Return to God’s Word

July 27, 2014

Return to God’s Word

2 Kings 22:13: “Go to the Temple and speak to the LORD for me and for the people and for all Judah. Ask him about the words written in this scroll that has been found. The LORD’s anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll.”

Can you imagine going to church and having no Bible? No matter where you look, no one has a copy. It has disappeared.

That’s what happened in the nation of Judah (the southern kingdom of Israel). God’s word was forgotten, perhaps for many years. The priests did their duties. The king listened to counsel. But God’s word was gone.

Imagine if you knew nothing about what God’s word says. No promises from God when you’re down. No hope from God when you’re hurting. No power from God when you need strength.

One day a priest found a copy of the Law, the word of God, in the temple. He reported to Josiah, king of Judah at that time, what he’d found. Josiah had the priest read the book to him. When he heard it, he was startled. Amazed. Shocked. His people had ignored God’s law for too many years. He would change that immediately.

Josiah began some great reforms that saved Judah from destruction. The power of God’s word worked. Many people were saved.

God’s word has power. Without it, we cannot survive. But with it, we will live forever.

Prayer: Lord, teach me to live off your word like food. Amen.

The writing in this blog is available as a book on Amazon.com under Mark Littleton, Through the Bible Devotions, at http://www.amazon.com/Through-Bible-Devotions-Genesis-Revelation/dp/0784714746/ref=sr_1_38?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406490323&sr=1-38&keywords=mark+littleton

God’s Protection

July 26, 2014

God’s Protection

2 Kings 19:35: That night the angel of the LORD went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian troops. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere.

King Hezekiah had a serious problem. The Assyrian army, 185,000 strong, surrounded the city of Jerusalem. There was no escape. The Assyrian commanders even shouted out to the soldiers of the king standing on the ramparts that he would conquer them. He wanted them to give up now, and live.

Many people would reel in shock at such a situation. But King Hezekiah was a man of faith. He went into the temple and prayed, and then he talked to Isaiah, God’s prophet. Isaiah assured Hezekiah that if he would only trust, God would save them.

Hezekiah spoke to his people. He assured them they were safe. God was about to do a miracle.

What a miracle it was, too. An angel of the Lord destroyed the army. 185,000 soldiers died that night and the commander of the Assyrians escaped into the night to go back to Assyria where he was later assassinated.

The amazing thing is that this event is not just recorded in the Bible. Herodotus, a Greek historian, referred to it in his writings. He believed a “plague of rats” killed the Assyrian army.

We know the truth. God protects his people. Follow him, and he will be with you.

Prayer: Jesus, help me to trust in your protection always. Amen.

THe Devil ALmost Wins It All

July 19, 2014

The Devil Almost Wins It All

2 Kings 11:1: When Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah of Judah, learned that her son was dead, she set out to destroy the rest of the royal family.

Has the devil ever come close to winning his war against God?

He thought so, several times. When Sarah, the wife of Abraham, couldn’t seem to have children, it looked like a lost cause. But God did a miracle, and Isaac was born.

Next, when King Saul pursued David and almost killed him, it appeared that the devil had nearly won. But God preserved David.

When Jesus was crucified, the devil thought he’d won for sure. But Jesus rose from the dead.

In today’s story, Athaliah, a wicked queen, snatched the throne of David away from the rightful son. She had all the household of Ahaziah her son murdered. She wanted all the power.

God did something, though. He saved one member of the family, Joash, just a baby at the time through a faithful princess. Athaliah reigned for six years while Joash was hidden by the priests. At the right time, they brought Joash out and crushed Athaliah once and for all.

Satan thought God’s kingdom hung by a thread – one little baby. But in God’s world, God was in control all along. The devil was once again driven out and God’s kingdom stood firm. You can trust God that he will bring you through, too.

Prayer: Father, I know you will save me to the end because you love me. Amen.

Seeing the Truth

July 12, 2014

Seeing the Truth

2 Kings 6:17: Then Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see.” The LORD opened his servant’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.

An army surrounded the prophet Elisha and his servant Gehazi. It looked like no escape. Every side was taken. Spears glinted in the sunlight. Arrowheads looked bright and sharp. Swords were drawn.

What could they do?

When Gehazi stepped out of the tent that morning, he wanted to run. But there was nowhere to run to. It was then that Elisha came out of the tent and looked around. Elisha could see something that Gehazi didn’t. What was it? The armies of God.

Around the mountain, standing between the foreign army and the prophet, were angels. Bright, shining, powerful angels. Later, just one of those angels would slay 185,000 men (see 2 Kings 19). And here was a whole army of them. Imagine what that army could do.

Gehazi, though, couldn’t see this army. So Elisha prayed for him, and God opened Gehazi’s eyes.

Did you know that angels are here with you, too? You are personally protected by God. No one can touch you unless God allows it!

Prayer: Jesus, help me to feel safe in you, because you are the great protector. Amen.

A Double Portion of God’s Spirit

July 8, 2014

A Double Portion of God’s Spirit

2 Kings 2:9: When they came to the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, “What can I do for you before I am taken away?” And Elisha replied, “Please let me become your rightful successor.”

What do you want most in life? Riches? Honor? Fame? Glory? Popularity? Pleasure?

These are all nice things, and God does give them to some people. But most of us have to be happy with our lot in life. There’s not much we can do to change that.

There is one thing, though, that you can ask of God. It’s found in the Bible passage we’re looking at today. Elijah was about to leave the earth and go to heaven. His disciple, Elisha, followed him down to the river. There, Elijah asked Elisha what he most wanted. Elisha was about to become a great prophet. Surely he could have anything he wanted, like Solomon did.

