What Believers Do

…those from all the tribes of Israel, such as set their heart to seek the Lord God of Israel, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord God of their fathers. (2 Chronicles 11:16)

There was a split in the kingdom of Israel.  After Solomon died, Jeroboam split the northern tribes from the south. While Jeroboam may have had a mandate from God to divide the country, he didn’t have a mandate from God to lead the northern tribes into idolatry. He set up golden calves and closer worship sites. Jeroboam was concerned that if his people went to the yearly feasts held down south in Jerusalem, the people’s hearts would be drawn back to the south.  So, he set up an easy religion that veered off the truth.  When the real believers saw what Jeroboam was doing, they decided to pull up roots and move to Jerusalem.

Believers need to seek God.  Believers need to be taught of God. Believers need connection with other believers.

Today there are many things that distract us from what is necessary. Some are tempted to sleep in.  Others are distracted by ballgames.  Others sacrifice going to a good Bible teaching church and settle for something that might not be right, but it’s easy.

Do what is most important.  Go to church. Worship.  Be fed.  Connect with other believers.  Seek God.  It’s what believers do.

Worship Leaders

Moreover David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals. (1Chronicles 25:1)

One of King David’s great legacies was organization.  He even organized the musicians. I see four aspects of music ministry here.

Leading worship requires warriors.  It’s seems kind of odd that the captains of the army helped pick out the musicians.  Yet, it seems the musicians were drawn from the army.  There is much spiritual warfare involved in leading God’s people to worship, and a worship leader needs to be prepared for the battle.

Worship leading is a calling.  The worship band wasn’t made up of musicians who decided to play a gig at the temple.  They were “separated” or appointed to those roles.  Ultimately, it is God who separates a person to this kind of ministry.

Worship leading is prophetic.  Many of the Old Testament prophets wrote in a poetic and possibly musical format.  The ultimate worship book, Psalms, is filled with prophesy.  There is a sense in which God will use worship to speak to people.

Worship is musical.  It might be the last of the four aspects, but it’s there. I am so thankful for those who lead us in worship.

Changes

…of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command; (1 Chronicles 12:32)

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of change.  I like things to stay the same.  I like to know what to expect.  If I could, I’d probably wear the same thing every day, eat the same breakfast, and follow the same routine.  To be honest, I’m not all that adverse to being in a rut—but life rarely allows us to live that way.

The world is changing.  People around us are changing.  Relationships change.  The question is, am I going to be ready for the changes that are necessary, or am I going to drag my feet, stiffen my neck, and end up in a ditch?

The “sons of Issachar” were men who understood the times.  They understood that change was coming in the kingdom.  The days when the house of Saul ruled were coming to an end, and the days of the kingdom of David were at hand.  The sons of Issachar understood what needed to take place, and they were ready to jump on board and be part of the coming kingdom.

Some changes are obviously good and easy to make.  Some changes are thrust upon us and are not always what we asked for.  We must learn to be flexible and adapt.  Are you ready for a change?

Capturing Thoughts

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Caleb Beller:

And Isaiah said to them, “thus you shall say to your master, “thus says the LORD: “don’t be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. (2 Kings 8:5)

From Eden to Jesus in the wilderness, Satan’s words have sought to undermine God’s promises. Whether as a serpent or that whisper in our flesh that seeks to eclipse the glory of God, Satan is the father of all lies. Learning to distinguish the voice of the enemy from the voice of Lord is critical for us as Christians.

The king of Assyria wanted the Israelites to believe that they would inevitably be slaves and that the LORD could not deliver them. Have you ever heard these lies? Defeat is inevitable. God cannot save you!

The enemy loves to use fear to eclipse our faith! The LORD sent Isaiah to tell Hezekiah that these lies where about undermining his relationship with Him and not to live in fear. We are told to take every thought captive that is seeking to exalt itself over the glory of God (2 Cor 10:5). In this mental battlefield, anything that does not line up with the truth of the Gospel should be quarantined. We must know the truth if we are to be able to discern the lie. What lies is the enemy bullying you into? Take these lies captive through the power of God’s Word. Let faith in what God has said eclipse the fear of what the enemy is saying.

The Spirit Life

Now it happened, as he was telling the king how he had restored the dead to life, that there was the woman whose son he had restored to life, appealing to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” (2 Kings 8:5)

This woman from Shunem lived an amazing life.  She had been childless until the day that Elisha prayed, and then she and her husband were blessed with a child.  Years later, when this same child grew sick and died, the prophet Elisha stepped in, and the child was raised from the dead.  The woman had been out of the country at the direction of the prophet in order to keep her household alive during a famine in Israel.  Now, having returned at the time designated by Elisha, she just happened to visit the king at the very moment that her story was being told, and the king made sure that all her property was restored.

How could one person be so blessed to experience such an amazing life?  This woman was not only one who heard the Spirit through Elisha, but she obeyed as well.  Whether it was showing hospitality or moving when she needed to move, she obeyed. Some love the stories of the miraculous but don’t want to walk the walk.  Do you want to see the Spirit move?  Learn to obey when He prompts.

