Do not Forget the “First ways”


And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel… (2Ch 17:3-5)

The Lord slips in an interesting point in the record of Jehoshaphat regarding King David.  God notes that there were good “first ways” in the life of David.  That naturally implies that there must have been some not so good “second ways” as well.

The dividing line for the first and second ways must be the incident with Bathsheba and Uriah.  This sinful and treacherous event was certainly a turning point in David’s life.  God mentions it as the key failure in his life.

Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. (1Ki 15:5)

Although forgiven and restored to God after confessing his sins of adultery and murder, David never fully recovered from this fall.  His home was racked by division, immorality, murder, and indecision. This as in stark contrast to the “first ways” of his life when he had walked in innocently and purity.

Let us take a moment and glean from what we know about the life of David to discern two lessons about first and second ways.

LESSON ONE – Sin leaves its marks

It scars.  It makes a lasting impact upon our lives. Avoid it. Guard your life from sin and temptations so there will be no “Uriah” points in our own lives that would mark a “First” and “Second” ways division on our own lives.

LESSON TWO – Do not “throw out the first way baby with the second way bathwater”. 

Do not write off a person’s good “first ways” and influence in your life because they have a “second ways” moment.  If it was a good and godly influence with proper biblical principles that helped you in your walk with God, do not let the devil rob you of those truths and principles.

I hear too many times that when men of influence fall, people that once loved and followed them reject all the great truths and principles that the leader had promoted and taught. They say, “If that is what ?______? really is, I want no part”.  But the truth was truth and the right was right. Those that reject the “first ways” of a person because of an event or his “second ways” are the losers.

This would apply to preachers we have known, parents, spouses, or godly friends and leaders that later let us down.  Always remember the good “first ways” of an individual as you would want your good ways to be remembered.

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Men of Order (pt2)


That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. (Tit 2:2) Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. (Tit 2:6-8)

1. Men of Order are Stable in Person (vs2)


They are sober 

Sober means being vigilant or careful

Properly, a sober man is a man of sound mind; one who follows sound reason and who is not under the control of his passions.

A man of order is careful is walk, words, and mind.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1Pe 5:8)

They are grave

Grave means honest and serious about a matter.

Work of God is a serious important business. A godly man of order will take his ministry and service for the Lord very seriously.

They are temperate

Temperate means safe in mind and possessing self-control

2. Men of order are Solid in Persuasion sound in faith (vs2)

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; (Tit 1:10-13)

How is your faith?

But without faith it is impossible to please him: … (Heb 11:6)
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Rom 1:17)

Where is your faith?

What are you doing with your faith?

3. Men of order are Seasoned in Passion (vs2)

They possess charity

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. (1Co 13:2)

They possess patience

4. Men of order Show a Godly Pattern (vs7-8)

They are good in their doings (vs7)

They are good in their doctrine (God’s word) (vs7)

They are good in their declarations  (vs8)

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Men of Order (Pt 1)


Setting Things in Order

For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: (Tit 1:5)
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. (Tit 2:1-2)

What is Sound doctrine?

Here is God speaking through Paul to preacher Titus to set things in order and to speak sound doctrine.  We often think of doctrine simply as theological facts to learn and repeat.  But the Bible shows us that sound doctrine is much more than that.

Sound doctrine is something we must live

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; (1Ti 1:9-10)

This means that the Bible’s instructions for how to live, what we are TO DO, what we are NOT TO DO, and teaching us how to live, IS sound doctrine.

Sound doctrine is something we must learn

Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: (Isa 28:9-10)

We must be growing in our doctrine and obedience to the Word of God.  Even babies must take their first steps.  TODAY – take a step into learning and living sound doctrine.

Sound doctrine is something we should love

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. (Rom 6:16-17)

We should not obey and live sound doctrine because we are forced to, guilted into it, or dragged into it by our hair, but because we love God, love His Word, and want to live for Him and serve Him all the days of our lives.

