The kings of judah

I’m reflecting on the journey of the kings of Israel and Judah with the back drop of Ecclesiastes. It seems like I could sum things up with the verse from Psalm 127.1 Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. As I see the final captives taken from Judah, and the Babylonians coming in and destroying the city, the words of Jeremiah echo in my mind. He sought the Lord for Zedekiah, he brought truth to him. If he had surrendered, so many lives would have been sparred and the city would not have been destroyed. The Lord said so. Yet his pride didn’t want to accept to defeat. Everything that man labored to build and set up for the Lord was destroyed and crushed by the enemies. The people had kicked God out time and time again, it was only by His mercy that it didn’t happen sooner.
These realities make me reflect on my own attitude and heart as a leader. The decisions I make, the willingness I have to listen to the Lord and receive His instruction effects not just my life, but those that I serve. I don’t want to seek the Lord just to receive what I want to hear. I desire to have a greater humility to receive His word without hesitation. I keep thinking of how Hezekiah was able to choose to walk humbly and when reading the word of God he humbled himself to do all that it said. He did not raise himself up to be a king greater than God, but acknowledged God in all His ways and leaned not on his own understanding. Then there was also Josiah. He was only 8 when he became king, but by the time he was 16 he was seeking the Lord and by the time he was 20 he was removing the idolatry in the land. When the book of the Law was found and they brought it and read it to him, he tore his clothes and sought the Lord. He is an amazing example to me. The Spirit empowers a heart that is willing to follow the law the Lord so that it will go right for God’s people. God’s glory is displayed when trust and faithfulness in lived out. Regardless of age and peer pressure, corrupt politicians and the enemy at his doorstep, he walked solid with the Lord. He was the last good king of Judah.
Anyway, so as I read and reread these passages and reflect on the examples of obedience, surrender, pride, repentance, idolatry, leadership, there is so much to learn from the examples God has given us. Idolatry is on the rise in our own culture. The lack of trusting in God for all things, the surrender for cultural values that oppose the Lord, the comfort and numbness in wearing masks and being unwilling to deal with truth is rampant. I can see the loneliness and heartaches the prophets and good kings carried and i can’t help but realize that those of us that will walk in ways that honor the Lord God in all our ways, we will be outcasts and feel as foreigners in our own land. Well the truth is that heaven is truly our home. Phil 3.20 comes to life as we eagerly await our Savior from there. Eager becomes more of a heart reality than a mental acknowledgement. Which then also spurs the need to pray for loved ones that are still far from God.
So David, Hezekiah and Josiah are three good kings that did all that God commanded. I think they were the only ones that didn’t allow the high places to remain and they were thorough to remove all idolatry. It wasn’t a game. So I have to open my heart to God and seek the Spirit’s guidance. Have I walked well with the Lord, but have not torn down the high places in my life. I do not want to walk a life of partial obedience to the Lord. May the Lord search me and know and see if there is any offensive way in me and lead us in the way everlasting.

20130708-072208.jpg

Sometimes you just have to sit yourself down

Have you ever woken up having conversations with other people in your head to try to set them straight on how things are?  I hope I am not the only one.  I found myself being defensive, annoyed, prideful and focused on proving myself.  Finally I caught up with my thoughts and just had to sit myself down.

“What are you doing?  What is going on?  You don’t know if that is what this person thinks or what that person’s opinion is.  You don’t know what the conversation was.  You don’t know if your perspective is the best plan.  Slow down before you knock yourself out.”

It is so humbling to come face to face with how quickly pride and arrogance rise up in me.

Continue reading

Monday morning pep talk

photoJesus, Your grace is sufficient.  What You have put in me is more than enough and You have made me worthy of Your glory.  You have made me adequate.  Holy Spirit, You are alive and active in me.  You said Your power is at work in and through my life.  You chose me before the foundation of the world.  You have called me Your own.  Your grace is enough.  You know the plans You have for me.  Plans to prosper me and not to harm me.  Plans to give me a hope and a future.  Your timing is perfect.  Your will is perfect.  You are always faithful and Your steadfast love is evident.  Your presence fills this place.  Guide me to walk in Your truth and grace.  Let the joy of the Lord be my strength.  Your ways lead to abundance.  Let my eyes be fixed upon You the Author and finisher of my faith.

Learning more about God’s heart

Calvin Math

There were three students who needed one more math credit to graduate.  They had success with me as a teacher in the past.  Understanding their learning styles and who they were as students, guidance and I decided to let them use a class I was teaching to give them an option for success.  Throughout the year I worked closely with them constantly providing what was needed in order to pass.  I desired to  learn how to motivate them to want to learn and work to the best of their ability.   Continue reading

Reflecing on the kings of Israel

ImagePartial obedience is still disobedience.  I am not sure who first quoted this, but I here it often from my friends with small children.  🙂  This is the phrase that has been on replay as I have been reading the accounts of Israel as they moved from a united kingdom to a divided kingdom to a conquered kingdom.  There were kings who blatantly wanted to choose other forms of worship and governing styles that opposed the One True God and His way.  Then there were other kings who seemed to want to choose what was right according to the Lord, yet seemed to always fall short.  Continue reading

Who do I want to be?

I have been talking to God about His perspective on living life. dscf1201.jpg Often my default in living is what needs to be done, what are the expectations to fulfill, and who may I need to meet with for coffee.  Although this perspective is motivated by the desire to be a good steward of what the Lord has given me and a desire to be responsible to do all things to the Lord, I am learning that it may not be the first stone I need to step on. Continue reading

Can you relate?

The following is a story that paints a picture for me that is so helpful to stop and consider as I travel on the path I believe God has created for me.  This story is written by Rosemarie Kowalski and was used in Having a Mary Heart in a MDSCF1602artha World by Joanna Weaver, pages 48-51.  I can understand how effective Jesus’ teaching was with parables, because stories that are illustrations of truth impact me in a way that helps me see.  Learning what to say yes to and what to say no to is an ongoing lesson for me.  Learning how to listen to others, but not take ownership of the emotional weights is an ongoing lesson for me.  I want to empathize and really care for people and help people.  Yet, how I go about doing that makes a difference.  I want to do all that God would ask of me, but I know when I take on more than I can chew, the burden becomes more than I can bear.  Lord, teach me to hear your voice so I know how to discern.  May this story encourage you as well.

The story is told of a man who met God in a lovely valley one day.

“How are you this morning?” God asked the fellow. Continue reading