June 30 “How’s your corporate worship?” & LINKUP

How do you view the music on Sunday mornings? Is it something you see as nice “if you make it on time”? Do you purposely come in late to avoid it? Or do you see it as an offering to the Lord?

worship

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 23-25
Psalm 78.40-55
Proverbs 20.3
Acts 9.22-43

1 Chronicles 23-25:

Worthy of our worship

Verse 25.1, “Moreover David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals.”

The passage goes on to tell us there were 288 singers, plus musicians and support staff, 4,000 in all! What a music ministry that must have been! There were people singing and praising the Lord all the time!

And when I read the Psalms and other passages of Scripture, it appears to me there is lots of praise and lots of music in heaven. I believe God loves to receive our heartfelt praises often expressed through music and singing.

How do you view that time in the service where the truths of God are being proclaimed through music and song? Do you see it as just the prelude to the service, something to be enjoyed “if you make it on time”? Or do you see it as a time when you really focus on God and worship Him? Do you allow the words of the songs to penetrate your heart? Do you “think about” and “meditate on” the words you’re singing? Or is it “vain repetition”?

Let’s ask God to give us a “right spirit” where praise and worship are concerned. Continue reading

June 29 “Christians & alcohol”

drinking alcoholShould Christians drink alcohol? What does the Bible say? How do you decide what’s right?

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 21 & 22
Psalm 78.34-39
Proverbs 20.1-2
Acts 9.1-21

 

1 Chronicles 21 & 22:

Praying for our children

Chapter 22.12-13, “Only may the LORD give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

prayer

This was the blessing that David wanted for his son Solomon. I was reminded of Paul’s prayers and how his primary focus was on praying for spiritual growth for those in his care, something to consider as we pray for our children. Continue reading

June 28 “Are you ready?”

confidence when He comes

Revelation 22.20, ““Surely I am coming quickly.” Are you ready?

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 19 & 20
Psalm 78.26-33
Proverbs 19.27-29
Acts 8.26-40

1 Chronicles 19 & 20:

Confidence at His coming

Did you notice how God omitted any mention David’s sin with Bathsheba here in 1 Chronicles and how it focuses, instead, on God’s redemptive work and His covenant with David? It’s much like what will happen to us when our redemption is fully realized and we stand before Him at the judgment seat of Christ. Whatever we have done will be tried by fire and those things we did for Christ with a pure heart will be purified like gold, silver and precious stones and that which was worthless will be burned up like wood, hay and stubble (1 Cor. 3.12-15).

That does not mean that we won’t answer to God for those things. Jesus said we will give an account for every idle word that we speak (Matt. 12.36). And 1 John 2 says:

28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. Continue reading

June 27 “Satisfaction: Is this all there is?”

satisfaction

We live in one of the most blessed and prosperous nations in the world. We have every kind of entertainment, all kinds of “toys,” and yet, instead of finding satisfaction, we often find ourselves asking, “Is this all there is?”

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 17 & 18
Psalm 78.17-25
Proverbs 19.25-26
Acts 8.1-25

1 Chronicles 17 & 18:

His hand holds the future

The chronicler continues to recount the story of David’s reign. In today’s reading he emphasizes God’s promise to David that his son would sit on the throne after him. It has a near application in Solomon and a messianic application, as well. Continue reading

June 26 “On sincerity & the fear of the Lord”

photo (11)

What was the attitude of your heart when you went to worship this past Sunday? Was it one of honesty and sincerity? Was it one of humility? Or was it largely thoughtless—just going through the motions, flippant or even prideful?

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 15 & 16
Psalm 78.12-16
Proverbs 19.22-24
Acts 7.44-60

1 Chronicles 15 & 16:

By the way … bless me

In Chapter 15 we find David once again preparing to bring the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, but this time he seeks to understand how to do it in a way that is honoring to God. Whether he spent time reading the scrolls or talking to the priests, this time he follows God’s instructions for moving it.

Sometimes we, too, have a heart to do something for God, but we jump out there and do it without really seeking to understand if it’s God’s will or if it’s the way He wants it done. Instead of prayerfully seeking Him, we go do our own thing and then ask God to bless our plan. Continue reading

June 25 “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming …”

dory[1]

Reading through the Bible is a great goal and worth persevering through. To quote that great philosopher Dory, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim, swim.”

On to the Word …

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 13 & 14
Psalm 78.1-11
Proverbs 19.20-21
Acts 7.22-43

1 Chronicles 13 & 14:

The horrible consequences of sin

God allows us to see the men and women He uses with all their warts and failings:

Verse 14.3, “Then David took more wives in Jerusalem, and David begot more sons and daughters.”

Remember kings had been specifically commanded not to take multiple wives (Deut. 17.17). Even though God allowed him to do so, He didn’t condone it. And the history of his life and family reveals the horrible consequences, including: infighting, jealousy, incest, and murder. So don’t be tempted to think the men and women in the Bible somehow got a pass on sin.

