Friday, June 28, 2013

Jun 28 - Luke 24:32

They said to each other,
"Were not our hearts burning within us
while he was talking to us on the road,
while he was opening the scriptures to us?"
Luke 24:32

On Easter Sunday afternoon, Jesus appeared to two disciples as they were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They were still deeply saddened by the crucifixion. Crushed. And they couldn’t comprehend yet the resurrection.

Jesus came up and walked beside them. And he did something remarkable. (Of all the things in the bible … this is the one I would have wanted to hear!!! Jesus himself telling of every prophecy made and fulfilled that led up to his life, death, and resurrection!)

The eyes of the disciples, though, were kept from recognizing Jesus. Therefore, when he sat with them at table that night and broke the bread, their eyes were suddenly opened. And they said … “Were not our hearts burning within us … while he was opening the scriptures to us?”

One of my favorite t-shirts designs that I’ve ever done was based on this line from scripture. It was like an product advertisement for Third Day Salsa. The tag-lines were, “Were not our hearts burning within us?” and “So hot, you’ll glow!”

The disciples did glow. And when the Spirit shows up powerfully, heat is often associated with this experience. Famously, at John Wesley’s moment of conversion, he said that he felt, “strangely warm.” When David Chotka ministered among us, several people reported heat flowing through his hands or their hands as they prayed. Health update on David below.

Sometimes peace rules in our hearts (we learned that from Colossians 3). Sometimes heat explodes.

Remember, our feelings must always, always, always be contained and confirmed within two strong guardrails. (Why? Because I can lie to myself and talk myself into hearing, feeling, and believing whatever I want.) Therefore, one guardrail is the scripture. If your feeling is not in accordance with scripture, it’s not from God!!! Our second guardrail is the guidance of strong and faithful Christian friends.

But the point is … God does want to speak to you and me.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who wants heartburn
from more than salsa

David Chotka thanks you for your prayers. His drooping eye is and viral issues are Bells Palsy, a form of chicken pox, if I remember right. Pray that it follows a normal progression – two weeks of rest, healing, and medication.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 25 - More Prayers Needed for David Chotka

A note from Pastor Chotka’s intercessors in Canada …

David was slowly recovering at home.  However this morning the symptoms worsened and he has been taken back into emergency.  He is experiencing new symptoms of numbness and eye drooping.  We seek your intercession for him and his family.

Speaking of David Chotka – as we continue through his 50 Days of Prayerhe invites us today to read Romans 5:1-5. The Apostle Paul writes …

1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith,

This is the foundational doctrine of Christianity. That Jesus died for our sins, and believers don’t have to worry about salvation because we are justified by grace.

Paul explains this “no worries” saying,

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Peace with God is the first fruit of justification and faith. I can trust God. Indeed, I can approach him like a child crawls confidently into the loving arms of his father.

2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand;

Grace is the second fruit, listed here, of God’s act of justification and our trust through faith.

and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

Hope is the third fruit. And while boasting is too often seen as proud, I want to invite you to see it as confident – no worries, no fear.

3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings …

Use the word confidence here again. Are you confident even in the midst of suffering? Paul is. Why? He is justified. His salvation is secure. That means that the very worst that anyone can ever do to him is send him to heaven a little early! (And it’s always a good day to go to heaven!)

And then Paul launches into a famous discourse, saying, reflecting his “know[ledge] that …

suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Jesus suffered for us. Why? Because his eyes were on a bigger prize – dying to save us from our sins.

His death has already accomplished that fact for us. We are justified. The salvation of believers is absolutely secure. Through Christ, we have 1) peace, 2) grace, and 3) hope.

And that hope, says Paul, is multiplied when we go out boldly, proclaiming the good news. That was always the context of the books of the New Testament. The first Christians were always foreigners, always out-numbered. Proclaiming the Gospel had costs. One of those costs could inevitably be suffering … but “suffering produces endurance … and endurance produces character … and character produces hope … and hope [will never ever] disappoint us.”

God is speaking to you through this lesson. Are you confident enough in your faith that you’re able to be bold for the kingdom!
  • If not, it’s time to study again the doctrines of love, grace, and justification – because as it says in Romans 8:39, “[no]thing … in all creation … will be able to separate [those who believe] from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

  • If your faith is bold, it’s time to reach out more boldly! Why? So you discover even more hope. These verse reveal that boldness is a faith multiplier!

