All posts by arg913972

It’s a trap

So do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Go—to the point of exhaustion— and give your neighbor no rest! Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler. (Proverbs 6:3-5)

The Proverb above tells us if we fall into our neighbors hands we are to try to free ourself to the point of exhaustion and try to get loose like a bird from the snare of a fowler.

Yet if it is such serious business to free ourselves from a human being, how much more should we seek to make our peace with God.

Human beings may pose a threat to physical well being or many areas of life, yet truly the Lord has power to “after killinf the body has the authority to throw your soul into hell.” Jesus says.

“And what a dreadful thing it is to fall into the hands of a living God” (Hebrews 10:31)

Yet, there is hope for all those who in that dread of God and knowledge of their sin cry out as David did

David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.” (2 Samuel 24:14)

Our sin is a trap, trapping us before God, trapping us under a overhanging sentence of His judgement. There is no escape for this trap but to plead with Him who has imprisoned us

What he tears down cannot be rebuilt; those he imprisons cannot be released. (Job 12:14)

And behold, “But if people are bound in chains, held fast by cords of affliction, he tells them what they have done— that they have sinned arrogantly. He makes them listen to correction and commands them to repent of their evil. If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment. But if they do not listen, they will perish by the sword and die without knowledge. (Job 36:8-12)

Shall we not submit ourselves to His terms and humble ourselves? After all, who is great in mercy like our God. Who is rich in love like He? Shall we not to the point pf exhaustion make our peace with him?

For if we do not we indeed will “perish by His Sword and die without knowlege” and never find the “Key of knowlege” to enter peace and salvation.

Jesus Christ is that peace. We must not try to appease God any other way. None of our good works can cleanse away our sins and the only cleansing is to own up and say

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:13-14)

For the Lord gives himself not to they who think they deserve him, but they who magnify Him as so worthy they never could deserve Him!

(Isaiah 24:13-20) -13Throughout the earth the story is the same— only a remnant is left, like the stray olives left on the tree or the few grapes left on the vine after harvest. 14But all who are left shout and sing for joy. Those in the west praise the Lord’s majesty. 15In eastern lands, give glory to the Lord. In the lands beyond the sea, praise the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 16We hear songs of praise from the ends of the earth, songs that give glory to the Righteous One! But my heart is heavy with grief. Weep for me, for I wither away. Deceit still prevails, and treachery is everywhere. 17Terror and traps and snares will be your lot, you people of the earth. 18Those who flee in terror will fall into a trap, and those who escape the trap will be caught in a snare. Destruction falls like rain from the heavens; the foundations of the earth shake. 19The earth has broken up. It has utterly collapsed; it is violently shaken. 20The earth staggers like a drunk. It trembles like a tent in a storm. It falls and will not rise again, for the guilt of its rebellion is very heavy.

Througout the earth will be people who respond and repent and turn to the Lord and become a remnant of the redeemed. Yet those who reject him and refuse His Message will indeed:

17Terror and traps and snares will be your lot, you people of the earth. 18Those who flee in terror will fall into a trap, and those who escape the trap will be caught in a snare. Destruction falls like rain from the heavens; the foundations of the earth shake. 19The earth has broken up. It has utterly collapsed; it is violently shaken. 20The earth staggers like a drunk. It trembles like a tent in a storm. It falls and will not rise again, for the guilt of its rebellion is very heavy.

Though a rebel may seem to be at ease and flourish, when they die, they are fave to face with their Judge

“The lamp of a wicked man is snuffed out; the flame of his fire stops burning. The light in his tent becomes dark; the lamp beside him goes out. The vigor of his step is weakened; his own schemes throw him down. His feet thrust him into a net; he wanders into its mesh. A trap seizes him by the heel; a snare holds him fast. A noose is hidden for him on the ground; a trap lies in his path. Terrors startle him on every side and dog his every step. Calamity is hungry for him; disaster is ready for him when he falls. (Job 18:5-12)

Let us be warned;—-34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)

Life can cause many distractions to draw people away from this most critical decision. Pleasure, riches, deception all about serve to trap many to cause them to dull their ears and never find the hope of salvation. Like carbon monoxide that slowly puts a person into a deep sleep, never to wake up again. The person feels no pain through this poisonous gas, just grows tired and falls asleep only to never wake again.

So too sin’s deception may not often alert us to what peril it brings yet it’s end is deadly.

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Balaam, A Reckless Driver Who Did Not Drive Safe.

Balaam was on the road to meet Balaak who had tried to hire him to curse the Israelites.

Now if you read the story closely it may seem as if Balaam obeyed the Lord. Outwardly he did but God was not pleased with him and used a stall in his transportation- donkey- to try to wake him up.

