Archive for the ‘1 Kings’ Category



October 14, 2014

“And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.” 1 Kings 4:29-30

What is the function of a conjunction?

Volumes surround me; books standing in perpetual attention upon my shelves, clothed in dusty neglect. Familiar titles call out to me:

Process Geomorphology
Organic Chemistry
Applied Numerical Methods
Differential Equations
Probability and Statistics
Corporate Finance
Cost Accounting



The intellect of generations and genius are contained within these tombs of knowledge. I once communed among their concepts. I excavated their principles and deciphered their puzzles. I cursed the forced regurgitation of their laws and theories, consumed in short bursts of intellectual gluttony. Yet, I proved to be competent as an educated man.

I have the diplomas to prove it.

However, each text has found a forsaken place on my office shelf; set aside in a head-long pursuit of a profession. Years have swept aside those inquisitive days of study.

Theory replaced by practice;
Integration and derivation yielding to empirical;
Schedule triumphing over intellectual indulgence.

These books have become more decoration than source. They are a reassurance to visitors that the diplomas and licenses that hang on my wall have a foundation. I have learned my profession through years of practice. Yet, I have lost something through the years. Specific knowledge has faded to general in many subjects; conceptual understanding has replaced hard achieved competence.

Knowledge is not perpetual…at least not in my mind.

I do not have the mind of Solomon but neither does anyone else. God gave Solomon a wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and a breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore. The limits of my wisdom and understanding are easily delineated in a game of “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader”, and the scarceness of my mind is more like the occasional sand dollar on the seashore than the sand.

The typical mind has a very limited capacity for the specific. Time erodes away a mind’s competence, when study is neglected, leaving a hollowed relic to the practical. The scores of educated adults who prove that they are not “smarter than a 5th grader” is testimony to our mind’s inability to retain knowledge absence the reinforcing power of study.

The surrender of the knowledge of a conjunction’s function may be a reasonable acquiescence to the pressures of a busy life.

What about the gospel?
Are you willing to surrender the knowledge of the gospel to the pressures of a busy life.

What is the function of the gospel?
Can you clearly present the gospel to someone who has no knowledge of it?

 The ability to clearly explain a principle is demonstration of competent, specific, knowledge of that principle. If you can only generally explain the gospel, it demonstrates a general knowledge.

We have been called to more.

God has revealed Himself through His Bible. We can know our Lord and Savior more and more through the study of His Word. This is why David delighted in God’s commandments and law. It is why David studied.

 Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. (Psalm 111:2)

 How are you doing studying the Bible?
Are you demonstrating your delight in God by studying His great works?

We must remember the minds we have been created with. We must remember that every moment that we spend away from the Word of God, time is eroding the razor edge of specific knowledge down to a blunt instrument of a general understanding. We must not acquiescence our time in God’s Word to the pressures of a busy life. We must not forget His Word.

 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. (Psalm 119:16)


PRAYER: Father, thank you for your Word.  Thank you for speaking to us perfectly even though we are imperfect.  Thank you for giving us everything that we need to follow you today.  Help me to glorify you from the place where I am today. Forgive me for thinking I need a special word from you. Teach me obedience in the everyday. Help me to live upon the nurturiousment of your Word, the Bible.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen








February 19, 2013

“And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”  1 Kings 18:21

A while back I strained my knee.  I was training a little too hard and my knee was informing me that I should tone it back a bit.  I don’t like being injured.  It makes you tentative.  While my knee was sore, I did not trust it.  I limped around and tried not to put too much weight on it.  It was weak and I was afraid that it would fail me if I put my full weight on it and forcefully pushed off.  I did not fully trust my sore knee so I limped around.

I wonder how many of us are limping around in our faith. 

Elijah got after the people of Israel because they were limping between two faiths.  They were hedging their bets.  They were not committing fully to either the God of Jacob or the gods of Baal.  They were limping between two opinions.  How many times have we been caught doing a similar thing?

How many times have we avoided the hard things in our faith?

How many times have we moved tentatively for Christ?

How many times has fear prevented us from giving what we are moved to give?

How long have we just limped along in our faith?

I think that one of the main reasons why we limp is due to trust.  We don’t really trust God so we move tentatively.  We are afraid of putting all of our eggs into God’s basket and pushing off.  What if it goes bad?  What if I have read the signs wrong?  What if …?

