Saturday, August 30: Ezra 3- Priorities.

Those who returned to Jerusalem got to work. Your city is in a shambles, walls, roads, building destroyed. Among the rubble lay the temple and its altar. Where does one begin rebuilding when everything is in disarray?

After settling into home, they set out to repair their way of life straight away. They started at the heart; they started with the altar!

The priests recognized that the heart of Israelite life was the altar, the place of sacrifice, honor and worship to the Lord. All efforts were focused on the altar and re-establishing the sacrifices God ordained before they did anything else…

This got me thinking. Do I recognize that worship of the Father, Son and Spirit is the heart of my life? And if I want to retain personal order or I want to reestablish routine after a long trip or intense season of work, I need to start with my heart. I need to start at my core. I need to start by re-ordering my personal rhythm of worship, prayer, scripture and devotion.

Everything in life is supported by the heart.  When my heart is connected to the Lord other priorities fall into place.

I faced the challenge of this life lesson recently after returning from a 4-week mission trip. There was so much to do. Laundry, mail, bills, yard work, unpacking, communication with family, mission trip update for church, family and friends, diving back into work. My to-do list seemed endless. On my first morning back I woke early, my mind racing with to do’s.

Would I dive into stuff or sit with Jesus?

A little bit here and a little bit there to reestablish life back home, but the first important chunk of time was spent in devotion, Bible reading and prayer.

Ezra 3 was my morning reading.  Thank You, Lord, for the reminder connection with You is the core of my life.

Praise be to You, Lord God. Praise be to You, Father, Jesus, Spirit. My Lord and my God. I adore You and I worship You. Halleluiah. Amen.


Friday, August 29: Ezra 2- God who knows me & you.

This chapter will never make it into the list of most interesting or exciting chapters in the Bible. And yet as I read (probably more honestly scanned) all those names, it seems that the Lord spoke directly into my heart.   “People are important.” And what I heard in my spirit was not generic “people,” as if a lump of humanity was what the Lord was talking about. No, God was speaking to me that people, individual human beings, are important to Him. He knows our names, our birthdates and family lineage. God knows us by name.

As I write this, I am sitting in an airport surrounded by more people than I could count. Each and every one of the people milling around me are individual persons to the Lord. The man with the neck collar… God knows his name. The loud talkers behind me… God knows their names. The nationals and internationals, God knows each of their names.

The God I worship is a God who knows me. And for this I am drawn deeper into worship of my Lord God… The God who knows my name and your name and all of our names…

Jesus, Father, Spirit… I sit today delighted that I am Yours. You saved me and for this I will be eternally grateful! But even more today after reading this chapter and hearing Your voice, I am amazed, honored and blessed that You know me. You know my name, my family of origin and my own family. And this tells me how much You LOVE me. I am awed that the God of infinite wisdom and majesty knows and loves me. Blown away… that’s what I am feeling today. Blown away by You, Lord, God, Almighty. Through Jesus, I pray… Amen.


Thursday, August 28: Ezra 1- God is at work.

I just love this first verse. In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:

Aren’t the words bolded wonderful? Our God, the God of heaven and earth, the God of the Bible, moved the heart of a non-believing king. A smile of contentment grows on my face as I think about that statement!

Our God moves believers and unbelievers alike to fulfill His Will.

I sit in awe, blessed, to be numbered among God’s family…

I hope and pray that you are part of God’s family, too. The doorway to God’s family is faith in Jesus Christ.

Oh, Lord God, Father, Jesus, Spirit, I sit today basking in the wonder of knowing and being known by You. Thank You for saving me. And thank You for saving everyone who calls out to Jesus by faith. I love You. I praise You. I am Yours… Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.




Wednesday, August 27: 2Kings 25- The end!.

So Judah went into captivity, away from her land (21b).

And so the Lord rendered His judgment on Judah. Into captivity they went. Temple destroyed, populace dragged away.

God’s judgment is not pretty.

We play with fire when we disregard the Lord’s Commands. We play with fire when we chase after gods other than the Lord. And if we don’t repent when God gives us opportunity, we are pouring gasoline on the fire of our disobedience…

Judah was paying for her disobedience and resistance to the prophet’s calls to return.

