2 Kings 2; 2 Thessalonians 2; Daniel 6; Psalm 112 & 113

In 2 Kings 2 we read about Elijah being taken up to Heaven in a chariot.  What a privilege he had!  And what an honor it was for Elisha to witness him being taken up and then to carry on his ministry.

“Then it came about as they were going along and talking, that

Behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which

Separated the two of them.  And Elijah went up by a whirlwind

To heaven.” (2 Kings 2:11)

Daniel 6 shows us how God takes care of us when we are true to Him, regardless of the attacks by the enemy.

“My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they

Have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent

Before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed

No crime.” (Daniel 6:22)

And he uses our witness to bring other people to him.  For the king said, “I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are

To fear and tremble before the God of Daniel;

For He is the living God and enduring forever,

And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed,

And His dominion will be forever.

He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders

In Heaven and on earth,

Who has also delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”

(Daniel 6:26-27)

The Psalmist reflects what I imagine Daniel must have been feeling after being rescued from the lion’s den.

“Praise the Lord!  How blessed is the man who fears the Lord,

Who greatly delights in His commandments.” (Psalm 112:1)

“Praise the Lord! Praise o servants of the Lord,

Praise the name of the Lord.

Blessed be the name of the Lord

From this time forth and forever.

From the rising of the sun to its setting

The name of the Lord is to be praised.

The Lord is high above all nations;

His glory is above the heavens.” (Psalm 113:1-4)

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.” (2 Thes. 2:16-17)

Amen!

Kellie (gueston66books)

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2 Kings 1; 2 Thessalonians 1; Daniel 5; Psalm 110, 111

2 Kings 1

13 So the king sent a third captain with his fifty men. This third captain went up and fell on his knees before Elijah. “Man of God,” he begged, “please have respect for my life and the lives of these fifty men, your servants! 14 See, fire has fallen from heaven and consumed the first two captains and all their men. But now have respect for my life!” 15 The angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So Elijah got up and went down with him to the king.

Attitude! Notice how the third captain went to Elijah. Although the other two captains called Elijah “man of God,” they were not being genuine – God was not in their hearts. The third captain also called him “man of God,” but he humbly begged for mercy. His attitude showed respect for God and his power and saved the lives of his men. Effective living begins with a right attitude toward God. Before religious words come to your mouth, make sure they are from your heart. Let respect, humility, and servant hood characterize your attitude toward God and others.

2 Thessalonians 1

5 All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.

 As we live for Christ, we will experience troubles because we are trying to be God’s people in a perverse world. Some people say that troubles are the result of sin and lack of faith, but Paul teaches that they may be part of God’s plan for believers. Our problems can help us look upward and forward, instead of inward, and they can provide us with opportunities to comfort others who are also struggling. Your struggles might be an indication that you are taking a stand for Christ. When you do so, you are experiencing the privilege of showing that you are worthy of God’s kingdom.

Daniel 5

5 Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. 6 His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking

Yes I also had to take a double take on this one. A human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall. Freaky, but got me thinking. Have you heard the saying “The writing is on the wall”? I have heard it many times and was taken aback when I saw it mentioned here in Daniel 5. So I went and looked it up on Wikipedia and look what it says:  “The writing on the wall” is an idiomatic expression that suggests a portent of doom or misfortune, based on the story of Belshazzar’s feast in the book of Daniel. Just a little snippet of information right there.

The Lord works in mysterious ways, doesn’t He? How awesome are you when you can make a human hand appear and write a message on a wall? Our God is awesome!

Psalm 110

This is the most quoted psalm in the New Testament because of it’s clear reference to the messiah.

Psalm 111

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise

The only way to become truly wise is to fear (revere) God. Too often people want to skip this step, thinking they can become wise by life experience and academic knowledge alone. But if we do not acknowledge God as the source of wisdom, then our foundation for making wise decisions is shaky, and we are prone to mistakes and foolish choices.

God Bless

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1 Kings 22; 1 Thessalonians 5; Daniel 4; Psalms 108, 109

Our credit card number was stolen and charged fraudulently (the second time this year). My husband texted me early yesterday morning to ask if I had been shopping for shoes. No? He cancelled the card, which instantly redirected the day I planned.

Instead, I set about local tasks–one including tracking down the cleared title to my dad’s truck so we can sell it for his estate. It meant going to the MVA, which I had been putting off for months because–it’s the MVA.

I explained my situation to the first clerk, who told me I’d have to purchase a replacement and they would mail it to his house (out of town and the mail service forwarded). A second clerk said the mail couldn’t be forwarded and I’d have to go to the main office (much further away) and get it there. Then they handed me a wait ticket to meet with someone else.