Ask yourself, “If the Lord is God, can He handle your what if?”  If the Lord is God, there is nothing that we need to be afraid of.  There is nothing that should make us tentative.  If the Lord is God, we can courageously and actively do God’s will.

I read a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer,

“Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.”

Avoiding sin is a very important part of our faith.  Avoiding sin is a commendable and indispensable part of every believer’s faith.  However, I wonder how many are limping along in a faith that is entailed entirely of sin avoidance.  We can become preoccupied with the nurturing of our own souls.  We move cautiously through this life for fear of our soul being damaged or challenged.

God has called us to a faith that is more than sin avoidance.  God has not called us to a tentative faith.

God has filled us with His Spirit.  His Spirit is our source of strength, confidence, and power.  Through His Spirit, we can follow Him actively and with courage.  There is no need to be tentative.  We can put all of our weight, all of our hopes, all of our concerns, all of our cares, all of our dreams on Him and through the Spirit, we can forcefully push-off in full confidence in God.

We can do that because the Lord is God.

Since the Lord is God, there is nothing we have to fear.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for showing me through your word that you are God.  Thank you for being faithful and trustworthy.  Lord, I know that I can rely upon you in all circumstances and that there is nothing that I have to fear.  Forgive me for losing sight of that at times.  Forgive me for being tentative because I misplace my trust.  It seems so foolish to place my trust in myself when I have you.  You are so much better than I am.  Father, fill me with you Spirit; enable me to walk in your Spirit.  Give me the confidence to boldly and courageously follow your will.     Amen


“SIN, Light” – Feb. 18

February 18, 2013

“And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him.  And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of  Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal King of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him.”  1 Kings 16:30-31

What does it take for actions that are “evil in the sight of the Lord” to become a “light thing”?

How does sin become common place?

Ahijah's prophesie to JeroboamThere are some who think that the Church harps far too much on sin.  “Fire and brimstone” is from a bygone age.  Christians who point out the sins of other people are often ridiculed for being up-tight or backwards.  They  are way too concerned about other people’s private lives.  They don’t understand the modern world.  Those types of Christians are regressing to the dark ages by focusing so much on sin.

The world that we live in does all that it can to normalize what is evil in the sight of the Lord and to make it a light thing.  Sin is not a light thing.

It is sin in the life a person that earns them God’s condemnation. That is a big thing.

The result of living in the flesh (sin) is death.  No one who is in the flesh can please God.   That is a big thing.

It was for sin that God sent His own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, to condemn sin in the flesh.  Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth for the purpose of condemning sin.  That is a really big thing.

Sin is a very big deal.  It was for your sin and my sin that Christ died on the cross.  What could be bigger than that?

I don’t like the fact that I can see some of my own attitude toward sin in a man like Ahab.  Ahab considered sin a light thing.  I have a tendency to down-play the magnitude of sin in my own life and the lives of other.  I think that it is a common attitude in the Church.  In comparing the Church to the rest of our society, I don’t see much difference.  I am disturbed by our comfort level with that which our Lord calls evil.

Ahab’s attitude toward sin did not originate with him.  Ahab came from a culture where sin had been normalized:

King Jeroboam – “but you have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods and metal images, provoking me to anger, and have cast me behind your back,…” (1 Kings 14:9)

King Nadab – “He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of his father, and his sin which he made Israel to sin.” (1 Kings 15:26)

King Baasha – “He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of Jeroboam and his sin which he made Israel to sin.” (1 Kings 15:34)

King Zimri – “because of his sins that he committed, doing evil in the sight of the Lord, walking in the way of Jeroboam,..” (1 Kings 16:19)

King Omri – “Omri did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did more than all who were before him.” (1 Kings 16:25)

Israel had a culture led by one king after another that treated sin lightly.  They disregarded what was evil in the sight of the Lord.

We live in a culture that is working very hard to normalize what is evil in the sight of the Lord.  I see so many professing Christians who are daily feeding on a buffet of content and entertainment that is seasoned throughout with what our Lord calls evil.  We willingly consume it without a second thought.  We are fools to think that a steady diet of evil does not affect what we consider to be normal.  Just consider the allowable topics in many Sunday sermons.  It is a sad reality that many actions, which the Bible clearly calls sin, cannot be taught in many pulpits and youth ministries because it is no longer considered that bad.  We don’t want to offend people with the magnitude of the evil in their lives. That is the result of years of evil being normalized into our lives.

