Category Archives: 1-Year Bible

July 24, 2021

2 Chronicles 11:1–13:22

Unlike the the books of 1 and 2 Kings, which covers the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, Chronicles covers only the kings of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. It only mentions Israel as it pertains to Judah.

When Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, began his reign, he mustered up an army of 180,000 valiant soldiers to attack Israel and reunite the kingdom, but the LORD sent a man of God named Shemaiah, to halt the attack, informing the king that this division was of God. It was part of the consequences the nation had to pay, due to the fact that Solomon’s heart had turned away from the LORD (1 Kings 11).

King Rehoboam submitted to God’s prophet, halted the attack and began to build up his defenses. The Southern Kingdom actually started off on the right foot. As the priests from the north, migrated south, and then the Levites, and others. We read in:

2 Chronicles 11:16 (NKJV) “And after the Levites left, 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.”

There was an influx of people who sought the LORD. It started well. The kingdom was established under the leadership of Rehoboam, because they walked in the ways of David and in the way that Solomon started his reign. But King Rehoboam did not finish well.

2 Chronicles 12:1 (NKJV) “Now it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom and had strengthened himself, that he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel along with him.”

It’s just crazy, foolish! Why don’t people stay on track with God? I see it time and time again. Things went well, life got easier and the king led the people away from the LORD. This resulted in God taking down His walls of protection and allowing the Pharaoh (king of Egypt) to conquer Judah. The prophet explained:

2 Chronicles 12:5 (NKJV) “Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah, who were gathered together in Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘You have forsaken Me, and therefore I also have left you in the hand of Shishak.’’”

Judah suffered for their sins. It didn’t take long for the king of Egypt to plunder the temple and strip them of the gold shields Solomon had made. Thankfully, the leaders DID humble themselves when they were rebuked by the prophet, they knew the Lord was righteous in His punishment. God softened the blow.

God help us to learn from these kings. 1 Corinthians 10:11 informs us that the examples in the Old Testament are given for our warning, so that we’d learn from the things they did right, and the things they did wrong. We read this sad summary about Rehoboam:

2 Chronicles 12:14 (NKJV) “And he did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD.”

Let’s do the opposite. Let’s do good by setting our hearts to seek the LORD.

Reheboam’s son Abijah did better. We read about Judah’s great victory over Israel. How did they do it? They lived their life according to God’s Word in the palace as well as the Temple, they trusted in God. When they found themselves surrounded by the armies of the enemy, “they cried out to the LORD” (2 Chronicles 13:14) and God gave them the victory, wiping out 500,000 choice men of Israel.

The reason is reiterated in:

2 Chronicles 13:18b (NKJV) “…and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the LORD God of their fathers.”

That’s all we need to do friends. Rely on the Lord…just pray and obey.

Romans 8:26-39

We’ve been reading in this chapter how the Holy Spirit gives us victory over our flesh (fallen nature). Here we even read how He helps us pray! (Romans 8:26-27) Christians can pray in tongues (those who have that gift), pray with groanings, and pray with hearts lined up with the Lord, because the Holy Spirit within us, helps us to pray.

Paul then goes on to say that “We know that all things work together for good…”

Do you know that Christian friend?

The tough times, the excruciatingly painful times, the times that make no sense to us, make perfect sense to Him, and He’s working it all out for good. I hope you know that. It doesn’t mean we won’t cry or hurt, it just means we trust Him and won’t/don’t lose heart.

One day we will be completely conformed into the image of Christ. One day we WILL be glorified, in heaven (Romans 8:30).

We will go through many “things” in life. What should be our response?

Romans 8:31 (NKJV) “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Since God is on our side, we have nothing to fear, we cannot be moved. As a matter of fact, we read in:

Romans 8:37 (NKJV) “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

The very things that the enemy intends to weaken us, strengthens us; the things he thinks will make us faint, are the very things used by God to make us – not just conquerors, but MORE than conquerors!

We will go through tough times. We will be accused, we will be condemned by our enemies. We will experience: tribulation, calamities, and persecution. We might experience: hunger, poverty, danger, even death – but it’s all for the glory of God.

Nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from God’s love. We need not fear death, or demons, or anything in the future, no creature or created thing is able to sever us from the love and the life God has for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!

What an epic truth!

Psalm 18:37-50

David is praising God for the way He has defeated his enemies and fulfilled His promise to make him king. It was a word David heard as a young man, when no one else believed in him, not even his dad, but God did, and God anointed him through the prophet Samuel promising that one day he would be king (1 Samuel 16:1-13).

The prophet pointed to that destiny, but the path didn’t. David’s path of preparation was dirty, dusty, demonic, and diabolic; it led to the double-edged sword of doubt and discouragement, deep, deep depression, and even despair.

Had God changed His mind? No, He hadn’t, and in His perfect timing God’s dream for David came to pass. This Psalm praises Him for that.

All our enemies will be defeated. All our enemies will be “under our feet.” And it’s all because of God and His grace. God is not dead and uninvolved, He’s alive, He’s our Rock, and He lifts us up, to put us where we belong…one day that’ll be our home in heaven.

Can you imagine the day when we look back with that same perspective? (Joshua 23:14; 1 Kings 8:56) One day my Christian friend, one day.

Psalm 18:46 (NKJV) “The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.”

Proverbs 19:27-29

Proverbs 19:27 (NKJV) “Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.”

This is why it’s so important to constantly saturate ourselves in the Word of God. Let’s read it to heed it. Let’s listen, learn, and endeavor to live the Bible. It’s tragic that some stop seeking God, cease listening to the Lord, and end up losing in life.

Proverbs 19:28 (NKJV) “A disreputable witness scorns justice, and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.”

God is a God of justice! We read in Psalm 89:14a, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne…” So God calls all judges, witnesses, and people to justice. Imagine someone doing the time who didn’t do the crime – due to false witnesses?

It’s not just a little insignificant lie. It’s the scorning of justice, it’s iniquity, and it’s something God hates (Proverbs 6:16-19). As a matter of fact, in the list of 7 things that God hates, 2 of the 7 were lying, and false witnesses!

Proverbs 19:29 (NKJV) “Judgments are prepared for scoffers, and beatings for the backs of fools.”

No one can say God didn’t warn them. Non-believing scoffers and fools will be judged and beaten…especially those who knew better.

Luke 12:47 (NKJV) “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

July 23, 2021

2 Chronicles 8:11–10:19

Solomon religiously built a house for the daughter of Pharaoh and offered sacrifices galore, but underneath it all, his heart was turning away from the LORD. The foreign women who worshipped other gods, captured his heart. We read in:

1 Kings 11:3 (NKJV) “And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.”

When the Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon, the wisdom God had granted him completely overwhelmed her, “there was no more spirit in her.” (2 Chronicles 9:4b). 

2 Chronicles 9:5–6 (NKJV) “Then she said to the king: ‘It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. 6 However I did not believe their words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me. You exceed the fame of which I heard.’”

If we were to compare Solomon to most of the politicians and world leaders today, he surpasses them hands down. Solomon was brilliant and organized, the kingdom flourished under his reign, economically, and there was peace. But, if we compare Solomon to his father David, he fails miserably. Solomon did not obey the Word of God as clearly articulated in:

Deuteronomy 17:16-17 (NKJV) “But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ ‘Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.’”

