Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Bad, the Good, the Ugly

Athaliah, Jehoiada, and Joash
The Bad, the Good, the Ugly
1 Kings 12

You’ve heard the adage, “Like father, like son.”
This passage tells of the opposite one.
Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah by name,
Was very good at the power game.

She married Joram, Jehoshaphat’s son,
But eight years later his time was done.
Her son, Ahaziah, became the king
But his reign was simply a one-year fling.

Athaliah, desiring the throne,
Killed her grandsons to make it her own.
Murderous, selfish, scheming and rash,
She killed them all except for Joash.

The hand of God was upon the lad,
The only descendent of his dad,
Hidden away in the House of the Lord
Until the day his throne was restored.

Enter Jehoiada, the faithful priest
Who fiercely opposed Athaliah that beast.
Joash was crowned at the temple hill;
Athaliah captured and quickly killed.

For forty years Joash was king
Bringing reform to everything.
The altars of Baal were all torn down;
Idolatry banned in Jerusalem town.

As long as Jehoiada was an advisor
Joash kept ruling wiser and wiser.
The temple was completely restored
With monies given to the Lord.

Jehoiada lived to one hundred thirty,
But after he died it wasn’t pretty.
Joash stopped listening to the priest
Failing badly to say the least.

He killed Zechariah, Jehoiada’s son,
And lost a war that he should have won.
All of this happened you can see
Because of his end-life apostasy.

Though Joash began well, in the end he failed;
His spiritual heritage sadly derailed.
Stay true to God, to whom you belong,
Walk humbly before Him and finish strong.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jezebel and the End of the Road

2 Kings 10

There were many insolent kings who dismissed the Lord’s intentions—
Kings from both the North and South too numerous here to mention.
But we can remember Ahab and wife, a godless king and queen.
Ahab had died and now it was time for Jezzie to leave the scene.

Jezebel dwelt secure in the palace; her son had assumed the throne.
But up in heaven the day and time of Jezebel’s judgment was known.
Elijah had set the record straight with solemn words of candor.
The one God chose to seal her fate was Jehu, the army commander.

A prophet was sent to this chosen one to make this message known:
God had removed Jezebel’s son and given Jehu the throne.
The entire house of Ahab rebelled just as Elijah had said.
Jehu would send all of them down to the realm of the dead.

Now Jehu was a man of action known to drive quite fast.
His chariot left a cloud of dust as he went racing past.
Joram the King went out to greet him arriving at Naboth’s land.
There the son of Ahab died by an arrow from Jehu’s hand.

Jehu said to Bidkar his captain, “Leave him on Naboth’s land.
I refuse to bury the body of such a disgraceful man.
Naboth died in treachery; his blood was spilled for this lot.
Ahab’s family now will pay for Jezebel’s evil plot.”

Jezebel learned of her son’s death and knew her time was up.
Long and deep had been her drink from Satan’s evil cup.
She painted her face and dressed as a queen hoping for domination,
But Jehu stormed upon the scene not fearing intimidation.

He called out to the servants above who stood at Jezebel’s side.
“If you agree then give her a shove right through this window wide.”
They picked her up and threw her down—it’s a story gruesome to tell.
Suffice it say on that very day, Jezebel went to hell.

Seventy sons of Ahab died because of their parent’s sin.
This is not the family arrangement anyone should be in.
You’ll find no advantage for royalty when it comes to Judgment Day.
God will reveal your evil thoughts and every word you say.

But there is a Savior who died for you; the price of sin He paid.
When you place your trust in Him, you need not be afraid.
He will give you a spiritual birth; renew your spirit within,
So choose to receive new life on earth and live forever with Him.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Lesson from Ancient History

2 Kings 6-7

Israel agreed to live by the Law and always do what was best,
But once again they abandoned God and now were starving to death.
Ben Hadad, the king from Syria, surrounded Samaria town.
The capital city of Israel was about to come crashing down.

Joram, the King of Israel, was married to Jezebel’s daughter.
It was her devotion to the Baals that led the people to slaughter.
What good is it to cry out to God with such a divided heart?
God has demanded all of us. He won’t settle for just a part.

Elisha had told him not to surrender, to wait for God’s intervention.
Joram was angry accusing the Lord of deliberate inattention.
Elisha’s life was about to end with the removal of his head,
But right on time Israel would find deliverance was just ahead.

