The Secret of Success
Text: 2 Chronicles 11:9 “So David waxed greater and greater: for the LORD of hosts was with him.“
The secret to how David became greater and greater was that God was with him. We need to stay close to God by listening to Him and spending time in his Word and in prayer each day alone. We also need to spend daily time in prayer and devotions with our family if we are married.
Hymn (“God, Himself is with Us”): “God Himself is with us: Let us now adore Him, And with awe appear before Him. God is in His temple, all within keep silence, Prostrate lie with deepest reverence. Him alone God we own, Him our God and Savior; Praise His Name forever.”
Don’t Ever Quit Worshipping God
Text: 1 Chronicles 15:29 (KJV) “And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.”
David was so excited that the Ark of the Covenant (that contained God’s holy Ten Commandments) had come to Jerusalem, that he danced and played before the Lord. His wife, Michal, saw David and despised him in her heart. She was then cursed to be childless. The moral of this true story is that no matter where we go some people will despise us in their hearts because their hearts are cold toward the things of God. My prayer is that you and I will still worship God, no matter the consequences, and no matter who insults us.
Hymn (“Coming up the Road”): “When David danced before the Lord, The ark was coming up the road; His wife despised him in her heart; The ark was coming up the road.” Refrain: “It’s coming, hallelujah! The ark is coming up the road; It’s coming, hallelujah! The ark is coming up the road.”
God is so Good to Me
Text: 1 Chronicles 16:34 (KJV) “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.”
King David wrote and sang a Psalm of praise that God had allowed him to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. In the midst of his praise, he proclaimed that God is so good, his mercy endureth forever. Today, let each of us take time to reflect on the goodness of God. God is so good that He sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins, be buried, and rise from the dead on the third day. God is so good that He provides food, clothing, shelter, health, and loved ones in our life. God is so good that He gave us the local church and brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage us. Finally, God is so good that Jesus is coming back for His bride, the church, namely all men and women who believe in Him and trust Him as their Savior and LORD.
Hymn (“GOD Is so Good”): “God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He’s so good to me!”
More, More about Jesus
Text: 1 Chronicles 16:10 (KJV) “Glory ye in His holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.”
In the midst of his praise, David proclaimed that God’s name is holy and that believers should rejoice and seek the LORD. Today, let each of us take time to seek the LORD and spend more, more, time with Jesus. I challenge each of us to fast something at least one day in the next thirty. If you cannot fast food, fast television, video games, DVDs, or cell phones, etc., and spend one day without any “entertainment” and read your Bible, pray, and listen to God.
Hymn (“More about Jesus”): “More about Jesus would I know, More of His grace to others show; More of His saving fullness see, More of His love Who died for me.” Refrain: “More, more about Jesus, More, more about Jesus; More of His saving fullness see, More of His love, Who died for me.”
A Clean Mouth
Text: Psalm 71:15 (KJV) “My mouth shall show forth Thy righteousness and Thy salvation.”
Psalm 71 was written by an anonymous person. The writer praises God and says that his mouth will show forth God’s righteousness and salvation. As Christians, we need this twofold clean mouth. Let us have clean speech with no filthy talk or jokes, no gossiping, and no backbiting. Let us also tell of the goodness of God that leads us to repentance and faith in Jesus’ Name.”
Hymn (“Just a Word for Jesus”): “Now just a word for Jesus; Your dearest Friend so true; Come, cheer our hearts and tell us, What He hath done for you.” Refrain: “Now just a word for Jesus, ‘Twill help us on our way! One little word for Jesus, Oh speak, or sing, or pray!”
Know Jesus in Your Heart, Not Just in Your Head
Text: Romans 10:9-10 (KJV) “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
What is the way to be saved from death, the grave, and hell? Believe and confess Jesus as God our Savior! Many people (I was one of them) have lots of Bible knowledge and believe that Jesus was a real person and they stop at that. But, to be saved we need spiritual heart surgery. We need to accept Christ into our hearts by repenting of our sins and trusting Jesus to be our Savior and Lord. Christianity is a relationship, not a religion.
Hymn (“If Thou Shalt Confess”): “O lost one in the wilds of sin, So long from God away; Before thee lies an open path, Where thou canst walk today. For if thou shalt confess the Lord, And in thine heart believe; His Word is sure, it stands secure, `Thou shalt be saved, Thou shalt be saved.’ ”
God Answers All our Prayers
Text: 1 Chronicles 5:20 (KJV) “And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and He was intreated of them; because they put their trust in Him.”
