June 1 – Imagine this situation. You are 21 years old and have lived in one place all of your life and think things are going quite well. You are behaving and doing the things that you believe are right, because everyone else is doing the same. Even your beloved king condones and participates in these activities. All of a sudden, war is all around you and foreigners are trying to break into your walled city. They have laid siege against you, your friends and neighbors so that nothing can come in or go out of your city. Starvation has set in. You ask “why would God allow such brutalities?” I would ask “why didn’t you cared about God until things became so bad?” Is this similar to the approach that many of us take today?
June 2 – Here is a personal question for you to consider – how many “foreigners” have you witnessed to in the past year. Let’s define a foreigner – we are members of God’s family, those who do not know God can be considered foreigners. This Roman Centurion, at the beginning of chapter 7, came to Jesus because he had faith that his servant could be healed. Who witnessed to this “foreigner” to implant that faith? We don’t know, but we experience the depth of that faith. To answer the personal question, your actions have acted as a witness to all of the “foreigners” you see every day, in some way or another
June 3 – Have you ever heard the phrase “forgive and forget?” Have you heard that this phrase is in God’s Holy Word? You will not find this exact phrase in scripture, but you will find that it is the example of God’s forgiveness of our sins. Read Psalm 103 and discover that “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions.” Corrie Ten Boom did not forget, but she was able to forgive. Use your favorite search engine and look for “Corrie Ten Boom story on forgiveness” to read her story in its entirety … you will greatly enjoy it!
June 4 – We have considered the question – “Would you feel a greater motivation to be in church if you could visually see God’s presence?” Although you can’t point up to the ceiling or up to the empty front row and say “there is God’s cloud,” you can visually see the Spirit-led things that people do. You can often feel God’s presence when a sermon may be moving your heart or healing some wound that you hold deeply. You can see the moving of God in a new convert who has come to the altar to confess Christ as Savior. Yes, God is here now, there at church and with you everywhere you go.
June 5 – Here is a quote for you – “That all the earth’s people may know that the Lord is God.” All of the earth’s people? This is in the first chapter of Kings! What could have been the known world’s population at that time? We know that God created Adam and Eve. We know that they had children because they were told to be fruitful and multiply. Because of this knowledge, it is highly possible that there are other tribes of people, not even mentioned in God’s Word, who would populate other areas of the world.
June 6 – Have you ever experienced the refining of silver? You watch as the “dross” rises to the top and is poured off, while pure silver remains. As indicated in the words of Psalm 66, God purifies His people through the trials of fire. Although we have to undergo the trials in this world, God “has not allowed our feet to slip.” Through God, we know that all trials will end with His Will. Thank God and look for His Will in every trial of life.
June 7 – Here is an excellent proverb to memorize and apply to your life every day – “Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord.” How often do you apply the principle of humility? Are you the most humble person you know? Did I catch you with that one? You can’t be humble while boasting about being humble. That, to me, is what it means to be not wise in your own eyes. Can you even do that while reverently worshiping God?
June 8 – Did you read the words of Lamentations closely? Next question – can God become so disappointed in a nation that He destroys everything down to the foundations? He did this when the great flood destroyed the world. The nations of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed when not even ten righteous people could be found there. Will God destroy specific nations today? Is it time for the rapture of His flock out of this world? We can’t answer either of these questions, but we can observe what is happening around us.
June 9 – Do recall the instance of Peter and John healing the lame man (Acts 3)? Do you remember Eutychus? He was the man healed by Paul in Acts 20 after he fell out of a window. These are apostles who are doing the healing. Did this ability start with the resurrection of Jesus? Did it start after the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost? No, looking at today’s scripture reading you will see that Jesus gave them this power in verse 9:1
June 10 – Did you notice that Paul says that he has become as the Galatians are (a Gentile)? He is freed from the bondage that Jewish ritualism puts upon the Israelites. Religious legalism and requirements to do certain acts and sacrifices in order to earn salvation are a slavery to those regulations. Paul is a believer in the Son of God who came to fulfill the law of God which overrules the 613 laws that man had made. God’s law is also meant to overrule the laws that our country may make against Him.
June 11 – Aren’t you glad that we don’t have to remember all of these rules and regulations? Aren’t you glad that we can bring our sins to God without all of the bloody sacrifices and even without a priest as an intercessor? As I am sure that you have heard before, we have a direct line to God and it is always open. You will never call on Him and get a vacation message or a busy signal. As a Gospel song says, “We serve an on-time God.”
June 12 – Let’s think back to a time when you said a solemn prayer to God and needed an immediate response. It may have been as your car was fishtailing on an icy road. It could have been when someone is trapped under a heavy object and you need the strength of a crane to lift it. Did you get that immediate answer? In chapter 13 there were three immediate answers from God. Can you name all three?
June 13 – Have you had days when it seems that everybody and everything is against you? Days that you feel like confessing to God “my enemies talk against me; those who watch for my life consult together?” Most of us will be able to recall those days rather clearly. How did you respond? Did you go to a lunchtime Bible study and have some time with God? Maybe you went somewhere quiet for some solitary prayer and conversation with God.
June 14 – Today’s reading closes out with the excellent advice that this entire chapter is leading up to – “turn not aside to the right hand or to the left.” We are to focus on God and His Word and stay on the straight path to Him. Matthew 7 tell us “But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it.” Few will choose the straight path to God. As a matter of fact, a favorite drawing of one of our Sunday school teachers involves the straight path to God with our own left and right wanderings drawn on top of it. It is so easy to hear God’s Word and agree with it! Continually applying that word and following the straight path is against man’s true nature and it requires much prayer and commitment.
