7 days ago
7 days ago
7 days ago
Well hey there! Hello to you today and I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, spent time resting and also able to spend time with loved ones, and of course had the chance to express your thankfulness for what God has done and will do in your life. He is good and He acts out of His lovingkindness toward His children, and that is something that we should never stop being thankful for. I really do believe that Christians ought to be the most thankful people on this planet. Thanksgiving is a time to express that thankfulness in all sorts of ways, and I do hope yours was wonderful. I am thankful for you.
You’re listening to The Burt (Not Ernie) Show, part of the Spark Network, now playing in the Edifi app. Today’s episode is sponsored by Fig Tree Books & More, located in Branson. If you are planning a trip to the Branson area at any point in the future, I hope you get the chance to swing by Fig Tree Books. You will not regret it, that I can promise you! It’s more than a bookstore, it’s an experience with some of the most rock-solid, Jesus loving believers I have ever met. I’ll have the link to their Instagram here in the show notes as well as a link to their exact address. Fig Tree Books & More, thank you for the work you are doing for the Kingdom, for every prayer you pray with customers, for every product selection you make with such care, for reaching your community and for being a haven for those visiting the Branson area. May the Lord bless you and the work of your hands in ways beyond your wildest imagination. I am thankful for you! This is episode number 167, and today we are looking at the book of Ezra.
The Amplified Bible is what I’ll be referencing for this episode, and I’m going to read a couple of verses from Ezra chapter 7. Verses 9b and 10 say this: …because the good hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had set his heart (resolved) to study and interpret the Law the the LORD, and to practice it and teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.
Ezra lived in captivity in Babylon, so think about Daniel and his life in Babylon and Nehemiah and his calling to work on rebuilding the Temple at the end of this season of Israel’s captivity. Ezra was alive in this same era. He left Babylon and traveled for months to get to Israel, according to verse 9 of Ezra chapter 7. Months of travel. What do we do for months? Like, what’s worth that to us? Granted this was normal in that day, travel from Iraq (which is modern day Babylon) to Israel just took that long, and it doesn’t take that long today, but it is worth thinking about, this idea of what is worth a long journey for us? And have you considered as of late that you are on a long journey? A journey home, to eternity with Jesus. You are on a long trek, you are a pilgrim on your way to your final destination. We as Christians are, in a way, sort of like Ezra. And the destination is more than worth the long, hard road we walk to get there.
When the Temple was rebuilt at the end of this time of captivity, as we see in Ezra chapter 6, the Temple was completed and dedicated and Passover observed in the homeland of the Jewish people once again, then we move into chapter 7 and we see Ezra making the journey to Jerusalem.
The promise in these verses is that when we, God’s people who bear His name, have the good hand of our God on us (not the heavy hand of the Lord on us, as we find in the Bible at times, but the good hand of our God), we are able to do hard things for His Kingdom and His purposes. Ezra had set his heart to study and interpret the Law, the first five books of the Bible written by Moses, the Torah. How about us? Are we set like that? Do we have our hearts set on studying the Bible? It’s easy to answer, yes or no, there is no middle ground or wiggle room on this…the question begs an answer, an immediate and honest one. Is my heart set on studying God’s Word? Yes or no. Can you be brave enough to answer this honestly? And then, be brave enough to ask the Lord to make your heart set upon this, if the answer is no…and make it even more set upon it if the answer is yes? I’m not bagging on anyone, but I am asking an important question that warrants and honest and introspective answer because Jesus held back nothing to save us from death and hell, and He is worth everything, including our hearts set on knowing Him better and better day by day as a result of studying the Bible.
The Amplified says “resolved”. Ezra had set his heart resolved to study and interpret the Law of the Lord. How resolved are we in our study of God’s Word?
Ezra made this long journey to a place that had been decimated and trashed during this terrible exile season in Israel’s history, and at this time it was on the uptick. He was going back home, but to a home that had been broken down alongside a people who had been broken down. Sometimes the journey we make in life is alongside those who have also been broken down. You know, we want those strong leaders to lead us…and I think when we are strong in the Holy Spirit, when we are weak then God is strong in us and through us, that’s good strength. But it doesn’t always look pretty and it isn’t always neat and tidy and polished the way the world tells us our leadership ought to look. Looks don’t seem to matter as much to God as they do to man, to you and to me. Good leadership, chosen and appointed by God, may not look shiny and lovely. Good leadership may be the guy next to you, walking the same path you’re walking, who has answered God’s call to leadership. It may be the lady who is just a few steps beyond you on the road of life, she’s far from perfect and she’s got her hair in a messy bun or a banana clip and she may be walking with a limp…but she’s going where God says to go, following His leading as she obeys His call to lead others. You want leaders who are good followers, who follow Jesus closely and who obey quickly, immediately, because otherwise they’re not fit to lead anybody and they know it. What might happen if that kind of leadership became what we as the Church look for rather than wanting only leaders who look like the world, act like the world, and run the Church like a business, like the world. I have been young and now, I’m getting older and I’ve seen both kinds of leaders. And I know which kind have impacted me the most with the things of the Lord, and it’s not the polished and social media post perfection kind of ones who made real impact. It’s the one just a few steps ahead, been through some stuff in life, and they just keep on loving, serving, trusting, following, obeying and honoring God with the whole of their messed up, messy life.
Ezra may have been somewhat weary before his journey even got started. Anybody else ever feel like that? Lord, I’m so tired from this…and now You are asking me to start this next leg of my race when I’m feeling weary? Sometimes that is how it goes. I’m not against rest, but I think I can honestly say that we can have sabbath rest, resting in Jesus, even while walking the path He’s called us to. How many Bible characters were totally ready for the task God called them to? The blessing came from their obedience. Lack of obedience would not have yielded the same degree of blessing…or likely much blessing at all.
Sometimes we feel weary before the journey begins.
Others were probably weary too, and Ezra as a leader was dealing with his weariness and theirs. It can be hard to lead weary people. Not always, but at times our flesh cries out for ease and after a long season of reign by an oppressor, some happy news may have been pretty appealing. But an honest study of the first five books of the Bible would come with conviction and a real hard and honest look in the mirror. Weary people can want an answer and a solution more than they want to be taught, and Ezra was called in verse 10 to teach Israel what the Bible had to say.
The point here is that Ezra did not have the easy street assignment, and even when he was weary, he still obeyed. That’s the mark of a mature believer. Ezra had a tough role to play, but he did it. Do we want the good hand of God on our lives?
Do we really?
Verse 25 tells us that Ezra was tasked with appointing magistrates and judges in accordance with God’s wisdom and instruction. He was to appoint those who knew the laws of God, and he was told to teach anyone who did not know God’s law.
If hard times come - and I mean hard hard times, not so so hard times, but hard hard times, if those times come, do you realize there may be a special role for you provided you know the Bible well? I’m serious about this! Do you know any part of your Bible well enough to instruct someone about it? Over a cup of coffee, as part of a Bible study group, in a group text of Christian friends. The need may well arise. Are we ready if it does? Because when hard hard times come, people tend to land in one of two camps, and it’s pretty distinct. They either want to know more about God, what the Bible says, how to pray, or they get hard hearted and want to shut God out while blaming Him for everything that has gone wrong. But those that will want to know how to seek and to find the Lord in the hard hard times may need someone to show them the way, to explain the Bible to them, to pray with them. Could that someone be you?
Now these may not seem like promises at first glance, the verses I’m sharing today. But I think they actually are. Can you imagine receiving the call of the Lord to teach people about His word in hard times, in a season that could be considered the tail end of a long spiritual famine?