But Elisha had his mind on only one thing. He wanted a “double portion” of the Spirit that Elijah had had, as it’s written in other translations. What does that mean? He wanted twice the joy, twice the love, twice the peace and twice the power that Elijah had.

Isn’t that amazing? You know what is more amazing? Elijah gave it to him, in the name of God.

If you want to ask God for something special today, think about asking for a double portion of his Spirit. Your life will never be the same.

Prayer: Lord, grant to me that double portion so I can serve you doubly well. Amen.

Proven Once and For All

July 5, 2014

Proven Once and For All

1 Kings 18:39: And when the people saw it, they fell on their faces and cried out, “The LORD is God! The LORD is God!”

Do you ever wish God would simply show himself? That he would do a little miracle, just to prove he’s there? That he’d come down and talk to you, just for a minute?

People all through history have asked God to prove himself. “Where are you? Come down and show yourself. Don’t hide. We want to see you.”

God showed himself like that a few times in history. During the days of Noah, when the flood happened, God showed his power. In the time of Moses, when God sent plagues on Egypt and did miracles for Israel, God proved himself nearly every day. Then in the time of Elijah and Elisha, God performed many miracles. Finally, the age of Jesus and the apostles was filled with miracles.

In this Bible story about Elijah, we see God doing a stupendous miracle. Elijah challenged the idol-worshipers to a duel. When their god did nothing, Elijah called on the true God to send down a bolt of lightning. God answered immediately, and all the people fell on the ground. “The Lord, he is God!” they cried.

Why doesn’t prove himself these days? Actually, God often does prove himself. People see answers to prayer every day. We have the Bible, too, which is full of miracles. Many times people are healed in response to prayer. Don’t demand that God prove himself; instead pray. The answers you see will be proof enough.

Prayer: Lord, let me not demand proofs as much as study your word as the best proof. Amen.

He Did Right

July 1, 2014

He Did Right

 

1 Kings 15:11: Asa did what was pleasing in the LORD’s sight, as his ancestor David had done.

 

If you had someone write a line or two about you in the Bible, what would you like them to say?

 

“He sinned constantly.”

 

“She was a decent person, but she didn’t follow God.”

 

“He made some mistakes, but he always turned back to God.”

 

“She did right in the sight of God!”

 

When you read about the history of Israel, you will find this expression “he did right in the sight of God” frequently. The authors of 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles, often referred to a king’s reign that way. Such kings weren’t necessarily powerful, like King Saul. Or famous, like King David. Or fabulously rich, like King Solomon. But they did one thing right: they did right in the sight of God.

 

How would you like that as the one sentence about you? It’s a good one, isn’t it? “He did right.” It means the person obeyed God’s commandments. He worshiped God. He took God seriously. And God blessed him mightily.

 

What can you do to “do right in the sight of God” today?

 

Prayer: Jesus, may I do right all my days. Amen.

Hanging with who?

June 27, 2014

Be Careful Whom You Hang With

 

1 Kings 11:3: He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. And sure enough, they led his heart away from the LORD.

 

Hanging around with the wrong people can lead to disaster.

 

King Solomon is a perfect example. He liked having beautiful women around him. He enjoyed making them his wives. In those days, some kings of Israel practiced polygamy. Solomon went to such an extreme that he married 700 women during his reign.

 

God had warned the kings of Israel not to marry foreign women. He also warned them not to have multiple wives. Solomon disobeyed both laws.

 

Those wives from other countries worshiped idols. This was also forbidden. But apparently, Solomon didn’t care. He was the wisest man who ever lived, yet he acted stupidly in this matter.

 

Those wives liked worshiping idols. They told Solomon about it. They pestered him. They nagged. “Come, worship Baal.” Or, “It’s not hard. Try my goddess, Ashtoreth.”

 

Solomon was sucked in. He began to worship idols. God became very angry. He punished Solomon by taking half his kingdom from his son, Rehoboam.

 

Who you hang with matters. Bad people want to do bad things. They will drag you into sin, if you’re not careful. Choose your friends wisely. It’s a matter of life and death.

 

Prayer: Father, help me always to choose good friends to hang with. Amen.

Be Careful Who You Hang With

June 24, 2014

God Deserves the Best

June 20, 2014

God Deserves the Best

 

1 Kings 8:10: As the priests came out of the inner sanctuary, a cloud filled the Temple of the LORD.

 

Does God deserve the best from us? Our best praises? Our best service? Our best love?

 

            King Solomon thought so. He wanted to build God a place to live on earth. It would be the most magnificent temple ever built. He called for the most skilled workmen. He paid for the best gold, silver and wood. He commanded the whole nation of Israel to work on the temple with all their hearts.

 

It took years. But one day it was done. The greatest temple the world has ever seen was finished. In fact, Solomon’s Temple is known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, along with the hanging Gardens of Babylon, the pyramids of Egypt and the Colossus of Rhodes. Solomon outdid himself.

 

Was God pleased? You bet. God came down and dwelt into the holy of holies deep inside the temple. There, a cloud filled the temple, shining and glorious. This was to be God’s home on earth.

 

Solomon’s Temple has long been destroyed. But God has other temples to live in. Do you know what they are? The hearts of his people. God makes our heart his home while on earth. Have you given your heart to God for him to dwell in?

 

Why not tell God right now that you want him to make a temple of your heart? That you’d like him to live inside you?

 

Prayer: Jesus, come live in my heart and make it your home. Amen.


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