The king of Israel replied to Jehoshaphat, “There is one more man who could consult the Lord for us, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but trouble for me! His name is Micaiah son of Imlah.”
Jehoshaphat replied, “That’s not the way a king should talk! Let’s hear what he has to say” (1 Kings 22:8 New Living Translation).
King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat were conversing one day about whether or not to join forces in attacking the town of Ramoth-gilead to recover it. King Jehoshaphat said he would help King Ahab, but wanted to consult the Lord first before attacking. Ahab complied, calling his prophets to come join them. After hearing all the sycophants, Jehoshaphat asked for a prophet of the Lord to ask the same question. Ahab reluctantly agreed to call the prophet, but indicated how he hated him for always prophesying trouble. Jehoshaphat replied with leadership advice, stating kings shouldn’t talk that way and they should hear what he has to say.
God desires some of us to rise to leadership positions, and He will place people in our paths He desires to use prophetically. We may not always like what we hear, but if we are in leadership positions, we should not speak negatively about the people serving under us. Many ministries fail because leaders look for, and employ, yes-men to tell them everything they want to hear, ignoring the word the Lord is speaking simply because they don’t like the person bringing the word. Many leaders forget that when God brings something we don’t like, it’s because He’s got something better and wants us to stop pursuing what has no value at this time. When God sends a prophet with a different word than what we have been hearing, it should bring reflection to make sure we are not simply following what we want to hear. We need to consider all we hear and not just go with the crowd.
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for this day! Thank You for correcting us when we are wrong and pointing out when we have begun to follow the crowd and not Your leading. Father, may we not surround ourselves with sycophants, but may we be surrounded with men and women who desire to see Your Kingdom come to earth, who desire to do Your work and follow Your ways. May You strengthen Your chosen leaders, removing any itching ears and filling them with Your Spirit. May You prune and weed out those who do evil in Your sight, leading Your people astray and may You teach Your leaders how to talk. Father, we love You and give You all our worship and praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: We cannot effectively lead others without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and we need to surround ourselves with strong, Godly people who are not afraid to speak the truth in love to us. If you are in a leadership position, ask God to help you look at how you lead – do you always look for someone to agree with you, or do you welcome differing points of view. Is God your go-to person?
Additional Scriptures: 2 Kings 3:11; 2 Timothy 4:3
I’m currently attending an online ministry institute and have been studying Christian History. I am finding myself fascinated by the lives of those who have gone before us and am excited at the prospect of meeting this pillars of our faith one day! This morning, I read about St. Patrick, and the study included the below poem. As I read, some of it seemed partially familiar, but as a whole it is powerful. I have been blessed by reading it and was so touched, I didn’t want to keep it to myself! 🙂
I Rise Today
The most famous Celtic prayer shows why the Celts are known for exalting both creation and the Creator.
I rise today
in the power’s strength, invoking the Trinity
believing in threeness,
confessing the oneness,
of creation’s Creator.
I rise today
in the power of Christ’s birth and baptism,
in the power of his crucifixion and burial,
in the power of his rising and ascending,
in the power of his descending and judging.
I rise today
in the power of the love of cherubim,
in the obedience of angels
and service of archangels,
in hope of rising to receive the reward,
in the prayers of patriarchs,
in the predictions of the prophets,
in the preaching of apostles,
in the faith of confessors,
in the innocence of holy virgins,
in the deeds of the righteous.
I rise today
in heaven’s might,
in sun’s brightness,
in moon’s radiance,
in fire’s glory,
in lightning’s quickness,
in wind’s swiftness,
in sea’s depth,
in earth’s stability,
in rock’s fixity.
I rise today
with the power of God to pilot me,
God’s strength to sustain me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look ahead for me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to protect me,
God’s way before me,
God’s shield to defend me,
God’s host to deliver me,
from snares of devils,
from evil temptations,
from nature’s failings,
from all who wish to harm me,
far or near,
alone and in a crowd.
Around me I gather today all these powers
against every cruel and merciless force
to attack my body and soul,
against the charms of false prophets,
the black laws of paganism,
the false laws of heretics,
the deceptions of idolatry,
against spells cast by women, smiths, and druids,
and all unlawful knowledge that harms the body and soul.
