Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2 Kings 25

They slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him in chains and took him to Babylon. … And the king of Babylon struck them down and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was taken into exile out of its land.

Please Father, help me to remember that it is spiritual warfare – it is ugly and costly and painful. Let me not be flattered and complacent with “gracious freedoms” while I (my thoughts, emotions, etc.) or those in my care are still in the custody of the enemy. Hearten me for this thing called war, strengthen my hands, my heart and my mind with Your presence. Oh Warrior Lord, teach me in the ways of the wise and the warrior, for Your Kingdom sake.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

2 Kings 24

This sets the stage for the story of Daniel: Jewish kings who had done evil in the sight of the Lord being puny and dispensable vassals for enemies’ kingdoms rather than abundant life in the Promised Land and sweet “real-ationship” with the Most High God. The Lord sets up kings in any time and any place and He deposes them. And when the time is ripe for Your anger, You cast them out from Your presence. I wonder if the people felt the relentless change of power as a threatening thing or as a welcome relief? Were they hoping for a better life with each new ruler? Or did the shifts foster an apathetic mindset which lent itself to living for self? It seems the state of the union faltered more and more with each wicked leader…the leaders led the people to increase in the sin, (granted, with the occasional generational respite of a godly leader) and so the nation goes.

These circumstances cause me to reflect on my home, America. The people, my people are pursuing sin and evil in increasing manner, apart from a few, the leaders seem to open the gates to the floods of immorality, perversion and laziness. Lord, 200+ years ago we began in tough circumstances and yet, You prospered us. We had abundant life and freedom to the “real-ationship” with You; and we have been slowly squandering the privilege on the pride of life, the comfort and lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye. Whatever we want, however we can get it. How have we so cheapened ourselves and our voices that we can be bought for a cell phone? How can we be so deceived that we choose to live in extravagant comfort now without regard to our children and our children’s children? We choose to live now and don’t give thought to 10 years from now. God, help us. I know that Daniel is a great story of Your presence and faithfulness; please Father, raise up Daniels and Daniellas in our time. Please don’t let what began in pursuit of You end without You – not everyone chooses a life without You. Please help us to bless Your Name, to love You with all our essence, to be a true friend to Your people, to obey Your Word – like Daniel, Azariah, Meshael and Hananiah. Please let us choose You over ourselves, and any thing which would set itself up against You. You and You alone, Lord God. Please don’t any of our children be cast away from Your presence. Help us to be useful to Your purposes…good examples and not terrible warnings. Let us use our choices and voices with Kingdom purpose, divine discernment and godly wisdom.

Monday, November 19, 2012

2 Kings 23

Your people had mind-boggling ways to worship lesser gods.  So many places, so many names, so many styles.  You created humankind for worship - something in us draws us toward expressing ourselves, relating in that fashion.  You made people with a desire for the divine, the supernatural, the holy.  That appetite will not go unaddressed or unremedied, it will work its way into decisions, affiliations and lifestyles.  Holy Spirit, cause me to cooperate with Your perfect purpose, keep my focus on the God Most High.  Please, grant discernment to distinguish clearly between worlds that I would have such a distaste for the natural, the worldly, the evil that I will be unable to tolerate inaccurate worship, inappropriate meditations, and inapposite praise.  The plethora of places, priests, and so-called sacred spots causes me to wonder how have I decorated my life with similar things; allowed worldly ways to encroach on my patterns of life and embraced an unclean inheritance of my family.  Please strengthen my hands and my resolve to tear down, burn down and destroy those things which are not God-approved and God-centered.  Let me not work in mercy as I seek to purge my life of those despicable high places.  Holy Spirit, may my gift of worship be always and only offered to my God and Lord. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

2 Kings 22

because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord … when you heard how I spoke … I also have heard you, declares the Lord.
thank You Lord for Your grace, for Your love which hears me, for Your sacrifice which saved me, for Your purpose which includes me. Holy Spirit, please lead me in the way of humility, of penitence of right response to You. To You.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

2 Kings 21

Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another …
This strikes me as a description of abortion, terrible and fatal violence on the innocent, real pro-choice results. Lord, if you do nothing else for America, please remove this practice from our land.

