Ezra 3:1-4:23; 1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4; Psalm 28:1-9; Proverbs 20:24-25
Whenever you set out to do good, there is a force of evil that attempts to stop you. We would all like for our road to be covered with rose petals and confetti. After all, if we are trying to do good, why would it be resisted?
The truth is: as much as God wants you to do good, there is a devil that wants to “steal, kill and destroy.” How happy the Israelites must have been that they had a commission to go home and rebuild the Temple. They also received the funding so that it was not a financial strain.
Israel busily started work and opposition arose. It literally came from every side. The key to handling opposition is to expect it, but yet don’t let it overwhelm you because when you are working and living for God, then whenever someone comes against you, they come against God. God will protect you and He will be your vindication. Opposition can actually be a sign that you are on the right track!
Tomorrow’s Reading: Ezra 4:24-6:22; 1 Corinthians 3:5-23; Psalm 29:1-11; Proverbs 20:26-27
Ezra 1:1-2:70; 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5; Psalm 27:7-14; Proverbs 20:22-23
You have often heard it said that “Where God guides, He provides.” This is such a true statement yet so many of us don’t trust that God can really take care of us. Rejecting a truth like this puts us in a position where we try to earn a living instead of letting God lead us to where His provisions are.
Cyrus gave a command that Israel could go home. He knew that they had been exiled as slaves in a foreign country and had no resources. God spoke to a foreign king to give them safe passage back home. He then encouraged their neighbors to give them what they needed to being the rebuilding process back home. This is not unusual because when Israel left Egypt, God had the Israelites ask the Egyptians to give them precious metals, jewelry and linens. They left Egypt with as much wealth as they could handle.
Time and time again God shows that He can take care of His children. In times of financial upheaval, we tend to allow human economics to trump God’s promises. However, if you will trust Him, He will provide for your every need (national, spiritual and social).
Tomorrow’s Reading: Ezra 3:1-4:23; 1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4; Psalm 28:1-9; Proverbs 20:24-25
2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23; 1 Corinthians 1:1-17; Psalm 27:1-6; Proverbs 20:20-21
When things are taken from us, we try with all of our might to hold on to them. Our lives can become so cluttered that we have no room for God. When a purging happens it is not always bad– even though at the time it feels bad!
Israel had been through several kings. There were kings who did evil in the sight of the Lord and Kings who followed after the example of David. Back and forth the people endured the steady flow of good kings and bad kings. At some point the people and the land had become so cluttered with false gods, pagan rituals and disobedience, that the land needed a rest. Jeremiah said that there would be 70 years of rest for the land. Foreign Kings invaded and took everyone and everything until no one was left!
If people leave your life, or things leave your life, you may want to take it as a sign that God is giving you rest. There are things that compete against our relationship with God. We may not be aware but those things could be poisoning our future and their removal can keep us on the right road. See if there are areas in your life where you need rest. If so, plan it and get rest in that area so you can keep moving forward, drawing closer to God. When Israel returned to their land, they came back stronger and more determined to live for God. You will too!
Tomorrow’s Reading: Ezra 1:1-2:70; 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5; Psalm 27:7-14; Proverbs 20:22-23
2 Chronicles 33:14-34:33; Romans 16:10-27; Psalm 26:1-12; Proverbs 20:19
If you come from a godly heritage, you have been bequeathed a priceless treasure. To have Christ-followers in previous generations sets you up for the blessings of God to flow down to you. Even the unclaimed promises of God that other generations did not enjoy, you have a right to them.
When Josiah became King, he had a heart to obey God. Scripture records that he, “began to seek the God of his ancestor David” (2 Chronicles 34:3). Even though he was several generations removed from David, he went back to King David because he was a devoted example of following God. He did not look to his father or grandfather, but he went all the way back to the one to whom God made the original promise.
Do you have godly people in your family line? If so, take some time to discover the God of your ancestors. Claim every promise that may have been left unfulfilled. Claim every blessing and favor that God has for your family. Claim blessings that even those who would not follow God left unclaimed. There is value in knowing that God’s faithfulness passes from one generation to another. If you do not have godly people in your family line, then thank God that you are establishing one and those who follow you will one day seek for the God that you serve!
Tomorrow’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23; 1 Corinthians 1:1-17; Psalm 27:1-6; Proverbs 20:20-21
2 Chronicles 32:1-33:13; Romans 15:23-16:9; Psalm 25:16-22; Proverbs 20:16-18
What some people think is a weakness can actually be a strength. The King of Assyria mocked Hezekiah for his intense devotion to the things of God. Even when Hezekiah gave the people hope by telling them that the Lord would fight for them. Sennacherib made it sound like his acts of obedience to God were futile.
In the world in which we live, the respect for God is waning. People find great comfort in spirituality but not in complete commitment to Jesus! Those of us who call ourselves Christian and seek to live out our faith daily are often seen as strange and out of touch with the “real world”. The only time that changes is when a crisis arises!
You see, when a crisis hits, that’s actually God’s time to show who He really is and those who have been faithful to Him have credibility because they were consistent to serve God even when things were going well. There is great value in your faithfulness. Your faithfulness will get you out of situations when your faith is failing. Faithfulness will open doors even when you haven’t done everything well. Be faithful to honor God everyday and even when people mock you for your commitment, whenever a challenge arises, God will show them how blessed it is to be on His side because He always wins and so do we!
Tomorrow’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 33:14-34:33; Romans 16:10-27; Psalm 26:1-12; Proverbs 20:19
2 Chronicles 30:1-31:21; Romans 15:1-22; Psalm 25:1-15; Proverbs 20:13-15
Hezekiah is recorded as a great king because he not only defended Israel but he reestablished the worship of God through the Temple. It was a massive task to uproot all of the religious heresy that plagued the land. But, Hezekiah was determined.
