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Friday

July 23rd - Rejecting Repentance

Rejecting repentance

(2 Kings 21:17-22; 21:23-26; 22:1-2; 23:25-27)

(2 Chronicles 33:18-25; 34:1-2)


Repentance

Artist Unknown


Amon, son of Manasseh, was king of Judah for just two years, beginning around 640 B.C. Three Old Testament Scripture verse summarize Amon’s entire life and career:


“Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king,

and he reigned in Jerusalem two years.

He did evil in the eyes of the LORD,

as his father Manasseh had done.

Amon worshiped and offered sacrifices

to all the idols Manasseh had made.

But unlike his father Manasseh,

he did not humble himself before the LORD;

Amon increased his guilt.”

(2 Chronicles 33:21-23, NIV, emphasis added)


Manasseh, Amon’s father, had been guilty of idolatry, but he had come to repentance. His son Amon, however, refused to repent of his sin. He persisted in his idolatry and rebellion against the word of the Lord.


How did things turn out for Amon?


Amon’s own staffers murdered him in his palace, and his eight-year old son Josiah ascended to Judah’s throne.


What is the worst sin of all?


Isn’t it tempting to categorize and prioritize sin? Maybe this makes us feel better about ourselves, if we can create a ladder of licentiousness, ranking the potential evils men may do. If we find ourselves free of the apparently wickedest woes, then we may feel like congratulating ourselves for our apparent virtues.


What a dangerous practice. Sin is surely sin. The Lord is perfect, without sin, and He refuses to tolerate any inkling of evil.


How blessed we are that He has paid the price for all of our sin. All we need to do is confess and turn from our sin, walking into His wonderful redemption. Repentance is the key, as we reject our sin and accept the Lord.


Doesn’t that make refusing to repent the most dangerous sin of all?


Will you pray with me?


Merciful and majestic God,

Draw our hearts to You.

Bend or break our wills,

And give us the grace

To turn away from sin

And turn towards Your holiness.

Grieve our hearts

Over what grieves Your heart.

Teach us to trust You,

And plant in us

A deeper desire

To reject temptation

And accept Your Word.

We only live

To honor You.

Thank You for the cross,

Where You bought us back

From ourselves

With Your own blood.

We love You.

Amen.


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Monday

July 22nd - God's Goodness

God’s Goodness

(Nahum 1:1-15; 2:1-13; 3:1-19)

De Windstoot (The Gale)

By Willem van de Velde II

1707


The Old Testament prophet Nahum, speaking to the Lord’s people around 650 B.C., warned of God’s jealousy and coming judgment.


The LORD is a jealous and avenging God;
the LORD takes
vengeance and is filled with wrath.
The LORD takes
vengeance on his foes
and maintains his
wrath against his enemies.

3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power;
the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
and clouds are the dust of his feet.

4 He rebukes the sea and dries it up;
he makes all the rivers run dry.
Bashan and Carmel wither
and the blossoms of Lebanon fade.

5 The mountains quake before him
and the hills melt away.
The earth trembles at his presence,
the world and all who live in it.

6 Who can withstand his indignation?
Who can endure his
fierce anger?
His
wrath is poured out like fire;
the rocks are shattered before him.

7 The LORD is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him,

8 but with an overwhelming flood
he will make an end of Nineve ;
he will pursue his foes into darkness.

(Nahum 1:2-8, NIV, emphasis added)


Is this the same God we describe as our loving, merciful and gracious Heavenly Father? Is this wrathful and fierce Judge the same Lord to whom we look for tender care?


Indeed, He is One and the same. But He will share His glory with no other. He will not tolerate idolatry, as those who claim to follow Him bow their heads and hearts to other desires.


May His mercy fall like gentle waves upon us, drawing us into His holy healing hands. May we bow only to the one true God. For only He is worthy of our praise.


Here’s a poem the Lord gave me this morning. I hope these words will bless your soul, as you seek to know our great God more each day.


