FeelMyFaith.com

Creative Biblical content at the intersection of life and faith.

It Could Happen Tomorrow (Reading 2 Kings 7)

Will Memphis crumble to the ground Thursday afternoon in an earthquake? What if a hurricane hits New York City? Could the state of Florida be covered by a Tsunami? The Weather Channel thinks so. Their popular show “It Could Happen Tomorrow” speculates about the impact of natural disasters upon American cities. The premise of the show is that everything could change in an unexpected moment.

In 2 Kings 7:1 Elisha tells the King of Israel that life will change tomorrow. Israel has been under siege by Syria, but God would do something so that tomorrow would be a new day. The captain who served the king thought Elisha was a fool. He quipped that God himself could not make things change so drastically overnight. As a curse to him Elisha prophesied that the captain would see the miracle with his own eyes, but he would not benefit from it.

The Bible promises drastic change can take place to two of the most difficult places in the universe; the human soul and planet earth. Tomorrow your soul, and/or this planet, can be a different place. Through repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ a person can be born again (John 3). “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17).” In Christ we have new life. You can be different tomorrow.

The Bible also promises a dramatic return by Jesus to Earth. He will set up His kingdom and return the world to right, to a state of shalom. When Jesus returns, the world will become a different place (Romans 8, Rev. 21 – 22). The process could begin tomorrow.

The problem is that we have been under siege so long. The soul of man and his planet has been under the decay of sin almost since the beginning of time. Because we have been so long under siege it is hard to imagine anything better could be possible as soon as tomorrow. Yet, we should not scoff at the promises of God. His Word is true. He will do what He has promised. The danger of rejecting the promises of God is that one may actually witness them with their own eyes, yet receive none of their benefits, much like the captain in 2 Kings 7.

When it comes to the promises of God we should embrace them and enjoy them. It could happen tomorrow.
Continue reading
365 Hits
0 Comments

The Words You Speak in Your Bedroom (Reading 2 Kings 6:8-33)

Technology has exposed our desperate need to be known. I blog, therefore I am. Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace have either exposed our sheer boredom with life or they have each given us an outlet to say things to people that we have always wanted them to hear; like, “I’m bored”, or “I can’t wait to watch television tonight”, or “I need to do laundry.”

Although we demonstrate the need to be known, we are essentially saying nothing. We are addicted to tautological chatter. As much as we expose, there is so much still hidden. We are hiding behind the chatter. Twitter is a 140 character veil, a clever diversion, a techno curtain to hide the soul.

The king of Israel knew every move the king of Syria was about to make. The king of Syria thought there was a traitor in his midst. The problem was not treason, but divine knowledge. He twittered not, yet Israel knew, but how? Elisha, the man of God, the prophet, shared with the king of Israel information regarding the movements of the king of Syria. One of the Syrian servants described it by saying, “Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom (2 Kings 6:12).” The Syrian king thought he could hide his plans, but the knowledge of God exposed the most hidden recesses of his life.

Life is not private. God knows who we really are. God knows the words you speak in your bedroom. Behind the tweets and the pointless chatter there is another noise, inaudible, protected, hidden. It is as the old saying goes, “Character is what you are in the dark when no one is watching.” Character is the real you, not the tweeting you, but the words that you speak in your bedroom. You are the thoughts you think no one hears. Character is not a word that describes one of the 140 digits or letters you can post on twitter. Character is the words you speak in your bedroom. Character is the version of you that God knows. We cannot hide behind the tautological noise. People see what we post. God knows what we think, who we are, and what we are desperately trying to hide
Continue reading
309 Hits
0 Comments

Does God Care About Cars, Clothes, and Cancer?

Isn’t ironic that God is omnipresent yet it is so easy to feel as if He has abandoned us? When trials enter life it feels as if God steps out and we are on our own. We need a God of immeasurable power to perform something big, but we feel isolated and disconnected.

In many people suffering arouses a sudden interest in God. At the very least, in all of us suffering seems to intensify our interest in God’s involvement. Yet, are we as interested about God being involved in the little things? I should not say, are we as interested about God being involved in the little things, but are we interested about God’s involvement in all things?

1 Peter 5:16 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” All means all. When we surrender our will and become God’s servants instead of His master, we are often surprised about the things He will do. We will find that it is a sin to beckon God only when we are suffering. The servant understands that God cares about all things that concern His servants. All of our anxieties are a big deal to God because we are a big deal to God. “He cares for you.”