The men of Israel won in battle because they cried to God and they trusted in Him. God always answers the prayers of Christians. He answers in three ways: yes; no; or not yet. So the next time someone who doesn’t trust Christ as his or her Savior and Lord insults you, saying, “I guess God doesn’t answer your prayers because you are `too poor, too fat, too stupid,’ or whatever, stop and say, `That’s worldly stuff! I trust that God always hears my prayers and I know that He will give me the right answer at the perfect time!’ “
Hymn (“He Will Answer Every Prayer”): “God has given you His promise, That He hears and answers prayer. He will heed your supplication, If you cast on Him your care.” Refrain: “He will answer every prayer, He will answer every prayer, Go to Him in faith believing, He will answer every prayer.”
The Prayer of Jabez-Some Important Lessons
Text: 1 Chronicles 4:10 (KJV) “And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, `Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.”
Jabez called on God. We need to pray to God and not run for the quickest self-help book, or ease our pain in other more destructive ways. Jabez asked that God would bless him and enlarge his “coast.” We need to ask God to bless and expand our endeavors every day as we reach out to others. Jabez asked to be kept from evil and not to be “grieved.” We must daily confess our sins, repent of them, and ask God to fill us with his Holy Spirit so that we can do much for his glory.
Hymn (“Jesus Who Bought Us with His Blood”): “Jesus, who bought us with His blood, And makes our souls His care; Was known of old as Israel’s God, And answered Jabez’ prayer. Jabez! a child of grief! the name befits poor sinners well; For Jesus bore the cross and shame, To save our souls from hell.”
What’s A Genealogy For?”
Text: 1 Chronicles 1:1(KJV) “Adam, Sheth, Enosh…”
The first nine chapters of the book of Chronicles are devoted to the history and genealogy of Israel. Many Christians say, “Why read these boring names?” My friends and family of God, this ought not be said. We can learn at least three things from these genealogies.
1. God works through people of all generations and backgrounds.
2. As believers in Christ, our spiritual heritage is in these names. We are all part of God’s family.
3. The specific names give us encouragement and security in the fact that God knows our names, too. They are lovingly written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Worship Song (“He Knows My Name,” by Israel Houghton): “I have a Maker, He Formed My Heart, Before even time began, My life was in hands.” Chorus: “He knows my name, He knows my every thought, He sees each tear that falls, And hears me when I call.”
Jesus Has Set the Captives Free
Text: 2 Kings 25:21c (KJV) “So Judah was carried away out of their land.”
Judah, and Jerusalem its capital, was destroyed by Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar and all the people except the poor of the land were taken into captivity. In the Bible, there are various “types.” Most Bible scholars agree that Babylon is a “type” of our sinful world and how it captures God’s people. Jesus came to earth to overcome sin. He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again thus overcoming death. This gives us an opportunity to be set free through repentance and a faith relationship with Him. For your eternal security, please repent and give your life to Him today if you have not already done so?
Hymn (“He Set Me Free”): “My soul is filled with joy and gladness, Since Jesus came to me. His love has banished all my sadness, From sin I am set free.” Refrain: “He set me free, He set me free, I was blind, but hallelujah, now I see! I shall ne’er forget the day, When He washed my sins away, And He set, He set me free.”
A Tender Heart for God
Text: 2 Kings 22:19 (KJV) “Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.”
King Josiah, who started his Godly reign of Judah when he was only eight years old, found the Book containing God’s laws. He ripped his clothes and wept before God for his sins and the sins of the nation. God said He would hear Josiah’s prayer because Josiah had a tender (Hebrew word, rakak) heart toward God. God wants people who will daily repent of their own sins and intercede and weep for the sins of their nation. Finally, I wish to commend those young people out there, whether in grade school, high school, college, or just entering the work force who are not afraid to be witnesses for Christ. “Keep on keeping on” doing well for his Kingdom!
Hymn (“O, for That Tenderness of Heart,” verses 1 & 2): “O for that tenderness of heart, Which bows before the Lord, Acknowledging how just Thou art, And trembling at Thy Word! O for those humble, contrite tears, Which from repentance flow; That consciousness of guilt which fears The long-suspended blow!”
Our Testimony-Something to Share with Others
Text: Psalm 66:16 (KJV) “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.”
