There was no remedy!

Scripture reading for May 2: 2nd Chronicles 33-36

“The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through His messengers again and again, because He had pity on His people and His dwelling place.  But they mocked His words and scoffed at His prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against His people and there was no remedy.” 2nd Chronicle 36:15-16

The period of the Kings and Chronicles ends with this sober statement concerning the Lord’s evaluation of the state of His people.  God had done His best to call out to His people.  He sent messengers again and again.  His mercy had suffered long with this people.  He had loved them and provided for them again and again.  He had driven out their enemies and delivered them miraculously time after time.  He had given them His presence in their midst in the Temple and a way to return to Him.  But they mocked His words and mistreated the prophets that were sent to them.  This aroused God’s anger and He decided to allow the consequences He had promised to fall upon them.

There was no remedy!  What does this mean?  Does it mean that God would not hear the prayers of His people any more?  Did it mean that He had given up on them and was through?  Did it mean that God had failed His people and would not honor the covenants that He had made with them?  What about the land that belonged to them, would it be lost to them now because of their stubbornness?

No, God is faithful, even when we are faithless!  (2nd Timothy 2:11-13)  God was going to allow the consequences of their stubbornness to fall on them.  They would see the destruction of their temple and go into captivity.  The land would enjoy it’s sabbath rests that they failed to give in accordance with God’s Word.  (2nd Chronicles 36:21)  Seventy years would pass in captivity as decreed by Jeremiah, the prophet.  (Jeremiah 25:11-12)  After this time of captivity and punishment, God would again restore the nation to their land and rebuild the temple.  Isaiah the prophet correctly named Cyrus as the ruler who would give the decree to rebuild Jerusalem more than 150 years before it happened! (Isaiah 44:28)  The Book of 2nd Chronicles records the last word of God concerning this rebuilding as a word of hope to all who would trust God and follow him through the captivity!  (2nd Chronicles 36:23)

Wow!  God is merciful even in judgment!  God has a plan and is working it out.  He lets us in on His plan if we are humble and teachable.  He has written down that plan in His Holy Word, the Bible!  We need to pay heed while we still can.  There is coming another day when again, there will truly be “no remedy” for those who reject Jesus Christ!  If you die in your sins without repentance and faith in Him, there is truly “no remedy”!  (Revelation 20:11-15)   May that never be heard of concerning you or me!

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Priorities for success!

Scripture reading for May 1: 2nd Chronicles 29-32

The times we are in are not new.  There is nothing new under the sun, according to Solomon.  Today we find our country in economic turmoil with banks failing, foreclosures mounting in the housing sector, and the job market shrinking.  We find many of our children leaving the path of the Lord and going into captivity in the world system of humanism and self-gratification.  Many churches are losing members and there are few young families in attendance.  What is behind all of this?  The anger of the Lord has been poured out on our nations because we have forsaken Him and left Him out of our lives!

This was the case 2700 years ago in Judah under King Hezekiah.  The wrath of God was poured out on the nation because they had forsaken Him!  Many had fallen to the violence of that day.  Women and children were in captivity and the nation was in terror and fear. (2nd Chronicles 29:8-9) King Hezekiah began to set things in order.  His plan of action was the setting of priorities for success and the blessing of God again.  The first step he took was to reopen the doors of the the temple and repair it’s doors.  (2nd Chronicles 29:3-6)   He brought in the priests and Levites and had them consecrate themselves first and then they began to cleanse the temple.  They removed all defilements from King Ahaz and restored the utensils and furniture that he had removed.

The next thing was to gather all the leaders and renew the covenant with the Lord by sacrifice.  Sin must be confessed and atoned for.  Sin brings death so in their case, animals had to die on their behalf.  The blood was sprinkled on the altar.  (2nd Chronicles 29:24)  The king and the people sang and worshiped as the sacrifices were being offered.  The Levites played and led the singing.  The people bowed and worshiped and offered themselves with joy and gladness!  The people brought thank offerings and sacrifices for themselves.  This work was done quickly because God had brought it about through a godly leader, Hezekiah!

