Thursday, July 31: 2Kings 2- Elijah passes the mantle on to Elisha.

To be a spiritual son… that was Elisha’s request.

In verse 9 Elisha asks of Elijah, “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Too many times I have heard preachers say that Elisha had twice the spiritual power/authority of Elijah. Unfortunately, that comes from not understanding the text. Elisha wasn’t asking for twice the spirit… he was asking to be Elijah’s ‘first-born’ son and therefore heir to the prophetic position. A double portion inheritance was given to the first-born.

God grants Elisha’s request and the parting of the Jordan was evidence that the Lord had granted his request!

Elisha accepted great responsibility when he requested and was granted this request. Spiritual authority is a calling that must not be taken lightly…

Fathers, mothers, pastors, elders, deacons, bishops all are granted spiritual authority. If that is you, take the role seriously.

I find myself pondering my authority roles…

Oh, God, may I represent You well. May I use my authority for good. May my words point people to You. May my actions exemplify a life lived for You. Lord, may I never use my spiritual authority for personal gain, but only to further Your kingdom. I pray in my Lord Jesus’ name. Amen.


Wednesday, July 30: 2Kings 1- Elijah and the role of a prophet.

Elijah was one of the great Old Testament prophets. Recently I read a great book. Its title says it all, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by GD Fee and Douglas Stuart. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to get the most out of her/his Bible reading and study.

Anyway in that book they refer to OT prophets as covenant enforcers. The prophets were people sent by the Lord who spoke for Him,  enforcing His covenant with Israel. Enforcers have a difficult job. Why?  Because many people who have drifted or turned from the Lord do not want to be corrected.

This is one of those cases; King Ahaziah doesn’t want to listen to God and thus God uses Elijah to speak judgment.

Confronting or correcting others, whether it is a child in the home, a subordinate at work or someone you are mentoring, is rarely pleasant. If the person has a humble teachable heart it can have great rewards. However, defiance makes the situation very unpleasant.

Like it or not, people in authority need to confront others.

I’m not sure I gain lots of wisdom from this particular passage beyond these two thoughts. One, this kind of work can be difficult. And two, one better know that you are speaking accurately for the Lord if it is spiritual correction. For me this means making sure that the things I say need to align with God’s Word, accurately understood!

Lord, God, keep my nose in Your Book. Keep me consistent in reading and studying and praying about Your Word so that when I am to be your mouthpiece in correcting or rebuking that everything will be guided by Your Word.

Lord, Your Word from 2Tim comes to mind even as I pray. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2Timothy 3:16-17).

May I, in my living, stay close to You and Your Word. Amen.


Tuesday, July 29: 1Kings 22- What the Lord says, comes true.

The Word of the Lord comes true. Again we see the Lord God fulfilling what He has spoken. Over and over the Old Testament affirms and reaffirms that the Lord is trustworthy, and that the Lord is powerful and strong to do what He says He will do.

The psalmist sings that the heavens declare God’s Glory. And the writers of OT narrative declare that the Lord is to be trusted and that He alone is God. This is the God whom I serve because the God of the OT is the God of the New Testament.

My thoughts delighted in the Lord, the God. There is no other like Him.

I marveled how He orchestrated events to fulfill His Will. What He decrees comes to pass.

I found myself wondering why Jehoshaphat would request a prophet of the Lord, but then not heed his warning. I have no answer for this, except to note that he, Jehoshaphat, was not indicated in anyway in the prophecy. Maybe he thought, then, that he was safe. I simply do not know.

What I do know is that we should pay attention to the things that the Lord has said, because they will happen… in the Lord’s timing, of course.

Lord, I praise and bless You for being God, the one and only God. And for revealing Yourself to me through Word and Spirit. Praise be to You, Lord, God, Father, Son and Spirit. Amen.



Monday, July 28: 1Kings 21- Complicit.

I noticed the elders of Naboth’s town complied with Jezebel’s orders (written Ahab’s name). The text never says anything about them, but I wouldn’t want to be them when they stand before the Lord on their last day. They were complicit. They knew the evil plan and they executed it, likely to save their own skin.

