To honor God in my writings

Archive for July, 2014

Jeroboam 2

In Jeroboam’s life, we saw how he led the northern kingdom of Israel to idolatry. He made a bad decision in order to secure the kingdom for himself and did not put his faith on God’s promised blessing.

Despite of his mistake and disobedience, God gave him a second chance by sending a prophet with a powerful message (1 Kings 13:1-3) – He gave a prophecy about the future and the altar broke in half as the prophet said. But instead of falling prostrate to God’s power, he ordered for the arrest of the prophet which in turn displayed another miracle – his hand shriveled up.

At this, Jeroboam decided to plead for mercy and restoration which the prophet of God did and so his hand was restored.

Could this be the act that would call him to repentance and turn back to the Almighty God? Sadly, no. He still did not repent nor put his faith in God. He even tried to bribe the prophet by inviting him to his house and offering him a gift.

Could have the king forgotten about God’s promise or call to him because he was busy with his career? Again, no. In chapter 14 when his son became ill, he sent his wife to Ahijah, the prophet who prophesied about his kingship. So he knows and is again reminded of God’s call and God’s sovereignty in making him the king. He was given another chance to make the right choice. Yet, he did not heed God’s word or God’s mercy. He hardened his heart and continued with his idolatrous ways.

Chapter 13 ended with “Even after this, Jeroboam did not change his evil ways…This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall…” (verse 33, 34).

What are the things that we can learn from this episode?
1. REALIZE:
God is a God of second (and even n-th) chances. He is merciful. He is patient with us and He desires that no one perish but for everyone to come to repentance. God used bad circumstances to wake us up and call us back to him. We are reminded that when we are living in sin, God disciplines those whom He loves.

2. REPENT:
When we encounter God’s rebuke and mercy, let us not harden our hearts and continue on in our sin. Turn back to His loving arms and receive His forgiveness, accept his restoration and be made new again. Just as in the scenario of the prodigal son, returning with rugged clothes and dirty body.  He was received with open arms, restoration of sandals, robe, and ring. He was accepted, cleansed, and restored to his position as a son.

I appeal to you to stop hiding, stop running, and come back to God’s loving embrace. So you will be able to live with joy that overflows from within.

3. ABIDE:
Abide in Him. Start doing what is right. Obey His commands, follow his laws and decrees. Read His word and learn about them, His promises, and His will for you – A plan not to harm you but He desires to prosper you and bless you, and give you hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

Prayer:
Thank you God for your mercies that never ends. Thank you for the unending love that you have for us. We praise you because you are the Almighty God and you are in control. Yet you take note of us, you care for us, and love us that you desire that we draw near to you.

Holy Spirit move in our hearts, soften it and make it tender again. Far be it from us that we harden our hearts and continue with our foolish ways. Convict us of our sins and help us to repent and break-free from the bondage of sin. Help us to desire to learn about You, your truths, your ways, and your promises.

We thank you for Jesus dying on the cross to pay for our sins, rising again from the dead after 3days. It is through You that all things are made possible. We surrender our lives to You, make it whole and new again. In Jesus name, amen.

Jeroboam

Why did God allow Jeroboam to be the king of Israel when he led them to idolatry?

God promised Jeroboam an enduring dynasty. He gave him a very large portion of the kingdom. He was given the same conditional blessing by God – i will bless you if you keep my decrees and obey my laws. 1 Kings 11:37-38 NIV “However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. If you do whatever I command you and walk in obedience to me and do what is right in my eyes by obeying my decrees and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you.”

This is a test that came to Jeroboam. God was developing his faith, teaching him to trust in Him and God was showing him how real He is in our lives here on earth, that He is in control of the future.

Through the prophecy (1 Kings 11:29-31), God was showing Jeroboam that He is in control and He knows the future. Jeroboam experienced this when the prophecy was fulfilled. Indeed after some time, he became the king of the 10 tribes of Israel.

Sadly, Jeroboam did not respond in faith to God’s promise but he responded to the insecurities that he had (1Kings 12:26-28). In the  spiritual realm, he believed in the lies of Satan – that they needed to make gods so that his kingdom will be secure for him. What a great sin it was that lead to the downfall of northern Israel. The northern kingdom was never able to overcome this “idolatric” bondage.