Church attendance in the United States post COVID has dropped and remained below 50% for the first time since attendance began being tallied or monitored in our country. It’s below and it’s staying below. How’s that for the mark of a spiritual famine? I think we’re in one in the US. It’s also a bit of an indictment on us as a so-called Chrsitian nation. Where will you and I land in this post-Christian era in which we live? Will we be ready to teach others what the Bible says, or fail to be ready? And as far as hard times go, the writing is on the wall, so to speak, when the people in a nation have turned away from, even against, the God of the Bible. We know what happened to such nations in the past. We know from the book of Revelation what will happen to those who deny the Lord God Almighty in the future. And so we understand that in our day, hard times may come, probably will come sooner rather than later.
We also know that persecution grows Jesus’ Church. Hard times drive people to their knees in prayer. And we have this moment, this era, to ready ourselves to serve God in like manner as Ezra when those days come to pass. But only if we know His Word! We cannot teach what we do not know!
In the new year, I’m planning to start sharing monthly Bible reading plans and some pdf Bible study tools and do a weekly study of the psalms in my private prayer group on Facebook, working through all 150 psalms week by week and praying based on what we find in those passages. These are just a couple of ways I hope to encourage people to get in the Word and to learn it, to live it, and to know it well enough to teach it to others. Which is discipleship 101 and Titus 2 ministry in a nutshell.
On my other podcast, The Prayer Podcast, this week I’m going to share and pray from Ezra chapter 8, a prayer for protection that God answered powerfully, you can find this in verses 21-32. And also, side note, on TPP soon we will start a series on the NT book of James and it’s going to be a good prayer series because the book of James brings life change, like, every single time we read it and apply it and study it and believe it and pray that what it says will become our reality. I’d love to have you join us for that series on The Prayer Podcast.
But when we look at Ezra 8, verse 23 from the Amplified, we find this: So we fasted and sought help from our God concerning this matter and He heard our plea. And verse 31 - We set out from the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month to go to Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and He rescued us from the hand of the enemy and those who lay in ambushes along the way.
Does God answer prayer? Yes
Does God still in our day and age answer prayer? Yes
Can we really expect Him to help us? Yes
Can we talk to Him about anything and everything, specific matters that concern us and not just high and lofty spiritual things? Yes
Can we do what He is calling us to do and make the impact that He wants us to make (or rather, to allow Him to make the impact He wants to make through us)? Yes
Can we get to our destination safely, protected from marauders, fully able to do what comes next once we get to that place? Yes
Can we ask Him to see us safely all the way home? Yes
More than just a single promise from the book of Ezra, preparing for this episode has shown me that the whole of Ezra, the whole book is God’s promises being fulfilled. It’s proof positive that God keeps His promises, every single one, in perfect detail. And it’s a call to be reconciled to God. Our reconciliation should lead us to trust more. If it doesn’t, are we really reconciled? I’m not fully reconciled to someone if I do not trust them. The two go together. Be reconciled to God and trust Him completely.
Pray to Him and listen for His answer to your prayers.
Be like Ezra.
That’s all for this episode of The Burt (Not Ernie) Show. Thanks for joining me today and don’t forget to check out Fig Tree Books & More when you’re in the Branson area.
See you next time. Bye bye!
Saturday Nov 11, 2023
Saturday Nov 11, 2023
Saturday Nov 11, 2023
2 Chronicles chapters 6 & 7
V 12 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of the entire assembly of Israel and spread out his hands. (Is this not a beautiful example of public prayer?) 13b he knelt down on his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven. 14 and he said, “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no god like You in heaven or on the earth, keeping covenant and showing mercy and lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You (in obedience) with all their heart.” (Make note of something here - Solomon is speaking out loud a profound truth, one that changes how we pray and one that we should say out loud to one another, as he did here before all Israel, this is an example of how we should follow the NT admonition to encourage one another all the more as we see that day approaching, and we are seeing the day drawing nearer, for sure…there is no god like the God of Israel, keeping covenant and showing mercy and loving kindness to His servants who walk before Him in obedience with all their heart….are we obedient? Are we obedient with all our heart? If so, we ought to expect to be on the receiving end of this promise, and it is a promise, this is part of God’s character and He cannot be otherwise, so it is a promise to us, because what God does for us is tied closely to who He is, and He can never be less than fully God, always faithful, keeping every promise, keeping covenant - in the present tense, right now…He will show us mercy. And believe me you, His mercy toward us is remarkable, we want it, we need it, so let’s walk before the Lord in obedience.)
Ch 7, v 1-3 When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the (Shekinah) glory and brilliance of the LORD filled the house. The priests could not enter the house of the LORD because the glory and brilliance of the LORD had filled the LORD’s house. When all the people of Israel saw how the fire came down and saw the glory and brilliance of the LORD upon the house, they bowed down on the stone pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and praised the LORD, saying, “For He is good, for His mercy and lovingkindness endure forever.”
(What can we learn from this? Well, when God shows up and shows out, His people know it. Or at least, they ought to know it! Do we ever miss it because we are looking for something else? Maybe we’ve put God in a box in some manner, and we aren’t expecting this because our expectation is for that, and we miss it. But can you imagine not seeing this event? The sacrifice Solomon made after God’s glory was put on display, per the next couple of verses, was 22000 oxen and 120000 sheep. Wow! You ever made a sacrifice like that? It cost you something, it wasn’t your leftovers or the extra you have lying around, but it came at a cost and you were thrilled to give it to the Lord? If not, I hope you get that opportunity. Sooner rather than later, because there’s nothing quite like it.
A little later in chapter 7, the Lord appeared to Solomon by night and told him some things. Vs 13 and 14, and remember this is God speaking. “If I shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or if I command locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence and plague among My people, and my people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear (them) from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.” That’s a direct quote from the Bible, the very words of God. Do we believe this? Do we do this? Do we even really know how to humble ourselves before Him? Have we ever done that? I know I’m being a bit frank here, but if we can’t be nothing else, can’t we at least be frank? Particularly when it comes to the word of God? Let’s be frank about it - it says what it says, and here it says God’s people need to humble themselves when hard times come on their land. Yes, this is to Israel. And yes, I think we can, and should, apply it to the NT grafted in big C church. We have problems in America. We have sin problems in our country. It does not say that everyone, those who don’t know the Lord, don’t want to know the Lord, are from differing religions, atheists, and so on, that they must humble themselves and pray and seek and crave God’s face as a requirement and necessity…it says His people. That’s you and that's me. Do you require as a necessity, you cannot do without it, God’s face? And do you and I really turn from our wicked ways? Again, we can’t only expect the lost, who don’t follow Jesus, who have not experienced Christ revealed to them, as it talks about in the book of Hebrews, expect them to turn from their wicked ways. The implication here is that God’s people can indeed have wicked ways and He wants His people to turn from those wicked ways. Turn away, put it behind your back, literally turn your back on the wicked ways in your life. Don’t know what those are, on a personal level? Easy way to find out. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any wickedness in your heart, your mind, your life. He’ll answer that prayer, and then you need to turn your back on what He reveals. Spoiler alert: it will be different than you think it will be, what He reveals, and you may have to really make the decision to turn on it, to be done with it, to crucify your flesh in that part of your life. Couple of areas I’ll mention that can be controversial in the Church…worship of our children. Misuse of our time, the most precious commodity God gives us and one that cannot be reclaimed once it is squandered. Being afraid to look enough like Jesus that the world sees us as a peculiar people. Just a few things that come to mind, to give you kind of an example of what the Lord may reveal to you if you are brave enough to pray and ask Him what your own wicked ways are in His eyes. And that’s what matters, what He says, above all and over all and beyond all else. I cannot do anything outside of pray for other people and their messes. But regarding my own? I can yield to the Lord day by day and see Him make a molehill out of my mountain. And He gets all the glory.
I’m going to wrap up this episode and also, quick fyi, I will be out of town for over a week before and during Thanksgiving, so there may be a couple of extra days before episode number 167 releases. But I plan to share a couple of links from earlier episodes, take those out of the vault, and I’ll be sharing that on social media. So watch for those posts on IG and X (Twitter, whatever) and FB.
And I’ll see ya back here after Thanksgiving! Bye bye.