In the New Testament we see what Balaam’s problem was.

They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness. But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. (2 Peter 2:15-16)

Balaam may have obeyed God outwardly only because he feared God was about to kill him. Yet we see the root of Balaam’s problem was in his heart. He “loved the wages of wickedness”—Balaam liked money and bribes. Balaam’s heart was tempted toward riches. Even though he held himself back from accepting the bribe that Balaak offered, deep down he only did the right thing from fear that the Lord would kill him.

Ah, there are also many today in our time who would only do right for fear- fear of consequence, fear of judgement. Yet they are not truly sorry for their sin.

The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.” Numbers 22:32-33 –

Balaam was not driving safe, his life according to Scripture was “reckless.”

The truth though is until God radically changes our hearts, we too lived reckless in our ways.

For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

1 Peter 4:3-5 –

When we truly turn to Christ, we surrender the control of the steering wheel to Him to drive our lives. Balaam lived his life however he saw fit and later on we see how he shows his true colors

He advises the Mideonites to seduce the Israelites to sin.

“They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. Numbers 31:16 –

Now if Balaam was a true prophet of the Lord we would see he would not have done such a thing. Balaam was a false prophet and we see before the Lord confronted him, he practiced divination

Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not resort to divination as at other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness.

Numbers 24:1 –

Balaam could have repented of his sin but did not. In Revelation we see Balaam mentioned again to depict the problem in the church of Pergamum

14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.

Revelation 2:14 –

Balaam was by all means immoral in his lifestyle and what he taught led others into sin. A true prophet of the Lord is called to present the Word and try to turn people from sin. Also the lifestyle of a true Old Testament prophet or a modern preacher should be modeled through a life of obedience, not hypocrisy and sin.

Reader, if you read this today and it could be said of you “Your way is reckless before me,” then it is not too late to turn from the reckless road you are on and find mercy, forgiveness and a new start.

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.

Proverbs 16:25 –

Christ came to save us from our reckless sinful ways so we won’t die in our sins and be eternally judged. He is merciful if we turn to Him by faith, and relents from the harm He will bring

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

Joel 2:13 –

Conversion is in the heart, it is not just trying to clean up our act and be better, but a true rending of our hearts and seeing our ways are wrong and seeking Him.

“Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’ (Acts 3:17-23)

Temptation After Success

Today’s Encouraging Message

Temptation After Success.

When Amaziah returned from slaughtering the Edomites, he brought back the gods of the people of Seir. He set them up as his own gods, bowed down to them and burned sacrifices to them. The anger of the Lord burned against Amaziah, and he sent a prophet to him, who said, “Why do you consult this people’s gods, which could not save their own people from your hand?”

2 Chronicles 25:14-15 –

Here is a Biblical concept throughout Scripture. Often with success or after some great victory in our lives, some temptation may be waiting to trip us.

We see this in Gideon’s case (Judges 8:23-27) Gideon through the help of the Lord defeats the Mideonites yet after the victory came temptation and he creates an ephod that the people end up bowing down too.

We see this with King Uzziah in 2 Chronicles 26:16-18 whom it says became powerful but his pride grew and caused his downfall.

We also see in Matthew 3:17 we see God speak from heaven to Jesus and say “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” yet right after “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1)

Yet, who of all these cases emerged totally victorious but Jesus Christ himself! Jesus did not fall in the way these others did who preceeded him. We must learn the truth that no matter how much Christian success or victories we have, we can always fall. Jesus however never failed, fell or sinned.

The truth is our victory must be rooted in dependence on God and earnest seeking of Him to cause us to stand firm.

In the case of King Rehoboam we see “He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord. (2 Chronicles 12:14)

After Rehoboam became strong and well established as king, he got too careless and lazy in seeking the Lord, as a result he sinned.

Amaziah in the head passage walked faithfully to God until he sinned against God when the Lord gave him victory over the Edomites. He sinned by taking their gods and worshipping them.

So let us not be foolish, but learn from what David says “When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” Lord, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. Psalm 30:6-7 –

David too seemingly in prosperity and strength thought he would nit be shaken, yet he learned that is not true- we too often learn this lesson. We may experience success, victory and progress yet must not tempt the devil or tempt our sin to tempt us!

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 –

What can we do to help us not fall? First of all Jesus tells us to “38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Mark 14:38 –

Jesus also says we ought to pray “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one” Matthew 6:13)

Does God tempt us or lead us into temptation? No. We may get tempted easily enough by carelessly putting ourselves in temptations line of fire.