We may be quick to judge Jeroboam and we may even question God’s omniscience or sovereignty: Why did God allow Jeroboam to sin against Him if He knew this would happen? Again the thin border or predestination and the will of man. Each of us have a choice. We are all presented with crossroads in our lives, whether we will believe and put our faith in God or will we live life for ourselves with our own agenda. We face these moments: to choose to sin and succumb to temptations or choose righteousness and holiness in this sinful and perverse generation.

I do pray, that God would give us wisdom to obey Him, a faith that will trust Him, and most of all, a heart that will love Him. Indeed, we praise God for His mercy towards us, His faithfulness, and His unending love for us manifested on the Cross of Jesus. He died so that we might live, so that we can receive forgiveness for our sins. Praise be to God. Let us put our faith in Him because He first loved us.

God bless you all.

Fathering Flaws from Great Men of Faith 2

David and Modeling

David acquired more and more wives and concubines. He acted on his impulse specially with his sexual desires (1 Sam 25:42-43 marrying Abigail and Ahinoam, aside from his first wife Michal, daugter of Saul.)  This happened again in 2 Sam 11 with Bathsheba: he saw her, desired her, inquired about her, invited her and had sex with her despite knowing that she was already married. In 2 Sam 5:13, it says “After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him.”

So we begin to see David’s weakness with women and with sex. He did not exercise self-control nor restrained his desires. Sad to say, his children followed his example: Amnon raped his half-sister, Tamar, whom he thought he “loved” (2 Sam 13).  Solomon following and topping off his father’s record got 700wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3) which led to his downfall.

It is so difficult for these children of David to grow without any father figure. Moreover, you can see your dad having sex with different women as he so chooses, degraded women in their sight. Modelling to them that as a leader or a man of power, they can do anything they wanted and by any means they thought of.

Our actions speaks louder than words – MODELLING. In my experience, my authoritarian parenting style coupled with my strictness and high expectation often results in my anger being modeled to my children. Guess what i passed on unintentionally? My son also displays anger in dealing with his younger sister. In return, her sister shouts at him. They learned to use expressions like “Hoy!” Or “lousy!” We end up correcting them with what we have modelled to them unintentionally.

My life of anger is a process, that i continue to surrender to God day by day, praying and looking to God for transformation. As i learned from pastor Peter Tanchi last Sunday, we need to respond and not react through an acronym PRAY:
Pause
Resist the initial impulse
Ask God for help
Yield to God’s Spirit.

ACTION POINTS:
1. Invest Time

By God’s grace, the children have been growing well, still happy and smiley as we continue to bond and spend time loving them and having fun with them.

2. Be Humble

I talk and apologize to my son every now and then, telling him that “dad and mom are not perfect and God wants us to love one another – to be gentle and kind, not to shout and be angry.”

3. Pray For God’s Empowering

“Dad and mom are trying our best too and we continue to pray that God’s Spirit help us make right choices.”

Fathering Flaws from Great Men of Faith

David (2 Samuel 11-14)

We know that David is a man after God’s own heart. But even in his success, he sinned against God and had a weakness for women. He acquired more and more wives. One that displeased the Lord was how he got Bathsheba – through murder. So his consequence was the sword will never cease to devour in your own house.

Indeed, this came true with Amnon and Absalom. David was a very wise and discerning king. He seek God’s advice for every actions that he took when he was going to war. Could it be that David backslided? How come in regards to his family affair, he was not seeking God. In his relationships he did not seek God’s will – like what to do with Amnon’s sin of raping his half-sister, Tamar. What to do with Absalom for murdering his half-brother, Amnon. He wasn’t even bothered if he did not see his son Absalom for many years. He longed for him but did not bring him back. When he brought him back courtesy of Joab’s idea, he didn’t go see him for 2 years as well.

Could it be that David has backslidden or he has compartmentalize his life about seeking God’s will with nation’s affairs but not family affairs? This reminds us of the value to seek God’s will specially in terms of our relationship and family – dispensing discipline, justice, involvement, and most important of all love. Maybe he was too busy and had too many families to be able to mind them and be involved in rearing them up. We can see that David had a weakness in being a great father despite him being a great king and leader. It reminds us that even as we succeed in our careers and earn a lot of money but if we didn’t invest our time with our families they will be led astray. They might even just squander our riches foolishly.

It is never too late to correct this problem though it may not be easy. Teens will have their own agendas and groups that they don’t want to spend time with us anymore. But through repentance, prayer, and God’s grace there is hope for restoration and reconciliation.

As parents, you have the first move of reconciliation, will you take it? Will you humble yourself and ask God and our children for forgiveness of our shortcomings and sin of neglect?