We do not need to compartmentalize life. We do not need to compartmentalize God. All means all. The old saying is true, “If he is not Lord of all, then He is not Lord at all.” I should add that God is always the Lord whether you trust Him or not, but the phrase means that you cannot claim Him as your Lord if you are not totally relinquishing control.

If we would learn to cast all of our cares upon Him we would find that God will give us a long list of precedents in our lives. When sudden trials of suffering come, we will understand that He cares just as much about our healing as He did about the $30 we desperately needed in 1995. He cares about His servants taking math tests, because He cares about His servants. God cares about flat tires, because He cares about His servants. If you can have a conversation with God about your kid’s next teacher, or a girl that you are thinking about asking out on a date, or about Him helping you trim your budget; then it will be no problem having a conversation with Him about cancer. There will be a precedent. You will know that He has cared about every other thing in your life. He has not abandoned you. You are His servant. He cares about cancer, cars, kids, cash, and clothes because He cares about His servants.
Continue reading
323 Hits
0 Comments

God of the Little Things (Reading 2 Kings 6:1-7)

Creating the universe was a big thing. A guy losing an axe head in a river, in comparison, is a little thing. Syria laying siege to Samaria is a big thing (2 Kings 6:8 – 7:20). Again, a guy losing an axe head in a river, by comparison, is a little thing. Yet through Elisha, God granted a miracle to help a guy get a borrowed axe back. The same power that called chaos into created order was used to make iron swim.

The political leaders of the world are gathering this week in New York. People who want to blow us up are going to be in the Big Apple. That’s a big thing. I have a Hebrew quiz tonight. To me, I could care less about Obama shaking hands with a terrorist. I just want to make sure I have the proper pointings on the second person plural form of objective Hebrew pronouns. Tonight, for me, Hebrew is a big thing.

The big and little of it all is relative to the individual. Syria is laying siege to Samaria, that’s a big thing, but to the guy who lost a borrowed axe, that is also a big thing. So right in the midst of it all the writer of 2 Kings inserts a story to remind us we have a big God who cares about the big and the little of it all. He will be glorified by making iron swim and He will be glorified by blinding the Syrian army. Only a good God can be so glorified with the little and the big.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be in New York this week. What’s going on with you? God is not only sovereign, but He is caring. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7).”
Continue reading
1466 Hits
0 Comments

The Twisted Sovereignty of God, Conclusion

Continued from part 2

Naaman is God’s pawn against Israel. Now he is God’s toy. The instructions of Elisha infuriate him. Why wash in the Jordan when there is better water in Damascus? He refused to believe there could be salvation in anything associated with Israel. He had good reason to feel this way. Ever since Solomon, Israel has been a golden calf and Baal worshipping disaster. Their kings have been nothing like their captured little girls. Yet with some coaxing, Naaman complies, he washes in the Jordan. Just as Elisha, the man of God promised, he is healed. His skin is restored like the flesh of a “little child.” He is as clean as his captured little girl.

Naaman captured a little girl, but God used a little girl to capture Naaman. In order to bring salvation to the world, God sovereignly used a nasty human tragedy to bring a little girl who knew the source of salvation out of Israel, to a nasty man named Naaman. Like C.S. Lewis said, “Suffering is God’s megaphone.” The little captured girl used it and Naaman listened. Elisha saved Naaman’s skin. God saved his soul. He renounced the worship of Rimmon and vowed to worship no one but the God of Israel. If only Israel’s failing kings would do the same.

We live in a world full of nasty. Media is the megaphone of our leprosy. The symptoms of perversion are multiplying. In sin the soul loses its sovereignty. It becomes a war monger seeking relief. Yet there is a remnant, anomalies of a fallen planet. They respond differently when they suffer, they are defiant of sin’s bondage, they share good news. They do not wish death upon the nasty, as victimized as they may be, they seek their salvation. They see the terror of Naaman as the result of what he has heard as well as what he has not heard. The sages of Naaman’s soul called him to blood, so he drank. The voice of a little girl told him something that he had never heard, there is a true prophet in Israel. Naaman was saved.