Looking for Help

“Let there be a treaty between you and me, as there was between my father and your father. See, I have sent you a present of silver and gold. Come and break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel, so that he will withdraw from me.” (1 Kings 15:19)

King Asa of Judah had a problem on his hands.  King Baasha of Israel was at war with him and was cutting off Asa’s trade routes.  So Asa came up with what seemed like a smart plan.  He sent a large quantity of gold and silver to the king of Syria and asked him to help him in the battle.  The king of Syria attacked the kingdom of Israel, and King Baasha backed off. As far as the writer of 1Kings tells us, all was good.  That’s smart, isn’t it?

Yet, what works isn’t always what’s right.  After this successful diplomatic endeavor, the writer of Chronicles tells us that God sent word to King Asa asking why Asa hadn’t asked God for help.  God helped Asa earlier in his reign and still wanted to help.  God said, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)

Sometimes, I make the mistake of only asking for God’s help when my plans don’t work.  Perhaps I ought to be asking God for help from the beginning.  After all, He is looking for people to help.

Saying “No” to Mom

It’s a typical teenage response to roll your eyes at mom and to say (or at least think), “Mom, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” The truth is that sometimes moms don’t have all the answers.  One step in adulthood is to have the wisdom to recognize that rare moment when mom is wrong.

Both God and David promised that one day Solomon would become king, but before that happened, Solomon’s brother, Adonijah, tried to make himself king. When David heard of Adonijah’s rebellion, he immediately had Solomon proclaimed as king. Yet, Adonijah wasn’t done with his ambition.  Adonijah knew Solomon couldn’t refuse a request from his mom, so he deceived mom into helping him out by asking for something that would put him one step closer to being king. I’m not sure Mom knew she was being played when she went to Solomon. Then she said, “I desire one small petition of you; do not refuse me.” And the king said to her, “Ask it, my mother, for I will not refuse you.” (1 Kings 2:20)

When Solomon heard about Adonijah’s request, he recognized what was happening. He took quick action, put Adonijah to death, and ended the coup. Some decisions are too important to pay attention to sentimental moments.  Sometimes wisdom just says “no”.  Even to mom.

Compassion

Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. (Psalm 41:1)

What an interesting promise from the Lord.  He’s not promising to keep us from experiencing trouble. God is promising that He will deliver us in a time of trouble. What’s the prerequisite for this wonderful promise? Simple compassion.

Do you take time to think about those who are poor?  Or do you brush them off as nuisances or lazy slackers who are just out to take some of your hard-earned money?

Jesus said, Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38) Jesus was saying you’ll get what you give.

God told the Israelites, “You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 22:21) God was saying that we’re no different from the “stranger”.

I know that at times my heart can get quite calloused towards others.  What I fail to realize is that my own callousness backfires and the one that’s really hurt is me.  I receive less from God because I’m giving less to others.  Give that opening verse another look.  Interested in what God promises?  Consider others.

Crossing the Line

Then Saul said to his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at En Dor.” (1 Samuel 28:7)

Saul was facing desperate times.  The Philistines were gathering for battle and Saul didn’t know what to do.

Saul was nothing if not impulsive.  He had a history of making rash decisions that led to big blunders.  Toward the end of his life he would make the biggest mistake of all.  Saul’s indiscretions led him farther and farther from God until God was no longer answering his questions.  Rather than fix things with God, Saul once again decided to take matters into his own hands and decided to ask for advice from a medium, a person who claims to contact the dead.  Some of you might be thinking, “What’s so harmful about that?”  The Scriptures specifically forbid it and for good reason (Lev. 19:31; 20:26).  Demonic activity surrounds such practices, and in case you were unaware, Satan is the father of lies.  You may think you can handle getting cozy with the devil, but you’re only heading for hurt.

What are you facing right now friend?  Are you facing big decisions?  Don’t look for shortcuts.  If you think that God is silent, then figure out why. Don’t “cheat” and look to the wrong things.

Foolish

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good. (Psalm 14:1)

The truth that David declared sounds pretty ridiculous in this age of smart-thinking scientists.  The brilliant minds of our age would scoff at David’s conclusions. Some of my smarter pals at school would call me an idiot for agreeing with David.  Yet I think David got it right when he said it was foolish to think there is no God.

Professors tell us that if you are smart enough, you will gaze at the amazing Rocky Mountains and declare they are simply products of natural forces.  The world has us thinking that gazing up at the night sky on a desert evening should make us wonder at the “big bang”.  The intelligentsia has us trained to think that looking at the beauty of a tropical flower, a bird in the sky, or a whale breaching off the coast are simply results of random chance mutation.  But is that so?  We had to be trained and taught to conclude that there is no God.  Those conclusions don’t come naturally.

Belief in God is not a convenient truth, because it leads to the truth that we are accountable to our Creator. Want to know more about what God is really like?  Look at His Son.  Jesus explains to us exactly what God is like, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).