DOING “RIGHT” A RESULT OF RIGHT INSTRUCTION

“Joash was seven years old when he became king, and did what the Lord considered right in the sight of the Lord all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him” (2 Kings 11:21 & 12:2)
A seven year old king. Imagine. How in the world does a seven year old grow up to be a man who does what is right in the sight of God and successfully lead a nation? He didn’t just instinctively know how to do what was right in the sight of God; he was taught by the priest.

Consider this: Samuel was approximately 11 years old when he began to recognize the voice of God. Joseph was a teenager when he received dreams and visions from God. David was a teenager when he brought down Goliath. Mary was a teenager when she conceived the Christ Child.

Beloved, secular culture is fighting for the souls of our kids. Parents and grandparents, I implore you to be a Jehoiada and teach your children and grandchildren the stories in the Bible. The church is ready and willing to help. Capable teachers are in place every Sunday, eager to make the Bible come alive to their imagination.

Joash was a reformer who, early in his reign, repaired the Temple, restored true religion to Judah, and fought to destroy Baal worship. I pray for God to raise up a Joash in this generation. I also pray for a Jehoiada who will take seriously his responsibility to mentor the Joash.

A MOTHER’S RESPONSE TO JESUS 

Thoughts from Luke 11 (written by Gina Brummett)

A mixed bunch had collected around Jesus.  Thrill-seekers and critics, the dumb-founded and the hopeful, were all hearing unbridled gratitude burst from the mouth of a former demoniac like an uncapped soda under pressure.  Yesterday the man had tried with all his might to utter a simple “hello” to a passerby.  Today – after his encounter with Jesus – no one could get a word in edgewise. 

The situation called for some explanation – some definition of authority, loyalty and protocol.  Jesus delivered the whole package in one statement:  “If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.” 

So moved by what she’d witnessed and heard, a woman in the crowd blurted out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you!”  (Luke 11:27).  Likely a mother herself, this woman could only imagine how much pride was welling up in the heart of Jesus’ mother.  If His earthly mother happened to be in the crowd that day, perhaps Jesus and Mary exchanged knowing glances, a quick smile and nod of the head. 

Mary would have remembered her own response, years ago, to the angelic visitation and the news that she would give birth to the Savior.  “From now on all generations will call me blessed…”  And here it was playing out before her eyes.  “Yes, I am blessed to have raised this child!”

Mary’s thoughts would have been interrupted by Jesus’ response to the excited woman in the crowd.  “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” 

It surely took some effort for the un-named woman in the crowd to wrap her mind around this truth.  Wrapping a child in loving arms – that was easy.  Embracing Jesus’ words and obeying them completely – that was a different  challenge.  But looking over at the “un-muted”, hilariously happy spectacle of a man, she knew it was a challenge worth accepting. 

Two mothers held the gaze of Jesus and whispered, “I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have said.”

His desire is toward me

Song of Solomon 7:10  “I am my beloved’s and his desire is toward me.”

Song of Solomon illustrates through a love story God’s passionate love for His people.  The Lord Jesus is depicted as the Bridegroom and we, the Church, His bride.

The reference beloved describes one who is closer than a friend; it is a lover or close family member.  If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then you are His beloved.  He, the Lord and lover of your soul, has such a deep longing for you that His arms are outstretched because He wants to embrace you.

I find this verse to be humbling, because I know all too well my faults and frailties.  I can understand the Lord tolerating me, but Solomon said He desires me.  As Paul noted in Romans 8:35, nothing can separate you from the love of Christ — nothing and no one!

Spend some quiet time with Him today, and feel His embrace.

Buried Treasure

The parables of Hidden Treasure and the Pearl are told in Matthew 13:44-45.  “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.  When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.  When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

Salvation and fellowship with Christ are a treasure to be pursued with total abandon.  The merchant who found the “pearl of great price” determined to sell all he had in order to purchase the pearl.  Similar to his liquidating every asset to purchase that one jewel, I’m asking God to help me to be completely “sold out” for Jesus and to inspire others to live this way also.

God’s Word instructs me:  “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all [these necessities] will be given to you as well.”  Matthew 6:33

The Matthew 13 parables describe this as a joyful activity.  Today, I hope you will enJOY your pursuit of Jesus, hide Him in your heart, but don’t be afraid to share the secret!

“Can you help me carry this?”

We are in the middle of prayer emphasis week at Southwest Assembly of God, and the theme Scripture we’ve adopted is Galatians 6:2.  “Carry each others’ burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Some time back, a couple of verses from the old testament about idolatry grabbed my attention:  Bel bows down, Nebo* stoops low; their idols are borne by beasts of burden.  The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary.  They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity.  (Isaiah 46:1-2)

In these verses, Isaiah described the burden of idolatry.  In contrast, we read and consider our great “burden bearer”, the One true God in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

He daily bears our burdens (Psalm 68:19) and invites us to cast our care on Him (Psalm 55:22 and 1 Peter 5:7).  And as His hands extended, we followers of Christ help each other bear the load of life’s troubles through acts of kindness, words of encouragement and fervent prayer!

I’m grateful that the “load is lighter” because of my burden bearers – my Lord and my Christian brothers and sisters!  May God be praised!

*Bel, the chief deity of Babylon, and Nebo, believed to be the god of learning, writing and astronomy, could not keep Babylon from being destroyed.