (See Leviticus 4:1, 13, 22, 27.)

God has made his basic laws known to all men through the conscience.  Each person has a conscience and it must be trained to know and recognize sin. (Romans 2:12-16)  Each person will be judged by God according to the light he has.  The conscience can be seared by repeated sin.  We are to keep a “clear” conscience by walking in love towards others. (1st Peter 3:16)  Deacons must hold the deep truths of the faith with a “clear” or “pure” conscience. (1st Timothy 3:9)  The conscience is the elementary voice of God that acts like a stoplight, letting us know when to stop and when to go and when to be cautious! All have sinned and sin must be confessed and turned away from to be covered by Christ’s sacrifice.

“If we confess our sins, , He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1st John 1:9) 

Our priest, Jesus Christ, has already made the blood sacrifice for us.  He offered his own blood as atonement for our sins and bore them on the Cross!  We can “intentionally” be made clean from our “unintentional sins”!  Praise the Lord!  What amazing love! 

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BSDD–Back Side of Desert Degree

Scripture reading for January 19: Exodus 3-6

Moses was picked by God to deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.  At his birth, the Hebrew midwives spared his life because they feared God and hid him.  God showed his parents a plan to save Moses’ life.  He was placed in a basket and released in the Nile river.  Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing just downstream, and she “found” Moses, named him and paid his own mother and sister to raise him.  He was raised in Egyptian royalty and schooled in their culture. When he was forty years old, he tried to deliver one of his brothers who was being mistreated. He fled to the back side of the desert and spent forty years there learning to care for his father-in-law’s sheep. There, he earned his degree in humility.

Exodus 4:10-12 “But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to Your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth?” Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.””

Moses went from a prince in Pharaoh’s household to a fugitive wanted for murder in a story as bizarre as Joseph’s in Genesis!  When God appeared to Moses at the burning bush in the desert 40 years later, Moses was called to take off his shoes and then go and deliver God’s people from slavery in Egypt.  Moses wisely took off his shoes but made excuses to God about  going.  God met Moses and answered each excuse.  Moses, after 40 years in the desert university, had learned a valuable lesson: he can do nothing on his own.  You might say that Moses graduated with his BSDD in humility! 

Are you in the School of the Desert?  What character trait do you think God is working into your life?  If you are a graduate of one of God’s degree programs, how has your life changed?

Numbers 12:3 “Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.”

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