I explained to this third helper what my situation was, and reiterated for confirmation what I was told at the first desk. She typed some things into her computer. A Whitney Houston song (I Wanna Dance With Somebody) came on their music system and my daughter pulled at my arm.

“Mom!” she said, and smiled. I sing this song to my dog almost daily, and she dances and prances for a treat she knows is coming. I told the clerk as much as my daughter and I grinned large–and the clerk smiled and giggled with us too.

The next thing I know, the clerk steps away to talk to a manager and comes back with a freshly printed, cleared title and we’re on our way.  (Thank you, Lord!) There were other big tasks to complete locally, and we got them moving along. (Only You, Jesus!)

When I got home, for the first time in many weeks, I felt lighter. (So grateful, God.)

There have been several times lately that God has put an abrupt stop to my plans. And when he does, I feel he makes a different way available to me. With a day that started with a cancelled card, I actually got more accomplished than if I’d been able to proceed with my original plan.

I read it twice this morning, once here and once on an Instagram image:

16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

This year has felt overwhelming to me with the tasks and emotions associated with grief and loss. At times I’ve felt a real pressure of a weight upon my shoulders and heart. However, all along, I have sensed God’s hand involved in the details, in ways I never imagined. Even to the way he grabbed my attention with a song yesterday, like he was saying, “Pay attention. I don’t want you to miss this.” Title in hand, same day. And it didn’t stop there.

Lord, I know you are moving in my life and in my sister’s life. Thank you for people who help us. Yesterday was a miracle and blessing from start to finish, even though it seemed a bummer beginning. Thanks for focusing my wandering, worried mind on you.

Courtney (66books365)

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I Kings 21; I Thessalonians 4; Daniel 4; Psalm 108, 109

Jesus Christ summed up the Ten Commandments in two statements, one of which is to love the Lord God with all your heart, your soul, and your mind. The other is to love your neighbor as yourself. I wax and wane in my passion to love God even though I never want to leave His side. And I sometimes step back when loving my neighbor is at stake. That is, I have to take a time out to rethink my words, reframe my motivations, and reign in my emotions before asking questions, making and answering requests, or commenting on what others say and do. Years of not getting this right and experience in hurting others or causing chaos in my relationships has heightened my vigilance for preventing problematic encounters, yet nothing can stay my heart and my tongue like the chastisement of God.

As I read I Kings 21:5, 15, I recognized how Ahab was influenced by his wife. Specifically, I relate to my own behaviors that incited my husband to defend me in situations where I needed to humble myself, instead. Like Ahab, I displayed a sullen, pouty face about something that I could not have. In the Old Testament, Ahab’s wife Jezebel, asked, “Why is your spirit so sullen that you eat not your food?” She then orchestrated the murder of Naboth so that her husband could have Naboth’s vineyard. Like Ahab’s spouse, my husband sought solutions, and sometimes that meant compromising his own righteousness. And what did I do? I did just like Ahab: “So it was when Ahab heard Naboth was dead, that Ahab got up and went down to take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” That is, I allowed my husband to do something that I would not, but then was happy to have what I should not.

Isn’t it interesting that in marriages, a spouse can either encourage and inspire or manipulate and blame.

In other situations, trying to love thy neighbor as thyself has left me confused and disappointed. I think I am in good company because even the saints cried out to God in similar situations: Psalm 109:4, 5 records these complaints, “In return for my love they are my accusers, But I give myself to prayer. Thus they have rewarded me evil for good, And hatred for love.”

Yes, I pray, and yes, I want justice. Yet one meaning of justice is “a concern for justice, peace, and genuine respect for people,” (https://www.google.com/search). Do I want this just for me or do I love well enough to desire this for all others? I’m afraid my ill will too often highlights the sin of entitlement. Instead of agreeing that others deserve happiness, I speak this lie to myself; “I deserve an easier life.” Thus, what naturally pour out of my mouth are words of bitterness, jealousy, and anger. Like I said, experience has taught me this.

Walking with God, the Father, however, has taught me better truths. I now know that I despise inciting or attacking others worse than accepting being sad, frustrated, or afraid. I know that I can praise the Almighty, loving God who is able to confront or defend me, as He sees fit. Daniel 4:37 says, “I…praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.” I do not have to play the Holy Spirit in another person’s life; my task is to love God with all my heart, my soul, and my mind; and to love my neighbor as myself.

