“Reasonably Transparent about Our Own Sin” June 25

 

Reasonably Transparent about Our Own Sin -

The Bible shows us people, even those used greatly by God, with all their warts and shortcomings. But it, also, shows us the consequences they faced as a result.

As we look at our own lives, we should allow the consequences for our poor choices to make us wiser. But if we’ve accepted His gracious gift of forgiveness and cleansing, we should, also, remember God’s mercy and grace in forgiving us and changing us.

Those of us who are parents often pray our children will avoid some of the mistakes we’ve made so they won’t suffer the same consequences. We should share our testimonies with them in ways that are reasonably transparent, yet wise.

But could there be something we do without realizing it that might backfire as it plays out in the lives of our children?

 

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

 

Reasonably Transparent about Our Own Sin

 

The Horrible Consequences of Sin

1 Chronicles 13 & 14:

 

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 ours used to say, “You can choose to sin, but you don’t get to choose the consequences.”

Someone else has said:

“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

 

Reasonably Transparent

Psalm 78.1-11:

 

Reasonably Transparent

The title of this psalm is “A Contemplation of Asaph.” A contemplation is “something to think about.”

Verse 4 reminds the people to tell their children the stories of their history and what God had done. Verses 6-7:

That the generation to come might know them,
The children who would be born,
That they may arise and declare them to their children,
That they may set their hope in God,
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments.

We, too, should tell our stories to our children, being “reasonably” transparent about our own mistakes. I say “reasonably” transparent because they don’t need all the gory details. Make sure what you share is age appropriate.

We should remind them of God’s grace, mercy, and blessings in our lives, even though in many cases, He allowed us to suffer the consequences of our foolish or sinful behavior.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life (Gal. 6.7-8).

Share the grace and mercy of God in saving you and setting your feet on the right path.

We should be transparent, too, when we sin or have sinned against them in some way, either directly or indirectly by arguing or acting selfishly in front of them. We should be willing to admit our sins and seek their forgiveness.

 

A Word of Caution

 

I’d like to offer a word of caution about sharing your past with your children. First ask yourself about your own attitude toward Your sinful past. Kevin Johnson who co-wrote The Peacemaker Student Edition says:  Continue reading

“Could You Explain the Basics of the Faith?” June 24

 

Could you explain the basics of the faith? How do we know we can trust the Bible? 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?Could you explain the basics of the faith? How do we know we can trust the Bible? 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?

Also, is there an angry person in your life? How do you respond to them? Do you make excuses? Do you give in to their selfish demands? How should we respond to people whose lives are characterized by anger?

 

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

 

Could You Explain the Basics of the Faith?

 

Wise as Serpents & Harmless as Doves

Acts 7.1-21:

 

Stephen was taken before the Sanhedrin and falsely accused of blasphemy and here in chapter 7, instead of answering directly, Stephen began to speak the truth of God in the power of the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus had said:

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” (Matt. 10.16-20).

We are living in a society where more and more restrictions are being placed on believers in our schools, in the workplace, and in the civic arena. It seems many in our culture want to give freedom of religion and expression to everyone except believers in Jesus Christ. While we need to be respectful of our civil laws, teach our children to respect authority in their schools and elsewhere, and be the best possible employees, we must sometimes risk censure to speak the truth to a lost world. When we do, we must do it out of a desire to please God and a love for the lost and not self-righteousness or an argumentative attitude.

Though we may not be killed for doing so, there will be times when it will be costly. We should pray that God will help us be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” as Jesus said in Matthew 10. For instance, we can take a co-worker to lunch instead of sharing the gospel at work and we need to be informed of our freedoms under the law and take advantage of them. Many people keep quiet because they are uninformed about the freedoms they do have.

 

The Basics of the Faith

We also need to learn to defend our faith. Many of us hold back because we don’t even know why we believe what we do. It doesn’t mean you have to have a degree in theology, but we should all know the basic tenets of our faith!

basics of the faith

How do we know we can trust the Bible?

Why did Jesus have to die?

How is a person saved?

What is “justification by faith”?

What does the Bible really say about homosexuality and abortion and how are we to treat people caught up in life-dominating sins?

If you don’t know the answers to those questions, ask your church leadership if there is a discipleship class or program. Many churches, like ours, offer courses to help you get grounded in the truth.

You can, also, do a self study with books like, Basic Christianity by John R.W. Stott or The Good News We Almost Forgot by Kevin L. DeYoung.

COULD YOU EXPLAIN THE BASICS OF THE FAITH? How do we know we can trust the Bible? 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 Other Readings:

 

Betrayal & Forgiveness

1 Chronicles 11 & 12:

 

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 1 Chronicles 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.