If you find your life in turmoil and fear and your family in captivity, the plan of Hezekiah might work well for you.  Is your temple in disrepair?  Is it cluttered with idols and remnants of the world system?  Begin by removing the clutter and idols and turn to the Lord in humble repentance.  Consecrate your life to the Lord again and establish a regular pattern of worship.  Claim the blood of the last and only perfect sacrifice to be sufficient to atone for your sins!  Jesus Christ has done all that is needed to cleanse your temple and cover your sin!  He wants your life to be marked by joy!  He can do a “quick work” in your life too!  These ancient words from Hezekiah are as true today as then!  May you have great success!

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The secret of great power!

Scripture reading for April 30: 2nd Chronicles 26-28

People are always curious when someone says that they know a secret that will make them young, rich, beautiful, successful or powerful.  Many people have gotten rich selling secrets to these popular desires.  Most of them are people who are playing on the selfish nature of man for their own benefit.  We would do well to avoid them.  But in today’s reading, we find a treasure from the Lord!

Do you want the secret of great power?  Look at the Life of Jotham, the twenty five year old son of King Uzziah.  This king did right in the eyes of the Lord.  (2nd Chronicles 27:2)  We have seen that this is always a good sign!  The main event recorded of this king is a war with the Ammonites and it says that Jotham conquered them. (2nd Chronicles 27:5)  After the conquest, he got a large amount of silver, wheat, and barley for several years.

The secret of his power is found in one verse that makes up a paragraph!   “Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the Lord his God.” (2nd Chronicles 27:6)  It is so simple that anyone can grasp this concept.  Faithfulness is the first requirement of a good steward.  Jotham was faithful and he kept the faith all of his life!  It’s that simple!  He served the Lord his God.  God must be your God personally as well.  He can’t be just the God of your father or mother.  He can’t be just your nation’s God or your wife’s God.  In order to serve steadfastly, you need to know God for yourself!

If you need to ask the Lord to be your God today, take time now and get right with Him.  The path to great power starts with a heart commitment to the Lord in faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.  (Acts 4:12)  We must humbly confess our sins and our need of His grace. (1st John 1:9)    We must believe in our hearts and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and we will be saved.  (Romans 10:9-11)  All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.  We are saved by grace through faith in Christ and He has good works for us to walk in.  (Ephesians 2:8-10)  If you continue in the faith, steadfast to the end, you will experience the greatest power available to man–God will raise you from the dead and you will live forever with Him!  (1st Thessalonians 4:13-18)  May the Lord bless you with great power!

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He passed away, to no one’s regret!

Scripture reading for April 29th: 2nd Chronicles 21-25

I have officiated at many funerals.  Most have been fairly well attended and most have been for people who knew the Lord and had a Christian testimony.  Sometimes there much crying and mourning because of the great loss of that person’s life.  Sorrow is normal and mourning can go on for several months or more.  Usually, if a person is a great leader or a person who has had public contact and great influence, the funeral is well attended and many kind words are said.  I remember attending the funeral of a famous Christian musician and songwriter.  The service was three hours long and the graveside service another half-hour! This man ended well and there were lots of people who were sad that he had departed.  Of course, we all rejoiced that he was with the Lord for he had a strong Christian testimony.

In today’s reading, we have the story of King Jehoram.  King Jehoram was a king of Judah who did evil in the Lord’s eyes.  He married a daughter of the wicked King Ahab and Queen Jezebel.  God raised up enemies who constantly caused trouble in Jehoram’s kingdom.  Jehoram sought idols and built pagan shrines instead of seeking the Lord.  The prophet Elijah sent him a letter that told him of his sins and the coming consequences.  (2nd Chronicles 21:12-15)  This letter warns of God striking Jehoram’s family and then the king himself with a wasting disease of the bowels.  It appears that Jehoram was unresponsive to God’s warning.