My heart is sobered as I consider the judgment of God. God’s final judgment will come some day just like Judah’s judgment came in the reading today.

Are you ready to stand before God and answer for how you have lived your life? Are you ready to have your life examined, word for word, deed for deed, each plumbed to God’s Word and Commands? Are you ready for that day?

Judah was not ready. Many people probably thought, “God will never punish us.” They were wrong. Are you willing to be wrong, too?

I am not… I have turned to Jesus to be saved on the day of God’s judgment. Have you turned to Jesus? Do you confessed Jesus to be Lord? Think about it…

I surrender all. I surrender all. All to Jesus I surrender. All to Jesus I freely give…



Tuesday, August 26: 2Kings 24- Sad, sad words.

It was because of the LORD's anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence (20).

Sad, sad words… God thrust them from His presence.

God’s presence was what separated Israel from all other nations. God’s presence in the Temple is what made it special. In His anger and wrath God thrust them from his presence.

I remember Moses saying to God, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here…” (Exodus 33:15). Moses understood that it was God’s presence that set apart His people from all other peoples. Now today we read that after years of warning and sending prophets to no avail, God does the unthinkable, God removes His people from His presence.

What a disaster. What a punishment…

I am wondering if I (we) understand the gift and wonder of God’s presence with us?

I find myself sitting and thanking God, the Holy Spirit, for being with us and in us and never letting us go…

Oh, Spirit, I thank You for being the distinguishing mark in me. Your presence sets me apart. Your presence marks me as God’s own. Your presence gives me life. Your presence makes all the difference. Without You I would be lost. Your presence guarantees my inheritance. Your presence will see me home.

I praise and bless You, God, most high. Amen.


Monday, August 25: 2Kings 23- Absolute faithfulness until his dying day.


Josiah was an amazing king. His absolute and utter faithfulness to the Lord is astounding. He rid Judah, and even Samaria and Bethel, of all foreign gods. He even destroyed the high places, something no other king had done. In fact, he reached back and rid Israel of idols and false gods that date back to Solomon. Not since the days of David, was there this complete faithfulness to the Lord.

There is not a single indication of faithlessness in Josiah. A babe when he became king, he remained faithful until his dying day.

Lord, Josiah represents my prayer… faithfulness until my dying day. Oh, God, may it be so. May it be so! Amen.


Mulling over this chapter, I had some follow up thoughts… reading the list of things Josiah cleaned up; idols in the temple and shrine prostitutes at the temple; pagan priest functioning from the temple and then everything else in and around Jerusalem. It is amazing what Josiah had to do to rid Judah and Israel of all the false gods.

Josiah’s reforms illustrate for me how far we can drift from God if we do not have God’s Word to keep us on track. I’m sure many people thought all these idols were okay.  Maybe some even thought they were honoring of the Lord. How could this be? When the Word is absent to teach and correct us, we can concoct all kinds of things we humans think are okay. Plus, we can incorporate rituals and elements of other religions, thinking that, too, is okay. Without The Word, we can drift so far from the Lord that what we humans create doesn’t look at all like what the Lord would have us be and do.

This is a frightening thought for me, as I watch people and churches and denominations drift further and further from the plain and historic teachings of the Word of God.


Saturday, August 23: 2Kings 22- What is your immediate response to God's word?.

When the book of the Law was found and brought to Josiah, here is how he responded.

When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, … "Go and inquire of the LORD for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the LORD's anger that burns against us because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us."

Josiah immediately humbled himself before the Book of the Law.

Josiah’s response provided a powerful challenge to me.  Do I sit humbly before God’s Word when I read it? Do I feel its weight when I am not living up to it and IMMEDIATELY humble myself in repentance and prayer?

Josiah’s example cuts to my heart as I sit here on the eve of worship tomorrow. Will I face the Word and allow it to penetrate my life and heart or will I let it run off my back like a water off of a duck?

Readers of this devotion might ask themselves the same question…

Oh, Lord, God, I can be very prideful, thinking well of myself beyond what I should. Forgive me, Lord. And help me, Lord.  Give me the strength to be honest with myself as I read and study Your Word. Lord, where I fall short, correct me and even rebuke me if need be. To be Yours wholly, that is my prayer. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Friday, August 22: 2Kings 21- Leadership matters.