Four starving lepers huddled together outside the city gates.
“We might as well surrender ourselves, for certain death awaits.”
They arose at twilight and walked forth towards the Syrian camp.
There was nary a person there, not even a lighted lamp.

There in the camp was food and drink along with the Syrian horses.
God had provided for the town from the most unlikely of sources.
The people went out and plundered the tents gathering the corn and flour.
The famine broke and the city was spared from Satan’s evil power.

There are observations in this text appropriate for our land.
Consider the misery that prevailed following the wisdom of man.
The prophets warned again and again, but the people would not hear
Until the blessings they enjoyed began to disappear.

If only the king and people too had knelt with bended knee
Confessing their sin and turning their back on wicked idolatry,
They would have avoided the horror brought to their family and friends.
Oh what a price sin extracts before it comes to an end!

We have been blessed in America. What a land to live in!
But now we are about to spend ourselves into complete oblivion.
It is time for the church to wake up today and pray for our moral ills.
It’s time for congress to tighten its belt and decide to pay its bills.

We are in a substantial mess in need of help from above.
The answers are found in the Word of God our nation used to love.
America needs a spiritual renewal to sweep across the land.
Wake up and pray, O saints of God, for judgment is at hand!

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Friday, June 11, 2010

Captured by Greed

1 Kings 5

Naaman was a Syrian legend but not the hero here.
The hero is a servant girl who loved her Lord so dear.
She was captured in a raid and cared for Naaman’s wife.
This is all scripture reveals about her former life.

Naaman was a mighty warrior, a general in the land,
Fighting a tough opponent who had the upper hand.
He had beaten previous combatants employing ferocity,
But Naaman couldn’t foil the attack of dreaded leprosy.

This little maiden said one day, “I have a word for you.
There is a prophet in Israel who will tell you what to do.
If the master will seek his face the leprosy will fade;
The God of Israel is able to heal the people He has made.”

Naaman decided to take the advice, her wisdom to explore.
With silver, gold, and precious gifts he arrived at Elisha’s door.
He thought the prophet would cry aloud in a voice to make one quiver,
But Elisha simple directed him to bathe in the Jordan River.

The general’s pride of life was irked at this bland instruction.
He thought his position and prestige should warrant a greater production.
He fell into a fit of rage with words that could not be written,
But a wise servant counseled him to accept the prophet’s prescription.

Once, then twice, and still a third into the Jordan he dipped.
Nothing substantial had yet occurred, but he kept himself tight lipped.
Four, then five, and finally six, he dipped his way to seven.
When he came up from his seventh plunge, he saw his gift from heaven.

His flesh once foul and eaten away was now completely restored.
He returned to Elisha acknowledging God, attempting to give a reward.
Elisha refused, for God did the deed, and he would accept no gain.
That’s when greed captured Gehazi to his eternal shame.

After telling Naaman a lie, the servant received a prize.
The silver, gold, and quality clothes were appealing to his eyes.
He hid the money deep in his house, then stood before his master
Only to learn that greed and deceit bring with them pain and disaster.

Elisha said, “My dear Gehazi. Did you think I wouldn’t know?
Behold your skin has now become leprous, diseased and white as snow.
It will cling to you and descendents down through the generations.
You will learn to rue the day you yielded to temptation.”

Gehazi’s sin we must not forget; his actions never repeat.
Unchecked greed will only beget a life of lies and deceit.
Be like Elisha devoted to God, make Him your very first choice.
Then when the Day of Judgment arrives, you will surely rejoice.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Anointing of the Holy Spirit

2 Kings 2

The time had arrived for Elijah to go and meet his God this day.
To Elisha he said, “I’m leaving now. Here is where you stay.”
Elisha responded, “As the Lord lives, I will not leave you alone.
I want to go with you all the way until you are taken home.”

Elijah rolled his mantle tight; struck the Jordan with a great sound.
The waters stood both left and right; they traveled on dry ground.
Once they were over Elijah asked, “Can I bless you? Let me hear it?”
“I want to receive a double portion of the Holy Spirit.”

“You have asked a difficult thing. Here is how you will know it.
If you see me when I depart, you can be sure our God will bestow it.”
A glorious chariot suddenly appeared standing there between them.
Elisha would never forget that sight, for clearly he had seen them.

