Have you ever worked so hard on a project and brought it to fruition? Then when it was time to hand it over to the next person it seemed that all your work was destroyed?
In 1 Kings 11:41—12:11, 17-20, King Solomon, who was King David’s son has died. Even though Solomon asked God for wisdom to lead his people, he lost his way and began to follow the ways of the people instead of the ways of the Lord. Now Solomon’s son, Rehoboam is next in line to lead God’s people. However, because Solomon lost his way, Israel is in a mess. Does this sound familiar today? No one in Israel now followed the ways of the Lord that King David worked so hard to get the people to obey God.
Imagine how God feels every day when those He loves so much do not obey Him. God has done everything – including sending His only Son to bring His kingdom to fruition, but yet we still do not obey and we turn from Him. It seems that no matter who God sends to help us follow Him, the people fail to follow His ways. But yet, God still never gives up on us.
Let us pray…Gracious God, help us to turn to you for your guidance, grace, mercy, and love. You offer everything that we need to be happy in this life, but yet we still fail to follow your ways. Please Lord, help us to see that your Son, Jesus Christ will lead us into a new life that is truly life. Amen.
You know the saying, “Hindsight is 20/20.” We can always look back and see the mistakes that we have made. However, often one thing will lead to another and before you know it, you are sliding down a very slippery slope. I have seen people get themselves in a mess through bad decisions, doing things they shouldn’t be doing, and even poverty and homelessness will sometimes lead to decisions that otherwise one would not make in different circumstances. I have been in those dark places before and wondered, “How did I even get here?” It is usually in these times that we begin praying. We begin praying for a way out!
In 1 Kings 3:3-14, Solomon who is King David’s son is now the King of Israel. Just before his dad died, he told Solomon to always be with the Lord and to follow the Lord’s ways. And, Solomon does. He loves God and wants to do the right thing. Solomon has a dream. In his dream, God comes to him and says, “Ask what I should give you?” (v.5). Wow! What would I say if God were to come to me and ask me that question? Here is how Solomon responds, “Give me an understanding mind to govern your people; able to discern between good and evil…” (v.9). Solomon asked God for “Wisdom!” Solomon wanted the ability to know right from wrong so that he would never head down that slippery slope of bad decisions and getting himself in situations in which, he did not know how to get out! What if…We all had the gift of wisdom and the ability to discern right from wrong? I wonder if all we need to do is ask for it?
Let us pray…Gracious God, give us the gift of wisdom. Give us the ability to discern right from wrong. Give us the ability to stand strong when wrong is being done. Lead us into your ways only. In your name we pray. Amen.
I remember meeting my husband for the first time. We have now been married almost 34 years. For me, it was love at first sight. I wanted to get to know him. I wanted to spend time with him. I would even lay awake at night thinking about him. No doubt, I fell in love and cannot imagine my life without him. We do everything together. We are a part of each other’s lives. We treat each other with respect. We are faithful and loyal to each other. We share our secrets, our hopes, and our dreams. It is a relationship that I am truly grateful for.
News Flash! The Church is for Sinners! I had a parishioner once say to me, “I don’t need to come to church, I just enjoy it. I am old man and no longer sin; therefore, I do not need forgiveness.” It took all I had not to tell this dear old man, “Well, you just did. You just sinned in the eyes of the Lord. Your pride is in the way of seeing yourself as a sinner.” In God’s eyes – a sin is a sin. One sin is not greater than the other. Furthermore, we cannot receive God’s forgiveness without repentance. It is a slippery slope if we believe we have not done anything wrong.
When I feel, I have not been treated fairly and justly, I long for an apology. I believe that is human nature. All of us want to be treated and loved justly and fairly. After all, isn’t that the Golden Rule – to love others the same way you love yourself? However, we make mistakes; we often do not recognize or we overlook how we should treat others – possibly not realizing that we have hurt someone else through our actions – or even lack of actions. But, have you thought about why God wants us to love others the way we love ourselves?
Once upon a time, we lived in Bedford, VA – just outside of Roanoke. It was one of the most beautiful places we have ever lived. We were nestled in a valley between the mountains, moo-cows in our back yard, and the most wonderful neighbors you could ever have. It was a blessing in that place where we found peace, solitude, and restoration. However, we are not gardeners, but had the opportunity to plant one. So, we did. It was beautiful! It seemed that just over night, we had the most gorgeous cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. They were so close to being ready for the pickin!
If there is one thing that if I could ask God to give me, it would be the gift of singing and the ability to play a musical instrument, such as the guitar. Ok…that’s really two things, but perhaps if I had the gift of one, I would have the gift of the other automatically. In any case, I am envious of those who can use those gifts of musical ability for the glory of God, especially in a worship setting. However, there is a fine line between making it about ourselves instead of making it about the glory of God. If we are not careful, we may find ourselves wanting to attend worship because we are being entertained. It then becomes about us being fulfilled by the ‘concert’ and not about our hearts being affected by the message of God.