2 Kings 17 – If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done…

There’s an old saying that goes something like this…”If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

Yet, so many of us continue to do what we’ve always done and wonder why we’re not getting different results. We put off studying for an exam, and then get upset because we got a poor grade. We keep to ourselves, and then wonders why they don’t have friends. We put off taking care of little things around the house then gets discouraged that our house is in the condition it’s in. “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

This point is driven home in 2 Kings chapter 17. There, the unthinkable happens. Israel is defeated and taken over by the Assyrians, leaving them completely demoralized and discouraged. But, they were God’s chosen people. God Himself had led them out of Egyptian slavery with miracles the likes of which the world had never seen. How could this have happened?!

The answer is found in nearly every sentence of 2 Kings chapter 17. When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, He gave them a new way to live. But they continued to do what everyone else had aways done. Consequently, they got the same results everyone else had gotten. (2 Kings 17:8) Though they were aware of a different way, they chose to keep doing what they had been doing; believing that some how it would yield different results. But it didn’t, and it doesn’t.

We’re all prone to do what we’ve always done. But God doesn’t call us to live life on autopilot. He calls us to make clear and intentional choices about how we will live. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20) We cannot be who we want to be, nor can we be where we want to be, if we continue to do what we’ve always done.

1 Kings 18 – What Will You Choose?

There are stories that are timeless classics. They have action, intrigue, a good hero, a strong villain, a powerful conclusion, and a timeless message.

1 Kings chapter 18 has such a story. In this story, after years of moral and religious decline, God finally says “Enough!” and He calls for a showdown.

The prophet Elijah presents the challenge. Two offerings: one for the God of Israel and the other for Baal. Two representatives: Elijah versus four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. One objective: the God who answers by setting the offering ablaze is the true God.

The prophets of Baal work feverishly. They shout, they dance, and they even cut themselves. And they do this all day long, but nothing happens.

Finally, Elijah quietly prepares his alter and his sacrifice. Then, he does something unexpected. He saturates everything with water so there is no human way for the offering to be set ablaze. Lastly, he prays a short and simple prayer to God, and God sends a fire that completely disintegrates everything!

That’s a great story!

But the purpose of the story is not that we’re supposed to be doing dramatic acts of faith like Elijah. The purpose is to call people (then and now) to a decision. “How long are you going to waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him! But if Baal is god, then follow him.” (1 Kings 18:21)

And the sad part of the story is that, when Elijah asked the question, the people didn’t respond. They didn’t choose. (1 Kings 18:21) It took something dramatic to get them to choose.

All Scripture and all life call us to this decision. To choose a path. To choose a god. To make a commitment. To follow something or someone.

What have you chosen? Whom will you choose?

1 Kings 14 – What a Waste!

It happens. You open up your news feed or turn on the news, and you hear about someone with a lot of promise and with everything going for them who threw it all away on bad choices and wrong living. It’s not only sad, it’s mystifying. All you can do is shake your head and think, “What a waste!”

This is the feeling you get from 1 Kings chapter 14. Both Jeroboam and Rehoboam had been given great opportunities. God had given each of them a kingdom and a promise to meet their needs and desires if they would simply follow and obey Him. Yet, they took God’s goodness toward them as a sign they were invincible and they did whatever they wanted.

We can read 1 Kings chapter 14 and say, “What a waste,” but aren’t we prone to demonstrate the same type of behavior?

When things are going well, we tend to let down our guard and become less disciplined and vigilant. We do more of what we want to do and less of what we need to do, acting as if God’s blessings are going to just keep coming…even though our actions are less and less worthy of blessing.

We must remember that every blessing we experience is a gift from God. (James 1:17) We need to realize that we have been bought with the great price of Christ’s life. We should honor and obey God out of gratitude, rather than honor ourselves by doing whatever we want. (1 Cor. 6:20)

Don’t take for granted the blessings of God and your need to gratefully obey His directions. Don’t live your life in such a way that someone might someday look at your life and say, “What a waste!”

Deuteronomy 31 – God Knows You Better Than You Do.

“I know you better than you know yourself.” My teens would bristle every time I said this to them. Yet, with a few exceptions, it was usually true. I had observed them from the first minute of their life. I knew their temperament, their personality, their facial expressions, their tone of voice, their likes and dislikes…I knew them. Even during their teen years, when they were changing so rapidly and intensely, the basic thumb print of who they were continued to shine through.

But even though I knew so much about them…even though I knew both their strengths and weaknesses…even though I knew when they made mistakes, or lied, or rebelled…

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Deuteronomy 30 – The Choice Is Yours

Choice. It’s both wonderful and scary. Choice is always there and always available. From the dawn of creation until this very moment, choice has been the canvas on which life is painted. Choice is both the common denominator and the wild card of life.

It’s amazing that God would entrust us with the privilege, power, possibility, and unpredictability of choice. The fact that the God of order would allow us to choose speaks volumes about both His extensive power and love.

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Deuteronomy 11 – The Freedom to Choose

“Life would be so much better if I could just get people to do what I want them to do.” Much of our stress and frustration is due to wishing, expecting and trying to get people to do what we want them to do.

Deuteronomy chapter 11 reminds us that God is the only one in existence who has the power to make people to do what He wants them to do…and He doesn’t do it! He lets people choose (Deuteronomy 11:26) God spells out our options and the consequences for those options. He also urges and encourages us toward the better choice. But He won’t make that choice for us.

If God can save us difficulty and problems by making us do what we’re suppose to do, why doesn’t He?

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Selective Memory in Marriage

Wife: “Don’t forget we’re going to my parents this weekend to help them with that project.”
Husband: “What project?”
Wife: “Remember, they’re redoing their living room, and we have to help them move all the furniture and repaint.”
Husband: “You didn’t tell me we were doing that this weekend!”
Wife: “Yes I did. I told you Wednesday, when we were coming home from church.”
Husband: “I didn’t think you were talking about this weekend!”
Wife: “I swear you have a selective memory. You only remember what you want to remember!”

Sound familiar? The particulars of the conversation may be different, but most of us have experienced similar conversations.

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Has Your Marriage Been Hacked By a Virus?

Computer viruses are maddening. When a virus gets into your computer, it changes the way your computer operates. All of a sudden the computer doesn’t work as smoothly as it use to. It gets sluggish, acts erratically and sometimes just shuts down.

Marriages, like computers, are susceptible to viruses that can effect the health and operation of the marriage. Here’s how it works…

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Just Do It!

Board Game - Depositphotos_14634915_s-2015_editedThink of something you just don’t want to do. Maybe it’s cleaning the garage or organizing your closet. Perhaps it’s giving the dog a bath or cleaning the bathroom. It could be cleaning the gutters or working on your taxes. Or maybe it’s that mammogram or colonoscopy you’re avoiding like the plague.

We all have things we don’t want to do. We put them off, because they’re no fun.

Likewise, there are things in marriage we don’t like to do, so we put them off. Things like:

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