Humility and Hope

The requirement is clear.  Those who desire God must humble themselves.  The key verse in our FBC family reading plan this week is “because your heart was responsive and you HUMBLED yourself before God when you heard what He spoke. . .and because you HUMBLED yourself before Me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you declares the Lord”  (2 Chronicles 34: 27)   The real problem in our lives is pride.  The necessary question is ” What does humililty look like?”  Like prayer.  Like surrender of control.  Like praise.  Like not getting my way and not fussing that I don’t.  “He must increase.  I must decrease” said John the Baptist in a powerful expression of this timeless spiritual truth.  Only the humble (self humbled!) ever experience the true mercy and goodness of God.  I am looking forward to seeing you in a few hours!  Lord helping us, we can be small together.   I love you.  Don

Hoping for rain

As I write (Friday morning) the weather forecast is for rain!  It is a hopeful feeling.  Humans need hope.  It is oxygen of the soul.  In the face of a bleak prophesy re. his nation, young King Josiah still hoped.  He knew the mercy of God.  He knew that God had heard his cry for repentance.  So, he hoped for others!  He reached out to them to lead them to find hope too.  It is an inspiring story!  Do you have hope this morning? (Look at the nation, look at the church,  at your own heart.  Then look to God.  Do you?)  Do you believe that God’s promise and preference is to show mercy to those who return to Him?   Are you praying and reaching out to others to show them the path to safety?  “Three things remain; faith, HOPE, and love” (1 Corinthians 13) I will look for you tomorrow at church.  It looks like it is going to be a great day!

Is personal peace enough?

Is personal peace enough?  Once a believer is saved and safe (and his family) is it permitted to relax and enjoy the ride?  I have been impressed this week with the heart of King Josiah. (Thanks for reading the Re verse passage in unity with the FBC family)  2 Chronicles tells of his concern for the nation of Judah even after Huldah prophesies that he himself will be spared. “Your eyes will not see the evil that I (God) will bring on this place (Jerusalem)”  Like Abraham (Genesis 19) pleading the mercy of God, and unlike Hezekiah who in similar situation is satisfied to save his own skin (read 2 Kings 20 for this sad report),  Josiah presses forward to explore the available mercy of God for others.  He cares about His nation.  Today as we pray the Lord’s prayer will we do the same?  We will spread our net of concern over a wide circle?  Followers of Christ have a larger goal than personal peace.


(Sorry for the new word, but I think English can do better than heroine.  Sounds like a drug.)  Many, most? of the heros of the Christian faith are women.  It needs to be spoken given years of discrimination.  (We are still less than 100 years from women being able to vote in this nation! Other nations are worse.)  Our text this week tells of  Hulduh. (2 Chronicles 34) It is significant how “without fanfare” the scripture refers to her as a prophetess.  An innocent, biblical perspective on this capacity to know God and speak His word to others.   A gift from God that has NOTHING to do with gender.  Jesus had the same attitude re. prayer.  In Luke 18 when the Lord wanted to illustrate “persevering prayer” he told about a woman who was finally heard because she would not give up.  May the Lord send thousands!  The Kingdom is well served by women who speak to God and then speak for God.  I will see you Sunday.  Should be interesting. . .Don

Just men

“Tell the MAN who sent you to me”  (2 Chronicles 34)  The voice belongs to God.  The speaker is Huldah.  Normally she would have been very concerned to honor the King whose messengers have come to her for counsel.  Here, however, she refers to him by neither name nor title.  To God, Josiah is just a man.  It is a good reminder for me.  I can be so concerned with what people think that I forget how flimsy and short-lived we all really are.  I can lose sight of the Real Glory.  When I pray ” Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name”, I am (or should be) declaring my independence from any other consideration than what He requires.  Not critics, not friends matter the way He does. They are just men.