Yet, though there were consequences, some of which affected David for the rest of his life, God forgave him and Bathsheba. Because of His faithfulness and grace, their son Solomon would be the next king in the lineage of Jesus Christ.  Continue reading

“The Circle of Blessings” June 23

 

circle of blessings

Are you inside God’s circle of blessings or have you put yourself on the outside? When we put ourselves outside of God’s circle of blessings, we risk shortening our lives and opening ourselves to God’s discipline.

What about your children? Are you teaching them how to stay inside that circle of blessings?

 

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

 

The Circle of Blessings

 

Are You Inside or Outside?

Proverbs 19.15-16:

 

Verse 16, “He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, but he who is careless of his ways will die.”

The Puritan Pastor Matthew Henry said about this verse, those who make it a lifestyle to keep God’s commandments, “secure their present peace and future bliss, and provide every way well for themselves.”

It made me think of a very simple illustration we use when counseling children. We call it the “Circle of Blessings” based on Ephesians 6.1-3:

¹ Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.

circle of clessing

When children obey and honor their parents, things tend to go well with them and God promises a long life, but the opposite is also true. When they put themselves outside of God’s circle of blessings, things, generally, don’t go well with them and they risk shortening their lives.

You can quickly draw this out on a piece of paper or a white board as you talk about Ephesians 6.1-3. This is a simple illustration that helps children understand the passage, but the same principle is at work in our lives. When we keep our Heavenly Father’s commandments and honor Him, things tend to go well with us. When we reject the commandments and wisdom of God, we put ourselves outside of God’s circle of blessings. We, too, risk shortening our lives and opening ourselves to His discipline.

 


Today’s Other Readings:

 

Failure to Trust in the Sovereignty of God

1 Chronicles 9 & 10:

 

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:

13 So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance. 14 But he did not inquire of the LORD; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.

Even though Saul committed suicide, God had allowed the situation in which he found himself (about to be captured and probably tortured) as a consequence of his sin. Notice the sins delineated all involved his lack of trust in the sovereignty of God. He refused to believe that doing things God’s way was best and sought to know the future apart from waiting on God to reveal it at the proper time.

 

“I Will Remember”

Psalm 77.10-15:

 

The psalmist starts out “This is my anguish …,” but turns his thoughts to God and begins to remind himself of God’s faithfulness in the past, “I will remember,” “I will also meditate,” and “I will talk of Your deeds.” Then he recounts the great things God has done.

Have you ever tried writing your own psalm? This would be a great way to spend some of your devotional time if you’re struggling with discouragement of any kind.

 

Importance of the Ministry of Helps

Acts 6.1-15:

This passage points to the importance of the ministry of helps. When others use their gifts, it frees those who are called to the five-fold ministry, such as pastors and teachers, to do what God has called them to do—that is pray and study God’s Word.


Facing Religious Persecution

 

why the world hates usBut there are other great truths contained in this portion of Scripture. Let’s look at verse 15:

“And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel.”

Stephen faced the anger and persecution of an angry religious mob, with a peace and calm that demonstrated his complete trust and reliance on God.

Jesus said in Matthew 10.18-20:

18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

What a great promise!

 

journalWhat about You? Questions to Ponder or Journal:

Have you ever faced religious persecution? How did you respond? How would you like to respond in the future? I hope you will share your story with us.

Read several of the Psalms, then try writing your own. After you’ve shared your honest emotions with God, turn your attention to other times when God has shown Himself faithful. Use a concordance or go to Bible Gateway and look for verses that speak to your situation. Share your experiences and insights in the comments section at the end of the blog.

Where are you in regard to the “Circle of Blessings”? Are you inside that circle or have you put yourself outside?

Blessings,
Donna

 

Special Offer for the month of June only: If you sign up for “Christian Living” posts and “Bible in a Year” posts here and here (you must click both links and add your email address), I’ll send you a Kindle version of “Help, I”m Depressed” by Life Line Mini-Books.

Help! I’m Depressed

Does this sound like you? “Troubling thoughts flood my mind. I lie in bed alone, beseeching God on behalf of my three children. The tears come as I wonder why the Lord seems so far away and why prayers remain unanswered. Life seems so unfair. Why is it so hard? In the “depths of despair” I know I have a choice to make. Am I going to allow these feelings to destroy me?”

I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs.

“Drip, Drip, Drip” June 22

 

Drip ... Drip ... Drip ... Drip … Drip … Drip …

Ladies, our Proverbs reading says we can choose to be godly, wise wives and a blessing to our husbands or we can choose our own way. Solomon compares that nagging, unpleasant wife to a “continual dripping.” If you’re married, what kind of a wife are you … one who continually drips or one who blesses?