Here in the midst of the Psalm, the writer encourages those around him who fear God to listen to his testimony. We that have come to faith in Christ also have a testimony. It is not something that we should be ashamed of or keep to ourselves. We need to share our testimony both with our fellow Christians to encourage them, and also with the lost so that they can be set free from the power of sin, death, and the grave.
Hymn (“I Love to Tell the Story): “I love to tell the story of unseen things above, Of Jesus and His glory, Of Jesus and His love. I love to tell the story, Because I know ’tis true; It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.” Refrain: “I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory, To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.”
I am Adopted
Text: Romans 8:15 (KJV) “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father”
The Apostle Paul said that when a person accepts Jesus as their Savior and LORD they are adopted into the family of God. I come from a messed up family where I experienced much abuse and fear. To this day, even though I have forgiven my tormentors like Jesus asked me to, I can have no earthly relationship with them. All I can do is pray for their salvation, and ask the Lord to send someone to them. Isn’t it wonderful that God says that when we put our faith and trust in His Son Jesus, He adopts us into his family and we can, like a child, call him “Abba,” which translates as “Daddy.”
Hymn (“Adopted”): “O what a blessing, How can I express it? Out of the fullness of rapture I sing, Now by the Father received and adopted, I am a child and an heir of a King.” Refrain: “I am adopted, O wonderful love, Heir to a heritage purchased above; Tell it, my soul, and joyfully sing, I am a child and an heir of a King.”
Prayer, Your First Line of Defense
Text: 2Kings 19:1 (KJV) “And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.”
After the invasion and capture of all the fortified cities of Judah by the evil king of Assyria, King Hezekiah did not cry and give up in surrender. Instead, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth (signs of repentance, sorrow, and grief), and went into the Temple to pray. Prayer should be our first line of defense in a crisis, but also in times of peace. I am amazed and humbled by my Godly ancestors, the Scottish Covenanters, who prayed two to four hours a day, before, during, and after
their persecution by the wicked kings and clergy of both Scotland and England. Let us pray daily and not just at mealtimes. God is always waiting to hear from his people and to hear the call of “Please save me, LORD” from those who do not yet know Him, but want to know Him as their Savior and LORD.
Hymn (“Sweet Hour of Prayer,” verse 3): “Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer! Thy wings shall my petition bear, To Him whose truth and faithfulness, Engage the waiting soul to bless. In addition, since He bids me seek His face, Believe His Word and trust His grace, I’ll cast on Him my every care, And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!”
Worship God, Not Idols
Text: 2Kings 17:16-18 (KJV) “And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only. ”
After the invasion of Israel by the king of Assyria, the people worshipped idols and made the LORD very angry. We do the same as Christians when we forsake the worship of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST and drift away from our daily personal and family devotional time. It is so easy for sloth and the cares of the world to tear us away. Oh, LORD, have mercy on us, and forgive us our trespasses and neglect.
Hymn (“Worship, Thanks, and Blessing”): “Worship, and thanks, and blessing, And strength ascribe to Jesus! Jesus alone defends His own, When earth and hell oppress us! Jesus with joy we witness Almighty to deliver; Our seals set to, that God is true, And reigns a King for ever.”
Follow God, Not Sinful Ancestors
Text: 2Kings 13:1-2 (KJV) “In the twenty-third year of Joash son of Ahaziah king of Judah, Jehoahaz son of Jehu became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned seventeen years. 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.”
Jehoahaz became king, but he followed the sins of his ancestors and did evil. I want to tell you today that there are such real things as “generational curses,” but the power of the Holy Spirit can restore and change our lives and break those generational curses as we heed and obey God’s Word. If your family has been cursed by sin for decades, you can turn the tide through God’s grace and the faith He places in you. Follow God, pray for your loved ones, and watch the miracles unfold!
Hymn (“Follow Me, A Call so Tender”): “Follow Me! A call so tender, Falls upon my list’ning ear; ‘Tis the voice of Christ, my Savior, ‘Tis the Shepherd’s call I hear.”
Refrain: “O that call! Loving call! ‘Tis the sweetest voice of all. How it draws me nearer to Him, When I hear my Shepherd’s call!”
