Posted in Hiding His Word

Through Much Tribulation…

2 Kings 3:1–4:17; Acts 14:8-28; Psalm 140:1-13; Proverbs 17:22

Through Much Tribulation…
Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them. And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia: and thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. And there they abode long time with the disciples
. – Acts 14:14-28

In this passage, Paul has seen a miracle, and while he did his part to point them to Jesus and the Gospel, the people saw these men instead as gods themselves and wanted to make sacrifices to them. Paul and the men tore their clothes and cried out – Why are you doing these things? We are men like you, but we bring to you the Gospel of Jesus Christ that you might turn from idols and worship the One, true and living GOD. Jews came and won over these same crowds, and they ended up stoning Paul. They took him out of the city, assuming he was dead, but as the disciples gathered around him, he got up and went back to the town. The next day he and Barnabas went on their way, returning to cities they had been to before. There they preached the good news and made disciples. They encouraged the believers to remain firm in the faith, letting them know that it is through many tribulations and hardships that we must enter the Kingdom of God. They appointed elders, prayed over them and went on their way until they reached Antioch – the place where their missionary journey began. These were the ones that had sent Paul, so he spent time with them telling all that the Lord had done on the journey – the successes and the failures.

This story in our New Testament reading touched me today because I have been sent. I have faced opposition while in another place and came back having felt I failed in my mission. I am the one that returned and stood to tell all that happened during the journey – the successes and the failures. I am the one that has spent the last few years going nowhere and content with that for a season. I did my fair share of asking, “Why?” But, then, after several extended seasons of fasting and in the midst of a pandemic – I found in my heart the longing to go once again. 

Today, the Holy Ghost has reminded me once again that we must through much tribulation enter the Kingdom of God.

Thou Hast Been Careful for Us
And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither. And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there. And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood before him. And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people. And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old. And he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the door. And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid. And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life. 
– 2 Kings 4:8-17

I love how Elisha acknowledges all this woman has done for him, all the care she has given him. He asks her, now what can I do for you? He offers suggestions – can I speak to the king or other important people on your behalf? I love her answer even more. She says I live here among my own people in peace and security. I do not need any special favors. She did all she did not to gain anything but because she had a heart to care for the man of God. Now, she was blessed beyond measure for her care of him, but the posture of her heart was to serve God through serving the man of God and making his assigned tasks a little easier. There is a great lesson here.

The Upright Shall Dwell in Thy Presence
I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor. Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.
 – Psalm 140:12

Good Like a Medicine
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
– Proverbs 17:22

Posted in Hiding His Word

He that Exalteth His Gate

2 Kings 1:1–2:25; Acts 13:42–14:7; Psalm 139:1-24; Proverbs 17:19-21

He that Exalteth His Gate
He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction. – Proverbs 17:19

If you love to argue, you love sin. If you praise and promote yourself, your position, your authority – you are working to destroy yourself.

In Scripture, gates were places where legal and business transactions were handled. Rulers met at the gate and counsel was given there, as well as public announcements. The gates were meeting places where you could speak at one time to large groups. Those with position, titles, and authority could be found sitting at the gates to proceed over things. It was the courts of their day. The gate was also a place of protection. Everyone came in or went out through the gate. If a nation controlled the gates of a city, they had conquered that city.

Exalt – To elevate by praise; to raise in rank, power, or character.
Seek – To go in search of; to try to acquire or gain

The Spirit of Elijah Doth Rest on Elisha
And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head today? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.

And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head today? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.

And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.

And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.

And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; and he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.

And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. – 2 Kings 2:1-15

A Light to the Gentiles
And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. – Acts 13:44-49

Whither Shall I Go From Thy Spirit?
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. – Psalms 139:7-12

Once you figure out that there is no where you can go that God isn’t there, you can stop wasting your prayer time begging God to show up and praise Him and thank Him because He always has…and always will. 

Thank YOU, Father!!! Thank YOU, Jesus!!! Thank YOU, Holy Ghost!!!

Posted in Hiding His Word

Beware Therefore

1 Kings 22:1-53; Acts 13:16-41; Psalm 138:1-8; Proverbs 17:17-18

Beware Therefore
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.
 – Acts 13:38-41 KJV

This passage in the Amplified –

So let it be clearly known by you, brothers, that through Him forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you; and through Him everyone who believes [who acknowledges Jesus as Lord and Savior and follows Him] is justified and declared free of guilt from all things, from which you could not be justified and freed of guilt through the Law of Moses. Therefore be careful, so that the thing spoken of in the [writings of the] Prophets does not come upon you: ‘Look, you mockers, and marvel, and perish and vanish away; For I am doing a work in your days, A work which you will never believe, even if someone describes it to you [telling you about it in detail].’ – Acts 13:38-41 AMP

In verse 41 of this passage Paul is quoting Habakkuk 1:5, which says:

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.