I pondered the thought of being complicit in ungodly things.  I thought about times I cave instead of standing fast to integrity. God is never pleased!

If the elders said “No” the outcome may not have changed. Ahab and Jezebel may have gotten what they wanted another way. But the elders would have remained true to the Lord.

I thought, what is my integrity worth? Do I have a price? If so, how sad.

God calls us to do the right thing, no matter what the outcome might be.

Join me in chewing on this…

Lord, may I stand for You today in all of my dealings. May I do this everyday. In Jesus’ name. Amen.




Saturday, July 26: 1Kings 20-.

Obedience… that word screamed at me as I read. God expects obedience. Ahab actually was doing fairly well until the end of the story when he let Ben-Hadad go free. (see 37-42, especially 42).

Obedience can be a ‘when I want to do it’ kind of a thing. Winning a war, obedience felt good. But Ahab decided that making an alliance with the defeated king was better than obeying the Lord and killing him.

The whisper in my spirit went like this, “I expect obedience, total obedience.”

Even as I typed those last words I realize how often I fall short of this. God says do this, I hesitate. God’s Word says this, I balk. I fall short of perfect obedience all the time.

Then I recalled reading the life of David recently. David wasn’t perfect. He sinned, but when he did he turned back to the Lord in repentance and sought forgiveness. Consequences came, but so did forgiveness.  Thanks be to God!

And the same is true to this day. 1John1:9 is a promise I love. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Thank You, Lord, Jesus, for accepting me back time and time again when I sin. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for convicting me of my sin so that I can turn back, repent and receive forgiveness. Thank You, Father, in heaven for the willingness and desire to have me return and for sending Jesus so that His blood can cover my sins. Thank You, my Lord, God. I bless and praise You. Amen


Friday, July 25: 1Kings 19- We are not alone.

Sometimes when I read the scriptures devotionally, God will call my attention to a particular verse or thought. Such was the case today. Verse 18 sparked my thoughts and meditations. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.

There are times when following the Lord that we can feel alone; like there is no one else walking with Jesus.

·         Maybe it’s work and we don’t know if there is anyone else there who loves Jesus.

·         Or these feeling may surface during a difficult time and there seems to be no one else around to encourage or comfort us.

·         Or these thoughts can erupt when God asks us to do a difficult task and no one is standing with us.

I have been there before and reading this verse sparked something in me. Elijah was in one of those places, feeling alone in the battle.

God’s Word became a reminder to me, as I suspect it was to Elijah back in his day.  God is working many angles and God is working in many people, and He may not have clued me into this.

I am, after all, not the center and indispensible hub of God’s plan and workings. I am only one piece.

This thought gives me perspective… it keeps me from getting too puffed up about myself. God is in control, not me.

This thought gives me courage… even when I feel like I am it, the only faithful one, there are, in fact, others. I may not know them, but God does. And the Lord is working His plan.

One more thought. I can trust the Lord, even when I don’t feel like there are other people I can trust.

What thoughts did you get from reading this chapter today?

Lord, thank You for meeting me in Your Word today. I am so blessed to be able to walk life knowing You. Praise and honor and blessings to You, my God –Father, Jesus Holy Spirit. Amen.


Thursday, July 24: 1Kings 18- Go all in.

Elijah was an incredible man of faith. One of the great prophets of the OT. As I read this chapter, my heart was strangely attracted to verse 21: Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

A show down between the Lord and the prophets of Baal was about to ensue and Elijah was calling people to stake their claim.  Who did they follow? Who did they believe in?

Elijah’s second sentence was poignant… a call to obey and follow. If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”  

Reading this it hit me.  Wavering, vacillating, keeping all your options open is the easy way out. The person who does this, does not truly believe anything.

Elijah is calling out to people to decide.  If you believe the Lord is God follow Him. Live as He wants you to live. Do what He wants you to do.

But Elijah says if you believe Baal is god then follow him. Live as he wants you to live. Do what he wants you to do.

The same call to choose could be issued today:

If you believe Jesus is Lord and God, follow Him. Live as He wants you to live. Do what He wants you to do.

But if you believe Allah is god, then follow him. Live as Mohammed instructs you to live. Do what he teaches you to do.

