Jehoshaphat “followed [God’s] commands” and “the Lord established the kingdom under his control.”
Jehoshaphat sent Levites out to teach the people God’s law and “the fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the land surrounding Judah.”
Jehoshaphat cried out to God while being pursued by enemies, “and the Lord helped him.”
Jehoshaphat allied himself with Israel—marrying Ahab’s daughter and going to war with Israel—and he was told, “the wrath of the Lord is on you.”
“Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord” when the enemy was poised to attack and God gave him assurance of victory.
Jehoshaphat appointed worshipers to lead the army and “the Lord set ambushes” to defeat the enemy, causing His fear to once again fall on the surrounding nations.
Jehoshaphat allied himself with Israel again and their joint sailing venture ended in shipwreck.
It seems to me that the blessings of following God and doing things His way, and the consequences of ignoring His commands, are so plainly visible. There really is no excuse for my ignorance on this.
The question is: Will I do things God’s way and enjoy His blessings, or will I continue to try to do things my way and risk God’s wrath?
…make you fishers of men” (Matthew 7:23; Mark 1:17)
…acknowledge in Heaven those who acknowledge Me on earth” (Matthew 10:32-33)
…give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)
…build My church” (Matthew 16:18)
…give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 16:19)
…show you whom you should fear” (Luke 12:5)
…drive out demons and heal people” (Luke 13:32)
…never drive away those who come to Me” (John 6:37)
…give My life for your life” (John 6:51)
…rise again from the dead” (Matthew 27:63; Mark 14:28; John 2:19)
…raise up believers to eternal life” (John 6:40, 44, 54)
…come back to take you to be with Me forever” (John 14:3)
…do whatever you ask in My name” (John 14:13, 14; 16:28)
…not leave you as orphans” (John 14:18)
…ask the Father to give you an Advocate” (John 14:18)
…give you words and wisdom that are irresistible” (Luke 21:15)
…see you again and give you eternal joy” (John 16:22)
Oh, what a Savior!
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.
A Christian’s Waiting Activity
They were looking intently up into the sky as He [Jesus] was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10-11)
Despisers tell us nowadays, ‘Your cause is done for! Christianity is spun out! Your divine Christ is gone! We have not seen a trace of His miracle-working hands, nor of that voice that no man could rival.’ Here is our answer: We are not standing gazing up into heaven. We are not paralyzed because Jesus is away. He lives, the great Redeemer lives, and though it is our delight to lift up our eyes because we expect His coming, it is equally our delight to turn our heavenly gazing into an earthward watching and to go down into the city and there to tell that Jesus is risen, that men are to be saved by faith in Him, and that whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life! We are not defeated! Far from it—His ascension is not a retreat, but an advance! His tarrying is not for lack of power, but because of the abundance of His long-suffering. …
It is clear that He has not quit the fight nor deserted the field of battle. Our great Captain is still heading the conflict! He has ridden into another part of the field, but He will be back again, perhaps in the twinkling of an eye [Revelation 22:12; Matthew 25:21]. …
Brothers and sisters, do not let anybody spiritualize away all this from you! Jesus is coming as a matter of fact—therefore go down to your sphere of service as a matter of fact. Get to work and teach the ignorant, win the wayward, instruct the children, and everywhere proclaim the sweet name of Jesus! … Jesus is not coming in a sort of mythical, misty, hazy way. He is literally and actually coming—and He will literally and actually call upon you to give an account of your stewardship. Therefore now, today, literally not symbolically, personally and not by deputy, go out through that portion of the world that you can reach and preach the gospel to every creature according as you have opportunity, for this is what the men in white apparel meant—be ready to meet your coming Lord. …
If you would meet Him with joy, serve Him with earnestness!
From The Ascension And The Second Advent Practically Considered
Jesus was about His Father’s business the whole time He was on earth. As He ascended to heaven, He promised us His authority and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit so we too could be about our Father’s business.
In one of His parables about stewarding our Master’s gifts and resources until He returned, Jesus said, “Occupy until I return” (Luke 19:13). I love Spurgeon’s remind: “If you would meet Him with joy, serve Him with earnestness!”