Friday Nov 03, 2023
Friday Nov 03, 2023
1 Chronicles 4:10 NLT -
He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request.
1 Chronicles 16:25-27 NLT -
25 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
He is to be feared above all gods.
26 The gods of other nations are mere idols,
but the Lord made the heavens!
27 Honor and majesty surround him;
strength and joy fill his dwelling.
1 Chronicles 16:34 NLT -
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
- In a world where we have no idea what news could drop tomorrow or what is going to pop off next, Jabez's bold prayer can bring us comfort, bolster our faith, & remind us that our hope in the Lord is never misplaced.
- For those of us who bear the name of the Lord as Christians, representing Him here on earth comes with a measure of responsibility & sobriety. Let's opt to live honorable lives, as Jabez did.
- Ask yourself, "Am I truly honoring my Lord? And am I brave enough to pray the way Jabez prayed?"
- Take time to pause and give the Lord praise on a regular basis. Dig deep and spend time considering new things to thank Him and praise Him for.
- God is to be feared above all else. do we actually fear Him? Or do we have more of a "so-so" kind of fear of the Lord?
- Our fear of the Lord is proven or disproven in our hourly, daily, weekly, yearly decisions, thoughts, actions, choices, attitudes & behaviors. God is to be feared - and this is not a suggestion.
- Strength & joy fill His dwelling. We can, and should, rely on His strength that is over all else, and take part in His joy (which we are told in the book of Nehemiah is our strength). A joyless life is a strengthless life for the follower of Jesus.
- His majesty is always surrounding Him. It never departs from His presence. Do we stand in awe of the majesty of God?
- Be sure to give thanks to the Lord - for He is good!
- And be assured of this promise: God's faithful love toward YOU endures ... for how long? FOREVER~
Thursday Oct 26, 2023
Thursday Oct 26, 2023
Thursday Oct 26, 2023
Well hey there, hello to ya today. Thanks for joining me for this episode and today we are looking at the book of 2 Kings from the Old Testament. Just to get us all on the same page about this book, in 1 Kings the life of the prophet Elijah takes place, filled with remarkable events and it shows his life in total honesty, which is something the Bible always does and should be a comfort to us in our daily messes and also remind us not to be too judgey-judegey of people in the middle of their messes (point them to Jesus, offer them the hope we find in Christ, pray for them, speak life and truth based on the Word of God, and sometimes let the Lord do what He alone is able to do in their life, because He is so faithful and so trustworthy…do those things, working to make heaven crowded, but doing it with humility cuz we all need Jesus, nobody is exempt from that great need.) In 2 Kings, we will see the end of Elijah’s life and see Elisha step onto the scene.
You’re listening to The Burt (Not Ernie) Show, part of the Spark Network, now playing in the Edifi app. Normally there is a sponsor for the show, but today I’d like to share about something more close to home and dear to my heart - my daughter Savanna’s Etsy Shoppe. She has some trendy and fun designs in her Christian store and I’ve got to share it with you because her stuff is just beyond amazing. Her clients love her work as a graphic designer, and I think you will love her work, too. Click the link to her Etsy in the show notes and show her some love, cuz she’s pretty terrific. And she didn’t know I was going to feature her on this episode, so this is a surprise for her! Thanks for blessing her! This is episode number 164.
So, we find Elijah in the book of 2 Kings. The one and only.
Followed by the life of Elisha, also the one and only.
Elisha is successor to Elijah, but he for sure was not one to lag behind, to dawdle, to live a lackluster life of service to God. Nope. Elisha followed suit.
Both these men are inspiring in the sense that they encourage us to go all in with the Lord and give us comfort that even the “greats” in the Bible were dealing with the reality of their own humanness as well as the fallen men of society around them…
I think that is a fitting description of the life of a follower of Jesus, isn’t it? We have our own issues that we are dealing with, and by dealing with I mean taking to the cross and leaving them there, seeking the Holy Spirit to heal and guide and deliver and protect and do what only He can do in us, for us, through us. All the while there is a lost and hurting world filled with people that we really want to love well, to be ambassadors of Christ to, and yet at times it is just plain hard because the people part of people makes it tricky sometimes, doesn’t it?
So if living in this current world combined with a deep longing to live fully for the Lord is something that you strive toward (and by strive I actually mean abide toward, since we only have power when we abide in Jesus, the True Vine), then this one’s for you today, my friend.
Now, let’s say that you feel like you can’t be an Elijah of sorts in this day and age. It’s not the same (and it’s not, that’s true…but it’s also not as different as you might think…). That’s okay if you land in that camp because 2 Kings has got you covered. The lives of these two men hold a lot for us, no matter if we want to emulate them or want to just get through the day. The word of God is living and active, it says in Hebrews, and that means it is still speaking to us today…and there is something God’s word has to say to you. Isn’t He good to give us a living Savior and a living Bible and prayer that allows us to enter into His throne room of grace to seek, and receive, help when we need it?
Before I read a few verses for this episode, can I just mention one more thing? Many of us know more about Elijah than we do about Elisha, and so we may have decided that we don’t have the tenacity to be an Elijah in our day. If that’s you, no worries! That’s okay! But I will say that if God chose to take somebody from their regular job and place a calling on their life, would you be willing to respond to that call if the one He called was you?
And one more thing to make mention of - are you willing not only to ask for a big blessing, but also be willing to walk out the life that comes with that big blessing?
Just a couple of questions for you to think about!
I’m going to read 2 Kings chapter 2, verses 1-14 from the Amplified.
When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal. 2 And Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Bethel.” But Elisha replied, “As the Lord lives and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. 3 Now the [a]sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take your master away from you today?” He said, “Yes, I know it; be quiet [about it].”
4 Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. 5 The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho approached Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take your master away from you today?” And he answered, “Yes, I know it; be quiet [about it].” 6 Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on.
7 Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood opposite them [to watch] at a distance; and the two of them stood by the Jordan. 8 And Elijah took his mantle (coat) and rolled it up and struck the waters, and they were divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
9 And when they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let a double [b]portion of your spirit be upon me.” 10 He said, “You have asked for a difficult thing. However, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” 11 As they continued along and talked, behold, a chariot of fire with horses of fire [appeared suddenly and] separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” And he no longer saw Elijah. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces [in grief]. 13 He picked up the mantle of Elijah that fell off him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. 14 He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he too had struck the waters, they divided this way and that, and Elisha crossed over.
The prophet Elijah’s exit from Israel, from the planet earth, was amazing, wasn’t it? Truly an epic event in the history of mankind. Elisha saw it happen with his own eyes because he really desired to be there when this took place. He didn’t want to see Elijah go, per se, we know that to be true based on the text found in chapter 2 of 2 Kings. But he did know this event, the time Elijah was to go and be with the Lord, was upon them and he simply did not want to not be there, in spite of the grief he would experience (remember in verse 12 when he took his clothes and tore them into two pieces in grief - Elisha did not rejoice or celebrate this moment…but even in his grief, he made sure to be there for this moment… Can you relate to that at all? Doing the thing that’s hardest to do even in the midst of your grief?)
He opted to follow Elijah closely throughout this day so that he wouldn’t miss Elijah being taken. Also, isn’t that beautiful? Now of course Elijah did not die when he was taken via a chariot of fire to be with the Lord, but it still is a beautiful way to look at the end of a life on earth for a Christian. Just being taken. I really love that!
He followed closely and he didn’t miss it. Even though it would bring grief, Elisha stayed close to Elijah. Sometimes we hang back when we should stay close. Jesus is the friend who sticks closer than a brother, so even when it’s hard to deal with the things that grieve us, we’ve not alone. He is close. Close enough to collect our tears in a bottle. Don’t hang back when you know God wants you to stay close.
Elisha followed and followed and followed all over the place so he would be there when Elijah was taken. And in verse 9 Elijah asked him what he should do for him before being taken from him. Elisha asked for a double portion of his spirit. A difficult thing is how Elijah described this request! And what he asked for was what he received. The double portion he asked for is exactly what he got.