As history records Elisha received an anointing of spiritual power.
The Spirit of God rested on him bringing forth guidance each hour.
Elisha went on to serve the Lord; he was known throughout the land.
Many were the miraculous deeds manifest at his command.

In former days the Spirit rested on those whom God showed favor,
But now He lives within our hearts, a gift from our Lord and Savior.
Knowing God worked in glorious wonder when on a few He would fall,
Consider the potential in the Lord’s church with His Spirit living in all.

The Bible promises spiritual power when the Spirit comes into you.”
He enables you not to cower when the devil seeks to consume you.
The Holy Spirit gives wisdom and strength to fight the good fight each day.
He will guide your mind and heart as you kneel before God to pray.

Just as Elijah fought the good fight and passed the mantle on,
God has given us the might to fight through the night til dawn.
The Spirit of God will never leave us; His presence will ever be there
Enabling us to win the lost as we travel to heaven so fair.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Death of Ahab

1 Kings 22

In the last chapter Ahab was humbled in sackcloth and with fasting.
However the record will now reveal his repentance was not long-lasting.
When Jehoshaphat came for a visit one day, they spoke of their enemies.
They decided a treaty to fight together may be their remedy.

Jehoshaphat sought a prophetic word that God would approve the attack,
So Ahab called for his 400 prophets, who were really 400 quacks.
The prophets told the assembled kings: “They’re given into your hands.”
Jehoshaphat said, “Hold everything. Is there a prophet of God in the land?”

“Yes, there is one I hate to hear. Micaiah is his name.
Every time when he comes near, his prophecies are the same.
Micaiah was summoned with these words, “Give a good word to the king.”
The prophet responded by telling him, “What the Lord says I will bring.”

The room was hushed as he spoke that day to people ranked low and high.
He said to Ahab, “The day you go forth is surely the day you will die.”
False Zedekiah stepped ahead and struck him on the face.
Micaiah said, “You will soon be running hard to find a hiding place.”

When Ahab finally went up to war, he dressed as a soldier plain.
He was sure on Jehoshaphat, the Syrian arrows would rain.
But when an archer raised his bow and released without aim or plan,
The arrow found a chink in the armor mortally wounding the man.

Ahab retreated and watched the battle in his chariot propped.
The blood flowed down inside his armor until his heart just stopped.
After his death the chariot was rinsed with the water flowing red.
The dogs of Samaria lapped up his blood just as the prophet had said.

Ahab thought he could outsmart God. What a foolish man!
If you think we Christians are odd, what is your back up plan?
What if you’re wrong and we are right about the gospel we tell.
It would mean that we are in heaven, but you are consigned to hell.

I am not writing arrogant words but with a humble plea.
That sin exists is beyond dispute. About that all agree.
Thousands of years of history record many of man’s fresh starts,
But only one man has ever changed the nature of our hearts.

This is the message the Bible shares, which Jesus came to effect:
God will change our wicked hearts when His gift we accept.
He will transform our life on earth; give peace at the end of our days.
We will be raised to eternal life to the glory of His praise.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Saturday, June 5, 2010

1 Kings--Part 13--The Message of Naboth's Vineyard

1 Kings 21

There is a reason why this account is placed in God’s Holy book.
Because it reveals evil unleashed, we should take a careful look.
First we see Naboth, a devout Jew, who was faithful to the Law.
Then Ahab and his malevolent queen, both with character flaws.

Naboth carefully tended his vineyard located next to the King.
Ahab thought, “What a bountiful garden this plot of ground would bring.”
“Naboth,” he said, “I want your ground. I’ll give you another field.”
But such a transaction would violate the Law so Naboth would not yield.

Ahab knew that Naboth was right, but he didn’t care at all.
It was no concern to him if he violated the law.
He went home and lay on his bed, pouting like a child.
He told his story to Jezebel and it really go her riled.

Jezebel abused her office and plotted with those in power.
They proclaimed a public fast to meet at a certain hour.
When Naboth arrived they said to him, “We have a charge to bring.
These men here will testify that you have cursed God and the king.”

Thus poor Naboth was falsely accused by those who had hardly known him.
Having been charged with blasphemy, the people were led to stone him.
This is how Ahab obtained the land and prepared it for his use,
But God in heaven saw their lie and moved to reveal the truth.

