Saturday, February 23, 2013

Heart Thoughts

"Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer."
 Psalm 19: 14

God promised to make Jeroboam, son of Nebat, king over ten tribes of Israel. Jeroboam's dynasty would endure if he listened to God's commands, followed God's ways, and did right in God's eyes (1 Kings 11: 35- 38).
After becoming king, Jeroboam thought to himself, "The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam."  (1 Kings 12: 26- 27).  Some Bible translations use the phrase "Jeroboam said in his heart...".
Jeroboam's heart demonstrated wrong thinking, and as a result he led Israel to sin. Jeroboam failed to heed God's counsel, and came up with his own plan. More concerned with the people's loyalty to him rather than the people's obedience to God, Jeroboam sought advice from men. This counsel was contrary to the LORD's commands. Jeroboam set up altars and idols at Bethel and Dan. Jeroboam also rejected the Levites - God's ordained priests- replacing them with others who would practice idolatry.
Jeroboam, son of Nebat, led Israel to sin by providing the wrong gods, in the wrong places, using the wrong authority. He did not do right in God's eyes. Jeroboam rejected the LORD's requirements for worship, and his sin is repeatedly emphasized (2 Kings 14: 23-24; 15: 8-9, 17-18, 23-24, 27-28). This was Jeroboam's legacy.

As a young adult, when I was asked advice, I gave my opinion...what I thought was right in my eyes. The LORD brought me to my senses, impressing upon me to give advice according to His Word.
Our pastor told the congregation, "Know what the word of God says, or we will be left with our own opinions, rather than God's revelation."
God allowed Jeroboam to reign 22 years, and eventually because of Israel's sin of idolatry, God allowed Israel to be taken into captivity by Assyria. Sin has consequences.

What are your heart's thoughts?  Are your thoughts and actions right in God's eyes?

Knowing and obeying God's Word, the Bible,  makes us wise, gives understanding, provides light, preserves our lives, sustains us, and keeps us from sinning. God's word is eternal, trustworthy, right, and true! Those who loves God's law have great peace (Psalm 119).

May our words and thoughts be pleasing to the LORD, our Rock and Redeemer!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love One Another Deeply

" one another deeply, from the heart."
1 Peter 1: 22 b (NIV)

In my Scripture memory, I'm working on 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, the "Love is..." passage. First, I read it over and over. Next, I say it aloud without looking at the text. When I finally have it down, I incorporate into my prayer time..."Lord, help me to be patient and kind to others. Help me not to be easily angered..."
At Bible study, our group was reading 1 Peter. A phrase in verse 22 jumped off the page and landed on my note pad: " one another deeply, from the heart." In place of "deeply" some translations use the word "fervently". The word means intensely, earnestly, fervently. It comes from a verb meaning "stretch out the hand".
When I think of  "stretching out", I think of exercising. And exercising can be painful. It's tough, and it takes discipline. Like exercise,  loving others can be a challenge.
Shirley, our Bible study teacher, said, "God will give us the opportunity to do the loving thing." Oh, yes, He will. Especially if you're asking for it.
Have you ever been snubbed? Mistreated? Offended by rudeness? I have. Inwardly, my anger flares, and I want to say or do something to hurt my offender.
But, that's not love. Love is patient, kind, not envious, doesn't boast, and it's not proud. Love's not rude or self-seeking. Love is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil. Love rejoices with the truth. Love always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. Love never fails.
Because of God's great love, Jesus stretched out his hands for us on a cross. He took our sins, and died for us. And because He lives, His Spirit is available to live in us, giving  us the strength to love others deeply.
Father God, thank you for your great love. When you give us the opportunity to do the loving thing, help us to love others as you have loved us. In the name of our Saviour, Jesus...amen.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Serving God's Purpose

"For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep..." Acts 13: 36 
Friends and family members gathered in our church sanctuary to honor a beloved pastor at his memorial service. Pastor Gene was a sweet man with a twinkle in his eye. He was 90 years old. Married 61 years, he and his wife raised six children. Gene also served his country in the military. Pastor Gene loved God and cared deeply for people.
A wise teacher told me, "There's no retirement in the kingdom of God." On his last day, Pastor Gene attended church, ministering to and praying for people. Later, he went to bed, and in the middle of the night, Jesus called him to his heavenly home. His wife said, "Praise God! Gene lived until he died."
One of his children said, "Dad always talked about the Lord." Gene's grandson said, "We have a responsibility to carry out his godly legacy."
Like King David, Pastor Gene served God's purpose in his generation. He inspired people. Gene will be missed, but we rejoice that we have eternal life because of Jesus Christ!
The Lord determines the places and times where men live (Acts 17: 26), and He calls his people to be salt and light (Matt. 5: 13- 16). Pray to be a godly influence to this generation!
Lord God, I thank you for the godly men and women you have placed in our lives. Thank you for godly legacies that extend to future generations. May each of us serve Your purpose today and until the day we see You face to face! In the name of Jesus, I offer this prayer...amen.

Who has inspired and encouraged you to serve God's purpose in your generation? Please leave a comment.