My heart cringes when I come to the account of Manasseh. He is vile and evil, the low point of Judah’s history. Verse 9 sums him up: Manasseh led them astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the LORD had destroyed before the Israelites.

Reading scripture devotionally, especially in the Old Testament, I routinely ask myself, “would I like to emulate the person mentioned in the text or would I like to be remembered like the person in the text.” With Manasseh I have an immediate and definite NO!

It is bad enough that he committed the sins mentioned in this chapter, but heaping insult on top of injury, Manasseh led the people to practice these detestable practices too!

Manasseh fails as a follower of and leader for the Lord.

Manasseh does remind me of the influence that a leader has for good or for evil.

The people had 29 years of faithful leadership by Hezekiah. I would have thought that Hezekiah godliness might have placed the people on solid footing with the Lord, but Manasseh comes along and undermines all of the godliness Hezekiah put in place.

I am reminded of Jesus’ Words, that the people were like sheep without a shepherd. Sheep without a shepherd will follow any shepherd that shows or asserts leadership, whether the leadership is good or bad!

Leadership matters. It mattered back in OT days. It mattered back in NT days. It matters today.

If you are a leader… your leadership matters. You can lead people well or poorly. And you can lead people toward things that are good and things that are bad. Manasseh it seems was a good leader, in that he could rally people to a cause. But the direction of his leadership was ungodly and poor!

Spiritual leaders can lead people toward faithfulness or unfaithfulness.

And so the Lord challenges me to lead well and also to lead people toward ever deepening faithfulness.

I have much to ponder and contemplate today from Manasseh’s story.

Lord, I know if I follow You, You will lead me in paths of righteousness for Your name sake. I pray, Oh, Lord, that as You lead me I am able to lead the people of my church and those in my sphere of influence on paths of righteousness for Your honor and glory. For this, Oh, Lord, I pray that I am attentive to the Holy Spirit… in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, I pray. Amen.


Thursday, August 21: 2Kings 20- As well as possible.

Hezekiah was a faithful king, but as I read this chapter I thought, Hezekiah didn’t end well. It almost seems harsh to think this. It is not as if he slid into some great sin. In fact, I’m not sure any action of his in this chapter could be classified as sin.

Maybe I need to temper my comment and say it this way. Hezekiah’s legacy didn’t end as well as it could have.

During those additional 15 years, he fathered a son named Manasseh who became Judah’s next king. Manasseh was a vile faithless king! Also, that whole deal with the Babylonian entourage is a strange account. It seems that Hezekiah was bragging and showing off by showing the foreigners his treasury! Maybe it was kingly custom, but it certainly comes across as showy and a bit boastful.

And his response to Isaiah, when Isaiah pronounces the future judgment on Judah, seems really odd and not particularly faith-filled. "The word of the LORD you have spoken is good," For he thought, "Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?" (19).

As I processed all this, I found myself contemplating endings.  I not only want to end well, but how I might end as well as possible.

Oh, God, how should I live today so that whenever You determine my end should come, I cross over into eternity with grace and trust? Lord, what do I need to be doing today so that my faith will be strong so that I can live my last days as the most faithful days of my life? Teach me, Lord. Show me, Lord. Lead me, Lord. I pray in Jesus’ name, through the power and leading of the Holy Spirit. Amen.



Wednesday, August 20: 2Kings 19- Honoring the Lord.

Where Israel (northern kingdom) met its demise at the hands of Assyria, Judah prevails. Judah prevails, not because of superior strength or cunning, it prevails because of God’s providential care and the humility and faith of its leader Hezekiah. King Hezekiah knew that the Lord was Judah’s only hope, so he fell before the Lord in devotion and desperation.

When King Hezekiah heard this [Assyria’s challenge], he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the LORD. He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They told him, "This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the point of birth and there is no strength to deliver them. It may be that the LORD your God will hear all the words of the field commander, whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to ridicule the living God, and that he will rebuke him for the words the LORD your God has heard. Therefore pray for the remnant that still survives" (1-4).

