Prioritized Answer

In 2 Chronicles 1 God appeared to King Solomon with a question. Verse 7 says, “…Ask! What shall I give you?” Solomon’s answer was his top priority. He answered without hesitation. Verse 9-10 says, “…You have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?”

God then spoke in verse 11 which says, “…Because this was in your heart…” What was in the king’s heart? I believe we can take our answer from Proverbs 4:3. It says, “When I was my father’s son…” Here is what David taught him. Verse 4-5 says, “…Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live. Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth…”

Apparently Solomon did take David’s word into his heart. When God asked His question, Solomon’s answer bubbled right up. Let us apply this to our hearts. What is in your heart? What would your prioritized answer be when the Lord says to you: Ask! What shall I give you?

Our answer would reveal the depth or the shallowness of our relationship with the Lord. Matthew 6:33 gives us a ruler to rightly gauge our answer. It says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

What did God add to Solomon’s request? 2 Chronicles 1:12 says, “Wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.” God knows what to add. It is His pleasure to give good gifts to His children. Therefore we are wise to give Him that place and wait for His best.


David had a desire to build a house for the Lord. The Lord said ‘no’ but that his son would build Him a house. How did David respond? He worshipped. 1 Chronicles 17:20 says, “O Lord, there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”

How do you react when your dreams are crushed, your desires are fulfilled by someone else, or your wants go unfulfilled? David did not pine or get angry. 1 Chronicles 22:5 says, “…the house to be built for the Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries. I will now make preparations for it. So David made abundant preparations before his death.”

David gathered all the building materials, laborers, and gold, silver, bronze. He gave Solomon the plans the Lord had given him. 1 Chronicles 29:3 says, “Moreover, because I have set my affection on the house of my God, I have given…over and above all that I prepared…my own special treasure of gold and silver.”

Let David’s instruction to his son speak to our hearts regarding our nation. 1 Chronicles 28:8 says, “…be careful to seek out all the commandments of the Lord your God, that you may possess this good land, and leave it as an inheritance for your children after you forever.”

Do you have dreams, desires, and wants that will not be fulfilled? David kept his desire in his heart. Though he couldn’t do what he desired, he zealously laid up provision for his son. May the Lord grant us wisdom to take what we cannot do, then use our passion to empower others to carry out our desire.

Unfulfilled dreams, desires, and wants can either make us bitter, or become a gift for others. The Lord multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed a multitude. He took what the little boy gave to do what the little boy couldn’t do. What will He do when you willingly lay down what you can’t do so He can multiply it?

Lies Versus Truth

Last night I was thinking about what I had read in 1 Chronicles. King Saul disobeyed the Lord more than once. In 1 Samuel 15:25 he pleaded with Samuel to pardon his sin. Verse 26 says, “But Samuel said to Saul…you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.”

The manifestation of that didn’t happen right away. We see the fruit of his disobedience in 1 Chronicles 10:13. It says, “So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the Lord, because he did not keep the word of the Lord…” Verse 14 is startling. It says, “But he did not inquire of the Lord; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.”

The lies Saul believed caused him to act them out in sin. A temptation to lie, is just that. It is only a temptation to sin. When we carry it out through our thoughts, they become actions of sin.

When satan lobs a fiery dart, it is a lie to be implanted in our hearts to control us. If we don’t receive the lie, it dies. If we take it as our own, it becomes an internal stronghold that will bring us down.

David was made king in 1 Chronicles 11. His army grew and was strong. David brought the ark back with great rejoicing. David set in singers whose job was to worship. I encourage you to read David’s song of thanksgiving in chapter 16.

David prospered. Yet something happened that I want to bring to your attention. 1 Chronicles 21:1 says, “Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.” Does that sound like today to you?

We must guard our hearts from believing the lies of the enemy. They are lobbed to destroy from within. If satan can get us to believe a lie, he will control our lives. He is the prince of the power of the air (media) who rules in the hearts of those who are disobedient.

Psalm 119:11 is an admonishment to hide God’s word in our hearts so we won’t sin against Him. All sin is against Him. Of course that is satan’s design – to block our fellowship with the Lord and with His people. We, the church, must rise on our knees to fight this spiritual battle with His word securing our hearts.

Having Ears To Hear

The Lord said the same thing to each of the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Since we have ears, and God’s word is timeless, we need to hear what He said also.