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture and commentary quotes from: The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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1Kings 20; 1 Thess.3; Dan. 2; Ps.106

Cheer on other followers… build on each other’s strengths…

We have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. 1 Thessalonians 3:7

I remember attending those Friday night football games several years ago at which my daughters used to cheer at… no matter how the team was performing on the field, the guys knew that at least the cheerleaders would support them. And the cheering seemed louder and more intense the worse the players performed… it was as though the cheerleaders knew each players potential, and in the midst of adversity, rallied to build their spirits so that they could finish the game strong, as victors. In much the same way, 1 Thessalonians 3 stirs us as if we’ve just attended a spiritual pep rally.

While it’s doubtful that the Apostle Paul’s spiritual education included rallies as we know them, he certainly understood the value of cheering on his fellow believers. God’s team goes by other names, such as Kingdom of God, and the family of God. And like any other team, we’re all working toward the same goal… the promise of eternity with Jesus as our focus.

As we journey toward our goal, we’re constantly in a battle, with Satan and all his dark forces. But we also battle fatigue, discouragement, personal weakness, shaky unity, and busyness. And because of all we’re up against, we need each other to ensure that we don’t get sidelined on our way to the big win… fighting strong as joyful victors instead of merely limping into eternity.

Our encouragement, prayers, examples of faith, and tenacious trust in Jesus impact one another more than we might realize. By following the direction of spiritual coaches like Paul, and caring for our brothers and sisters of the Kingdom to build them up, we also strengthen the Kingdom as a whole. And the support we give inevitably comes back as encouragements to ourselves, as well, because we see our efforts build the team we love and on which we stake our die-hard beliefs.

Be encouraged by Paul’s chapter 3 pep rally, and pass along the legacy of Kingdom spirit to the team members you know and love.

“Father, thank you for creating such a magnificent Kingdom and for recruiting me for Your team. Please help me stay true to Your Spirit and boost others with team cheer.”

Greg (gstefanelli)

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1 Kings 19; 1 Thessalonians 2; Daniel 1; Psalm 105

I Kings 19: 12,13

And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.[a] 13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. ESV

A great and strong wind. An earthquake. A fire. The sound of a low whisper.

Elijah recognized the Lord in the whisper.

1 Thessalonians 2:7,8; 11,12; 19

But we were gentle[c] among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. ESV

19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy.ESV

The language of family; of close, intimate relationships resounds in 1 Thessalonians 2. The verses instruct me as a parent as much as they instruct me in life.  I ponder this chapter in relationship to my children and I also ponder it in relationship to my church life. This past week my family experienced the body of Christ come round us as family. We were loved on and dear. I think of my ministry to my children. I want it to be that I share the gospel and I share my very self. My life. -with those who are so very dear to me.

Psalm 105

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually! ESV

The Lord is a very present help in time of trouble. His strength is a shield and bulwark.

I am grateful for His sustaining work in the life of my family and this week, especially, in the life of my son, Asher.

Lord, ignite my heart and mind to the life in Your Word. Help me praise Your Name and tell of Your wondrous works. Thank you for all the people who cared for us during a specific time of trial and bore us up through Your power in their prayers. Thank You that the body of Christ is a community and we don’t have to go through trials without life and without hope. Let the rich language of 1 Thessalonians 2 inform my life.

Rebecca (OfferingsBecca)

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1 Kings 18; 1 Thessalonians 1; Ezekiel 48; Psalm 104

The people of Israel were getting desperate. Drought was ravishing their land and relief was not in sight, so they built an altar to Baal and sacrificed their limited resources. Elijah asked, “How long will you go limping about with two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21

I hear God ask me the same question. Like most people, I have a longstanding family issue that won’t go away (warning: the holidays are coming). Everything that I have done in the past has been powerless to bring about change or seemed to make things worse. Venting to anyone who would listen to my tale of woe didn’t help, except to reinforce my sense of self righteousness and gather tiny stones of bitterness for my altar. Like the people of Israel, I have limped around this petty altar for too many years and wasted precious time and effort.

This time around, I hear God’s call to step out of my negative do loop and come to his altar of prayer. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s time to confess anger, a desire to hold onto hurt and an unwillingness to forgive. It’s time to stop complaining and walk into the freedom of trusting God to be enough, even if I don’t get the outcome I want.

“…because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction…for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 1:5…6.

Lord, I long to live with the steady, unbreakable conviction that you are Lord in all situations. I want the kind of joy that comes only from trusting you. Holy Spirit, do your work in me. Holy Spirit, let your word take root and complete your will and work in my life. Jesus, you are the author and perfecter of my faith; it’s by your overflowing grace through that I ask this. Amen

Kathy

 

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