May Christ protect me today
against poison and burning,
against drowning and wounding,
so that I may have abundant reward;
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me;
Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me;
Christ to the right of me, Christ to the left of me;
Christ in my lying, Christ in my sitting, Christ in my rising;
Christ in the heart of all who think of me,
Christ on the tongue of all who speak to me,
Christ in the eye of all who see me,
Christ in the ear of all who hear me.
I rise today
in power’s strength, invoking the Trinity,
believing in threeness,
confessing the oneness,
of creation’s Creator.
For to the Lord belongs
and to the Lord belongs salvation
and to Christ belongs salvation.
May your salvation, Lord, be with us always.
—”Saint Patrick’s Breastplate,”
Old Irish, eighth-century prayer.
Prayer from Oliver Davies and Fiona Bowie, Celtic Christian Spirituality: An Anthology of Medieval and Modern Sources (SPCK, 1995).
The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130 New King James Version).
During the course of our Christian walk, the enemy will try to shut off our lights, engulfing us in darkness. He wants to bring us down to his level, and he knows how to do it. He knows what buttons to push, what temptations to use, and who to position where in his best effort to bring us into the dark again. How does the enemy do this? By being stealthy; remember he is the father of lies, never hesitating to twist the truth to suit his plans. As Christians, we should always be cautious of the things we put into ourselves and which plant seeds in our hearts. We need to question what we study, what we read, what we watch on TV or movies, and what music we listen to, as well as the conversations we engage in. Is what we do bringing glory to the kingdom of God, or is it glorifying the world we live in? If we spend more time with worldly things than with Godly things, then we are in danger of impending darkness.
God’s Word is a sword. It is living, powerful and His voice resonates within every verse. God’s Word is thirst quenching, putting out unholy fires and freeing us from sin. His Holy Word pierces the darkness with light, exposes what is hidden, reveals it for what it is, and cleans up the dark places. If you feel darkness is closing in around you, open the Word of God and read it. Memorize it, meditate on it, hide it deep within your heart and recite it. Fill yourself with the things of God and not the things of the world. Pray, seek God’s face and pour out your heart to Him, repent. God is calling His church to turn back to Him fully, wholeheartedly. He is calling for a repentant Church and a praying Church. How long are you going to let Him stand at your door, knocking, while you engage in idle chatter at your window?
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for blessing us with another day. Forgive us for turning to this world and what’s in it instead of turning to You. We have no excuse for becoming so busy that we seek worldly things before You; for we know that by seeking You first, everything else will fall into place. Thank You for Your discipline and for reminding us that You desire to be with us, that You desire our hearts, our minds, our time. We are sorry for letting You down and we are thankful that Your mercy is renewed today. Thank You for Your chastisement and for Your longsuffering towards us. Thank You for Your Holy Word that brings light into the dark, thank You for cutting us and freeing us with Your word. Teach us to hide Your Word deep within our hearts, bringing Your light wherever we go. We give You all blessings and we glorify Your name. We stand before You today in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: Make it a point to memorize scripture that has spoken to your heart. Read it aloud, write it down, chew on it, meditate on it, and recite it. Taking the time to do this with God’s word, will help you become more tuned to Him rather than this world.
Additional Scriptures: Psalm 119:105; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 Peter 5:8
Yes, it is a press, certainly, but a press from which shall flow in inexhaustible streams, the most abundant and most marvelous liquor that has ever flowed to relieve the thirst of men! Through it, God will spread His Word. A spring of truth shall flow from it: like a new star it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance, and cause a light heretofore unknown to shine amongst men (Johannes Gutenberg).
In Christ’s Service,
YOU MAY NOT WANT TO OPEN THAT DOOR
So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door and its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (Genesis 4:6-7 New King James Version).
Do we give God our best? Do we put obedience to Him first? Are we giving Him an offering worthy of Him? God refused Cain’s offering because it was not his best (v.5) and he was upset with God because of it. But what is it God tells Him? God tells him if he does well, his gift will be accepted. God also warns Cain that if he does not do well, there is the potential for sin. God says sin has a desire for Cain, but he should rule over it. We know Cain opened the door to sin and gave in to it by killing his brother, Abel, and then lying to God about it (v. 8-9).
Sin has a desire for us, the devil wants to kill and destroy. God tells us we should rule over sin. This means we need to be grounded in the Word of God and obedient to Him; to have a relationship with Him and be a do-er of His word. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He resisted the devil because He knew and applied the Word. We have the power and authority to overcome temptation, through Christ. Sin is at all of our doors, its desire is for us; the question is, are we going to let it in?