A hearing ear is one that is inclined, attentive, and ready to obey what was said. Here is a collage of His seven messages: repent if you have left your first love; do not fear any of the things which you are about to suffer; do not look the other way in your church from those who do what God hates; don’t allow sexual immorality to slide by; keep in His word and don’t defile His name; beware of the self-deceit of lukewarmness (thinking you are one way when you are the opposite).

When Jesus taught the parable of the sower, His disciples asked why He was speaking in parables. He quoted from Isaiah. Matthew 13:14-15 says, “…Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing…”

Verse 16 He said, “But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.” Then He explained the parable in detail to His disciples.

Isaiah 50:4-5 says of the Lord, “…He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned. The Lord God has opened My ear; and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away.”

The Lord is always speaking, but do we have ears to hear? Don’t let the raucous noise of this world’s chaos block you from hearing what the Spirit is saying as you read His word daily. Let’s apply the truth of His word that brings inner transformation. Then we will emulate His character to those around us.

Strengthening Our First Love

What was it like for you when you first accepted Jesus as your Savior? For me, I spent that night reading the entire book of John. I was ravenous for His word. I was 11.

Yesterday I started reading the book of Revelation. I camped out in Revelation 2:4-5. It was spoken to the church in Ephesus. Verse 4 says, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you left your first love.” When Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus he called them faithful. Ephesians 1:15 says, “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints.”

Paul faithfully instructed and encouraged that group of believers. The words are timeless. I love reading that book. Yet, according to verse 5 in Revelation they had fallen away from their zeal and passion. It says, “Remember from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent.”

This question begs to be asked. Have I fallen from something? Have ‘crowders’ dimmed the light of my testimony? John 1:4 says, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Verse 7 says that John the Baptist was a witness of that Light, “…that all through him might believe.”

What has happened in our nation? Perhaps the light of the church has been dimmed. The body of Christ, the churches in our nation, have not been penetrating the darkness. Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Picture with me a dark room. Then a match is struck and a lamp is lit. The darkness flees. Verse 15 says, “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”

Search your heart. I’m searching mine. How can the church, the body of Christ penetrate and illuminate the darkness that is shrouding our nation? Is it more than prayer, though prayer is our ambush against the unsuspecting enemy. It is bringing the light of the gospel to those around us. The gospel is THE hope for our nation.

Who Is Our World?

As I read Colossians I was alerted to how Paul wrote about his world. It made me take note of who my world is. Colossians 1:6 was speaking about the gospel. It says, “Which has come to you, as it has also in ALL the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard it…” Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…”

Paul gave the Colossians their mandate which is ours also. Colossians 1:28 says, “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Verse 29 told how he did it. It says, “To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.”

He further explained how in verse 11. It says, “Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy.” It was not with human power, but with the same dynamic power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead.

Who is our world? It is folks there are just like we were. Colossians 1:21 says, “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.” Ephesians 2:3 says that we were by nature children of wrath. Our whole life was lived to fulfill our lustful flesh. Ephesians 4:19 says that we were past feeling. It was just natural because we were born in sin. We had no hope apart from Christ. Neither do those in our world.

Here is the end of those in our world who do not accept Jesus. Philippians 3:18-19 says, “…they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is their shame–who set their mind on earthly things.”

Paul’s admonishment to the Colossians is good for us to heed. Colossians 4:2 says, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” Verse 6 says, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

There is hope for everyone until they take their last breath. Let us be diligent to pray for those who are still enemies of the cross. They continue to lash out against the gospel that will set them free when they first believe. He is Merciful and has no desire that any should perish.

Plundering The Plunderers

Ezekiel 39:10 was speaking about the Israelites burning the enemy’s war equipment. It says, “They will not take wood from the field nor cut down any from the forests, because they will make fires with the weapons; and they will plunder those who plundered them, and pillage those who pillaged them, says the Lord God.”

Our nation is being plundered. The enemy is seeking to overthrow God and the foundations that He set. Yet Isaiah 54:17 is timeless. It says, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord.”

Formed is like the word forged. Even though the enemy has specifically forged weapons through propaganda, our breastplate of righteousness, and our helmet of salvation cannot be penetrated. Philippians 1:28 says, “And not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.”

Take note. Watch your thoughts. God is using this time to conform our purpose, thoughts, and actions to His will and ways. We must always remember that His ways and thoughts are far higher than ours. Think back to what God instructed the Israelites to do just before He took them out of Egypt. Exodus 12:36 says, “And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.”