And when he turned back and returned the way they had both come, it was time for him to step into the new role that came with the double portion blessing he’d asked for.
Sometimes we ask for things and we just don’t really think beyond it. Not really. We know what we want, and we ask for it, and that’s oftentimes where our thinking has stopped. We have put it in park at that point, receiving what we want…but in reality, getting what we ask for may be the moment we need to put the car into drive or overdrive and get moving. A responsibility came into Elisha’s life when this request was granted. He was now the leader of the prophets and the hardships of leading and teaching, the actual work of being a prophet in this leadership role, on the heels of Elijah no less, that’s a tall order. Who can fill those shoes? Thankfully, God only called Elisha to be himself in this role, not a 2.0 version of his predecessor. And thankfully, that’s what God requires of us as well. You don’t need to be anybody else, there is no need for any 2.0 upgrades when God made each one of us unique and individual in the exact way that only He can.
But I want you to consider if perhaps you’ve asked for something, prayed about it, and gotten what you requested…and then have simply stopped. Hit pause. Put it in park. Things are now on hold. You’re living in the pause rather than living your life out in the way that the Lord wants you to.
Elisha had to go back the way he had come, but go back in a new role with this new mantle. And he had to be about this new role under this new mantle for the rest of his days. Do you think it was always easy for him? And do you and I ever avoid putting it back into drive and moving forward simply because we know it’s not gonna be easy? What if the answered prayer God provided was not just for us to hold on to and do nothing with…what if God has something for us to do with those answered requests? What then? Can we buckle up and get going and not give in to laziness, procrastination, or fear? Ever feel like it is just plain hard to live out the daily reality of that thing you prayed for - I guess that’s the real question I am asking. And if so, can you believe the overarching hope the Bible gives you that every promise of God will prove true for you, they are all yes and amen through Christ Jesus our Lord - can you believe the promise God gives to be with you, never to leave you nor forsake you? And can you do the thing He wants you to do, trusting fully in His goodness and faithfulness toward you? Or will you remain in that place where it’s just so hard that you don’t want to move on.
God has this thing for you - you prayed for it and put some skin in the game by faith as you asked Him for it again and again perhaps, like this was a prayer that you kept praying, not a one time prayer, but it was on your prayer list for a while. Now the answer has come and it’s go time and while you thought the great act of faith was what it took to ask and keep on asking in prayer…but now you see that it will take a great act of faith to step out into what this answered prayer holds for your life. It’s here! Finally! God answered my prayer! I’m thankful, I’m rejoicing, I’m overwhelmed and undone by His goodness toward me! And now, the journey has just begun.
Am I only talking to myself today or can anybody else relate? Has anyone else ever felt like they had to lean so hard on the Lord and choose to daily believe His promises yet again, totally by faith, as a response to answered prayers? That new mom who prayed as she battled fertility issues…now the newborn is here and wowza, this answered prayer is just the start of a new journey. The job with the amazing promotion and the best coworkers who are on the next level is now taking a lot of faith as you learn the ropes and bump up against things you’ve never dealt with before. The ministry you prayed about for so long is here, the opportunity has arrived and now you have to add your preparedness to that opportunity and do some things that are super hard in order to advance the Kingdom of God in this new ministry that the Lord has entrusted you with. Anybody?
When you feel like asking, “Well, what now?” I would say that the answer to the question what now is this: put your new mantle on, that’s what now.
If you know Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit within you. He will equip you, not ditch you. He’ll lead and guide you, not abandon you. The New Testament says the same power that raised Jesus from the grave is a work in us, it dwells in us. That’s ample power for what this new mantle, this answered prayer, will demand of you.
Don’t make the mistake of looking back at your former life, before the prayer was answered, looking back wishing you could go back there, wishing you had never stepped out and asked big and leveled up.
Listen - insecurity is normal for all of us when we are in new situations. When we are changing life roles. When a big prayer gets answered in a big way. But insecurity can be a signal for us - a signal that you are being grown, being stretched, in your faith and in your maturity in Christ. Insecurity does not have to have the last word. It can be a laser pointer letting us know that in this exact spot, right there where you’re feeling really out of your depth and vulnerable and the new kid on the block, right there is the place God is simply maturing you and where you can expect His strength to come in hot in the midst of your weakness. That’s all it is.
So, yield to the Spirit of the Lord. Do the next thing, and then the next. Don’t make the mistake of looking back at the former things, because the Lord wants us to behold Him doing a new thing. Don’t despise the day of small beginnings. Rejoice in what God is just getting started in your life! It’s a gift, this answered prayer, and hey…if you are listening today and you’re in the middle of some long time praying and now you’re like, huh, well if there is gonna be a lot of new faith required when God answers, maybe I’ll stop asking. I suppose you could do that and just stop. Stay stagnant, remain where you are, do nothing new. But wouldn’t you rather live the adventure that is your life when walking by the Spirit with your Good Shepherd guiding you, to the glory of your Father? (The answer is yes, btw…there is no alternative answer.)
Don’t stop now. Don’t go backward, cuz that’s like reverse potty training and yeah, that’s not a good plan.
Are you called to live like Elijah or like Elisha in your generation? Like Barnabas or Lydia? Like Ruth or Esther or Mordecai or like Joseph in Egypt or like Peter, moving forward even after heartbreaking, gut wrenching failure? Honestly, yes, you probably are called to live like the Bible characters…because you are a child of God, and so you are called to live like one. You’re called to be a disciple and to make disciples, to live a life of discipleship on both fronts, like a two front war. Your own discipleship and investing in others. Don’t stop now. Go and tell about Jesus and live your life for Him. He’s worth it! In eternity, you’ll never regret so much as one second spent for the Lord and His purposes and His glory and honor. The promise of 2 Kings is the all-encompassing promise of Elisha’s life. So please, don’t stop now!
Thanks for joining me on the podcast today - I’m super grateful for you and honored to have you as a listener. And the link to my daughter’s Etsy shoppe with Christian themed encouraging and super cute and modern items like tees, coffee mugs, journals, hoodies, etc is in the show notes. I’ll see ya next time! Bye bye.
Saturday Oct 07, 2023
Saturday Oct 07, 2023
Saturday Oct 07, 2023
Well hey there, hello to ya today. Hope you are blessed beyond measure (and I actually do mean blessed BEYOND your ability to measure all the blessings from the Lord to you). Today we are continuing to look at a promise from each and every book in the Bible. And we have made it to the book of 1 Kings. (Remember the kids' songs … 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles…that’s all the first and seconds.) 1 Kings is our landing spot today. Sometimes I think of podcasts or Sunday morning sermons or reading a chapter of a Christian book that aims to make me a better disciple of Jesus, I sort of think of them like I’m on a plane headed to my final destination (which is eternity with the Lord, right?) and the plane lands but I don’t disembark, I stay on the plane for a refuel and then take off again for the next leg of this journey home. I hope this podcast is like a bit of a refuel for you, and that you are, as much as possible, enjoying this journey home with the Lord. He’s a trustworthy pilot and I believe He wants you to experience the full depth of His love (even though it is impossible to fully know it, said the apostle Paul) but to know the depth of it as much as possible on this journey home where you get to live out, day by day, the Lord’s unique calling on your life. My prayer is that this refuel blesses you, not because of me, but because of the Lord Jesus and His tremendous love for you.
You’re listening to The Burt (Not Ernie) Show, part of the Spark Network, now playing in the Edifi app. This episode is sponsored by the ROAR Virtual Marketing Conference. If you may be interested in speaking or podcasting from a Christian perspective, this conference may be just what you’re looking for. Grab access to the conference at the link above, and make note of the fact that there are paid options as well as a free ticket option. It’s happening soon, in mid-October, so don’t delay! I’ll see ya there! Now, on with the show. This is episode # 163.
1 Kings 8:56 from the Amplified reads this way:
Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, in accordance with everything that He promised. Not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He spoke through Moses His servant.
