3/10: Where Does Your Security Come From?

2 Kings 15:8-16

Observation/Reflection:
After Zechariah became king of Israel and was still continuing in sin, he was assasinated by Shallum who was assasinated by Menahem. God has removed His protection around the kings as they have abandoned God and refused to keep His commandments. This reminded me of Ps 121 which talks about God’s help and His protection for those who look to Him. It is a stark contrast between what is happening to the kings and to the psalmist.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.”
– Ps 121 (NLT)

Prayer:
Dear God, watch over me as I serve you, watch over my brothers and sisters who serve you faithfully. Keep us from harm and let us always look to you for our help.

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29/8: Hope within Despair

2 Kings 7:3-8

Reflection:
#surrender – I see a contrast with the four men and king Joram. These four men were in a desperate situation and they could see that they were helpless so they wanted to surrender to the Arameans. However, for king Joram he did not surrender to God nor the Arameans but yet wanted to kill Elisha.
http://pastorrick.com/devotional/english/surrender-let-go-and-let-god-work_993

Application:
Learn to surrender to God. Are there times where we try to manipulate others, force my agenda or control the situation? Or do we rely on God to work things out? I am reminded to let go and let God work in His time and not be impatient to see results and growth in others.

26/8: Without Self-Reflection

2 Kings 6:24-31

Reflection/Application:
It was a terrible thing that happened in Samaria. The king of Israel was willing to sacrifice his own son in exchange for his own life, and he thought that the woman would give up her son too but that woman loved her son so much that she would rather risk her life than to eat her own son. Instead of reflecting upon his own sins and selfishness, the king blamed Elisha for what happened and wanted to kill him instead.

It is easy for us to blame others for our own faults and mistakes. It is more difficult to own up and take responsibility for it. Let us learn to do that, not that we condemn ourselves, but in knowing that we do fail and not being afraid to face it and seek grace from God to overcome it rather than blaming.

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.” – Matt 7:1-5 (MSG)

 

25/8: Not Emotions But God’s Way

2 Kings 6:18-23

Reflection:
It’s amazing how Elisha asked the king of Israel to not kill the enemies but prepare food and water for them. But we see the effects of the action as the bands from Aram stopped raising Israel’s territory. Our God is merciful in that “He does not punish us for all our sins; does not deal harshly with us as we deserve” (Ps 103:10). Elisha showed the kind of love that God wants for this world.

“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
– Matt 5:43-48 (MSG)

We need to realize that loving our enemy is something that we cannot do apart from God. We need God’s love to do it. We need faith in God to believe that it is the best thing to do. We need hope in God to know that God will work it out for our good and our enemies good. The command to love your enemies is not because Jesus is trying to make things difficult for us. Jesus is challenging us to depend solely on God, and see how He can make all things possible.

24/8: Open My Eyes to See

2 Kings 6:18-23

Reflection/Application:
“Don’t be afraid”, “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” – 2 Kings 6:16b
“Open up our eyes to the things unseen” – Hosanna, Hillsong Worship

I’m not sure whether Elisha could see the army of God and that’s why he’s not afraid, or because he’s not afraid and that’s why he could see the army of God. Nevertheless, what I’m sure of is that he has faith that God is on His side.

“If God is for us, who can be against us?”
– Rom 8:31 NIV

Let us learn to see through the eyes of faith in everything that we do. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Even if we face problems, difficulties, hardships, persecution, God loves us and is with us and for us. Help us to face life with the eyes of faith and to know that we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us.

22/8: Consequences of Deception and Greed

2 Kings 5:21-27

Reflection/Application:
Greed – Today the passage talks about the greed of Gehazi bringing about dishonour to God in his actions. Elisha already rejected what Naaman wanted to give to him, yet Gehazi lied to get the 1 talent of silver from Naaman and 2 sets of clothing. The consequence of his action was that he was afflicted with leprosy by God.

What are we greedy for today? Money, attention, friends, popularity, material things, promotion. Do we do everything we can to get these things? Comparison is usually the starting point for greed. It then leads to envy or jealousy and then we start to think of how to get what we want.

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” – 1 Tim 6:10

The verse warns us against love of money. If we love anything more than God, it would be easy for us to wander from the faith and be grieved by many things. God is asking us today to hunger and thirst for Him.

“Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.” – Matt 5:6

Application:
Learn to actively seek Jesus who gives me right standing with God. Seeking Jesus means to follow Him, and to be filled by Him and His Word. Matt 5:6 says in that I will be completely satisfied.

21/8: The Confession of the Weak

2 Kings 5:15-20

Reflection:/Application:
As this story progress, I was reminded of the servant girl who was not even named in the bible, yet she was the one who brought Naaman to God. Through this experience, Naaman realized that “there is no God in all the word except in Israel.” Naaman was a commander of the whole army of the king of Aram and held great power yet her faith in God was the way in which God used to bring Naaman to Him.

Faith is the channel in which God brings about miracles, healing, restoration, and blessings. In the NT, we can see numerous incidents where Jesus healed people because of the faith they had in God. And in Matt 13:58 how He did not do many miracles there (in Bethelehem) because of their lack of faith.

Let us learn to challenge and grow our faith in God, to believe for greater things. I am believing for a greater unity in our church, unity that is not just at the surface, but one that is so rooted in love. I am believing for people to not be complacent about their spiritual walk and to be proactive about their own spiritual growth. I am believing for a generation of people that will rise up to move our church to realize our potential.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1
Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you” – Matthew 9:29
“And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” – Matthew 13:58