2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14 ~ Romans 9:1-24 ~ Psalm 19:1-14 ~ Proverbs 20:1
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Old Testament - Today in 2 Chronicles chapter 14 we read about the early year's of King Asa's reign, including his incredible prayer to God in verse 11! "Then Asa cried out to the LORD his God, "O LORD, no 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!" Unfortunately by the end of our readings today, in chapter 16, we read about Asa falling away from God and relying on a foreign king and physicians without any prayer for healing from God. He replaced God in his life with mere men. I wonder how often we do this in our lives today? Can you think of any times in your life where you have relied on people in the place of relying on God? How did that work out? I do think we can rely on people certainly - if we are also relying on God more so and if God is in the midst of the relationship with the people we are relying on. I think all would have gone well with King Asa in his later years if he had only been taught this motto that we teach our kids today: "Be a FROG!" :) Fully Rely On God! What about you in your life today? Are you a FROG? :) Let us all be FROG's!
(apologies for the silly start to this posting today... :) don't worry, I get more serious by the time we get to Proverbs as you'll see below...)
New Testament - Powerful readings from Paul today in Romans chapter 9! In verse 5 we read one of the clearest statements in the New Testament about the deity of Jesus! "Their ancestors were great people of God, and Christ himself was a Jew as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen." Paul says here that Jesus is God! So, what say you? Is Jesus God?
A portion of verse 6 made me think about Christians today: "Not everyone born into a Jewish family is truly a Jew!" Do you think that everyone born into a Christian family today is truly a Christian? I know our various denominations will have various degrees / times / ceremonies that will mark becoming a Christian. But I think many of us would agree that just because you are born into a Christian family doesn't mean that you are necessarily Christian. Meaning, I think there has to come a time in each of our lives where we consciously believe in faith that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. We need to own our faith at some point - not just be a "cultural" Christian because that's what our family and friends are. I believe at some point in our life we need to enter into relationship with God through his son Jesus through faith. Let us pray for our friends and family members who are perhaps currently "cultural" Christians. Let us pray that they will enter into a loving and growing relationship with God through Jesus. Side note - I was prayed into the Kingdom by some amazing friends! (thanks Chad & Becky & Becky & others!) It is true. Prayer for your friends and family is powerful. Please pray for them tonight...
Psalms - Today we read Psalm 19, which is one of my favorite Psalms! In large part this Psalm is one of my favorites because one of my former pastors taught from this Psalm 3 a few years ago in such a powerful way. Have you had this type of experience? Where you hear a sermon on a chapter of the Bible and then that chapter becomes one of your favorites? I do hope that this One Year Bible experience will allow you to tune-in a little bit more whenever you hear your pastors or ministers or priests teaching you from the Bible in church. I know this is the case with me. Thanks to reading the Bible each day, I now have better context of what is being taught from the pulpit and it makes going to church a richer experience overall. I also now often catch some Bible verses in the worship songs or hymns we sing as well. And this adds a lot to my worship of God now through music. This year, as you go through the One Year Bible and as you go to church, will you tune-in to the sermons and the songs in church more than ever and look for and appreciate how they tie in to the Bible?
Back to Psalm 19 – I do encourage everyone to really read through and meditate on every verse in this Psalm of David and how this Psalm might be speaking to you this week. Please do take a few minutes to go through the Psalm twice if possible and really reflect upon it. You may even want to journal to God some thoughts or ideas or prayers that come to you through reading this Psalm. I find verse 14 in this Psalm to be so powerful – again in large part because one of my former pastors often sang a worship song that simply repeats this verse over and over again – and what a beautiful prayer it is for each of us to repeat over and over again as well: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Are the words of your mouth and the meditation of your heart pleasing in God’s sight? Is God your Rock? Is God your Redeemer?
Proverbs - Proverbs 20 verse 1 today reminds me of the need for and success of modern day Alcoholics Anonymous - "Wine produces mockers; liquor leads to brawls. Whoever is led astray by drink cannot be wise." I don't have personal experience with AA, but have heard very good things about it from several friends. I do love the AA Serenity Prayer - I think this prayer is a great prayer for all of us - "God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference." Amen.
While I'm on the subject of alcohol, since the Bible brought it up and all :), mind if I go on a bit of a tangent on this subject? Thanks. :) I would be very interested to hear others views / experiences with alcohol in their lives in the Comments below. (I know that some of our denominations have very different views on alcohol.) I'll share with you here that I struggled with alcohol abuse big time in my teens and early 20's. Certainly this Proverb was true in my case - wine produced a mocker out of me. Liquor led to brawls - oftentimes more psychological brawls than physical. And certainly I don't think I had the ability to be wise back in the days when I was led astray by excessive drink. Very frankly, I nearly drank myself to death the night before I graduated college. Alcohol poisoning / a black out got a hold of me that night. I'll spare you all the details, other than to say that after my near-death experience with alcohol, I knew I had a decision to make. Keep going the way I was going and I would die. Or go another direction. I didn't quite know what that other direction was or would look like, but I knew I had to go in the other direction away from alcohol / the party life. And thankfully God led me to Him. It took me 6 years of searching from the night I almost drank myself to death to the night when I accepted Jesus as my Savior, but it was the most important journey to undertake in my life. (The journey to Jesus is the most important journey in all of our lives...) So, yes, alcohol can be a dangerous thing, to say the least. I do know many Christians who do not / never have really struggled with it. I don't fault anyone for drinking in moderation. (These days I do have a drink in social settings very infrequently.) I just know that many people reading this blog likely struggle with or know someone who struggles with alcohol. All I know is that if alcohol is something that you are "allergic" to, stay away from it. Don't touch it. Get into AA if tomorrow if you need to. (please... do it if you need to...) Let each of us never forget this Proverb 20:1 - "Wine produces mockers; liquor leads to brawls. Whoever is led astray by drink cannot be wise."
Worship God: As we're reading Psalm 19 today, I think it's appropriate to share this "God of Wonders" video with Third Day and Caedmon's Call!
Do you know our God of Wonders? Click here for Wonder!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture this week: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 (NIV)
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!