Solomon clearly disobeyed God’s Word. So although his head was filled with intellectual and political wisdom, his heart was stripped of that which is more important, Godly wisdom. He multiplied wives from foreign nations as alliances, he multiplied horses and chariots, imported from Egypt, and he greatly multiplied gold and silver. He fell into the ways of the world and he fell away from a right relationship with God. 1 Kings 11 records this time in Solomon’s life. It was then that God raised up adversaries to Solomon, including a young man named Jeroboam, whom Ahijah prophesied over, that one day he would rule 10 tribes of Israel (1 Kings 11:29-31; 2 Chronicles 10:15).

Solomon started well, but he did not finish well. His son Rehoboam did not listen to the wise counsel of his elders, to lighten the load, to be a kind king, and speak softly. Instead, he listened to the advice of other young spoiled brats his age…and he lost 80% of the kingdom. Rehoboam was the king technically responsible for the division of Israel, but ultimately, it was Solomon who undid what his father David had done.

It all goes back to that saying, that, “The heart of the matter, is the matter of the heart.”

Romans 8:9-25

Considering the context, we look back to Romans 7 where Paul was crying out – “How can I win this war against the flesh?”

Jesus is the answer, who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8). As Christians the Holy Spirit now lives in us, and can be upon us, to empower us. We can now, by the Spirit, put to death the deeds of the flesh. We can now be led by the Spirit. We are now children of God – twice over, because not only have we been born into the family (John 3:3) we’ve been adopted into God’s family and can refer to God as “Daddy,” or “Papa,” that’s how much He loves us!

We now have an inner witness within us, the Spirit bears witness that we are children of God. If we’re children of God that means we’re joint-heirs with Christ – IF we’re willing to suffer with Him, this proves we’re Christians.

We will one day be glorified with Him. This glory is so amazing that Paul writes in: 

Romans 8:18 (NKJV) “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

This isn’t downplaying the suffering we see on earth – it’s horrible what takes place. What Paul simply says magnifies the glory of heaven one day. I believe Paul is writing this to Christians who are suffering, he’s encouraging them not to lose heart. Don’t give up. Don’t walk away from God even though the pain is excruciating. One day we’ll be home in heaven where there will be no more pain (Revelation 21:4).

As a matter of fact, all creation will be redeemed. All creation waits and groans for that day. Believers will receive new bodies that can live in God’s presence, and creation will be restored from it’s fallen state.

Psalm 18:16-36

David was hated and hunted by Saul for close to 10 years. King Saul maliciously spread lies and slander about David, turning many people against him. I can’t even begin to imagine how horrible it was for David on the run (though innocent) living in caves for close to a decade, not to mention the intensity of the Spiritual warfare he must have experienced.

This Psalm teaches me that there will be those who hate me, that the enemy is too strong for me (Psalm 18:17), but God will deliver me. That doesn’t mean that I won’t be required to fight. God will arm me and teach me to fight spiritually just as He did David (Psalm 18:29, 32-34; 2 Corinthians 10:4). But we fight from victory not for victory. The war is already won…but there are battles ahead.

Don’t lose heart my friend, even though you’re going through very trying times.

If you look up, you’ll be able to rise up and fight, with those Spiritual weapons God has given you. The Lord will also give you the victory and fulfill His plans for your life…just as He did with David.

Proverbs 19:26

We are to honor our father and mother. 

When we’re young and live under their roof, we are to honor them and obey them from the heart. (unless they command us to sin)

When we’re older and move out, or get married, we start a new life or a family, but we are still to honor them; don’t mistreat them, don’t chase them away or cut them off. It’s an embarrassment, and public disgrace.

In some families there are rifts for good reasons, but we must do our best to work it out – IF at all possible (Romans 12:18).

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

July 22, 2021

2 Chronicles 6:12–8:10

It must have been an awesome sight to see; the nation of Israel assembled together in order to dedicate the Temple to the LORD.

Solomon was lifted up on a platform, kneeling down, with his hands raised to God; he had the magnificent Temple as his backdrop. He knew that God doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands, that even all the “heavens” could not contain Him, but He did ask God to make this place special and set apart to Him. The most common theme throughout his prayer was that if God’s people were ever in need, that they’d be able to pray toward this Temple, which now symbolized the covenant of faith in Him, and that God would hear their prayer, forgive their sins, and meet those needs.

It may even be times of discipline for sin. Because God loves us He disciplines us and things are allowed to happen. It might be times of defeat in war, drought in the land, even a plague or pestilence among the people (we’ve recently gone through something like this with Covid-19). Whatever the situation is, Solomon prayed for God to hear, to forgive, and to heal…whenever the people of God sought Him like this, in prayer and sincerity (from the heart).

This prayer of Solomon’s was not limited to the nation of Israel:

2 Chronicles 6:32–33 (NKJV) “Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for the sake of Your great name and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm, when they come and pray in this temple; 33 then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name.”

Solomon knew that the LORD wants ALL people to be saved, that’s part of the reason he built this Temple (Matthew 28:19; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9).

Did you catch that passage in 2 Chronicles 6:36 where Solomon tells that there is no one who does not sin? We all sin, and we all need forgiveness. God has made provision…we simply need to come to Him, humbly, and confess our sins – He is faithful and just to wash us and make us as white as snow (Isaiah 1:8; Revelation 1:5; 1 John 1:9).

God heard Solomon’s prayer and even answered with fire and a manifestation of His special presence. 

2 Chronicles 7:1–2 (NKJV) “When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2 And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’s house.”

Solomon continues to offer sacrifices, seeking the LORD and God appeared to Him by night and affirmed His answer. It’s here we have one of the most famous passages in all the Bible. The LORD is speaking to Solomon in this context of days of discipline. He offers this promise:

2 Chronicles 7:13–14 (NKJV) “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

I believe this principle still stands. It’s on us. If we (the church) literally called by His name (Christ – Christians) will humble ourselves, pray, seek God, and repent – His promise is to hear, forgive, and heal.

O Lord, please help me (us) to pray the way we should.

Solomon went on to do a lot of building buildings, but I wonder if he built himself up in the faith? (Jude 20)

Romans 7:13–8:8

There’s a war within us. Paul teaches about the sin-nature which resides within – it’s carnal, sinful, and even sold under sin. It brings us to a terrible place of doing evil, and the things we hate, while the things we want to do, we do not do. There’s a war within us – between the sinful nature and the new man (the inner man) who longs to please God.

Sandy Adams said, “The inner man loves God but the outer man is conditioned to sin.”

What can we do to win this war? Is there any hope?

Paul closes with those classic words in: 

Romans 7:24-25a (NKJV) “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Jesus Christ delivers us, saves us from the power and penalty of sin. He bathes us in His blood (saved) and He baptizes us in His Spirit (sanctified) (Matthew 3:11; Romans 8).

O Lord, I thank You for that strong hope I have, that in You I can be the man that You want me to be.

This leads the way to the message in Romans 8, which is the one of the most amazing chapters in all the Bible – no amount of human words will ever do it justice.

Paul begins with that beautiful promise that there is no condemnation to the Christian, for he is in Christ Jesus. Often times the enemy tries to condemn us, accuse us, rob us of the joy of our salvation, especially if we’ve blown it. Beware of condemnation and remember this, the condemnation of the devil drives you away from God, but Christian conviction brings you closer to God. You run to Him and ask Him for help and forgivness.