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who is justified
so I don’t need any

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24 - Romans 8:15-16

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery
to fall back into fear, but you have received
a spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!"
it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit
that we are children of God
Romans 8:15-16
  1. The Holy Spirit
  2. Bears witness
  3. To our spirit

I broke those phrases apart for a reason.
  1. The Spirit is alive and active.
  2. The Spirit also speaks – “bears witness.”
  3. And we receive this communication inside of us. It doesn’t say that the Spirit speaks to our ears – though he sometimes does and though that would often be easier and clearer. Rather the Spirit speaks to our spirit, our heart, our soul, our innermost being 

Today, I’m not going to focus on “HOW” he does it. Today, I’m going to focus on “THAT” he does it. And I’m going to lament – with the famous old preacher, A.W. Tozer – that most of us 1) don’t really, honestly, truthfully, expect God to speak, 2) don’t know how to listen for it even if we did, and therefore, 3) don’t hear much of anything within our spirit.

Tozer once said, “The greatest fact of the tabernacle was that Jehovah was there; a Presence was waiting within the veil. Similarly the Presence of God is the central fact of Christianity.”

Wait! Do you remember what happened to the veil at the dawning of the era of the church? When Jesus drew his last breath upon the cross, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top (God’s end, God’s action) to the bottom – see Mt 27:51.

With that in mind, Tozer continues, “At the heart of the Christian message is God Himself wanting for His redeemed children to push in to conscious awareness of His Presence … The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the Church is famishing for want of His Presence.”

Have you “abandoned,” as David Chotka says, “the presence of God for a mere theory of our position in Christ”? In your faith and mind, has “mental assent [been] given priority in place of knowing God in all his fullness”? Are you “famishing for want of His Presence”? Are you concerned that “the world is perishing” and convinced like Tozer that it’s “for lack of the knowledge of God.”

I said earlier that most of us 1) don’t really, honestly, truthfully, expect God to speak, 2) don’t know how to listen for it even if we did, and therefore, 3) don’t hear much of anything within our spirit.

Is that true for you? Where’s your sticking point? I expect God to speak (1). But I’m too often too busy to listen and life is too noisy to hear (2). When I don’t get (3), it’s my fault. How about you?

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who wants more 3
so he needs to do more 2

Friday, June 21, 2013

Jun 21 - Eph 6:18 + PRAYER REQUEST

Pray for our friend, Pastor David Chotka.
As we're reading through his 50 Days of Prayer,
he's been hospitalized with a severe infection
and low white blood cell count

Pray at all times and on every occasion
in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers
for all Christians everywhere.
Ephesians 6:18

Today in 50 Days of Prayer, Pastor David essentially asks this question ...

Considering the principles that lead to effective prayer, what must be done for each person in your study group [for you] to become more effective in walking in Christ's power?

The heading today said PRAY - indeed, pray for our friend, David. Did you really stop and really pray.

That's one of the most important steps to growing in prayer. Actually praying. Growth in this discipline occurs through an ongoing conversation with God - by praying on more and more occasions, until it's at "all times and on every occasion."

When you boil it all down, prayer is really time and attention. It is listening and being quiet. It is learning to include him in every decision. It's not being eloquent; it's being real.

I know my next step. It's sitting more and doing less. It's quietness instead of noise. It's trusting God to work, instead of assuming that it all rests on me.

How about you? What's your next step.

In Christ's Love,
a guy who sees his hand
reaching out over his friend
and praying for healing

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 20 - John 15:7

If you abide in me,
and my words abide in you,
ask for whatever you wish,
and it will be done for you.
John 15:7

“Abide” is from the same root word as “abode.” Abode is a noun. It’s the place where we live. Abide is a verb. It’s the action of living there.

Based on that, let’s retranslate this: If you live in me, and my words live in you, then be bold to ask because God is glad to act.