June 15 – As you have seen today, prophecy can be presented in somewhat of a “Chronicles of Narnia” style with unusual sounding animals and unbelievable events. Remember, though, that God created this worls as we know it. He created the birds of the air and fish of the sea. When it is the right time, God has the power to create hybrid animals to match descriptions found in certain prophecies. Do you agree with this belief?
June 16 – Interesting question – have you ever been robbed? I recently saw the movie entitled “War Room.” In this movie, two ladies are robbed at knifepoint. One woman responds in the normal way and hands over the purse. The other woman commands the robber to leave in the name of God. Verse 11:22 says “when one stronger than he attacks him and conquers him.” Do we have enough faith in God to confront a “simple” robbery in this way?
June 17 – Read Ephesians 1:9 again. It says, of God, “Making known to us the mystery (secret) of His will.” Have you thought of Christian wisdom in this way? God is revealing His Will for you every day in a way that you can handle and understand it. Just as God will not put more trials on us than we can handle, He will not grant us more knowledge and opportunities than He knows we are ready for. What trials, and opportunities, have you been gifted with lately?
June 18 – Do some of these laws make sense from a health and safety standpoint? Think about it, modern science has “taught” us many things that God already knew and covered for. Do you handle raw chicken and head right over to the preparation of your vegetables? I certainly hope not, since that would have a high probability of spreading the disease called salmonella. It should be no surprise to us that science is only catching up to God as He chooses to reveal certain bits of wisdom
June 19 – Did you notice that the reign of Elah lasted approximately a year? Chapter 16 tells us that it started in the twenty sixth year of the reign of Asa and Zimri killed him the next year. A king who only gets to reign for a tear! Even more interesting is the reign of his predecessor which lasted only seven days. These guys are in and out while Asa king of Judah is closing out a second decade of rule. Consider and discuss the good and bad kings that ruled.
June 20 – There is a statement made in 73:1 which we should be extremely thankful to Jesus for over-ruling. “Truly God is [only] good to Israel, even to those who are upright and pure in heart.” Which part of this was over-ruled by Jesus? If you accept the bracketed word “only,” that is a part that is no longer true. The best part is that, through the blood of Jesus, God is good to all men and women even though they are not upright and pure of heart.
June 21 – How many times have you watched ants storing things away for the winter? Verse 6:6 says “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways and be wise?” You will see a seemingly never-ending line of ants all working together toward the goal of survival. The goal is to plan, work and be ready for the future. Should we put the same effort into spreading God’s Word? That is the most important commission that is given to those of God’s flock.
June 22 – Here is the belief – you know God and have accepted Jesus as Savior. Because of this acceptance, verse 7:3 does not apply to you – “I will send my anger upon you and will judge you according to your ways.” The anger and judgment was placed upon Jesus while He was on the cross. Although the debt has been paid, it should be bothersome that others, maybe even loved ones, haven’t accepted Christ and will be on the receiving end of such harsh words.
June 23 – Wouldn’t it be nice to always know the absolutely correct thing to say? In Luke 14, Jesus knows that he is about to heal the man on the Sabbath. He also knows the beliefs of the lawyers and Pharisees, so He asks “Is it lawful and right to cure on the Sabbath?” Did you catch that? He included the phrase “and right.” Although it may not always be lawful, it should be right to do a good deed regardless of man’s laws.
June 24 – Look around at the entirety of your congregation. Is there “oneness in the faith and the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God?” We are Christians, saved by grace, so we should be striving together for this complete knowledge. We are human, so our human nature is trying to draw us away from a God-centered life. Which one of these opposites will rule? As the old saying goes, “whichever dog you feed the most.”
June 25 – How many laws have you broken today? You may be guilty of speeding on the way to work. You may not have come to a complete stop at every stop sign. You may have even taken home office supplies that belong to the company. What if you were exiled because of these “slight” infractions? Would that be fair? Leviticus 7 mentions being “cut off from his people” if someone should eat the sacrificial offering when he is unclean. Yes, that is equivalent to exile.
June 26 – What did Naboth do to deserve death? He refused to sell a vineyard to the king that had probably been in his family for generations. What did Jesus do to deserve death? He refused to follow along with man’s system of “goodness.” Both Jesus and Naboth refused to sacrifice what is right just because someone with earthly power asked it of them. Do we have this power? Yes we do, if only we can muster up the commitment to exercise it. What other similarities exist between the lives of Naboth, Jesus, and others in scripture?
June 27 – Here is a statement for you to ponder – Psalms is Old Testament scripture. Good, you knew that already. In verse 77”8 we read “will the Lord reject forever? And will He never be favorable again?” As New Testament Christians and believers we know that the answer to this question is a solid NO. Until the rapture has occurred, repentance and forgiveness rule the life of God’s flock. Keep that in mind while reading the psalms and prophecies.
June 28 – This scripture brings the phrase “learn to fight the right way” to mind. Since our scripture reading is discussing temptation and our susceptibility to giving in to sin, this is quite applicable. I am quite sure that we have fought with loved ones over things that are sometimes petty. Learning to fight the right way involves getting rid of the pettiness and fighting the devil and his hold over our desire for sin. When you fight the devil and win there is no better victory.
June 29 – Were you paying close attention to the reading of Ezekiel 16? What were you thinking of while reading of such love for an abandoned baby? We often hear stories of someone who managed to hide her pregnancy, give birth in a restroom and dump the baby in a trash can. Those who find the baby and provide nurturing and sustenance are showing God’s love as it is illustrated in chapter 16 today.
June 30 – Interesting question – do you enjoy drama? If so, there is plenty of drama and learning opportunities at the end of chapter 16. On earth, the beggar st at the rich man’s gate and couldn’t even get a meager handout. Now in the afterlife, the beggar is being sought out by the rich man who is “in anguish in this flame.” It is always easy to put off accepting Christ, but suddenly there are no more opportunities. Try to ensure that everyone you know gets that opportunity.