Elijah the prophet came to the king who had gone to take possession.
He said, “God has seen your pouting heart and Jezebel’s evil aggression.
Remember what happened to the heirs of Jeroboam and Baasha too?
God has pronounced the very same judgment on Jezebel and you.”

Ahab and Jezebel clearly stand for the destruction of evil unleashed.
As long as the devil has a clear hand, his evil will never cease.
Only the Spirit in the church has restrained him until this hour.
Oh what horror the world will face when the devil consolidates power!

The Bible tells us there is a time when peace on earth will end.
Jesus will come to get his church; to heaven the saints will ascend.
The Spirit’s power resident within will no longer restrain sin’s flood.
Now is the time to accept your salvation won by the Savior’s blood.

Look to the Lord, believe Him in faith; trust Him for saving grace.
Do not think the goodness of man is sufficient to embrace.
You are a sinner as all of us are. None of us deserve salvation.
The Lord is coming and you are lost, so end your procrastination.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Friday, June 4, 2010

Taken Captive by False Philosophies

Colossians 2:8

Elijah and the prophets of old warned of idolatry.
The epic battle on Mount Carmel was a strike against heresy.
The people departed from the truth following the lie each day.
The deceptive power of false teaching is still a problem today.

The church contended from early days for truth to reign supreme.
The Fathers sought to protect the flock from Satan’s evil schemes.
The battle has raged throughout the years, the scriptures sounding alarm,
For the devil fuels a relentless intent to bring us sorrow and harm.

There is a heresy heartily proclaimed by third century teacher Arius.
He claimed our Lord was a lesser God, an erroneous teaching nefarious.
He taught the Father created Christ and called Him his only Son.
Early heroes disputed this lie until the battle was won.

Another heresy alive today claims man can become a god.
You listen to the living prophet while walking on this sod.
If you work hard, give of your goods, become a priest that’s true,
When you die your name will be called and you will be a god too.

The first of these heresies described herein is still alive today.
Millions are held in its strong grip following a false pathway.
Its adherents emphasize works to show Jehovah their fitness
To enter into Paradise Earth as a loyal Jehovah’s Witness.

The second lie with teaching so odd is also a cult like the first.
Though its men strive to be gods, its doctrine is false and cursed.
The scripture proclaims there is one God. It affirms there is no other.
True salvation cannot be earned by calling a Mormon your brother.

Many are trapped in false systems today who need to be set free.
Somehow they must hear the truth and see it in you and me.
When they place their trust in Christ, their life is never the same.
So let us continue to declare God’s Word and glorify His name.

Colossians 2:8
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (NIV)

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Elijah's Battle with Fear

1 Kings 18:41–19:18

After the events on Carmel that day when all the false prophets were slain,
Elijah got on his face before God and asked Him to send the rain.
The sky grew black with heavy clouds; rain fell from a heavenly fountain.
Elijah ran faster than Ahab’s chariot racing down the mountain.

Now Ahab was a mouse of a king married to a very strong queen.
He told how her priests had died and all that he had seen.
Jezebel was hostile, filled with fury. She sent a message to Eli:
“I’m coming for you, you miserable prophet. This time tomorrow you die.”

Elijah was frightened and ran for his life. Into the wilderness he went.
He came to a tree and stopped to pray, his energy and confidence spent.
“Oh God,” he said, “I’ve had enough. Please just let me die?
I’m no better than all before me. Oh God hear my cry.”

He lay down and fell asleep, was awakened by a strange touch.
The angel of the Lord was there to feed him just enough.
Then he awoke a second time, was strengthened for the flight.
He continued his way to Mount Horeb forty days and forty nights.

When he arrived at the Mount of God, he took shelter in a cave.
He knew he should not have run away afraid of an early grave.
He had forgotten the power of God as though He could not save.
Alone he lay, wallowing in pity, making excuses that day.

“I have been zealous for you, O God. There’s no one to serve but me.”
God whispered back, “No, Elijah. Here’s a fact I want you to see:
There’s seven thousand in the land who have not bowed to Baal.
Gt up, go forth and gather Elisha to walk with you on the trail.”

This was not the end of Elijah. It’s an important fact to know.
God is the God of the second chance. Through our failures we can grow.
Elisha grew in wisdom and power, a worthy successor and friend.
When God swooped down with a fiery chariot, he saw Elijah ascend.

