How Has The Truth of God Changed you?

2 Kings 22:1-20; 23:1-3

Josiah was the “boy-king,” becoming king of Judah when he was 8 years-old.  When he was 18, he undertook a restoration project in the Temple.  As they were cleaning out the rooms for restoration, they found a book.  It was the book of the Law of the Lord (many commentators think it was the book of Deuteronomy.)  When this young man read the book given to him, he tore his clothes realizing that there was so much that was happening against the law of the Lord in Judah.
Josiah made a vow to follow the Word of the Lord, and he undertook a series of reforms to bring justice to his kingdom.  That made me think, how often do we simply ignore the Bible, that we call the Word of God.  We know that the Bible is not just a rule book that we can implement point by point.  It requires what the Psalmist described as “meditating in your law, day and night.” 
If we are a people seek justice and righteousness, then we have a standard, the Word of God.  The wisdom we need is not just for a casual reading of the Bible.  The way we gain wisdom is described by Proverbs as mining for silver or gold (Prov 2:3-5). 
A public reading of the Law of the Lord, changed the nation of Judah under Josiah, when was the last time it changed your life?

Pastor Greg

Putting God to the Test

1 Kings 18:17-39

When you see the title, you might think of the words of Jesus in Matthew 4:7—“Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”  What Jesus said was in the temptations by Satan and Jesus being dared to presume upon God.  Putting God to the test would be quoting the verse, “But my God shall supply all your needs,” the quitting you job, staying at  home and expect the provisions to roll on in.  That is presumptive arrogance, not faithful dependence. 

In the text this week we encounter a familiar story of Elijah confronting the prophets of Baal.  He proposes a test, the god that will answer by fire will be our God.  This test was to show the lack of power in the god Baal, and the powerful work of the Living God.

We do need to put God to the test.  We do that by living according to God’s word and following God’s ways.  We do live in a society that is floundering between many decisions.  Too often the decisions are framed as being either hard right or hard left.  But there is a better way, the way of Christ, the way of love, the way of obedience to the One Living God.  This is how we let our light shine.  When we show the blessings, the peace, the joy of following Christ, and the overall benefit of living a moral and righteous life, then we confront this confused world with the reality of God.

Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.”  This is not given to us for Stewardship Sunday, but it is God inviting us to test him in our finances.  Putting God first in our finances, is a way to show that the Living God works in us to bless us for our obedience.  I often wonder who is the Master of most Christians, the Card or God?

Pastor Greg

Who is Greatest in the Kingdom?

1 Kings 12:1-17, 25-29

The topic of our conversations, often in sports, is who is the greatest player today and of all times.  G.O.A.T. is the question we often speculate upon. 

That is also a theme in the Bible, and as often is the case, the Bible’s view of a topic is often the opposite of the culture that we are immersed in.  That is the case with our text this week.  Solomon has died, and his son Rehoboam is ready to take the crown over all the tribes of Israel.  He is asked about what his administration will be like, especially in contrast to some of the excesses of his father.  As the king, would he be a servant for God’s people, or would he be like the other kings of the nations, and see his will as the divine will.  His elder counselors advised him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.”

Humility is such a difficult character quality.  Yet, humility is required for us even to enter the kingdom of God, it is required for our walk with God, and without God will oppose us in our endeavors.  Humility was the nature of Christ Jesus, the servant of all, the one that gave his life for many.
Rehoboam’s pride split the kingdom of Israel.  Jeroboam became king of the northern tribes and led the people into apostasy that eventually brought God’s judgment by the Assyrians.  Just think of all the heartache, pain and loss of life that flowed from Rehoboam’s lack of humility.  Often the same thing happens to us.  Our pride alienates us from those that we should love, and harms those that are closest to us.  Many churches are closed to day because of a lack of humility in times of trial.
Throughout the biblical record, the words of James 4:10 are proven to be true: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Pastor Greg   

Let everything that breaths praise the lord! Praise the Lord!

2 Samuel 5:1-5; 6:1-5; Psalm 150

     The week’s text confronts us in the emotional morass that seems to be all around us.  With the savagery and now vicious war that we are witnessing on the TV, with the protests and demonstrations by those that seem not to be persuaded by facts, and the unfavorable forecasts for the economic future with continued inflation and rising prices, it seems everyone around us is falling into its grip.

   How does this text confront our emotional disquietness?  By loud cymbals, horns, tambourines and jubilant dancing!  This time of Israel’s history is when David had won the civil war with the House of Saul, and was king over Judah in Jerusalem.  The Northern Kingdom still had a son of Saul as their king for 7 years, and after internal conflict all the tribes united under David.  As part of the healing of the conflict and war, David seeks to unite the people not under him, but under God by restoring the Ark of the Covenant, after 50 years, to its rightful place in the center of God’s people.  God was again the focus of the people of Israel, and this was the cause of jubilation and exaltation.

     It is so easy for me to be caught up in the hopeless mindset of our world.  From the macro issues of expanding wars to the micro issues of increase in gas prices, hopeless wants to overwhelm us.  When we allow this, we lose our focus on God, the loving God that should be at the center of our lives.

     David leads the people of God dancing in front of the procession to restore the Ark to its rightful place—to recognizing the presence of God as the central focus of our hearts.  When we put God where God belongs in our lives, it causes us to leap for joy and praise the Lord with our entire breath. 
“Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7

Pastor Greg

No meal in December.

Next meal 1/22/2024

Happy Holidays!!

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