I was impressed with his humility, the sackcloth on the officials. But even more so, Hezekiah’s plea to Isaiah shows his depth of love for the Lord and his understanding of the Lord. [M]ay be that the LORD your God will hear all the words of the field commander … sent to ridicule the living God, and that he [God] will rebuke him for the words the LORD your God has heard.

Hezekiah gets that the Lord protects His honor! We see this also with the case of Elijah on Mt Carmel and Herod’s death in Acts 12.

I meditated on the Lord’s Honor and began to ask myself… Am I careful to honor the Lord with my life and with my words?

Lord, I kneel before You. You are holy and perfect. Your attributes are greater than I can ever imagine. The glimpses of heaven in Your Word show those before You, falling before You, in reverence and awe.  May I do the same as I live all my days here on earth until You call me home to join the heavenly chorus. Through Jesus, my Savior, I pray. Amen.


Saturday, August 16: 2Kings 16- Who do we obey.

Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria. He saw an altar in Damascus and sent to Uriah the priest a sketch of the altar, with detailed plans for its construction.  So Uriah the priest built an altar in accordance with all the plans that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus … King Ahaz then gave these orders to Uriah the priest: "On the large new altar, offer the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering, the king's burnt offering and his grain offering, and the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their grain offering and their drink offering. Sprinkle on the altar all the blood of the burnt offerings and sacrifices. But I will use the bronze altar for seeking guidance." And Uriah the priest did just as King Ahaz had ordered (10-11,15-16).

I was disappointed by the priest, Uriah, who obeyed the king instead of obeying the law of God, which as priest he was ordained to do. The priests were supposed to teach and lead the people in the ways of God. They were to administer the sacrifices in accordance with the law of God. This was a sacred trust and glorious honor. And here Uriah was desecrating the temple and defiling the things of God. This was not Samaria and the northern nation of Israel, which long ago had established a rival sanctuary to the temple in Jerusalem. This was the Aaronic priesthood serving in Jerusalem!

Sadness grew over me and so did conviction. Conviction because it seems my own denomination is going the way of Ahaz, disregarding the Word of God to accommodate the way of the world.

As I pondered and meditated today, I remembered Peter and the apostles in Acts who when questioned by the Jewish leaders replied, "We must obey God rather than men! (Acts 5:29).

Peter’s statement is simple and clear… "We must obey God rather than men!

Lord, how would you have me live that out in my life and in my world and in my leadership of the church I serve in Your name?  Help me, Lord. Help me.


Monday, August 18: 2Kings 17- The law of consequences.

At first I was simply reading this chapter for information and content. But as the story unfolded, my heart grew heavy… it was the account of God’s judgment of the northern kingdom. His people had forsaken Him. God had sent prophets to call them home (13) but they refused to listen. And that’s what gave my heart the heaviness.

All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods and followed the practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced. The Israelites secretly did things against the LORD their God that were not right. From watchtower to fortified city they built themselves high places in all their towns (7-9).

I was surprised that the Israelites tried to fool God by “secretly” doing things.

Can we hide from God? Can we do things that God cannot see? NO. The Lord knows and sees all things. We cannot hide from God. Oh, we may fool ourselves into thinking that God does not see us.

How foolish we can be… thinking we can do things secretly where God cannot see?!?

Lord, my life is an open book before You. You see and know things about me that I may not even know or admit to myself! Show me, Lord… that I may repent and change my ways. I don’t want to be like Israel, I long to be faithful to You. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, August 19: 2Kings 18- Tumbling thoughts.

With the account of Hezekiah, we take a deep breath of faithfulness. Here is a king who reigns as unto the Lord. Verse 6: He [Hezekiah] held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses.

These words pricked my heart. Do I live like this? Could it be said of me that I held fast to the Lord and did not cease to follow Him?

Could this be said of you?

Thoughts kept building in my meditations…

A person has to know the Lord in order to follow Him. A person has to know God’s commands in order to keep them.

Can a person know the Lord without knowing His commands?

Questions tumbled…

Lord, thank You for these words written about Hezekiah. They pierce me. They convict me. They challenge me to be present with You, to study Your Word, Your book, Your Laws and Commands.

