This Is No Time to Hesitate

Hezekiah was the 13th king of Judah,
starting at age 25 and reigning for 29 years in Jerusalem (715-686 BC). 
Why should we pay attention to him? 
God said something about him that oh that He would say about us:
“And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 29:1-2).

Hezekiah?  Certainly not a common name today, unless we were to call somebody with a cool nickname, say Hez.  But it would be hard to have a name with better meaning:  “The LORD has strengthened.”

When the Assyrian King Sennacherib threatened Judah, Hezekiah rallied the people in Churchillesque fashion: “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him.”

Hezekiah understood that it only takes God on your side and it doesn’t matter how many soldiers march on the horizon.  What looks like an unstoppable route your way will end in a rout!

Hezekiah spoke faith:  “With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles” (2 Chronicles 32:7-8).

The result?  “And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah …”  False bravado?

God delivered Judah!  One angel in one night waylaid 185,000 Assyrians with a fast-acting plague!   Takeout from Chipotle?

Doesn’t say.

But Paul says we should bow to the Father and ask “to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts though faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:14-17).

Paul often experienced how “the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear” (2 Timothy 4:17).

Isaiah urges us to look to the Holy One “for the strength of His power… He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary. And the young men shall utterly fall. But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:25-31).

Judah was strengthened by the words of Hezekiah.  You are reading this because my sister Jean recently gave me some encouraging words when I was weary to quit the blog.  Who is waiting for words from you? Counting on you to be strong?  Crying out for a Hezekiah who does what’s right!

May God strengthen each of us so that we might strengthen others in His service.   Let’s not Hez-itate!

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Landscaped in Righteousness

Homes and businesses know how important landscaping is. In 2007 consumers spent $35 billion on their lawns and gardens, an average of $466 per household.

“People associate a beautiful garden with a warm and inviting home,” says Craig Humphries, Director of Consumer Insights at The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.  A manicured and colorful yard tells a lot about the owner’s values.

landscape2The Bible colorfully describes how the earth is going to become beautifully luxuriant when Jesus returns to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth. Rain in due season! The trees clap their hands! The deserts blossom like a rose!

The Bible opens with Adam and Eve responsible to “dress and keep the garden” (Genesis 2:15) while eating from the Tree of Life which represented submitting to God’s righteous way of life. Fittingly, under Christ’s rule the earth will become “like the garden of Eden” (Ezekiel 36:35), and the book ends with “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates”—of righteousness (Psalm 118:19)—“ into the city” (Revelation 22:2).

The Kingdom of God will be landscaped in righteousness!

Not by Home Depot

The real credit for that will go, not to Home Depot, but to the righteousness of the ruling God Family which will bring “the times of restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21).

To be there we must “hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Matthew 5:6). We must “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).

We must look for the second coming of Jesus Christ where “in Your Majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility and righteousness” (Psalm 45:4). The King of Kings and the Branch of David will reign (Isaiah 32:1) and judge in righteousness (Psalm 96:13, Acts 17:31).   The foundation of His throne will be righteousness (Psalm 97:2).  One of His names will be YHVH Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness).

Jerusalem will be transformed into a city of righteousness (Isaiah 1:26).  Jacob will set the example he was always meant to (Isaiah 11:5) and the Gentiles will marvel and follow (Isaiah 62:2).

Righteousness and peace kiss (Psalm 85:10). The earth breaks out in quiet and assurance forever (Isaiah 32:17).   Righteousness exalts any nation at any time, but this will especially be true as Jesus Christ and His ruling family revolutionize the earth (Proverbs 14:34).

The Bible gives the definition of righteousness as “all your commandments” (Psalm 119:172).  The law of the land is “holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12).  We will keep God’s commandments and laws through the power of the Holy Spirit.  The fruits that will matter will not be so much apples and oranges as love, joy and peace and the other six fruits of the Spirit.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God … for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).  We will be “found in Him, not having my own righteousness … but the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Philippians 3:9).

The bride will be arrayed in fine linen, which is the righteous acts of the saints (Revelation 19:8).  Kingdom dress standards will exalt righteousness as a belt around the waist (Isaiah 11:5) and a breastplate for protection (Isaiah 59:17, Ephesians 6:4).

Humans will be taught to speak what’s in their hearts and that will be righteousness (Psalm 52:3).

After the millennium and Great White Throne Judgment will come “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).

These come after the Lake of Fire (the misunderstood Hell Fire of Revelation 20:14) burns up all physical and all sin (Isaiah 59:2) so that God the Father can come live on the “privileged planet” He has been preparing from the beginning to be His home.

No wonder the Kingdom of God will then be landscaped in righteousness.   Everybody left will be Gods!

“All the host of heaven” is our heritage (Deuteronomy 4:19) and apparently we will “plant the heavens” (Isaiah 51:16). How about that: Looks like there might be a big future for a spiritual Home Depot!

May this vision of a kingdom landscaped in righteousness motivate you to let no man take your crown (2 Timothy 4:8). To seek it passionately more with each passing day. Talk about curb appeal!