The nasty must hear good news. Their life is the product of what they have heard. They need another voice. In His twisted sovereignty God uses tragic and odd circumstances to bring people to truth. He also uses people who defy the nasty to be His voice. If anyone had a right to succumb to nasty, it was the little girl that Naaman owned. Yet, she held to her faith and shared it with her captor. In the end, Naaman became like her, redeemed, and ironically, “restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”
Continue reading
309 Hits
0 Comments

The Twisted Sovereignty of God Part 2 of 3 (Reading 2 Kings 5)

Continued from part 1


The information Naaman needs comes from the most unlikely source, the little girl he owns. If someone captured you, separated you from your family, and forced you into their service would you tell them anything that may save their life? Most of us would want our captors dead. Yet, the little girl talks and the only thing she says in the entire story is the only thing that will save Naaman’s skin.

In stark contrast to the little girl’s grace to Naaman is the King of Israel’s reaction. He is suspicious of the war monster Naaman, as he should be. When Elisha heard of the king’s rejection of Naaman he implored the king to let Naaman come for one reason, and one reason alone, “That he may know there is a prophet in Israel.”

In the days of Elisha, war mongers used prophets. Reference 2 Kings 3. The only mistake Jehoram made is that he did not consult the prophet prior to his circuitous march. Naaman, most likely, used prophets. Every nation had its gods. Gods have prophets. Naaman had worshipped at the house of Rimmon. Surely Rimmon had prophets. Without prophets dumb gods can’t talk or think. What Naaman needed to know was the source of true prophecy, the God of Israel, through His prophet, Elisha. The God of Israel speaks. Elisha will tell Naaman what He says.

People are nasty because of what they have heard. Their entire lives are informed by filth, lies, charlatans, war mongers. The things that educate us, we usually become. People are nasty because of what they have not heard. Naaman has not heard from the prophet of Israel nor his God. He needs new information. The secret of his success is about to confront him, embarrass him, humiliate him, and redeem him. Naaman needs the prophet to save his skin. Naaman also needs a true God who can save his bloodthirsty soul.



To be continued
Continue reading
303 Hits
0 Comments

The Twisted Sovereignty of God Part 1 of 3 (Reading 2 Kings 5)

The story of 1 and 2 Kings is about the slow erosion of Israel’s sovereignty. She has been unfaithful. Soon she will be captured. As the borders begin to collapse there is a recurring theme of God giving victory to Israel’s enemies. God is sovereign over Israel losing its sovereignty.

Humans are harsh and unforgiving. One particularly nasty human is Naaman, the commander of the armies of Syria. War is never a beautiful thing. The only apt metaphor for war is Hell. Naaman was great at war. His success is attributed to the most unlikely of sources, “By him the LORD had given victory to Syria (v. 1).” God is sovereign over Naaman's succcess. In the Hell of war there are causalities. One such casualty was a little girl from Israel who was “carried off” during a Syrian raid.

Because God made Naaman good at war, a little girl lost her family. The Bible does not neglect to share this horrid detail, but neither does it elaborate on its tragedy. As a father of daughters, little girls, I cannot imagine what it would be like for them to be “carried off.” Even worse, the little girl of 2 Kings 5 is carried off because in God’s sovereignty. In His plan Israel is losing her sovereignty and Naaman is great at war. The whole thing seems so twisted to a father of little girls.

What happens to little girls who are “carried off” in war? Nothing good. Every story I have read is painful and unimaginable. Another proper word for such an act is “nasty.” Naaman is nasty because he is the dispenser of Hell on earth, he is nasty because he owns a little girl, and he is nasty because he is leprous. Naaman is nasty. He deserves nothing good. He deserves Hell. People like Naaman should have leprosy. At least that's how I feel sometimes.

I am not God. That is good news for Naaman. He will find a cure and he will encounter the secret of his success, the God of Israel. People like me who hate people like Naaman, through the voice of a little girl, will also encounter God. Perhaps we too, will find a cure.

To be continued. . .
Continue reading
321 Hits
0 Comments

Participating in Miracles

Most people assume that the formula for a miracle is to do nothing and expect God to do everything. Yet, in almost every miracle recorded in the Bible there is an issued command. Whether it be “go wash”, “go fill”, build a boat, lift a rod, or “wait”, there is something to be done that God uses to usher in the miraculous.

If you need a miracle the question is whether or not you are willing to participate? Participating with God is not the “I’ll do anything for You, if . . .” contract. Participating with God is the attitude, “Here am I, send me.” Are you willing to work, sell, or wait as a means of participating in the miraculous? Are you obedient to God’s Word? There are no consolation prizes for disobedience. God does not honor sin.

