Monthly Archives: November 2017

2 Chronicles 21-24; The Reign of Joash

What do you read? Who do you listen to? Where are you on Sunday mornings? The answers to these questions are extremely important.

Joash did a lot of good as king of Judah. He rebuilt the temple, returned the people to worshiping God, destroyed the temple of Baal and killed Baal’s priest. There was quite a revival among the Jews during the first years of Joash’s reign. During those years the king stayed close to Jehoiada, the priest of God. He listened to Jehoiada’s counsel, and did good in the eyes of the Lord.

But Jehoiada died. And things went downhill from there. Joash stepped out on his own, and sin reared its ugly head.

Is there someone in your life who holds you accountable in your walk with the Lord? Someone who prays for and with you, someone with whom you talk about what God is teaching you, then checks to be sure what you are learning is true according to Scripture? Are you in God’s Word every day, reading and listening as you pour over its precious pages? Do you stand with a congregation of people each week, serving and worshiping God as He deserves?

Or do you think you can live this Christian life on your own? If that is your attitude, I would challenge you to read Joash’s story here in 2 Chronicles, then rethink your position. Good things happened as long as Joash was partnering with a godly man. Read for yourself what happened when the king lost that influence.

As I was writing this, the thought occurred to me that I have the responsibility and the privilege of being a Jehoiada to someone else. It’s a two way street. I need someone who will keep me in check, and I need to reach out to someone who needs me for the same reason.

May all of us walk in Truth, hand in hand, strong and determined to be the Church God wants us to be.


2 Chronicles 17-20; Praise Changes Things

When I read Jehoshaphat’s story I am always struck by the unusual battle plan God laid out for Judah. A vast army was approaching, and the kingdom was in big trouble. The people fasted and prayed, then God told them to go toward the battle, but they would win the war without fighting.

So Judah’s army marched down into the valley to face their enemy. But the army wasn’t lead by fierce warriors on sturdy horses. The army was lead by…

the choir.

The singers lead the soldiers armed for battle, singing praises to God. “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.”

Read for yourself what happens next. God is amazing.

Is praising God so important? I bet most of you in the US took a moment last week to thank God for something. It’s what we do once a year before we gorge ourselves with turkey and stuff.

But what about praising God today? The cancer diagnosis hasn’t changed. Your loved one is still dead. Your job is still frustrating. Your marriage is still unhappy. You might tell yourself you have nothing to praise God for.

Praise Him anyway.

Jehoshaphat’s choir didn’t sing about the war, they sang about God. They took their eyes off the seemingly impossible situation, and looked instead toward God. And that’s what I think God would have us consider today.

When those thoughts begin to creep in and tell us how hard our lives are, how unhappy we are, how things are just not fair, we need to quote a psalm, sing a praise song or hymn that points us to our Heavenly Father.

There is no room for self-pity when we are praising God.

Let’s face it. Some of us hate this time of year. Loneliness is more pronounced. Shattered families are more hurtful. Some people feel the hopelessness of their situation more deeply this time of year, when everyone seems to smile and wish us “Happy Holidays.”

Praise God. Not just a quick, Thanks, but a sincere, heartfelt praise to the One who loves you more than you know, the One who is the giver of all good things, who wants to comfort you, strengthen you, hold you up, and forgive you. He is worthy of our praise.

If you read Jehoshaphat’s story, you’ll find out the Jews enjoyed a decisive victory that day without lifting a finger. They were blessed beyond what they could have imagined, when they started the day praising God.

Praise God, dear one. Your circumstances might not change. But you will. And you will be blessed beyond what you can imagine.

2 Chronicles 14-16; Not A Happy Ending

I hate it when a movie or book ends badly. The star-crossed lovers remain star-crossed, or the hero dies, or Rhett walks away from Scarlett. Have you ever wanted to throw your shoe at the TV or chuck your book into the fireplace? I have. In fact, if I wasn’t holding the Holy Word in my hand, I might want to toss it out the window after reading Asa’s story.