These are the words of Solomon during his benediction, which is part of the Scripture portion where he dedicated the newly completed temple. It’s a wonderful chapter, all of 1 Kings 8, and marks a beautiful moment in the history of Israel.
This verse seemed like the right one to talk about on the podcast today because it reassures us that the same God who kept His every promise to Israel, in total accordance with everything He promised through Moses, is the same God who keeps His every promise to us. And we know that all God’s promises are yes and amen through Christ Jesus our Lord, as it says in 2 Corinthians 1:20.
We can read the Old Testament and discover mountains of hope and assurance…or we can skim read it or skip it altogether and think that there is a vast sea of separation between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament.
But what happens when we choose to believe that God is the same yesterday, today and forever? That there is no shadow of turning with Him?
How do we think then? And how do we live day by day as a result of that thinking?
Can we say, like Solomon did, blessed be the Lord? Can you right now, in this very moment and this exact place in your life, say blessed be the Lord! Helpful hint for ya today: you most certainly can, and you most certainly should.
Choose to believe that God is going to keep every promise He has made. To you. And as a result of your choice to believe that (even if you don’t feel like it’s true…we don’t all feel it all the time…belief is sort of like love in that it is a continual choice…you are normal if you have to choose to believe today and then choose to believe again tomorrow…) When we choose to believe that God is a perfect keeper of all His promises, then we can say, blessed be the Lord, and we’ll mean it. We mean it when we say that out of a place of belief, because the place of belief really is the place of trust.
And I’d like to note what Solomon said after he stated, “Blessed be the Lord.” It goes on to say, who has given rest to His people. In accordance with everything that He promised.
Isn’t that awesome?
Rest comes for us as part of God keeping His promises to us.
If you feel weary today, and need rest, my prayer is that you will have what you need, straight from God. In whatever way best blesses you and brings Him glory, may He grant you rest and more rest and then some more rest. It may not come in the form of a nap, but God can give us rest in our inner being and renew and refresh us and give us renewed strength….may your strength be renewed like the eagle, as it says in Psalm 103:5.
Keep Your promises to the one listening to this podcast today, Lord, and give them rest that is perfect for them right now in this season of their life. Provide all that they need, and be glorified in this time of rest.
God knows just what He has promised to you. And He knows how to keep every bit of those promises to you.
It can be hard when we feel a bit stuck in the in-between. We know we’ve been given a promise, but it hasn’t come to pass yet, and we have needs and hopes and we are feeling like maybe we missed it…did we do something wrong? What’s going on, Lord? What’s up with this? (ever have a prayer time that sounds like that…your prayer is, I don’t know what’s going on and I sure hope I didn’t miss something…)
Those are the moments when it is hardest to hang on to belief, which is also hanging on to our trust.
Those are also the moments that can be real faith stretchers for us.
Faith that is untested is no faith at all. I’ve read that somewhere and I’m not sure who to attribute that quote to, but it’s a good one.
Faith that is untested is no faith at all.
We don’t need a flashlight at high noon in Tucson on a sunny summer day.
And we don’t need faith if life is constantly giving us nothing but ease.
If you are experiencing a moment of faith stretching, can I read today’s verse once more as a rock solid reminder that God will, absolutely and with utter perfection and precision, keep His promises? One of those promises is that He will never leave you nor forsake you, and I think that may be a promise that somebody needs to hold onto today…your God who loves you beyond measure or comprehension WILL NEVER leave you nor forsake you. You are chosen, not forsaken. You are His beloved. You are loved by the God who spoke the world into existence.
1 Kings 8:56 - Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, in accordance with everything He promised. Not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He spoke through Moses His servant.
Not one word failed.
Not one word will ever fail.
All God’s good promise, which He has given us via the Bible, all of God’s good promise is unfailing and infallible. It’s certain, and it cannot fail. God’s promises are inerrant.
And not one word of God’s good promise to you will fail. Ever.
Choose belief today, even in, maybe especially in, those hard places, those faith stretching spots, and when it’s not high noon in Tucson and you need no faith.
Take heart, and remember that in this world you will have trouble, but Jesus has overcome the world. The words Solomon spoke in 1 Kings 8 during the dedication of the first temple are an encouraging reminder of the truth about God and His promises to us as we look toward the soon building of the third temple in Jerusalem. True, true, ever always true…God’s promises are true for you.
Thanks so much for joining me today, and hey, I haven’t asked in a while so I’ll ask today. If you are encouraged by The Burt (Not Ernie) Show, I’d be super grateful for a review or a rating or a share of the show. And if you have a women's ministry event coming up, or a moms event, or maybe even an online event, like a summit or conference, and you are looking for a speaker, I’d be honored to be in the mix, to be considered for those events. I’ve got a link in the show notes to a Google form - click that or pass it along to the women’s ministry leader if that might be helpful. Have a blessed rest of your day…a blessed week, and I’m praying that you have all the rest you need and receive an outpouring of God’s favor, grace and tremendous love today. See ya next time. Bye bye.
Monday Sep 25, 2023
Monday Sep 25, 2023
Monday Sep 25, 2023
Well hey there, hello to ya and welcome to this episode. Today we will be taking a look at 2 Samuel, studying the word of God to find out what it has to say to us right here, right now, today, in the very place we find ourselves. There is no part of your life that God is careless about. He cares, and His care runs deep. And today, we’re going to see heartbreak versus loyalty within the pages of our Bible. I’m so glad you’re here!
You’re listening to The Burt (Not Ernie) Show, part of the Spark Network, now playing via the Edifi app. Today’s episode is sponsored by the third annual ROAR Virtual Marketing Conference (happening online October 12-14, 2023…if you are a writer, speaker, podcaster, in some type of ministry or are thinking about beginning a podcast or hosting an online summit or other event, in women’s ministry perhaps, this event could be just the thing you’ve been looking for. I’ll be attending and it is something I am very excited about.) For information or to register just click the link in the show notes, or go to roarmarketingconference.com ROAR marketing conference dot com. Seriously, if you’re looking for marketing info from a Christian perspective, you gotta check it out. Now, on with the show! This is episode number 162.
Way, way back in the earliest episodes of this podcast, I remember mentioning that people’s last words are often chosen carefully and are paid close attention to. When we know someone is sharing their last words, we listen much more closely and with greater intention than our normal state of listening. Which is kind of like listening…kind of? With a question mark more than a period, if we’re honest. And sometimes we just don’t know that the words someone is sharing are their final ones, and when we don’t know, then we don’t know to listen closely.
Chapter 23 of 2 Samuel contains David’s last words.
When it came to this remarkable king, this man after God’s own heart, do you think those around him and those within his kingdom and even those outside of his kingdom whom he had influenced and impacted, do you think they listened to what he had to say? How much weight do you imagine David’s last words carried?
In a handful of verses from the pages of my Bible, the life of arguably one of the most well-known and admired figures from God’s word comes to a close.
I’m reading from the NLT today.
2 Samuel, chapter 23 -
These are the last words of David:
“David, the son of Jesse, speaks—
David, the man who was raised up so high,
David, the man anointed by the God of Jacob,
David, the sweet psalmist of Israel.[a]
“The Spirit of the Lord speaks through me;
his words are upon my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke.
The Rock of Israel said to me:
‘The one who rules righteously,
who rules in the fear of God,
is like the light of morning at sunrise,
like a morning without clouds,
like the gleaming of the sun
on new grass after rain.’
“Is it not my family God has chosen?
Yes, he has made an everlasting covenant with me.
His agreement is arranged and guaranteed in every detail.
He will ensure my safety and success.
But the godless are like thorns to be thrown away,
for they tear the hand that touches them.
One must use iron tools to chop them down;
they will be totally consumed by fire.”