As a pastor friend of our used to say, “You can choose to sin, but you don’t get to choose the consequences.”

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay”– unknown

Continue reading

June 24 “Can you explain the basics of the faith?”

basics of the faith

Photo courtesy of Marilee Reidland

Can you explain the basics of the faith? Why did Jesus have to die? How is a person saved? If you had the opportunity to share your faith, would you know how to answer those questions?

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 11 & 12
Psalm 77.16-20
Proverbs 19.17-19
Acts 7.1-21

1 Chronicles 11 & 12:

Betrayal & forgiveness

1 Chronicles parallels 2 Kings and repeats much of the same narrative story, but because of the viewpoint of the return from Babylon, it emphasizes certain points. So as I said yesterday, don’t be confused by the repetition.

Notice in 11.41 in the list of David’s mighty men—those who served him so well—the name Uriah the Hittite. He was the husband of Bathsheba. David’s sin of adultery and murder would have been bad enough no matter who Uriah had been, but it was aggravated by the fact that Uriah was a loyal associate. Continue reading

June 23 “One way to peace & hope” & LINKUP

What do you rely on for peace today? Where is your hope for the future? There is only one way to have both.

one way

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 9 & 10
Psalm 77.10-15
Proverbs 19.15-16
Acts 6.1-15

1 Chronicles 9 & 10:

Failure to trust in the sovereignty of God

If you think of the Bible as being written chronologically, today’s reading and much of what follows may seem confusing. But the Bible is not put together chronologically, as far as the various books go. And at times, as in Chronicles, it repeats things that were previously recorded with a slightly different perspective.

It may help to remember that Chronicles was probably written by Ezra. He was a priest who came back to Jerusalem after they had been in Babylonian captivity for 70 years. So he was writing from the perspective of the return and how life was so dramatically different from how it was during the reigns of David and Solomon. This portion covers the genealogy of the people who were returning and emphasizes the reign of David.

The last two verses of chapter 10 are worth meditating on:

Continue reading

June 22 “Blessing or dripping?”

Drip, drip, drip … ladies, our Proverbs reading says we can choose to be godly wives and a blessing to our husbands or we can choose our own way. If you’re married, what kind of a wife are you?

kozzi-water_tap-441x294

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 7 & 8
Psalm 77.4-9
Proverbs 19.13-14
Acts 5.22-42

1 Chronicles 7 & 8:

Looking for baby names?

If you’re expecting all this genealogy gives you an abundance of names from which to choose. Who’s going to be the first to have a little Elioaenai or Hotham or Japhlet? Or maybe you could name that darling little girl Maacah or Hushim or Baara. Maybe Shuppim and Huppim for those twins! It makes you wonder why some of those names didn’t come into modern usage!

God is looking for those whose hearts are completely His

Possible baby names aside, it can be challenging to get through all this genealogy. But God had a reason for including it in His inspired Word. And we need to dig in and find the nuggets of truth.

I was struck with how many times the men listed were described as “mighty men of valor.” God is still looking for “might men” and “mighty women” who will stand up and be counted in the battle to win souls.

2 Chronicles 16.9a says, “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” Continue reading

June 21 “Hypocrisy & little white lies”

Ananias and Sapphira died instantly for lying to the Holy Spirit. If God dealt with lying and hypocrisy in the same way in our churches this Sunday, I wonder how many of us would walk out?

fingers-crossed[1]

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 5 & 6
Psalm 77.1-3
Proverbs 19.10-12
Acts 5.1-21

1 Chronicles 5 & 6:

The tribe of Levi

As we continue through the genealogical record, the tribe of Levi, as the priestly tribe, is given special prominence. Not only do we have the genealogy, but their responsibilities are delineated, as well. In 6.33-47 we see those assigned the responsibilities for singing and praising God in the house of the Lord. Heman seems to be over all the singing with Asaph and Ethan on his right and on his left. Besides singing they also penned a number of the psalms. Asaph is given credit for the one in our reading today.

Psalm 77.1-3:

I will remember

Notice the title, “A Psalm of Asaph.” This psalm, like many others, starts out with deep sorrow, but ends with the psalmist encouraging himself and us, with accounts of God’s faithfulness in the past. This is one reason why the psalms are a good place to go when we are struggling with hurts and discouragements. The psalmists were often very honest with God about their disappointments, grievances, fears and worries, but there comes a turning point where they begin to say, “… but God …” We will see that in this psalm as we proceed through it over the next couple of days.

In these three verses we see words and phrases like. “I cried out,” “in the day of my trouble,” “my soul refused to be comforted,” “I … was troubled,” “I complained,” and “my spirit was overwhelmed.” But later we’ll see such phrases as. “But I will remember” and “I will meditate … and talk of Your deeds.” Continue reading