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Thank you for sharing this blog with your friends & family!
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Robert Curry

Celebrating One Year with a Big Change!

One year ago maybe you saw my first post “Just Get Started.” And here we are! The goal was about two per week and this is the 98th!

A heartfelt thanks to you, my readers! Most are from the USA but a few of you have been from the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Mexico, the European Union, South Africa, Puerto Rico and Australia. It truly is a global world thanks to our modern Tower of Babel.

I’d like to think I wrote you some good stuff, trying to build the family of God by sharing The Unexpected truth of the Bible. But the court of public opinion is also The Unexpected and a humbling experience.

Special thanks to my wife Mary for often being the only “Like” on Facebook. Even she couldn’t “Like” the one on “Would You Like Flies with That?”

I can empathize with Peyton Manning being only one win away from breaking Brett Favre’s record. It sure is tempting to want to quit with an even 100 posts. That’s why we pray lead me not into temptation!

So ol’ Broose thinks it’s time to say “So long, farewell.”

But first maybe I can share one last recommendation that could change your life like it does mine.

Now I am privileged to write blogs at http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs.

If you like what I have been sharing with you this past year, you will probably like what you find there in the blogs and entire website.

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Robert Curry

Thank You, Judge!

The time we were dreading was only 20 minutes away.
Mary and I were sitting alone in County Court Room 101
waiting for the 10:30 hour when we would be
seeking eviction of a renter.

I’ve had to seek court evictions perhaps five times in about 20 years of renting, but this is the first time a renter has challenged. Because she filed a response claiming that our home was providing no heat so therefore she did not owe rent, we had to come back in the same room a week later.

This time it’s called a trial (thankfully no jury), and I definitely haven’t yet figured out how to count it all joy (James 1:2)!

For days Mary and I have been praying for help and asking God to guide me in what to say before the judge. I must refute what the renter claims, but I must still be Christian about it. I spent several nights preparing my opening presentation, striving to get every word perfect without it being too long.

For days we have been praying for a solution that would be best and fair for the renter and for us. Luke 12:58 advises us to try hard to reconcile with an adversary on the way to the magistrate.

But with 15 minutes to go, we were waiting on the bench for the dreaded confrontation.

A door opened but it was the back one, and the renter came in. We chatted a bit warily and she informed us that she believed she would have a new place to move to in five days and she said she had a truck arranged to come move her furniture! She wanted us to drop the eviction, but we knew we had to get it or risk having to start all over again for another $123 and another two weeks to get a new court date.

But we agreed that hopefully the judge would grant some way to hold off making the eviction official until the day after she assured us she would be moved out.

“All rise, please …”

I was called to testify and present my charges. With pages and pages of paperwork carefully organized in front of me and my opening speech rarin’ to go, I told the judge that I would drop what I had planned and told him about the agreement we had struck in the last 15 minutes.

He said he would have to grant a Writ of Restitution (of possession) but he could make it effective later than usual so that it would be the day after the renter said she would be out. If she actually moved out by that date, we would not need to come pick it up from the court clerk. But if she didn’t, we would be able to have it enforced.

Would the renter agree to that? She did!

So thank you, Judge! Thank you, Judge! I’m talking The Judge of heaven and earth.

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Thank you for sharing this blog with your friends & family!
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& you’ll have only yourself to blame

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Robert Curry

“Just Worshiping My Lord & King”

Since the semitic word Ba’al is translated Master or Lord
and the word for king was melek (similar to Molech),
it was easy for people to think their pagan worship
was not only acceptable but that it was righteous.
“Just worshiping my Lord and King!”

When the LORD told Gideon to “tear down the altar of Baal that your father has” (Judges 6:25), the only way Gideon could muster up the courage to buck family and society was to sneak by night.

Fast forward to the famous confrontation on Mount Carmel between Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal. “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). After Elijah’s short but heartfelt prayer, God answered with fire and then Elijah executed the 450 false prophets. The goal, Elijah said, was to “turn their hearts back to you again” (verse 37).

When Jehu became King of Israel, he invited “all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests … to a solemn assembly for Baal” (2 Kings 10:19-20).

Jehu told the worshipers “Search and see that no servants of the LORD are here with you” (verse 23). Then Jehu had them all killed and “destroyed Baal from Israel” (verse 28).

Short-lived! So in 2 Kings 17:16 Israel was doomed for captivity because they “left all the commandments of the LORD their God … and served Baal.”

The lesson from the Bible is clear: Baal and God are opposites. You can’t do what pagans do and really be serving God. Servants of God are not in their midst. Their hearts need to turn to God. They are not keeping the commandments of God.

God commands: “Take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them… that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods. I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods. Whatever I command you, be careful to do it” (Deuteronomy 12:30-32).

Truly there is nothing new under the sun worship.   Most still say “So what!   I’m really worshiping my Lord and King.”

What about you as you choose to live your life by the Bible?  Is it the season to Baal out?

To follow this blog & have it come to your email,
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Thank you for sharing this blog with your friends & family!
Your encouragement will keep me writing &
you’ll have only yourself to blame

Dad with tshirt final

Robert Curry