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for this gift of life You have given us! Thank You for waking us up and giving us air to breathe and water to drink. Father, forgive us for giving in to our temptations. Help us to truly grasp and fully understand that we have strength to do all things through Christ and this includes withstanding temptations. Father, point out the choices we have in overcoming sin and may we hear the voice of Your Spirit when we have sinned and need to confess and repent. Father, we want to give You our best, we want to do our best but sometimes we don’t. Forgive us for not putting our best foot forward for You and for giving in to discouragement and defeat before we’ve already begun. You are a loving and merciful Father and we love You so much. Thank You for Your mercy and love, teach us to be all that You have called and designed us to be. We give You ourselves as offerings and vessels for Your use. We bow humbly before Your throne and worship at Your feet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: Whatever sin is waiting at your door today, make a point to acknowledge that it is sin and open another door instead! Pray for strength, courage, wisdom and discernment when faced with sinful temptations. God will always give you a way out.
Additional Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:12; Romans 6:14
WHAT ARE YOU TEACHING?
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6 New King James Version).
It is a struggle to raise children today. There are many things in society, with its moralistic views, in direct opposition to biblical teaching, contradicting the guidelines God has given us in His word. Our parenting is not limited to our natural born children; it also includes our spiritual children. God has placed those in our path who are spiritual babes in Christ, and He has charged us with the job of making disciples out of them. Children are a gift from God, and we should raise them as such. I’m not a parenting expert, having challenges of my own, but I can tell you challenges are what make parenting interesting while drawing me closer to God. When we are given children, whether natural born, adopted or spiritual, we need to conduct ourselves as worthy to be called followers of Christ because children learn from our example. We must be more aware of what our actions are saying, and whether or not they are in line with what we are professing from our lips. We cannot be judgmental of others and expect our children to do otherwise. We cannot expect our children to avoid gossiping, to not be argumentative and to be respectful if we ourselves are not. We should not blame our children for non-Christian behavior if we do not show them Christian behavior. We cannot expect new born babes in Christ to have love for others if we ourselves do not show love, or if we show love in partiality. Children tend to adopt the mindset of their parents because of the influence we have on them.
As Christians, we are works in progress. It is by Christ living in us we are able to do what He has called us to do. When He has given us children it is our responsibility to raise them up in God’s word, to help them discover who He is, to encourage a personal relationship with Him. It is imperative we teach our children to be obedient to God, and listen when He speaks no matter how difficult or out of the box it seems. We need to be accountable to our children for our sinful examples and tell them when we are wrong, and have done or encouraged something not Godly. Our children need to see humility, repentance, love, and they need to see our faith lived out.
I have seen many young people and spiritual babes turn their nose at Christian brothers and sisters because their parents or spiritual parents did; showing partiality and judgment. My family, in the past, had been snubbed and cut off from those who profess to follow Christ but couldn’t bring themselves to let go of their judgments and conclusions, and our children have been hurt by those they called friends. Do you think this is what God wants? We damage our children and hinder their spiritual growth when we teach them how to be partial, how to be judgmental, how to limit themselves to associating with only those in our circle, and to not share the love of Christ with others outside our church walls; we are failing them when we neglect to put into practice what we preach and teach from God’s own word. We have to allow for our children to make their faith their own, we cannot impose our beliefs on them; we can only be the example that Christ calls us to be.
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, You are God, You are holy and just. You are the perfect example of a loving Father, and one in which we strive to emulate. It is not easy today to be a perfect living example of You, but we praise and thank You for giving us Jesus and that by His residing in our hearts, we can grow more each day to be like You. Father, forgive us for not being the parents You would like us to be, forgive us for teaching our children how to be judgmental, gossipy, selective and partial. You have told us to be salt and light on this earth and we have been to partial and selective of where we go to season and brighten, that we have hidden ourselves under a basket. Please forgive us and grant us the courage to seek forgiveness from our children and spiritual children, help us to forgive those we feel have wronged us and therefore we have disassociated from. Father, grant us grace to become as the father of the prodigal son, teach us to never give up on our Christian brethren, our children and our friends. Teach us to be unified as One Body, Your Body. We have become so divided as a Church that we have erected walls to keep out that which does not conform to our way of thought, but You tell us that Your thoughts are not our thoughts and Your ways are not our ways, help us to tear down those walls and embrace our Christian brothers and sisters as Jesus embraced us. We thank You for listening to our prayer, we thank You for Your forgiveness, we thank You for Your Fatherly love towards us. We give You all glory and honor and we come to You in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: I encourage you today to ask God to help you examine your parenting skills. Have you been the example God has desired? Have you taught your children how to love, how to be humble, how to be compassionate? Have you shown them how to be forgiving, how to let things go? Have you encouraged your children to grow in the Lord? Have you shown them what obedience to Christ really is? Take some time today to sit at His feet, bow down before Him and seek His forgiveness if you have not been the most Christ-like example and ask Him for strength and courage to ask forgiveness from your children for not being a Godly example.