God aroused the Philistines and Arabs, and they attacked Jerusalem and carried off all of Jehoram’s sons but the youngest.  Jehoram was afflicted with the disease of the bowels and he died in great pain.  There is no record that he sought the Lord or tried to find help from God. When this king died, there was no big funeral or celebration of remembrance.  No one mourned or was sad to see this king leave this world.  No one regretted his passing!

How are you living your life?  What kind of legacy are you leaving behind in your community and family?  What will people say about you and your life when you pass from the scene?  More importantly, what will God say about your life?  Will the only record be that you “did evil in the eyes of the Lord”? (2nd Chronicles 21:6)   My prayer is that you hear “Well done, good and faithful servant!”  (Matthew 25: 23)

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The importance of Godly Judges!

Scripture reading for April 28: 2nd Chronicles 17-20

A dangerous trend in our own land is the appointment of judges who do not just render decisions based on the law, but try to legislate from the bench.  They feel that they can help tailor the laws of the land to meet the needs of more people rather than just interpreting the laws according to their original intent.   Every government needs a moral base of what is right and what is wrong.  God’s law has proven to be the best definition of right and wrong that was ever written down!

In today’s reading, King Jehoshaphat had narrowly escaped death when he unwisely allied himself with King Ahab of Israel.  When he cried out to the Lord, God spared his life.  King Jehoshaphat decided to bring more reform to the people he served.  He appointed judges in each of the fortified cities and gave them strict instructions about how to serve the Lord and His people.  He told them that each decision should be rendered as from the Lord and that the fear of the Lord should be upon them. (2nd Chronicles 19:5-7)  There should be no injustice, partiality, or bribery, for God is righteous!

In Jerusalem Jehoshaphat appointed some of the Levites to administer the Law of the Lord.  He gave them strict orders to uphold the Law of the Lord and to warn the people not to sin against the Lord or his wrath would come upon them.  (2nd Chronicles 19:9-10)  They were to act with courage and if they did well, God would be with them and reward them.

God Himself places all authority.  (Psalm 75:6-7)   God is pleased when that authority rules and enforces His laws.  When the authority violates His laws, consequences follow that bring God’s wrath and judgment.  Our nation is in peril today because of violating God’s laws.  Unrighteous judges have reinterpreted the laws of our land to remove God and His law from the land.  Every time a judge rules, he is ruling for God.  God does not want to be misrepresented!  We as a nation need to take warning from God’s Word about judges and law.  We are in danger of God’s wrath and are already experiencing it.

Take time today to pray for those in authority.  Pray that they will appoint judges who will impartially interpret the laws.  Pray that there will be no bribery, injustice, or partiality.  After you pray, think about ways God gives you to make a difference.  Vote for godly leaders.  Call elected officials and make  your godly beliefs known.  Teach your children God’s Word and law so that they know what He expects!  Discuss with them where our nation violates God’s law so that they can be informed with a Christian world view.  If we don’t pray and take action, we will be overwhelmed with ungodly laws, unrighteous judges, and God’s wrath!

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Be strong! Do not Give Up!

Scripture reading for April 25:  2nd Chronicles 13-16

“Listen to me, Asa and all of Judah and Benjamin.  The Lord is with you when you are with Him.  If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” 2nd Chronicles 15:2

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2nd Chronicles 15:7

God is good at warning and encouraging!  King Asa started out right and did right in the eyes of the Lord.  He proceeded to remove idols from the land and commanded God’s people to seek the Lord and obey His laws.  He rebuilt the fortified cities and the land enjoyed peace under his godly rule.  When an attack came from Zerah the Cushite, Asa called out to the Lord for help and God answered him. (2nd Chronicles 14:11)  King Asa had a great victory and was walking close to the Lord.

