Archive | January 2015

Insights from Chronicles

I Chronicles 16:7 Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the Lord unto the hand of Asaph and his brethren.

The first thing David did was deliver a psalm of thanksgiving to the Lord. It should also be the first thing we do whenever there is a change in our lives.

II Chronicles 17:6 And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord; moreover, he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.

The heart of Jehoshaphat was like David’s (verse 3). Jesus was lifted up – crucified on a cross; lifted up to glory. We lift up prayers. Lifting up is a vertical motion. We pick something up from a low place and bring it up higher. So to lift up my heart in the ways of the Lord is to pick my heart up out of my flesh, forsake what I want, and bring my heart up closer to God and His ways.

Insights from Kings

I Kings 17:24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”

Unbelievable. There she was – no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar (verse 12). Elijah told her plainly that the flour and oil would last until God sent rain again (verse 14) and they ate for many days. That wasn’t enough proof for her that Elijah was a man of God and that his word was true?

II Kings 2-4

I was reading the miracles that Elisha did and wondered why John the Baptist was the Elijah that was to come and not Elisha, since Elisha was greater. I realized that Elisha had a double portion of Elijah’s spirit and Jesus had much more that John the Baptist. I wonder why the Bible never matched Elisha and Jesus the way it did Elijah and John the Baptist. Because Jesus is matchless and no one can compare!

II Kings 7:2 Then the captain, the king’s right hand man, responded to the man of God, “Look even if the Lord were to make windows in heaven, could this really happen?”

Don’t ever speak out against a prophecy. Don’t ever say or think that what God says will happen is impossible. Definitely don’t make mock or make fun or be sarcastic – it got the captain dead.

Insights from II Samuel

“As the ark of the Lord was entering the city of David, Saul’s daughter Michal looked down from the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart.” (6:16)

How did Michal come to despise the one she once loved? She didn’t see him dancing before the Lord with joy – she saw him exposing himself to the slave girls (verse 20). Maybe Saul’s hatred rubbed off on her. Maybe it was because David took her away from her second husband, perhaps not for love, but because she was his and to take back what Saul took from him. Maybe she was jealous of the slave girls or all the other wives he’d taken in the time they’d been apart. Maybe she was mad at Saul and took it out on David (Saul used her love for David as a trap to get him killed.) So then, love is lost as a result of lack of committed thoughts. Her thoughts weren’t committed to God or her husband, but to herself.

“The king answered Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it from you for a price, for I will not offer to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for 50 ounces of silver.” (24:24)

David would not offer anything to God that cost him nothing. He had to pay for what he gave to God. He had to sacrifice in order to sacrifice. He had to give up something of personal value so that it would have value to God.

God appreciates the sacrifices that cost us. So then, why don’t we take our pain over what we have lost and give it to God as a sacrifice? We might be more willing to go through if we gave it to God and knew He appreciated it.

Praise the God Who always works to restore marriage!

My heart fell in love the first time I saw him when I was a child. My heart would leap whenever he paid any attention to me through high school. My heart broke when he married someone else. My heart never found another quite like him. When he called seven years later to say his marriage was over, my heart began to have hope again. When he asked me to marry him, my heart was ever so content. Twenty years later, when he said he wanted to pursue a relationship with someone else, my heart was shattered.

Not only did the man I had always loved want to leave, the God I had always loved didn’t seem to be helping me out much to keep the marriage together. I saw my husband struggle with the guilt. As a matter of fact, he ended up in the emergency room with a bout of high blood pressure. I knew God was trying to get through to him. But when I asked my husband point blank if this was what God wanted him to do, he replied, “There are road signs”, and I knew my marriage was over. He was only reading the road signs that pointed the way he wanted to go.

I have struggled these past years. I have fought what former family and friends said before I left. I have fought my low self-esteem and guilt. I have fought Satan’s lies. I have fought my own desires and shattered dreams. I learned that God is a God of restoration. He restored me to Himself and to His family of believers. He restored my self-esteem, my finances, and my life. But every once in a while, I would ask why He didn’t restore my marriage. I wouldn’t get an answer from Him, so I made up my own. He allowed the divorce and its circumstances so that He could use me to help others. It was a good answer most of the time, but sometimes it fell flat.

A year or two after we were married I learned about June (not her real name). She was my husband’s first wife’s best friend. I learned that my husband was in love with June, but she had left him heartbroken. For the 20 years we were married, he never ran into her, but the summer he decided to leave me, she appeared at a local festival. My husband discovered he had no feelings left for her. I always wondered why God arranged that encounter. At the time, it only seemed to solidify his relationship with his new love interest.

Isn’t it amazing how dense we can be? We get so wrapped up in our pain we don’t see everything God has done, is doing or will do. Two more years later I sawe very clearly how God arranged that encounter to show my husband that he no longer had any feelings for the woman he left his first wife for. God was showing my husband that in time, he would have no feelings for the woman he was leaving me for.

I was flooded by the love of God. God did everything He could to restore our marriage. I was flooded with tears because I never saw it that way when it was happening. I never saw it that way until four years later. I had to apologize to Him for thinking and saying and feeling that He hadn’t come through for me. On the contrary, He had gone all out for our marriage.

So if you are struggling in your marriage, please be assured that God is working to restore it even if you can’t see any progress. I’m convinced that there were many other things God did in my husband’s life to show him that he was not making the right choice in choosing not to honor the covenant of marriage. If you know of someone who doubts that God cares, please share this with them, so that they may know God is going all out to restore their marriage.

As Job answered God (Job 42-The Message), so do I. “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset Your plans. You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing My purposes?’ I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head. You told me, ‘Listen and let Me do the talking. Let Me ask the questions. You give the answers.’ I admit I once lived by rumors of You; now I have it all firsthand – from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry – forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise! I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”

May everyone who reads this come to the point in their walk that they too can say what Job said, what I say now. Praise the God Who always works to restore marriage!