Additional Scriptures: 1 John 4:11; Galatians 6:3; 1 Corinthians 12:12
The children will follow the example, instead of following the advice.” ~Lord Palmerston
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14 New King James Version).
As Christians today, we are the way that the world experiences Jesus. What examples are we setting for non-believers if we block out the Son? Pursue peace with all people, and holiness… (v. 14); we are commanded to be a peaceful and holy people. We must ensure we are living our faith, and our belief in Christ is strong, and our worship of Him is true. Jesus should be a priority in our lives. Our spirits and hearts need to be fed daily on the word of God; prayer and fellowship with God, along with other believers, are vital components as well.
We won’t effectively witness to the lost if we have not fully given ourselves to Him. Doing the same activities our unsaved friends and family do; condoning behavior God has called sinful; speaking and acting with self-righteous attitudes as though we are better than everyone else is not Godly behavior and cannot be construed as examples of Christ-likeness. It’s true that Jesus was a friend to sinners, it’s true that He ate and drank with those who were of unsavory character according to the Sadducees and Pharisees; however, Jesus did not sin. He did not behave as those to whom He ministered. He acted in love, and lovingly revealed their hearts to them, which is why He had so many followers. His spiritual light was so bright He was a magnet to those who wanted what He had. When we call ourselves Christian and yet live as the world lives, doing the things the world does, we are not showing the world the difference that Jesus makes. How can the world know who Jesus is if we don’t show them?
The world sees Jesus as portrayed by today’s Christian. What kind of an example are you setting?
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for the blessing of this day! May Your hand cover and protect those who are bringing Your word into areas of this earth where the enemy would like to shut their mouths. Father, may Your missionaries abroad and local have boldness to speak and behave the way Jesus did. May they have courage, strength and endurance to walk where You lead them, to speak when You tell them, to stay quiet when necessary. May they have discernment and wisdom to follow Your prompting and purposes. Father, may You speak to those of us who have not fully submitted, may You reveal the darkness in our hearts and may Your Holy Spirit begin to house clean. May we have grace to surrender that which is not of You, may we have grace to humble ourselves and recognize our behavior when it’s not in accordance with Your word and may we repent of that sin. Father, teach us to be salt and light, teach us to be more like Jesus. Remove that which hinders our spiritual growth, remove that which causes us to stumble and fall continuously, change our hearts, change our attitudes. We love You Father and desire to know You more. Reveal Yourself to us, remind us of Your love for us. We give You all glory and honor. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: When around unsaved friends or family, make a point to behave as Jesus would; not as though you are better and more holy, but don’t engage in the same activities. React to situations with love and humility, forgiveness and grace. Learn to say “No” and then learn to explain why you said “No.”
Additional Scriptures: Matthew 5: 13-16; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 Corinthians 13; Ephesians 6:15
*****Adapted from my book Today’s Bible Treasure Simple Christianity Volume 1*****
Faithfulness In the Small Things
He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much (Luke 16:10a New King James Version).
I love God. I don’t think I could ever say it enough! He has taken me on a journey and I’ve wound up in places I never thought I could be in, and it’s been wonderful! I know it’s been quite a few days since I have written, but I wanted to take this moment to share a little of what I’ve got going on right now. Two years ago, I answered a job ad with the intention of working part-time. I interviewed with the General Manager; I thought we got along well, and we did – she hired me as a receptionist. To set the stage a little – I’ve always had clerical positions, I’m gifted in administration, but I’ve never been more than an administrative assistant or clerk. After just a couple of months, she offered me a position they did not have in our store – it would be a created position, encompassing about three different roles from our other store. Not one to back down from this kind of challenge, I took it. Fast forward a year and she left me in charge of the store while most of our employees, including upper management, attended a trade show. Pretty cool, and I was honored and happy to do it. This year, we didn’t even have a meeting to go over what she expected while she was gone for the week. She simply told me she knows everything is alright as long as I’m here. Talk about immense faith in my capabilities and the favor of God!