So we must be practical and not be in a situation we know tempts us- if we do that then we have “led ourselves into temptation.”

We also must cultivate godly appetites

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:9-11)

The Psalmist feeds his mind and heart with the “Word” so he “might not sin” against the Lord.

These are some very basic practical ways we can help safeguard our paths from snares that may try to entrap us. If we go our way and not carefully consider or prayerfully ask God for wisdom and help we may end up in a trap and fall to sin.

Yet there are simple ways we can give ourselves the advantage and upperhand. We can pray, read the Word and avoid people or places that tempt us.

Esther, A Beautiful Woman With A Humble Heart.

Esther, A Woman Of Beauty and Humility

Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.Esther 2:7 –

Esther was undoubtedly used by God for His plans. Yet let’s look at something critical, she never let her good looks go to her head. She did not trust her beauty but rather used it as a resource and tool and went on to glorify the Lord with it.

In our 21st century culture, especially in the west people idolize looks and appeal. Yet we see how this fine young lady did not use her beautiful looks and lovely figure to just get what she wanted or do what she pleased. She was both a beautiful woman physically but her heart was even more lovely!

Many times we may think enjoying blessings like this is sinful, but it is how we use what God has blessed us with that truly matters, whether wealth, success, influence or beauty.

We see in the story of Esther, she won favor with the King of Persia and became a key player to help save her Jewish people from being exterminated.

In chapter 4, she heads the wise advice of her uncle Mordecai who raised her.

When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Esther 4:12-14 –

What does Esther do?

Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.

Esther 4:15-17 –

If Esther had been prideful, she may have said “Listen, Im queen and I look so good, how could the king refuse me?”

She was not trusting herself to get an audience with the king and come put alive, rather she asked Mordecai to have the Jews pray for her and fast, and she said she would do the same.

Esther was far from arrogant. Often the temptation for many fine young beautiful women might be to think they have men wrapped around their fingers and can just pull the beautiful card out as a magic ace. Yet Esther did not see it that way. She trusted the Lord and not her looks.

God honored this humble yet lovely woman and used her in a marvelous way.

Today’s challenge question to ask, “What has the Lord blessed me with and am I using it for Him or just myself?”

Esther was invested in more then just her own good but sought the good of her people too! Esther was willing to risk her life to try to save her people!

The Gospel According To Zechariah

The Gospel Message According To Zechariah

Zechariah was an Old Testament book but predicts the coming of the Righteous One. Jesus Christ came and fulfilled this prophesy as well as the other ones that were long before written of Him.

The Scripture says in John 1 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Years earlier in Zechariah it says “For I am coming, and I will live among you, declares the Lord.”

When Jesus came on the scene, for the first time in human history The Lord took on human skin, living among human kind side by side for thirty three years.

Ancient Jews knew no one could see God face to face and survive that experience. Not even Moses could

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” [Exodus 33:18-23]

Yet Jesus became the very face of God dwelling in human skin. When Philip asked to see God, “Show us the Father” he said. Yet Jesus replies

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

John 14:9 –

Unlike the past, the people in Jesus time were seeing the Lord their God face to face. Unlike the past, He did not reveal himself this time on a mountain with the fiery glory and dark cloud of Sinai, nor was it a flaming bush- this time His glory entered human likeness. He suffered the pains of humankind

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:4-6 –

God was walking in skin identifying on a personal level with the very people He many times had spoken to through the cloud, through visions, through dreams and the prophets. He was now in the flesh (human skin) on the scene.

Many find this hard t grasp. What about the God of Heaven? Was he still existing as He took on human form in Jesus. Of course He was! God is Spirit and cannot cease to exist in His eternal form that is vast and cannot be contained,

Solomon even said thousands of years before ““But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive. (1 Kings 8:27-30)

Let us understand the significance of a temple for the Jews. The Jews used this temple Solomon made as a place of worship and “God’s dwelling place”

When the temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, this was not just devestating because a magnificent building was destroyed, but this was the very center of Jewish worship and where God chose to dwell among the people.

When God got angry at the people’s sin and forsaking him to other gods he kept His Word:

then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them —that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’”

2 Chronicles 7:20-22 –

Yet there came a point where Jesus became God’s Glorious Temple among the people, what does Jesus say

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

John 2:19-22 –

The literal temple they thought he was refering two was the second temple that was rebuilt after the remnant returned from Babylon. Yet Jesus was not refering to a building but Himself. He was crucified for the sins of the people, becoming the perfect sacrifice- not a goat, bull, or lamb- but He became the final sacrifice to totally remove sins!

Later on in Zechariah it says: “See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day. (Zechariah 3:9)

What is this stone? Jesus often spoke saying “The stone the builders rejected has become the corner stone.”

