"Praying" by Dorina Costras

Today: Proverbs 15:21-30; Acts 16:16-40; 1 Kings 14:21-31; 1 Kings 15; 1 Kings 16:1-7

Proverbs 15

“The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.” Proverbs 15:28

Here is yet another Proverbs that should be required reading before we check our Facebook pages!

“The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.” Proverbs 15:29

We Christians are “the righteous” ones, not because we are good in ourselves (we are not), or better than anyone else (we are not), but because we wear the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. And God hears our prayers!

Acts 16

God did amazing things when Paul and Silas were in Macedonia. Notice how the Holy Spirit orchestrated the events to bring Christianity to this region.

It started with Paul’s vision of a man begging him to come to Macedonia. Going to Macedonia had not been their plan. They had been trying to go other places first, but had been “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia” and then they “tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.” (v.6-7) Just them being in Macedonia at all had been miraculously arranged by the Holy Spirit.

In Macedonia, a demon possessed girl followed them around proclaiming that “‘These men are the servants of the Most Hight God who proclaim to us the way of salvation.’ And this she did for many days.” (v.17-18) The girl’s demon was actually telling the truth! But after “many days” of this distraction, a “greatly annoyed” Paul commanded the spirit to come out of her.

Paul probably had no idea that delivering the poor girl from her demon would get them arrested, beaten, and thrown in jail. That probably seemed like a horrible (and surely painful) situation!

But God had a plan…

First Paul and Silas witnessed to all the other prisoners with their prayer and worship. Then, after God caused an earthquake to shake the prison, Paul and Silas witnessed to the prison guard and he and his entire family were saved.

There are times when our circumstances might seem awful. But God may very well be working out a plan. If we are seeking and following Him, then we can know for certain that everything that happens to us, even things that might seem dreadful at first, God is actually allowing or causing as part of His perfect plan for us.

"Kings of Israel" by David Gelernter

1 Kings 14-16

Solomon was followed by a succession of kings… there were good kings and bad kings. It seems like there were many more bad ones than good. And God responded accordingly. Israel had been split in two; Judah and Israel warred against each other for many generations. How this perpetual civil war must have grieved God’s heart.

Yet through all those years…

“Nevertheless for David’s sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, by setting up his son after him and by establishing Jerusalem; because David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” 1 Kings 15:4-5

All the way to the coming of Jesus, through all the wicked kings, God kept His promise to David and withheld His hand of judgment against Jerusalem.

God remembers our obedience. He responds to our love for Him. The way we live our lives — good or evil — has ramifications that effect generations after us.