Of if you believe some form of New Age Eastern Religious philosophy is true, then live as that philosophy instructs you to live. Do what it says.

This sentiment could be written for any religious or life philosophy….

What I heard Elijah say is ‘get off the fence, choose what you believe and go for it’.

Now I hope and pray that you choose the Lord, as I have. But whoever you choose to believe in… get on with it… follow and him/it. Stop wavering and dabbling, go all in and follow!

My prayer is that you follow the Lord…

Lord, God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I pray that everyone who reads this decides, gets off the fence and goes for it. And, Lord, I pray they follow You. Amen.


Wednesday, July 23: 1Kings 17- Trusting God.

Elijah pops onto the pages of the Bible suddenly. He is an intriguing person who deeply trusts the Lord. When God asks Elijah to do something, he does it. PERIOD. End of story.

After delivering a word of judgment to King Ahab through a drought, God tells him to disappear and sends him across the Jordan. Elijah is told a brook will give him water and ravens will feed him. Um, really?  Ravens will feed him?!? But Elijah trusted God and goes where God directs and ravens do feed him twice a day with bread and meat!

Then God sends him to a widow who is down to her last bit of flower and oil. Don’t worry he tells her. Make me a small cake and then some for you and your son, neither the flower nor oil will run out. And so it goes… God speaks and Elijah believes and acts accordingly. That is FAITH! That is TRUST!

Oh, God, that I would have the faith of Elijah. Oh, God, that I would trust You completely!!! This is my prayer, through Jesus, my Lord. Amen.


Tuesday, July 22: 1Kings 16- What will they write about you?.

Reading the five brief descriptions of these Israelite kings, popped this thought into my head, “What will be written about me when I die?” This thought didn’t grow from an ego point of view.  How will history remember me?  No, I began to wonder how my life will stack up faithfulness wise. Will I be known as a person who sought the Lord, or one who did his own thing? Will greed, dishonesty, chasing after false gods, backstabbing, etc., characterize my obituary as it did for these men?

What will my family and close associates not only say but really think about me when I am laid to rest?

Reading the lives of these men, I realized that I am building my ‘legacy’ and writing my obituary every day I live. You don’t start being a scoundrel when you turn 30 or when you become king… you groom a scoundrel life from early on. David didn’t become a man after God’s own heart when the crown of Israel was placed on his head. He began grooming his love for God when he tended his father’s sheep as a young boy. I am grooming my life today and I started decades ago.

Statistically I have decades still to live, so I can change my legacy for good or for ill. The whisper of God came strongly, “Bill, will you build a legacy that honors Me?...”

Lord, I cry in response, Yes. I will love You. I will serve You. I will live for You. And Lord, this is an every day –even moment by moment decision.

I pray for Holy Spirit fruit to blossom in my life. I pray that my time in Your Word will be the fertilizer to aid Holy Spirit fruit production in my life.

I love you Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit and I bow before You, my Lord and my God! Amen.


Monday, July 21: 1Kings 15- Quite a parade.

This chapter lists the 4 kings; 2 of Israel and 2 of Judah. Only one of the 4 was faithful to the Lord.

God reminded me that life goes on. The march of days continues (until Jesus returns, of course). Some leaders are good, some not. Some people are faithful to the Lord, some not.

During my reading, God reminded me that the only person for whom I am responsible is ‘me’. I may impact others, but I am only responsible for my life and my actions. Each of the four kings will stand before the Lord and give an account of their lives. Some day I will stand before the Lord and give an accounting as well. Will God find me faithful? That rests on my shoulders.

It starts by faith in Jesus.  Do I believe in Jesus presented in the Scriptures as the only Son of God, fully God and fully man?  Did I confess Jesus as Lord and do I follow Him?

When my march of days concludes and I rest in death I, and every person whoever lived, will stand before the Lord. What answers will your life and my life give?

Jesus, I pray that today I live faithfully. And then tomorrow I will pray the same thing. As you taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give me today my daily bread.

Forgive my sins even as I forgive people who sin against me.

Lead me not into temptation and deliver me from the evil one.

For Yours in the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.



Saturday, July 19: 1Kings 14- The weight of leadership.