Tides of Terror and Tenderness


Along the shore, He turns the tide.

In undertow, those who defied

Are swept beneath the flashing foam.

But those afloat are carried home.


In briny buoyancy, He bears

The lives of all who cast their cares

Upon His pierced holy hands,

To lay them gently on the sands.


Though mounts may tumble to the deep,

Jehovah’s promises will keep.

No carvings, castings else may hold

‘Gainst He whose worth surpasses gold.


The swirling seas may daunt us not,

If we His wonders still have sought.

Though tide of terror take its toll,

We know the Master’s in control.


c2009 by Linda Ann Nickerson


Will you pray with me?


God,

You hold the world

in Your holy hand.

Each wave,

Every breeze

Is Yours.

Guard our hearts.

Hold us close.

Teach us to trust You

More each day.

How grateful we are

For Your grace,

Without which

We could not stand.

Amen.


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July 21st - New Heaven and Earth

New Heaven and Earth

(Isaiah 37:38; 65:1-25; 66:1-25)

(2 Kings 19:37)

(2 Chronicles 32:21; 33:10-17)


The New Jerusalem to Come

Artist Unknown


Are you ever troubled by television news reports, printed perils in daily newspapers and other disturbing news in our world today? Living in a fallen world, we may find ourselves astonished at some of the occurrences around us. Perhaps we even surprise ourselves with our own attitudes and actions.


The Lord’s day is coming.


The Old Testament prophet Isaiah foretold a blessed time to come, when the Lord will set all things right. He will unveil a brand-new Heaven and earth, when He brings His long-awaited Kingdom.


"Behold, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.

But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.

I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.”

(Isaiah 65:17-19, NIV)


What hope these words can bring to us! May we eagerly await His coming.


Will you pray with me?


Holy One,

We look with longing

For Your appearance.

In troubled times,

We await Your advent.

Call human hearts to Yours.

Empower us

To share Your good news.

Make us ready

For Your coming

For Your glory.

Amen.


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Sunday

July 20th - A Call to Comfort

A Call to Comfort

(Isaiah 60:1-22; 61:1-11; 62:1-2: 63:1-19; 64:1-12)



Does God call us to be comfortable? Perhaps not. But He surely does call His people to be comforters. In fact, He has set the example. The Holy Spirit of God is called The Comforter.


What is a comforter? In today’s culture, we commonly speak of a comforter as a pillow-soft, fluffy quilt that wraps us in cozy warmth while we rest. Certainly, this is so. On a larger scale, a comforter may be anyone who eases the suffering (or discomfort) of another.


How might we blanket others in the warm comfort of God’s own love and mercy?


The Old Testament prophet Isaiah spoke of the ministry of comforting in Isaiah 61.


The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel.
He will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for His own glory.

(Isaiah 61:1-3, NLT)


Long after Isaiah penned these prophetic words, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke in the synagogue of His hometown, Nazareth, and quoted Isaiah 61. (See Luke 4.)


Surely the ministry of the Lord includes proclaiming His good news, comforting the brokenhearted, and announcing His release of those who were once captive to sin and death. May we join the wonderful work of God, telling those who mourn that He promises eternal joy and peace in the mighty name of Jesus. May our great God establish us in His will.


Christian artists have painted and performed many creative works, based upon these treasured verses. Here’s one of my own favorites: “Beauty for Ashes,” sung by Crystal Lewis at a Harvest Crusade.


.

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Will you pray with me?


Jehovah,

We thank You

For replacing our sorrows with joy

By removing the danger of sin and death.

We praise You

For planting Your peace

And Your everlasting joy

Within our hearts.

No matter what we may face

In this life,

We know You hold us

In Your everlasting hands.

Nudge us to share

Your good news

With those who need to know.

Make us comforters,

Empowered by Your own Comforter,

The Spirit of the living God.

Amen.


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