Grace me, Lord, with the presence of the Holy Spirit, that as I attend to Your Word, the Spirit will instruct me and teach me… This I pray through Jesus, my Lord. Amen.


Friday, August 15: 2Kings 15- Material blessing is not an indicator of God's blessing.

During this parade of kings, I met Azariah. His story got me thinking…

In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah began to reign. He … reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. … He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, … The LORD afflicted the king with leprosy until the day he died, and he lived in a separate house. (1-5).

“God, I thought You blessed us when we were faithful?” I thought, “Here Azariah did what was right in your eyes yet he contracted leprosy and had to live in a separate house. Lord, that hardly seems fair.”

And so I thought about the ways of God which are often much different than I would do it. In Africa I see people who love the Lord but are impoverished. “Lord, this doesn’t seem fair.” At Adam’s Garden I meet people who love Jesus but are on the very low end of the economic scale. It doesn’t seem fair.

Material blessing is not an indicator of God’s blessing is the only conclusion I could come to. Material blessings and God’s blessings are not proportionate.

I have to chew on this more…

Lord, I thank You and I praise You for life. I am so blessed to have had my eyes opened by Your grace so that I can see You and know You and love You and serve You.

Help me, Lord, to stop looking at what I have and do not have. Instead, Lord, I bless You because I have You and You hold me. Thank You and praise You, through Jesus, I pray. Amen.


Thursday, August 14: 2Kings 14- Pride.

Reading the account of Amaziah reminded me of Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Pride can get us into deep trouble and it certainly did that to Amaziah.

After defeating Edom, he decided to take on Israel. Big mistake. The king of Israel even gave him an out before the war started. But Amaziah, puffed up from the defeat of Edom (a small country with a fairly weak army), he wouldn’t back down and was soundly defeated by the much larger Israel.

Pride gets us into all kinds of trouble. Where he could have saved face, if he just put his ego aside, Amaziah got in over his head and lost everything.

As the Proverb says: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

I began to ponder pride… asking myself where it still lives in my life.

Can I ask for help when I need it?

Can I stop mid-situation when I realize I don’t have the ability to succeed or finish?

Do I think more highly of myself or my skills than I should?

If I cannot do these things, it is likely an indication that pride is living within me. And this kind of pride is NOT good! This is the kind of pride that brought Amaziah to his knees!

Lord, it is hard, near impossible, for me see pride in me… Please, Holy Spirit, search me and know me and see if there is any wickedness, particularly pride, in me. And, Lord, then please clean out this wickedness that I might reflect more and more on Jesus, my Lord and Savior. In His name, I pray. Amen.


Wednesday, August 13: 2Kings 13- Generational sins.

I have read and heard the phrase before but today something in the phrase grabbed hold of me and launched me into my meditations. Verse 2: He did evil in the eyes of the LORD by following the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit, and he did not turn away from them.

Many times I have read that the kings of Israel persisted in the sins of Jeroboam, son of Nebat. Jeroboam’s sins seemed to stay alive in each succeeding generation. Israel was never able to shake the sins of Jeroboam, son of Nebat. They haunted and controlled Israel until God sent His judgment through Assyria.

Some sins seem to live in a family or generational line and a phrase I have heard and used to describe this type of sin is ‘generational sin’. Some generational sins seem to have hereditary linkages… alcoholism and addictive issues often seem to have generational links.  Many of us know a family who generation after generation struggle with alcoholism or substance abuse. Hereditary or genetic link, possibly?

Then other family sin traits like abusive males or women who choose abusive men seem to perpetuate father to son to son or mother to daughter to daughter. These may not be hereditary but one generation seems to pass it on to the next…

It seems to me that this is what could be going on in Israel… the sin of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, seems to be passed on to the kings that follow.

We are complex people and many of our complexities are not good!

Are we stuck suffering with any generational issues in our family line? Is there anything we can do?

I cannot point to a particular scripture –maybe the binding and loosing words by Jesus (see Matthew 18:18 for example), but I have prayed with people and in the power of the Spirit and through Jesus’ name, we have cut ties with their generational sins. And by God’s grace, healing has come to those areas in their life.

Prayer is a powerful gift and there are many ways we can take advantage of God’s gift of prayer!

