Willing To Stand Out

“There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.  He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses.  And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.” 2 Kings 18:5-7

Many kings are spoken of in the Bible…some did what was right in the sight of the Lord and others are said to have done evil in the sight of the Lord. Of those good kings there is one that stands above the rest. It is said that there was none better before him or after him. What was it that made this king so exceptional? What was it that elevated him so high above the rest? 2 Kings 18:1-7 recounts the story for us… “ In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.  He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah.  He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done.  He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.  He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses.  And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.

As we read this account of King Hezekiah we see that he did many things right…he smashed the stones that set up the idol worship and cut down the poles surrounding the alters of idolatry. He also broke into pieces the bronze snake that Moses made to save the people in the wilderness. This snake was something that God provided to save all who looked at it…much like when we look to Jesus Christ we are saved. But, the people eventually began to worship this bronze snake, so Hezekiah broke it into piece. We see Hezekiah smashing, cutting, and breaking things that stood in the way of the people worshiping the true and living God. Likewise, we too can let things get in the way of our serving Jesus. We can allow idols to creep in and draw our attention away from the Lord and onto them. An idol can be a person, a possession or even a ministry. Anything that seeks to take the place of Jesus in our life is an idol. Where do you turn when something goes wrong? Who are you serving? What are your priorities? All of these questions reveal who it is that we serve. Do we turn first to Jesus before we turn to others? Does He have our heart, and our life? Is Jesus the ONE that we follow? We all want someone with skin on to look to, to emulate, to follow…but we must always remember not to put people in a position that they were never created to be in. Jesus wants to be number one in our heart and in our lives, which can often be seen in our daily priorities. Do we give Jesus the first of our day? Do we receive from Him directly and do we spend time getting to know Him? Do we commune with Him, pray to Him and listen to Him? Do we serve Him at our church? All of these questions reveal our priorities. No one or nothing should ever take priority over Jesus in our lives. For this to take place we must constantly be checking and rechecking our priorities. Asking ourselves if anything is in the way, if anything is hindering our walk or distracting our mind. We in a sense, are constantly doing what King Hezekiah did…we are smashing stones that we built up to put our idol on. We are cutting down the poles or things that surrounded the idol and we are breaking into pieces the idol itself. All of these are necessary, but what set King Hezekiah apart from the rest of the good Kings is that he not only smashed, cut and broke the idols…he took it a step further and removed them all together from the land.

Is there anything that you have built up in your mind or in your life…an idol…that has taken up a lot of your thoughts and your time…something that has hindered your relationship with the Lord? Maybe even caused you to sin? Smash it…cut it down…break it into pieces…and REMOVE it from your life. There were many good kings, but only one great king…who was willing to do what no one else would….he was willing to remove the hindrances…and the Lord blessed him for it. The key to Hezekiah’s strength, passion and priorities is found in verse 5; “Hezekiah trusted in the Lord God of Israel.” Do you trust the Lord today? If so, let Him reorder your priorities…let Him remove the high places as you trust in Him…Let him smash the stones that separate you from Him…and let Him break into pieces the idols that you have set up and are looking to. He is the only One that can remove what stands in your way. Let Him have His way and you too will be successful in everything you do!  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.

Michelle Randall

Giants In The Land

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“There we saw giants.” Numbers 13:33


When Joshua and Caleb went into Canaan to spy out the land they saw giants. A giant is anything in your life that is bigger than you. It is something of very great size or force. It’s huge, colossal, enormous, massive or gigantic. 

The Lord told Moses to send out some men, leaders of Israel, to explore the land which He was giving them.  He specifically told the men to go up and see what the land was like and whether the people who lived there were strong or weak, few or many (Numbers 13:18). When they came back to report what they saw they said; “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size…we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (vs. 33).  But Caleb silenced the people and spoke up saying “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”(vs. 30).  One man spoke up against all the other men who brought a bad report. What was it that Joshua and Caleb saw that the other leaders didn’t?

While the other leaders saw the impossible…the obstacles, the defeat, and an insurmountable task, Joshua and Caleb saw God. They saw what the Lord could do, they saw an opportunity and they saw with eyes of faith what no other man could see. Joshua and Caleb saw victory in the eyes of defeat. They believed their God could do anything including give them victory over their enemy that was much bigger and stronger than they were.

Giants represent great difficulties or obstacles in our lives that stalk us. They are in our families, our churches our personal lives and even in our own hearts. IF they are not overcome they will overtake us. It is the Lord alone who will give us the eyes to see that our giants are only as large as we allow them to be. The Lord Jesus is much greater than any giant in our lives. He has already won the victory and given it to us. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:37). Take your victory today!

Michelle Randall

The Power Of A Step

“Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ And He said, ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.” Matthew 14:28-29  

The story of Peter walking on water is one that many of us love and yet we tend to focus on the negative instead of the positive. We recount the story in Matthew 14 and see Peter’s sinking rather than his walking. We focus on Peter getting his eyes off of Jesus and putting them onto his fear. Rather than seeing the huge step of faith that Peter took and the miracle that happened, we too get our eyes off of the miraculous and put them on the mistake.