I do not tell the story to brag or boast. I tell it because God really does pay attention to all the small things we do. When we are faithful in the small things, He knows we will be faithful when He brings the big things. Granted, being a major player one week a year is not what some people would consider a big thing, but to me it’s a huge responsibility and a great honor. I believe God tests us through the small things. He looks to see if we are reliable, and if we have integrity. He searches our hearts and considers our motives and attitudes towards performing the small things.
Church, to make an impact on the world, we cannot just skip over the small things to dive into the great things, but we must work through the small things and allow God to raise us up and position us in the bigger things. Too many of us desire greatness, but we don’t want to be faithful in working our way up to it. We must be faithful in the small things first.
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of this new day and for Your new mercy. Thank You for Your faithfulness towards us and for teaching us what faithfulness in the small things is really about. May we have hearts that strive to please You, taking each day as it comes, step by step and not overreaching for greatness until You move us to it. May we check the motives and attitudes behind all we do and greet our work with vigor and joy, realizing we ultimately do what we do for You. Father, we love You and thank You for the capability to work, for the opportunities that come our way – regardless of how small they seem – and for Your tender mercies towards us. We give You all glory and honor, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: Be faithful in all the small, day to day things. Be faithful in your job, in your work, in your service to your family. Be faithful in all you do.
Additional Scriptures: Colossians 3:22-24
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food (Matthew10:8-10 New King James Version).
Jesus gave power to His disciples to perform the same miracles He, Himself, performed, and then He sent them out into the nation of Israel (Matthew 10:1-6). Imagine how the disciples must have felt to be given such a task! Also, they were told not to take any extra provisions with them, neither monetary, nor clothing. Can you imagine their hesitation and discomfort? However, He tells them, “a worker is worthy of his food” (v.10), meaning if they obeyed Him and went to Israel healing the sick, casting out demons, cleansing the lepers and raising the dead, all their needs would be met. He told them not to accept payment for doing these things…”freely you have received, freely give” (v.8). Jesus did not put a price on His miracles and neither should we. He freely gave His life for us so our sin-debt would be paid, and He provides for all of our needs when we fully trust in God (Matthew 6:31-34).
During the course of our walk with Christ, He is going to ask us to take leaps of faith, He’s going to ask us to step out of our comfort zones, as well as think out of the box, because the road we travel with Him is not easy (Matthew 7:14). Things which make us comfortable, and our current knowledge of what we think is the “righteous” way of doing things, can change in an instant the closer we come to Christ. The more we draw near to Him the more He challenges us to become more like Him.
Perhaps the Lord has been calling you to something new and different. Perhaps He has been pulling you ever closer to Him and requiring more obedience from you. Is He telling you today to “go, sell everything you have and give the money to the poor, take up your cross and follow me.” (Mark 10:21) Step out from where you are comfortable and into the encouraging arms of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s Pray: Dear Lord, Thank You for Your faithfulness and Your provision. Open our eyes and ears to see the comfortable box we have surrounded ourselves with, and grant us strength and Your grace to step out of that box and closer to You. Help us to break down the barriers that keep us from fully trusting in You, make our faith real. Challenge us Lord to become more like You in every way, Show us our true selves, reveal our true hearts, speak to us Lord. Help us to put aside our flesh and become more fully devoted worshippers of You. Whatever in us that is hindering Your cleansing, Your purging of ourselves, we ask that You reveal it and remove it. Grant us spirits that are more obedient; cause us to know deep in our hearts Your desires for us. Grant us the fire of Your Spirit to empower us and strengthen us for Your purposes and to draw us closer to You. We pray in Your name, Jesus, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: What kind of a box do you live in? Is it one that you have to cut to open? Is it one you have to take a jackhammer to in order to crack the foundation? Does your box have windows or doors? Examine where you are spiritually and look to see if God has asked you to step out of your box and into His hand.
Additional Scriptures: See passage above
***Adapted from my book Today’s Bible Treasure, Simple Christianity Volume 1***