If you have questions about this, drop me an email….

Lord, God, thank You for the gift and power of prayer. You tell us to pray for our ‘daily bread.’ You instruct us to seek forgiveness from our sins and You offer to set the captives free. Thank You… I trust and believe in You and I believe You answer our prayers…

Praise be to You, Lord, God –Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.


Tuesday, August 12: 2Kings 12- Maintaining the house of God.

Maintenance is not fun or glamorous but it is necessary. Joash recognized that the Temple needed maintenance so he created a plan to see that it was done. In so doing he honored God.

Maintenance… I found myself thinking about maintenance and how important it is.

About a month ago I returned from a trip to Nigeria. As I understand it, Hausa, the first language of many Nigerians that I know, has no word for maintenance. The word, and apparently the concept, does not exist for them. And you see that in the disrepair of buildings all over the place.

Yet, being a wise and faithful steward of the things God gives us requires that we do appropriate maintenance. Farmers rotate crops as a means of maintaining the fields so that they don’t deplete the nutrient base. Houses and building need basic maintenance to keep them in good condition, which means they will last many years. Well maintained vehicles will run for hundreds of thousands of miles.

Maintenance is important. And as it is with the material things of life, so it is with the spiritual things of life. I need to do the best I can to maintain my health and wellbeing. Eating wisely, exercise, and adequate rest are all important! And so is regular time with the Lord.  Feeding my inner life with prayer, Bible reading and meditation is part of the regular maintenance I need to do to keep my spiritual life healthy and strong.

Maintenance is important. … maintenance of what God has given us is important. Think about it.

Lord, I pray that I am an able steward of the life You have given me. Lord, may I take care of my health, my life, my relationship with You. And Lord, I pray for godly attitudes as I care for the life You have given me. Lord, I pray that I take care of my health so that I am healthy and vigorous to serve You and not for vanity reasons and motivations.

Lord, I pray that my heart delights is maintaining my connection and relationship with You. Lord, that prayer, study of Your Word, and meditation will be a delight for me and not a chore or duty.

I praise and bless you, Lord… through Jesus, my Lord and Savior, I pray. Amen.


Monday, August 11: 2Kings 11- Gave him a copy of the covenant.

I was fascinated by a small detail in the story. As Jehoiada the priest is crowning Joash king, the text says in verse 12, that Jehoiada put the crown on him; he presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king.

A crown and the covenant were what set him apart.

The idea that they gave him a personal copy of the covenant God made with Israel hit me. In modern day language they gave the new king a crown and a Bible. The message is clear; the king is to build his life and his kingdom on God’s Covenant.

This is a powerful thought for all of us. Like Joash, we should build our lives, our families, our careers on God’s Word.

That simple image is captivating me…

We are to build our lives on God’s Word. This is not a new thought, but the symbolism of marking the new king with a crown and personal copy of the covenant is powerful for me…

I keep thinking, when our children reach landmark ages, maybe we should give them something emblematic of the new life stage and a Bible.

Lord, I pray that I build my life on Your Word, Your Truth… and Lord, I pray that I can find ways to memorialize not only my building my life on Your Word, but also connecting others with this truth. Help me, Lord… I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Saturday, August 9: 2Kings 10- You cannot serve God halfway.

Jehu was zealous for the Lord in the destroying of Ahab’s family, but he was not so zealous with the worship and sacrifices of the Lord. In verses 29-31 we read:

However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit—the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan. The LORD said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit.

Jeroboam sent up the false altars, established a false priesthood and mimicked the worship of the Lord.  However, in so doing, he created a cult that had an appearance of godly worship but was in truth a rival for the Lord.

Jehu followed the Lord in killing off Ahab’s family, but then he turned and continued the false worship of Bethel and Samaria. By not turning from this false worship, Jehu missed the mark and was not considered a follower of the Lord God almighty.

We cannot serve God halfway. We cannot partially worship the Lord. We cannot pick and choose what parts of God we are willing to follow and what parts we can disregard.

With the Lord… we are ‘all in’ or not in at all!

God expects total devotion … no holding back. No playing it safe by keeping others gods along side the Lord. The Lord alone is to be worshiped and only the Lord is to be worshiped.