Sin is a big deal.  When I down-play the magnitude of sin in my own life, I am equally down-playing the magnitude of the gospel.  I am undervaluing the supreme worth of the sacrifice of my Savior.  I am treating the greatest gift ever given as a stocking stuffer.

It is when we remember that sin is a really big deal that our passion for the lost is revived.  It is the greatest of tragedies to make a person comfortable in their own condemnation.  It is when we treat sin as a light matter that we can become indifferent to the eternal destination of those who are not in Christ Jesus.

I look at my own life and know that I take sin a lot lighter than I should.  I hate that.

I look at the lives of other professing Christians and see them taking sin a lot lighter than they should.  I hate that.

I hate that we flirt along the edges of what is evil in God’s eye and don’t think it is that it is a big deal.  I hate that we are numbed to the flagrant proliferation of evil in our society and we just take another bite.

Sin is a big deal.

The good news is that the Gospel is a bigger deal.  We have been saved.  Christ has condemned sin in our flesh.  Let’s take a big bite of that.  Let’s set our minds on the things of the Spirit.  Let’s reject all of those things of the flesh; all those things that the Lord calls evil, don’t allow your mind to be settle on all that this world is telling you is normal and natural.

All of that is not normal for a child of God.  Those who set their minds on what God calls sin will die.  Those who live according to the Spirit will set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  They will have peace and life!

What will you set your mind on today?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for saving me from the condemnation of my sin.  Thank you for sending your own Son to do what I could not do.  Forgive me for under-appreciating the magnitude of my sin.  Forgive me for treating sin lightly.  Father, give me your eyes to see sin as you do.  Lord, I pray for your Church.  May we take what you call evil as seriously as you do.  May we never be comfortable with what we have been saved from.  Lord, give us an understanding of man’s condition apart from you and motivate us with hearts of compassion to be your witnesses to the end of the earth.     Amen



February 14, 2013

“So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done.” I Kings 11:6

Education is the answer to our society’s problems.

That statement is often explicitly made or it is implied without question when leaders wrestle with the difficult blemishes of human communities.  Our communities are awash in violence, unkindness, hurt, heart-ache, lost dreams, and crushed hopes.  Education is the remedy in which many will place their confidence.

If people are informed, then they will be able to restrain themselves.

If people have better decision-making skills, then they will make better decisions.

If people know the consequences of their actions, then they will make right choices.

If people know the help that is available to them, then they will choose not to participate in destructive activities.

 I am not opposed to education.  I do believe that we should inform and educate individuals on the ramifications of their actions.  However, I think that we should be realistic about how effective education can ever be.  Our society’s problems are not due to social-economic conditions nor are they due to a lack of information.  Our society’s problems are due to a heart problem.

Education cannot solve a heart problem. 

Solomon was the smartest man ever.  People came from around the world to listen to his wisdom.  God educated Solomon on the cause-effect of his actions:

“And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules, then I will establish you royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your Father, saying, “You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.”  But if you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them, and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight, and Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all people.” (1 Kings 9:4-7)

That lesson seems pretty clear.  I don’t think that it is possible to misunderstand God’s lesson to Solomon.  Solomon was a smart man and he had a clear and concise lesson.  If education was the answer then Solomon would have made the right decision.   Solomon did not make the right decision.  “So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done.  Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem.” (1 Kings 11:6-7)

The man who was responsible for building the magnificent temple to Yahweh is at the end of his life building places of worship for false gods.  How can that be?  He is a person who knows better.  He is informed.  He knows simple cause-effect logic.  He wrote books on wisdom.  Yet, he makes these horrible decisions.

Education is always trumped by a rebellious heart.  Solomon proves that.

Romantic Heart form Love Seeds

Romantic Heart form Love Seeds (Photo credit:

Humans will always do what they love most.  Solomon loved women.  Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.  That is a man who loves women.  That is a man with a serious problem.  We are told that Solomon clung to these women in love.  He loved these women more than he loved God.  He was more concerned about pleasing these women than being obedient and pleasing to God.  He was willing to sacrifice his throne and the entire kingdom of Israel to have his appetite for women satisfied.  He gave up everything for what he loved the most.

Solomon’s rebellious heart trumped all his intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge.

We should not be foolish enough to think that we cannot go down the same road as Solomon.  Jesus told us that the greatest of all commandments, “you shall love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt. 22:37)  We must be careful of what we allow our hearts to love.

