God is so good and merciful. He gives us opportunity after opportunity to repent and return to worshiping Him and Him alone. He had blessed all of Israel with forty years of peace and wealth beyond measure. Yet, here they were, back to worshiping idols. God had split the kingdom into Israel, the northern kingdom and Judah, the southern kingdom because of the iniquities of the people. Rehoboam, the son of Solomon was the king of the southern kingdom and reigned in Judah from Jerusalem. For a while, he was faithful to God, but then, he returned to idol worship and God sent Shishak and the Egyptian army to destroy Judah. After Shishak had taken the fortified towns in Judah, he advanced on Jerusalem. The king and the leaders of the people in Jerusalem humbled themselves so God did not allow Shishak to destroy Jerusalem, but He did allow Shishak to take all the wealth from Jerusalem and made the inhabitants his servants. God saw that there were still some good things in the land of Judah, so He relented. We need to pray that God will see that there are still some good things in our country and not destroy us yet. We need to pray that we and our leaders will humble ourselves under the mighty hand of the one true and Almighty God. We have had our warnings, let us pray fervently that God continues to show His great mercy and compassion on this nation. “The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Over the centuries, Christians have received a lot of criticism because many have tried to predict the time when Jesus will return. Jesus specifically told us in His Word that no one but the Father knew the day and the hour. Even so, it is our eternal hope and we look forward expectantly for His return. It is certainly true that regardless of when, we know that the completion of our salvation “is nearer now than when we first believed”. We don’t need to waste our time and energy on trying to figure out when Jesus will return. We don’t need to waste out time trying to gratify the flesh which can never get enough. Yes, everyone needs to earn a living and take care of those things that God has made us stewards over, But, and much more importantly, we need to spend a lot more of the time God has allotted us here on earth in worshiping God, praising God and disciplining others to be ready at all times. We are never on neutral ground, we are in a war zone constantly. We need to fight the good fight clothed with the armor of God and the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.”— Hebrews 10:36, 37 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
24 We must also consider how to encourage each other to show love and to do good things. 25 We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming. 26 If we go on sinning after we have learned the truth, no sacrifice can take away our sins. 27 All that is left is a terrifying wait for judgment and a raging fire that will consume God’s enemies. 28 If two or three witnesses accused someone of rejecting Moses’ Teachings, that person was shown no mercy as he was executed.—Hebrews 10:24-28 (GW)
If we are going to encourage one another, then we need to pray for each other and also we need to pray together. We need to meet with other Christians on a regular basis. Worshiping and praising God together is a great way to encourage each other. If we fail to communicate with other Christians on a regular basis, we tend to become discouraged in our walk with God. One of satan’s tactics is to separate us from each other. He uses the same tactics as animals that are predators. They separate one of the prey from the herd and it is much easier for them to kill the one they have separated. After all, satan is a “roaring lion” seeking those he can destroy. We must work together and be accountable to God and each other so that we don’t go on sinning. It is a good idea to have someone you respect and trust to be accountable to on a weekly basis. Just knowing that you are going to have to tell someone everything you did this week will help you to overcome temptations.
1 This letter is from Paul, a prisoner for preaching the Good News about Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. I am writing to Philemon, our beloved co-worker, 2 and to our sister Apphia, and to our fellow soldier Archippus, and to the church that meets in your house. 3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 4 I always thank my God when I pray for you, Philemon, 5 because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people. 6 And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. 7 Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.–Philemon:1-7 (NLT)
This passage of scripture from Paul to Philemon is certainly appropriate for Independence Day. It is a great reminder to us of the privilege we have of worshiping God without fear here in the United States. We have so many freedoms that family, friends, and neighbors have fought and died to preserve. Remember to pray for our servicemen wherever they may be today. As Paul thanked God for Philemon’s service in allowing the church to meet at his house, let us thank God for the freedom to meet wherever we choose to worship God. Also, pray for our brothers and sisters all over the world who are in prisons today simply because they refused to deny that Jesus Christ is their Savior. Pray that God will give them joy and comfort whatever their situation might be.