When you pray for our nation, remember Proverbs 13:22. The Amplified says, “A good man leaves an inheritance (of moral stability and goodness) to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner (finds its way eventually) into the hands of the righteous, for whom it was laid up.” Other translations say ‘wicked’ for sinner.

God is still on His throne. Psalm 2:4-5 says, “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure.” Make NO mistake. The Lord will have the last word.

What Do Dry Bones Say?

Ezekiel 37 is about the valley of dry bones. What caused their bones to dry out? No hope. Verse 11 says, “…Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!” We were once without hope. Ephesians 2:12 says, “…strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” Our nation is full of God-less folks. They have no hope. Spirits are being crushed and bones are drying up.

Here is a verse from a new song about bones: When I thought about my circumstances I became gloomy inside. My heart was getting heavy and my peace destroyed. Then in Your Word You revealed the secret of health. My bones are affected when my heart is in despair.

Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 15:13 says, “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” Luke 4:18 Amplified says that Jesus came to heal those, “…who are oppressed (who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity).”

Eternal hope is the anchor that holds every believer steadfast in the midst of the storm. 1 Peter 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

Our hope is rooted in Jesus’ resurrection. Romans 8:24 says, “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope, for why does one still hope for what he sees?” Hope makes our heart glad. Hope in God secures us when everything around us is shaking. Proverbs 10:28 says, “The hope of the righteous will be gladness…” Psalm 62:5 says, “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.”

Do not let your thoughts spiral down into despair. View your present circumstances through your relationship with the Lord. We who were far off were brought near through His death on the cross. Intimate communion with the Lord is a heart that dwells secure, and where the enemy has no access. It is time to declare hope to those around us.

Initiators Seek A Response

In Ezekiel 22:30 God expressed His desire because of Israel’s wicked leaders. It says, “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”

The Lord is always the Initiator. We are created to respond. God’s word is timeless. He is presently seeking those who will stand in the gap. In Israel’s time, the vineyard was surrounded with a wall. Sometimes it was stone, and sometimes it was a hedge.

Critters sought to get into the vineyard so they would make a gap. Another critter would come and make the gap bigger. Isaiah 7:6 was a conversation of the enemy. It says, “Let us go up against Judah and trouble it, and let us make a gap in its wall for ourselves, and set a king over them…” Hmm. Does this sound familiar?

Part of our holy calling is to intercede for the lost. It is God’s desire that all men would be saved. Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Our part is to stand in the gap between the enemy and the lost. It requires concerted, committed, and continual intercession. We come boldly before His throne of grace, on behalf of those created in His image, but who have not yet responded to His initiation.

A note in my Bible says: Not only would the intercessor ‘make a wall’ by restoring the gap caused by the enemy, but would ‘stand in the gap’ or plug up the breach against that enemy through the entire building process. Let this instruct our heart and motivate us to remain faithful to intercede before God on behalf of our nation.

The Truth About Heart-Idols

Ezekiel 14 is an astonishing chapter that impacts and convicts me every time I read it. Why? God addressed the hearts of some of the leaders of Israel. Leaders are to lead us into righteousness not defilement.

Verse 4 says, “…Everyone…who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols.” In verse 6 He called them abominations. Verse 11 says that the idols cause us to stray from the Lord, and they profane Him. Profane means to treat something sacred with irreverence or contempt.

Heart-idols are crowders. They crowd out the Lord’s rightful place of wholehearted worship. They are flesh-idols that we turn to rather than the Lord.

Earlier this morning I was meditating on Psalm 63:8 in the Amplified. It says, “My whole being follows hard after You and clings closely to You; Your right hand upholds me.”

This verse is an anchor verse for me. I have seen it through the eyes of desperation. This morning He showed me something else. It is clinging together with Him in a love embrace. It has given me new meaning to Deuteronomy 6:5. It says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Heart-idols separate us from our love-embrace with the Lord. They fill our flesh needs, but leave us spiritually empty. They are deceptions in our mind. They are figments of our imagination. No heart-idol can satisfy our deepest longings. They are just a temporary fix, like a drug addict’s fix. Momentary high.

Psalm 107:9 says, “For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalm 34:8 says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who trusts in Him.”

Heart-idols lead us into self. When we ‘need’ if we will drink deeply of His love, He will be our Fulfiller and Satisfier. Then we will echo David’s heart-words in Psalm 18:1. It says, “I will love You, O Lord, my strength.”