“Slow” to Anger Does Not Mean “No” to Anger

The kings of Israel continued to lead the people to sin and do evil in the sight of the LORD. The LORD was patient and made many attempts to call them back to Him. The stubbornly refused, continuing in the ways other pagan nations worship their gods and even worshipping other false gods directly. They were so far from the LORD that even when dominated by the Assyrians, there is no mention of turning to the LORD for help.

For those nations whose strength was founded in fear of the LORD, such as Israel or the United States, when they continue generation after generation turning away from the ways of God and continue to do evil in His sight there will be consequences. In 2 Kings 17 we see an example where He not only removed His hand of blessing, but actually brought Israel to defeat. We should not think of this as some old story, but realize a similar situation applies even now in the United States and we should be humbled and repent as a nation.

2 Kings 17:1-23

Hoshea Reigns over Israel

      1In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah became king over Israel in Samaria, and reigned nine years. 2He did evil in the sight of the LORD, only not as the kings of Israel who were before him. 3Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against him, and Hoshea became his servant and paid him tribute. 4But the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea, who had sent messengers to So king of Egypt and had offered no tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year; so the king of Assyria shut him up and bound him in prison.

      5Then the king of Assyria invaded the whole land and went up to Samaria and besieged it three years.

Israel Captive

     6In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, and settled them in Halah and Habor, on the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

Why Israel Fell

      7Now this came about because the sons of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and they had feared other gods 8and walked in the customs of the nations whom the LORD had driven out before the sons of Israel, and in the customs of the kings of Israel which they had introduced. 9The sons of Israel did things secretly which were not right against the LORD their God. Moreover, they built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. 10They set for themselves sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree, 11and there they burned incense on all the high places as the nations did which the LORD had carried away to exile before them; and they did evil things provoking the LORD12They served idols, concerning which the LORD had said to them, “You shall not do this thing.” 13Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets.” 14However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God. 15They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers and His warnings with which He warned them. And they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the LORD had commanded them not to do like them. 16They forsook all the commandments of the LORD their God and made for themselves molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. 17Then they made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire, and practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him. 18So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight; none was left except the tribe of Judah.

      19Also Judah did not keep the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the customs which Israel had introduced. 20The LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel and afflicted them and gave them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them out of His sight.

      21When He had torn Israel from the house of David, they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam drove Israel away from following the LORD and made them commit a great sin. 22The sons of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them 23until the LORD removed Israel from His sight, as He spoke through all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away into exile from their own land to Assyria until this day.

The LORD can raise up an adversary to conquer or simply let our nation rot and decay from the depravity of our own minds internal to our nation. The point is that any nation that drew strength and blessing from relationship with the LORD, as I believe the USA did since its founding for many generations, should take heed if / when they turn from the Father’s ways and pursue the ways of man.

It is not much better to mix and mingle false gods with worship of Yah than to simply turn from Him completely. Both are very bad.

I hope each of us can humble ourselves and pray for our personal lives, our family, our communities, the body of Christ as a whole, and our nation. Pray for repentance and that God would lift up righteous leaders and bring down wicked godless ones, even if they acknowledge Him with their lips. We can see with their policies and actions whom they serve.

In all of this, we must remember that our true enemy is Satan, and not individual people who come against us. We fight above all else, a spiritual war and should always remember that prayer and repentance is a huge part of any strategy that will bring our nation back to the one true God. (Read more on Spiritual Warfare.)

I invite you to pray with me:

Father, you and you alone are God. There are none like you. There are none whose works are like yours. Please help me personally and help your people collectively to humble themselves, turn from our wicked ways, and pray for your forgiveness and victory. Please restore the hearts and minds of the people of our nation to you and away from the paths of wickedness. Lift up righteous leaders and protect them with your right hand. Bring forth restoration and revival and a complete purge of wickedness and false teaching from our nation and most certainly from those who claim to follow you. Amen. 

Shalom

Devotion by John in service to Christ

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Fire

Hebrews 12:29

For our God is a consuming fire.

1Peter 1:7

that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Metals are refined by fire.  it removes the impurities. In the same way, going through the fire spiritually can help to refine us from impurities.

“Going through the fire” is not pleasant in our lives but it can help us go through the process of dying to self and learning through these tough times to trust in the Lord more. It can build our faith when we walk through trials and the Lord is guiding and leading us through them.

He is always with us no matter what we face. Hebrews13:5 says, For He Himself said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”   There is a lot of fear in the world today. A lot of uncertainty about the future if you look in the natural but we serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He is our King of Glory! He reigns! He can give peace when there is no peace in the world.

He can use these hard times to refine us and draw us into a deeper understanding of who He is and a deeper and more intimate relationship if we will let Him.

Prayer

Lord, Thank you for being with me in difficult times. Even in times when I am tested by fire, I know you are with me and using those times to purify me more into your image. Let me not despise those times, but let them draw me closer and closer to you. Let me hear you speak more clearly and direct my path. In Jesus name. Amen.

Devotion by Tonia in service to Christ “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13)

 

 

 

 

The Parable of the Railroad Tracks

We begin by studying a modern day parable. While this is not a Biblical parable, it is based on Biblical truth and used to help us understand the urgency of God’s instructions to us. Then we will explore further in scripture.

A car with three men inside came to be stuck on the railroad tracks at a railroad crossing on a cold, rainy night.  The three men had certainly heard of trains and were aware that cars were sometimes hit by trains, but did not really believe it to be likely. While the car was stuck, they remained inside because it was more comfortable than stepping outside. They decided to call a tow truck and wait in the car until it arrived or until the rain stopped.