Next time we will look into the “Sound Doctrine for Godly Men”


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A Satisfied Soul – He is My All in All

satisfactionguaranteelogoedit-300x300Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words. (Psa 119:57)

This is Psalm of a satisfied soul!!

The best illustration is expressed by the hymn “Jesus is all the World to Me” by Will Thompson in 1904.

Jesus is all the world to me,
My life, my joy, my all;
He is my strength from day to day,
Without Him I would fall.
When I am sad, to Him I go,
No other one can cheer me so;
When I am sad, He makes me glad,
He’s my Friend.

Note the second line. This line expresses the secret to becoming a “Satisfied soul”.  Make Jesus your “all in all”.  This means that He becomes “our life, our joy, our all”.

Psalm 119:57-64 expresses the process and actions of a man or woman that has made God their all in all.  Let’s take a brief look.

A satisfied soul and one that has made God their all in all – Has God as Their Declared Portion (vs57)

The word for “portion” means inheritance as in God’s giving of the inheritance to the tribes in the Promised Land.  If you remember, every tribe received their “inheritance” (portion) of land.  All but the Levites.  Thiers was a better portion. It was a close relationship and service to God!

The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance. Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them. (Deu 18:1-2)

This acceptance and declaration of God being our portion provides several important bits of help.

A foundation for fervent contentment

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Heb 13:5)

A force against fierce covetousness

Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee (Psa 73:25-26)

A focus upon future crowns and not present gain

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2Ti 4:8)

A satisfied soul and one that has made God their all in all – Has God as Their Defining Passion (vs58)

The word intreated means to wear by constant rubbing. So the idea is his intearting for the favor of God is constant and consistent.  David had a case of OCD for God’s presence.

Note that David was not a priest of Levite.  He was a layman.  But you say, God used him mightly.  Yes, and He will use us if we have the same heart and decision to make God our portion and passion!

A satisfied soul and one that has made God their all in all – Has Chosen God as Their Desired Path (vs59-60)

Reflection on God’s Word and a considering our doings, brings repentance, or a turning (or returning) to a new or different path.

This verse also teaches us that repentance seeks no delay to get on the right path.

To delay in sin is an increase in sin.

A satisfied soul and one that has made God their all in all – Has to God Demonstrated Their Persuasion (His trust and faith in Him) (vs61-62)

Though there be many problems or persecutions (bands of robbers), he will not forget God’s laws or ways or promises. These problems will not hinder nor alter his service or walk with God.

A satisfied soul and one that has made God their all in all – Has Gods’ People as His Devoted  Partners (vs63)

Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. (Mal 3:16-17)

He will choose his companions not by their person -all them 

He will choose his companions by their piety – that fear the Lord

He will choose his companions by their practice – that keep thy precepts

A satisfied soul and one that has God as His Desired Pleasure (vs64)

The Psalmist seems to be saying, as I look at all your mercy, grace, power, please teach me more about you.  “My life, my joy, my all”.

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Praying with the End in Mind

EvangelhoDia15062016eTeach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way. Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear. Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good. Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness. (Psa 119:33-40)

Each portion of Psalm 119 has a particular theme.  This portion of the Psalm seems to have as it’s theme as  “A Prayer with the End in Mind”.

It is important that we remember, there is an end coming; an end of the current world, an end to our lives, and an end to our opportunities to minister and serve God.  At the end, we will give an account as God’s stewards of what we did with the gifts and opportunities He gave us.

It seems to be with that thought in mind that God speaks to us through David to teach us how to pray so we may finish strong.  Here are the first four of the eight things we should pray for ourselves in light of “The End”


A Prayer for Education so that I may Keep learning right (vs33)

Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes

We need to as God to help us stay teachable.  How sad it is when we come across a Christian that is not teachable.  Cannot recognize how little we know and how much more God wants to teach us.  We MUST be willing to let God Change us.

Even old dogs can learn new tricks if we love the Mater enough!