We should not miss what Jesus is teaching.  The most important thing that any follower of Christ should be doing is making sure that they are obedient to the most important commandment; the great commandment in the law.  If you are going to get any of the commandments right, then get this one.  It is the great one and it has to do with what you love the most.

I would imagine that Solomon, while he was building the temple in Jerusalem, never thought that he would do what he did on the high places.  He did not guard what he allowed his heart to love.  This is why we are told to examine ourselves.

We do what we love the most.  That is why the great commandment is to love God with all that we are.  When you love God more than anything else then following Christ is merely doing what you love.  We do what we love the most.

What do you love?  What do you love the most?

Is there someone who you love more than God?

Is there someone who you would compromise your faith to keep?

Is there someone who you want to please more than God?

Where are your affections?   Your heart will always trump your mind. 

Be careful of where you allow your heart to wander.

PRAYER: Lord, I know my heart and I know that it is prone to wander.  Father, keep me bound to you.  Lord, show me what I am allowing into my life that is drawing my affections away from you.  You are my all in all.  Lord, soften my heart so that I will seek you first in all that I do.     Amen



February 11, 2013

“To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his abilities.” Matthew 25:15 campaign 11 campaign 11 (Photo credit: Fred Seibert)

Acclaimed violin virtuoso Joshua Bell took his violin to the train station as part of an experiment.  He played the Gibson ex Huberman.  It was handcrafted in 1713 by Antonio Stradivari during the Italian master’s “golden period,” toward the end of his career, when he had access to the finest spruce, maple and willow, and when his technique had been refined to perfection. The price tag for this violin is reported to be about $3.5 million.

In the three-quarters of an hour that Joshua Bell played, seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run — for a total of $32 and change. That leaves the 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only three feet away, few even turning to look.

So many people just hurried past a performance that normally would have cost them hundreds of dollars if they were able to get a ticket at all.  A great performance is not dependent upon the venue or the audience and can easily be missed.

I think that there are so many Christians who are preoccupied by both venue and audience.  They don’t want to use their talents in a train station where only seven people will stop to listen or they may feel like they don’t have much talent and shouldn’t even play in a train station.   Every person has been given some talent.  It is up to us to decide what we are going to do with the talents that God has entrusted us with.

Brahms for a Sunday Afternoon

Brahms for a Sunday Afternoon (Photo credit: mRio)

The good servant will just play.  The good servant doesn’t worry if they are playing with the five talents of a virtuoso or the single talent of a hack.  The good servant will just play. The good servant doesn’t worry if they are playing to a crowded music hall or an indifferent train station.

We can become so preoccupied with applying our talents in a manner that we find acceptable that we end up not applying them at all.  That is the greatest waste of a person’s talent.  Jesus has a very specific description of this type of person, wicked and slothful.

We need to use our talents and let God handle the rest.  It may be telling a stranger on the train about Jesus; teaching a Sunday School class; talking about your faith with co-workers or friends; leading your kids in a Bible study; encouraging your pastor & church leaders.  You may not think that is ministry but it is.  It is using the talents that God has given you.  You may only have the opportunity to lead a small group when you have the talent to preach.  Teach the small group with all of your talents and make it the best study ever.  Does it matter that your “train station” only has four people in it.

You may only have one talent.  Then play that talent with all of your heart.

You may have all sorts of talent but no opportunity. Then play those talents with all of your heart where you are today.  Don’t be discouraged about where you get to play your talents.  Play where you have an opportunity to play.  That is where God has you and He does not make mistakes.

Remember we are playing our talents for the Master who gave them to us.  Let Him worry about the venue and the audience.  Our job is to just close our eyes and play where we are, for His glory.

PRAYER: Lord, forgive me for being so much like the servant who refused to used their talents.  Lord, forgive me for thinking that the talents you have given me can only be used in a specific manner.  Father, you are my audience.  Lord, give me wisdom to invest the talents that you have given.  Don’t let me passively sit and let my life slide on by.  Lord, I will play my talent, where I am today with all of my heart and for your glory.  May you receive all praise and honor.   Amen



February 10, 2013

“And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.” 1 Kings 4:29-30

“Who in all of history, other than Jesus, would you like to meet?’

I think that most people have played this game at one point or another.  King Solomon is a man who I would love to meet.  He is probably the most unique man in all of history.  I think that it would be absolutely fascinating to take a walk with Solomon and just listen to the breadth of his knowledge and understand.

Solomon was a very special person.  He was exceptional in every respect.  He knew music, poetry, philosophy, biology, astronomy, art, architecture, logistics, psychology, finance, diplomacy, and much more.  We are told that there was none like him has ever been before him and that no one after him would be like him.” (1 Kings 4:12)

Solomon was unique to all of history.  Think about that.

Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein were not smarter than Solomon.

Rembrandt and Michelangelo did not understand art better than Solomon.

Aristotle and Plato were not wiser than Solomon.

King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Solomon was a very special man.  People traveled from around the known world just to listen to his wisdom.  I can’t get someone to travel from the adjoining room to listen to what I have to say.

Many people think that God can only use the extraordinary.  They think that since they are ordinary then God cannot really use them.  We need to remember that God does not search the world for special people that he can use.  He is not scanning the world to and fro in hopes of finding the perfect combination of intellect and speaking ability so that He can bless that person in preaching His gospel.  He does not have a list of assignments to the mission field that He is waiting for the right candidates to come along and fill.

God makes special people.

Solomon was not born extraordinary.  It was not obvious that he should be the next king.  There was a lot of controversy over how was going to inherit King David’s throne.  Solomon appears to have been a pretty ordinary choice.  Solomon got the job because of a promise made to his Mom.  Solomon was not extraordinary.

It was God who made Solomon extraordinary.

It was God who gave Solomon his wisdom and understanding and a breadth of mind that exceeded anyone of any time.  God did not need Solomon to fulfill His purposes.  God would not have put all His plans on hold if Solomon had happened to struggle with logic or if math problems stumped him.

God made Solomon special because He had a special purpose for Solomon.

It is good for us all to remember that there are no limits for those who are in Christ Jesus.  God will equip you precisely as you to be for precisely what He has for you to do.   God is looking for at least two qualities in us:

  1. Willingness to step out in faith.  Solomon was willing to accept the throne even though he knew that he was not quite ready.
  2. Humility – Solomon did not take that throne with the idea that he could figure it out.  He knew that he needed God.

That is what it means to live by faith.  We can do nothing without faith.  Yet, anything is possible for God.  What is keeping you from serving God?

Let’s set out in faith, trusting God to accomplish His will through us and to give us what we need, when we need it.

PRAYER: Lord, thank for giving me all good things.  Thank you for giving me all the talents and understanding that I have.  They are all gifts from you.  Father, I give them back to you to be used for your purposes.  Forgive me for being so good at coming us with limitations.  Lord, I can do nothing without you.  I pray Lord that you will fill be with you Spirit and with your understanding.  Help me to see this world with your eyes.  Lord, help me to live by faith in all that I do..     Amen



January 21, 2013

“Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”  1 Kings 19:18

National Christian Forensics and Communication...

National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My family and I had the privilege to attend and participate in an event over the last four days that has left me greatly encouraged regarding the capable hands that are being prepared for the future.  I believe I have gotten a glimpse of the future and it is good.  It was a glimpse of something that is contrary to so many of the bleak assessments of what the future holds for Christians.  I know of many believers who are prone to become doomsday preppers due to concerns of where our country is going.  I hear a lot of discussions and statistics about implication of the decline of Christianity in Western Societies.  I know the concerns about the next generation; the effects of violence, video games, pornography, disrespect, and laziness.

These last several days I was reminded that God is control of his Church.  He is the one who has always provided His people with the tools they have needed to face the challenges associated with His specific plan.  We have always been provided for.  We always will be provided for.  I think that I might have gotten a glimpse of a very special preparation that God is doing within this next generation.

I spent the last four days at a National Christian Forensics and Communication Association (NCFCA) speech and debate competition in Richland, Washington.  It was the first NCFCA event that I have ever attended.  My wife and I had decided to participate in a local NCFCA club because we thought it would be good exposure for our kids.  I did not fully understand the breadth of preparation that is occurring under the auspices of the NCFCA.  I watched and judged young men and women, ages 12-18, do some remarkable things.  I saw young men walking around in ill-fitting suits that were obviously purchased in hopes of containing six more months of growth and others whose six months were up.  I saw young women walking with the occasional totter of learning the art of walking in heels.  I watched them mill around and interact exactly as the teenagers that they are.