 A man was walking along in the rain, wet and hurried. He wanted to reach his destination quickly and get out of the cold rain. He saw the car stuck on the railroad tracks and briefly thought about checking to see if they needed help. Instead, he walked on assuring himself that it was not his business to get involved and saying that he was sure it would all be fine in the end. Surely they had a phone. Surely help was already on the way. There was danger, but it was not urgent.

A second pedestrian came by and also noticed the car stuck on the tracks. He was wet and cold, too, but felt God would want Him to check on the men and warn them of the danger. He walked over to the car and spoke with the men inside briefly. He warned them that the trains usually come at night and there was real danger. The men inside did not listen, but actually seemed to get aggravated. One even made fun of the man outside the car and told him to go away. The driver did not want to leave his nice comfortable car, especially when it was uncomfortable outside. So they insisted they would wait in  the car.  Not wanting to offend or be considered foolish, the second pedestrian left quickly and went on about his way, shaking his head and thinking to himself that the fools deserved whatever trouble they brought on themselves.

The third pedestrian came along and spoke the same, true warning as the second pedestrian to the men in the car. He warned them about the danger from the train. He said it was urgent, the train always came about this time of night. The passengers of the car mocked him and told him to go away. They would be fine. The tow truck would be coming soon. The third pedestrian considered leaving, but instead he tried again, warning them of the urgency of getting out of the car. He pointed to the warning lights that now had started to go off and said he heard the train whistle. The driver did not want to hear it and said he was fine. He said the lights often go off on their own, probably a malfunction due to the storm. He did not hear the train whistle over the sound of thunder. Finally one of the men in the car got out of the car, with two remaining behind. The third pedestrian hurried the passenger safely away from the car. When the two remaining passengers saw the light from the train, it was too late, they did not know what to do. The train could not stop. Both men perished. Only the one that responded to the warning was saved and only because the third pedestrian persisted in the urgency of the message.

Who served God best? The man who walked by without saying anything? the second man who tried but quickly gave up when mocked? or the third man that shouted the truth even when others mocked him and pushed him away?

If not for the third man, who persisted in the warning, all in the car would have perished. How sad that people deny the impending danger of the train… of hell. They deny the need for a change … a need to die to self and submit to Christ to be saved and thus they perish. But how glorious that God, in His love for us, has made a way for us to be saved!

Christian evangelism is the sharing of the gospel of Christ with those who have not yet received Jesus as Lord and submitted their lives to Him. To share the good news of the gospel… that God loves us so much He became man in the person of Jesus Christ and suffered, died, and rose again to pay the price for our sins. It is always good news! God provides the answer to all of the wickedness of the world, but we must choose Jesus instead of the ways of the world.

For those of us who submit to Christ, evangelism must not be a casual thing or something we do “if we have time” or “when convenient”. It is not something that only some Christians do… but something we are all instructed to do. Jesus Christ commands us to go and make disciples of all the nations.

Matthew 28:18-20

 18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Followers of Jesus should recognize the urgency of sharing the gospel. Those who do not come to accept the offer of salvation through Jesus will perish… will suffer eternal separation from God. How can they accept and submit to Jesus if no one shares the gospel?

Isaiah 52:7

7How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Romans 10:13-17

13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news of good things!”

When we obey the command of Jesus to go and make disciples of all the nations, not everyone will accept Jesus, but we can trust God that when we obey His command, He will be with us and help it to be effective.

Isaiah 55:10-11

10“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;

11So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

Each of us should take time to consider the following in our personal life:

  • Am I a disciple of Jesus? or just someone who accepted Him once and goes to church?
  • Am I constantly learning more about how He wants me to live through studying scripture and prayer and changing my behaviors and attitudes to submit to Him? or am I doing things my way, convinced my way is “good enough”.
  • If I am not a disciple, than how can I go and make disciples of others?
  • If I am a disciple, than am I going and making disciples of others?

To learn more about being and making disciples, please study our teachings, The Great Commission – Making Disciples of All The Nations and The Great Commission – Personal Discipleship Plan.

I invite you to pray with me:

Father, please help me to be eternally minded, not focused solely on the matters of this world that surround me every day. Help me to see people through your eyes and not my own. Let me have a heart to desire to help others to find Christ, the courage to do so even taking personal risk, and the wisdom to know how to be effective. Help me to remember also that I can not save anyone by myself but it is only through your Holy Spirit that they will turn to you. Help others be willing to make the choice to submit to and follow you when confronted by the truth of the gospel. Help me not give up or be discouraged if I can not see the affects of my efforts to share Christ with others. You may be working in them in ways I will not witness personally. Amen. 

Shalom.

Devotion by John in service to Christ

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Do Not Be Discouraged from Seeking Yeshua’s Help

Many in this world will try to hush us up when we truly and desperately call out for Yeshua. When we know we are beyond what we can solve ourselves and need Him to save or heal us, to deliver us from some difficulty… people around us will discourage us. Sometimes it may even be others that follow Him.

Take a lesson from the blind men in Matthew 20. Be persistent in your faith and in calling out for Yeshua to help, even when others discourage you. Do not let up. Continue seeking Him and calling for Him.

Matthew 20:29-34

Sight for the Blind

      29As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. 30And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31The crowd sternly told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 33They said to Him, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.” 34Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.

I invite you to pray with me:

Father, please help me to rely on you. Please help me to seek you desperately and not be discouraged by others in doing so. Help me to have strong faith that you can deliver me from the challenges I face and even if you do not, that I would still call upon your name in faith and trust in you.  Help me to encourage others rather than discourage them in seeking your help and your mercy. 

Shalom

Devotion by John in service to Christ

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

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