(David knew who he was, as indicated by what was just read. He knew how greatly the Lord had blessed him. He knew the Spirit of the Lord spoke through him. And he knew the difference between the godly and the godless. These really are lovely words to speak at the end of your days.) Continuing in chapter 23 -
David’s Mightiest Warriors
8 These are the names of David’s mightiest warriors. The first was Jashobeam the Hacmonite,[b] who was leader of the Three[c]—the three mightiest warriors among David’s men. He once used his spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle.[d]
9 Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. 10 He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the Lord gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!
11 Next in rank was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, 12 but Shammah[e] held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.
13 Once during the harvest, when David was at the cave of Adullam, the Philistine army was camped in the valley of Rephaim. The Three (who were among the Thirty—an elite group among David’s fighting men) went down to meet him there. 14 David was staying in the stronghold at the time, and a Philistine detachment had occupied the town of Bethlehem.
15 David remarked longingly to his men, “Oh, how I would love some of that good water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem.” 16 So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew some water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem, and brought it back to David. But he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the Lord. 17 “The Lord forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men[f] who risked their lives to bring it to me.” So David did not drink it. These are examples of the exploits of the Three.
(Remarkable! The battles these three, David’s top three warriors among his thirty mighty men, the mighty men of David, doing exploits that leave us astounded and wondering, “How can this be true?” And yet, true it is. Let God be true and every man a liar - His word is true. These things really did happen. What about you? What great exploits can you do for the kingdom of your God? Are you a prayer warrior? Then do it with all your heart, working as unto the Lord, expecting great results and powerful answers to those prayers. Never stop praying - never stop seeking the Lord’s will to be done right here on earth just as it is in heaven. And one day, your faith will become sight and you’ll find out how your prayers impacted people for all eternity. There is no doubt that a praying man or woman holds great sway in the Lord’s throne room of grace, where we boldly approach His throne to obtain grace and mercy in our time of need. When He looks, does He find one who stands in the gap? Who intercedes for others? Are you that one? Don’t stop praying. Never stop praying.)
David’s Thirty Mighty Men
18 Abishai son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, was the leader of the Thirty.[g] He once used his spear to kill 300 enemy warriors in a single battle. It was by such feats that he became as famous as the Three. 19 Abishai was the most famous of the Thirty[h] and was their commander, though he was not one of the Three.
20 There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior[i] from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions[j] of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. 21 Once, armed only with a club, he killed an imposing Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it. 22 Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightiest warriors. 23 He was more honored than the other members of the Thirty, though he was not one of the Three. And David made him captain of his bodyguard.
24 Other members of the Thirty included:
Asahel, Joab’s brother;
Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem;
Shammah from Harod;
Elika from Harod;
Helez from Pelon[k];
Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa;
Abiezer from Anathoth;
Sibbecai[l] from Hushah;
Zalmon from Ahoah;
Maharai from Netophah;
Abi-albon from Arabah;
Azmaveth from Bahurim;
Eliahba from Shaalbon;
the sons of Jashen;
Jonathan 33 son of Shagee[q] from Harar;
Ahiam son of Sharar from Harar;
Eliphelet son of Ahasbai from Maacah;
Eliam son of Ahithophel from Giloh;
Hezro from Carmel;
Paarai from Arba;
Igal son of Nathan from Zobah;
Bani from Gad;
Zelek from Ammon;
Naharai from Beeroth, the armor bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah;
Ira from Jattir;
Gareb from Jattir;
Uriah the Hittite.
There were thirty-seven in all.
(That was a list of names. Why is that important? Because you’re important to the Lord. Important enough that your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life, if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Reading a list like this reminds us that people matter so very much to our God. And that means everyone you encounter matters to God. He cares about them, He cares about what happens to them, He cares where they spend eternity. And while I butchered some of those for sure, there were some tough ones on that list, God never gets our name wrong. He knows who you are. He knows where you are. And He knows where you fall in history. You matter, your place matters, and you are not forgotten. Your name is on a list, and once it’s written there it cannot be erased because the precious blood of Jesus bought you with a price. And if you don’t know that your name is written in Jesus’ Book of Life, you can know it immediately by praying by faith for Jesus to forgive your sins, by accepting His payment on the cross as the full payment for all your sins, and then give your life to Him fully and completely. If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved - that’s Romans 10:9 and it is God's honest truth. You can know immediately that your name is written in the book of life, and when the roll is called up yonder, you’ll be there.)
Can I mention that this chapter ends with the mention of Uriah the Hittite. There’s a story there, one of heroism on Uriah’s part and great heartbreak as well. Godly people really do ungodly things sometimes, as was the case with the death of Uriah as ordered by King David. One of his mighty men, as listed here. When you have an in-the-spotlight kind of life, as David certainly did, there is added possibility of great heartbreaks. Is it fair? Well, I suppose life isn’t fair, honestly. And so, if you are in some sort of a spotlight type of role, be sure to pray and ask the Lord to give you discernment, conviction, grace, compassion, empathy, wisdom and His protection in that role. That is a prayer you won’t ever regret taking time to pray.
And you know, for those of us living a “small” life, not one in the spotlight, just kind of normal (which we may feel is boring, but normal or small does not have to equate to boring!) - a small life may just be good for you. A blessing from the Lord. Don’t assume that a small life, a small ministry, a small role is a curse. I’m very serious when I say it may be the biggest blessing you never knew you had. In the spotlight, it gets warm. The spotlight is the hot light. And it can be so very hard. There is no shame in a small life lived well for God’s glory, for a small ministry that serves others and honors the King of kings. Maybe social media says it’s not big enough to be good enough. But that’s not what God says, and His opinion really is the only opinion that matters since it’s the only opinion that will stand at the end of all time. Uriah’s life was cut far too short, and it serves as an example for us to daily rely on the Holy Spirit.
Friday Sep 15, 2023
Friday Sep 15, 2023
Friday Sep 15, 2023
So today we’re back to our series, Every Book A Promise, and here we are in 1 Samuel.
You know, I first thought we’d look at the life of Hannah and her son Samuel, because it’s beautiful and encouraging and just causes hope to spring forth.
But as I prayed over this episode, I landed on chapter 8.
In the Amplified, this chapter has a header title - Israel Demands A King.
Sometimes the results of the things we want the most are not so great.
And it’s really critical to yield to the Lord, to let the Holy Spirit do what only He can do in us and through us, and not just fight for our own way. The work of yielding is, at times, hard work. It takes effort on our part to bend the knee to the Lord, and let Him have His way fully and completely, while we choose to trust Him even when we know that our own desires may need to be placed on the altar, given fully to Him, and we step back and choose trust and gratitude and ask Him to give us a heart that wants what He wants for us. His ways are best, and what He chooses for us is best…but boy, it can be hard to get to the place of accepting that and yielding to His will when we really really want some certain thing.
Here we find the nation of Israel in 1 Samuel chapter 8.
Israel demands a king.
Samuel was a prophet, and in this chapter we find him older, verse one says Samuel was old, and he appointed his sons as judges over Israel. Verse 3 tells us that his sons did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice. Now that’s a sad, sad result. Those boys were not like their daddy. Isn’t that just so sad?
Verse 4 says the elders of Israel went to see Samuel and just told him, Hey, you’ve gotten old and your sons don’t walk in your ways. Now give us a king, appoint a king over us to judge us and rule over us. Like all the other nations. (verse 5)
When we want to be like the crowd, like they have over there, and they have this and everybody else has it and is doing it this way, so that’s what I want too, that can be a sign that we’re on the wrong path, the wrong track. Cuz usually when everybody is doing some certain thing, it’s likely not honoring the Lord. What the world does, well, that doesn’t look like the Kingdom of God. Let’s put it that way. When, say, your kids want to do what everybody else is doing, do you just say yes, sure, go for it, I don’t care what you do, go on, be like everybody. Be a photocopy of the world. UHHH, ya probably don’t react that way.
And God doesn’t want us, His people, His Church, to look and act and demand the things of the world. Our citizenship is in heaven, it says in Philippians 3:20, so we’re here but as ambassadors, not as citizens. Pilgrims. Just passing through.