God saw something inside of this king that He addressed.  He encouraged Asa by the prophetic ministry of Azariah, son of Oded.  He encouraged this victorious king to keep on seeking the Lord.  He reminded him to stay with the Lord.  He warned him and his followers that if they forsook the Lord, they would find themselves out there on their own and in trouble.  He ended the prophetic message with encouragement. He told King Asa to be strong and not give up.  God would reward him for his work.   Prophesy is always to build up, not to tear down.  (1st Corinthians 14:3)

The prophetic word does build us up, but we must stay humble and teachable.  Asa was humble and teachable at the time of this earlier word, but later Asa went on his own to Damascus and enlisted the Syrian King Ben-Hadad with monies from the Temple treasuries.  Again the Lord sent a prophet to warn and correct Asa.  Hanani came to him and told him he had done a foolish thing and would now be at war.  Asa became angry with the seer and imprisoned him.  He mistreated some of the Lord’s people as well.  He got a disease in his feet, but refused to seek the Lord and only went to doctors.  As a result, he died.  He had started out right, but failed to heed the word of the Lord!

Thank God today for the prophetic word that seeks to warn and encourage us.  Ask the Lord to teach you what you need to know and how to stay humble and able to obey.  If you have a hard heart, open up to His amazing love and let this word encourage you.  Be strong, do not give up, for your work will be rewarded! 2nd Chronicles 15:7

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Pastor’s Walk Podcast: Leviticus Summary Part 3

In this podcast Pastor John concludes his summary of the book of Leviticus.

Sunday rest and reflection: seeking God.

Greetings! Today is another day of rest and reflection and a time to catch up if you have fallen behind.   There is to be no condemnation if you fall behind!  Sometimes things do happen and we have things that keep us from doing what we ought to do.  The “tyranny of the urgent” often intrudes in our schedules.  Sometimes it is the “drooping eyelids” of the weary that also slips up on us.  God is understanding and gracious.  We need not feel condemnation!

From the past week of reading, I want to reflect on the idea of  seeking the Lord.  Solomon built a temple for the Lord as a place where God’s people could come and seek the Lord.  At the dedication of the temple, Solomon’s prayer petitioned God to let His eyes be on the temple and asked that God’s ears would be attentive to the prayers of His people.  (2nd Chronicles 6:20-21)  God answered Solomon by appearing to him and answering his petitions.  God promised that His Name would always be there and that His eyes and heart would also be there.  (2nd Chronicles 7:15)  God also warned Solomon not to forsake seeking Him and turn away to other gods.  The consequences would not be good!

What factors are involved in seeking the Lord?  I believe that the first thing needed is faith.  Anyone who comes to God, must believe that He is.  Since God is Spirit, we can not see Him with our physical eyes.  So if we are seeking to contact God, we must approach Him as if He is really there and can hear and see us.  Solomon’s approach was this  kind of approach.  How did Solomon know that God was there?  God actually appeared to him after he had prayed and petitioned God.  As we approach God in faith, He reveals Himself to us.

We must also believe that God wants to reward us for seeking Him.  (Hebrews 11:6)  It wouldn’t do much good to seek out God if we did not feel that He would actually hear and understand what we needed.  Our God not only understands us, but has compassion on us and loves us.  He desires our highest good and wants to bless us.  We understand these truths by faith through believing God’s Word.  We must choose to believe because we hear the Word.  The Word of God has spiritual life and power in it to bring faith to the hearts of those who hear and believe, not just listen.

As the living stones of the new Temple of the Lord, we have direct access to the Lord at any time.  We have fellowship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  We can walk in the Spirit daily.  We can pray without ceasing.  We do not need to go to a designated place to seek the Lord.  God’s heart and eyes dwell within us and are always watching to show us support and answer prayer!  What a great God we’ve found!

It was said of Rehoboam that he did evil in the sight of the Lord because he failed to seek the Lord.  (2nd Chronicles 12:14)

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Shishak–A ‘wake-up’ call from God!

Scripture reading for April 25: 2nd Chronicles 10-12

Have you ever slept through an important event or meeting that you were supposed to attend?  Have you shut the alarm off or hit the “snooze” button and then failed to make it to work or an important gathering?  King Rehoboam got an unusual “wake-up” call from a prophet of God and a pagan king, Shishak of Egypt, and his 1200 chariots!  (2nd Chronicles 12:3)  Sometimes the wake-up call is death staring us in the face!

