Blog — June 30

Sennacherib, the King of Assyria, depending on his formidable army, laid siege to the fortified towns, giving orders for his army to break through their walls. He also attacked Jerusalem. This made Hezekiah take some actions that might make it difficult for Sennacherib to achieve his aim. All those efforts of Hezekiah were to no avail as Sennacherib threatened the land to destroy it. He made a wrong generalization. He believed that since the gods of other nations could not deliver their people from him the God of Israel would also not be able to deliver His people. Hezekiah, however, assured the people of Israel to disregard the mightiness of Sennacherib’s army, and rather consider that the God of Israel is mighty to save. Hezekiah the king and Isaiah the prophet prayed to God, and the Lord delivered His people and disgraced Sennacherib.

Even though Hezekiah put some efforts in place to resist Sennacherib (strengthened himself, built up the broken walls, and raised up the towers), he did not put his confidence in those things. Rather, his confidence was in the God of Israel for their deliverance. As a wise king, he partnered with the prophet of God and called on the Lord.

Hezekiah had learned over the years to depend on God and call on Him in any difficult situation. This helped him to believe that the God of Israel would still hear his prayers and heal him of his sickness. Even though the message came from a well-known prophet of God, he turned to God and recounted how he had walked faithfully with God. The Lord heard his prayer and healed him and added fifteen years to his life.

However serious or hopeless a situation may seem, the fervent prayer of a righteous man avails so much. When we are obedient to God and walk in His statutes, He demonstrates His love and will not leave us or forsake us in the day of adversity. If you call upon Him today, and put your confidence in Him, not in your own efforts, He will answer and fill your mouth with songs of praise to Him.

June 28 sermon recording, Dr. David Arnett

Click here to listen or download the message from Dr. David Arnett, president of Northpoint Bible College.

Blog — June 29

  God told Moses to begin the Jewish calendar in April, 1445 B.C. during the first Passover celebration. About 700 years later the Babylonians looted and damaged Solomon’s temple. In 725 B.C. King Hezekiah cleansed the temple and celebrated Passover a month late. It wasn’t too late for the celebration since time had elapsed for the cleansing of the temple, the priests and all other idolatrous things through Israel. Hezekiah followed the Mosaic Law and established the temple worship sacrifices. However, the Ark of the Covenant, the Shekinah and other temple artifacts had been stolen, never to be returned. Yet, only the high priest could enter through the veil to offer a blood atonement for the peoples’ sins on Passover.

  When Jesus died some 750 years later, He became our Passover sacrifice. He tore down the temple veil so that every sinner could enter in and experience His blood atonement for their sins. It wasn’t too late in 725 B.C. and it’s not too late now. Our sins are readily atoned for when we accept Jesus as our high priest, enter His temple of forgiveness and celebrate our personal Passover. For we then have the blood of Jesus as our sacrifice as we become temples of the Holy Spirit.

 

Blog — June 26

Hezekiah’s father, King Ahaz, through evil practices and poor leadership, had lost the gains of his father and grandfather before him. Under Ahaz, Judah lost their national sovereignty and was left a vassal (subject state) of Assyria.

King Hezekiah came to the throne in the midst of his father’s mess. He still remembered the better days under his grandfather King Jotham. Hezekiah knew that all these hardships had come upon Judah because they had abandoned the Lord.

Hezekiah had hope for his people, and because of this, instituted the most sweeping religious reforms of all the kings before or after him. As a result, his 29-year reign he was successful in every way. Hezekiah’s life ambition was to regain national sovereignty, which was surrendered by his father Ahaz during a relatively minor invasion. Ultimately, he achieved this with the help of the Lord.

Soon after, Hezekiah became deathly ill. Worried how the nation would fare after his death, he prayed for healing, and God granted him another 15 years of life. Unfortunately, during these years, Hezekiah’s pride rose up and lessened his love for the Lord. It was during this time he fathered his heir, King Manasseh, who became a man of extreme evil.

With his hope for a better future and his faith in God, Hezekiah was able accomplished great things. But he didn’t keep his eye on the mark and drifted out of God’s will, which left him an example of how not to “finish well.” It’s important for each of us to hold on to our hope, to always seek and follow God’s will in our lives, and in that way, we can “finish well.”

Blog — June 25

Today we are with the prophet Micah. Oh my, those pesky prophets! Maybe it’s just me but I think the prophets are like one of our relatives. You know the one. The one you avoid, and only see once a year at the MAJOR holiday. Every family has at least one. Ours was Aunt Margaret. She would always be at the annual “must attend” big shindig.  We’d arrive and there she was, lying in wait for your entry. Avoid her as long as you may but inevitably she’d get to you and fire off her verbal volley, “My my. You’ve gained a few pounds since last year, haven’t you?” Or “So you’re out of work I hear?” Or “What happened to your hair?”

Painfully honest, tactlessly direct and the trouble was – she was absolutely right. I had gained weight in the previous year. I was “between” jobs. And don’t ask about my hair. Just don’t. She was there to let you know what in your life “wasn’t better” since last time you saw her.

At least Aunt Margaret was civil and dressed appropriately for the event. Prophet Micah howls like a jackal and strolls through town in nothing but a bad attitude (verse 8). And he didn’t go away for a whole year. He kept walking up and down the city streets telling everyone the painful truth. I bet they ran when he was approaching and never invited him to anything – ever!

