It’s Good to Be King

Someone or something will be your King.
2 Chronicles 35 and 36 tell an interesting story. One king is replaced by another who is ruled by another, all foretold by the one and only true King, God Himself.
The story begins with Judah’s King Josiah going to war with Egypt’s King Neco without getting instructions from God, Israel’s true King. Why? He wanted to be his own king. This resulted in his death by Neco, who put Judah under tribute. This effectively made Neco king of Judah, who then made Jehoiakim “king” of Judah. Will Jehoiakim surrender and make God his king?
Nope. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, defeats Neco at the Battle of Carchemish (predicted in Jer. 46:1-12) who now becomes Judah’s king. Jehoiakim, like his dad, wants to be his own king and rebels against Nebuchadnezzar. This resulted in his being hauled off to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar, who also guts the temple and installs Jehoiachin as “king.”
“King” Jehoiachin eventually wants to be his own king so he also makes the decision to rebel against King Nebuchadnezzar with the same results: he takes more stuff from the Temple and installs Zedekiah as “king.” What does Zedekiah do? He repeats this losing cycle of trying to be his own king. This led to Nebuchadnezzar getting rid of all “kings” in Judah by destroying Jerusalem and the Temple.
God, Israel’s true King, sent message after message to the Israelites – make me King and all this losing ends. They refused to listen.
Someone or something will be king of your life. The question is, who or what will that be – God, yourself, or your drug of choice? You can stop the losing cycle and experience victory by stop trying to be your own king! Choose to listen to and follow Jesus, not yourself or your drug, to victory through Spirit empowered faith choices.

Fill ‘er Up!

To be full of Jesus means to know emptiness without Him.
We sing a song in our Sunday service that says “I want more of you, Jesus.” Well, we must first experience emptiness or we wouldn’t even know to make such a request.
And what does it take to experience emptiness? The Spirit to show us that we have bricks taking up valuable space in our lives. I grew up in the days before the latest water saving toilet technologies. We’d put bricks in the water tank in order to conserve water. This way the tank would be “full”, even though it wasn’t, in order to shut off the water.
We are just like that toilet bowl tank. We have bricks taking up space where water should be. As finite beings we can only hold so much water; and yet, our drugs of choice/our ways of living take up space making us feel full, when we’re not.
If you want more of Jesus, the living water, it will mean giving the Spirit permission to remove those bricks – your pet sins – so you can experience emptiness in order to start asking for more of Jesus, the only source of true living.
Remember, Jesus didn’t come to add Himself or new behaviors to us. In the tank illustration, it would lead to wasting water as it overflowed the bowl spilling onto the floor. No, Jesus came to replace us, those bricks, with Himself.
More of Jesus and less of you is a sign of a healthy Jesus disciple, one who loves and becomes like Jesus.

Ouch, That Hurts!

Loves needs forgiveness to keep loving.
We need forgiveness, especially from God. Yet, have you ever stopped to think about forgiveness from God’s perspective?
He is not forgiving for your sake alone, but His as well. The Biblical God is both love and wrath. He loves His creation with such a tremendous love that He keeps reaching out to humanity even though they hurt Him over and over again through their words and actions.
In order to not lash out, He forgives…for His own sake! If He didn’t, do you think He’d want to keep loving you and me? And yet, even love can only take so much pain before it must take action: in humanity’s case wrath or in His children’s lives discipline.
May we never take lightly our daily choices to follow Jesus. Yes, Jesus will forgive and cleanse us from our sinful choices when we confess our sins to Him. But, not for a second should we ever think that what do doesn’t hurt Him. Remember, even in His glorified state, He is both fully God and fully human.

Do It Right – The First Time

You need forgiveness, but it shouldn’t be necessary.
T-shirts sometimes have great lines on them. Here’s one, “Do it right. The first time.” If we do it right the first time (i.e. do what God says) forgiveness isn’t needed. Adam and Eve were doing it right the first time; thus, they didn’t need forgiveness. Psalm 119:9 expresses this truth, “How can a young man keep his way pure (i.e. not needing forgiveness)? By guarding (observing, living) it according to Your Word.”
How do you make forgiveness obsolete?Do what He says the first time. Keep in mind that it wasn’t until after Adam and Eve blew it that God set up the sacrificial system that provided forgiveness.
You become what you focus on and what you focus on only gets bigger. Keep your eyes on holiness, rather than on what you can get away with or how far you can get to the line without crossing it.
Jesus was holy and kept that way by continually choosing to do what His Father told Him. And the more you choose to become more like Jesus, the less you will sin and need forgiveness as Jesus is pure/holy.
I realize this process will not be finished until we see Jesus face to face (1 Jn. 3:1-3). So while living on this planet, be thankful that God forgives while you make Spirit empowered faith choices. This way, though we may need forgiveness, we can make it unnecessary.