10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 11 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

Mark 12:10-11 –

Jesus quotes from Psalm 118

Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

Psalm 118:19-24 –

“open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord” and “This is that gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter.”

Yet Jesus said he was the “gate”

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:7-10 –

Through faith and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ we can find forgiveness and salvation from sin-

For: But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, (Romans 3:21-22)

Romans 3:21-22 fulfills the prophesy in Zechariah in the OT as well where it says

“Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.

Zechariah 2:11 –

Through the Gospel, salvation and adoption into God’s Holy Family have become possible not just for Jews but the rest of the world, for

For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile —the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:12-13 –

“Do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.” 1 Samuel 10:3-7 Sermon

Today’s Sermon.

“Then you will go on from there until you reach the great tree of Tabor. Three men going up to worship God at Bethel will meet you there. One will be carrying three young goats, another three loaves of bread, and another a skin of wine. They will greet you and offer you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from them. “After that you will go to Gibeah of God, where there is a Philistine outpost. As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, timbrels, pipes and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying. The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you. 1 Samuel 10:3-7 –

After Saul was anointed as king, Samuel gave him some basic instructions to first do then after “Do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.”

First he was to encounter three men going up to worship God at Bethel who would give him two loaves of bread, and he was to accept them.

Secondly, he was to go to Gibeah and meet a group of prophets, then the “Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you.”

Yet these literal events in the Old Testament can teach us something today. We must first receive the bread of the Word of God and spend time worshipping him. When we first do that we invite the Spirit to come powerfully into our lives too. Then as a result of this touch of God’s power on our lives, then we can proceed and go on to “Do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.”

Our first priority is to seek the Lord in our personal alone moments as we start our day, and we will receive power from that to do everything else we set our hearts on doing for Him. Our relationship with Christ should come first, and our alone time receiving “The bread” of God’s Word- “for man does not live on bread alone but every word that comes from the mouth of God” as Scripture says.

We then through that invite the Holy Spirit into a new day to use us for the work Jesus Christ would have us do. When we do that, we receive power to do all things God would have us do and invite His powerful presence into our lives!

Sermon: When Godly Good People Die Young.

Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the Lord his God. The other events in Jotham’s reign, including all his wars and the other things he did, are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Jotham rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. And Ahaz his son succeeded him as king. [2 Chronicles 27:6-9]

King Jotham appears to be a very good king that wholeheartedly follows the Lord to the end. His father was Uzziah. Unlike Uzziah, Jotham does not appear to be poisoned by pride from his success.

Uzziah as a result of his pride was struck by the Lord with leprosy and had to live isolated, and his son Jotham took his place to rule.

We see though Jotham only reigned sixteen years before Ahaz, his son took the throne. It has been thought that Jotham died in his prime around the age of fourty years old.

Seems odd that a good man like Jotham would die so young. Yet Biblically we know that long life is not always a sign of the Lord’s pleasure with someone.

For example Enoch in Genesis was taken by the Lord so he was seen no more.

Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. (Genesis 5:24)

Then we see good King Josiah in 2 Chronicles 23 comes to a seemingly early death when he dies trying to engage Pharaoh Neco in battle.

Isaiah the prophet who lived during the time of the kings, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah wrote

The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death. Isaiah 57:1-2 –

Isaiah saw this happen most likely with king Jotham but by inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote these words.

Sometimes God allows the unrighteous to live long and the godly to die young. Yet is that something to be sad about? We surely are to some degree grieved to lose loved ones, yet we have hope as believers in Jesus Christ the world knows nothing about. Yes, the blessed hope of eternal life, knowing that death is not the end of our lives. Death only removes us from the earth and ushers us into the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ, our eternal home.

Isaiah says “righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.”

Surely death for us who have been bought by Christ Jesus is not a bad fate, for it may spare us trials later down the road far worse then a shortened life span. Also death is never the end for a Christian but the door to immortal eternal life. Though the wicked may live a hundred years, that person will die and face eternal judgement.

So we must remember this, and though the sorrow of losing someone precious hurts tremendously, it does not have to lead us to overwhelming despair.

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 –

The Masters Unusual Means Of Silence

Today’s Sermon: The Masters Unusual Means Of Silence.

Luke 24:13-16

13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

Ah behold, “Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.”

So true it can be for us, when our Saviour withdraws his experiential presence and we may feel as if he was no where to be found. When his voice is silent and his presence seems hidden from us. Yet we see here “Jesus himself drew near and went with them.”

Though he tested their faith and so often too tests ours. He tests us just as he did them. What shall we do when we cannot feel his presence or discern His hand in our present problems or challenges?