Paul spends some quality time teaching us that Christ has done something the law or flesh could never do – He saved us. He’s given us the capacity to live according to the Spirit; to be Spiritually minded, and actually please God.

Before I was a Christian I had no conviction or power over sin. I DID have a conscience but I had no problem violating it and eventually searing it, ignoring it (in some ways). Now that we’re Christians we have a new mind, and we can set it to think on good things…to seek the Lord, to read His Word. If we can win the battle in the mind – renew it and set it on God, we can walk in the Spirit in order to please the Lord.

Romans 8:5–6 (NKJV) “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

Romans 8 starts with the mind.

Psalm 18:1-15

This Psalm was written and sung when God had delivered David from all of his enemies. Imagine that!

God gets all the glory, and yet David teaches us how to make sure we have that same victory, by crying out to God (Psalm 18:6).

When you first cry out to God and call on the name of the Lord, you will be saved…that’s the first step.  We then spend the rest of our lives talking to God, turning to God, and trusting Him every step of the way. We are no match for our enemies, but they are no match for Him!

This Psalm is a powerful presentation of the way God defeats the devil.

Psalm 18:6 (NKJV) “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.”

What should our response be to the way God hears our cries (our prayers)?

To love Him…something David determined to do:

Psalm 18:1 (NKJV) “I will love You, O LORD, my strength.”

Let’s pray with ALL our hearts. God will deliver us from ALL our enemies. Another reason to spend ALL our days just loving Him.

Proverbs 19:24-25

Proverbs 19:24 (NKJV) “A lazy man buries his hand in the bowl, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.”

“The sluggard (see also Proverbs 6:6, 9; 10:26; 13:4; 15:19; 20:4; 22:13; 24:30; 26:13–16) is so lazy that, comically, he does not even have the strength to lift his hand from his dish … to his mouth to satisfy his hunger. This idea is repeated in almost the same words in Proverbs 26:15.”

Reminds me of a sloth which sleeps 15 hours a day or more. It doesn’t go far in life, traveling a total of 41 yards a day, at best.

No, not us, we should be HARD workers for God.

Proverbs 19:25 (NKJV) “Strike a scoffer, and the simple will become wary; rebuke one who has understanding, and he will discern knowledge.”

It’s so important to learn from the mistakes of others! That’s one of the ways we learn, even if we’re young and naive (simple). Sometimes I’ll see a story of some pastor who fell into sexual sin and the devastation it did. I become wary (cautious).

If you’re someone a little wiser (who has understanding) you will also learn to receive rebukes.

The NLT puts it this way:

Proverbs 19:25 (NLT) “If you punish a mocker, the simpleminded will learn a lesson; if you correct the wise, they will be all the wiser.”

God help us to learn…and be all the wiser for it.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

July 21, 2021

2 Chronicles 4:1–6:11

We have further details about the furnishing of the Temple – similar to the Tabernacle, but in a much more grandiose fashion. The bronze altar is where all the sacrifices would be offered. The Sea of Bronze was for ceremonial purification…for the priests to wash in (2 Chronicles 4:6). The ten lavers were to wash the sacrifices. And then we have the pots, shovels, bowls, pillars, pomegranates, carts, lavers, forks…there was literally tons of gold and so much bronze, the weight was undetermined (2 Chronicles 4:18).

The time came to put everything in its place, the centerpiece being the Ark of the Covenant into the Holy of Holies. This symbolized the presence of God.

When the musicians began to sing, God smiled with favor and showed up with glory.

2 Chronicles 5:13–14 (NKJV) “…indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying: ‘For He is good, for His mercy endures forever,’ that the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.”

Can you picture it? Can you hear the musician praising God AS ONE with enthusiasm? The Temple built, not just with gold, silver, and bronze, but with love for God and proper motives. God was so pleased that He manifested Himself in this glorious cloud that filled the Temple so thick, that the priests could not continue ministering! It’s so cool when God takes over!

As God shows up, Solomon speaks up. In today’s reading we have the beginning of what will be one of the most amazing dedication speeches ever to be given. King Solomon addresses the whole assembly of Israel and gives God the glory for fulfilling His Word. It was all God who chose Jerusalem to be the “capital,” and chose David to be king.

The building of the temple was in the heart of David, and it was good that it was there, but his son would be the one to build it.

2 Chronicles 6:8 (NKJV) “But the LORD said to my father David, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for My name, you did well in that it was in your heart.”

Quick question, “What’s in your heart?” What burden has God put inside of you to do, to be, to see done for the glory of God and the good of His people? Usually when we give our hearts to God He starts putting things inside of it (Nehemiah 2:12).

Romans 7:1-12

In Romans 7 Paul teaches on the purpose of the law – speaking of the Old Testament laws of Judaism (which included the 10 Commandments).

The law was never able to save us from sin, it only identified sin and therein tempted us to sin (our fallen nature tends to gravitate towards forbidden fruit). The law is helpful and even useful in creating societal guidelines, but it does not give us the power to resist sin. The law shows us that we are exceedingly sinful and in desperate need of a Savior – and into that picture enters our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul teaches that we are no longer “married” to, or under the law; that relationship died – we are now married to Christ.  The law is still useful in giving us guidelines, and as Christians we still have hundreds of commandments and principles in the New Testament to obey, but Jesus fulfilled the law and we are no longer under the law (Matthew 5:17; Galatians 3:23-26; 5:18).

Psalm 17:1-15

This is another Psalm of David, the gifted writer and mighty warrior who experienced heavy, heavy spiritual warfare. This Psalm is a song and a prayer of David’s that God would keep him, and even keep him blameless in the midsts of the attacks of the enemy.

A few verses that stood out to me this time around are:

Psalm 17:3b (NKJV) “…I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.”

God help us to speak “on purpose.” I can’t just shoot from the hip and say whatever I want, I can’t simply speak my mind. I don’t know about you but I’ve noticed that if I don’t guard my heart and restrain my lips, I can transgress with my tongue and cause tons of trouble.

Psalm 17:8 (NKJV) “Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings,”

If you were to get a glimpse of God’s eye ,you would find yourself in His pupil. He has his eyes on us, watching over us, perfectly protecting His people. David prays, “Keep me there Lord.”

Psalm 17:14 (NKJV) “…from men of the world who have their portion in this life…”

There are some people who live only for today, their time on earth; they think nothing of heaven, never of God, eternity is not in any of their thoughts. Earth is the closest to heaven they’ll ever get. David prays for God to keep him from people like that.

Those who are the Lord’s have heaven, not just as a destination, but a motivation.

Proverbs 19:22-23

Proverbs 19:22 (NKJV) “What is desired in a man is kindness, and a poor man is better than a liar.”

It’s hard to put into words, but I think we all know the kind of person a kind person is. “Kindness is love in work-clothes.” These are the types of people who are attractive, who we want around us. Hopefully this is the type of person we pray to be.

It’s a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

Proverbs 19:23 (NKJV) “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil.”