God calls us to do impossible things by faith so He can receive glory when they are done. They may look like a mistake to others, but to the Lord, it’s miraculous! Often times the Lord will call us to step out in faith and try something new, but we’re afraid, just like Peter. Notice though, that Peter put a fleece out to the Lord saying; “Lord, if it is you, command me to come…” Peter wanted to be sure that it was the Lord, so he said “if”.

How many times have we said the same phrase, “Lord, if you are in this…?”Or “Lord, if this is you then please confirm your will to me?” We may not ever be asked to walk on water, but we certainly will be asked to step out of the boat. Pastor Chuck always used to say, “Show me a man who has never taken a step of faith for the Lord and I will show you a man who has done nothing for the Lord.”  

Most of us read this story of Peter walking on water and wonder if we too would have stepped out of the boat at Jesus’ call. But, what we often fail to consider, is that Jesus had been preparing Peter all along to step out of the boat as an example to the other disciples. Yes, Peter made plenty mistakes and was even rebuked by Jesus in front of His disciples, but Peter stepped out…He tried, he heard Jesus call and he obeyed!  

None of the other disciples were asked to walk on water. I believe this is because none of the other disciples asked if it was Jesus. Impetuous Peter, with all his zeal, was the one that recognized Jesus and asked…and God answered with a command. Has that ever happened to you? Have you even thought something was the Lord and yet weren’t sure, and He asked you to step out in faith…believing it was Him? Faith is believing when you can’t see. It’s believing when you’re not 100% sure, but you think it’s Jesus!  

Although Peter did step out in faith and walk on water, once he got his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink. The lesson for us is to keep our eyes on Jesus, not to fear the things around us…the storm, the sea of others, the circumstances. Peter will forever be set apart in history for being the only man to walk on water, and it was all because he was willing to fail. He was willing to step out and risk sinking to obey the call of the Lord.  

What is it that Jesus is asking you to do? Do you recognize it’s Him? Have you asked for confirmation?  Are you obeying? Are you willing to fail to obey? Whatever it is, you don’t need to worry, only trust the Lord. His hand is big enough to pick you up!

Michelle Randall

A Quick Fix For A Quick Wit

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 "But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. Ephesians 5:3-4

How many times have you said, “I’m just joking?” Probably dozens if you’re being honest.  Up until I read this scripture, I too used to frequent this phrase.

But, when I heard Pastor Chuck teach on it years ago, I quickly discovered my error. To coarse jest, is to speak or act in a joking manner, to say; “I’m just joking”.  When we say this phrase, we are essentially saying there is some truth to what we’re sharing. We may not intend to inflict a wound with our coarse jesting, but it always indicates that there is some truth below the surface of the comment. Why do we joke around? Does it somehow make us feel better to poke at others in a gentle way? Maybe or maybe not, but the Bible warns against this, so we must turn from it.

This can be very difficult if you are quick witted.  For those with a razor sharp wit, Paul gives a solution. He says instead of poking at others in fun, try giving thanks for them instead! This is a quick fix to a quick wit. Either you will quit your coarse jesting all together or you will become one of the most gracious and thankful people around! Why not try it… you may be surprised at the results!

Leave And Cleave

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Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.  Genesis 2:24

 

This scripture has new meaning to me. I have never known it as clearly as I do right now in the wake of our sons wedding.

The process of the man leaving his family and cleaving to his wife is a necessary one. In fact, the very word " cleave" defines for us the process.  Cleave, a verb, has two very different meanings. It can describe cutting or splitting something apart with a sharp instrument, or — oddly enough — it can describe sticking to something like glue. Both occurr in this cleaving process...the splitting apart and the sticking together... They just occurr in two different relationships. The splitting apart, or severing occurs with the parents and the sticking like glue occurs with the spouse. This is normal and good and biblical. I never noticed until now that this scripture says " a man" shall leave HIS father and mother and cleave to HIS wife. It doesn't say "a women" shall leave her father and mother and cleave to her husband. Why is this? 

It's the job of Christian parents to train their children in the ways of the Lord. For boys we are to train them to be men... Taking on the responsibilities of a man and that of his household. They are to provide for their family, to love their wife as Christ loves the church and to lead their family spiritually. For this to take place, there must be a cleaving ... Or separating from the parental covering and a cleaving or sticking like glue to the covering of Christ and the relationship to his wife. If this does not take place, problems will arise. Boys become men when they are given the responsibility of a man. If that responsibility isn't given over completely and without interference from others (primarily mothers)  their growth as a man of the home will be hindered. As a mom of three boys, I'm  gaining understanding in this area. Moms will always be moms,  but boys don't always stay boys. We moms have to let our boys become men. Is it painful and hard? Yes! Is it necessary? Yes! If we really want our boys to become godly men then we need to let go and let God have His way in their lives. We need to trust Him to mold our boys and shape them into men. Leaving and cleaving doesn't have to be so sad... It can be wonderful and exciting ... It's all how we look at it! Be encouraged moms when you're sad... That you are making a man not a boy!