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.

The Change

June 17, 2014

An Amazing Offer

June 17, 2014

An Amazing Offer

 

1 Kings 3:5: That night the LORD appeared to Solomon during in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask and I will give it to you.”

 

What if God appeared in your bedroom and said, “Ask whatever you want. I will do it for you. Anything.”

 

What would you ask for? A new video game? A special friend? Straight A’s in school? Money?

 

Unfortunately, God made such an offer only once in history. He came to King Solomon, the new king of Israel, and offered to give him anything. Solomon, perhaps in a stroke of genius, asked for just the right thing: wisdom to lead his people. God liked that request, and gave him wisdom. But he also threw in wealth, grandeur, power, fame and plenty of friends, too, just because Solomon had answered so wisely.

 

Would you ask for wisdom, if God gave you that choice? Through wisdom you can live a successful, happy life. Through wisdom, you can solve your problems with speed and skill. With wisdom in your heart, you might become an adviser to a president, or you might even become a president. Wisdom is the key to many things.

 

You know what? God offers you the same thing right now. He will give you wisdom, if you ask him, the same kind he gave Solomon.

 

Why not ask God to start giving you wisdom today? You’ll be surprised at what happens, if you do.

 

Prayer: Lord, give me wisdom that I might be great at what I do. Amen.

God Is a Rock

June 8, 2014

God Is A Rock

 

2 Samuel 22:2-3: The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold, my high tower, my savior, the one who saves me from violence.

 

Have you ever come upon a huge rock – in the forest, by a lake, or in your back yard? How do you feel when you stand on that rock? Doesn’t it give you a feeling of solidity – like no one could knock you off?

 

The Bible calls God our rock because like a rock, we feel strong when we stand on him. A rock seems powerful, centered, unmovable. No matter how much blasting and hitting someone might do, that rock won’t budge.

 

God is our rock. When we stand on him, we find stability, security, strength. He won’t move. He’s powerful, and like a rock, no one could overcome him.

 

God is your rock in three ways:

 

1. He provides stability and strength. You won’t be defeated or overwhelmed when you’re standing on him.

 

2. He shelters you in the storm. Ever sit under a ledge of rock in a rainstorm? It’s comfortable, dry, safe. God is like that. He gives us safety in the storm.

 

3. He cannot be moved by others. Real rocks can be dislodged or broken up. But not God. He’s a rock the size of the universe.

 

Stand on the rock today. Feel its power. Feel its safety. You can be sure no one will be able to knock you off this rock!

 

Prayer: Father, you are my rock and I will stand on you forever. Amen.

Leadership

June 4, 2014

True Leadership

 

2 Samuel 19:7: Now go out there and congratulate the troops, for I swear by the LORD that if you don’t, not a single one of them will remain here tonight. Then you will be worse off than you have ever been.

 

“Say something, Harry,” Luk whispered. “You’re captain of the team.”

 

Harry stammered and hemmed and hawed. What could he say? They were losing the game. There was no way they could come back.

 

“What are we gonna do?” another member of the team asked.

 

Harry prayed in his mind. “Please, God, help me. I don’t know what to do to encourage these guys.”

 

No sooner had he prayed than a thought came to him. “Remember that movie about the kids’ football team that was way behind and they came back?” he asked.

 

Someone named the movie.

 

“That’s right. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re not gonna let these bums steam roll us. We’re going down fighting. Let’s hit it, guys. We’re on a roll!”

The team went back to the field and played their hearts out.

 

Leaders need to step into tough situations and lead. Are you a leader? Sometimes, like David in the Bible story for today, you will need to jump into a situation and offer words of encouragement. Don’t duck out. Young people need leaders as much as adults. So give it your best, and leave the rest in the hands of God.

 

Prayer: Lord, show me how to lead in school, church and on my team. Amen.

True Leadership

June 2, 2014

Sin Leads to Disaster

May 31, 2014

Sin Leads to Disaster

 

2 Samuel 13:1: David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. And Amnon, her half brother, fell desperately in love with her.

 

Have you ever wanted something that was forbidden?

 

Maybe it was love relationship with a relative.

 

Perhaps it was a stamp for a collection that a friend had, but wouldn’t sell to you.

 

People desire things like jewelry that might be too expensive, or clothing that is a little too flashy, or a car that would drain your bank account.