 

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

 

Drip, Drip, Drip …

 

Dripping or Blessing?

Proverbs 19.13-14:

 

nagging wife

These two verses contrast two different kinds of wives. The first are “continually dripping”—constantly nagging. The second are “prudent” or wise wives. Do you see that, ladies? Nagging is the opposite of wisdom!

For those who are married God gives us a choice as to what kind of wife we’ll be. It’s up to us! Are we going to allow God to work through us, and become His gift to our husbands. Or … are we going to take matters into our own hands and try to nag our husbands into becoming what we think they should be? In reality, we can’t change them, but we can allow God to change us!

I’d love to hear your stories about how God taught you that lesson, ladies. And husbands, I’d love to hear your stories about how your wife is a wise woman.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Looking for Baby Names?

1 Chronicles 7 & 8:

 

baby names pregnantAs you read the lists of names in the genealogy of the nation of Israel, do you ever wonder why some of these names failed to come into modern usage?

When I was expecting my oldest daughter, I wanted something different. Too bad I wasn’t reading my Bible, but if you’re expecting, all this genealogy should give 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!

On a more serious note …  Continue reading

“Hypocrisy & Little White Lies” June 21

 

Hypocrisy & Little While Lies - If God dealt with so-called little white lies and hypocrisy in the same way this Sunday as He did with Ananias and Sapphira, how many of us would be left standing?If God dealt with so-called little white lies and hypocrisy in the same way this Sunday as He did with Ananias and Sapphira, how many of us would be left standing?

 

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

 

Hypocrisy & Little White Lies

 

Examining Ourselves

Acts 5.1-21:

 

Ananias and Sapphira sold some land and pretended to give all the proceeds to the church. They didn’t have to. There was no universal command to “sell all you have.” But they wanted to look good.

I wonder if God dealt with sin in the same way in our churches this Sunday, how many of us would walk out of there? Even though we may not often see this quite as vividly, God’s attitude toward hypocrisy and lying hasn’t changed!

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11.28-32:

“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”

Though Paul is talking specifically about the Lord’s Supper in this passage, we should be examining ourselves on a daily basis. Notice that Paul says, “many are sick and weak … and many sleep (have died)” because of a failure to examine themselves.

Why not pray as David did in Psalm 139.23-24:  Continue reading

“Exhilarated by Persecution” June 20

 

Exhilarated by Persecution - Here in Acts 4 Israel's ungodly leaders threatened Peter and John telling them they were no longer to preach about Jesus (vv. 17-18). Instead of making them and the other disciples afraid, as John MacArthur says, "it exhilarated them." Though God may allow men to criticize or persecute us at times, we can rejoice in the fact that He will turn it to our good and His glory at the right time!Here in Acts 4 Israel’s ungodly leaders threatened Peter and John telling them they were no longer to preach about Jesus (vv. 17-18). Instead of making them and the other disciples afraid, as John MacArthur says, “it exhilarated them.” Though God may allow men to criticize or persecute us at times, we can rejoice in the fact that He will turn it to our good and His glory at the right time!

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 3 & 4
Psalm 76.7-12
Proverbs 19.8-9
Acts 4.23-37

 

Exhilarated by Persecution

 

When People Plot Vain Things

Acts 4.23-37:

 

Once again I’m amazed at how often our Old and New Testament readings fit together. (See today’s reading in Psalm 76.7-12.) Remember, it is all one continuous story written by the same Author! Should we be surprised?!

The disciples even quote an Old Testament passage here, (Ps. 2.1-2):

“Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?
The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the LORD and against His Christ.”

Here in Acts 4 the ungodly leaders of Israel threatened Peter and John telling them they were no longer to preach about Jesus (Acts 4.17-18). Instead of making them and the other disciples afraid, as John MacArthur says, “it exhilarated them.” They just had a prayer meeting!

Verse 24, 29, 30, “So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said. ‘Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them.’ … Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.'”

Verse 33 was the result:  Continue reading

“When Is It Right to Disobey?” June 19

 

When is it right to disobey? - God places a high priority on authority. He commands us to respect authority and to live obediently under the authority of our government, our work structure, our church leadership, and within the family. So is it ever right to disobey authority? If so, when?God places a high priority on respect for authority. He commands us to live obediently under the authority of our government, our work structure, our church leadership, and within the family. So is it ever right to disobey someone in authority? If so, when? That is a question more and more believers are forced to consider.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 1 & 2
Psalm 76.1-6
Proverbs 19.6-7
Acts 4.1-22

 

When Is It Right to Disobey?