Here is a truth we should not forget. Let’s hold it dear to our heart.
God, who calls us to each task, will be with us when trouble starts.
When trials come we must be strong fulfilling the whole of our mission.
We must rely on His great power when faced with opposition.

Whatever years and ministry is left, I have but one main goal:
To serve the Lord with all my heart, His name and greatness extol.
Whatever stage of life you’re in, it’s time to make a fresh start.
Admit the failures of your past. Give God the whole of your heart.

© Copyright George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Power of God on Display

Elijah said to Ahab the King, “These false prophets pollute the land.
So gather them now 450 to 1; let’s see who’ll be left to stand.”
So Ahab sent word for all to assemble to give the gods a test.
The people gathered at Mount Carmel to see which god was best.

Elijah the prophet addressed the crowd, “It’s time to make up your mind.
It’s time to stop this wavering dance; I propose we ask for a sign.
Let each side slay a bull on the altar, but their god will light the fire.
In the process we shall prove one to be real and the other a liar.”

The prophets of Baal brought their bull; put it down before the crowd.
They placed the carcass on the wood praying long and loud.
They danced and cried from morning to noon, their fear beginning to haunt them.
Knowing their god was a devilish fake, Elijah began to taunt them.

“What’s wrong with Baal? Why doesn’t he answer? I hear you wail and weep.
I think you need to shout much louder. Perhaps he’s still asleep.”
They slashed their limbs and cut themselves; their blood did freely flow.
Throughout the day they prophesied, but Baal did not show.

Elijah rebuilt the altar of God; laid the bull on the wood.
The water outpoured was done to be sure no one misunderstood.
He said, “Fetch four barrels, water it thrice until it fills the trench.
If God be God there is nothing on earth His fire cannot quench.”

Then he stepped back, raised his hands and cried out to the Lord,
“O Show the people you are God; true worship to restore.”
With a thunderous clap and a brilliant flash, fire fell before their eyes.
All was consumed; the water lapped up; the ground before him was dry.

All of Israel fell on their face, His glory they proclaimed.
The God of Elijah won the day, their allegiance was reclaimed.
The evil prophets of Jezebel were judged at God’s command.
Once again His glorious name was honored throughout the land.

Is there a prophet from Jezebel alive in your heart today?
Will Jesus find idolatry that you have allowed to stay?
When Jesus comes will you rejoice or will you silently quake?
In this life you make your choice. What decision will you make?

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

God is Faithful to His Children

1 Kings 17

Ahab did more to provoke the Lord than all the kings before him.
Worshipping Baal and Asherah is a form of spiritual whoredom.
When wickedness rules, judgment follows. That’s why Elijah proclaimed,
“As the Lord God of Israel lives, there will be no dew or rain.”

When Elijah prophesied judgment for sin, it really made Jezebel mad.
He knew if Ahab caught up with him, their intentions were only bad.
But God said to Elijah, “I’ve got a plan: head to the Kerith Ravine.
There you will find a cool bubbly brook in a place where you’ll be unseen.”

So Elijah rested by the brook. He was fed both morning and night.
The ravens brought him bread and meat while he stayed out of sight.
After a while the brook dried up. God said it was time to go.
“Go to the village of Zarephath to the home of a poor widow.

Elijah must have wondered why God sent him to someone poor.
It was hard enough to live. How would this help him endure?
He found the widow in the town and asked for a drink and bread.
She said, “We’re eating a final meal today and then we will be dead.”

The God of Israel intervened and spoke through the Prophet Eli.
“Do what he says, the flour will last, and the oil will not run dry.”
The widow obeyed the Lord’s command; there was food for them every day.
Through copious provision of flour and oil, His faithfulness He displayed.

Now lest you fear a future unknown, I want you to relax.
God is faithful to His own; put away that panic attack.
If you follow Him today; commit to the truths in His book,
He will lead you down the path to a cool and hidden brook.

Each test you face is a step of faith, a time to learn to trust.
You will make it by God’s grace, for He is kind and just.
Don’t gauge God’s love by difficult times experienced here on earth.
When He died upon the cross, Christ demonstrated your worth.

So place your trust in God above; consider Elijah’s example.
You will experience His great love, receive His provision ample.
It isn’t a case where God hears none but just a chosen few.
If you’ve received Him as your Lord, you are included too.

© Copyright 2010 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved