God Is Better

YouCanChangeThe invitation of the Bible is not to dreary abstinence.  It’s a call to find in God that which truly satisfies.  It’s believing that we find lasting fulfillment, satisfaction, joy, and identity in knowing God, and nowhere else.  Whatever sin offers, God offers more, for God offers us himself.  God isn’t just good, he’s better – better than everything else – and the true source of all joy.

– Tim Chester in You Can Change

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Reflections on I Kings 15-16

We see here a contrast between several kings in Judah and Israel.  Consider:

  • Heart – Abijam’s heart was not wholly true to the Lord (15:3), but Asa’s heart was (15:14). How would you describe your heart?  What other things compete for your heart?  What would it look like to have a heart wholly true to God?
  • Right and Wrong – Asa did what was right in God’s sight (15:11), but Israel’s kings did what was evil in God’s sight (15:26, 34; 16:25, 30). Where do you see this contrast in our world today?  In your own life?
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Classic Quote

OldBooksAll creatures continually live upon the generosity of God; He maintains the whole creation through His mere goodness.  And every good thing that is enjoyed is a part of his generosity.

– Jonathan Edwards

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II Chronicles 13-16 & I Kings 15-16: Seek the Lord

(IK-15, IIC-13) From his words in II Chronicles 13:8-12, how would you describe Abijah’s relationship with God?

How does that compare with his description in I Kings 15:3?

What applications are there for us as we think about the relationship between our hearts, our words, and our actions?

Despite Abijah’s heart and sins, God established him as king for David’s sake (I Kings 15:4-5).  How does this principle point us to Jesus (see Ephesians 1:3-14, etc.)?

(IIC-13-14, 16) What did Abijah and people of Judah do when they were surrounded in battle (13:13-18)?  Who won the victory?

What did Asa and the people of Judah do when they were outnumbered by the enemy (14:9-15)?  Who won the victory?

What should we do when we need help?  To whom should we look for victory?  Why (16:9)?  In what specific situation(s) do you need to apply this truth today?

(IIC-16) From where did Asa seek help when Israel came against him (v1-3)?  When he was sick (v12)?  What was Hanani’s assessment of Asa’s actions (v7-9), and why?

In what situations are we tempted to look elsewhere for help?  Where else are we tempted to look?  Why?

(IIC-15) What did Azariah call Asa to do, and what would be the result (v2)?

Do you believe this principle is still true today?  Why is the answer important?

How did Asa respond (v8)?  How did Judah respond (v10-15)?

Describe the intensity of their response.  What about yours?

(IK-15-16) Israel’s kings provide a stark contrast to seeking the Lord.  How would you describe their reigns?  What warning(s) do you see for us today?

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Passion Points

Here are some good posts for your weekend reading:

The Main Ingredient in Personal Growth – David Mathis (DG)
Grow in grace. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better three-word caption for the Christian life.

20 Quotes from Erik Raymond’s New Book on Contentment – Matt Smethurst (TGC)
“If you are having a hard time being content, make a list of everything you have that you don’t deserve, and then make a list of everything you deserve that you don’t have.” (62)

Running from “the Black Dog” – Scott Slayton
During the late fall and winter months, I fight with what Winston Churchill called “the black dog.” Depression nips at my heels from the first week in November through the end of February….By God’s grace, I’ve learned how to stay one step ahead of the black dog….

You, Yes You, Are a Minister! – Tim Challies
Instructing one another is a hundred different ways of simply bringing God’s truth to bear. Sometimes this is done by a pastor preaching a sermon that calls people away from wrong behavior and toward right behavior. Far more often, though, it happens in the context of normal life, of one Christian interacting with another one. It happens when a friend encourages a friend to just carry on, to keep practicing the spiritual disciplines. It happens when a church member speaks up to tell what God has been teaching her from his Word. It happens when a brother sits with a brother to encourage him with a passage of Scripture.

Hope you have a great Lord’s Day ministering to one another in your local church!

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Sermon Songs: Revelation 11:15-19

MusicNotes

Hear the seventh trumpet’s loud call
Heaven sings for all its worth
Behold this earthly kingdom fall
God and Christ come down to earth
He shall now reign, Reign forever
Worship our glorious King!

Nations raged but then God’s wrath came
Came to judge and to destroy
Saints and servants fearing God’s name
Enter into greatest joy
Dwell forever, In His presence
All our hope fulfilled in Him

To the tune of “Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending”

 

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Reflections on II Chronicles 9-12

Rehoboam becomes king, and Israel divides.  Note:

  • Heart for God – The Northern Kingdom strayed from God, so those who set their hearts to seek the Lord left their homes and came to Judah so they might offer sacrifices to God at the temple (11:16-17). Have you set your heart to seek the Lord?  Would you be willing to leave your home behind?
  • Evil heart – Once Rehoboam’s reign was secure, he abandoned the law of God and led Israel to do the same. He did not set his heart to seek God.  Does your heart stray when your situation seems secure?  Is there someone whose influence is leading you astray?
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Thanksgiving Collection

Here are some good posts for Thanksgiving:

10 Things You Should Know about Thanksgiving – Nathan Finn (Crossway)

5 Readings for Your Thanksgiving Gathering (Crossway)

9 Passages to Read on Gratitude (Crossway)

The Greatness of Giving Thanks – Kevin DeYoung

Blessed Even in the Worst: How to Give Thanks in Every Circumstance – Nancy Guthrie (DG)

Struggling Toward Thanksgiving – Trevin Wax

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Q&A#3: Our God Reigns

Q/A#3
Q: What more can we know about God?
A: God is a spirit, present everywhere, and reigning with perfect power, knowledge, wisdom, and goodness.

O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.
II Chronicles 20:6 (ESV)

Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!
Psalm 31:19 (ESV)

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In The Shadow

ResetPractice doing with less than usual, not buying even when you can afford it, buying nothing but necessities for a time, and spending time in the shadow of Calvary.  How much less you’ll find you need when you see how much Christ gave!  Draw up your budget at the cross.

– David Murray in Reset

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