 

Forbidden things can take many forms. In David’s kingdom, he had a son Amnon who wanted to marry a half-sister, Tamar. Normally, marrying someone in your own family was forbidden. But Amnon figured out a way to get what he wanted by force. It was a horrible sin.

 

King David did nothing about it. But another son, Absalom, who was Tamar’s brother, conspired to kill Amnon. It seemed like disaster after disaster happened to David’s family during that time.

 

Why did such bad things happen? Because David himself had sinned with Bathsheba. God judged David and warned him that there would be consequences for his disobedience. David’s kingdom suffered many problems after that.

 

Sin always has consequences. When we sin, God responds by disciplining us with problems and trouble. Are you about to sin? Think! It could lead to disaster!

 

Prayer: Jesus, keep me from sin. I don’t want to go through what David did. Amen.

God Honors Kindness

May 29, 2014

God Honors Kindness

 

2 Samuel 9:7: But David said, “Don’t be afraid! I’ve asked you to come so that I can be kind to you because of my vow to your father, Jonathan.”

 

The new guy rolled into the office in a wheelchair. Several employees simply avoided him. But Cal walked over and introduced himself. “I’m Cal Thurston,” he said. “What’s your name?”

 

The crippled man held out a bony, gnarled hand. “I’m Steve.”

 

Soon they were good friends. Cal wheeled Steve wherever he needed to go, and Steve felt like a king.

 

A similar thing happened long ago in Israel. David could have killed Mephibosheth. After all, he was an enemy. King Saul fought against David every step of his life after David became famous. But David had sworn to his best friend, Jonathan, that he would take care of his children.

 

Mephibosheth was crippled. He certainly couldn’t lead a troop against David’s army. He might try to rally the people behind him in the name of Jonathan and King Saul. But he had no interest in that. He simply wanted to survive.

 

David showed kindness to Mephibosheth. He gave the young man a place at his table. He honored the youth with friendship and grace. God ultimately rewarded David for his kindness, too.

 

God loves kindness. Who can you be kind to today?  

 

Prayer: Father, teach me to be a kind person to everyone. Amen.

A Throne Forever

May 27, 2014

Your Throne Forever

 

2 Samuel 7:16: “Your dynasty and your kingdom will continue for all time before me, and your throne will be secure forever.'”

 

 

God made a tremendous promise to King David. He told him that his kingdom would never end, it would be the final and great kingdom of the world.

 

When you read the Bible, though, you find that King David’s line did end. When Israel was taken into slavery by Babylon, no king would ever sit on David’s throne again. Other nations would rule over Israel for centuries.

 

Was God’s promise wrong? Did God make a mistake?

 

Actually, God saw things from a different perspective. He knows the end from the beginning, and a few centuries without a king was no problem. Why? Because the kingdom God had spoken about was Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus, a descendant of David through both Joseph and Mary, will one day reign on King David’s throne. His kingdom will never have an end.

 

Many times in the Bible, things do not look quite right if we study them from a human perspective. But when we see the meaning and truth as God sees it, we discover that God was right all along.

 

When you think you’ve found a contradiction or problem in the Bible, don’t despair. Sometimes the answer isn’t right on the surface. You have to dig deep to see what God really meant.

 

Prayer: Jesus, may I always trust your word as the truth. Amen.

Death of a Loved One

May 27, 2014

Loss of a Loved One

 

2 Samuel 1:26: How I weep for you, my brother Jonathan! Oh, how much I loved you,! And your love for me was deep, deeper than the love of women!

 

 

All of us will face it sooner or later.

 

A close friend is killed in an auto accident.

 

Or a beloved uncle or grandfather dies of a heart attack.

 

Or an innocent teacher is struck down when a holdup occurs at a store she’s visiting.

 

It can happen anywhere, anytime. God does not keep us from facing such losses. They happen to all of us.

 

When David learned of the death of his best friend, Jonathan, he grieved. The process of grief – when you work through your feelings over loss of a loved one – can be long and painful. Feelings of anger, depression, and other pain strike us. We may slip into deep despair if we’re not careful.

 

When you lose a loved one, talk about the situation with your parents, your friends, your church leaders. God does not tell us to act as if nothing has happened, or even to pretend we’re fine when we aren’t. He wants to go with us through the grief and show us the way beyond it. He will not simply zap us to eliminate all our bad feelings.

 

When you grieve, it’s okay to cry, okay to feel anger, even at God. Tell the truth about how you feel. That is the way through it.

 

Prayer: Lord, help me to look to you when grief strikes. I know you understand. Amen.