MAJOR LAPSES INTO DISOBEDIENCE (Judges 11 - 12)
For hundreds of years, perhaps thousands, living a repeating cycle of years of disobedience followed by a shorter period of obedience, the Israelites had been demonstrating the modern definition of insanity: repeating the same behavior over and over again and expecting (or were they?) a different result. They kept 're-learning' and ‘forgetting' the same lesson over and over again: Obey and Worship God, because He is God! Along comes Jephthah, the son of Gilead and a prostitute. After being forced away and then invited back by his half-brothers, Jephthah demonstrates his skill as well as his faith in God, Who provided him victory in battle and leadership of Israel before he died. One of many demonstrations of Israel’s obedience followed by God’s blessings - for a while. God is soooooooo merciful! God forgives! God knows everything! God is all powerful!
Do we as individuals do the same thing? Do we, who are believers, in our short life spans, take repeated 'vacations' from our obedience to God our Father? I know the formula for this: don’t study God’s Word today, wait until tomorrow, eventually repeating the same lack of study tomorrow and the next day; slack up on tithing a bit, just a bit, nothing big, this week, until next week, eventually repeating the same slacking up two weeks in a row, followed by more weeks in a row; leading to the absolute, genuine love of money, perhaps? Satan is shrewd! He will use these disobediences and slacking up to cause us to slack off in other important areas: stop sharing Jesus with others, or become less courageous and bold to do so; or stop studying with and fellowshipping with our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ on a regular basis, like dropping out of a prayer group or a Bible study. This accumulation of slacking off will result in a BIGGER Satan problem, as if we needed more problems with Satan. Until Jesus returns and sets foot on this Earth, we MUST study and strive to obey HIM, until such time that Satan is done away with, at which time we absolutely WILL obey, period!
NEW COVENANT (John 1:1-28)
God in Heaven, thank you for sending John the baptizer and making the WORD become flesh! I am in awe of You, that You made a new covenant with undeserving me! I am in awe of You for many other reasons as well. You are my God and Jesus Christ is my Savior! Shout it from the mountaintops! Please give me the strength and courage to unashamedly tell anyone this, regardless of their faith or what weaponry they hold!
COULD WE BE A MAN OR WOMAN AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART? (Psalm 101)
We know that King David was a lying murderer. I may be a liar at times, but am I a murderer, albeit, not in the physical sense? I will sing about loyalty and justice, To you, O Lord, I will sing praises! (v1). I will walk (or take notice of) in the way of integrity. When will you come to me? I will conduct my business with integrity in the midst of my palace. (Or, I will walk about in the integrity of my heart in the midst of my house) (v2) In reading Ps 101, do we find ourselves telling ourselves that we strive for these same attributes and behaviors. I do. When I am studying and reading God’s Word, I ask myself, am I a man after God’s own heart? I pray, ‘O God, you are my God! I long for you! My soul thirsts for you, my flesh yearns for you….. (Ps 63).
I know I am a lowly sinner and undeserving of God’s favor and salvation! But I am born from above! My sin has been blotted out! God, please help me to always seek you and be a man after your own heart! In Jesus Christ precious name I pray!
JOY AND HEARTACHE - THEY GO TOGETHER - LIKE PEAS AND CARROTS, sort of (Proverbs 14:13)
From time to time, and somewhat frequently, my heart aches for many different reasons: for my unsaved loved ones; when I look at the news; when I see a thin-to-the-bone, starving child, or animal, etc.. BUT MY JOY AND LAUGHTER ARE ALWAYS THERE, THANKS TO THE HOLY SPIRIT! PRAISE GOD!