 

Sharing the Truth

Acts 4.1-22:

 

Until recently, I worked full time at our church, so I have had great freedom to talk about Christ and the Gospel. Even now, as a volunteer counselor, I’m free to share the gospel with those who don’t have a personal relationship with God and speak the truth to those who want answers for the issues in their lives.

However, I have many friends who work in secular jobs. Some are teachers with students from broken homes and other difficult environments. Others are office workers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, law enforcement personal, and dozens of other occupations. They are surrounded by people with great needs and a variety of beliefs and they are often limited in the freedom to share their faith openly.

And God does place a high priority on respect for authority. He commands us to live obediently under the authority of our government, our work structure, our church leadership, and within the family. So is it ever right to disobey someone in authority? If so, when? That is a question more and more believers are forced to consider. Continue reading

Handling Depression Biblically – Part 3 + LINKUP

 

Handling Depression Biblically - Part 3

There are numerous reasons that a person might feel depressed. We can be depressed because of a loss or a set back, because of a lack of sleep, or because of illness. And I don’t have to tell you ladies about hormonal issues. And, sometimes, there is no known cause other than living life in sin-cursed bodies in a fallen world.

It’s, also, true that a failure to handle the events and responsibilities of life in a biblical way can cause feelings of depression. But we must be very careful about making assumptions where others are concerned.

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

We’re in a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” We started with anger and then moved on to depression. Two weeks ago we discussed the medical, cultural and biblical definitions of depression and last week we looked at the lives of two of the prophets, Elijah and Jeremiah, and how God ministered to them when they experienced feelings of depression. We, also, discussed the difference between depression and discouragement. If you missed them, you may want to read them first.

 

Handling Depression Biblically – Part 3

 

Today we’re going to look at David’s life and talk about the “S-word,” sin, as it relates to depression.

I can already feel someone’s blood pressure starting to rise, so allow me to make a few disclaimers before we get started.

First, there are numerous reasons that a person might feel depressed. We can be depressed because of a loss or a set back, because of a lack of sleep, or because of illness. And I don’t have to tell you ladies about hormonal issues. And, sometimes, there is no known cause other than living life in sin-cursed bodies in a fallen world.

Many godly men and women have struggled with feelings of depression, including: the “Prince of Preachers,” Charles Spurgeon; the great reformer, Martin Luther; and poet and hymn writer, William Cowper. Last week we talked about “The Weeping Prophet,” Jeremiah, and Elijah, who defeated and killed 400 prophets of Baal, only to become so depressed afterwards that he wanted to die.

But it’s, also, true that a failure to handle the events and responsibilities of life in a biblical way can cause feelings of depression. So while we must be very careful about making assumptions where others are concerned, we need to address sin as a possible cause of depression.

 

David

 

If anyone had a reason to suffer from depression, it was David. It seems the man God called “a man after His own heart” (Acts 13.22) and “the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Sam. 23.1) had plenty of opportunities.

When Samuel came to anoint the next king of Israel from among Jesse’s sons, his father didn’t even call him in from the field (1 Sam. 16.5-13).

When he stood up to the giant Goliath, his brother made fun of him.

26 Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

28 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”

Then, even though he killed the giant and served Saul faithfully on and off the battlefield, Saul continually broke his promises to David (1 Sam. 18.17-19) and, eventually sought to kill him out of jealousy (1 Sam. 18.8-11).

And even though God had proclaimed him the next king, years went by while he was pursued by Saul, disrespected by others (1 Sam. 25.9-11) and, even, threatened by his own men (1 Sam. 30.6).

After he became king, he was betrayed by his close friend and his own son (2 Sam. 15.10-12).

Frequently, in the psalms, David cried out to the Lord because of his trials and distresses. But perhaps the clearest example of his struggle with depressed emotions takes place after his sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11.2-5). In Psalm 32 he gives us a snapshot of what he learned about sin, confession, and forgiveness.

When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah (NLT).

A good description of many of the physical feelings connected with depression.

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
    and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
    And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

And verse 1:

Oh, what joy for those 
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those 
whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

What he learned:

Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time,
    that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
    I will advise you and watch over you.
Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
    that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

10 Many sorrows come to the wicked,
    but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.

God shows us the way to live righteously. When we follow His instructions, we will, generally, experience feelings of peace and joy. That doesn’t mean we’ll never have challenges, losses, or disappointments. But when we respond God’s way we can trust Him to give us the strength to walk through them, in spite of feelings to the contrary.  Continue reading

“What’s Up with God’s Timing?!” June 18

 

God's TimingDo you ever wonder where God is when you’re in a trial, being mistreated, or waiting for an answer to prayer? Though it sometimes doesn’t seem so to us, God is always in control and His timing is always right.