Yes, we are waiting for Jesus to return, but our waiting is an active waiting. With one eye toward the heavens and one eye toward earth, we actively tell others about our soon returning King. Occupy! Stay active! Stay alert! Meet Him with joy!
Dr. Kathy Koch has some great insights in her book Start With The Heart for anyone who works with children.
“Rather than using the words ‘rewards’ and ‘punishments,’ I recommend using the word ‘consequences.’ This small change helps children own their responsibility in changing negative behavior and maintaining positive behavior. Rewards and punishments are things we give children. Consequences are what children earn because of their choices.” —Dr. Kathy Koch
Do we begin again to commend ourselves?… (2 Corinthians 3:1)
Paul’s focus was not on what he could get now, but on what would be his in eternity—
Our prayer could be very similar to what Paul taught and probably prayed for himself—“May I lead by serving. May I not look for human praise—nor even be tempted to toot my own horn—but lead and minister only to hear applause from the nail-scarred hands of Jesus.”
As R.T. Kendall reminds us—
“Every day we breathe in and out—in and out—thousands of times a day. There is a day fixed, that unless Jesus comes first, you and I will only breathe out. No amount of money, power, or prestige can alter the date that we each have with death. And at that moment the only thing that will matter is whether we have known Christ and served Him well—that our lives have made a difference. In short: that we are popular in heaven—and famous in hell.”
This is part 37 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts in this series by clicking here.
“‘And Jesus said unto them, strive to enter in at the straight gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able’ (Luke 13:24). Christ said His disciples were measuring by a wrong rule. ‘If following after sermons and testimonies and excitement were enough to save, heaven would already be full,’ He was saying. But do not sift the pure from the impure by such a coarse sieve. ‘Strive to enter—fight and wrestle, risk life and limb rather than fall short of heaven.’ … Almost anyone is willing to walk through heaven’s door if he never has to risk his pride in public or hazard his everyday interests by any inconvenience or opposition of the world.” —William Gurnall, in The Christian In Complete Armor
“…they watched Him closely… (Luke 14:1).
They wanted to find an inconsistency with which they could discount all that Jesus stood for. Thankfully, they found none! May the same be said of you and me.
May our lives and speech (or silence) never cause skeptics to discount the Gospel or—even worse—blaspheme God, nor may our lives cause a weak Christian to doubt or stumble.
This requires from us—
Holy Spirit, empower us to live like our Master every day. “Adam’s likeness now efface, stamp Thine image in its place.” May people see and hear Jesus in us. No matter how closely they watch us, may they see no inconsistencies.
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.
What Is Mammon?
You cannot serve God and Mammon [Matthew 6:24]. A man of the world says we can; with a little subtlety and wisdom and compromise (it is called diplomacy or tact), we can serve both. The devil’s temptation to our Lord to fall down and worship him, i.e., to compromise, is repeated over and over again in Christian experience. We have to realize that there is a division as high as heaven and as deep as hell between the Christian and the world. ‘Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God’ [James 4:4]. …
Never compromise with the spirit of Mammon. When you are right with God, you become contemptible in the eyes of the world. Put into practice any of the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount and you will be treated with amusement at first; then if you persist, the world will get annoyed and will detest you. … What is Mammon? The system of civilized life which organizes itself without considering God. …
When we become mature in godliness God trusts His own honor to us by placing us where the world, the flesh, and the devil may try us, knowing that ‘greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world’ [1 John 4:4].
From Studies In The Sermon On The Mount
Mammon wants to get what it wants to get, without considering God and without regard to the long-term consequences. Mammon wants satisfaction right now!
Mammon is the system of the world. People are constantly driven by what they can get for themselves right now, with little—if any—thought to what God thinks or to what the inevitable outcome is going to be.
A Christian is different.
A Christian is focused on something which cannot be seen right now. But just because the rewards cannot be seen doesn’t make them any less real. In fact, Jesus teaches that the rewards He gives are Reality itself.
When a Christian insists on doing things God’s way, the devil will sneer and people will laugh. But God’s Spirit in you is greater than all of that, and He will help you to stand firm in Him, not compromising with the lure of Mammon.