Asa, son of Abijah, king of Judah, was a good king. Asa did what was good and right in the eye of the Lord his God. (14:2) And because of his obedience, no one wanted to go to war with him during three years of his reign. God gave Asa and the Jewish nation rest. The blessings of obedience!

But something happened in the thirty-sixth year of his reign. For whatever reason, King Asa struck out alone, forsaking God. Did he get too comfortable in his relationship with God? Did he become prideful? Was Asa more interested in what people thought than what God demanded?

Scripture doesn’t tell us why. It only tells us this man of God chose badly, and paid consequences for it.

Dear one, guard your heart. Listen to what God told Asa, “The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” (15:2)

Hear him say the same thing to you today.


2 Chronicles 11-13; Not Blessed

There is a repeated theme in Scripture: Obey God and be blessed. Disobey God and He will remove His blessing.

Rehoboam’s life demonstrates this truth. He and the Jews over which he ruled enjoyed three years of peace and prosperity when they were following God.

But I can almost hear you. “I am a Chrstian. I live for God. I pray. Yet I struggle. Where’s my blessing?”

I’m going to say something you might not want to hear, something you probably already know: God never promised we wouldn’t struggle. In fact, He told us to expect hardship. They hated Him. They persecuted Him. And Jesus said we can expect the same.

Remember our enemy is not flesh and blood. It’s not the landlord who is threatening eviction because you don’t have rent money. It’s not the thug who sells drugs to your daughter, or the boss who refuses to give you the promotion you deserve. Our enemy is Satan who delights in making us miserable.

Satan loves to get our eyes off Jesus, and focused on that person who hurt us, or that difficult situation we are facing. He loves to hear us questioning God, or considering chucking it all and living like the world when the world seems to have it all.

When we read things like Rehoboam’s story we might be tempted to believe a right relationship with God equals easy living. It worked for Rehoboam. Why not me?

Because God wants to give you more than just temporary comfort. What comes out of a right relationship with God? Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

You can’t buy that stuff.

When you have that precious relationship with God, you have encouragement like what we find in Romans 8:31: If God is for us, who can be against us?

What about Hebrews 13:5? Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:19, But my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory.

The Bible is filled with promises like these for those of us who have confessed our sin, and accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord. However, you might be tempted to say, “It’s easy for you to say, Connie. You had money to pay the bills this month.” And I did.

I know many of you are going through unspeakable hardships. Health issues. Money problems. Family heartache. Persecution. And more. I will not promise you that a right relationship with God will erase the troubles in your life.

But I am suggesting that, even in the midst of the darkest days, you are blessed if you know Jesus. Don’t miss it. Don’t allow Satan to steal your joy, or your peace, or your confidence in the One who loves you and gave Himself for you. Don’t let Satan blind you from seeing the ways in which God, who does all things well, is working in your life and is standing with you in your troubles.

And I believe that God will open doors that can bring about a solution to your problem, maybe even perform a miracle on your behalf. You might get an unexpected check in the mail.

Or not. Obedience is not the ticket to getting what you want. It is the ticket to getting what God wants for us.

God delights in blessing us. But He can’t if we hold on to sin. Whether it’s during the days of Rehoboam or today in 2017, obedience = blessed. Disobedience = not blessed.

May we confess our sins, and be blessed.




2 Chronicles 8-10; Try A Little Tenderness

Rehoboam didn’t inherit the wisdom his father, King Solomon, had possessed. His first act as the newly crowned king of Israel split the nation in such a way that Jews became enemies of Jews. Rehoboam’s actions had consequences that were felt for generations. And it started with a word.

Play the tough guy, Rehoboam, so people respect you. Come down hard so they obey you.

I wonder how Israel’s history would read if Rehoboam had replied to Jeroboam with a little kindness.