We return to this teaching constantly throughout the Proverbs for it is the key to wisdom…a healthy fear of God. A reverence, an awe, an understanding that He will judge the non-believer and discipline the believer. This appropriate fear (the only appropriate fear) leads to spiritual regeneration, satisfaction, and a built-in protection.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

July 20, 2021

2 Chronicles 1:1–3:17

God clearly established Solomon as the chosen King of Israel and Solomon started off so well by seeking the LORD with all of his heart. Imagine offering 1,000 sacrifices! (2 Chronicles 1:6) As Solomon sought the Lord, God appeared to him. We read in:

2 Chronicles 1:7 (NKJV) “On that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, “Ask! What shall I give you?”

What would you ask of God if He offered to give you anything? I remember when we first started the church in El Monte, people would ask me, “How can I pray for you?” Like Solomon, I asked for wisdom. These are God’s people I’m called to serve, to lead, and care for. I knew I didn’t have a chance without God’s personal guidance and wisdom from above. Solomon responded correctly:

2 Chronicles 1:10 (NLT) “Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly, for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?”

God blessed Solomon with wisdom, and much, much more. We all need God’s wisdom don’t we? We need wisdom with family, friends, enemies, work, ministry, and all the endeavors of life each and every day. In James 1:5-6 God promises to give us wisdom, if we ask in faith.

God then led Solomon to write a letter to the King of Tyre to provide him with material and a man, someone skilled to work in the craftsmanship necessary for the construction of the temple. Solomon’s heart was that it would be the most glorious temple in the whole world – for the LORD is the only Lord, greater than all other gods, for they are not gods (2 Kings 19:18; Jeremiah 16:20; Galatians 4:8).

King Hiram of Tyre sent Huram, his master craftsman, whose mother was Jewish. I’ve learned over the years that part of God’s provision is the people He brings. As the temple project gets going, everything is coming together – those with understanding, those with the muscles to work, organization, materials, in this case gold, silver, bronze, precious stones, cedar wood, etc. Of course the most important part of all, was a heart to work. Solomon’s Temple wasn’t big in comparison to today’s buildings, it was only 90 feet by 30 feet, but it was epic in God’s sight…because it was done for the right reason, and set apart for Him.

We all know that God doesn’t live in buildings, He lives in His people. But when we build a church, or set aside a building for His glory, it’s a wonderful thing. We get to see God’s people gather together in order to fellowship and worship Him. Let’s build with good materials and proper motives (see 1 Corinthians 3:9-17). The Gold is symbolic of deity – God’s presence. The silver is symbolic of redemption – that’s what Jesus did for us, by His blood. The bronze is symbolic of judgment – we will never know the depth of judgment Jesus bore for us on the cross of Calvary. Those who choose not to believe and follow God, must be warned of the judgment to come.

Romans 6:1-23

In my opinion, this is probably one of the most important chapters in the entire Bible. Sandy Adams called Romans 6, “…the Spiritual schematic of our new life in Christ.”

As Christians who have placed our faith in Christ, we drink from the ocean of grace (that’s a lot of grace). Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more (Romans 5:20). Bottom line: grace-land is amazing…so some were suggesting that we go ahead and sin unreservedly, to continue in sin, for it unleashes and demonstrates the glorious grace of God. Paul answers emphatically in: 

Romans 6:2 (NKJV) “Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

Paul then spends the rest of the chapter illustrating a sobering spiritual truth that as Christians we were joined to Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. The old man was nailed to the cross, he died, was buried, and not only will the new man rise one day at the next resurrection, we can walk every day in that same resurrection power!

Let’s believe this, let’s receive this, let’s reckon (recognize) the old man to be dead (Romans 6:11), let’s present our bodies each day as instruments (or weapons) of righteousness. Let’s present ourselves as slaves of God, every day, to obey, leading to holiness (Romans 6:22) and righteousness (Romans 6:16).

It’s imperative that we connect with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (something water baptism symbolizes). We must acknowledge that we died to sin, that we were buried (proving that we really died), and that in Christ, we have risen from the dead and can now walk in the newness of life (I like that word “newness” – Romans 6:4).

Expositor’s Commentary offers some insight, “Our spiritual history began at the cross. We were there in the sense that we were joined to him who actually suffered on it. The time element should not disturb us, because if we sinned in Adam, it is equally possible to die to sin with Christ.” (and rise with Him as well)

Bottom line – we need to take up our cross every day (Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 15:31) deny ourselves, say “no” to self, and “yes” to God. In Romans chapter 8 we’ll see the next key to victory, and that is the baptism and fresh filling of the Holy Spirit.

The final verse of this chapter is well known:

Romans 6:23 (NKJV) “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Consider the following quote on that final passage by Warren Wiersbe, “We quote this verse as we witness to the lost, and rightly so; but Paul wrote it originally to believers. Although God forgives the sins of His children, He may not stop the painful consequences of sin. The pleasures of sin are never compensated for by the wages of sin. Sinning is not worth it!”

Whoever you are in Christ, you won’t be perfect on this side of time, but you can be proper. You can be a Godly man or woman, a consistent Christian, a faithful follower, an obedient believer – sin shall not have dominion over you! Amen?

Psalm 16:1-11

In this Psalm we see David’s devotion to the LORD and not other gods (Psalm 16:4). The LORD is his goodness (Psalm 16:2), the LORD is his portion (Psalm 16:5) and David was determined to follow the LORD and live in His presence.

David was well aware of the fact that his own goodness was nothing but bad (Psalm 16:2). He needed (just as we all do) the righteousness of God imputed to his account.

Psalm 16:5-6 speaks of the fact that God determines our days, our boundaries, our lot in life. David praised God for the life he’d been given. We should too.

I’ve always loved David’s acknowledgment in:

Psalm 16:11 (NKJV) “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

God is willing to guide us. God wants to flood our lives with joy and even the pleasures of life. He really is a good, gracious, and awesome God. Are you enjoying Him?

Psalm 16:10 is an amazing prophecy quoted by Peter in his sermon on the resurrection of Jesus Christ – it did NOT apply to David (Acts 2:31-32).

Psalm 16:10 (NKJV) “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”

Jesus’ body did not decay, there was no corruption on His corpse. This is a clear prophecy regarding the resurrection of Jesus.

Proverbs 19:20-21

Proverbs 19:20 (NKJV) “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days.”

Listen to God’s word, to God’s people, be open, be receptive.

It takes time…experience, victories, and even failures…but hopefully the day will come, when we wake up, grow up and become wise.

Proverbs 19:21 (NKJV) “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.”

A dear brother once told me, “You wanna make God laugh? Tell Him your plans.”

It’s okay to prayerfully plan out your day, week, month, year, and even life, but it usually doesn’t go our way, for God’s ways are higher.

Joseph thought he had it all figured out at the age of 17, but then his life took a hard right. We can share with God our plans, He might laugh, but more than anything, He will love, and He will lead us in the way everlasting.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

July 19, 2021

1 Chronicles 28:1–29:30

King David is approaching the end of his life. He assembles all the leaders of the nation in order to share with them his heart, which is to build a Temple for the LORD their God. It was something he wanted to do himself, but God did not permit it, due to all the wars he fought. God selected his son Solomon instead, to be king and builder of the Temple.

Although David was not allowed to build the Temple, he did everything he could to make sure it happened after his death. God gave him the plans and provisions, things which he passed along to Solomon. Did you notice how David considered the plans inspired by God? Reminds me of Moses’ plans for the Tabernacle.

1 Chronicles 28:11–12 (NKJV) “Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the vestibule, its houses, its treasuries, its upper chambers, its inner chambers, and the place of the mercy seat; 12 and the plans for all that he had by the Spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, of all the chambers all around, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries for the dedicated things.”