And he [the Lord] will give Israel up because of the sins Jeroboam has committed and has caused Israel to commit” (16).

As I read this chapter about judgment on Jeroboam, my heart cringed when I read verse 16 above. I cringed because I saw in it the obligation and responsibility of leaders to lead well. Jeroboam did not, and not only did he suffer for it, but the populous suffered as well. Jeroboam’s sin-filled leadership led Israel astray and caused Israel to commit sin for which she would be judged! Such is the spiritual weight of spiritual leadership. When a spiritual leader leads poorly he/she can lead the people into error for which they will suffer God’s judgment.

This hit me because as pastor I am a spiritual leader and the thought that the spiritual lives of my people rest in part in my leadership adds great weight to calling and job performance.

Am I leading well? Meaning, am I leading people in line with Jesus and the Word? Am I leading people to deep obedience to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?  Am I leading people to deeper faithfulness to God, the God revealed in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments? This is leading well. Am I?

If you are not a pastor or leader in God’s church you might ask similar questions about your leadership… parents, are you leading your families well? Bible Study leaders, are you leading your studies well?

And if you are not a leader, are your leaders leading you well?

Think about it.

Oh, God, the weight of my call is heavy upon me. Encourage me, correct me, lead me, that I might lead Your people well. And, Lord, if I am off course, correct me or remove me that I might not cause anyone to sin and fall under Your judgment. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Friday, July 18: 1Kings 13- A chance to change.

God offers Jeroboam an opportunity to repent… but he doesn’t take it. A prophet all the way from Judah comes to pronounce judgment. But Jeroboam ignores God’s Word… for the second time! The chapter closes with a stinging rebuke of Jeroboam. Even after this, Jeroboam did not change his evil ways, but once more appointed priests for the high places from all sorts of people. Anyone who wanted to become a priest he consecrated for the high places. This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth (33-34).

How often do I, do we, pass on God’s call to change, to grow, to repent? It is so easy to point a finger at Jeroboam, but like the modern proverb says, “when you point one finger, three others are pointing back at you!”

The text invites me to pause and listen. Is the Lord pointing out an area of life that needs to change? Think about this…

Open my mind and heart to You, Lord, that I might hear and obey Your Word. Through Jesus, the Living Word, I pray. Amen.



Thursday, July 17: 1Kings 12- Worldly wise but godly foolish.

Can you do something that is wise in the world’s eyes but foolish in God’s? Yes, you can and Jeroboam is proof of this.

God gave Jeroboam a chance to follow Him and be His king over Israel, but with his first major act Jeroboam dishonored the Lord and set Israel on a course away from the Lord!

Jeroboam assessed the worldly situation practically; if the people returned to Jerusalem 3 times a year to sacrifice, they may very well returned to Rehoboam. But if God was in the separation, then God could have protected Jeroboam. However, instead of trusting the Lord and living faithfully by attending to the pilgrim feasts at the temple, Jeroboam set up rival sanctuaries and rival feasts and rival priests to lead the people at the rival sanctuaries. In other words, Jeroboam set up his own god who looked like the Lord but was really a counterfeit! Jeroboam directly disobeyed God’s Word and by doing so sealed his fate and worse… led the people astray!

God forbid that I or any Christ-following leader would do that today…

Lord, when I am tempted to go my own way, bring me to my knees! Please, Lord, I want to remain faithful to You and lead faithfully in Your church.

I am reminded of yesterday’s devotion… help me to do those things so I finish well. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Tuesday, July 15: 1Kings 10- Without self-examination.


Unimaginable wealth, that is what Solomon enjoyed. Knowing Solomon abandoned the Lord and His ways for much of his life, I found myself wondering if his wealth played a role in turning from the Lord?

The text here is silent on this. But elsewhere Jesus did say, “You cannot serve both God and Money” (Mt 6:24).  He also commented that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for rich to enter the kingdom of God (Mt 19:24).

Clearly riches can be an impediment to faith.

I found myself wondering… wondering about my life because I am rich. By my country’s standard I am middle (upper middle) class but on a world scale I am top 1%. Most of us in the US are. Everyday we enjoy clean water, reliable electricity –as much as we want, more than enough food, clothing, shelter, access to medical care. Need I go on? These basics are things many in our world only dream about having.