Search me and know me. Search my heart, Oh God, and see if there is any wickedness in me. To be Yours, totally, I pray through Jesus, my Lord. Amen.


Friday, August 8: 2Kings 9- Mixed motives.

I marvel at how immediately Jehu obeys the Lord in killing the king and usurping the throne. Yet, I know that Jehu isn’t faithful to the Lord in other aspects of his kingship. How is it that he immediately does something but not others? I notice that the area of obedience will serve his needs and desires… hmmm?

Jehu strikes me as an example of ‘most people’. We are people of mixed motives and mixed behaviors.

Lord, what a mess we are…

I find myself falling before the Lord in prayer…

Forgive me, Oh God, for my mix of faithfulness and unfaithfulness in my life.

Lord, I don’t want to be a Jehu… a person who serves You when it is convenient and beneficial, but ignores You when it doesn’t suit me. Lord, I don’t want to be double minded.  Forgive me, I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Thursday, August 7: 2Kings 8- Remembering.

The circumstances of the woman receiving her property back, got me thinking about how God arranges circumstance to accomplish His purposes. Not everyone would agree with me that God arranges things. Many, maybe even most, people in the world are willing to acknowledge coincidences. Things that just seem to fall in place, like the woman arriving just as Gehazi is reminding the king about Elisha’s miracle with her son.

The scriptures don’t see it that way. Scripture understands that God’s hand is behind these “coincidences.” I have adopted the view of Scripture. For me they are ‘God-incidences’, not coincidences.

I began to think about ‘God-incidences’ in my life. Too many to recall, but spending time remembering has been encouraging walking down memory lane. The wonderful and surprising ways the Lord has worked in my life and the lives of those I hold dear and know well.

I serve an amazing God… and I am delighting in recalling His wonderful works.

Take a moment before you pray and recall how God’s hand has worked in your life. Then join me praise and thanks to Him.

Lord, I praise You. You are so good. I have been blessed by You and Your work in my life so many times. Thank You. Praise You.

Lord, I pray that I keep my eyes open to Your workings. I pray that I recognize Your hand at work and praise You for it. I pray that You work things so that my life brings praise to You and advances your kingdom. For You I live… Praise be to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.


Wednesday, August 6: 2Kings 7- Sharing.

God does what only God can do. The account of the Aramean flight is yet another example of the Lord orchestrating His Word and Will. The God of the Bible, the God we serve is THE everlasting, almighty, only wise God and the pages of the Bible reveal this to be true!

As individuals, each person has a choice to believe God’s self-revelation told in the Bible or not to believe. The choice is yours.

I, for one, choose to believe.

In terms of meditations, I found myself thinking about the lepers’ dilemma. They discover food and riches free for the taking. At the same time they know that fellow Israelites are starving in the city. What do you do? Keep it for oneself or tell others? Verses 8-9 tell their story. The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also. Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”

They decided that what they discovered should be shared with others. My first thought was the golden rule; love your neighbor as yourself. Do for others what you would hope they would do for you. The lepers remembered the plight of others and did what they could.  They did what the Lord would have had them do.

Almost immediately I began to think about present day scenarios that could be considered parallel situations…

Do I care for the poor (people I know, not just nameless poor) with the heart of generosity these lepers displayed?

Do I care for the lost and share the Gospel with the lost, with the heart of generosity these lepers showed?

And so my meditations went…

Lord, do I live Your golden rule, Your greatest commandment, part II, as these men did?

Do I see myself as desperate and receive everything You give as gift, as these men did? Do I, Lord?

Lord, change my heart, I pray. Make me more like You. Give me Your heart, I pray… Amen.


Tuesday, August 5: 2Kings 6- Serve, love, obey.

Accounts of the miracle man, Elisha, continue with three more dramatic events. I found myself wondering, “Why, Lord, are there all these accounts of Elisha, the prophet and miracle worker?”

Were they ‘proof’ that Elisha had received the double portion requested earlier?

Were they a validation of his prophetic ministry, over against the king who was against him? I cannot say for sure.