Do you get the four main points …

  1. If you live in meIs Jesus your abode? Are you more at home in him than you are in the world? Living in him means knowing him and loving him … and even more so … it is caring about what he cares about. Living in Jesus means looking like Christ and sharing his character.
  2. and if my words live in youHow do we live in Christ? It’s by – first – letting him live in us. Christ lives in us (in a profound way) through his Word. God’s Word speaks his truth. It sets right priorities. It guides us along the ways of peace.
  3. … then be bold to ask … Here’s where people get confused. They read the second half of this verse – ask and it will be done for you – but they forget the first part. If we live and breathe God’s word and if we abide in Christ so fully that we share his character, then and only then can we ask and it will be done. Why? Because our lives are aligned. We’re asking for what God desires and is doing anyway. (And of course, we can’t know the Word well, if we’re not in the Word much.)
  4. because God is glad to act … God is living and active, and when we align our lives we’ll see evidence of his power constantly. And he uses those prayers. In God’s economy, he very often works through people. And he often waits until someone (or enough people) are asking. But the only prayers that avail much are the prayers that are aligned with his will (because God is obviously not going to act contrary to his character). Therefore, if we want to see his power, we have to let his word live in us so that we can live in him.

In Christ’s Love,
A guy who needs
to go to post office
(think they’ll honor
a change of address label
that says, “Home: In God”?)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 19 - Acts 16:6

[Paul and Timothy] went through
the region of Phrygia and Galatia
and were prevented by the Holy Spirit
from speaking the message
in the province of Asia.
Acts 16:6

Paul and Timothy wanted to turn east.

The Holy Spirit turned them west.

If Paul had his way, the Gospel might have circumnavigated the world from left to right. But the Holy Spirit opened the path from Greece to Rome and to the rest of Europe.

The course of history brought the Gospel to North America … and now to Asia.

In Matthew 24:14 Jesus says, “This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.” Based on this text, some ministries are trying to translate the Gospel into all languages to help prompt the coming of Christ. In Asia – to where the Gospel has spread now – many are trying to complete the circumnavigation of the Gospel, believing that will hasten the end.

Our point in these days is discerning the voice of God. I wish I could say I knew how the Spirit spoke to Paul, pushing him to Europe first. Based on this one verse, I can’t. I can celebrate, however, that the Spirit is alive and active and speaking.

And the question is, when did he speak to Paul? When Paul was already seeking to do God’s will.

Paul was aligned. He was pointed in the right direction. And he could hear when the leading came from that direction.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who wants
good aim

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 18 - Isaiah 55:8

For my thoughts
are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways,
says the Lord.
Isaiah 55:8

Most of us hunger to hear God’s voice.

We know our lives would be simpler and our direction firmer if God would just speak and guide clearly.

Today’s verse seems to imply a barrier to that. If God’s “thinks differently” than me, how will I be able to comprehend it, right? Wrong. What Isaiah 55 tells essentially us is that we stand on the horizon, and our view is limited. God stands above the horizon! And he sees all and knows all. And because he loves all, I should trust in his guidance.

Do you want to hear from a trustworthy God?

Isaiah says in our chapter today, “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come …” That’s the first step. Come to God.

How and where? That’s the next question. Isaiah says, “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters.” That sounds logical. But what do the waters represents.

And it’s at this point, that I’ll let my son teach me. My son Robbie’s favorite passage is Isaiah 55:8-11. He’s awed by God in verse 8. But it’s verse 10 that tells us what the water and the quenching of our thirst really is. The prophet says …

10 For as the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return there
until they have watered the earth …
11 so shall my word be
that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish
that which I purpose.

Did you catch it? Rain falls and waters the earth. Similarly, God’s word falls and quenches our thirst.

BUT … if we thirst, we must come to the word … or our souls will be dry.

Read those last words of 11. If we want God’s purpose to be accomplished – including lead, guiding, and blessing our lives – we must come to the word.

In Christ’s Love,
A dad who’s glad
That his son is thirsty
… and teaches his old man

Monday, June 17, 2013

Jun 17 - Colossians 3:16

Let the word of Christ
dwell in you richly
Colossians 3:16

Most all of us want to know God’s will for our lives.

And … most all of us want a short cut.

There is no short cut. And yet the process is simple. In our culture, it’s available to everyone. It just takes a little time and discipline.

What’s the process?