Lord, two more things really call to me from this passage; one is that Manasseh burned his son in the fire as an offering……what does that do to the other children? What on earth? God help me to be an instrument of Your peace, a Spirit-bearer who brings Your grace, Your comfort, Your healing rather than stoking a ravenous appetite for destroying life. The second call came from “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put My Name forever.” God, where do I place wrong things in the house in which You have placed Your Name? How do I corrupt the holy with the idol? Please, Holy Spirit, guide me into all Truth that I may only make Your Name more glorious in my life, in my worship, in my mind. You and You alone. And I pray for Jerusalem, please make Your Name and no one else’s (real or demonic) known there again.

Friday, November 16, 2012

2 Kings 20

And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me…?”

Lord, You are worthy of obedience and what You say happens because it can’t not happen…all creation testifies to You. I am bothered that Heze took Your word for his passing; but wanted a sign (other than the healing, I guess) that You would be good for Your word. Where do I act like that? How do I focus or only take You seriously on half of what You say to me and ask for proof for the rest? Help me to receive Your words and respond in faith to all of them…walking in the confident hope of a daughter of the King. Thank You

Thursday, November 15, 2012

2 Kings 19

(from Assyrian envoy):   "Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered?"
… declares the Lord. “For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”

Let me not question what You have done or said; but let me stand firmly on exactly what You have said confidently remembering what You and You alone have done. May my life bring You glory and praise. None other; but You. And thank You for what You do for Your Own sake and for Your servant David. I praise You and thank You for allowing me to be a witness to You and Your mighty works.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

2 Kings 18

Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign…. He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. For he held fast to the Lord.
Thank You for this story which shows that no matter how messed up the parent is, You can still redeem the child. I pray that my children and those spiritual children of my heart would trust in You more so than any of their ancestors, may they hold fast and tight and long to You – for You have them. May they bring You praise and make You famous in their lives.
Lord God, the Assyrian king’s words (verses 31-32ish) sounded so much like Your words of the Promised Land. Help me to really recognize the origin of familiar words lest I be led astray in my laxness. This is war, I can’t afford to be careless in my assenting. Your Word, oh Lord, Your Word and no other. Help me today to experience more of You.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

2 Kings 17

They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them that they should not do like them.

They went after the false and became false themselves. God help me. I will become like what I worship, I will be as what I follow. Help me to see, to pray, to intercede, to seek the true, the True. May I lose myself in You and Your truth, never the false nor the deception. 

They also feared the Lord and appointed from among themselves all sorts of people as priests of the high places …. So they feared the Lord but also served their own gods….

May I fear You, Lord, so that completely and deeply that I am not able to serve a lesser god, my own god or any of the all sorts of lower-case-g-o-ds that is set up and appointed. Only You. Only, ever You. May I never dilute, dispute or recompute You. You are worthy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

2 Kings 16

He (Ahaz) even burned his son as an offering, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.

Lord God, Jotham's grandson was burned as an offering.  Jotham who did what was right yet failed on the high places loses a grandbaby to the lesser gods.  God, for the sake of my children and their children, please show me my blindspots and help me to annihilate them, in Your Name. 

Ahaz took the right instruments and created his own way to You.  or to himself.  Lord, help me to see where I dawdle long at a self-serving idea.  Lord, I don't easily die to myself, Holy Spirit pierce through the tough membrane of my soul that my flesh, my pride, my self-stuff may be exposed to Your all-consuming light and be eradicated, exterminated and obliterated.  today.  I need this today.  thank You.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

2 Kings 15

The Lord afflicted the king (Azariah/Uzziah, King of Judah) with leprosy until the day he died, and he lived in a separate house.  Jotham the king’s son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land. ... Jotham son of Uzziah king of Judah began to reign. ... He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord ... The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. Jotham rebuilt the Upper Gate of the temple of the Lord.  ... Jotham rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David, the city of his father.

Again, Lord, may I thank You for the peaceful change of hands our government experiences compared to what could be going on within the White House walls.  Father God, please keep me from doing what is right in Your eyes, taking care of family needs, rebuilding devastated places and having success in my career but not tearing down the high places.  The high places were never long destroyed; they were a constant snare to Your people, an enduring legacy and temptation to the ways of lesser gods.  And Your kings, even when they did what was right in Your sight, managed to not remove them.  I can't imagine that You gave them peace about this or that they thought those places were okay.  But did they think about them?  Did they ask You?  Were they truly careful to do all that You asked?  Were they blinded to these high places?  Where these ancient sacrificing spots just some leftover hangouts and relics from previous generations which seemed to pose no harm, under the deceptive guise of how the folks liked to celebrate?  Were they, in truth, spiritual boundary markers of the enemy, dedicated evil areas which continued to influence Your people and draw them away from the pure worship and relationship You offer.  Were these the football stadiums, the malls, the buffets, the internet, the concerts, _______ parties, sleeping in ...  the shrugging-off of gluttony, infidelity, abuse, pride, prejudice, critical spirits and anger issues because that's how momma or daddy did it?  Were these persistent  thorns the excuses we give and cling to for our families' perpetuation of brokenness - that's the way this family rolls?  God help us.  Help me to see the high places in my life, to be a tearer down of those poles and altars which call to the flesh, where sin and the soul commune.  Lord, I need Your perspective on everything; especially the things I wrongly view as spiritual comfort food but which draw me away from You - even when it is merely a mindless activity.  Time is not mine to gamble with, it is a gift, a trust You bestow on me to steward well.  Show me the high places and fix in my heart and hands that which I need to decimate them, to the praise of Your Name and the release of Your power in long held enemy strongholds.  You are my Stronghold, I need no other.  I desire none other.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

2 Kings 14

 Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, with the challenge: “Come, let us face each other in battle.”

Father, this makes me think of the church and how one part attacks another in the Body - without regard to the divine nature of what You have established.  One denomination versus another, one layperson against a leader or another layperson.  It's like the elbow wants to pick a fight with the ear.  God, help us to all remember we are on the same side, and it's not any of our sides - it is Your side.  Lord may we treat well all the members of Your Body, Your Bride and be gracious that the world would know us by love and not sarcasm, backbiting nor treachery.  May we walk in the freedom from this world which You paid so dearly for.  Help us to be careful in our gathering with each other (not that this seems to be a problem; but let us not rest carelessly because of that), help us to be faithful intercessors for the rest of the Body throughout the world.  To the praise of Your Name.

Friday, November 9, 2012

2 Kings 13

Lord God, I have a couple of superficial responses to this chapter: all of these J names are confusing (and remind me of a pop-culture family with more than a dozen and half kids); Aram, Arameans, Aramaic the language of the New Testament – I hadn’t recognized how long-standing and prevalent their influence/rivalry was on Israel and Judah – nor how much Israel’s sinfulness welcomed the enemy……the sins of leadership which led the people astray, the seemingly small things which yielded huge consequences. It’s interesting to me that Your holy words are preserved in the language of the enemy. Is that so all would have a chance to know – the captive and the captors alike?

The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.”

On a more serious note, Lord, even though Elisha’s directions seem a bit capricious, he is almost always referred to as “the man of God” in Your Word, by You. Underscoring that Elisha does speak and act on Your behalf, he does bear Your anointing, he does obey and honor Your Name. What a privilege to be called “the man/woman of God.” Holy Spirit, please help me to follow that hard after You, to walk worthy of the anointing, to present myself as “one of God,” to the praise of Your very great Name. Help me to keep doing what You told me to do until You tell me otherwise (to not grow weary in well-doing or ground-striking or faithfully presenting myself to You), that the destruction of the enemy may be thorough because the defeat is complete. Keep me from mediocrity in obedience that excellence may mark the triumph, for You are worthy, O Lord, my God and my Warrior-Lord. And help me to strive for that virtue of superbness in the times of suffering. I appreciate that Elisha who had twice the anointing as Elijah is suffering from the illness which kills him without whining about how Elijah got to leave this world and how the people keep coming to him for help. He walks the narrow road in his personal disciplines. Thank You for this example and for Your enabling others (me, included) to walk in that noble and godly fashion.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

2 Kings 12

But Joash king of Judah took all the sacred objects … and he sent them to Hazael king of Aram, who then withdrew from Jerusalem.
For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.

God, as I read how King Joash, (as he was so intent on rebuilding the temple – sort of, v. 6) sent away the sacred objects, the treasures from Your temple and the palace, I was reminded of this second verse. Not that he was abusive or brutal or treacherous, or even disobedient to his parents or his priest. He may not have been heartless or slanderous nor uncontrolled; but he (and probably with good intentions) paid off King Hazael (how long does this guy get to trouble Your people?!) with Your stuff. Even the palace stuff was Yours; but he didn’t check with You. It seems he thought financial might, economic savvy, pretty shineys were the way out of this trouble. I am saddened that he appears to love the power of money and not You. That he never sought Your answer. That his answer came from a place which did not love Your influence in all matters – he had the form of godliness; but he denied its power as he did not acknowledge You nor Your power. He did it man’s way. Okay, I’ll stop. It’s just that I see my tendency in this scenario, to want to handle the daily affairs as a delegator (fix the temple, do your homework, make good choices) and not as one who is involved in the process enough to ensure that the matters are resolved (having milestones for accountability for temple assembling, let’s try factoring that polynomial this way, what are good choices today?). I don’t want to solve anything that You do not author or authorize; but I still do. Help me Holy Spirit to see again and afresh my desperate dependency and soul-deep need for You, Your power and Your answers to all things – really all things, moments, interactions, circumstances, thoughts, plans, reactions, encounters, etc. I cannot do this on my own, and I don’t want to – grant me vision to see where I am deceived and choose to bust a godly or goldly move without You. Holy Spirit, rise up in me with the spiritual discipline to stop the foolishness and wait for You. Thank You! And thank You that You speak to such a wayward soul as me.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2 Kings 11

 But Jehosheba ... took Joash .... She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so he was not killed.  He remained hidden with his nurse at the temple of the Lord for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.

Lord, on this post-election day, I thank You and praise You that our change of leadership is not like the histories I have read in Kings.  Thank You for the peace and orderliness of the elections.  May I be like Aunt Jehosheba, brave, loving, determined, taking the opportunities You provide me to snatch others from the path of destruction and hatred, lead them to You and help them to be hidden in Your sacred presence - even though the enemy still rules the land, the air and the darkness.  No life is insignificant, You desire all to be saved, and You remember mercy.  May my life bring You glory as I live as a reflection of Your priorities, may I operate with the spiritual discernment and power to accomplish the feats You have assigned to me, and may I trust all the more when it is scary and the the resolution takes a long time to appear.  Life or death.  That's really what's at stake.  Thank You.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2 Kings 10

Now the royal princes, seventy of them, were with the leading men of the city, who were rearing them. When the letter arrived, these men took the princes and slaughtered all seventy of them. …. They (Jehu’s contingent) demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people have used it for a latrine to this day.
Again, today, may I count willingly, intentionally and graciously, everything loss compared to the surpassing greatness of You, knowing You and serving You. I know this is a physical scenario which addresses the spiritual; but I don’t want to be a wimp and chicken out of doing the hard or even impossible for me (according to the way You have made me) things You call me to perform. Lord, where a spiritual thing needs to go, something which is reminiscent of ungodliness, an heir to rebellion or a scion of sin, please help me to know that and to annihilate my ties to it or, if appropriate, to utterly destroy it. Allow me to trust the spiritual senses You have given and empowered in me to slaughter anything which You call me to vanquish and vaporize lest I miss Your purpose for my life because I wrongly believe I am not strong enough to obey. Grant me eyes to see what idols I keep close, keep on and keep track of. May they and their influence be demolished by Your power and Spirit that I may be more fully and completely devoted to You. And, Holy Spirit, when I have done the big things, the challenging things, the eradicating things, please help me to continue to walk in obedience to You. Please keep me from slipping into mediocre, comfortable, lazy, convenient, self-centered service to You. You Alone. No other…especially not me. I do not want it said of me that I was not careful with all of my heart to pursue, obey and honor You.

Monday, November 5, 2012

2 Kings 9

When Jehu went out to his fellow officers, one of them asked him, “Is everything all right? Why did this maniac come to you?” ... Jehu said, “Here is what he told me: ‘This is what the Lord says: I anoint you king over Israel.’”  They quickly took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, “Jehu is king!”

Lord God, they called Your man a maniac and then believed exactly what You said through him.  I am not sure how to pray about the name-calling ... but you do call Your people to be distinctive and different from the world, so may I also live a life which fosters that same reputation - uniquely Yours and faithful to Your commands, known to be true to You and not swayed by man's verdicts,   obedient and well-used by You.  I know it made no difference to the verity of the situation; but how they responded to the words displayed their belief.  The name-calling was rebooted by their reaction.  Your Word weighs that much, no matter how or from whom it is delivered.  Father, help me to treat Your Word with deliberate reverence, to believe with cloak-spreading conviction and words to match and to walk in the authority You provide me through Your grace and adoption.  You created the heavens and the earth, You set up kings and You depose them, You are God in Heaven and here am I on earth:   Let my words be few - that Your Words may echo, thundering throughout this dusty timeline and into eternity demonstrating Your majesty, Your omniscience, Your omnipotence, Your love and Your ever-loving, everlasting, ever-wondrous Name. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

2 Kings 8

Lord, I see favor in the form of a warning given to a woman who serves Your prophet, I see answers without warning given to kings.  I see tears over what is coming and a trusted counselor committing murder.  I see a traitor who doesn't kill the one who knows his plan.  I see complicated kings, kingdoms and relatives.    Battles, wounds, elaborate gifts and abundant restoration.  But in the midst of all of these various circumstances I see You, nevertheless, for the sake of Your servant David,  not willing to destroy Judah because You promised to maintain a lamp for David and his descendants forever.  You are faithful, promise-keeping, steadfast and true to Your Word.  With all the treacherousness and betrayals, famines and rebellions, commoners without names and too many named kings, You are the ever-steady thread, the cord of constancy who never changes or hedges on Your Word.  I praise You for Your faithfulness and great is Your faithfulness, Lord unto everyone and unto me.  Thank You Father for Your amazing, gracious, immutability.  Worthy, You are!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

2 Kings 7

Oh Warrior God, what a tremendous story of victory and provision without bloodshed. I lift those who struggle with oppressive thoughts and dire circumstances and ask that You would send the evidence of Your spiritual might and victory to their minds and souls that those parasitical imaginations would disappear in the darkness, even as the Arameans did the night of their despoiling. God, teach me the spiritual warcraft of plundering the enemy in absentia in Your Name for the praise of Your Name. Also, I can see the officer who questioned the promise may not have thought his inquiry offensive; but Lord, don’t let me follow his example. Oh, may I receive and believe the wholeness of Your words and promises. Holy Spirit, help me to respond in faith and not even pick at a hangnail of doubt. You are Lord over all, the physical, the spiritual, the eternal and every other realm about which I can’t imagine…I trust You. I trust YOU. You are True.

Friday, November 2, 2012

2 Kings 6

Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?”
Please help me to always be graciously inviting others, even those in ministry. Let me know make assumptions about anyone’s attendance to Your work, Your gatherings or Your opportunities. 

Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel.
Father, this is the king who allowed Naaman to go with treasure for healing from You. Naaman was healed, his life and heart were changed – his worship was transformed. He knew it before he left. Somehow, this co-worker-king of his didn’t respond to You and receive his own provision. Help me to be more faithful, more honest and more of a poster girl for You. I don’t want my co-workers, relatives and neighbors to continue to be deceived. Also, I see a connection for the peace of Israel to be promoted, so please help Your Bride to impact the world in this way that peace, Your peace may come to Israel in our lifetime.

And I praise You that You concern yourself with axeheads and car-keys while You maintain Your glory throughout the universe. Thank You!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

2 Kings 5

So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

Holy Spirit, help me to remember that what You offer has no price, may I authentically bear witness of that truth in my life.  You alone heal, You alone. May I be Your conduit for healing in this dusty life - that others may know and see You as the Healer and the One Who Can't be Bought.

 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”

Lord God, as I seek what You have for me in life, may I not whine and resist that which and whom You bring to me.  May I recognize holy interruptions, divine opportunities and sacred appointments in what seems to be smelly people, prickly situations and tough circumstances.  May I always be mindful and believing actively that this life is not about what I see and smell, touch and dread, feel and fear; but You, Your glory and Your Kingdom purpose.  You died for people.  For eternity sake.  Let that shake the selfish out of my schedule, priorities and plans.