Tag Archive: Truth


Scripture

1 Kings 22:34 (NIV)

But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armor. The king told his chariot driver, “Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.”

Observation

There is no such thing as luck. There is no force, outside of the will of God that directs things to happen, for good or ill. The word, “luck,” though, has seeped into our vocabulary. What is luck, though? How do we define it?

Merriam-Webster defines luck as

1 a: a force that brings good fortune or adversity.
b: the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual.
2: favoring chance.

Just as there’s no such thing as luck, there’s no coincidence, happenstance, or anything else that happens that doesn’t happen outside the will of God. When we, as Believers, think that an event is by chance then we are denying the omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence of God. In this passage of 1 Kings, we see a disguised King Ahab hit by a “random” arrow. Let’s back up a moment though and look at the two types of will that belong to God.

There is an active will of God that involves God causing something to happen. In King Ahab’s case, the nation of Israel and Aram had been at peace for three years. A spirit from God goes to the prophets of Ahab to incite Ahab to attack Aram (1 Kings 22:19-23). This is to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken against the house of Ahab by the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 21:17-24). Thus, God causes Ahab to be in the position to be struck by the arrow that “randomly” kills him.

There is the passive will of God that allows things to happen. This can appear to happen by chance, such as the passage here where King Ahab is hit by a “random” arrow.

When someone comes to mind that you haven’t thought of in a long time, ask God why. When you just happen to “bump” into someone thousands of miles from home, there is a reason. Ask God. When our minds become trained to recognize God’s hand in all things then we can be better stewards of all that He brings into our lives.

Scripture

Colossians 3:17,23-24 (NIV)

17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Observation

As I read through this text today it struck me as odd that Paul would say the same thing in verses 17 and 23-24, so I have stopped to review these verses and see what it is I might be missing.

Colossians 3 starts with, “Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (v 1-2). The word “since” here is being used as a conjunction between Colossians 3:1 and the preceding text. Therefore, let’s take a look at the preceding text.

In Colossians 2 Paul is telling the people of Colossus that they no longer have to follow Jewish traditions such as circumcision, special days, and mandates regarding what to eat or drink because Christ has freed them from these laws that only have an appearance of wisdom and cannot grant any eternal freedom. Furthermore, they need to be alert to anyone who would try and teach this doctrine as if it were true. They now have freedom in Christ.

Having established that there is freedom in Christ, Paul exhorts the Colossians to “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2 NIV). I expect anyone suddenly freed from any matter of prison might run amok thinking they can do whatever they want to do. There are all sorts of manners of “captivity” that we go through in our lives. From childhood into our teenage years, most people are in a state of following the laws laid down by their parents or guardians. Hence, the expressions of “freedom” we see when people leave home to go to college or other pursuits.

When I entered the military, shortly after graduating from High School, I remember feeling like I had jumped from the frying pan into the fire. Basic training was just that bad. After Basic, the USAF had a “phase” system in place at my technical school. The military had realized that people “freed” from captivity behaved in out sorts of outlandish ways and need to gradually be “phased” back into mainstream living.

I believe that there’s more to this freedom in Christ than not having to adhere to Old Testament Jewish law. Whether or not one was a Jew who was now a Christian, they, the Colossians, as we once did, lived under the bondage of death. “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we shall die” is a sentiment that comes to mind in the face of death (Isaiah 22:13). However, for those who are alive in Christ, and have been raised to live with Christ, that’s you and me, Believer, we need to change our way of thinking.

To one degree or another, every one of us was in the World and behaved as “worldly” people before we gave our lives to Christ. Hence, the beginning statement of Colossians 3. Now we can see how Colossians 3:17 is set up. Paul reminds the people of Colossus, and subsequently, us, how we once lived before coming to Jesus. As liars, adulterers, murderers, full of anger, rage, malice, spewing obscenities and giving into all manners of lust and sexual immoralities. We once saw everyone with the labels that the world had placed on them. Now, however, as Children of God, saved by the grace of God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, we “must clothe [ourselves] with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. [Bearing] with each other and [forgiving] one another…as the Lord forgave [us]” (Colossians 3:12-13 NIV). We are to do everything in love that will bring us together in perfect peace for we were called by God, as one body of Christ, to live in peace. Therefore, we need to allow the peace of God to be dominant in our hearts (Colossians 3:14-15 NIV).

Finally, with the peace of God ruling in our hearts we are to ruminate on “the message of Christ” as we share it “through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in [our] hearts” (Colossians 3:16 NIV). Now, I think I have a much better grasp of Colossians 3:17.

As I examine Colossians 3:23-34, I can see that Paul goes from speaking to the people of Colossus, in general, to the specific roles of husband, wife, children, father, and servants (household) and we can see that, this, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving,” is directed at the servants. When we get to Colossians 4, we can see evidence that this is the case because Paul is now telling Masters how to behave toward their servants. “Masters, practice equality and justice with your Servants and be aware that you also have a Master in Heaven” (Aramaic Bible).

Having examined these two passages and their context I think it’s a good idea for us, as Christians, today, to put both of them into practice for whatever we do, when we do it with gladness in our hearts, it will make our day and those around us, a brighter one.