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 25
Psalm 75.1-10
Proverbs 19.4-5
Acts 3.1-26

 

What’s Up with God’s Timing?

 

Where Is God?

Psalm 75.1-10:

 

God is always near and always in control! Always! But often we wonder, “Where is God? Doesn’t He know what’s going on here?” Yet He says:

“When I choose the proper time, I will judge uprightly” (v. 2).

Think about that. He has all the facts. He knows the end from the beginning. He knows what each of us needs to help conform us to the image of Christ, and … He chooses the proper time.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Mercy Even in Judgment

2 Kings 25:

 

The book of 2 Kings ends, sadly, with the complete destruction of Jerusalem and the people being carried off captive to Babylon. This was God’s judgment for their continued rebellion as a nation. But the last few verses contain a picture of God’s mercy and faithfulnessContinue reading

“Are You Playing the Blame Game?” June 17

 

Are You Playing the Blame Game? - The blame game—we’re good at it! We blame others, even God, for our sin and its consequences, twisting the facts and pointing the finger at the most convenient target.The blame game—we’re good at it! We blame others, even God, for our sin and its consequences, twisting the facts and pointing the finger at the most convenient target.

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 22,23 & 24
Psalm 74.18-23
Proverbs 19.3
Acts 2.22-47

 

Are You Playing the Blame Game?

 

“It’s Their Fault!”

2 Kings 22, 23 & 24:

 

It’s all too common for people today to play the “Blame Game” by blaming their problems or their spiritual condition on their parents and others, but here was Josiah who had a horrible spiritual heritage. Both his father and his grandfather did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, yet 23.25 says:

“Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him.”

Wow! In spite of his family of origin, Josiah loved and served the Lord.

Are You Playing the Blame Game?But, we don’t limit our blaming to our parents. We blame our spouses, our heritage, our temperament, our circumstances, and even God.

No matter who our parents or grandparents were, no matter who we’re married to, no matter where we were born, we’re responsible for our choices. While other people can make it more difficult for us, nothing they do can make us sin (1 Cor. 10.13; Ezek. 18.20)! And nothing in our lives can keep us from turning to God “with all our heart, all our soul, and all our might, just as Josiah did!

 

A Mother’s Influence

 

Have you noticed that as the history of Judah’s kings has been recounted, God included the names of their mothers, as well as, their fathers? In Josiah’s case, he was only eight years old when he began to reign. It’s unlikely that he made the decisions he did without wise counsel. And who do you suppose was the most likely counselor of an eight-year-old boy? Perhaps, it was his mother.

Mothers and grandmothers can make a big difference in the lives of their children and grand-children—for good or for evil. Remember Athaliah who had her own grandchildren put to death so she could seize control. It’s no wonder her son Ahaziah was a wicked king.

In the New Testament Paul wrote to Timothy about “the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (2 Tim. 1.5).

I’m so encouraged by so many of the mothers and grandmothers I know and by many of you in the blogging world, who are seeking to leave behind that kind of legacy.

 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart (Gal. 6.9).

 

Blaming God

Proverbs 19.3:

 

“The foolishness of a man twists his way, and his heart frets against the LORD.”

It started in the Garden of Eden. When faced with their sin and its consequences, Adam said, the woman you gave me, she made me sin! So it’s her fault, and by the way, it’s Yours, Lord, because You gave her to me! We’ve been doing it ever since, blaming God, as well as others, for the results of our own choices.

 

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

In Jesus Name

Psalm 74.18-23:

 

As the psalmist’s prayer continues, he says, “Have respect to the covenant” (Ps. 17.20). He came to God based on His covenant relationship with His people.

We, too, come to God, not based on anything we deserve, but on the New Covenant. That’s the reason we pray “in Jesus name.” We’re saying in effect, I come to you based on the finished work of Jesus Christ and because I’m in Him.

 

Acts 2.22-47:

Jesus, Whom You Crucified

 

One of our former pastors used to say, “You won’t see people saved until they see that they’re lost.”

Sometimes that means we must be direct with people by calling sin what it is and calling them to repentance. Most of us see ourselves as basically “good”—“Most men will proclaim each his own goodness …” (Prov. 20.6), but Scripture says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3.23).

Acts 2.36-39:

36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Talk about direct! “… Jesus, whom you crucified …” God has called us to love people enough to share the truth of the Gospel with them, including the fact that they are sinners in need of a Savior. That sometimes means risking their friendship and favor in the short run, with a view to their eternal destiny.

Blessings,
Donna



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