Back to my musings, does my wealth stunt my faith? Does it allow me to rely on myself rather than the Lord, which could be a first step to turning from the Lord.

At this point in my life I would say, no it doesn’t seem to be… but I don’t ever want to stop asking myself this and like questions. Because without self-examination, I could slip and fall just as easily as Solomon.

Lord, keep me steady, keep me strong. Keep me growing in You, because constant growth is the best defense against backsliding and turning from You. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, July 16: 1Kings 11- Finish Well.


Solomon is a negative example about finishing well. He did not finish well. As the text says he was led astray by his many wives to foreign gods. How sad. This brilliant man who began his journey as king wonderfully, lost his way.

The start of his error, it seems, was disregarding the Lord’s commands about not marrying foreign wives. He didn’t listen… and he and all Israel paid the piper because of his sin.

It is good to start well, but finishing well is far better still!

So what do I (you) need to be doing in order to finish well with Jesus?

Stay the course… when things are hard don’t give up; push on.

Keep my nose in the Word of God. Read, study and meditate regularly and consistently.

Pray often, Paul even says to pray unceasingly.

Hand with people who are walking with Jesus. Find encouragement from brothers and sisters in the Lord.

These are some of the things I can keep doing so that I will finish well… If you have more thoughts send them to me!

Lord, Jesus, You stayed the course. You followed through and went to Calvary. Give me the strength to stay the course with You, no matter what You ask of me. I will need Holy Spirit strength, so please breathe the Holy Spirit into me again and again. Through You, Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Monday, July 14: 1Kings 9- Living in the Land of "IF".

Charmed is one word that came to mind as I read about Solomon.

Son of David, King of Israel… charmed life!

David secures the boarders and Solomon inherits a peace-filled nation at the height of its power and influence… charmed life.

For the second time the Lord God appears and speaks to him… charmed again comes to mind.

And yet as I listen to God’s Words to Solomon, there is a huge condition to the promises God makes to him. If you… if your descendants walk faithfully and obey my commands, etc.

IF means that the pressure is on Solomon and his descendants to fulfill their end of the bargain first before God is obligated to keep His.

IF is a small but telling word.

The Davidic covenant is governed by IF…

As I contemplated that, I realized all the more how blessed I am to be living under the New Covenant…

Praise God for the New Covenant in Jesus… a new and certain way, where assurance of salvation is part of God’s gift to those who believe in Jesus… where the Holy Spirit is given as a guarantee of our inheritance… where grace abounds…

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.


Saturday, July 12: 1Kings 8-.

To sit and read this ancient prayer… a prayer, deep, honest, and heartfelt. A prayer of praise and blessings to the God who keeps His Word. A call to faithfulness by God’s people. A prayer that recognizes God’s grace and prays that God’s grace would abound when sin and failure are confessed and repented of.

This is not a prayer of cheap grace and automatic forgiveness for sin. No, it prays for hearts that turn back to the Lord and are received back by the Lord into fellowship.

This is a tremendous prayer for a Saturday, the eve of corporate worship…

I think I will go back and use this prayer as a platform for my morning prayer today…

Join me, with Bibles open, recognizing that the promises to David were ultimately fulfilled in Jesus:

LORD, the God of Israel, the God of Your church, there is no God like you in Heaven above or on earth below—You who keep Your covenant of love with Your servants who continue wholeheartedly in Your way. You have kept your promise to your servant David and now Jesus, son of David & son of God sits enthroned for eternity as King of kings and Lord of Lords. …

Give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in Your presence this day. May Your eyes be open toward Your people night and day… Hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people when they pray to You. Hear from heaven, Your dwelling place, and when You hear, forgive…

When we sin, forgive… call us to repentance and forgive our sins and restore us to unhindered fellowship with You.

Oh, God, thank You for keeping promises, for sending Jesus and the fulfillment of all You promised to David and his descendants. I praise You and I bless Your holy name… King above all kings. God above all gods. Amen.


Friday, July 11: 1Kings 7- Am I divided?.

