There is hope and chance for a change…


Going through history we watch the pendulum swing back and forth. We see it go from alignment with God to out of alignment with God…back and forth again. We see it go from doing what is right to going what is wrong…back and forth again. We see it go from joy and celebration to pain and suffering…back and forth again. Depending on where people are at in their lives they hop onto the pendulum on one end or the other, or somewhere in the swing. If it is going well but people aren’t reminded why they forget and start to take things for granted and get comfortable, stopping the swing and back it goes the other way.

Take a look around you. Consider the situation of things right now in your life and in the timeline of the world. Where is the pendulum? And what way do we need to start going?

Alignment
Joy and Celebration
Pressing towards God

The pendulum goes back and forth

Out of alignment
Pain and Suffering
Walking away from God
Getting to comfortable Swing Realizing something is missing

So where are you at on the pendulum of life? What is needed? Reminders so we don’t forget and stay on that side? What is needed? Reminders to help get things back on track? Consider your choices and the impact they will have on the swing! Consider your decisions and how they will impact beyond your circle of influence! Consider your actions and how they will impact the world around you! It’s time to decide!


Today’s reading from 2 Kings 22 starts with Josiah…having the right leader in place makes a difference on a nation. Having the right leader with the right character is key to how it will play out! Having the right leader with integrity and a dependency on God will direct the nation! Look beyond the head to see the character of those managing things – are they honest and trustworthy? Look beyond candidates to the people they depend on! Now what would happen if they found that reminder of what was? How would they respond? Would they dig deeper or just cast it aside? Let’s see how Josiah responds and consider how life is today and the choices we are facing today…One generation can stop the upward swing on the wrong side! One generation can turn things around! One generation can start to make right for the wrongs of their predecessors! Will you be that generation? Will you make a difference?

God is just! Today people have an option that didn’t exist before…Jesus! Back then Jesus hadn’t come down from heaven to sacrifice Himself and turn the choices! Jesus came that we could have life and life to the full! Jesus came to make a permanent, once for all sacrifice in order to make a way where there wasn’t a way so that we can be reconciled back to God! Now receiving Jesus is a choice! Accepting the gift of grace is a choice! Asking Jesus into your life is a choice! And with freewill we each get to make that choice for ourselves! Imagine if we started to walk in alignment with Jesus and started raising the bar which would raise the average rather  than working towards the lowest common denominator which by design lowers the average. The choice is yours! The decision is yours! And your actions could impact things not only today, but for generations to come!

There is hope and time for a change but to fully receive it, we need to bring Jesus back into our lives! We need to put Him in the center in order that when we come together a cord of 3 strands is not easily broken! Be it in our marriage! Be in our business partnerships! Be in our community relationships! Be it in our national leadership! We need to get back to the truth! We need get back to the way Jesus pointed us to! We need to first love God! We need to then love people! Walking out these two will keep us on track to be everything God created us to be!

Josiah Rules in Judah

1Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah from Bozkath. 2He did what was pleasing in the lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.
3In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and grandson of Meshullam, the court secretary, to the Temple of the lord. He told him, 4“Go to Hilkiah the high priest and have him count the money the gatekeepers have collected from the people at the lord’s Temple. 5Entrust this money to the men assigned to supervise the restoration of the lord’s Temple. Then they can use it to pay workers to repair the Temple. 6They will need to hire carpenters, builders, and masons. Also have them buy the timber and the finished stone needed to repair the Temple. 7But don’t require the construction supervisors to keep account of the money they receive, for they are honest and trustworthy men.”

Hilkiah Discovers God’s Law

8Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the lord’s Temple!” Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it.
9Shaphan went to the king and reported, “Your officials have turned over the money collected at the Temple of the lord to the workers and supervisors at the Temple.” 10Shaphan also told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” So Shaphan read it to the king.
11When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. 12Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: 13“Go to the Temple and speak to the lord for me and for the people and for all Judah. Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found. For the lord’s great anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll. We have not been doing everything it says we must do.”
14So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the New Quarter of Jerusalem to consult with the prophet Huldah. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, the keeper of the Temple wardrobe.
15She said to them, “The lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, 16‘This is what the lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city and its people. All the words written in the scroll that the king of Judah has read will come true. 17For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger will burn against this place, and it will not be quenched.’
18“But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the lord and tell him: ‘This is what the lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: 19You were sorry and humbled yourself before the lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people—that this land would be cursed and become desolate. You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the lord. 20So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city.’”
So they took her message back to the king.

–from 2 Kings 22

So let’s not turn away from what is right! Let’s not turn away from doing what is right! Let’s not turn away from speaking the truth in love! Let’s take hold of the truth for the truth will set us and those around us free!

What’s going on around you that needs to be changed? What’s going on around you that needs to be taken away? What’s going on around you that need to be torn down? What’s going on around you that needs to be fixed up? Who do we need to help get things back on track? Who do we need to ensure is aligned with God’s work? What measuring stick are you using to vet the choices that need to be made? What measuring stick are you using to make sure you pick the right people for the job?

Ever noticed that there are some who are trying to hide or tear down or take away the things of God? Ever noticed that there are some who are trying to God out of the fact that in God we trust? Ever noticed that there are some who are trying to take God out of the education system? Ever noticed that there are some who are trying to take God out of the workplace? Ever noticed that there are some who are trying to take God out of our everyday conversations? Will we make a choice that will cause people to draw closer to God or will it push them even further away? What reform is required?

The pendulum is at a point where what gets decided next will decide the direction and the height of the swing. Will it start to swing back towards the center or will it keep swinging away? Will it have implications other than back and forth like the foucault pendulum?