Now here’s what it sort of takes a turn as far as what we might expect God’s response to be. In verse 7 the Lord tells Samuel that the people hadn’t rejected him, but had rejected God from being King over them. Verse 9 from the Amplified says this, and this is God speaking to Samuel here: “So now listen to their voice, only solemnly warn them and tell them the ways of the king who will reign over them.”
That’s a powerful verse.
God’s response to being rejected by the people He’d rescued out of Egypt and given this nation to, like He made them into a nation, and His response to being rejected as their King was to let them have what they’re demanding but to warn them solemnly and tell them what is going to be life under a king. The king will reign over them, because that’s what kings do.
Verses 10-18 provide the record of Samuel’s warning to the people. The king will take your sons for these tasks and your daughters for these other tasks, and he will take the best of your fields and vineyards and your olive groves and your grain and your donkeys and your flocks and you will be his servants, and then one day you’re going to cry out because of the king you’ve chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you on that day because you have rejected Him as King.
There is a twofold promise in chapter 8.
A promise of living with the result of what you demand, and by this I mean any area of life that we reject God’s Lordship and Kingship over, we can’t demand what we want, reject His reign and rule, and then expect Him to make it all right in the snap of a finger when we realize we don’t like the results of that which we demanded from God. (Now I believe per the New Testament there is grace but that comes with repentance, and that’s not always a theme that folks in the Church like to hear about. Often churchy people don’t like to repent. We like the grace, we like the forgiveness, but it’s kind of goes with repenting, doesn’t it?)
In the end, the people got their king. Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin.
And God did a profound work down through the lineage of the next king, David.
God gets done what He aims to get done, and we don’t really have the power to thwart His eternal plans…because guess what? He knows every word we speak before it is formed on our tongues so says Psalm 139:4.
So we don’t mess up and trash and thrash His eternal plans. We are created, He is the Creator, and we don’t have the power to ruin what He wills to be accomplished. But that’s not an excuse to demand our own way. It should be a warning that we don’t understand the holiness of God the way that we ought to.
God’s holiness reminds me that I should trust Him fully and serve Him honorably and repent when I find myself demanding my own way.
And when He solemnly gives me a warning about what will happen if He gives me that which I am pining and whining for…do I listen, or do I say, “Yeah yeah, just give it to me.”
So what’s the positive promise here?
That we can listen and heed and be blessed beyond measure, if we have ears to hear and hearts to understand. If we yield. If we say, “Not my will, but Yours be done in this area, in this part of my life, where I really want this, but Your will, not mine.” There’s a blessing to be had in those moments of yielding, a blessing that may well be unique to those situations.
You know, kings like the one they were demanding in 1 Samuel chapter 8, kings recruit. That’s evidenced clearly in this passage. He’ll take this, he’ll take that, he’ll take the other, and then he’ll take even more. Kings recruit. Sometimes people in other positions of leadership recruit.
But God, He doesn’t treat us like recruits, like a mass of numbers, because that’s not very personal or loving. Your God is so personal. Your God loves you so incredibly much. Isn’t that the reality of John 3:16 and 17? For God SO loved. That tiny word SO is awfully important, it packs a huge punch and gives us a mighty big glimpse into the heart of our Father.
God will have assignments for you, tasks that fit into what Paul told us about in Ephesians, good works created in advance for you to do. I think that’s in chapter two of Ephesians. Super encouraging chapter, by the way, Ephesians 2. And 3. Well, the whole book…who am I kidding, it’s powerful and man you need a boost about your life and if you matter in the whole scheme of things? Read Epheisans. It’ll boost ya!
Being recruited feels so very different than being granted a Kingdom assignment straight from the God who SO loves you.
No comparison between the two.
Man recruits. God assigns out of the depths of His great and unending love.
One feels heavy and burdensome and wearying. The other brings joy and nearness to the Lord and fits us. Like a cookie back in the shape of the cutter, ya know? Okay, this fits me exactly and perfectly, this is the cloth I was cut from, wow oh wow, this is not heavy and cumbersome and awkward. It fits. And feels like a gift even as I do the work of it.
Does that kind of make sense as a distinction? Recruit vs assign.
Yield to Him, ask Him for His assignments, the good works He has planned for you to be doing, and enjoy the truth that you are SO loved by your King. The promise of 1 Samuel for this series on the podcast is basically this: you will never regret yielding to your one true King rather than demanding what you want, and you will be blessed by the God who SO loves you each and every time you say, “Not my will, Lord, but Your will be done.”
Thursday Sep 07, 2023
Thursday Sep 07, 2023
Thursday Sep 07, 2023
Well hello again, and thanks for listening to this special PART TWO episode of the podcast.
In this episode I'm reading the chapter of Matthew 24 from the New Living Translation and encouraging you to be attentive and to be about the Lord's business. He loves us too much to pull His punches in His word, and this chapter has a whole lot for us to know about in order to live well for His Kingdom and His honor.
And as a little side note, my new podcast - The Prayer Podcast with Jan L. Burt - is up for a podcast award & I'd be so honored if you'd cast your vote! Visit THIS LINK and vote for The Prayer Podcast with Jan L. Burt in the category of Best Solo Podcast. Thanks so very much!
Here is Matthew 24 in the NLT
Jesus Speaks about the Future
24 As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. 2 But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”
3 Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?[a]”
4 Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, 5 for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. 7 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. 8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.
9 “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.[b] 10 And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. 11 And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. 12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations[c] will hear it; and then the end will come.
15 “The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about—the sacrilegious object that causes desecration[d] standing in the Holy Place.” (Reader, pay attention!) 16 “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. 17 A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. 18 A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. 19 How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. 20 And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. 22 In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.
23 “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. 25 See, I have warned you about this ahead of time.
26 “So if someone tells you, ‘Look, the Messiah is out in the desert,’ don’t bother to go and look. Or, ‘Look, he is hiding here,’ don’t believe it! 27 For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man[e] comes. 28 Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near.[f]
29 “Immediately after the anguish of those days,
the sun will be darkened,
the moon will give no light,
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.[g]
30 And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.[h] 31 And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world[i]—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
32 “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. 33 In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. 34 I tell you the truth, this generation[j] will not pass from the scene until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
36 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself.[k] Only the Father knows.
37 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39 People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.
40 “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.
42 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43 Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.
45 “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 46 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. 47 I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. 48 But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ 49 and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? 50 The master will return unannounced and unexpected, 51 and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Be attentive and make sure the two things that Jesus said we MUST do in this passage are on our to-do list and of the highest priority. When He says MUST, may we say, "Yes, Lord!"
Thursday Sep 07, 2023
Thursday Sep 07, 2023
Thursday Sep 07, 2023
Well, hello there! Welcome to the podcast!
As mentioned in episode #158, we're taking a brief break from the Every Book A Promise series so that we can look at a passage that the Lord put on my heart to share with you. A couple of weeks ago I covered this passage on my other podcast (The Prayer Podcast with Jan L. Burt) and I mentioned on that show that I'd be sharing about Luke chapter 12 and Matthew chapter 24 over here on The Burt (Not Ernie) Show.
This has been in the works for a bit, and I say that in order to *hopefully* prevent anyone from thinking that this content is to make a point or is in response to or directed at any one person in particular. IT ISN'T. I promise. Now that that's out of the way and there's no reason to wonder if this is a pointy stick being jibbed and jabbed at someone, let's get down to it!
This podcast is now playing on the Edifi app. This is episode number 159.
(read aloud in the NLT)
35 “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. 37 The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! 38 He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn.[d] But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.
39 “Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”
41 Peter asked, “Lord, is that illustration just for us or for everyone?”
42 And the Lord replied, “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 43 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. 44 I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. 45 But what if the servant thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? 46 The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful.
47 “And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. 48 But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.
Jesus Causes Division
49 “I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! 50 I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. 51 Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! 52 From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against.