It is strange to me that even after the second miracle of capturing the Aram army, the king of Samaria doesn’t listen to and follow him (vv 24ff). Jesus’ comment that a prophet is without honor in his hometown seem to fit. Even though everyone, even the king of Aram, understands Elisha to be a prophet of God, the king of Israel will not submit to him! Defiance can blind us from truth.

Another thought I had was that being faithful, even being a faithful miracle-worker & prophet, doesn’t guarantee a warm reception from people, even the supposed people of God.

Kingdom service and obedience is due to our King –the Lord God Almighty. How people react is another matter entirely.

Serve Jesus, love the Father, obey the voice of the Spirit and leave the results to the Lord. Don’t worry about the reactions of others!

Lord, open my ears that I may hear You, clearly. Open my eyes that I may see what You are doing, clearly. Open my heart that I may follow You, wholeheartedly. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Monday, August 4: 2Kings 5- Warnings.

I saw in this chapter a couple of warnings about the way sin can enter a person’s life.

With Naaman, the sin of pride almost kept him from receiving his healing. Elisha asked Naaman to do a simple act and his healing would be complete. But Naaman, at first, refused. My meditations generalized. How often does God ask something simple of me (us) and for some reason I (we) say no?

 It might be pride or arrogance or disobedience, you name it. And by refusing we miss some blessing from the Lord or we miss being God’s blessing in someone’s life. How sad this is.

Oh, to have a friend like Naamann’s servant who dared to speak truth into his life before he missed his opportunity for healing.

Then there was Gehazi. How or why greed surfaced on this day the text doesn’t say. But greed did surface and Gehazi had no spiritual strength to say ‘no’ to it. He caved and concocted a lie to gain riches. This reminded me that sin is always crouching at the door, looking for even the smallest opening to pounce!

We must be aware and be alert… always.

Diligence and perseverance… two key thoughts for today.

Oh, Jesus, keep me alert. When I doze or get distracted, please call out and warn me. And when I am tempted to disregard Your call, please send someone who can be to  me like Naaman’s servant was to him, a voice of reason that I can hear. I pray this so that I might follow You with all my heart today and every day. Amen.


Saturday, August 2: 2Kings 4- Elisha the miracle man.

In rapid-fire succession this chapter chronicles 4 of Elisha’s dramatic miracles. Through Elisha, God enters the lives of others and brings His presence, power and healings. No wonder Elisha was revered.

As I was pondering these miracles, it occurred to me that God routinely uses His people to touch and help others. Not all of us get to be a conduit for God’s dramatic miracles like these, but every Christ-follower has many opportunities to bring encouragement, love, care, help and provision to others in need in the name of Jesus.

I wondered, how God might use me today to speak to and help someone else in His name. And maybe God will even allow me to be a conduit for His miraculous touch.

Be expectant… God wants to use each of us to make the world a better place today.

Lord, God, here I am. Use me today. Amen.


Friday, August 1: 2Kings 3- The depravity of humanity.

Moab is loosing the battle badly.  What does the king of Moab do? What does the man who instigated the war in the first place do? He sacrifices his first-born son, heir to the throne, to the gods in hopes of turning the tide of the war and save his own skin. I mean, how sick is that???

We talk about humanity as if we are good at heart, not perfect maybe, but good. And yet our world is filled with incredible ugliness, sin, and depravity. Some might say this was only one man, but isn’t he a product of his society? As king didn’t he help shape his society? And if he did this, what else might he have done that we don’t know about? And if his people wanted a favor from the gods, would they do similar things?

Gangs ask horrible things of members as initiation. Violence is all around us; just open a paper or read a new feed.

We humans are a depraved lot… more often than we want to admit.

Even as I write all this, my thoughts flip to the message of the New Testament, where God gives us a new heart through faith in Jesus Christ. The only hope for men and women is Jesus.

Have you turned to Jesus for heart surgery? I have. I still have much rehab to do and I have many new life skills and habits to incorporate into my life (I am far from perfect)! But thanks to Jesus I am on the road to recovery and blessed with a calling to tell people about the Savior Jesus… Are you?

Thank You, Lord, God, for calling me on to Your team. Help me, strengthen me and train me to be valuable for Your kingdom purposes. I pray in Your name –the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.