Shall we not still hold fast in faith knowing “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8)

For we serve a faithful Lord and a faithful God. Yet God often hides himself, and we must earnestly seek Him and praise Him even if He seems far off.

As He did with King Hezekiah, He withdrew His presence yet not entirely, he hides often in His perspective place to watch what we might do- like a parent watching a child from another room.

But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.

2 Chronicles 32:31 –

God delights in our faith. When He seems absent but we continue to do His Will and live by faith.

God’s seeming quietness can cause fear, or in other cases make us careless in our ways,

“Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have not been true to me, and have neither remembered me nor taken this to heart? Is it not because I have long been silent that you do not fear me?

Isaiah 57:11 –

Yet let this not be the case with us believers. For we do know our masters will and his presence or feeling of absence should not alter our faithfulness or undermine our obedience.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. 45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 24:42-51 –

So whether he seems near or far, Jesus is Lord and deserves our full devotion and willing service. We must praise Him even if our praises seem to not reach His ears. Shall we only pray or praise when we “feel” He is listening- for we know the truth is greater then our feelings and we know He is always listening.

Let us not be chided by him when He seea us doubting and then like these disciples says: “25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! (Luke 24:25)

Though He may seem far, He is often indeed still nearer then ever! Praise be to Him who wisely knows when to speak to us and when to silently hold his silence, for the Lord uses both His words and silence in his teaching curriculum. It is for our good when he uses one and it is for our good when he uses the other. For He promises to use all things for our good!

Canaanite King Had It Coming

Interestingly enough, this Canaanite king does not say “Now my gods have paid me back for what I did to them.” No he says “Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.”

The man hits total rock bottom in his life and comes to grips God has repaid him for his cruelty. The Scripture does not say this or tell us how this man responded to his awareness of his sin in his last hours of life. Yet it is possible he repented and maybe perhabs turned in faith to Israel’s God and found mercy from Him.

God was incredibly merciful even in the Old Testament times to a soul who humbled itself before him. We do not know what happens though with this man and can only really wonder. Yet the timeless truth is God is rich in mercy even when we sink to our lowest and darkest moments- if we humble ourselves. No matter how deep the sin is, God’s grace is deeper for them who will humbly acknowledge their sins and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Jesus is able to cleanse even the worst offender who is willing to be cleansed and have their guilt removed. Yet the arrogant will not let themselves be cleansed, they say “But I am a decent good person!” And “But how could God punish me for my sins? I am not that horrible!”

This attitude keeps a person truly from God’s free gift. The Lord’s generous offer to cleanse us. Some may fear coming to grips and facing their guilt, so they in fear of truly facing the fact God sees them as a sinner. Yet, this is fear that keeps one from God’s mercy and generous forgiveness!

Surely all our sins are putrid and odious to a Holy God! Surely we all have reasons God could eternally condemn every one of us! Yet listen, God may be saying of some who read this now something like He said of his people of old

Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the Lord your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’” declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 3:13 –

God’s mercy is a free gift and when we by faith turn from sin to Jesus Christ we are saved!

Appreciating The Season Of Life You Are In

Life seems to have it’s unique seasons just like the weather. There is an element of beauty in each season of weather- yet we can find the beauty in the unique seasons and situations God has us in.

Many people associate autumn and fall with the leaves turning beautiful colors before they fall off for winter. We associate winter with snow and the beautiful white it covers the earth in. Spring is known as flower season and summer we are seeing lots of green and doing many outdoor activities.

Yet there are downsides to each season too, especially winter with it’s extreme cold and summer with it’s scorching heat. Yet in every season there is some beauty unique to itself. Each season has something that makes it neat.

Yet life is like that. Many are discontent with where God has them and what season they are in. Sometimes God may leave us in a season so we can learn some important lesson before he moves us on to the next season of life.

Yet “God has made everything beautiful in it’s time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Some get so worked up about wanting a different situation in life that they miss out on the enjoyment of the here and now. There are singles who wish they were married and on the other hand married people who miss having the time and flexibility when they were single. There are blessings and downsides to any situation in life we can find ourselves in. Some complain about the job they have, while others complain they are unemployed. The truth is life is never here picture perfect like these photos.

In the photos you can see the snow yet do not feel it’s biting chilling cold. In the photo of the summer, you see the green and lush leaves but do not feel the mosquitos biting you or the heat.

We often picture something in our mind and see only the “good to it” without knowing the challenges it has to it. So with that being said, how can we go wrong when we let God be God and move us into the season he sees best when he decides to do so and learn to enjoy where we are presently at

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12-13 –