Thou Wilt Revive Me; Save Me; Perfect that Which Concerneth Me
Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.
 – Psalm 138:6-8

A Friend Loveth at ALL Times
A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. – Proverbs 17:17

———-

So much in the story of this last book of 2 Kings

King Ahab Asks 400 Prophet if He Should Battle the Syrians
Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. – 1 Kings 22:6

Is There Not Here a Prophet of the Lord?
And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might inquire of him? – Kings 22:7

There is Micaiah But He Does Not Prophesy God, But Evil
And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. – 1 Kings 22:8

Messengers Ask Micaiah to Prophesy Good
And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good. – 1 Kings 22:13

Micaiah Says He Will Speak what Lord Saith
And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak. – 1 Kings 22:14

Micaiah Initially Speaks Good
So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.– 1 Kings 22:15

King Ahab Calls Him Out and then Micaiah Speaks What the Lord Saith
And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD? And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace. – 1 Kings 22:16-17

Didn’t I Tell You He Would Prophesy Evil?
And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? – 1 Kings 22:18

The Lord’s Word – the Prophets Have a Lying Spirit
And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. – 1 Kings 22:19-23

The 400 Prophets are Furious
But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee? – 1 Kings 22:24

Micaiah Put in Prison Until King Ahab Returns in Peace
And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son; and say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace. – 1 Kings 22:25-27

Micaiah Responds If You Return at All the Lord Has Not Spoken by Me
And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you. – 1 Kings 22:28

King Ahab Dies in the Battle
So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria. And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake.
– 1 Kings 22:37-38

Posted in Hiding His Word

Singing the LORD’S Song in a Strange Land

1 Kings 20:1–21:29; Acts 12:24–13:15; Psalm 137:1-9; Proverbs 17:16

Singing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange land?
– Psalm 137:1-4

In Jeremiah 29:11-14, the prophet Jeremiah addressed a group of exiled Israelites tempted to lose hope. They understood they were defeated by the Babylonians and exiled from their homeland because of their sin. But, what were they supposed to do now? How should they live in this foreign land? As they contemplated where they came from and where they were now, they sat down and wept by the rivers of Babylon, and they asked,

How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land
? – Psalm 137:1-4

The Israelites forgot that even though they were exiled from their land, God was still right there with them; they were still His chosen people. God still wanted them to seek Him, know Him, worship Him, and love Him (even in Babylon).

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord.
– Jeremiah 29:13-14a

When we are overwhelmed with a sense that we have lost our direction and our circumstance makes us feel like there is no hope, we must remember that our priority as God’s people is still to search for Him with all of our heart and seek to know Him more intimately. And never, ever forget – our Hope is not a feeling, it is a person, and His name is JESUS! Searching, Seeking, and finding Him and holding on to true HOPE – that is how you will continue to sing the Lord’s song in both familiar and strange lands.

Because He Humbleth Himself Before Me
But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.
– 1 King 21:25-29

Separate Me Barnabas and Saul
Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
– Acts 13:1-3

A Price in the Hand of a Fool to Get Wisdom
Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?
– Proverbs 17:16

It is a waste of time and energy to counsel someone that doesn’t want your counsel; teach someone that doesn’t want to be taught; to help someone that doesn’t want to be helped. Sometimes people come to you seeming to want these things by the drama they bring…but all they really want is attention. You will know for sure that is the case when you show them love but ignore the drama, and the drama escalates. They have no heart for what you offer, so to keep offering is useless.

Posted in Hiding His Word

Elisha Arose, Went After, and Ministered Unto Elijah

1 Kings 19:1-21; Acts 12:1-23; Psalm 136:1-26; Proverbs 17:14-15

Elisha Arose, Went After, and Ministered Unto Elijah
And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him. – 1 Kings 19:15-21

There were so many stories that could have been highlighted in the few verses we read in 1 Kings today. Elijah got a message from Jezebel that sent him running to hide in the wilderness. There he sits under a Juniper tree and tells God he wants to die. Elijah falls asleep, and an angel of the Lord wakes him up and ministers to him. The angels gives him food to eat for the journey he is to go on. Then Elijah heads out and doesn’t eat for 40 days and nights. He ends up at Mt. Horeb (which some scholars say is Mt. Sinai – where Moses saw the Glory of God pass by).

At Mt. Horeb, he finds a cave for shelter and rest. There, God asks Elijah, “What are you doing here?” He tells God his problems. The Lord tells Elijah to stand on the mountain because HE is going to be out there. Before he goes, a mighty wind passes by (the Lord was not in the wind). Then an earthquake shakes the cave (the Lord was not in the earthquake). Then fire comes (the Lord was not there either). Finally, Elijah hears a voice no more than a whisper. The Bibles calls it a “still, small voice.” It is God. Elijah wraps his face in his cloak and goes out of the cave to the mountain. God asks Elijah again, “What are you doing here?” He once again tells God his problems.