The problem with Rehoboam was his failure to keep regular appointments with God and obedience to God’s law after he was established and became strong.  (2nd Chronicles 12:1-2)  Rehoboam followed his father Solomon to the throne.  But he failed to listen to wise advise and evidently failed to seek the Lord and obey His law.  Instead he sought the advice of his own peers and sought his own way and welfare over the welfare of the people God had entrusted to him.  We may get by doing this for a while, but soon our sins find us out.

When we disobey and dishonor the Lord, we open the door to Satan’s attack.  Rehoboam found himself under attack by Shishak, King of Egypt.  Shishak had 1200 chariots and many hired warriors.  God sent a prophet named Shemaiah to warn Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah and to help them see their errors.  Upon hearing the Word of the Lord, the king and the leaders humbled themselves and God relented of destroying them.  He did allow Shishak to carry off the treasures of the Temple and the royal palace.  (2nd Chronicles 12:6-9) The king and the people became subjects of Egypt.

Rehoboam heard the wake-up call and responded temporarily.  He was spared destruction but did not truly repent.  He continued to do evil in God’s eyes and failed to set his heart on seeking the Lord in everything.  (2nd Chronicles 12:14)

This is a sad story that is repeated often in our time as well.  Many have divided loyalties and God sends his “wake-up” calls.  Sometimes we humble ourselves and repent but often we go right back to doing the same old things that cause us to not seek the Lord fully.  If you have trouble in this area today, ask the Lord to fill you with the Holy Spirit.  Take this message as your “wake-up” call and respond with all your heart!  You wouldn’t want to miss the most important appointment in all eternity!

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The half has not been told!

Scripture reading for April 24: 2nd Chronicles 6-9

Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived other than Jesus Christ.  Solomon got his wisdom by asking for it! (James 1:5)  God appeared to him early in his rule and asked him what he needed.  Solomon asked for wisdom to rule God’s people and knowledge.  (2nd Chronicles 1:7-10) God granted him his request and  gave him fame and fortune as well.  Solomon became well-known for his wisdom and for the wealth that God had lavished on him.

The Queen of Sheba was a foreign dignitary of Solomon’s time who had heard reports of Solomon’s wisdom and wealth.  She wanted to come and see for herself and when she arrived and took it all in, her recorded remark was “not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me”.  (2nd Chronicles 9:6)  This pagan Queen also made another remark that is amazing.  She praised Solomon’s God for delighting in Solomon and placing him on the throne.  She noted that the Lord loved his people and appointed Solomon as king to uphold them and rule them for God!  She had great understanding herself as she stood in Solomon’s presence.  It appears that this wisdom rubs off!

The Queen of Sheba also lavished gifts of gold and spices on Solomon.  She gave him over 25 tons of gold by our measure!  A king who is full of wisdom deserves great honor and recognition!

Well, how does this story from 3000 years ago affect us today?  Solomon had a distant grandson, Jesus Christ, who was also filled with wisdom from God.  Luke records that he grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. (Luke 2:51)  Paul records that in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  (Colossians 2:2-3)  This same Jesus has been made unto us wisdom from God.  (1st Corinthians 1:30)  If we need wisdom, we can simply ask God and He will give us liberally!  (James 1:5)  We have record of Jesus’ unequaled wisdom, yet the half has not been told!  When we see Him we will know fully what we only know in part now!

Not only that, but as Solomon’s fame spread far and wide, so Jesus Christ’s fame is spreading to all the nations!  As the Queen of Sheba gave lavish gifts to Solomon, so we are to honor Jesus Christ and give our tithes and lives to Him who is worthy!  We are to tell of the riches of His glorious Kingdom and publish his fame and wisdom for all who will listen!  We bring him the precious “gold” of our faith and the “spices” of prayer and worship.  All nations will worship Him of whom “the half has not been told”!

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