The gold the silver, the bronze, the iron, the wood, the precious stones David gave it all to God with all his might! Many people would rather spend their fortunes on themselves or give it all to their descendants, but David gave it to God. He was an example for the nation’s leaders. They saw what he did, and they followed suit through David’s encouragement.

1 Chronicles 29:5b (NKJV) “Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the LORD?”

1 Chronicles 29:6 (NKJV) “Then the leaders of the fathers’ houses, leaders of the tribes of Israel, the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the officers over the king’s work, offered willingly.”

They gave generously to the work of the Lord, and they saw it as a privilege. 

I love the way David words it in:

1 Chronicles 29:14 (NKJV) “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You.”

David gave God all the glory for the way he was able to give back to God. The LORD had blessed David by entrusting him with an enormous amount of wealth. David had a heart and was in a position to give back to God obediently. Most people would pat themselves on the back in light of such grand donations, but not David. He considered himself unworthy to do such a thing. He saw it for what it was, an undeserving privilege. Let’s keep this in mind, the next time we give.

Throughout this section David encourages the people, along with his son Solomon, to seek the LORD and obey His commandments (1 Chronicles 28:8) if they did, God would be with them in a special way.

1 Chronicles 28:20 (NKJV) “And David said to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.’

It’s as simple as that. The same promise is true for us. We seek the Lord by obeying His Word and investing into His Kingdom the time, treasures, and talents we’ve been given. If we seek God, we’ll find Him (Jeremiah 29:13) and be blessed by Him…all the days of our lives.

David finished the work, he finished his race, and died at a good old age. The throne was successfully passed on to his son Solomon who was the vessel God would used to make his father’s dream come true. Solomon would go on to build the Temple of the LORD.

Romans 5:6-21

For most people it would be difficult to die for someone, but we would probably do it for a friend. We’d take the bullet for a loved one. But God’s love is so amazing that He died for us when we were His enemies! How many people would die for their enemies? This is how we know God’s love. He didn’t simply say, “I love you,” He proved it to the point of death, and even the death of the cross.

Now, if that’s how God loved us and treated us prior to being a Christian, how much more so AFTER we’ve been reconciled to Him?

This should be a huge hope builder, because if God was willing to die for us then, even when we were sons of Satan and daughters of the devil, how much more will He “save us” (take care of us) now, that we are His children! 

1 John 3:1a (NKJV) “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!”

Romans 5 gives us an infinite contrast between Adam (through whom sin and death entered the world) and the Lord Jesus Christ (through whom salvation and life entered the world)!

Pastor Chuck comments, “…even as it took only one man to pollute the gene pool, so it would only take one Man to make it right. Death spread through the first Adam, but life spreads through Jesus Christ, the second Adam.”

Sandy Adams said, “Some might argue that is unfair, ‘Why should we all be punished for one man’s mistake? Each person should stand on his or her own.’ But listen to Paul’s point! If I stood on my own, I would fall like Adam. Fairness would be fatal. God allowed one man to doom his descendants so one man could save them. In Adam I am a sinner. In Jesus the sinner becomes a saint.”

As Paul closes the chapter he fills it with comparisons on how the life we have is so “much more!” We find those two words together (“much more”) five times in this chapter! One of my favorites is in: 

Romans 5:20b, (NKJV) “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.”

O Lord, I thank You for the triumphs in trials, for the life in Your love, and for the grace You give so freely, even though I fall so short and fail You every single day.

Psalm 15:1-5

Psalm 15 is all about integrity. Not that integrity saves us, faith in Christ does, but if we want to enjoy a life lived in God’s presence (abide in His tabernacle), integrity is the key.

People of integrity walk uprightly (Psalm 15:2a).

People of integrity work righteousness (Psalm 15:2b).

People of integrity speak the truth in their hearts (Psalm 15:2c).

People of integrity do not gossip or talk negatively about others behind their backs, or receive slander spoken against their friends (Psalm 15:3).

People of integrity esteem the godly (Psalm 15:4a).

People of integrity keep their word, even if it costs them (Psalm 15:4b).

People of integrity cannot be bought (Psalm 15:5a).

People of integrity shall never be moved, while all others are extremely vulnerable, tossed around like a beachball in Satan’s section (Psalm 15:5b).

Proverbs 19:18-19

Proverbs 19:18 (NKJV) “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction.”

If we love our children, we’ll chasten them, discipline them – verbally, physically, and circumstantially. If we don’t chasten our children, it’s as if we have our hears set on ruining their lives.

We must never abuse our children. All discipline must be done in love, never in anger, and it must be appropriate to the offense. Explanations must be given, compassion must be shown, and grace must be extended.

This is one of the toughest parts of parenting, but if we don’t discipline our sons and daughters, they’re essentially left to to themselves, to raise themselves without godly guidance – the enemy, the world, and the flesh will destroy them.

Proverbs 19:19 (NKJV) “A man of great wrath will suffer punishment; for if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.”

This Proverb can be connected to the previous passage.

Let’s say your son got angry and abused his wife. He gets thrown into the slammer. Would you bail him out?

If you do, he won’t learn his lesson. Of course every situation must be brought to God in prayer, but sometimes we get in the way of what God is trying to do.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

July 18, 2021

1 Chronicles 26:12–27:34

In this section we see how meticulously organized the nation of Israel was under King David’s leadership. Gatekeepers (guards) assigned to every gate and vicinity. They had their version of Brinks, which took care of the protection, and transportation of treasures..these were things deducted to the House of the LORD (1 Chronicles 26:27).

How awesome to see the plethora of gifted people God provided (able and capable) to serve as leaders in the nation.

The military had a rotation of 24,000 who served one month out of the year – and then there were the officers and leaders of every tribe.

1 Chronicles 27:1 (NKJV) “And the children of Israel, according to their number, the heads of fathers’ houses, the captains of thousands and hundreds and their officers, served the king in every matter of the military divisions. These divisions came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year, each division having twenty-four thousand.”

There were men specifically assigned to the king’s treasuries, storehouses in the field, the cities, the villages, and in the fortress. There were the foremen in the fields, the vineyards, and olive groves. There were those assigned to the herds in various places, the camels, the donkeys, and flocks.

There were counselors, Joab was the king’s general, Hachmoni was with the king’s sons, and Hushai was the king’s companion (friend). We all need one…even the king. 

It’s good to be organized and it’s good to be “specialized.” David is symbolic of Jesus. We all have a “special” place. Where will you serve the Lord in His kingdom? It’s a blessing and a privilege to be a part of it, and just think (as you read all these names) GOD knows you by name and I’ll bet almost anything, there’s a book in heaven chronicling our lives too.

Romans 4:13–5:5

 Abraham believed God’s word, even though it seemed beyond hope, he was fully convinced that what God had promised He was also able to perform (Romans 4:17-22). That’s a perfect lesson on the nature of faith. As we keep our eyes on the Lord, and believe His Word, we will receive His promise. We believe He is able to save us now and forever, there really is a home being prepared for us in heaven.

Paul offers a partial conclusion to his teaching up to this point on salvation by faith in:

Romans 5:1 (NKJV) “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Prior to salvation we were God’s enemies. After salvation we are His children and friends, we’ve made peace with God. That peace WITH God, should lead to the peace OF God. Do you have it? I pray you do (John 14:27; Isaiah 26:3).

Rejoice in your salvation by faith!