Come See my Zeal for the LORD
Text: 2 Kings 10:11-16 (KJV) “So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests, until he left him none remaining. And he arose and departed, and came to Samaria. And as he was at the shearing house in the way, Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah king of Judah, and said, `Who are ye?’ And they answered, `We are the brethren of Ahaziah; and we go down to salute the children of the king and the children of the queen.’ And he. . .slew them at the pit of the shearing house. . .And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him: and he saluted him, and said to him, `Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart?’ And Jehonadab answered, `It is. If it be, give me thine hand.’ And he gave him his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot. And he said, `Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD.’ ”
Jehu had “zeal for the LORD.” Jesus had a passion for the glory of his Father. In John 2, Jesus took action against the money exchangers in the temple because the holiness of God and his “house of prayer” were being violated. Jesus cleared everyone out and threw over their tables because He was zealous for God and his glory. Do you have that zeal for God’s glory? Now I am not asking you to throw over tables and break doors down, but we are to follow the example of Christ and have zeal for the Lord. Love God and be zealous, but use wisdom, grace, and compassion as well.
Hymn (“Be Strong in Him”): “Be strong in God and in His power; Put on His armor every day. Thus you can take your stand each hour; The devil’s schemes won’t lead you astray. The battle’s like a flood, Though not ‘gainst flesh and blood; But ‘gainst the spiritual realm, With Satan at the helm; You face the powers of darkness.”
Leave a Godly Legacy
Text: 2 Kings 9:30-37 (KJV) “And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window. And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, `Had Zimri peace, who slew his master?’ And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, `Who is on my side? Who?’ And there looked out to him two orthree eunuchs. And he said, `Throw her down.’ So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot. And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, `Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king’s daughter.’ And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands. Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, `This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, `In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel: And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.’ ”
Wicked Queen Jezebel did not leave her riches to the poor nor did she leave a Godly legacy behind. Instead, she died accursed. Even today our society calls a wicked, sinful, woman “a scheming Jezebel.” I am here to share with you that God wants those who come behind us (family members, co-workers, bosses, friends, and neighbors) to find us faithfully leaving a Godly spiritual legacy.
Song (“Find us Faithful,” by Steve Green): “After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone, And our children sift through all we’ve left behind, May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover (find us faithful).”
I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel of Christ
Text: Psalm 63:7 (KJV) “Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.”
This Psalm was written when King David was in the wilderness of Judah fleeing for his life from his rebellious son, Absalom. David rejoiced that God was his help and protection. This verse is not saying that God has wings like a bird, rather it is a metaphor. As a bird protects her young, God protects all of us who trust in Him and run to him when the troubles, cares, and trials of this world try to defeat and harm us. If you are feeling afraid, lonely, or desperate and want comfort, go to God. He will be your help and protector.
Hymn (“In the Shadow of His Wings): “In the shadow of His wings, There is rest, sweet rest; There is rest from care and labor, There is rest for friend and neighbor; In the shadow of His wings, There is rest, sweet rest, In the shadow of His wings, There is rest (sweet rest).”
I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel of Christ
Text: Romans 1:16 (KJV) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
The Apostle Paul wrote that he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. We should be like Paul and not be ashamed of the Gospel. Why should we not be ashamed? Because it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes by faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and is trusting Christ alone to save them. We are not saved by our good works, or joining a church, etc., but we are saved by putting our faith and trust in God’s grace through Jesus. So, since we have become believers, let us not be ashamed and let us share with those who have not yet believed the Good News.
Hymn (“Take a Stand for Jesus”): “Take a stand for Jesus, let all people know, That you mean to serve Him, Everywhere you go. High or low your station, rich or poor your lot, Take a stand for Jesus, and forsake Him not.
Fill the Empty Vessels
Text: II Kings 4:1-6 (KJV) “Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, `Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.’ And Elisha said unto her, `What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house?’ And she said, `Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.’ Then he said, `Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.’ So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out. And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, `Bring me yet a vessel.’ And he said unto her, `There is not a vessel more.’ And the oil stayed. ”
Elisha the Prophet performed a miracle by God’s power and filled the empty pots with oil for a widow so that her sons would not be sold as slaves. Jesus saves us from the slavery and punishment of sin, and then He desires that we be filled vessels of the Holy Spirit to share his love and good news with the lost members of our families, lost friends, lost neighbors, and lost bosses and co-workers.