‘Father will be divided against son
and son against father;
mother against daughter
and daughter against mother;
and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’[e]”
54 Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. 55 When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. 56 You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times.
In the NLT, the header for verses 35-48 reads “Be Ready for the Lord’s Coming” and in the Amplified it reads “Be In Readiness”.
Be in readiness.
Live in a state of perpetual readiness.
Now, this is no easy task, no small order we find here.
Be dressed and ready for service. Keep your lamps burning. The oil often referenced in the Bible refers to the Holy Spirit. Be so filled with the Spirit of the Living God, be much with the Lord to put it very frankly, because that Holy Spirit oil is what will keep your lamp burning. No oil? No fire in the lamp. And if the lamp is not lit and burning, then we are not obeying the Lord Jesus and His command to us here in Luke chapter 12. If you do not spend time, and ample time, in the Word of God and with Him in prayer and thanksgiving (not talking about a Bible reading checklist here, but a personal relationship with the One who loved you enough to die for you). Talk with Him all day long, make a conversation with Him the thing you are doing as you drift off to sleep, pray and listen first thing when you awaken. Be dressed for service, as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. You’d be paying attention, have certain things at the ready that the master would want upon his return, and if it were from a wedding feast, it would likely be a late return. Nonetheless, you’d be ready with what would please the master, ready to do your assigned tasks. That’s how active waiting should take place. Though the hour seems late, don’t slumber and don’t slack off. Stay dressed for service and be so much with the Lord, filled with His Spirit, that when He returns you are ready and waiting, and in your readied state of waiting you will be doing the things the Lord has called you to be doing.
What are those things for you? Probably not exactly what they are in my life. For example, my children are all adults now, so I do not have the same daily child-rearing things to do that I had to do earlier in my life. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all, but rather that solid relationship with your Father so that you know just what it is He wants you to be doing in this season.
This is how you will be ready to open the door and let Him in the moment He arrives and knocks. Be alert to the times and seasons in which we live. Eyes on Israel - very prudent to pay attention to what is happening in Israel in these last days. And you know, there are so many people in ministry who are talking frankly about the soon return of Jesus, I cannot think of a time this has ever been the case to this extreme. Where we see Matthew 24 coming to pass in all its varied aspects, and have church leaders who are not what could be considered out there on the fringe, stating openly that this is it, we are in the final hours. Children, even toddlers, are having dreams about Jesus and His return and there is a widening gap between those who are in the Church, who profess Jesus as Lord, this widening gap where some believe these are the last days and at any time we truly could (and I believe, will) see the beginning of the 7 year tribulation begin, a treaty that involves Israel that will be a 7 year promise type of treaty, and that’s the kick off of the final 7 years, that’s the book of Daniel and also Paul in both his letters to the Thessalonian church. We’re almost there, folks. And yet there is a large (too large!) number of professing believers who are not in belief about this very subject. They say it’s coming, but not now, later on down the road, there’s more time…and really to be fair, if they don’t search out the information about specifically Israel and things like looking at the number of earthquakes happening around the world, or looking into the state of the Euphrates River right now, and line this all up with the Bible, if they don’t know what’s going on, that would for sure contribute to not thinking we are so close. And often the one single verse, not the whole counsel of the Word of God, but one single verse that Jesus spoke, is their reasoning behind not believing this is the season of His return. Of course, that verse is that no man knows the hour or the day of the return of the Son of God. That’s a true verse, 100% true. But if we take it in context, and read all of what Jesus says in this passage in Matthew 24, all His words here regarding the end times, we would find that He is actually calling us to be ready because He will come at an hour when you do not expect it. He gives signs in this chapter to know that His return is very near, and Jesus said that when you see all these things, the end is near, even at the door. That’s verse 33 of Matthew 24.
I’m doing this episode of this podcast, and also of my original podcast The Burt (Not Ernie) Show about this topic, the signs of the times and the return of the King of kings, because the Lord put it on my heart to do so. To share on this. Right now. Without delay. To make short work of my obedience to what He called me to do.
In spite of those who don’t want to hear it, who don’t think it’s time just quite yet.
But it is time. And I hope you do hear. Things are advancing. That seven year treaty will be signed soon. As it says in Luke 12, when He comes He will reward the servants who are ready. If you knew exactly when a burglar was coming, you would not permit a break in. A servant who knows what the master wants but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions will be severely punished. But what if the servant thinks, “My master won’t be back for a while,”...the master will return unannounced and unexpected and will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful. These are the words Jesus spoke about being ready for His coming. So please, be ready. Be dressed for service. Keep your lamp burning. Be ready and waiting for His return and there will be a reward for you. It will be unexpected…so do your utmost to expect the unexpected. You must be ready all the time, it says in verse 40. Again, I use the word please…be ready all the time, starting at this time, this very moment, right now, today. Get ready, be ready, stay ready. The King is coming soon.
Lord, lead us as we serve You wholeheartedly in these last days. Show us how to pay attention to the signs of the times, the signs that mark Your soon return, and help us live ready and attentively, but not in fear or giving way to despair. Keep our eyes fixed on You, remind us of all You’ve promised, and keep us as the apple of Your eye as we are dressed for service, picking up our cross daily and following You, keeping our lamps burning, waiting for Your return. Save all who will come to You, Lord, and do not delay. Bring about a great end times harvest and move in the hearts and minds of men and women and children all over the world. Show us what we need to know, and by the same power that raised Jesus from the grave, enable us to do the things You want us to be doing at this moment in time. We still must go to work each day, and we want to do that for Your glory and Your honor, so lead us in doing our work well, as unto the Lord, even while we remain aware and watchful. May we be a blessing to those around us in the daily tasks we must do, and remind us to pray with boldness and great faith for the people in our lives who have needs, and who do not know You as their own Lord and Savior. May be remain dressed and ready for service continually, and never doubt in the dark what You have told us in the light. And Lord, work in the lives of Your people in Israel. Reveal Yourself to them as their Messiah. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and save and rescue as many as possible in the days remaining before Your return. Amen.
Thanks for joining me for this special episode of The Burt (Not Ernie) Show. And I hope to see you back here for Part Two in episode number 160!
Thursday Aug 31, 2023
Thursday Aug 31, 2023
Thursday Aug 31, 2023
Well, hey there!
I'm so thankful you're here for this episode and I hope you stick around all the way to the end, because there is a very special blessing I'd like to share with you and speak over you as a prayer.
And here's a link to share any prayer requests (or to check out the Psalm 91 Pray It & Believe audio course or for an all-access pass to the latest prayer retreat online event), just visit JanLBurt.com & an option to text your prayer requests will be right there on your screen. I'd be honored to pray for you!
The book of Ruth begins with a heartbreaking story of loss and pain and moves on to a story of redemption and blessing.
It truly is one of the most beautiful tales the Bible has to tell.
Rather than have lengthy show notes for this episode, I'll just share some verses from the book of Ruth and allow you to listen to the podcast and be blessed by the message from today's text.
God has good for you, and I hope today's show is encouraging! I so appreciate you joining me and taking a look at God's promises and blessings for His people in this part of the "Every Book A Promise" series on the podcast!
Ruth 1:1-5 NLT
In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a severe famine came upon the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah left his home and went to live in the country of Moab, taking his wife and two sons with him. The man’s name was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi. Their two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. And when they reached Moab, they settled there.
Then Elimelech died, and Naomi was left with her two sons. The two sons married Moabite women. One married a woman named Orpah, and the other a woman named Ruth. But about ten years later, both Mahlon and Kilion died. This left Naomi alone, without her two sons or her husband.
Ruth 2:12 NLT
May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.
Ruth 4:11-12 NLT
Then the elders and all the people standing in the gate replied, “We are witnesses! May the Lord make this woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, from whom all the nation of Israel descended! May you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. And may the Lord give you descendants by this young woman who will be like those of our ancestor Perez, the son of Tamar and Judah.”