While we may not like to hear what our aunt says, it may be that we need to hear the truth. We can shut our doors to keep out the prophet when what we should do is let the Lord show us what He wants to change about us. Thankfully we have Jesus, His grace and the Holy Spirit to empower us to be transformed into who He wants us to be.

So open the door and invite Aunt Margaret and Crazy Prophet Micah in for lunch. Let’s face our situation and see what Jesus can do with what we got.

Blog — June 24

In chapter 8, Isaiah testified that the strong hand of the Lord was upon him to warn him not to follow those in disobedience. Disobedience to God always ends up by destroying lives. That is not what God desires. He wants to be a holy place for His people. Isaiah said, “I will wait for Lord … I will put my trust in Him, here am I” in contrast to those who refused to fear God. Follow Isaiah’s example of waiting on the Lord. Put your trust in Him. Be available to God. Doing so frees one from fear.

In chapter 9 we see that those in great darkness experienced a great light. Verses 6 and 7 say, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.” We know that Isaiah is describing Christ, who will have a government. Every government was laws. Christ is the head of government, sometimes called “the kingdom of God.” Are you in submission to His rule? Those under His authority enjoy peace without end. They have a light to walk through the darkest paths. God wants to light your way.

Then, in chapter 11 Isaiah describes a branch from the root of Jesse (the lineage of David). The branch is a description of Christ and how one day we will enjoy his presence. Verse 10 says, “His resting place will be glorious.” It is impossible to fully imagine the joy and peace the people of God will experience with Him.

The scriptures for today call us to focus on obedience to God so we can go to his holy place, through dark places to come to His resting place. He is building a lighted highway for his people to come into His presence. It will be glorious.

Blog — June 23

We’ve probably all seen the t-shirts that say, “Keep Calm and Chive On.” I’m not sure what that means, nor do I really care. But I do know that Isaiah 7:4 was not only spoken for King Ahaz, but also for me! “…keep calm and don’t be afraid.” And I do care about that.

Isaiah chapter 7 can be broken down into three sections: words of encouragement (v. 1-9), the sign of Immanuel (v. 10-16), and the prediction of the destruction of the land by the Assyrians (v. 17-25). Israel and Judah had split and Israel aligned with Aram to fight against Jerusalem. But they could not overpower it (v.1). However Ahaz, King of Judah and his people were afraid (v.2). Isaiah was sent by God to reassure Ahaz and the people of Judah. God even said he will give a sign to Ahaz (v. 11) – anything he asks! Ahaz responded in v. 12, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.” At first, I think this is a good answer. But upon closer examination, Ahaz was not exercising faith; he was trying to avoid the whole thing! Since Ahaz did not believe, God went ahead with a sign and it was not good news for Ahaz.

But for the Christian believer, we share in the prophetic word of the birth of the Messiah (verse 14). This is just one of the over 300 prophecies fulfilled by Jesus Christ. The Lord asks us to have faith in Him, even when we are in crisis. God sent His one and only Son to die for us. He has promised to lead us, guide us, direct us, save us! But we have to do our part – simply believe. We must exercise our faith. So, when crises do come our way, we need to:

KEEP

CALM

and

BELIEVE!

Blog — Little disciples

“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior…” (Psalm 25:4-5).

TC hosts our annual Vacation Bible School this week, June 22-26, from 6:30-9:00 pm each evening. Our children are a gift from God and we have the responsibility to teach them about their Creator and Savior. If you have children entering grades K-6 (or a potty-trained TC Preschooler) we encourage you to bring them and their friends, your grandchildren or neighborhood children. What greater lesson can they learn than Jesus’ love for them.

Prayer support is key to the success of this endeavor so even if you don’t have children attending, you can participate!

Blog — June 19

But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense” (2 Chronicles 26:16).

When you read through the history of Uzziah’s reign, it sounds like a resume for “King of the Century.” Although only sixteen years old when he became king, his reign was one of unqualified success after success – as long as he “sought the Lord” [2 Chronicles 26:5].

He defeated the Philistines and destroyed their cities. He built towers in Jerusalem. He built a strong army and supplied them. “His fame spread as far as the border of Egypt, because he had become very powerful” (2 Chronicles 26:8).

But as Uzziah became more powerful, he also became more prideful. All of us like to have success in our ventures, whether they are business or family or church related. But the challenge with success is that you begin to feel pride in the achievements you have “earned” through your intelligence, skill or hard work.

Sometimes pride causes you to stubbornly continue in a direction even when you know it is wrong. For whatever reason, Uzziah began to believe that he was worthy of taking on the office of the priests. Uzziah knew very well that offering incense to the Lord was one of the priestly duties. Yet, when the priests reprimanded him “Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry” (2 Chronicles 26:19a).

Do we become angry when we are denied that promotion or increase in responsibility or even answer to prayer? Do we begin to tell ourselves that we deserve this because we have worked hard and done well?

God punished Uzziah severely as a result of his pride. As we look back over our successes of this day, week or year, let’s ask God to remove any pride in our own abilities and remember that all our achievements only come through the blessing of God. Let’s remember to “seek the Lord” in order to have success.