Josiah

Steve Arterburn

Even men who don’t want to be like their fathers often turn out to be amazingly similar in their behaviors and personalities.  Through the power of God and hard personal choices, however, it’s possible to break out of an ongoing spiral of sin and dysfunction.

Take Josiah, for example.  Josiah was a young king who chose to stand against a virtual tidal wave of disobedience fostered by his grandfather Manasseh and his father, Amon.  Breaking from this downward spiral was particularly difficult since Josiah had little knowledge to guide his actions.  The Scriptures containing God’s laws had been lost for years.  But when the high priest discovered the Book of the Law in the Temple, young Josiah immediately initiated spiritual renewal for himself and his people.

As a result, Josiah was able to break the cycle of sin that had captured Israel in its whirl. Josiah was not a perfect man but he was a true champion of spiritual renewal.  He was committed to God and had the courage to pursue both personal and national renewal.

Josiah made the difficult choices necessary in order to ‘cut loose’ from the sins of the past and to build a new life for himself and the people of Judah.  Are you like Josiah?  Do you need to make a break from the past in order to build a new life for yourself? I hope you’ll seek the same powerful God who renewed Josiah.

Malachi’s Message

Steve Arterburn

The prophet Malachi brought a message of hope to a nation that knew repeated failure.  After being restored to their homeland, the Jews had forgotten the one who had delivered them.  We often make the same kind of mistake.  As soon as we overcome our pressing problems, we forget the one who delivered us from them’God.  Without a continued relationship with God, our hope of sustaining spiritual growth is slim at best.  You and I need to keep our eyes on God, the source and means for our continued spiritual growth.

God’s love to the people of Jerusalem and to us cannot be explained.  God knows the depth of your sin; he knows how weak you are; yet he still loves you.  There is nothing that you can do to lose this love that you never deserved in the first place.  God’s love has the power to heal all the broken places in your life.  Your failures, setbacks, and defenses cannot stop God from wanting to heal you.  This fact should give you hope, no matter how terrible your failures in the past.  He already knows about the anger, betrayal, addiction, lies’you’re not going to surprise him.  But it’s time you confess and seek his will for your life.

Are you willing to turn to him for healing and forgiveness?  He was patient with the people of Israel for hundreds of years, in spite of their sin.  In his grace, God patiently waits for you as well.  

Naaman

Steve Arterburn

Situations that are out of your control will show whether you’re operating with pride and self-sufficiency or with humility and dependence on God.  If you’re willing to humbly depend on God and recognize you inability to handle everything on your own, you’ll see the power of God bring great changes in your life.  

The experience of a man named Naaman illustrates how this is true.  Naaman was a powerful military and political figure, a man of wealth, position, and power.  He also had leprosy, an incurable disease that would slowly destroy his body.  Lepers were made outcasts from their families and society.  Ultimately, they faced a slow, painful, and disgraceful death.

But Naaman heard that there was a prophet in Israel who could heal him.  He found the prophet and was told that in order to be healed he needed to dip himself seven times in the Jordan River.  He went away outraged, having expected his power and money to buy him an instant and easy cure.  In the end, however, he acknowledged that this situation was beyond his control.  Humility was the key that caused Naaman to surrender to God, follow his instructions, and receive the healing that only God could give him.  

Humility should not be confused with humiliation.  God doesn’t allow you to face situations beyond your control in order to humiliate you.  He does so to draw you to himself and lead you to healing and spiritual renewal.