The famous old pastor R. A. Torrey once said, “It is not by seasons of mystical meditation and rapturous experiences that we learn to abide in Christ; it is by feeding upon His word …”

If you want God to speak, we are called to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”

Time and discipline.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who knows that
if you’re reading this,
you’re hungering already
… turn your hunger
into a feast

Friday, June 14, 2013

June 14 - Joshua 9:25

And now we are in your hand:
do as it seems good and right
in your sight to do to us."
Joshua 9:25

When I was about nine, I spied a cardinal on our back deck. I don’t know how I did it, but I quietly slid open the screen down, creeped across the back deck, reached out, and caught the cardinal!

… or at least … I dreamed that I did.

It’s still so vivid that it seems real … but in the light of day, I can’t possibly imagine the bird not flying off.

The key for today’s lesson is … what did I do with the bird? (It sqwalked, and I let go! Maybe it wasn’t a dream! In a dream, I would have kept it as a pet. It would sit on my shoulder and talk to me like a pirate’s parrot. It would have been my conscience like Jimminy Cricket, right?)

Nevertheless – dream or not – a little life was in my hands. (And I doubt the little guy was submissive enough to be sqwalking, “do as it seems good and right in your sight to do to [me].”)

Our little life is in God’s hands. How does he care for us?

Israel wrestled through this as they were tricked by the Gibeonites. Just as they had made a covenant with Gibeon, God had made a covenant with them. If they broke the covenant with Gibeon, did God have grounds to break his covenant with them?

They didn’t want to take the chance! They were merciful to the life they held in their hands.

What if we elevated our word, our promises, and our covenants to the same level that we want God to keep his promises to us?

In Christ’s Love,
the bird catcher
(or a dreamer)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

June 13 - Joshua 9:15

And Joshua made
peace with [the Gibeonites]
guaranteeing their lives by a treaty;
and the leaders of the congregation
swore an oath to them.
Joshua 9:15

The Gibeonites lied. They tricked Joshua and the Israelites into a making a treaty with them.

Israel should have checked with God first. But they plowed right ahead with what they thought was right.

As a result, they had to live with the consequences. Because they’d cut a covenant, the Israelites could not expel the Gibeonites from the land. Even worse, they had to go to their rescue and fight for them on an occasion or two.

Are you like me? … and the Israelites?
  • Like me, I’ll bet you’ve plowed right ahead with decisions that sound good to you at the time.
  • And like me, I’ll bet you’ve wound up regretting a few of them.
  • And like me, I’ll bet that in hindsight, you wished you’d checked with God first. 

So now we know better, right? Can we pull out an eraser and just put that bad decision behind us? No.

Sometimes we have to live with the consequences.

Sometimes integrity moving forward means living with the stupidity of the past.

I hope these mistakes keep teaching you and me to listen to God more clearly … first!!!

In Christ’s Love,
a slow learner

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 12 - Joshua 8:30-31

Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal
an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel,
as Moses … commanded the Israelites,
as it is written in the book of the law of Moses,
"an altar of unhewn stones,
on which no iron tool has been used"
Joshua 8:30-31

What does Joshua building this altar for us mean – especially as we learn to discern the voice of God?”
  1. Whenever there’s a victory, the proper human response is to worship.
  2. True worship is always done in obedience. In Exodus 20:25, God commanded Israel to use uncut stones for their altars. You might think it wiser – or more beautiful – to use stone that’s been shaped and cut, but plain simple obedience is always better than whatever we can think up.
  3. God’s view of right and wrong in this world differs from ours. For example, why did God say “no cut, hewn, or dressed stones” in specific altars built to him? An uncut stone is a stone as God made it. A dressed stone is a stone with our version of an improvement upon it. Maybe God doesn’t see all of our “improvements” as improvements after all.

Could it be that there are things in your life that you view as simple and plain … but God views as simple obedience.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who’s finally realizing
that “improving” is really
more effort than obeying

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June 11 - Joshua 1:1-9

Only then will you succeed.
Joshua 1:8

Today we have been invited to read Joshua 1:1-9Let’s do that together, and as you do, look for three themes: The Promise, The Stance, and The Source.  Let’s do this together …

1 After the death of Moses the LORD's servant, the LORD spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' assistant. He said, 2 "Now that my servant Moses is dead, you must lead my people across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. 3 I promise you what I promised Moses: 'Everywhere you go, you will be on land I have given you -- 4 from the Negev Desert in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River on the east to the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and all the land of the Hittites.' 5 No one will be able to stand their ground against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.