The Lord tells Elijah to go back the way he came – to anoint Hazael as king of Syria, Jehu as king of Israel, and Elisha as the prophet that will take his place when he is gone. God assures Elisha that he isn’t alone that He has 7,000 people left that have not bowed down to Baal. Elisha goes back and passes Elisha as he is working. He puts his cloak on Elisha. Elisha understands what this means – that he is being called by God to go away and serve both Elijah and God.

Elisha asks first to say goodbye to his parents. He is given permission. He goes home, kills his flock and cooks it all, and feeds the people. Then Elisha arose, followed Elijah, and ministered to him (and God).

Whew!!!! There is a lot happening in these 21 verses. And in the end Elijah is ministered to by an angel, Elisha, and God Himself. Elijah thought he was alone. He was so scared and lonely that he felt ready to die, but he was never alone. Neither am I.

Because He Gave Not God the Glory
And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king’s country. And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. 
– Acts 12:20-23

His Mercy Endureth Forever
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 
– Psalm 136:1

Leave Off Contention, Before it Be Meddled With
The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.
– Proverbs 17:14

Contention – a point advanced or maintained in a debate or argument; rivalry; competition
Meddle – to interest oneself in what is not one’s concern; interfere without right or propriety

Posted in Hiding His Word

What was I, that I Could Withstand God?

What was I, that I Could Withstand God?
And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them. But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying, I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me: upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat. But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth. But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven. And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me. And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house: and he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. – Acts 11:1-18

One of the phrases that Peter spoke that grabbed my heart today is, “What was I, that I could withstand God?” So often God says something to us by His Word, by a Pastor or Prophet, or as a still small voice in the prayer closet. How often is that Word easy to accept at the moment but then we are asked to do something with that Word and we want to resist. This passage said that when the Spirit bade Peter to go – he went, nothing doubting.

Help me Lord today to walk in obedience to ALL that YOU ask me to do – NOTHING DOUBTING. For what am I, that I can withstand God?

How Long Halt Ye Between Two Opinions?
And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. –
1 Kings 18:21

Thy Name Endureth Forever
Thy name, O LORD, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations.
– Psalm 135:13

Whoso Rewardeth Evil for Good
Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.-
Proverbs 17:13

 

Posted in Hiding His Word

On the Gentiles Also was Poured Out the Gift

1 Kings 15:25–17:24; Acts 10:24-48; Psalm 134:1-3; Proverbs 17:9-11

Present Before God to Hear
And the morrow after they [Peter and Cornelius’s men] entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends. And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me? And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. 
– Acts 10:24-33

On the Gentiles Also Was Poured Out the Gift
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. – Acts 10:44-48

What was the Gift? The Holy Ghost!!!

This group of Gentiles was saved, filled with the Holy Ghost, and baptized because God was moving and speaking and because those He was speaking to were obedient to His voice. 

Peter was obedient to receive the vision God gave him and learn from it, and He was then obedient to go to a group of Gentiles when he was sent for. This obedience was significant because Jewish people did not go into the homes of the Gentiles

Cornelius and those with him were obedient to hear from God and call for Peter, a Jew. Once Peter was there, he was obedient to speak all that God commanded, and the Gentiles were obedient to hear all that God commanded. And the Holy Ghost was poured out on them. 

These events and the obedience to God are important to us because as they were commanded of God and received all that Jesus died to give them, I (being a Gentile) can also now receive the same. 

Thank You, Jesus, for dying for all of us and each one of us. Thank You, Jesus, for dying for me!!! Thank You, Holy Ghost, for filling me!!! Thank You, Father, for making a way that I might have eternal life through Your precious Son, Jesus, and that I might know of You through Your Word!!! Thank You for loving me! Thank You, my God, that You loved each of us and desire to be in a relationship with each one in this world that You created. Help us love like You love and see and remember the “each one” as we go throughout this day. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen!!!

I have Commanded a Widow Woman
And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. – 
1 Kings 17:8-9

By This I Know…
And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth. – 
1 Kings 17:17-24

Bless Ye the LORD
Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD. – 
Psalm 134:1-2

He that Covereth a Transgression
He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
– Proverbs 17:9

Posted in Hiding His Word

The Kings Slept and Their Sons Reigned

1 Kings 14:1–15:24; Acts 10:1-23; Psalm 133:1-3; Proverbs 17:7-8

The Kings Slept with Their Fathers and Their Sons Reigned in Their Stead
And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead
. – 1 Kings 14:20

And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Abijam his son reigned in his stead. – 1 Kings 14:31

And Abijam slept with his fathers; and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead. – 1 Kings 15:8

And Asa slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead. – 1 Kings 15:24

The kings lived, reigned, and the kings died, as did their fathers. And just as the kings reigned after their fathers, so their sons reigned in their place. We all have an appointed time to live, a set time to reign, and an appointed time to die. What we do with our “time to reign” is written down in the books of heaven. Did we obey and serve the Lord and lead others to Jesus, or did we spend our “time to reign” seeking after other gods and using our time leading others into idolatry?