I don’t know what position of authority you hold. You might be a preacher, a CEO of a large company, or a small one. You might be the shift manager at a fast food restaurant, a parent, a teacher, the captain of your HS football team. I would suggest we all take a lesson from Rehoboam.

Ruling with an iron fist, making sure people know they are under your thumb, does not encourage loyalty. Oh, they may obey you while looking for another job, or counting the days until they can get out of your house. But rest assured, more likely than not they will leave you the minute they can.

Authority doesn’t have to be mean. Taking a stand doesn’t mean beating people into submission. A person can be firm and kind at the same time.

“You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Not sure why anyone would go fly-hunting, but I get it. Treat people the way you want them to treat you, goes for the workers and the bosses, the children and the parents, the parishioners and the pastor.

Rehoboam’s story tells me meanness divides. Try a little tenderness.


2 Chronicles 1-7; Temple Building

I understand that the magnificent temple Solomon built for the Lord here in 2 Chronicles stood for a little over 400 years before it was destroyed. For those of us who live in a country about 241 years old, 400 years seems pretty impressive.

But I was in Switzerland a few months ago and explored a building built in 866. It’s still in use today. That’s 1,151 years that structure has been standing. Puts Solomon’s temple in perspective.

What happened? Why couldn’t God protect this amazing temple?

As we continue to read Israel’s history as recorded in Scripture, we’ll find the answer: Disobedience.

It’s not that God couldn’t protect His temple. It’s that He wouldn’t if His people rejected Him. God’s promises for blessing are conditional. (7:19-22)

So, New Testament Christian, how’s your temple? Is it as magnificent, as beautiful in God’s eyes, a place where He delights in dwelling? Or are you beginning to show signs of decay? Is the enemy closing in?

I want this temple called Connie to last for eternity. I want God’s Presence to fill me, and cause me to worship Him with every minute He gives me. I want His Presence to be visible, and point people to Jesus by the way I live, the things I say and do, and by my faith in the Holy God.

May God’s residence on earth, this earthly temple I wear, be fit for the King He is.


I Chronicles 26-29; That’s What Friends Are For

I was reading all the names of David’s chief officers, overseers, and counselors, and was struck that buried in the list of assignments was “the king’s friend.” (27:33) Hushai the Arkite’s position as friend is right up there with Joab, commander of the royal army.

Do you remember Hushai’s story? I went back and re-read 2 Samuel 15-16 and reminded myself that Hushai took on a dangerous assignment when he infiltrated Absalom’s inner circle in order to spy on the son of David, and thwart his attempt to steal the throne away from David. Hushai was that loyal to David. And David trusted Hushai that much.

I can see why David considered Hushai’s friendship an important position in his kingdom.

God has blessed me with some pretty good friendships, too. My forever friends are my sisters. So thankful for their love, and support through the years.

Other wonderful friends have blessed my life for a season, then for various reasons have moved on. I have dear friends in Ohio, and others here in Georgia.

I spent yesterday with four of my friends who live on this island and who worship with me at our church. We went to a quaint little town, browsed the shops, and had lunch. We solved the world’s problems, and laughed like silly school-girls all in one wonderful day. We call ourselves The Fabulous Five, or The Little Old Church Ladies depending on what kind of trouble we’re getting into together. I think yesterday was a fabulous day.

As I think about friendships I find myself considering what these, and other women have to offer me, how they have blessed me, encouraged me, held me accountable. But then God nudged me to consider what kind of friend I am to them.

Do I take more than give? Do I wait for them to call me? Do I go out of my way to stand with them when they need it? How much of myself do I share with them?

God created us to be relational. We are people who need people. (someone should write a song). What a privilege it is to be an extension of God’s love for a friend by loving that friend in a tangible way.

Thank You for friendships, God. I see so many examples in Your Word about the importance of friends. David and Jonathan, David and Hushai, Jesus and John, and Peter, and James, Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Continue to speak to me about my friendships, and help me to be the kind of friend that honors You, and blesses them.