Hymn (“Bring Your Vessels, Not a Few”): “Are you longing for the fullness, Of the blessing of the Lord, In your heart and life today? Claim the promise of your Father; Come according to His Word, In the blessèd, old time way.” Refrain: “He will fill your heart today to overflowing. As the Lord commandeth you, `Bring your vessels, not a few.’ He will fill your heart today to overflowing, With the Holy Ghost and power.”
A Double Portion
Text: II Kings 2:9 (KJV) “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, `Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee.’ And Elisha said, `I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.’ ”
Elisha the Prophet asked for “a double portion” of the Holy Spirit to come upon him as he replaced Elijah the Prophet, who was going to go to heaven. Elisha’s motives were pure because he wanted to accomplish more for God’s glory so God granted him his request. Today, as we get ready for Jesus’ soon return, let us pray for “a double portion” of the Holy Spirit so we can do much for God’s glory, and plant, water, and reap the harvest of souls that need to come into his Kingdom before Jesus comes back.
Hymn (“God of the Prophets, Bless the Prophets’ Sons”): “God of the prophets, Bless the prophets’ sons! Elijah’s mantle o’er Elisha cast; Each age its solemn task may claim but once; Make each one nobler, stronger, than the last.”
God is Still on the Throne
Text: I Kings 22:19 (KJV) “And he said, `Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.’ ”
In today’s text, we come to the place where evil King Ahab was about to hear a prophecy from Micaiah, the Prophet. Micaiah, said he saw the LORD sitting on his throne. God is still on his throne. Today, you and I may be facing an illness, problems at work or in our home, or just feeling lonely. Do not fret anymore, but look up and rejoice that God is still on his throne and He will hear our prayers and will care for us and lift us up in our time of trials.
Hymn (“God is Still on the Throne”): “Have you started for glory and Heaven? Have you left this old world far behind? In your heart is the Comforter dwelling? Can you say, `Praise the Lord, He is mine’? Have the ones that once walked on the highway, Gone back, and you seem all alone? Keep your eyes on the prize, for the home in the skies; God is still on the throne.”
The Still Small Voice
Text: I Kings 19:11-13 (KJV) “And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, `What doest thou here, Elijah?’ ”
Elijah, The Prophet of God, had just experienced a strong wind, earthquake, and a fire but did not hear the voice of God. After the fire, he heard a still small voice, the voice of God. Today, do not look for the voice of God in the dramatic or spectacular, but instead get alone with God in his Word and in prayer, and listen humbly and quietly for his still, small voice to guide and lead you.
Hymn (“Hark! There Comes a Whisper”): “Hark! There comes a whisper, Stealing on thine ear: ‘Tis the Savior calling, Soft, soft and clear.” Refrain: “Give thy heart to Me, Once I died for thee”; Hark! Hark! Thy Savior calls: Come, sinner, come!”
Elijah’s God Still Lives Today
Text: I Kings 18:38-39 (KJV) “Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and they said, `The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.’ ”
In today’s text, we come to the place where the Prophet Elijah, on Mount Carmel, silenced the 450 false prophets of Baal. He called down the fire of God which consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the altar, and even the water. Elijah’s God is still alive today and wants to rule and reign in our hearts and lives. All we need to do is accept Christ as our Savior and LORD by grace through faith alone. Then let us pray the words of today’s closing hymn, “Lord send your holy fire (The Holy Spirit) upon my heart today.”
Hymn (“Elijah’s God Still Lives Today”): “Elijah made a sacrifice, To offer to Jehovah; It had been wet with water thrice, Baal’s sacrifice was over. Elijah prayed: the fire came down, And licked the water all around; So doubting ones believed, and found Elijah’s God was living.” Refrain: “Elijah’s God still lives today, To take the guilt of sin away; And when I pray my heart’s desire, Upon my soul He sends the fire.”
God is My Rock and Refuge
Text: Psalm 62:7 (KJV) “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.”
King David wrote this Psalm during his son Absalom’s rebellion in which he tried to steal the kingdom from his father. David said God is his salvation, his glory, and the rock of his strength and his refuge. Today, do you as a parent have a rebellious child who treats you with ill respect? Do you have an always angry boss or co-worker? Do you have a wayward and bitter spouse? Or, do you just feel lonely and overwhelmed? Do not fret or fear, but go to Jesus and tell Him, “Lord Jesus, I need you, please be my Rock and my Strength.” He will sustain, hold, and keep you!