Reign – to possess or exercise power and/or authority.

Peter’s Vision
On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: and he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
– Acts 10:9-16

How Good and Pleasant it is for Brethren to Dwell in Unity
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. – Psalm 133:1-3

A Precious Stone
A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: Whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.
– Proverbs 17:8

This verse seems to mean different things in different translations. However, to me, this verse is saying – Any way you look at it, a gift is precious! It is as precious to the one giving it as it is to the one that receives it.

Prosper
– to become strong and flourishing

 

Posted in Hiding His Word

Two Prophets, One Word, One Lie and a Lesson

1 Kings 12:20-13:34; Acts 9:26-43; Psalm 132:1-18; Proverbs 17:6

Two Prophets, One Word, One Lie, and a Lesson
Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father. And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah. And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon, and went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am.

Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread.

And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: for it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest.

He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him. 

So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.

And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back: and he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee, but camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.

And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back. And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase. – 1 Kings 13:11-24

God was not pleased that king Jeroboam led Israel into idolatry. He sent a prophet to curse the altar Jeroboam built. The king heard the curse, pointed at the prophet, and demanded that he be seized. The king’s hand froze, and the altar split. The king had the prophet pray, and God restored the king’s hand. The king then invited the prophet to dine at the palace, promising a reward.

But the prophet refused and said, “Even If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: for so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way thou camest.”

Another prophet heard of this and set out to find this prophet who cursed the altar. When the old prophet located him, he invited this traveling prophet to come back, rest, and eat at his home. The traveling prophet said he couldn’t and told him what the Lord had instructed.

The old prophet replied, “I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water.”

Then that Bible verse (1 Kings 13:18) ends with these words – But he lied unto him.

The traveling prophet fell for it and went back, ate, and drank. He disobeyed three direct instructions given to him by the Lord. That decision cost him his life as a lion killed him once he left the old prophet’s home.

There is a valuable lesson in this passage.

The traveling prophet had almost completed the assignment given to him by the Lord. He had obeyed precisely what he heard from God. Then an old prophet came along, claiming God-given instructions that contradicted what God had said directly to him. Those instructions were a lie, and he ended up disobeying God by heeding them. Had the traveling prophet obeyed what God had told him and not what someone else claimed God had said, the story would have ended differently.

The same is true for our own lives. Counsel and community are essential, and they can offer direction, clarity, and confirmation. But the words and thoughts of others cannot replace intimacy with and direct instruction from God. When we have heard from God, we are to take those words and obey them. If someone contradicts His instructions by saying, “God told me to tell you . . . ” even if it seems well-meaning, we still must abide by God’s original Word to us. Otherwise, we may find ourselves face-to-face with a lion, as this prophet did.

While God does use people to speak into our lives, God wants you to know His will for you more than He wants others to know it. He wants a personal and intimate relationship with you, with you abiding in Him. And He wants you to have confidence in that relationship, so you have confidence in His Word.  He wants YOU to have confidence in HIM!!!

Then Had the Churches Rest
And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. – Acts 9:26-31

The Lord Hath Chosen Zion
For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.  I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy. There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish. – Psalm 132:13-18

The Crown of Old Men
Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers. – Proverbs 17:6

Posted in Hiding His Word

Let Israel Hope in the Lord

1 Kings 11:1–12:19; Acts 9:1-25; Psalm 131:1-3; Proverbs 17:4-5

Let Israel Hope in the Lord
Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.
 – Psalm 131:3

King Solomon Loved Many Strange Women
But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.
 – 1 Kings 11:1-4

The Lord was Angry with Solomon
And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.
 – 1 King 11:9-13

King Rehoboam Consults the Old Men and the Young Men
And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people? And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever. But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him: and he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter? And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins. And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. –
 1 Kings 12:6-11

The King Forsook the Old Men’s Counsel
And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him; and spake to them after the counsel of the young men.
 – 1Kings 12:13-14

Israel Rebelled Against the House of David
So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents. But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.
 – 1 Kings 12:16-19

As He (Saul) Journeyed
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink
. – Acts 9:3-9

There Was a Certain Disciple at Damascus, Named Ananias
And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name
. – Acts 9:10-14

A Chosen Vessel to Bear My Name Before the Gentiles, and Kings, and the Children of Israel
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
 – Acts 9:15-17

Straightway He Preached Christ
And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ
. – Acts 9:18-22

He that is Glad at Calamities Shall Not Be Unpunished
Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished. – Proverbs 17:5