Friday, July 31, 2020

31 July 2020 - 1 Kings 1:1-28

31 July 2020 - 1 Kings 1: 1-28

Sometimes life isn’t fair.

“I have always wanted what any other girl wants – a husband and children.  I am in my teens and the most beautiful girl in Israel.  But they took me to be a concubine to an old and dying king.  We were never intimate, and I can never marry another man, so I will never have children.”  Life isn’t fair.

“My dad, the king, is dying.  My only surviving older brother, Chileab, is incapable of reigning.  Following tradition, my dad should pass the crown onto me, but there is talk it will go to Solomon.  He is so much younger than me!  Why aren’t I good enough in my father’s eyes?  Why didn’t he pick me?  Doesn’t he love me?”  Life isn’t fair.

“I have always been the commander of the army.  My decisions are sound and I have brought victory to Israel repeatedly.  I live for my job.  I am the best at it and I deserve the honour of leaving on my terms.”  Not long after, Joab is executed.  Life isn’t fair.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 says the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.  We have all tasted disappointment.  Sometimes God wants to break through our situation.  Other times, it must be endured.  I have found that when I consciously choose to focus on God and worship Him, a lot of the pain evaporates.  It doesn’t change the situation, but it changes me and my perspective.  We can find a deeper walk with God when we choose to push in. 

In Romans 5:2-6 we read that suffering eventually leads to hope.  God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.  When life throws disappointment at us, we still have hope that one day the sun will shine again because of Him who is at work in us.  Make a choice, put the disappointments aside and focus on Him.  Have a blessed day! 

“Blessed be Your Name”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLycgKxlgc0


Thursday, July 30, 2020

30th July 2020 - Isaiah 12

30th July 2020 - Isaiah 12

A SONG OF PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING

This chapter in Isaiah is a triumphant celebration of God’s promise that he will save us and redeem us. The preceding chapters 7 to 11 have told us about the Immanuel prophecy and how God would send the people a Saviour who would save us from the judgment of our sins. Chapter 12 is the climax of these prophecies. It is a statement of faith that what God has promised will come true. Verse 1 thanks God for turning his anger away from the sinner. Instead God will bring us His comfort. God Himself is our strength and defense against sin and He has become our salvation (v2). This repeats the message of salvation in the form of Jesus Christ. He is the source of water, which is life-giving and life-sustaining, from the wells of salvation (v3). Jesus Himself said in John 7:38-39, Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.

In that day (the day we discover that Jesus is the source of life and our salvation, and the day we choose to repent from our sins to follow him), we will be so overjoyed that we will not be able to keep the joy within ourselves. We will praise Him and proclaim His name(v4). We will want to share this miracle with others, because our joy and thankfulness will be so great that we will sing for joy and let it be known to all the world(v4-6).

Let us give thanks to God for his goodness, mercy and grace. Let us thank God for sending us His son Jesus Christ, that we may be saved from the judgment of our sin, if only we choose to accept this amazing offer of salvation. Let us choose wholeheartedly to trade our sorrows for garments of praise (Isaiah 61:3).

Listen to this song of praise while you give thanks to God for saving us from our sins, that we may no longer live under sorrow and judgement, but in joy and victory!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6cNIHUhTqY


Suggested Prayer

Thank you, God for our salvation. Thank you for your love and mercy over us. Thank you that you have saved us from the judgment that we deserve for sin. Instead of death and punishment, you have given us hope and salvation through Jesus Christ. Thank you that you are our everlasting source of life and joy. We are so grateful, God. Amen.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

29 July 2020 - 2 Samuel 24

29 July 2020

Today’s reading is from 2 Samuel 24, the last chapter in the books of Samuel.

2 Samuel 24:1 "And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah."

There is the parallel justification (in 1 Chron. 21:1) that says: “Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David.” God never does evil or tempts people to do evil (James 1:13-15), but in this case, He allowed Satan to incite David to take the census.

The inciting of David to conduct a census was a punishment on Israel from the Lord for some unspecified sins. Perhaps sins of pride and ambition had led David to increase the size of this army unnecessarily. Whatever the sin, it is clear God was dissatisfied with David’s motives and brought judgment. David either wanted to glory in the size of his fighting force or take more territory than what the Lord had granted him.