Yet, these young men and women represent a depth that I did not see in my generation and I do not think occurred in my parent’s generation.  The Lord is clearly preparing so many of their hearts in a manner that the fruit is already very evident.

I was so blessed to get to judge one of the Apologetics semifinals.  In apologetics, the competitors are given the choice from three topics, spend about four minutes in preparation, and then they present a six-minute speech.  I was blessed beyond what I had anticipated.  These young people ministered to me through their speeches.  I had not expected that.

I saw a wisp of a young woman, whose posture suggested a reserved spirit not akin to public speaking, push aside her natural shyness.  This young woman engaged me in a discussion of the magnificent glory of God and my purpose in this world.  She discussed a purpose in a deep way beyond the rote memorization of the catechism.  I was encouraged to soak in God’s glory.

I saw a confident young lady with poise and assurance, appropriately use examples and quotes and scripture to explain the importance of prayer and its applications to our lives. I was encouraged to pray more.

I saw a young man with passion and energy talk about the holiness of his Savior and the importance of God’s image.  He relied on scripture to discuss what holiness is and why it is associated with God’s image.  I was encouraged to seek God’s holiness and to lift up my Lord’s precious name.

I saw a young woman with makeup carefully placed to obscure the typical blemishes of adolescence, give a clear presentation of the gospel in her explanation of the importance of repentance.  Her proclamation of the gospel moved me to tears.  One of my tears escaped the swipe of the back of my thumb to drop on her rating sheet (ballot).  I thought it was very appropriate.  I can only imagine Christ’s tears of joy flowing over so many ballots associated with such glorifying declarations from these young people.

I had the opportunity to judge both Team Policy debates and Lincoln-Douglas debates.  These young people showed all the skills of many top debating teams from around the country.  They had obviously done extensive research and were adept at the use of history and logic to make their points.  They could identify fallacies in their opponent’s argumentation and explain their own position.  They could effectively cross-examine and question their opponents.  They could respond to criticism and speak in coherent responses through their rebuttals.  It was wonderful to watch.  They made something that is very difficult to do, look easy.

However, they engaged in the debating process in a much different spirit.  I watched affirmative and negative teams meet and leave the debating room to pray, prior to the commencing of the competition; on their own initiative.

I saw a young man try to compete through his illness.  I had no idea that he was ill while he was engaged in a very lively debate.  In the middle of one of his speeches, he apologized and politely excused himself from the debating room with a vomit bucket that I was not aware that he had brought in with him.  My heart was encouraged and a tear came to my eye to watch his team mate join with their competitors to pray for their sick friend.

These young people blessed my soul in so many ways.  I watched them every morning of the competition join together in a time of worship of our wonderful Lord and Savior.  I believe I saw a wonderful blessing for our future during those times of worship.

I saw future pastors and teachers who know how to communicate the wonderful truths of the scriptures.

I saw future missionaries whose beautiful feet will take the gospel to an unbelieving world, whether that is next door or across the world.

I saw future lawyers who will use their obvious skills and ability to communicate to defend the weak and downtrodden.

I saw future business men and women whose confidence in their Lord will allow them to stand in integrity.

I saw individuals who could talk with their friends and family in truth and power.

I saw future parents who will train up the next generation to serve their Lord and Savior.

The Lord is doing a wonderful work in the preparation of these young men and women.  I do not know what the future holds.  I do not know the challenges that the Church will face but I am confident in my God.  I know that He will not leave his people unprepared.  He is doing something that I have never seen him do before.  This little competition was only a sample of what is happening across our country and it is very good.

I urge you all to take the opportunity to be a community judge at one of these events.  You need not worry about your qualifications to judge.  These competitors understand that it is their job to communicate to you. The coordinators will show you how to be a judge and you will be blessed.  The organizers of the event will thank you profusely for volunteering.  It is you who will be will be blessed and encouraged because you will be getting a glimpse of the future and the wonderful work of preparation that God is doing in this coming generation.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for our time at this recent NCFCA competition.  Thank you for all those who you have led to organize it and participate in it.  Thank you for all the students who came and competed.  Father, I pray that you will richly bless them; may your face shine upon them and lift them up.  Lord, I pray that you will protect and secure each precious soul that was at that competition.  I praise your name for the work that you are doing in those young people’s lives.  Thank you for using them to encourage and invigorate me.  You are an awesome and wonderful God.  Thank you for providing for all that we need, now and into the future.  Amen

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