The Promise: Did you see it? God will, one, give them the Promised Land. And God will, two, go with them and unfailingly fight for them.

6 "Be strong and courageous, for you will lead my people to possess all the land I swore to give their ancestors. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Obey all the laws Moses gave you. Do not turn away from them, and you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed. 9 I command you -- be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged.

The Stance: I’m sure you saw this one too. Our stance is to be strong and courageous. (Can’t you almost see a warrior preparing for battle – chest out, jaw set, steely look in his eyes?)

But there’s a second part to this! What enables us to be strong? The Lord says that it comes from meditating on and obeying God’s commands.

The Source: There’s only one half verse left as we look for the reason – and the power – to take a stand:

9b For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who’s glad that this promise
was not only for old Israel.
I can make bold stands too
and if they’re based on God’s promises
I can be warrior-strong.

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10 - Joshua 9:14

So the men of Israel sampled
the provisions [of the Gibeonites]
but did not ask
for the councilof the Lord.
Joshua 9:14

Last week we focused on the story of an unnamed prophet in the book of Judges. He listened to God and spoke boldly to Jeroboam. Then he listened to the lies of the world and it led to his destruction.

Today's reading in David Chotka's 50 Days of Prayer begins with a lie too.

Joshua and the Israelites enter the Promised Land. They conquer cities like Jericho miraculously.  And all the neighboring towns (and kingdoms) are afraid.

But the neighboring Gibeonites are clever. They devise a sneaky plan. They will wear old clothes and bring moldy bread and pretend they have traveled from afar and want to make a treaty with the Israelites.

The Israelites have been forbidden by God to make a treaty with neighboring peoples, but the ruse began to work. As it says in our verse for today, "the men of Israel sampled  their provisions but did not ask for the council of the Lord."

They were lied to. And as a result, Israel made an irrevocable covenant with the Lord.

There are three points to this story …

1.    God honors covenants. He had made a covenant with Israel that he didn't break, even when they made a covenant with the enemy. In fact, God blessed Israel when they stood by a covenant – even when it was hard.

2.    Before making any decision – see our verse for today – check with God! (That, of course, is the main point in our whole journey of discernment.)

3.    Finally, two weeks in a row, we've been told stories about faithful people being deceived by liars and the lies of the world. I don't know if that was intentional – or not – in the thinking of Pastor Chotka. Nevertheless, these lies are pervasive, and we dare not miss a good point: Even faithful people  can be all too easily deceived. Beware! Listen twice to God before you listen once to the world.

In Christ's Love,
a guy who checks with God
about the big things,
but wants to check more and more
about the little minute-to-minute things too
(because that's the true beginning of
a life of discernment and power)

Friday, June 7, 2013

June 7 - 1 Kings 13:4

When the king heard what the man of God
cried out against the altar at Bethel,
Jeroboam stretched out his hand
from the altar, saying, "Seize him!"
But the hand that he stretched out against him
withered so that he could not draw it back to himself.
1 Kings 13:4

In Israel they were pagan priests. They worshiped false gods. Their “ministry” led the nation astray. And the king – Jeroboam – was complicit in the problem.

So God sent a prophet. Judgment and destruction were declared. And the king was not happy.

Thus, Jeroboam stretched out his finger in judgment against the prophet, crying, “Seize him.” But the power of God was greater than the command of an earthly king. Jeroboam’s hand withered.

And here’s the part that intrigues me.
  • God told Israel that they had shriveled hearts, and Jeroboam basically ignored it.
  • But when the king’s physical hand shriveled, he was eager for a fix.

I can understand it.
  • We can see a shriveled hand. But we can’t see a shriveled heart.
  • We can feel the loss of a physical hand. But we grow gradually accustomed to the feeling of a spiritual vacuum.
  • We worry about the physical. But how many of us really pay attention to the eternal?