Do you know God? He loves you. He wants you to know Him. He already knows you and He would rather die than not have you in His family. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.

Scripture

1 Kings 19:3-5 (NIV)

3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it, and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”

Observation

We all need encouragement sometimes. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve walked with the Lord or what He’s done in and through us, we need an encouraging word. Let’s look at the case of Elijah the Tishbite.

Elijah had such a strong anointing that he was able to stop it from raining by his word (1 Kings 17:1). His faith was so great that he did what God told him to do without question. When God told him to hide in the Kerith Ravine and that ravens were going to supply him with food, he believed God and went and hid at the Ravine. Ravens brought Elijah food every morning and evening (1 Kings 17:2-6). When the brook that was supplying him water dried up, the Lord told him to go to Zarephath, to a widow there, who the Lord had directed to supply Elijah with food (1 Kings 17:7-9). and Elijah went! (1 Kings 17:10)

You might be thinking to yourself that a man who had gone, at the direction of the Lord, to live at a brook and be fed by the birds, surely would go someplace else and let a human supply his needs, right? Well, the land of Zarephath, in the region of Sidon was a place of gentiles. Anyone who isn’t Jewish is a Gentile. In Elijah’s time, God had been very clear that His chosen people, The Israelites, were not only to not associate with gentiles, because they worshiped other gods and would corrupt the Jews with their practices. Furthermore, each day, a Jewish rabbi, such as Elijah, would wake up and pray, “Thank you God that I was not born a slave, a Gentile, or a woman. I can’t imagine what went through Elijah’s mind at the time. All that we know from the text is that Elijah did exactly what God told him to do (1 Kings 17:10). Elijah was the first missionary sent to a foreign people. That took faith.

When the widow’s son died, Elijah did something else in faith that had never been done before in the Bible. He prayed and asked God to bring the woman’s son back to life (1 Kings 17:20-23). It might not seem like a big deal to us today. We know that God heals the sick and raises the dead. A large part of our faith is based on what know God has done in the past. It’s one way we get encouragement. I can say, “I may sick, right now, but God has healed me before, He can do it again.” It’s one reason that Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, was made mute by the angel Gabriel when he asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this?” (Luke 1:18-20) Zechariah knew of his forefather Abraham and how he was an old man with a wife who, in the natural, couldn’t bear children and yet, because of the promise of God, they had Isaac. And there were many other cases afterward of God bringing healing to barren couples. Zechariah doubted. Elijah, however, believed that God could do anything so he asked for the widow’s son’s life to be restored and God did it.

There’s no doubt that Elijah had a rock-solid faith in God. By the time we see Elijah here, afraid and running for his life, he had seen God do so much. However, Jezebel, King Ahab’s wife, told him that she was going to kill him so he ran in fear. (1 Kings 19:2-3). We can see that Elijah was a man of great faith. I believe that Elijah also had humility. We know that God opposes the proud but shows grace to the humble (James 4:6). In his prayer to the Lord, “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kings 19:4 NIV), I see the force of humility at work. Elijah knew, just as we know, that the things that God had him do had never been done before. The greatest prophet before Elijah had been Moses. I can see Elijah hoping that God would use him like Moses and then, when he became afraid and ran, thinking that he “was no better than his ancestors” who had rejected the covenant and torn down God’s altars. This experience, of running away in fear, would have been even more humbling to Elijah if he had wanted to be the next Moses. Regardless of whether or not Elijah desired to be the next Moses, he couldn’t have done what God had asked him to do without humility.

God encourages Elijah in three ways.

  1. He meets him where he’s at, in the wilderness. Previously, God had always told Elijah to go here or there and Elijah went. In this time, when Elijah was exhausted and at the end of his rope, the Lord sends an angel to feed him to give him the strength to continue.
  2. God reminds Elijah of what He has done and how Elijah has served Him. The Lord asks Elijah twice, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9,13). God does nothing without a reason. We know that God knows all things and so did Elijah. Therefore, when God asked him, “What are you doing here?” I believe the question is a means of bringing remembrance to Elijah of what the Lord had done and who He did it through. I’m reminded of Jesus asking Peter if he loved Him in the book of John (21:15-19).
  3. The presence of the Lord comes to Elijah. Whenever Elijah had previously heard from the Lord it is described as “The word of the Lord, The Lord said, etc.” However, after the wind, earthquake, and fire there is a gentle whisper and it is a voice that asks Elijah, “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 19:11-13)

God speaks to us in many ways. He wants us to be encouraged. He doesn’t want us to give up. God could have taken Elijah when he asked to die. Even though Elijah had given up on himself, God didn’t give up on him. He still had work that only Elijah could do. Allow me to encourage you today. God sees you. He knows that you’re tired. He knows that you are walking through this dark world, but you are not alone. He wants you to be refreshed. He has a job for you to do. Otherwise, He’d bring you Home, but right now. Just stop, sit for a moment and listen to his gentle whisper, “I love you, I am with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. You are mine and I am yours.”

Do you know God? He loves you. He wants you to know Him. He already knows you and He would rather die than not have you in His family. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.