I always wonder why Solomon spent 13 years on his house and 7 years for the Temple. It seems the way the author narrates the account, he is making a statement that Solomon’s house took almost twice as long to build. Then again it was almost twice as large.

Is this a subtle way of saying that Solomon lived a divided life? Dedication to the Lord? Yes, but also dedicated to extravagance on self.

That certainly is something I hear and to my ears this is not good. I wonder if it pointed to a divided heart within Solomon?

In the devotional portion of my morning it certainly drove me to ask questions about my heart and life. Is mine divided?

I recall a sermon I heard once, where the preacher mentioned that the faults we notice in others often reflect the faults we ourselves have. That has stuck with me many years and it is surfacing in my meditations this morning.

Lord, I know I am no where near perfect. Is a divided heart, generous toward You but never at the expense of personal pleasure? Is this my doing, too?

Speak Holy Spirit, speak. Lead, direct and show me. I pray through Jesus, my Lord. Amen.



Thursday, July 10: 1Kings 6- A temple fit for the Lord.

With significant detail, the temple Solomon built for the Lord is described. Solomon was certainly making a statement about his Lord and the honor due His name.

I may not be building a temple for the Lord, but I found myself wondering if my life is building anything of lasting value for the Lord. I asked myself questions like:

What am I building for God?

Are my key relationships building people in the Lord?

Is my giving advancing the name of the Lord?

If I could, would I do something extravagant for the Lord?

And so my meditations went, probing and wondering what I am building for the Lord…

I invite you to ask yourselves similar questions…

Lord, I hope and pray that my life is actually building and advancing Your kingdom and that I am not just giving You lip service with my life.

I love You and I praise You. In and through Jesus, I pray. Amen.



Wednesday, July 9: 1Kings 5- Building a life in Christ.

The temple for the Lord was a mighty undertaking. Wood contracted from Lebanon. Stone quarried from the Israeli hills. Nearly 200,000 workers. And this does not include preparing roads and carts and tools needed to quarry and carry all these building supplies from the field to the work sight, which was atop Mt Zion.

As I was picturing all this, I began to picture the building of the Temple as a metaphor for building my (our) spiritual lives. Growing in Christ-honoring maturity takes an all-in effort…

·         Felling the timbers of sin in my life and dragging them away through confession and repentance.

·         Quarrying the Word of God to build a strong, sturdy and secure foundation for my life.

·         Setting in place the habits and disciplines needed to construct a life of faithfulness to my Lord God.

·         Roofing my life with the covering of a church community that helps me grow and walks with me through life’s many ups and downs.

·         Adorning the walls of my life with Fruit of the Spirit and the characteristics of Christ, my Savior.

Yes, all of this takes much effort on my part and yours. Am I giving the effort needed? Are you???

Lord, I pledge the building of my life to You. I dedicate my life to Your service and Your honor. May it be something beautiful and useful for You. Through my Savior, Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, July 8: 1Kings 4- Created to live in relationship.

       Behind every great person is a cadre of supporters, associates and lieutenants who enable the great person to do what he/she does, run what he/she runs, and so on.

In my culture here in the US we regularly think that we can make it on our own. The rugged individualism of our US forefathers still thrives in us to this day. As I entered my second decade of life, the pop/folk duo of Simon and Garfunkel released one of their mega hits, I am a Rock. The haunting individualism and isolationism of this song is driven by the refrain

I am a rock,

I am an island.

I am alone, I can do it alone. I don’t need anyone else.

How wrong they were. We all need people. We need the practical life skills that they bring so we can live. That’s what Solomon’s list of officials speaks to me.

But as I ponder this more, I realize that possibly more important than the life skills people bring that allow me to live is the relational connections they provide that support me emotionally and relationally. God designed us to live in relationship with others.

The Simon and Garfunkel song mentioned above closed on an eerie note of isolationism

I am a rock,

I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;

And an island never cries.

That may be true, but a rock feels no love and an island never sings either…

God created us to live best in relationship with Him and with others.  We may be imperfect and things go wrong in our relationships but a life devoid of relationships is a sad truncation of life.