Read it and weep

Good morning!  Today is our second day reading 2 Chronicles 34.  Thank you for being a member of this great family.  Our focus is on Josiah who loved God as a young child (vs 1) and began to seek the Lord as a teenager (age 16, vs 3)  At age 26 (vs 8) he begins a repair project for the temple in Jerusalem.  In the course of the renovation, the workers discover “the book of the Law of the Lord, given by Moses” (vs 14)  Here is where the story get’s good.  When the book was read to the King he tore his clothes. (vs 19) It was a sign of grief.  His immediate reaction was godly fear.  God’s word had its intended and beneficial effect.  It humbled him before God.  May it do the same for us.  “the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)  Before God can save us, He must convince us that we need to be.

Not too late

(Our reading this week is 2 Chronicles 34. Thanks for your dedication!) By the time Josiah became king of Judah the judgement of God was very near.  Jeremiah had prophesied it.  Nothing could save the nation  from destruction. (Jeremiah 15:1)  Much like we studied last week (Ahab story), God had “decreed destruction” against Jerusalem and would not change His mind.  Even so, Josiah was determined to find what mercy from God was still available.  Like the prodigal son, He accepted consequences (becoming a slave)but he still hoped for God’s help.  So, for the sake of His nation, Josiah repented.  He humbled himself.  He wept before the Lord.  He prayed.  He gathered others to pray with him.  And God heard him.  I think we have much to learn from this good king.  We, too, may have crossed the line of God’s irreversible judgement.  It is NOT TOO LATE, however, to find His mercy.  Today, as we pray “Father forgive us” may the Lord help us to truly mean it.

I want to be like Micaiah

I have enjoyed this week’s reading.  Is enjoy the right word?  Micaiah has become a new hero, an example of faithfulness to God in a hard situation.  “As unknown (to the world) and yet well known (to God). . .as sorrowful yet always rejoicing. . .as having nothing yet possessing all things” is the way the Apostle Paul described his life (and Micaiah’s) in 2 Corinthians 6:9-10. May the Lord give us courage for this difficult and blessed road!  When we pray, “Deliver us from evil” we must be careful that we do not unconsciously mean, “please keep me from any difficult or dangerous task”.  “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross” says the Christ to every follower.   Micaiah helps me remember what this looks like in actual experience.  I am looking forward to seeing you in a few hours.  The Lord will be near as we gather.  Glory!  Don

Loving your enemy

Was the conflict between Ahab and Micaiah personal?  Ahab certainly thought so.  “I hate him, he does not prophesy good concerning me”, he said with a pout in 1 Kings 22:8.  It never occurs to him that there may be another explanation for Micaiah’s words than personal animosity.  Do we ever make the same mistake?  Do we ever allow a disagreement (that’s all it is–a disagreement re. what God is saying)  to become a personal insult?  When Jesus taught us to love our enemies, He was separating opposition/conflict from resentment/hatred.   It is an important lesson of life in the church. . .we can love people with whom we disagree.  IF WE WANT TO FOLLOW CHRIST, WE MUST!  Today as you pray the Lord’s prayer, pay particular attention to the words “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”.  Disagreement is one thing.  Personal animosity is something else entirely. I will see you in worship tomorrow!  Don

I can do all things?

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)  Is this true?  Is it true the way it is often understood?  The 400 prophets (1 Kings 22) were making a modern mistake as they encouraged Ahab to go to war against Syria.   Like many in our day, they believed that “all things are possible with God” equals “all things are advisable to God”.  Not True.  Christians are not free to “dream any dream” and expect God’s help in accomplishing it.  Our faith is not synonymous with unlimited optimism.  What the Great God does promise is to assist strongly all endeavors that rise from His own heart and wisdom.  The first task of prayer is not speaking, it is listening.  Today, as you pray the Lord’s prayer, will you hear His counsel re. the kind of requests and attitude of heart that God will hear and honor? PS. I am back from youth camp.  Thank you for your prayers.  Looking forward to seeing you Sunday.  Don