Hymn (“Blessed Rock”): “Mid the wild and fearful blast, I have reached the Rock at last; Helpless, weak and sore dismayed, To the cross I’ll cling for aid.” Refrain: ”Blessed Rock, whose love divine, Fills with joy this heart of mine; Cross of Him who died for me, Evermore I’ll cling to Thee.”
Text: Acts 26:28 (KJV) “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, `Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.’ ”
King Agrippa flippantly told the Apostle Paul, who had just shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him, “You almost persuaded me to be a Christian.” We must never stop sharing the Gospel with others. We must always realize that a person’s eternal soul is at stake. Still, it is ultimately up to the person to yield to the Holy Spirit’s call to accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord. “He who is almost persuaded is almost saved, and to be almost saved is to be entirely lost,” were the words with which the noted Rev. Mr. Brundage ended one of his sermons. P. P. Bliss, who was in the audience, was much impressed with the thought, and immediately set about the composition of what proved to be one of his most popular songs, today’s hymn, “Almost Persuaded.”
Hymn (“Almost Persuaded”): “Almost persuaded now to believe; Almost persuaded Christ to receive; Seems now some soul to say, `Go, Spirit, go Thy way, Some more convenient day, On Thee I’ll call.’ ”
The Answer to a Sinful Lifestyle
Text: I Kings 15:9-12a (KJV) “And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah. And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom. And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land.”
God used King Asa to rid Judah of the sodomites (homosexual male prostitutes). The Bible says Asa “did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD.” The Bible also says that only the LORD is to judge, and only the LORD is to bring vengeance on wrongdoers. An active homosexual lifestyle is sin according to the Bible, but before we are too quick to point fingers we must remember that sin also includes pride, arrogance, lust, gluttony, and gossip. These are just a few of the sins we Christians seem to often ignore within ourselves. Only the Gospel, both spoken and lived, can set us free! To paraphrase Jesus, “They will know us by our love!”
Hymn (“Only a Sinner, Saved by Grace”): “Once I was foolish, and sin ruled my heart, Causing my footsteps from God to depart; Jesus hath found me, happy my case; I now am a sinner, saved by grace!” Refrain: “Only a sinner, saved by grace! Only a sinner, saved by grace! This is my story, to God be the glory. I’m only a sinner, saved by grace!”
Love God’s House
Text: I Kings 9:15a (KJV) “And this is the reason of the levy which King Solomon raised; for to build the house of the LORD.”
In great reverence, Solomon built the Temple, the House of the LORD. We need to have such reverence about God’s House where we congregate. We, of course, don’t worship the building but we worship in the building as we freely “gather together” with our brothers and sisters in Christ. As we gather, we need to remember how our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world long to be with each other in the same freedom we have. Please lift them up in prayer.
Hymn (“We Love the Venerable House”): “We love the venerable house, Our fathers built to God; In heaven are kept their grateful vows, Their dust endears the sod.”
God, Please be with Us and Help Us to be With You
Text: I Kings 8:57 (KJV) “The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us.”
King Solomon dedicated the Temple and in the midst of his prayer of dedication he asked for God to always be with the people and him and never forsake them. Today, I would ask that we take this one step further and pray for God to not only be with us and never leave nor forsake us, but also for us to stay close to God and never forsake Him. We stay close to God by reading and heeding the Bible, by listening to Him in prayer, and by serving Him and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ..
Hymn (“God, Be in My Head”): “God be in my head, and in my understanding; God be in mine eyes, and in my looking; God be in my mouth, and in my speaking; God be in my heart, and in my thinking; God be at mine end, and at my departing.”
Blessed be the LORD, This Day
Text: I Kings 5:7 (KJV) “And it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, `Blessed be the LORD this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people.’ ”
In today’s text, we come to the place where Hiram gave praise to God for the gift of wisdom God gave to Solomon. As Christians, we need to make every day “a festival day” of praise to God for the gifts He has given us and those close to us. If we are able, it is well to get on our knees by our beds first thing in the morning and declare, “Blessed be the LORD this day and thank you LORD for another day to glorify You!”
Hymn (“Hail Thee, Festival Day”): “God the Almighty Lord, The Ruler of earth and the heavens, Guard us from harm without; Cleanse us from evil within. Jesus the health of the world, Enlighten our minds, great Redeemer, Son of the Father Supreme, Only begotten of God. Spirit of life and of power, Now flow in us, fount of our being, Light that enlightens us all, Life that in all may abide.”