The beauty and wonder of the Lord is that He invites us to live in relationship with Him and when we do, He plants us in a church… a body of other Christ-followers so that we can live in relationship with others as well.

I hope you are walking with the Lord. A faith-filled relationship with Jesus is gift without measure. And so is living as part of His people, imperfect as we are…

Think about it.

Lord, thank You for wanting a relationship with us. I am blown a way. You, the perfect God, invites me and others to know You, learn from You and walk with You. Certainly Lord, You are the greater and I the lesser. Certainly I need to submit to You and Your will but I still get to live in relationship with You. I can call out to You any time and You will be there. What a joy, what a wonder, what a gift! Thank You.

Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Monday, July 7: 1Kings 3- Seeds of his downfall.

This is a wonderful chapter. Solomon’s request for wisdom is, for me, one of the exemplar moments in the OT. Invited to ask for anything, Solomon asks for wisdom. This was an incredible moment of perspective and insight, especially for a young man.

But in my reading this morning I noticed something I have glanced past when I have read this chapter previously. What I noticed is mentioned in verse 1. Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the LORD, and the wall around Jerusalem.

Before asking for wisdom, Solomon had already planted a “weed” in his garden. Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter.

Wasn’t Israel directed NOT to marry outside the covenant people? Wasn’t Israel supposed to trust in the Lord and not other earthly alliances?

Early on in his kingship Solomon planted a few seeds from the “dark side,” which I know from reading the Bible will draw him away from the Lord later in life.

As I ponder and pray about this, God is reminding me of 3 things. One, small sins harbored and nurtured can lead to bigger issues. Two, sin has its consequence. And three, after recognition and confession of sins in our lives, praying prayers of cleansing and shutting entrances for that sin in one’s life can be appropriate and effective in helping us move forward in truth and grace and freedom.

So consider your life… any amends need to be made with the Lord???

Lord, I do not want any open ‘doors’ for sin in my life. Reveal to me places that still need forgiveness and areas or aspects of my life where I remain particularly vulnerable to sin. Lord, my prayer is to be a man after Your own heart… Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Saturday, July 5: 1Kings 2- a word from father to son.

Chapter 2 is the account of Solomon securing the kingdom under his reign. It is filled with retribution and blood. In the end Solomon is uncontested as king and all internal threats to his reign have been eliminated.

The chapter opens with David’s final words to his son before his death and these provided my connection with the Lord this morning.

“I am about to go the way of all the earth,” [David] said. “So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do … (2-3).

What incredibly wise and straightforward counsel to his son. I am not planning on ‘going the way of all the earth’ soon, but I hope and pray that I live a life worth of the Lord and so earn the right to speak words like this to my children before going on to be with the Lord for eternity.

I thought about David’s words and put them into my own words, which might go something like this: “Be a man. Follow the Lord. Obey Him and keep His ways and your life will prosper.”

Great words from father to son…

Lord, as I wrap up in prayer this morning, my first petition is that I live a life worthy of speaking these words with integrity. I pray, too, for my children that they will be living in a spiritual place so that they will accept this counsel. And finally I pray, Lord, for a healthy relationship with my children all of my life so that I have the opportunity to speak final words of blessing upon my children before You take me home.

Though Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Friday, July 4: 1Kings 1- God's in control.

David’s family life is tragic, filled with plots, intrigue and backbiting. How sad. And yet in the midst of chaotic and convoluted family life, God remains in control and God’s will prevails. Despite the latest attempt to coup the throne, Solomon, God’s choice as the next king of Israel, prevails.

The story of Israel is a story of very fallen human beings being used of God to bring His salvation will into history.

I could say that the story hasn’t changed greatly in 3000 years. God continues to use very fallen human beings to spread His message of salvation through out the world.

And because this is true, God can and will use me (and you) to spread His message of salvation through out the world. Every Christ-follower is part of God’s grand design. Every Christ-follower has a part to play. Every Christ-follower has gifts, abilities and talents to help spread God’s name around the world.

Yes, we mess up. Yes, evil forces attempt coups to stop the spread of God’s name. Yes, we get off track and distracted. But none of this undoes God’s grand design. Adonijah’s coup couldn’t stop God’s will that Solomon become king and neither will any person or force stop the nations from hearing the name of Jesus.

