Today: Proverbs 15:11-20; Acts 14:8-28; 1 Kings 8:22-66; 1 Kings 9:1-9
“Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, than great treasure with trouble. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred.” Proverbs 15:16-17
We are enmeshed within a greedy materialistic culture. It is so difficult to recognize the greed and materialism that have seeped into our own hearts because we are so surrounded by it. I am the worst offender! I like my comforts…
When Craig retired, we had planned to live off grid in a cabin in the wilderness, to homestead and live off the land as much as possible. Part of our motivation for this was to be free from our reliance on physical ease and materialism. We were three years into this plan when God abruptly changed our course this past January.
Our decisions had been grounded in many hours of prayer and much seeking of God’s plan. God had given us countless signs and blessings that this was the direction He was leading. I do believe God led us down that path… three years in an off grid homestead. And I am so thankful for the experience. We learned so much! We learned how to set up solar power systems, rain water catchment systems, compost toilets, how to clear and work the land, how to grow our own food, do controlled burns, and so much more.
We are equally certain that God has now shifted us in this new direction. He continues to answer our prayers with unmistakable signs. We have found our new property and will close on it next month. We will still be homesteading but not off grid. So our physical lives will be a bit more comfortable than we originally thought and we are grateful. We know God has plans for us in this new place where He has sent us. We are so excited to watch His plans unfold!
When God healed a crippled man through Paul, the people of Lystra immediately started worshipping Paul and Barnabas as gods. We are so similar to those people, hungrily seeking people and things to worship — celebrities, sports, entertainments — anything we pour all of our passions into.
Notice Paul’s and Barnabas’ humble response:
“We are also men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them.” Acts 14:15
Paul and Barnabas immediately deflected the people’s praise and pointed to God. If our religious leaders aren’t doing the same, then we should move along!
How quickly the people’s fickle hearts changed from worship to hatred. When Paul deflected their worship, they stoned him, dragged him out of the city and left him for dead. Does that sound familiar to you? It should. Consider how our celebrities are treated if they dare take a stand for Christ… they are ostracized, ridiculed, canceled, socially and digitally stoned, dragged out of Hollywood, and left for dead…
1 Kings 8
In Acts we read about how God answered and fulfilled Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8. Through Jesus Christ, God has kept His covenant and mercy with His servants who walk before Him with all their hearts (v.23) Through the Holy Spirit “will God indeed dwell on the earth” within the hearts of His followers because the physical temple cannot contain Him (v.27)
WE are the “foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for Your name’s sake (for they will hear of Your great name and Your strong hand and Your outstretched arm).” (v.42) Solomon was praying for US! He asked God that when the foreigner comes and “prays toward this temple, hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name.” (v.43) Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of Solomon’s prayer.