If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.  (Mar 4:23-25)

A Prayer for Illumination – that I may keep seeing right (vs34)

Give me understanding,

The meaning of “understanding” is that of discernment. We need the education (teach me) as foundation NOT as a substitution for discernment.  The teaching communicates the what, the understanding gives us the why?

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Heb 5:14)

A Prayer for Coercion –  that I may go right (vs35)

Make me to go in the path of thy commandments;
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.  (Mat 7:13-14)

Here is a real paradox

Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight

David asks God to make him do what he delights in!  In our spirit we want to do right, but in the flesh is hard.  (See Rom 7:14-27)

A Prayer for Inclination –  that I would be bent right (vs36)

Incline my heart unto thy testimonies
The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us: That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.  (1Ki 8:57-58)

We should pray God would help up have a “spiritual bent” for the things of God.  We ill fall in the direction we are bent!

Watch for part 2

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Bearing their names before the LORD

And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial. (Exo 28:12)
And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goetHighPriesth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually. And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually. (Exo 28:29-30)

As God was giving the details for worship in the Tabernacle, He provided an illustration for those of us that have the spiritual oversight of others.

The names of the tribes of the children of Israel were to be engraved upon stones and placed strategically in two places upon the wardrobe of the high priest as he attended his duties.

Each of these places teach us an aspect of our duties. The names were to be on stones on the shoulders of the priest and over his heart.  Let’s learn the lessons.

Their names before the Lord – a picture of intercession

In each case (on the shoulders and upon the heart) it is spoken of as being taken “before the Lord” This speaks of our job of interceding for others.

There is an expectation of intercession

God expects us to pray for one another (James 5:16) especially those over whom we have responsibility.

We are sinning when we fail to pray for them

Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: (1Sa 12:23)

There is an exactness of intercession

Their names written upon the stones speaks of our need to remember them by name and by need.  It is too easy to pray blanket prayers.  “Lord, bless all my pupils…”

Their names upon his shoulders – a picture of a burden

Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.

It is a burden of responsibility.

A load on our shoulders. A job we must be doing and for which we will be held accountable.

It is a burden to relieve.

As we have their names upon our shoulders, we are to put our shoulders to the task and load and LIFT, helping them, by prayer, to bear their load.

Their names upon our heart – a picture of compassion

Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually

Over the heart directs us to take them before the Lord in the devotion of love

Over the heart directs us to take them before the Lord with the desire for their good judgments

Over the heart directs us to take them before the Lord in a dedication continually


Let’s take the names of our people before the Lord often and specifically.

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How to Develop A Heart After God’s (part 3)

heart-for-GodAnd when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. (Act 13:22)

We have been discussing how to develop a heart after God’s as David had.

Pay particular attention to the phrase, “I have found David…”.

God did not GIVE David a heart after His so He could anoint him King, but rather FOUND David already had a heart after His, so He made him king!

Let us develop a right heart so God can “find us” usable in His service.

We saw in the last two posts that we needed to “Live a Cause – God” and then “Serve with Character Before God“.

Now shall we learn the third lesson from this phase of David’s young life.

A Man After God’s Heart will Live as a Man of Culture (2Sam 23:1-2)

Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.  (2Sa 23:1-2)

A man of godly culture lives a life filled with godly music – the sweet psalmist of Israel

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;  (Eph 5:19)

His music will be godly in tone, words, and style.

A man of godly culture lives a life with a gracious mouth – The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue

There is nothing great or Christian about being crass or using low guttural humor.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  (Eph 4:29)
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.  (Rom 14:19)

A Man after God’s Heart will be a Man of Pleasant Companionship (1Sam 18:1-3, 1Sam 22)

All kinds of people in and out of all types of problems, troubles, and discouragements, thought him their friend.  Whether he agreed with them in their cause or even if he personally liked them was of no consequence. He conducted himself so they all felt he was their friend.

David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down thither to him. And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.  (1Sa 22:1-2)
And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:  (1Th 3:12)
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.  (Pro 18:24)

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