Miracles are not magic as in “poof, there it is.” Miracles are not magic, miracles are miracles. God is certainly capable of the most miraculous, creating something from nothing (Gen. 1). Yet, most often they are the manipulation of the natural (things that already exist such as jars, stones, and water). They are the interruption of the mundane, common occurrences of life (such as time, bad days, and death). They are the awakening of what is possible (water from a rock, blind eyes that suddenly see, the multiplication of oil or food). God connects supernatural miracles to a natural planet through great acts of faith. Most often He chooses to perform the miraculous through people who are already praying, working, serving, and obeying His Word. Do you need a miracle? Get busy.
Continue reading
287 Hits
0 Comments

The Miracle of What You Already Have

It is common for the American psyche to be more preoccupied with what one does not have rather than on what one already possesses. Our testimonies to this are in cluttered garages and an incessant need to rent mini warehouses. We have way too much stuff, yet we are always looking for more. Another testimony to our materialism is our response to the recent recession. We have responded as if buying less is a tragedy. This is a lesson for another day.

In times of suffering want, because we are preoccupied with wanting what we do not have, the theme of our prayers is for God to do just that; give us what we do not have. However, in surveying the miracles of Scripture, it seems that God is more interested in working with what you’ve already got. In 2 Kings 4, Elisha asks the widow what she has in her home, and he uses it, plus some of the neighbor’s supply. At Cana (John 2), Jesus used the water jars that were already there to turn water into wine. When Jesus fed the multitudes he did not miraculously produce a missing lunch, he multiplied the one that was already on hand.

Do not lament what you do not have. Be wise, frugal, and generous with what you’ve already got. The shortfall in your paycheck may not come in the mail; it may be sitting in the clutter that needs to be sold out of your garage. Sell what is in your mini warehouse. Hello extra income, goodbye monthly rent check. Short on an entire meal? Cook what you have, and share it. It seems counter-productive, but invite some neighbors over and ask them to bring a dish. It is the miracle of multiplication and community. Produce a food co-op. I’ll cook this. You cook that. Let’s eat.

Instead of asking God for more, why don’t we allow him to work in what we already have?
Continue reading
287 Hits
0 Comments

Don't Blame God

Jehoram was the son of Ahab. Ahab was the husband of Jezebel. Jezebel was nasty. When she married Ahab she introduced the Baal cult to Israel. When Ahab died Jehoram became king. The Bible says that he rejected the Baal cult, but “he clung to the sin of Jeroboam (2 Kings 3:3).” He was not a Baalist, but he was idolatrous.

In 2 Kings 3:9-12 Jehoram, along with two other kings, march to war. He chose a dry, arid route on his way to Moab. The Bible says he, “made a circuitous march of seven days.” That’s Hebrew for “he didn’t have his GPS on”, he was marching in circles. As a result there was no water for the army or for the animals. They were going to die. All of the sudden, this idolatrous man who does not believe in God, is a believer. You cannot blame a God you don’t believe in. “Alas! The LORD has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab (2 Kings 3:10).”

When did your “circuitous” march begin? We tend to leave God out of life, make some bad choices, and when we run out of water we wonder why God hates us so much. Isn’t it ironic that our darkest moments make believers out of us? I have always found it curious how many atheists are angry at God. How can you be angry with a God you don’t believe exists? Hmmm. Or, after walking aimlessly with only our questionable character to guide us, when we realize life is going in circles, we want an immediate bail out. The choices we made three, five, seven, ten, maybe twenty years ago have left life arid, dry, and dangerous. Driven by our idols of pleasure we have done nothing but march through time in circles.

God is a God of salvation, but sometimes forgiveness cannot erase consequence. A better course of action is to consult Scripture and God’s will prayerfully before you begin to march. If we are guided by God’s Word we may not find life to be any less difficult, but perhaps it will be less circuitous.
Continue reading
311 Hits
0 Comments

Monuments to Stupidity

There is a church, whose identity shall remain anonymous, that has a monument to stupidity. It is a massive blob of chaotically shaped, hardened concrete. I can’t remember all of the details, but the monument to stupidity was constructed because of the church’s carelessness. They ordered a load of concrete, but because they could not agree on some critical matters of the project, the site was not ready on the day the concrete arrived. No one cancelled the order. Because it is impossible to return a load of mixed concrete, it had to be dumped. And so, on the edge of their property stands for all to see, the monument to stupidity.

We all have our monuments to our not so stellar moments. Decisions made carelessly often lead to monuments of stupidity. God’s people have no excuse for such monuments. The Bible is a wealth of wisdom (Psalm 119:105). Furthermore James teaches, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him (James 1:5).” We see that this promise became true in the life of Solomon:

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you (1 Kings 3:5).”

“Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people (1 Kings 3:9)?”

“It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you (1 Kings 3:10-12).”

The Lord loves to guide. He desires for His people to be wise. He has given us an open opportunity to pray for guidance, a record of His will in Scripture, and the Holy Spirit. We have no excuse to be careless. When it comes time to make a decision, ask good questions from good sources and consult God’s Word prayerfully. The time invested in waiting for wisdom before making a decision just might save you the construction cost of your next monument to stupidity.
Continue reading
302 Hits
0 Comments

Christian Cocktail

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24)

And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful (Matthew 4:18-19)

For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica (2 Timothy 4:10).

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.(2 Timothy 3:1-5)


The Bible is very plain, we must make a choice. The Christian faith does not mix with the sinful pursuits of the world at large. In every instance where someone chooses to try and cling to idolatrous passions and Christian practice, it leads to heresy and apostasy. The spiritual life will collapse. The soul will turn away from Christ and back to sin. The Christian cocktail will make one drunk with the pleasures of this world.

Some make the grave mistake of thinking that the Christian life is about getting rid of the big sins while tolerating a few, insignificant others. Such philosophy will lead to shipwreck. Sin is sin, we must repent. Others believe that Christianity is something they practice on Sunday. If so, their faith will become a weekly tragedy.

When we stir the Christian cocktail it skews our view of Scripture. Those that drink the Christian cocktail have an anemic view of Scripture that leads to sickly interpretations. Inevitably they ignore those portions with which they are uncomfortable, concentrate on a few token verses they enjoy, and twist other portions that help them justify their mistaken version of the Christian faith. They are scholars on the verses in which God promises peace, rest, abundance, joy, and protection. What they fail to realize is that most of those verses are surrounded by scores of others that call the people of God to purity. They fail to see the “IF” and “THEN.” “IF” my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, “THEN” I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chron 7:14). THERE ARE VERY FEW PROMISES IN SCRIPTURE THAT ARE UNCONDITIONAL. Most of them are contingent upon “IF” and “THEN.” Believing that one who lives in sin is still a candidate to embrace the promises of God is a grave mistake. Such practice is deceitful to the soul (James 1:22). It is a moral and theological house of cards that is doomed to collapse in the end.

In order to be a man or woman of God we cannot be selective about sin. We must repent of them all, hate it when we fail, and seek holiness. We must embrace Scripture, all of it; even the parts that call for us to change. We cannot be deceived with the idea that we will be the first to succeed in loving money and Jesus. We should not think that although others have failed, we will be the first to successfully juggle a lack of self control with godliness. Christianity and worldliness do not mix. The Christian cocktail is a popular drink, but eventual poison to the soul.
Continue reading
360 Hits
0 Comments

You Can't Hide

Here is a short list of things you can’t hide.
  • You can’t hide an elephant behind a palm tree.
  • You can’t hide the fact that you just ate an Oreo, a blue sucker, or a red Popsicle. Your teeth and tongue will betray you.
  • You can’t hide 38 hips in 32 jeans. For some people it is not just about buying “modest” clothing, but “honest” clothing.
  • You can’t hide a zit on the end of your nose. Ladies have the luxury of using what is referred to as “cover up.” Men just have to bare their zits, while ladies try to “cover up.” But when it is on the end of your nose “cover up” is like putting a VW under a tarp.
  • You can’t hide laughter in church. If you have ever tried to stop laughing in church, then you know that trying to stop the holy giggles most often leads to an unbecoming snort. The laughing starts all over again.
  • You can’t hide what God is doing in your life.

After Elijah’s disappearance in 2 Kings 2:11, Elisha took his cloak. The sons of the prophets recognized that “the spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha (2 Kings 2:15).” Elisha could not hide the fact that he was now the prophet in Elijah’s place, but the sons of the prophets wanted to make sure Elijah wasn’t hiding. Even though they knew Elijah had been taken up by a whirlwind they wanted to make sure that the Spirit of the LORD had not set him down on a mountain or in a valley (2 Kings 2:16). After urging Elisha to allow them to go off and look for the missing prophet, he reluctantly granted them permission to search. “And for three days they sought him but did not find him (2 Kings 2:17).”