Be of good cheer, God is at work and part of God’s work is using you and me to spread His name and fame to the corners of the globe.

Let’s get to work…

Lord, use me to spread Your name. Use me to push back the darkness. Lord, use me today and tomorrow and all my tomorrows that Your name and Your fame and Your wonder be know throughout the world. In Your name –Father, Son and Holy Spirit- I pray. Amen.



Thursday, July 3: Philemon- the gospel works .

My immediate thought whenever I open my Bible to Philemon is “the Gospel works.” Yes, it really works. It changes a person’s heart.

It seems plain to me that the only reason Philemon is in the Bible is because Philemon, himself, shared this letter with the church.  Therefore he must have welcomed Onesimus back as Paul asked.

That being the case, Philemon did something completely counter-cultural. As a run-a-way slave, Onesimus had no rights and virtually no hope. His crime, which seems to have been compounded by the stealing of something, carried the maximum punishment, death. The law thought, what else would deter others’ slaves from doing the same thing?!

Paul appealing to the fact that Onesimus was now a convert to Christ and therefore a brother in Christ, asks Onesimus be received back and anything ‘owed’ be written off as if it were a gift to Paul.

Absolutely Radical… was the request and the positive response. Through the Gospel, hearts can be changed and forgiveness can be granted as a new people of God are constituted as both family and the church!

If the Gospel worked back then, it can still work today!

Where have you seen the Gospel work in your life?

Is there someone you need to ‘receive back’ with forgiveness?

Think about it… I am.

Lord, I sit here this morning blessed because Your Gospel works. I can and am a new person as I allow the Holy Spirit to work in me. Lord, I still have many places that need cleaning up. But thanks be to You, other places have been cleaned up. Praise You and thank You!

Come, Lord Jesus, work in my life. I pray through Your name, so that You, the Father and the Spirit may be praised through the actions and attitudes of my life. Amen.


Wednesday, July 2: Jude- Help those who doubt.

Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh (22-23).

When I open The Word, I am blessed when the text offers a practical word on living faithfully. Today is one of those days.

Despite the problem with false teachers, Jude advises us to Be merciful to those who doubt. Particularly when troubles circle, it is easy to write off those who doubt. But Jude counsels, DON’T DO THAT, Be merciful to those who doubt.

Doubting is a part of faith. Many of us –at one time or another– doubt; in those moments we need a brother or sister to come alongside and encourage us. Jude says be that person.

As I penned this, my mind shifted to people I know, particularly people I know who are doubting… my thoughts went like this:

Lord, what can I do to help my brothers and sisters who are in a tough place right now? Give me patience to listen without critical judgment. Give me wisdom to know what to say that encourages and builds up when speaking is appropriate. And Lord, give me a heart to pray for them, long after the conversation has faded into a memory.

In Jesus’ nam, I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, July 1: 2Peter 3- Wholesome Thinking.

What a great way to enter my day, reading Peter’s opening line… Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking (1).

Stimulate you to wholesome thinking… that instantly went to deep places. What a wonderful goal. Would that all of my blogs stimulate readers to wholesome thinking.

And what does Peter write about? The gospel message… that God loves the world, yet there are scoffers in the world, so beware and be on your guard so you are not pulled off the path. The Gospel, the whole Gospel, the Word of God is a perfect way to stimulate people to wholesome thinking. Thank you, Peter.

Additionally, I appreciate his understanding of how human life works. Our thinking moves and controls our life. So wholesome thinking will move us to wholesome living and loving (Paul, too, understands this… see Romans 12:1-2 and Philippians 4:8).

So as I start my day I am going to stay my thoughts on wholesome thinking,

·   on Jesus and His gift of life given to me and all who believe on the cross,

·   on the Father… I will observe nature and marvel at God who created all things,

·   on the Spirit who breathes life into me…

Lord, God, thank You for today’s prompting to wholesome thinking… what a beautiful way to live throughout the day. Help me to fight distractions and senseless noise so that I can fill my thoughts with wholesome, beautiful admirable things. I pray in and through Jesus, my Lord. Amen.