Josiah Rules in Judah

1Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. 2He did what was pleasing in the lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.
3During the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David. Then in the twelfth year he began to purify Judah and Jerusalem, destroying all the pagan shrines, the Asherah poles, and the carved idols and cast images. 4He ordered that the altars of Baal be demolished and that the incense altars which stood above them be broken down. He also made sure that the Asherah poles, the carved idols, and the cast images were smashed and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5He burned the bones of the pagan priests on their own altars, and so he purified Judah and Jerusalem.
6He did the same thing in the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, even as far as Naphtali, and in the regions all around them. 7He destroyed the pagan altars and the Asherah poles, and he crushed the idols into dust. He cut down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem.
8In the eighteenth year of his reign, after he had purified the land and the Temple, Josiah appointed Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the governor of Jerusalem, and Joah son of Joahaz, the royal historian, to repair the Temple of the lord his God. 9They gave Hilkiah the high priest the money that had been collected by the Levites who served as gatekeepers at the Temple of God. The gifts were brought by people from Manasseh, Ephraim, and from all the remnant of Israel, as well as from all Judah, Benjamin, and the people of Jerusalem.
10He entrusted the money to the men assigned to supervise the restoration of the lord’s Temple. Then they paid the workers who did the repairs and renovation of the Temple. 11They hired carpenters and builders, who purchased finished stone for the walls and timber for the rafters and beams. They restored what earlier kings of Judah had allowed to fall into ruin.
12The workers served faithfully under the leadership of Jahath and Obadiah, Levites of the Merarite clan, and Zechariah and Meshullam, Levites of the Kohathite clan. Other Levites, all of whom were skilled musicians, 13were put in charge of the laborers of the various trades. Still others assisted as secretaries, officials, and gatekeepers.

Hilkiah Discovers God’s Law

14While they were bringing out the money collected at the lord’s Temple, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the lord that was written by Moses. 15Hilkiah said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the lord’s Temple!” Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan.
16Shaphan took the scroll to the king and reported, “Your officials are doing everything they were assigned to do. 17The money that was collected at the Temple of the lord has been turned over to the supervisors and workmen.” 18Shaphan also told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” So Shaphan read it to the king.
19When the king heard what was written in the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. 20Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: 21“Go to the Temple and speak to the lord for me and for all the remnant of Israel and Judah. Inquire about the words written in the scroll that has been found. For the lord’s great anger has been poured out on us because our ancestors have not obeyed the word of the lord. We have not been doing everything this scroll says we must do.”
22So Hilkiah and the other men went to the New Quarter of Jerusalem to consult with the prophet Huldah. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, the keeper of the Temple wardrobe.
23She said to them, “The lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, 24‘This is what the lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city and its people. All the curses written in the scroll that was read to the king of Judah will come true. 25For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger will be poured out on this place, and it will not be quenched.’
26“But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the lord and tell him: ‘This is what the lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: 27You were sorry and humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this city and its people. You humbled yourself and tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the lord. 28So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You yourself will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city and its people.’”
So they took her message back to the king.

Josiah’s Religious Reforms

29Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30And the king went up to the Temple of the lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the Levites—all the people from the greatest to the least. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the lord’s Temple. 31The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the lord’s presence. He pledged to obey the lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. He promised to obey all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll. 32And he required everyone in Jerusalem and the people of Benjamin to make a similar pledge. The people of Jerusalem did so, renewing their covenant with God, the God of their ancestors.
33So Josiah removed all detestable idols from the entire land of Israel and required everyone to worship the lord their God. And throughout the rest of his lifetime, they did not turn away from the lord, the God of their ancestors.

–from 2 Chronicles 34

So will you share the good news? Will you walk differently than what people expect in society? Will you be someone who tries to make an impact? Will you point people back to Jesus? Will you tell people of Jesus and the way He has changed your life? Will you be salt and light into this world? Will you give God the glory? Will you point people to Him!

Paul and Barnabas in Iconium

1The same thing happened in Iconium. Paul and Barnabas went to the Jewish synagogue and preached with such power that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. 2Some of the Jews, however, spurned God’s message and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas. 3But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders. 4But the people of the town were divided in their opinion about them. Some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles.
5Then a mob of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders, decided to attack and stone them. 6When the apostles learned of it, they fled to the region of Lycaonia—to the towns of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding area. 7And there they preached the Good News.

Paul and Barnabas in Lystra and Derbe

8While they were at Lystra, Paul and Barnabas came upon a man with crippled feet. He had been that way from birth, so he had never walked. He was sitting 9and listening as Paul preached. Looking straight at him, Paul realized he had faith to be healed. 10So Paul called to him in a loud voice, “Stand up!” And the man jumped to his feet and started walking.
11When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local dialect, “These men are gods in human form!” 12They decided that Barnabas was the Greek god Zeus and that Paul was Hermes, since he was the chief speaker. 13Now the temple of Zeus was located just outside the town. So the priest of the temple and the crowd brought bulls and wreaths of flowers to the town gates, and they prepared to offer sacrifices to the apostles.
14But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening, they tore their clothing in dismay and ran out among the people, shouting, 15“Friends, why are you doing this? We are merely human beings—just like you! We have come to bring you the Good News that you should turn from these worthless things and turn to the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. 16In the past he permitted all the nations to go their own ways, 17but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts.” 18But even with these words, Paul and Barnabas could scarcely restrain the people from sacrificing to them.
19Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds to their side. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of town, thinking he was dead. 20But as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch of Syria

21After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, 22where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. 23Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24Then they traveled back through Pisidia to Pamphylia. 25They preached the word in Perga, then went down to Attalia.
26Finally, they returned by ship to Antioch of Syria, where their journey had begun. The believers there had entrusted them to the grace of God to do the work they had now completed. 27Upon arriving in Antioch, they called the church together and reported everything God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles, too. 28And they stayed there with the believers for a long time.

–from Acts 14

 

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