When the Temple was ready, the people held a Passover Celebration like no other. It was so enjoyable that they continued the celebration into a second week. Passover was all about remembering how God not only delivered His people from slavery but also redeemed them for their divine purpose (The Promised Land). After they spent time remembering all that God had done for them through the ages, Hezekiah encourages the people to provide for the Temple and its priests so that they could devote themselves to God’s Work.
The people responded overwhelmingly! They gave so much that they had to build extra storage areas. Why would they give so much? It was because they took the time to remember the goodness of God and His track record of faithfulness!
The same is true with us. If we would take the time to remember all the wonderful things that God has done for us, when God asks us to give, it would not seem burdensome. God expects His House to be fully supplied by those whose hearts are grateful for all He has done.
Tomorrow’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 32:1-33:13; Romans 15:23-16:9; Psalm 25:16-22; Proverbs 20:16-18
2 Chronicles 29:1-36; Romans 14:1-23; Psalm 24:1-10; Proverbs 20:12
When you read the Old Testament, you see a great deal of rules and regulations that God instituted to set His expectations for His people’s behavior. It is easy to overlook the fact that even though God instructs us what to do, there is still a free-will component.
As King Hezekiah leads the people to restore and rededicate the Temple, the people bring the traditional offerings. But, they do not just stop there. They willingly brought additional sacrifices. They were so generous, that there were not enough priests to make all of the offerings. What would cause this depth of generosity?
The people were consecrated to the Lord. The Word “Consecrated” means to fill or be full. These people were complete in God and their response to the fullness of what God had done in their lives was to give. What motivates you to give? Is it from a heart that is fulfilled and complete? If you are free on the inside, then you can give willingly to God. See yourself as complete (Consecrated), because you are. You are complete in Him!
Tomorrow’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 30:1-31:21; Romans 15:1-22; Psalm 25:1-15; Proverbs 20:13-15
2 Chronicles 26:1-28:27; Romans 13:1-14; Psalm 23:1-6; Proverbs 20:11
The traditional wedding vows contain a commitment to remain faithful to our spouses in the good and the bad, rich and poor, healthy and the sick times. At both ends of the spectrum, we should never let our commitment go. I have found that it is in those good times when we have to be careful because when life is going well, we tend to let things slip. And, because there is a very active devil, all he needs is one strategic slip up, and he can bring us down.
King Uzziah had a magnificent reign as King. He carried on the tradition of his father and aggressively put Judah’s house in order. He even defeated Judah’s biggest enemies and fortified all his towns against future attack. He brought peace and prosperity. But while things were going well, he left a spiritual door open and pride invaded his life. He was so remarkable in his leadership that he crossed the line between priest and king.
He went into the Temple and offered incense which is what only the priests were assigned to do. Even when he was confronted by the High Priest, he was belligerent until he saw the leprosy break out on his head. Beware when things are going well. Be certain to keep depending on God’s guidance in all you do. If you do, you will go higher and higher. Don’t give any place for the evil one to derail you. Keep your heart pure when all is going well, and God will elevate you beyond what you could ask or think!
Tomorrow’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 29:1-36; Romans 14:1-23; Psalm 24:1-10; Proverbs 20:12
2 Chronicles 24:1-25:28; Romans 12:1-21; Psalm 22:19-31; Proverbs 20:8-10
Did you know that there is something worth more than money? There actually is. It’s called the Favor of God! Amaziah learned a powerful lesson about this. He had paid some soldiers to come and fight along side his troops. He contracted them and gave them his expectations. He paid them in full and right when they were about to engage in the battle, the man of God came and challenged King Amaziah not to use people who did not have God’s favor on them.
At first all Amaziah could see was that they had already been paid in full! The prophet helped him gain a new perspective by saying, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this” (2 Chronicles 25:9). In other words, whatever you spent on troops is nothing compared to what God will bless you with.
Almost daily we are called to choose between God’s favor and money! Culture tempts us to trust in bank accounts and economics but God nudges us to just obey Him and allow His favor to take us where money can’t! Some of us will obey God in every area, except with finances. Yet, this is the area where many of us need the favor of God. Take a lesson from Amaziah. God is well able to give you more than this!
Tomorrow’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 26:1-28:27; Romans 13:1-14; Psalm 23:1-6; Proverbs 20:11
2 Chronicles 21:1-23:21; Romans 11:13-36; Psalm 22:1-18; Proverbs 20:7
One of the saddest epithets I’ve ever heard was said about Jehoram, “No one was sorry when he died” (2 Chronicles 21:20). No one would want this said about them. But, if we look at his life, we can see where Jehoram missed it and erased his legacy.
Jehoram took someone else’s purpose and didn’t live out his own. He desired to be a king but he was not in the succession line. He stole it and because he assumed something that was not meant for him, he did not have the grace to accomplish it. Be careful not to run after someone else’s dreams because God has given you a unique dream for your life.
Also, Jehoram did not follow the godly example that was set before him. Each of us has been shown a better way through Christ but knowing it and not living by it means nothing. If you abandon the righteous way that God has shown you, you run the risk of canceling your legacy.
Then, Jehoram associated with those who rejected God. Everyone knew that Ahab and Jezebel’s children were god-haters. But, Jehoram married one of their daughters. He was on the wrong road and when he got married, his life was taken further off course. His life was heading off a cliff and he did not repent.
With all of this, he died and never received a royal burial and people were glad he was gone. Let this not be said of us! Let us live out our purpose and follow the godly example set before us while we associate with like-minded people of faith. When we do this, our legacy will shine brightly!
Tomorrow’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 24:1-25:28; Romans 12:1-21; Psalm 22:19-31; Proverbs 20:8-10