Transition is difficult. Though the men were accepting of Elisha as the new prophet, they wanted to see for themselves if Elijah was simply missing or truly gone. Hiding Elijah would be like hiding an elephant behind a palm tree. He was too well known and too easily recognizable. He was either on the planet, or he was not. When you make your declaration that you desire to be a man or woman of God, people will immediately begin to look for what’s missing. Has your language changed? Are there course words of cursing that were once so much a part of your vocabulary that are now missing? Curse words are like elephants behind palm trees. They don’t just “slip out” and they reveal a lot about your character. Have you changed your habits, your paths, your attitudes? Has the old you truly gone missing, or is it simply on vacation? When you decide to transition life into being a man or woman of God, people will begin to search, desiring to see if the old you is truly gone.

Changing character is difficult. You can’t drop old habits, you must replace them. Ephesians 4:17-32 is a list of old habits that must be replaced. The thief must work. The old life must become a renewed life. The liar must speak the truth. The old life cannot simply be hidden, it must be replaced. If you are truly a man or woman of God, even though you may make mistakes from time to time, people will begin to see the change. It will be unmistakable. Let them search for what is missing. In time they will see that truly you have become a man or woman of God.

Continue reading
286 Hits
0 Comments

No Joke

It is a well documented fact that 70 – 75% of children raised in church, leave the church after graduating high school. Unlike the experience of previous generations, in which children left church during their college years and returned after marriage, statistics are showing that those that are leaving the church in the current generation are not returning. In the articles I have read on the issue, most children are leaving church because they find it hypocritical, boring, and irrelevant. To them, church is a joke.

The story of Elisha is strange. He is a strange man, who does strange things, says strange things, and does and says things for strange reasons. One of those strange moments is 2 Kings 2:23-25. While travelling through the city of Bethel a group of “small boys” mock Elisha by saying, “Go up, you baldhead!” Elisha curses them in the name of the Lord. Female bears then came out of the woods and “tore forty-two of the boys (2 Kings 2:25).” Ouch!

The message is simple. God is no joke. God verified that Elisha was His prophet by not allowing the boys to mock the man of God. Most people can’t get past the idea that God would judge children in such a harsh way, but for a moment, let’s flip the scenario around. God is God. So let us rather ask, why would those children do such a stupid and dangerous thing? What influences in their life led them to make such a careless and grave mistake? The answer is in the location. They were children of Bethel.

The name Bethel means “house of God.” “Beth”, means house and “El”, is the common name for God. Side note: Bethlehem is the “house of bread.” How could children raised in a place known as the “house of God” make such a grave mistake as to mock the “man of God?” Throughout 2 Kings there is mention of the sin of Jeroboam (2 Kings 3:3). What is the sin of Jeroboam? The sin of Jeroboam is found in 1 Kings 12:30. Jeroboam shifts the place and object of worship away from Jehovah in Jerusalem by making two calves and calling them “els”, “gods.” He set one idol in Dan, the other in Bethel. These children were raised to worship god, but it was a joke.

Children may be raised in the house of God, in a church, but if the church and the family make a mockery of God, their children will find God to be a joke. Churches and families must repent of the sin of pointing to idols and calling them gods. The theology of the church and family, for too long has been prosperity driven, based in the misguided liberalism of modernity, and ritualistic. Our preachers preach success rather than sacrifice. The authority of the Word of God has been compromised by our loose, immoral living. Our worship has been exchanged for entertainment. If we continue in the sin of Jeroboam, to stand in Bethel, point to idols and say, “this is God” our children are doomed to discern the joke. They will make a dangerous decision. They will leave the church.

Churches and parents should seek to model a Biblically based theology, a pure and holy life, and authentic worship of God before children. Let us not substitute cheap imitations for the real thing. If the church does not return to God, children will not return to church. Jesus loved the church. Jesus died for the church. Jesus is the rock, the foundation of the church. We need the church. Children need the church. The church is in desperate need to repent and return to its first love, Jesus.

2 Kings 2:23-25 teaches a stern message. God is no joke. Let us raise our children to worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24).
Continue reading
398 Hits
0 Comments

A Double Portion

“Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” (2 Kings 2:9)

What will your life inspire in the next generation? What if they do what you do, doubly well? Will their relationships be twice the disaster? Or, will your choices inspire them to seek to be twice the quality of person you have become?

If you go to church once a month, as adults, your children will probably go twice a year. If your children see your Bible collecting dust on the shelf, when they are grown and own a home, they may simply choose to save the space. If your children only hear you use a few words of profanity, they may choose to arm their vocabulary not with a few profane words, but with them all. If you are constantly critical of your children and of others, their world will be twice as dark.

