In I Kings 13 a prophet of God who was told by God not to eat bread or drink water at a certain place. But another lying prophet told the prophet of God the he was to go to his house to eat bread and drink water. The prophet of God obeyed the other prophet instead of obeying what God had told him directly. The prophet of God lost his life to a lion on his way back home. We are responsible to God for knowing and obeying God’s Word to us—not for obeying someone else’s “word” for us.
I love the words of King David on his death bed to his son Solomon as he becomes the king, “So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires.” I love these words for other people! But these words are for me. In times of transition and temptation, it is all the more important to be strong, be men, and be obedient to God. Craig Groeschel writes, “You are only as strong as you are honest.” Show yourself a man tells me to be brave—not passive or wimpy when it comes to character.
Jesus prays his High Priestly Prayer for his disciples in John 17:14. From this verse we talk about being in the world, but not of the world. It means that while we live here, we are to think and act like Jesus. But Jesus says the disciples are not of the world any more than He is of the world! Jesus was radically different from the world and from worldly church leaders (Pharisees and Sadducees). May the Lord help us to be in and actively involved in the world and remarkably different at the same time!
This is the time of year we celebrate graduations. Discipline was the bridge between the goal of graduating and the achievement of graduation. But now it is time to move on to other significant goals. Blogger Robert Brault said, “We are kept from our goal not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal.” Discipline keeps us from getting sidetracked. One of Zig Ziglar’s great quotes was “People do not wander around then find themselves at the top of Mount Everest. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Aim and practice discipline!
I was reminded this week of just how much things change when I assumed something was just like it was thirty years ago! How silly and irresponsible of me! The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “You can’t step into the same river twice.” There is a continual current of change happening all around us. We need to stay abreast of those changes and understand them. At the same time there has to be solid foundation in our lives that never changes. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” That’s the solid rock.
A key verse of Ezekiel is found in 22:30: “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” Princes, priests and prophets committed sins toward God and toward the most vulnerable of people. They practiced extortion, robbery, and oppression. God looked for someone who would pray on behalf of Jerusalem and the land, but he could find none. Ezekiel prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem. God still looks for those who will pray!
Yesterday was the National Day of Prayer. The Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 urges “requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” In recent months, God has been nudging me to make prayer for the President and all our national leaders a higher priority. Timothy says this kind of prayer pleases God “who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” The national day of prayer is to last all year.