In verses 3-4: Joab, the leader of David’s army could see the error in David’s plan and warned him not to go ahead with census taking. David was determined to do it, and laid his commands upon them to do it.

In verse 10 David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”

The next moment, Prophet Gad comes to David and presents a strange message from the Lord.  God allows David to choose his punishment.  He is offered three choice (Vs 13-15) “Famine, sword and plague”, Regardless of the choice David made, the people of Israel were going to suffer terribly.  He trusted himself and his nation to the grace of a good God. So, he makes the wise decision and places the fate of Israel in the hands of the Lord choosing plague. The penalty for David’s pride was to have his kingdom reduced by 70,000 people.

Verse 17 When David saw the angel was striking down the people, he said to the Lord, “I have sinned; I, the shepherd, have done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Let your hand fall on me and my family.” David recognizes that as the king of Israel his primary task was that of a shepherd with his “sheep” not just be a King. On that day Gad went to David and said to him, “Go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor from Araunah the Jebusite”. He buys the threshing floor and the oxen; he builds an altar and he offers a sacrifice.  God is pleased and then the Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.

Application

Pride is always the root of our sins! David sinned in spite of the face of good advice that came from Joab. David shifted his trust from God to military power. What are we focusing on, our own strengths and experience or the mighty hand of God to move the impossible?

Secondly, The LORD sent David a choice of three different punishments for his sin and lets him choose. That is the Father Heart of God. Every sin has its consequences, that is disciplining but His mercy extends quickly. Verse 14 David acknowledges God’s great mercy, he says it is better to fall in the hands of God than man. Heb 12:7-8 For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.

This is where the Lord wants to bring us when we fail, too.  He wants us to reach the place where we get honest about what we have done and how it affects those around us and accept the chastising. 

Do you need to come before the Lord and deal with some sin or problem in your walk with Jesus?

Consequently, if you love the Father, repentance comes inevitably, that’s the only way to be right with the Lord again!  David, cared about his relationship with God, so he built an altar and made his sacrifice bearing every cost Vs 24“I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” But, every act of repentance bears a cost, it may cost you relationships, habits, money or more. Paul writes in Romans 12:1-2 “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.

Suggested Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, i come to you again, laying my pride down, acknowledging you as my Father. Discipline me in areas that need to be disciplined, take me to the place where I am honest with you about my sinful desires, lead me to repentance Lord. I know you want in me a broken and a contrite spirit, here I am Oh Loving Father, I want get back to you again. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

28 July 2020 - Isaiah 10:13-34

28 July 2020

Isaiah 10:13-34

THE REMNANT: MANY ARE INVITED BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN.

Isaiah has a great deal of prophesy about the judgment of God against His people in Israel. However, the beginning of this chapter (v1-19) contains a judgment against the King of Assyria, whose empire extended to modern day Israel, Lebanon, Syria, eastern Turkey, Iraq and parts of western Iran. He had made unjust laws and oppressed the people of Israel, and God was not pleased with him. From verses 13-19, we learn that God sometimes uses bad people to judge and refine the people of God, in this case, the king of Assyria. Afterwards, He may bring judgment on these enemies of the people of God. Verse 20 tells us that when we have learned to rely on Him, He will fight for us against our enemies. Verses 20-25 describe how God allowed a small number of Israelites, which Isaiah calls the ‘remnant’, to survive this destruction. God would punish the people of Israel so severely, that only a small number of them (the remnant) would survive. This means that the majority would die under God’s judgment. In Matthew 22:14, Jesus repeated the idea of a remnant when he said, “for many are invited but few are chosen”.

Not everyone who starts the Christian life finishes well. Jesus stated in the parable of the sower in Luke 8:4-15 that our hearts can harden and the enemy can steal the Word of God from hearts. Our pleasures and problems, and the anxieties of life can choke the Word of God in our lives. If we don’t actively enable God’s Word to be rooted deeply in our lives, our faith will not survive difficult times. Jesus makes clear in Luke chapter 8, that we need to “hear the word, retain it and by persevering produce a crop.”