Our walk should inspire our children to be twice the student of Scripture, even more devoted to Christ, more edifying in speech, and more hopeful than we seem to be. Our lives should inspire the next generation to elevate.

If you want your daughter to marry a great man, be a great father. If you want your son to marry a great woman, show him what great women are like. If you do not want your children to suffer financial shipwreck as adults, teach them to save. If you want your kids to work as adults, give them chores as children.

We are all inspiring. Some inspire tragedy. Those they influence will be double the disaster. Some inspire virtue. Those they influence will be double the blessing to others that someone has been to them.
Continue reading
320 Hits
0 Comments

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

Read 2 Kings 2:1-14

Super group U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” was a number one hit in 1988. The song became an ironic prophecy. Though they have won 22 Grammy awards they have not had a number one song on Billboard’s top 100 since.

Why did Elijah tell Elisha three times to stay behind as he travelled to another town? Was it some sort of test of devotion? Was Elijah trying to spare Elisha the hardship of losing his mentor? Though no one can answer the question with certainty, what we can be sure of is that everyone knew Elijah was leaving. In two different locations the sons of the prophets (students in a “prophet school”) told Elisha this was the day Elijah was leaving. Twice Elisha declared he knew Elijah was leaving, and twice he told them to keep quiet.

Elisha would not stop the journey despite the coming pain. When Elijah was taken up Elisha tore his clothes, an obvious sign of mourning. Yet perhaps the greater reason Elisha would not stop the journey has more to do with what he was looking for. Elijah asked Elisha what he could leave him. Elisha asked for a double portion of his spirit. Elijah said it would be a hard thing to grant, but if Elisha was there to see Elijah’s rapture, it would be granted. In other words, Elisha must be present to win!

If Elisha had ended his journey at uneventful stops, he would have missed what God had for him that day. In the journey of spiritual discipline there are many uneventful stops. There are many days of uneventful prayer, Bible reading, worship, and journaling. Often we will read a passage in the Bible, and if we are honest, we would say it seemed to say nothing. Yet we must realize that God speaks at unexpected crossroads. If you remain diligent in the journey of spiritual discipline you will be amazed at the odd times when something uniquely spiritual happens. It may be during a slow afternoon commute that God uses a Bible passage or a prayer to awaken your spirit. It may be during a difficult conversation about something you desperately want to say, “Yes, I know it, keep quiet” that God sends a whirlwind to your soul. Today, the other side of the Jordan may be in the fast food drive thru. Wherever it is, if you remain faithful to the journey you will find God speaks at odd moments. Suddenly you find what you have been looking for; God speaks. A Bible passage you may have read three days ago suddenly finds meaning and His Spirit speaks to you. Something you prayed about three weeks ago is suddenly answered in a casual conversation. Because you remained faithful to the journey expectation was fresh and you were there to receive the blessing of God’s spirit awakening your spirit to truth.

Question for the day: What are the things that become most distracting to your journey in the spiritual disciplines? Is it lack of time, constant trips to the ball field, exhaustion, television? What can you do to keep your journey more consistent?
Continue reading
307 Hits
0 Comments

If You Aim At Nothing. . .

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

I think I picked up this phrase from pastor Bobby Welch, that “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” There are too many people hitting the afore mentioned target.

People who accomplish meaningful things take aim at meaningful things. They prepare. In the Bible there is a common thread to the plot. Almost every person who made a significant contribution to the story arises from obscure, almost unaccounted for, years of preparation. It took 80 years for Moses to get going. Joshua was Moses’ protégée before he was Israel’s commander. Elisha spent ten years preparing to be a prophet, with Elijah, from the time of his call (1 Kings 19) to the time the mantel finally fell on him in 2 Kings 2. John the Baptist hit the scene in his thirties, well prepared. Most of what was written about Jesus occurred between years 30 – 33 of his life. Very little is mentioned about the years between His birth and His baptism, but yet we know He prepared. Even Paul, who penned a significant part of the New Testament didn’t punch the clock immediately. After his conversion he spent some years travelling, gaining acceptance from the church leaders and shaping his understanding of the gospel (Gal. 1:11 - 2:10).

If we desire to make a difference, we must prepare to do so. We must take aim. The American church is anemic of true leaders, people of vision and determination; because we have not spent time preparing, but rather aiming at nothing. Serving God does not come natural. We must take time to prepare for, train for, and envision the things He wants us to do. We must be students of Scripture. We should listen to a significant amount of Biblical preaching, not just on Sundays, but through the week as well. We should read the Bible and books about the Bible. We should go to church and read books about church. We should attend small group gatherings and digest the Word of God together. It takes time to take aim!