We should also rejoice in trials and tribulations (see also James 1:2-3) because the intention is to produce perseverance, which leads to character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. If we go through the trials with our eyes on the Lord, we won’t quit; if we don’t quit that gives God time…time to work on us, to mature us in His Word. He even proves Himself to us as life goes on. This maturity (character; i.e. changed life) offers us assurance that we really DO know the Lord (see 2 Corinthians 13:5; Hebrews 6:11; 2 Peter 1:10). You might remember those famous words of C.H. Spurgeon who said, “A faith that doesn’t change my behavior, will never change my destiny.”

Paul transitions into God’s love – after all, God’s love is the only reason any of us are saved. We know God’s love because of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us, and has poured God’s love…into our hearts.

God loves you, as if you were the only one to love. Do you believe that?

God’s love is like the amazon river, flowing down to water a daisy. It’s overwhelming.

Jeremiah 31:3 (NKJV) “The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’”

Psalm 14:1-7

There are positional atheists and practical atheists. The positional atheist says with his lips, “There is no God.” The practical atheists says in his heart, “There is no God,” and his life reflects that. The symptoms of practical atheism range anywhere from evil works, to evil worry.

How foolish to say in our heads or our hearts, “There is no God.” Fools!

One day God will make believers of everyone, but for most, it will be too late.

The LORD is looking for people who truly seek Him, who truly understand. Apart from God, no one does, no not one. But the moment we’re saved, the journey begins. Believers do seek the Lord. God should be first in our lives, and we should seek Him with all of our hearts (Matthew 6:33; Jeremiah 29:13).

This Psalm is a wake-up call, for all non-believers to beware, and all believers to be comforted and focused by faith.

Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.

Proverbs 19:17

A common theme woven within the Proverbs is God’s heart for the poor. If we lend, or give to the poor, it’s as if we’re giving to God Himself. God promises to bless the generous and compassionate heart.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

July 17, 2021

1 Chronicles 24:1–26:11

Sorry to keep repeating myself, but 1 and 2 Chronicles were probably written by Ezra, the priest, and are therefore written from a priestly perspective. After the return from exile Ezra’s intention was to restore spiritual structure in the nation’s worship of God.

In this section we have various lists of the divisions of Priests, Levites (helpers to the priests) Musicians, and Gatekeepers. All these were of the priestly tribe of Israel – Levi.

These particular lists include some of the schedules of service (1 Chronicles 24:3, 19)  – schedules that were determined by the Lord through the casting of lots. 

1 Chronicles 25:8 (NKJV) “And they cast lots for their duty, the small as well as the great, the teacher with the student.”

Tony Evans, “By including the extensive lists of names seen in this chapter, the chronicler enabled Levites and priests in his day who had returned from exile to know how they fit into the plan of temple service. One of the Levites, a secretary…recorded them in the presence of the king and the other leaders (1 Chronicles 24:6). Service in the Lord’s temple was serious business.”

King David organized the musicians in his day, and here we’re reading how hundreds of years later, that structure was still in place. 

The musicians are a huge part of the priesthood. The enemy hates it when we worship, even he knows it’s vital for victory. This is why it’s emphasized by David, who appoints musicians who are called and skillful. The most important part of writing worship songs is the lyrics, which is why we read of these musicians prophesying with a harp, giving thanks, and praise to the LORD (1 Chronicles 25:3).

Pastor Chuck Smith wrote, “The word ‘prophesied’ in 1 Chronicles 25:2 does not necessarily mean ‘foretelling’ but ‘forth telling’ the works of God. It must have been quite an experience coming to the temple day and night, hearing 4,000 musicians prophesying in worship and praising God’s greatness, glory, power, and beauty.”

The final section of today’s reading ends with the Gatekeepers. According to the Holman Bible Dictionary a Gatekeeper was, “One who guards access to a place, either a city (2 Samuel 18:26; 2 Kings 7:10–11), a residence (John 18:17), the sacred precincts of the ark (1 Chronicles 15:23–24), or the temple (1 Chronicles 23:5). Temple gatekeepers were charged with preventing anyone unclean from entering the temple (2 Chronicles 23:19) and with guarding the temple treasuries and storehouses (1 Chronicles 9:26; 26:20–22; Nehemiah 12:25).”

In the New Testament we’re all part of the priesthood (1 Peter 2:5, 9). Our privilege is to find our place in the body of Christ and serve faithfully. Priests represent God to the people (we share His word and love with them). Priests also represent the people to God (we pray for them).

Romans 4:1-12

In Romans chapter 4 Paul points to Abraham, who is often referred to as the “Father of the faith.” He’s the perfect illustration of how we are justified by faith – not by works.

Twice in this chapter (Romans 4:5, 22) Paul quotes from: 

Genesis 15:6 (NKJV) “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Now, the interesting thing about this statement, is not only is it given before the law (which came through Moses) but it’s also before circumcision, which was given to Abraham as a seal of their covenant relationship (that commandment wasn’t issued until Genesis 17). So, clearly God declared Abraham to be righteous simply because he believed. He was saved and made righteous by faith. It was true for him, his descendants, and all who believe (Romans 4:23-24).

How blessed we are to receive salvation apart from works, or sacraments, or ceremony…no circumcision necessary. How awesome and amazing it is that we believers have all our sins forgiven by God…He will not hold them against us (impute it to our account).

Psalms 32:1-2 (NKJV) “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”

Aren’t you blessed that your sins are forgiven? Through sincere and simple faith in Christ, we’re declared righteous in the sight of a holy God. How awesome is that!

Warren Wiersbe comments, “David wrote Psalm 32 after his great sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11). Can God forgive a man who commits adultery, deceit, and murder? Yes! When David repented and turned to God, he was forgiven, even though the Lord allowed David to feel the bitter consequences of his sins (2 Samuel 12). God justifies the ungodly, not the righteous (Romans 4:5; Matthew 9:9–13).”

I pray you’d rejoice in your salvation by faith!

Psalm 13:1-6

David asks the LORD four times, “How long?”

For David it was around 10 years.

For Joseph it was 13 years.

For Abraham it was 25 years.

For Moses it was 40 years.

Wait on the Lord, even in the most trying times. My heart goes out to David as he writes in:

Psalm 13:2b (NKJV) “…having sorrow in my heart daily.”

Some of you are there. We all go through those seasons of life. Please – don’t stop believing, don’t stop doing the right thing, for the day will come when God will reward your long obedience – it happened to David and it will happen to us – the “how long” for all the wrong, will become a deep and meaningful song.

Psalm 13:6 (NKJV) I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Proverbs 19:15-16

Proverbs 19:15 (NKJV) “Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.”

Sad to say, but because of laziness, many Christians have fallen asleep, even a deep sleep.

Ketih Green wrote that song, “Open up, open up, and give yourself away, you see the need, you hear their cries, how can you delay? God’s calling and you’re the one, but like Jonah you run. He’s told you to speak but you keep holding it in. Can’t you see it’s such sin? The world is sleeping in the dark, and the church just can’t fight…she’s asleep in the light!”

We read in this Proverbs that an idle person will suffer hunger. That can happen physically or spiritually (a spiritual famine takes place).

2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NKJV) “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”

There’s a big difference between someone who can’t work, and someone who won’t work!” Let’s be sure NOT to be lazy; let’s be hard workers.

Proverbs 19:16 (NKJV) “He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, but he who is careless of his ways will die.”