Yes, I can understand. But I don’t want it! I don’t want it for me. I don’t want it for you. I don’t want it for our kids. I don’t want it for our nation. I don’t want it for our world.

We’re learning in these weeks about discerning the voice of God.

What Jeroboam teaches us is that it sometimes takes something big, something physical, some hurt, or some loss, before we wake up and acknowledge God’s presence. Here’s what I tell people a lot: “Don’t make me pray that you get humbled!” It’s better to humble ourselves in advance, discerning how and where our hearts might be weak or shriveled.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who doesn’t
want to be a Grinch
with a heart that’s
a few sizes too small

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 6 - Exodus 32:1

When the people saw that Moses was
so long in coming down from the mountain,
they gathered around Aaron and said,
"Come, make us gods who will go before us.
for this fellow Moses
who brought us up out of Egypt,
we don't know what has happened to him."
Exodus 32:1

No wonder Hollywood likes telling and retelling the first 20 chapters of the Book of Exodus. It was a real life sound and light show.

Ten mighty plagues. The parting of the Red Sea. Water from rocks. Pillars of cloud by day and pillars of fire by night. And then the people stood at the foot of Mount Sinai, and “As the blast of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses would speak and God would answer him in thunder” (Ex 19:19).


Moses went up on the mountain for forty days, and even after God’s repeated rescue and displays of power, the people somehow ceased believing in the God’s … what? … presence? care? provision? existence?!! They asked Aaron to “make … gods” for them. What?!!! And Aaron complied??!

The presence of God showed up a few moments later. There was a little more fire as judgment because of the golden calf that they had chosen to worship instead.

Yesterday we told the story of Jeroboam. God wanted to establish through him an everlasting kingdom. Indeed, God said, “If you do whatever I command you
and … keep my … commands, I will be with you, building you a dynasty.”

Jeroboam decide to go it alone. To do it his way. (That was mistake number 1, but we do that all the time, don’t we?!)

But listen to the way in which Jeroboam tried to set up his own legacy – he constructed two golden calves and asked his people to worship them.

He thumbed his nose at God! He was saying essentially, “I’ve seen your power. I’ve known your provision. But now that I have power, I’ll be my own king, thank you very much.” (Usually not to that extreme, but don’t we do that too? We accept the gifts that God has given us – our talents, for example – and we say, “I’ll be my own king, my own arbiter of right and wrong, the master of my own destiny, thank you very much.)

Our focus this week is on listening to God. Do you see a listening to God message in these stories? I do. We can’t hear the true King, unless and until we stop playing king.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who tries to be peasant,
a humble, thankful servant
to a gentle, forgiving king

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June 5 - 1 Kings 11:38

If you do whatever I command you
and walk in my ways and
do what is right in my eyes
by keeping my statutes and commands,
as David my servant did,
I will be with you.
I will build you a dynasty
as enduring as the one
I built for David
and will give Israel to you.
1 Kings 11:38

The title at the beginning of chapter 11 in my Bible is “Solomon’s Errors.” And by far the worst error – especially for a man who began his reign as the wisest person in history – was marrying foreign wives and allowing them to bring their foreign religions into the palace, capital, and all the land.

Judgment was the consequence. God – through the prophet Ahijah – declared that he would rip ten-twelfths of the kingdom from Solomon and give it to Jeroboam.

Talk about a gift! Jeroboam won the lottery. The only problem is that like most lottery winners, Jeroboam wound up bankrupt. (More morally bankrupt than financially bankrupt, but Jeroboam wound up corrupted and dead.)

God had one condition -- though he stated it three ways. After telling Jeroboam that he would be king (v 37), he said, “

1a.       If you do whatever I command you and …
1b.       If you walk in my ways and …
1c        If you do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands …
Then   I will be with you and will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you.

In other words: If you follow me, I’ll bless you.

But since our focus is on prayer and discernment, let me state that another way: If you follow God, you’ll be in the place to hear him. If you stray from God, it’s like his voice will be a long way away.

Does that make sense?

God wants to make something as glorious in your life as he was wanting to make in Jeroboam’s life. If we follow, he will bless us because we can hear.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who doesn’t want
to win a powerball lottery –
with God, I’m rich enough already!