Scripture

2 Chronicles 16:7-10 (NIV)

7 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand.
8 Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”
10 Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison. At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.

Observation

Times are tough and we have nowhere to turn, we seek the Lord and He blesses us. He delivers us from bondage and brings us into peaceful shores with plenty. When times become tough again, instead of seeking the Lord, we look to our strength to do His work. Is His arm too short to save? Perhaps, we believe what we are doing is according to His will and is wise. We are told to ask for wisdom and believe that we have received it (James 1:5). What do we do, however, when we find out what we did was wrong in the eyes of the Lord? We don’t want to do what King Asa did.

King Asa was the first king of Judah to seek the Lord since King Solomon. Judah had turned away from God to follow the work of their own hands. When Asa needed encouragement it was given to him through the prophet Azariah (2 Chronicles 15:8). After hearing from the Lord through Azariah, Asa “removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim” and “repaired the altar of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 15:8 NIV). Furthermore, Asa “also deposed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother” and destroyed the Asherah pole she had made (2 Chronicles 15:16 NIV). After committing these acts of repentance, Asa brought all of the people of the lands together (2 Chronicles 15:9). There were so many immigrants to Judah from Israel because the people saw everything that God was doing in the land and knew that He was with Judah (2 Chronicles 15:9). All of Judah swore an oath to follow God with all their heart and soul and so the Lord gave them peace for 20 years (2 Chronicles 15:19).

When King Baasha of Israel attacks Judah, after so many years of peace, King Asa turns to King Ben-Hadad of Syria and seeks his help in defeating King Baasha (2 Chronicles 16:2). Now, I don’t know what King Asa was thinking. Perhaps, after so many years of ruling the kingdom and having peace, he thought that he was acting wisely. Surely, it makes sense to seek an ally in times of war? I’m reminded of the proverb, “there is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:22 NIV). Our motivation for why we do things is important. However, I think what is more important is how we respond in the face of a rebuke from the Lord. We know that a wise person will accept a rebuke with the love that is intended (Proverbs 15:31). Proverbs 9:8 tells us “Do not rebuke an evil one, lest he hate you, but rebuke a wise one, for he will love you” (Aramaic Bible). Asa’s response to Hanani the seer could only be described as that of an evil man. Asa threw Hanani into prison, tortured him, and then went after those who supported the Lord (2 Chronicles 16:10). Asa held onto his anger until he died, no longer seeking the Lord.

There’s one thing about King Asa that stands out to me. He once had faith in God and then he lost it. When we come to Christ, as new Believers, we may do as King Asa did and get rid of all the things from our former life. What this looks like to each person is going to be specifically different with the same general premise. Everything that contributed to our sins we turn away from. Whatever our lifestyle once was it should largely cease to be. The inward change that God does when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior will be reflected in our external lives. What happened to Asa to turn him from a devote follower of God who executed anyone who didn’t follow the Lord (2 Chronicles 15:13) into a man who, despite the horrible affliction of his feet, refused to turn to the Lord for healing? (2 Chronicles 16:12)

I suppose the answer to what happened to King Asa is no different than what can happen to you and me when we put our trust in anything other than God. One of the hardest lessons I have learned as a Christian is that nothing on this side of Heaven that is healed by God has to stayed healed by God. Very early in my journey as a new Christian, I faced some very hard struggles. My wife, who was a Christian, had prayed with the church for my salvation for over five years. Even though I wasn’t a Christian I went to church. I can only imagine how hard it was for her and for my church family to see me in church Sunday after Sunday, unsaved for so many years. Had it been me, waiting on the Lord, I think that I would have given up on me.

My marriage, at the time, had been on rocky ground. Once I was saved, God started to heal it as He healed my heart. My wife and I were the “stars” of the church. We shared testimonies and became a beacon for the healing of God. We counseled couples and saw other people through tough times. Our life together had taken off and was going someplace until it wasn’t. In a time of testing our marriage broke, again. I had believed that what God healed would stay healed. I had believed that the words of promise spoken over our marriage would continue and never fail. I was wrong.

When the marriage broke I turned away from the church. From my family. I cast blame and couldn’t take the pain. I didn’t blame God. I still loved Him, but I slowly started to do more and more things that weren’t in my best interest until I found myself sick. Like King Asa, I had developed a sickness in my body. It was during that time of great pain and affliction that nothing mattered to me more than being with God. Whether it was in the body or Heaven. I needed Him, His grace, and His healing. “Please heal me or let me die,” I said to Him. Then He showed me something so clearly. An arm that was broken and then healed can break again.

I had supplemented my faith in God with trust in my marriage. An arm, like that marriage, could break again. However, God can never fail. I don’t know if King Asa placed his trust in himself and his understanding of God. If twenty years of peace and prosperity lulled him into believing in his strength. I do know that when Asa was faced with a choice to repent from his pride or turn back and follow God, that Asa held onto the comfort of being right.

Would you like to be saved from the fear of death? Knowing that when you die you will be in an eternity filled with love, joy, and peace where there is no longer pain and suffering? Would you like to walk free of guilt today? To have your sins forgiven by the grace of God and to know true peace, here and now?

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.