Obedience to God’s Word has a built-in security for the soul, we must not be careless (letting our guards down), we must be careful.

Deuteronomy 5:32 (NKJV) “Therefore you shall be careful to do as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.”

It’s only natural to let our guards down. When you were first issued your license you were probably more careful in your driving, you kept your hands at 10 and 2 o’clock…but not any longer. Be careful my friend, let’s continue to use cautious wisdom.

In one sense, when we keep the commandment, we keep ourselves.

1 John 5:21 (NKJV) “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”

Jude 21 (NKJV) “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

July 16, 2021

1 Chronicles 22:1–23:32

King David was not allowed to build the Temple and at least part of the reason was because he was a man of war. David had it deep in his heart and mind to build a “house” for God:

1 Chronicles 22:8 (NKJV) “…but the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight.”

Most of you know that David was a warrior. He was the one who killed Goliath and then went on to lead Israel to many military victories over all her enemies. David was not the one to build the Temple. But just because he couldn’t build it himself, that didn’t mean he couldn’t do everything within his power, to help his son build the Temple. And that’s exactly what happened.

David organized stonecutters, he prepared iron, and bronze, and cedar trees. David didn’t take the treasures from all the countries he conquered to himself, he sanctified them to the LORD. Did you notice how much he set aside for the Temple of God?

1 Chronicles 22:14 (NKJV) “Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the LORD one hundred thousand talents of gold and one million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond measure, for it is so abundant. I have prepared timber and stone also, and you may add to them.”

That’s 3,750 tons of gold, and 37,500 tons of silver! Together it was over 821 millions pounds! God indeed blessed David, and he in turn blessed the Lord. 

I love the motive David had behind the building of the Temple:

1 Chronicles 22:5b (NKJV) “…the house to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries.”

David wanted God to be glorified. He wanted the Temple to be excellent and magnificent. His desire was for God to be “famous” – that the whole wide world would know the LORD! I can’t help but think of the Great Commission whenever I hear David’s heart on this, things I should take to heart. Let’s do the absolute best we can, in whatever mission we’ve been given by God – that all nations would know His Name, what He’s done on that cross, and be saved from their sins.

Can you imagine the work behind building the Temple? If any of you are familiar with construction, you know the toil, and labor, and muscle involved. You may not think that any spirituality is really necessary – you might make a dichotomy there. But David commands his son Solomon to seek the Lord in the midst of all this.

1 Chronicles 22:19 (NKJV) “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God. Therefore arise and build the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the holy articles of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the LORD.”

What were the construction commands? Set your heart and soul to seek the LORD your God. That’s the key to life isn’t it? As you read the Word, as you pray, as we live life each and every day, seek God, look for the Lord – He’s there in the midst of it all. As a matter of fact, nowadays (in New Testament times) the temple of the Lord is us as individual Christians, and us as a Church. God graciously lives in His people… so let’s do this with excellence!

In 1 Chronicles 23 we have a list of priests, the descendants of Levi and his three sons. The Levites were helpers to the High Priests (descendants of Aaron – 1 Chronicles 23:28).

I’ve always loved passages like the one we read in:

1 Chronicles 23:30 (NKJV) “to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at evening.”

Morning and evening…make special times with God – and – give Him everything in between. It’s life-changing!

Romans 3:9-31

Paul makes it clear in this chapter – he emphasizes the fact that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, that there is none righteous, no, not one! Paul quotes from many Psalms as well as the book of Isaiah, to prove his point. So even though they had the law, not one of them were justified by the law.

Warren Wiersbe wrote, “Paul quotes from Psalms and Isaiah to show that, from head to foot, we are all lost sinners. Do you want to argue about this? Then your mouth has not been stopped! God cannot save you until you say, ‘Guilty!’”

Paul then turns the corner by teaching us that God’s righteousness comes by faith! We read in: 

Romans 3:22-24 (NKJV) “even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”

Paul reminds his readers that God is the God of the Jews AND the Gentiles (Romans 3:29). This truth of salvation by faith doesn’t negate the law, it was all part of the law, revealed in the law, and it even establishes the law. Jesus said in: 

Matthew 5:17 (NKJV) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”

Warren Wiersbe wrote, “The law is a mirror that reveals our sin; only the blood of Christ can wash away our sin. It is good to do good works, but good works are not good enough to save us (Ephesians 2:8–9).”

Paul states his conclusion explicitly in: 

Romans 3:28 (NKJV) “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.”

Psalm 12:1-8

It was true then and it’s true now, the godly man and faithful person are rare commodities in this fallen world (Psalm 12:1). It makes me want to be one, (faithful) that much more.

This Psalm highlights the way people use their tongues as weapons against us. Ranging from trash talk behind our backs, to manipulative flattery in our face. They say their tongues are their own, that they can say whatever they want (Psalm 12:4) and they do, shooting from the hip of hardened hearts…but one day they will give an account for every idle word (Matthew 12:36).

Contrast man’s wicked word to God’s pure and perfect Word:

Psalm 12:6 (NKJV) “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”

God promises to keep, preserve, and protect His people, you can trust His Word on that! (Isaiah 54:17)

Proverbs 19:13-14

Proverbs 19:13 (NKJV) “A foolish son is the ruin of his father, and the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping.”

How we need God’s grace and wisdom when it comes to family life – lessons for sons and daughters, moms and dads, and husbands and wives.

Ruin is a big word!

It’s so sad when husband or wife is the #1 contender, when we should be the #1 defender.

Blame it on the wife? Blame it on the husband? Sometimes both.

But here Solomon addresses the wife, and he wants her to know – that a wife of strife is not good in life…it’s a continual dripping. What’s that? It goes beyond nagging.

Jon Courson actually compared it to torture (sorry).

This was (and sadly still is) a method used to break down one’s enemies, where the simple stress of water dripping on a certain part of the forehead for extended periods of time drives victims to the point of insanity. Don’t do it!

Proverbs 19:14 (NKJV) “Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.”

Remember the wedding day? It was God who gave her away.

Guys, be honest, if you had to choose, which would you rather have, a godly wife, or a wealthy life? A house or a home? A worldly mansion, or a heavenly mission?

I’m eternally grateful for the wife God has granted me. I believe part of the purpose of this passage is to move husbands to realize how blessed we are with are with our wives. Back in the day, men didn’t appreciate women the way they should have, they were seen as second-class citizens. But God, in His Word has elevated them to that place of prominence and equality through diversity.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

July 15, 2021

1 Chronicles 19:1–21:30

David genuinely offered condolences and wants to show kindness to the country of Ammon, as their king had passed. 

1 Chronicles 19:2 (NKJV) “Then David said, ‘I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, because his father showed kindness to me.’ So David sent messengers to comfort him concerning his father. And David’s servants came to Hanun in the land of the people of Ammon to comfort him.”

But the princes of the people had a twisted heart (often times we are a suspicious people and perceive others to be the same way we are). The princes convinced their new king that these messengers of David were only sent to spy out the land in order to overthrow it…so they sent the men back in absolute shame.

Word is sent to David, who instructs the men to wait in Jericho until their beards grow back to return home, but David wastes no time in sending Joab out to fight the Ammonites (he would later join them). I’ve always loved Joab’s philosophy for fighting in:

1 Chronicles 19:12–13 (NKJV) “Then he said, ‘If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me; but if the people of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will help you. 13 Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the LORD do what is good in His sight.’”