It takes effort and perseverance on our part to live in obedience to God. In Jeremiah 17:9 we learn that, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Our heart’s natural inclination is to move away from God. Time and time again, the people of God whether in Isaiah’s time or our own, have destroyed their relationship with God. God rebukes the church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:5) for forsaking their first love. He exhorts them “to remember the heights from which they had fallen.” He commands them to “repent and do the things you did at first.”

There is a Christian theological controversy about whether or not we can lose our salvation. Consider the people of Israel who left Egypt for the promised land. Only 2 out of more than a million who set off from Egypt made it. Isaiah 10 talks of a remnant who shall return to the promised land. In other words, many others were excluded. The apostle Paul in Philippians 2:12 instructs us to “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. It is difficult to see why we should be concerned to do this if our salvation is impossible to lose.

God’s Word clearly tells us that we need to be intentional in living according to the Word of God. We should be obedient and repentant before God, to overcome the ways our own personal desires would lead us astray.

Suggested prayer

Father God, help us to keep our love for You and remain obedient to your Word. May we persevere in our faith and produce good fruit in our lives until the day You bring us home. In all this we pray Your mercy and grace over us by the blood of Jesus our Saviour. In Jesus Name. Amen

Monday, July 27, 2020

27 July 2020 - 2 Samuel 23:8-17

Today’s devotion is taken from 2 Samuel 23:8-17

We have read and learnt so much about David these past few weeks. Today’s devotion focuses on the mighty men who helped and were around David in his battles. God used people in David’s life to accomplish his purpose. Here we read a summary of a band of mighty men who showed bravery and faith in the God who called David to lead Israel. What lessons can we draw from these men? They serve as an example to each of us when we serve the Lord. They were loyal to their King and they were also courageous.

Courage and tenacity

In v.8 to 12, we see a supernatural courage that defied the odds. Adino the Eznite was noted to have filled 800 men at one time. Eleazar the son of Dodo, though his hand was weary, his hand stuck to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day. When we read stories of battles from the Bible, I would like us to imagine us in their position. How many of us would try overcome odds of defeating 800 soldiers? Do we believe God is with us in difficult situations? God told Joshua to be strong and courageous 3 times in the first chapter alone. Numerous times in the bible we are told Fear not! We are called to be strong, bold and courageous in our faith. He promised us that we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. We must remember how faithful God was in our lives and have faith that he will always be faithful in whatever circumstances we are facing. Do you trust Him when even when the odds are stacked against you? Do you trust Him even when you are weary like Eleazar and will you have persistent faith like Eleazar?

Sacrificial faith

In 2 Samuel 23:16-17, this passage recalls when David was still in exile and he has to flee King Saul who was trying to kill him. 3 of David’s men overheard him longing for water. These 3 brave men broke through enemy lines to draw water for David. It was probably about 42km round trip for these 3 men just to bring water for David. These 3 men risked their lives to bring water for David and David considered that it was too precious to drink himself. David considered it so valuable that he offered it only to God. Though David was so thirsty, he gave the best he had at that time to God. This gives us another example why he is a man after God’s own heart. Do we have sacrificial faith like these men? Abraham offered up Isaac in an act for obedience and faith. Some of us are not willing to sacrifice our time for God. We rather watch TV, play games or play our handphone for hours without allocating time for God. Be it quiet time, be it reading His Word, attending Bible studies or attending Church. We are not willing to risk our time, what more our lives? Jesus said we must take up our own crosses and follow him. Are we grateful for his sacrifice on the Cross so that we will have eternal life and enjoy the ultimate joy of having a relationship with our creator? Only when we can to this place of humility, can we then allow his Grace to flow down into our lives.

Reflection:

      1)      Have we been complacent in our faith towards Christ or do we hold firmly to His promises for us?

      2)      Do we have time for God in our daily lives? Do we find it difficult to spend time with him?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, grant us courage as we go through our daily lives. Help me to keep going when I am tempted to give up. Give us faith that will persevere that will stand firm in the toughest of times. We also pray that our lives be align with Your Will and that you are above all things. We declare that you are the centre of our lives. In Jesus Name, Amen.