June 14 “Words, criticism & imperfect saints”

Words have an effect on our lives and the lives of those around us. How should we use our words and how should we respond when someone criticizes us?

criticism

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 15 & 16
Psalm 73.21-28
Proverbs 18.20-21
John 21.1-25

2 Kings 15 & 16:

Responding to criticism

Chapter 15 summarizes the reigns of Azariah, also called Uzziah, and his son Jothan. The Scripture says they did what was right in the sight of the Lord in many ways, although both tolerated the idolatrous practices of the people.

But then … verse 5? “Then the LORD struck the king, so that he was a leper until the day of his death …” What happened?

The parallel passage in 2 Chronicles gives us some insight. After serving the Lord well and seeing God prosper his efforts, Uzziah (Azariah) got puffed up with pride and tried to usurp the priestly role by going into the temple to burn incense on the altar of incense, something only the priest was to do. But even then, God didn’t strike him with leprosy until he refused to listen to the High Priest when he rebuked him (2 Chron. 26.16-23).

This is a great reminder to us to heed God’s Word and listen to wise counsel. And when we are rebuked, corrected, or criticized, we need to consider it carefully and prayerfully. Ask the Lord if there is even a nugget of truth in what is being said.

A great little booklet about how to receive criticism is called Words That Cut. It’s available through Peacemaker Ministries. If you’re not familiar with their ministry and materials, you might want to check out their website. Continue reading

June 13 “On Family Feuds & Sissies”

Fighting and disagreements within a family can be some of the most difficult to settle. But God places a high priority on unity and peace within our biological families and within the family of God.

family feud

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 14
Psalm 73.10-20
Proverbs 18.18-19
John 20.1-31

2 Kings 14:

He started well, but …

Amaziah started out well. Verse 3 says, “He did what was right in the sight of the Lord.” He even followed the Mosaic Law by not punishing the children of the men who had murdered his father. Then God gave him victory in battle over the Edomites. Instead of giving glory to God, he was lifted up in pride over that victory and challenged the king of Israel to war. It led to his defeat, the destruction of part of Jerusalem, the plundering of the temple, and the taking of hostages.

While pride was a huge factor, 2 Chronicles 25.14-16 gives us some additional insight: Continue reading