The Ammonites had hired the Syrians and it was looking to be a tough battle. Joab’s words are good words for us to take to heart. If what I’m going through is too tough for me, would you help me? And if what you’re facing seems to be too tough for you, I want you to know that I’ll do anything I can to help you. Let’s be strong with God’s strength, let’s fight for our families, our flock, and the future of our nation. The results are ultimately in God’s hands.

Thankfully the Lord gave Israel a great victory. He will do the same for us.

1 Chronicles 20:1 takes us back to the same time-frame as 2 Samuel 11:1. This is when David tragically fell into adultery with Bathsheba and then went on to murder her husband Uriah. We’re not sure why the Chronicler omitted this incident…but the story had already been told.

We do read of Israel’s victory over Rabbah. David arrived towards the end of that battle to claim a crown that weighed 75 pounds (a talent of gold). Warren Wiersbe said, “But all crowns are heavy, for it is not an easy thing to be a leader.”

Giants have a way of showing up, time and time again. Thank God David’s men had learned from their leader. We read in 1 Chronicles 20:4-8 of a variety of David’s soldiers slaying giants. By God’s grace, we too, as followers of Jesus, can slay “giants!” (defeat demons and move mountains)

This next series of events can be a bit confusing. According to 2 Samuel 24:1 the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel, so we read that God moved David against them, to  number the people. Here we read in 1 Chronicles 21:1, that it was Satan who moved David to number the people.

I found the following explanation to be helpful, “Both statements are true. Although it was Satan who immediately incited David, ultimately it was God who permitted Satan to carry out this provocation. Although it was Satan’s design to destroy David and the people of God, it was God’s purpose to humble David and the people and teach them a valuable spiritual lesson. This situation is quite similar to the first two chapters of Job in which both God and Satan are involved in the suffering of Job. Similarly, both God and Satan are involved in the crucifixion. Satan’s purpose was to destroy the Son of God (John 13:2; 1 Cor 2:8). God’s purpose was to redeem humankind by the death of His Son (Acts 2:14-39).” – Thomas Howe; Norman L. Geisler, Big Book of Bible Difficulties

David should have never numbered the people, and neither should we. May we simply trust God who can save by many or few (1 Samuel 14:6).

After he received the results from Joab, David was convicted. His confession may have helped, but it was too late to avoid the consequences. God sent the prophet Gad to David with options on how Israel would be disciplined. David chose the shorter sentence – the one that left them ONLY in the hands of the Lord. A plague hit the land and 70,000 men of the people died (David’s army just shrank)! It is also possible that the total tally did not include women and children. The angel was just about to destroy Jerusalem (imagine that) but the LORD showed mercy.

David was devastated by it all. We read his words:

1 Chronicles 21:17 (NKJV) “And David said to God, ‘Was it not I who commanded the people to be numbered? I am the one who has sinned and done evil indeed; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, O LORD my God, be against me and my father’s house, but not against Your people that they should be plagued.’”

David should have thought about that BEFORE he numbered the people.  It may sound harsh, but one sinner can affect an entire church or nation (Joshua 7; 1 Corinthians 5:6). Solomon would later write in:

Ecclesiastes 9:18 (NKJV) “Wisdom is better than weapons of war; but one sinner destroys much good.”

The prophet Gad communicates to David God’s command, to build an altar on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. Ornan was willing to grant the property to David, but the king insisted on paying full price. Sometimes we do all that we can to give the least possible to God, but David teaches us on this:

1 Chronicles 21:24 (NKJV) “Then King David said to Ornan, ‘No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.’”

It’s been said that, “Ministry that costs nothing, accomplishes nothing.” I need to always search my heart, not regarding salvation, for that’s free, and ministry is truly, all about grace. But have I been giving to God the leftovers, or worse, the “hand- me downs?” Or have I been paying the price to give to God obediently, sacrificially, and honorably?

As we examine David’s life, Bible teachers note that his two most significant sins, were covered with so much grace, that they were transformed into two of the most epic blessings to Israel. The first was Solomon, who was born of Bathsheba. The second is the Temple that would be built on this site – this piece of property David bought from Ornan. Such grace reminds me of what we read in:

Romans 5:20 (NKJV) “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.”

Have you blown it in life? Maybe even big time? Don’t lose heart. Return to the LORD and leave the consequences and hopefully crowns of grace up to Him.

Romans 2:25–3:8

To the Jews, circumcision was huge. This symbolized the fact that they had entered into a covenant with God. It was given to Abraham and passed down throughout their generations, symbolic also of the cutting away of the “flesh.” But now, it’s time for a new work of God, it’s a time of transition into the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31). Paul wants the Jews to know that circumcision is no longer required. Circumcision is only a physical (fleshly) act – God looks deeper. Paul writes in: 

Romans 2:29a (NKJV) “but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart…”

This was a tough one to let go of, religion always is. It’s okay to circumcise our sons for physical preferences, but the Jews needed to know that it no longer had any spiritual benefits.

Paul is on his way to establish the fact that all are guilty before God, both Jew and Gentile, that there’s no difference – but he also informs us that the Jews had an advantage over the Gentiles in that they had the “oracles of God” (the Scriptures – Romans 3:2). 

This may have created a question in their minds, “What if the Jews don’t believe? Does that lessen the faithfulness of God?” Paul answers with strength “Certainly not!” 

Paul also addresses other accusations the people had – that our unrighteousness serves only to highlight God’s righteousness, so how could He punish us for that? Isn’t it unfair? Paul corrects them, “God IS entirely fair, if He weren’t, He wouldn’t be qualified to judge the world.”

But people got weird, even saying things like, “My dishonesty highlights God’s truthfulness,” or “The more we sin, the more we’re forgiven, so the better it is.” Paul says, “Absolutely not – and people who say such things deserve to be condemned!” We’ll see the same distorted perspective in Romans 5:20-6:1.

Psalm 11:1-7

Don’t fly away like a bird – pray and trust the Lord. He’s testing us and working in our lives…but oh the fate of the non-believer! (Psalm 11:6)

As the righteous go through tough times, God is testing us. He’s purifying us. Even using the the violently unrepentant wicked for His purposes. But one day the non-believer will stand before God and be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15).

Psalm 11:6 (NKJV) “Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup.”

Proverbs 19:10-12

Proverbs 10:10 (NKJV) “Luxury is not fitting for a fool, much less for a servant to rule over princes.”

We do believe in servant-leadership, but we don’t believe in foolish-servant-leadership. This is when a selfish, ruthless type of person rules, like Herod the so-called “great,” or Absalom.

How much better when you have a leader who understands that he’s been given that position of “authority” not to be served by the people, but to serve the people.

Mark 10:44–45 (NKJV) “And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Proverbs 10:11 (NKJV) “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.”

What a huge verse of infinite and practical value! Discretion makes him or her slow to anger…his GLORY (beauty/adornment) is to overlook (pass over) a transgression. That’s hard, but that’s glorious!

NLT, “…they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.”

The word overlook, means, “fail to notice; ignore or disregard.”

The dictionary defines discretion as, “The quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense.”

Proverbs 19:12 (NKJV) “The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.”

Of course you can apply this to human authorities…but it might be best to apply it to Jesus, the King of kings.

Have you found His favor by faith in Him? If not, I pray you’d find that favor, freedom, and forgivenenss today, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ…” and you will be saved (Acts 16:31).

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.