June 19

Scripture for today:

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“Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem” (Psalm 137:1 NLT).

From: June 19, 2019

HAVE WE BECOME SO COMFORTABLE IN BABYLON THAT WE HAVE FORGOTTEN ZION?

The Jewish captives composed this melancholy song while exiled in Babylon. Having lost their homes in Judah and seeing their holy city Jerusalem with its Temple destroyed, they gathered somewhere on the shores of the Euphrates, and wept. Surely they mourned as homesick children torn away from their mother. Yet, even more so because of their sin which brought the Lord’s discipline. Their bodies were exiled to Babylon, but their hearts were continually set on Zion.
 
The Jews were exiled in Babylon for 70 years and the first generation surely longed always for their true home. But I wonder, did the later generation born in Babylon feel the same longings? Having never seen Jerusalem, did Babylon feel like home to them?
 
I grew up hearing hymns about heaven being sung by my grandparents and parents. My maternal grandfather’s favorite hymn was “I’ll Meet You In The Morning,” a song that always brought tears to his eyes. Consider the words of its first verse:
 
“I’ll meet you in the morning by the bright riverside
When all sorrow has drifted away
I’ll be standin’ at the portals when the gates open wide
At the close of life’s long weary day.”
 
Have we become so comfortable in Babylon that we have forgotten Zion?
 
PRAYER: Lord, help us to set our eyes on You today, pulling our affections off of this world and putting them on You. For You are the object of our love and worship. There is weeping in this world, but not without hope. For You have given us hope in Your Son, Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord. He is our home, our Jerusalem. And we set our hearts continually on Him. In His name we pray, amen.

‘One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.”’ (Acts 13:2 NLT).

From: June 19, 2018

THE WORSHIP SERVICE THAT TURNED INTO A COMMISSIONING SERVICE
Five key leaders in the Antioch church were fasting and praying one day when the Spirit spoke to them. The Scripture does not say how the Spirit communicated. Did all of the men or only one hear the instruction? Was it an audible voice or an internal awareness? The Scripture doesn’t report whether the men were asking for direction. In fact, it appears they were simply having a time of worship together, as church leaders should always do. Regardless, the men heard the Spirit and obeyed.
 
The Spirit chose Barnabas and Saul. The order in which the five Antioch church leaders was listed placed Barnabas first and Saul last. Apparently, Barnabas was the senior pastor and Saul was the new guy. Yet, the Spirit put them together to build one of the greatest missionary teams in Christian history. The Spirit chose them for “special work.” What was this special work? It was to take the gospel to the Gentiles.
 
So, the leaders of the Antioch church immediately laid hands on Barnabas and Saul, commissioning them for special service, and sent them out.

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,” therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’” (1 Kings 20:28 NKJV).

From: June 19, 2017

Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria, thought he had picked a fight with Ahab, king of Israel, but in fact, he had picked a fight with God. Ahab was one of the most wicked kings in Israel’s history, so it seems surprising that the Lord would protect him from the armies of Syria. But the Lord was not defending Ahab. He was defending His own Name. He wanted both Israel and Syria to recognize that He was not some local man-made deity, but the only true God and Creator of all.
 
His desire has always been that “you shall know that I AM the Lord.”