What’s First?

September 27, 2014

What’s First?

2 Chronicles 18:4: Then Jehoshaphat added, “But first let’s find out what the LORD says.”

Steph, Shari and Kellie stood at the bottom of the four trees, looking up. “It might be a good place to build a treefort,” Steph said.

“The trees look strong,” Shari answered.

“They go pretty high,” Kellie added.

“Have you seen anywhere else?” Shari then asked.

Steph and Kellie immediately said, “Let’s build here.”

Shari continued looking up. “Maybe we should pray about it? Or maybe we should ask my older brother. He knows about treeforts.”

“Good idea,” Steph answered. “Let’s do it.”

Shari was doing something all Christians should do before they attempt something big and new. The three kids prayed. At other times, they might have done what Jehoshaphat mentioned to his ally. He wanted to consult a prophet of the Lord before going into battle. He had to make sure God was in it.

Before you take a test … before you start a big project … before you buy a gift … before you give money to a cause, you should always consult God. Does he want you to do this? Is he in it? Commit your plans to the Lord, and he will give you success. Otherwise, you could easily fail.

Prayer: Jesus, remind me always to pray before I do anything. Amen.

TO BE CONTINUED:

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

Powerless!

September 20, 2014

The Powerless

2 Chronicles 14:11: O LORD, not one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O LORD, you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you!

We have no power in ourselves to …
Please God.
Make him listen.
Gain his blessings.
Change ourselves.
Become more like Jesus.
Win a lasting victory.

Did you know that you’re powerless? No one of us can do anything without Jesus. Oh, sure. We might make the soccer team. We might get good grades on our own. We might catch a bass while fishing. But ultimately, anything that’s good and lasts must come from Jesus.

The prayer above was spoken by King Asa as he went out to fight. He knew God had to accomplish the victory. Without God’s help, he could do nothing.

Call on God always to be with you. Then you will succeed. Prayer: Lord, I ask you always to be with me and lead me. Amen.

TO BE CONTINUED:

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

Humble Yourselves

September 9, 2014

Humble Yourselves

2 Chronicles 7:14: If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.

What is the key to God’s blessing? How can we pray so that God answers?

There is one way. This is not a formula, but this is what this verse shows us to do:

Humble ourselves. That is, if we recognize that we can’t do anything worthwhile without God’s help, God will bless. When we do things on our own, they may succeed, but they will have no worth.

Pray. Talk to God. Confess your sins. Thank him. Praise him. Pray for others. Let God know about everything that is in your heart.

TO BE CONTINUED:

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

Who Did It?

September 3, 2014

Who Did It?

2 Chronicles 6:4: Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who has kept the promise he made to my father David.

A friend I have started and led a fantastic ministry from about 1950 to 1990. Over those years, thousands of young people were converted. Many went on to have their own work for God. Many others grew in grace and became closer to Jesus.

After retirement, this lady decided to write a book about her experiences. She wanted those who supported the ministry to see all that God had done. She wrote the book and finally had it published. It was called, “God Did It!” She wanted anyone who read the book to know her ministry wasn’t her idea, or her doing. God was involved from day one. And anything good that came from it was because of God.

In the same way, King Solomon built a tremendous temple in Jerusalem. It became on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. However, when it came time to show the world what he had done, Solomon took no credit. He proclaimed that God had answered prayer. God had enabled the workmen to fashion the temple. And the result was all God’s doing. God did it from beginning to end.

That is the way you will always want to work in God’s kingdom. Let God lead, involve him through prayer at every step. In that way, your work will last and God will be mightily pleased.

Prayer: Lord, help me to step aside and let you do it the way you want. Amen.

TO BE CONTINUED:

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 Tests the Heart

August 29, 2014

God Tests the Heart

1 Chronicles 29:17: I know, my God, that you examine our hearts, and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously.

The old song about Santa Claus says that he’s “keeping a list and checking it twice, going to find out who’s naughty and nice.” Imagine if Santa could see the heart, instead of just the outside of the person. What kind of list would he have then?

Santa is a myth, but God isn’t. He sees the heart. He knows what thoughts go through our minds. He knows when we wish we could kill someone. He hears it if we curse and use bad words in our heart, even if we don’t say them with our tongues. He sees when we wish trouble on someone we don’t like.

What does God see in your heart? Does he see kindness and love, goodness and friendship? Or hatred, lies and scorn for others? What does he see?

How can you clean up your heart? There’s a simple way. Just like a garden needs water, and grows beautiful veggies when watered, so your heart needs spiritual water to grow good thoughts and kind attitudes. What is that spiritual water? The water of the word of God. When we douse our hearts in God’s word, memorizing it and keeping it deep inside, God begins to change our thoughts. We soon have pure, friendly thoughts going through our brains, instead of muck.

Prayer: Jesus, help me to see beauty in my heart by learning your word. Amen.
TO BE CONTINUED:

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

Giving Should Cost Something

August 21, 2014

Giving Should Cost Something

1 Chronicles 21:24: But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying what it is worth. I cannot take what is yours and give it to the LORD. I will not offer a burnt offering that has cost me nothing!”

There’s an old story about a twenty dollar bill and a one-dollar bill talking about their adventures. The twenty tells the one, “I’ve been to Paris, France, to New York City, all over the Midwest. I’ve been to carnivals and great plays and I’ve even been used to buy a giant-screen television. You should see what I’ve seen.”

The one responded, “I wish I was like you. For me, it’s always the same: go to church. Go to church. Go to church.”

That’s funny, but it makes an important point. Many Christians find it easy to put a dollar in the offering plate. What’s a dollar? A large candy bar? A hamburger? A box of pens? A Hot Wheels car? We don’t really worry too much about giving a dollar. It’s nothing.

When King David was confronted with a similar situation, he knew what to do. He wanted to make a sacrifice to God. Araunah, a man of faith, offered to give him everything he needed. But David refused to take it for free. He would not sacrifice to God something that cost him nothing.

When you give to the work of God, it should cost you something. It should be a bit of a sacrifice. When we give like that, God is pleased.

Prayer: Lord, help me always to give so that it costs me something. Amen.

TO BE CONTINUED:

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

Three Parts of Prayer

August 12, 2014

Three Important Parts of Prayer

1 Chronicles 16:4: David appointed the following Levites to lead the people in worship before the Ark of the LORD by asking for his blessing and giving thanks and praise the to the LORD, the God of Israel.

How should we pray? What should we pray about?

The verse we look at today offers us some keen insight. In it, King David told the priests to pray in three specific ways in the temple.
1. Petition. That’s bringing requests to the Lord. “Jesus, please do such and such for so and so.” “Lord, help me study well for the test tomorrow.” “God, enable me to play well in the game this afternoon.” You make a request for yourself or others, and God answers.
2. Thanks. A second element of prayer is thanksgiving. You thank God for answering your prayers. You thank him for helping you. You thank him for being your friend. It’s not hard at all. God has done something good in your life. You thank him, just like you would your mom or dad.
3. Praise. An important dimension of prayer, this is where you let God know how great you think he is. “Lord, praise you for your love. I couldn’t live without it.” “Father, praise you for being the great God of the universe. You are the best.” Praise is perhaps the highest form of prayer, because it’s us giving God our love and adoration.

Do you use all three elements in your prayer life? Try it today. After you make a request, thank him. And after you thank him, praise him. It’s a good pattern to follow.

Prayer: Jesus, please make my prayer life blossom. I want to learn to pray well. Amen.

TO BE CONTINUED:

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

The Three Mighty Men

August 6, 2014

The Three Mighty Men

1 Chronicles 11:17-18: David remarked longingly to his men, “Oh, that I would love some of the good water from the well in Bethlehem!” So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew some water from the well and brought it back to David. But David refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out before the LORD.

When a football team wins the Super Bowl, the teammates carry the coach out on their shoulders.

When a smart student gets perfect grades, he wins awards.

When a wise person makes a great speech, we give her applause.

What did David do when three of his men did something incredible?

You find the story in today’s reading. David, before he was king, often fought the Philistines. He gathered around him many fighting men who were loyal and strong. One day, he simply mused by the fire and commented how he’d love some water from the well in Bethlehem, his home town. Three men were listening. They barged right into enemy territory, grabbed a pitcher and took the water from under the Philistines’ noses.

When they returned to camp, David was astounded. He probably congratulated the men on their courage and love. But then he did something that was perfect. He poured out the water as an offering to the Lord.

When someone does something well, what is the right response? Congratulate them, yes. Give them awards – sure. But first, thank God. He made it possible.

Prayer: Lord, may I always remember you are the one to praise. Amen.

TO BE CONTINUED:

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

A Special Prayer

August 2, 2014

A Special Prayer

1 Chronicles 4:10: He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and extend my lands! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain.” And God granted him his request.

This prayer might be a good guide for anyone who seeks God’s blessing. The important thing this prayer reveals is that the author of it wanted the blessing God had for him. What blessing was that? He didn’t know. But he believed God wanted to bless him. He didn’t demand riches, honor, fame, power or anything like that. No, he just wanted God to bless him in whatever way God wanted to.

Think about that. Are you praying for all kinds of things in your life? But what if God has better, greater blessings in mind? What if God really wants to bless you with something incredible, but because you’re always praying about something else, you’ve missed it?

That was the secret of this prayer. The author just asked God to bless him however He wanted. That’s a great way to pray. Why? Because it lets God be God, and you the blessed one.

Prayer: Father, help me to learn to pray with power. 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

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


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