Are you prepared for God to use you? What is your target? Sadly, most of us waste our time on things that aim at nothing. If you spend a large amount of time watching television you will accomplish nothing. If you aimlessly search the internet, you accomplish nothing. If you spend the day shopping – nothing. If you waste time on books about nothing you will accomplish nothing. If you sit around all day – nothing. If you spend your life only trying to earn money, you will in the end find your life spent, amounting to nothing. If all you want to do is vacation, fish, hunt, golf, while those things can be beneficial, too much of them gets you nothing in the end.

Focus your day today, your week, and in turn the rest of your life aiming at God’s call for you. Why? If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.
Continue reading
309 Hits
0 Comments

Beaches Full of Nets

“And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.” Luke 5:11

Why is it that people make a commitment to Christ but remain largely unchanged? It is because they leave nothing behind.

The modern version of Christianity is to accommodate the call of Jesus into an already established lifestyle. From attitudes to actions we expect Jesus to accommodate. Yet we fail to realize that truly following Christ requires a total reorientation to life.

We want to lose weight without changing our diet. We want to save money while we continue to amass debt. We want to save time for more important things without releasing the frivolous. We want to gain Christ and lose nothing.

We do not lose weight.
We do not save money.
We do no save time.
We are not Christians without loss.

If we cannot look behind us and see a beach full of empty boats and dry nets, then we cannot say we are following Christ. One reason we return so easily to our sin is that we carry our nets in backpacks instead of leaving them behind us. If you pack your net in a backpack, at some point, you will return to fishing. If you leave it behind, there is no chance. The beaches of our past should be full of empty boats and dry nets. Leave it behind.

Leave your net at the beach. Walk away. Follow Christ.
Continue reading
379 Hits
0 Comments

Success and Succession

There is no success without succession. It takes more than a lifetime to accomplish your dream. We are stewards of a moment. If your ideas do not survive your life, they will soon be extinct. There is no success without succession.

God called Moses to lead Israel to Canaan. Moses successor Joshua led the people to the Promised Land.

David dreamed a building God a temple. He drew the plans and gathered the materials. His son Solomon built it.

Elijah wanted to wipe out Baal worship in Israel. His mantel fell on Elisha. Elisha anointed Jehu. “Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel (2 Kings 10:28).”

Jesus wanted disciples in all nations (Matthew 28:19). He spent three years pouring His life into twelve men. Those men, with the exception of one, began a movement that has effectively circumvented the globe with the gospel.

There is not success without succession.

In order for succession to be successful two attitudes are necessary.

1) Humility – If we want to succeed we must value the ideas of our predecessors. We must approach our elders with a teachable spirit (Titus 2:1-15; I Peter 5:5)

2) Honor – We must repent of and rebuke materialism. We foster the idea that success is found in what you have instead of in who you are. Character is more important than cash. Our duty is to pass along a heritage of godliness, not goods.

Who is pouring their life into you? Who are you pouring your life into? What is the message?
Continue reading
284 Hits
0 Comments

Success and Succession

There is no success without succession. It takes more than a lifetime to accomplish your dream. We are stewards of a moment. If your ideas do not survive your life, they will soon be extinct. There is no success without succession.

God called Moses to lead Israel to Canaan. Moses successor Joshua led the people to the Promised Land.

David dreamed a building God a temple. He drew the plans and gathered the materials. His son Solomon built it.

Elijah wanted to wipe out Baal worship in Israel. His mantel fell on Elisha. Elisha anointed Jehu. “Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel (2 Kings 10:28).”

Jesus wanted disciples in all nations (Matthew 28:19). He spent three years pouring His life into twelve men. Those men, with the exception of one, began a movement that has effectively circumvented the globe with the gospel.

There is not success without succession.

In order for succession to be successful two attitudes are necessary.

1) Humility – If we want to succeed we must value the ideas of our predecessors. We must approach our elders with a teachable spirit (Titus 2:1-15; I Peter 5:5)




2) Honor – We must repent of and rebuke materialism. We foster the idea that success is found in what you have instead of in who you are. Character is more important than cash. Our duty is to pass along a heritage of godliness, not goods.

Who is pouring their life into you? Who are you pouring your life into? What is the message?



Continue reading
296 Hits
0 Comments