Monthly Archives: August 2012

2 Chronicles 15-16, 2 Corinthians 5

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9 

Because you relied on _________ and not on the Lord your God, _______ has escaped your hand. 2 Chronicles 16:7 

Because King Asa relied on the King of Aram instead of God, the army of Aram escaped.   I don’t know why this phrase led me to fill in the blanks with my own self reliance, but it was rather enlightening.

Because I relied on my Writer’s Group and not on the Lord my God,

the ability to write anything inspired over the last year has escaped from my hand.

Because I relied on my husband’s strength and abilities and on not on the Lord my God, the confidence to achieve things on my own has escaped from my hand.

Because I relied on my youth and not on the Lord my God, much health and vigor has escaped from my hand.

I don’t really look back with regret, but the passage of time has shown me that choices I made without including God have resulted in less than ideal circumstances.

However, I feel very blessed. In spite of my less than stellar choices, God does not count my sins against me. I am a new creation in Christ. The old days are gone. I seek his face more and more. I am more eager to please him. I have become Christ’s ambassador, bringing encouragement to others just as the prophet Azariah did for Asa.

But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. 2 Chronicles 15:7

            Large numbers of Israelites returned to Asa when they saw God was with him. The entire world comes back to God through the blood of Christ. This is not just good news. This is GREAT NEWS.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Asa didn’t listen to the seer or seek the Lord God in his final years. This serves as a warning to me. It is not how I began my life journey, but how I finish, that is most important. Hopefully, learning from my godless past, will ensure that I lean on God for my future.

Thank you, God that I don’t have to produce my own righteousness, which would be like filthy rags anyway. Thank you that I am made righteous by the spotless blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. May we be nose to nose always. In Jesus precious Name, I pray.

yicareggie

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2 Chronicles 13, 14; 2 Corinthians 4

Making a statement.

The details set the scene of battles:

  • 400,000 vs 800,000.
  • 580,000 vs 1,000,000.

Yet, these statements stand out to me over coffee–

Abijah’s shout: “So you see, God is with us. He is our leader.” 2 Chronicles 13:12 NLT.

Asa’s cry: “O Lord, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in you alone.” 2 Chronicles 14:11 NLT.

Paul’s mention of the psalmist’s words, “I believed in God, so I spoke.”

All this had me thinking, what is my statement? Do I shout, “He is my leader!” Do I cry, “I trust in You alone.”

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT.

When I was pressed on every side, it felt crushing. And there were days I cried enough tears it felt like despair. Hunted, knocked down–I couldn’t make sense of worship lyrics, “If our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.” At times I wondered in the shadow of an adversary, maybe God wasn’t for me. In those times, I cried out louder.

I felt abandoned by things in the world in which I placed my trust. A stripping of false security–a slow death.

Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:10 NLT.

The men who faced battles against armies twice their size, those men who knew God was on their side, I think of them. I think of shouts and grunts and cries, weapon upon weapon, blood and stench of death–victories, yes, but in the wake of great wreckage. Some battles are easily fought with sling and stone, and others with sweat of man and the endurance of a God who helps the powerless.

Not crushed. Not abandoned. Not destroyed. In God’s way that goes against my limited logic, where death equals life.

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT.

Father, lead me. You challenge my understanding so I can know you better. You are my provider and security.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Chron 10,11,12; 2 Cor 3

Sometimes I can let ink on paper define me, other than the word of God. It might be a rejection letter, a doctor’s diagnosis or my child’s report card reflecting on my perceived job as a parent. I recently got back from a Woman of Faith conference where one of the speakers, Christine Caine shared her story. She didn’t find out that she was adopted until age 35. The report showed that she was nothing more than a number on the page. And that her birth mother did not want her. Also, at a time in her life when she felt a strong calling from God, she received a letter listing all the credentials she needed to achieve her goals. That could have held her back from what she felt God calling her to, but it didn’t. Currently, her husband and her have started a foundation to help sex trafficking and received a national award for their work. As Christine unashamedly said , “The only black and white ink on paper we should get our worth from is the Word of God.” I was inspired by her story and was confronted with my how I can limit God’s power by defining my life from man made documents.

Does it sound like we’re patting ourselves on the back, insisting on our credentials, asserting our authority? Well, we’re not. Neither do we need letters of endorsement, either to you or from you. You yourselves are all the endorsement we need. Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it-not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives-and we publish it. We couldn’t be more sure of ourselves in this-that you, written by Christ himself for God, are our letter of recommendation. We wouldn’t think of writing this kind of letter about ourselves. Only God can write such a letter. His letter authorizes us to help carry out this new plan of action. The plan wasn’t written out with ink on paper, with pages and pages of legal footnotes, killing your spirit. It’s written with Spirit on spirit, his life on our lives!” 2 Cor 3:1-6 MSG

Dear Jesus, I want to know the transforming power of Your word in my life. I know I can’t do it on my own. I want to rely on You, so that it is evident that is You working in me. Amen

Amy(amyctanner)

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2 Chronicals 7,8,9; 2 Corinthians 2

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chron 7:14

I love this verse for its simplicity.  All God asks of us is here.  Be humble, pray, seek Him, turn from sin.  It doesn’t seem hard, yet for some reason the Israelites had quite a tough time living up to it.  We all have a tough time of it.  It does seem easy, but for some reason it isn’t.  I struggle with all of those elements.  Humility in this “me” culture is hard.  To get ahead professionally I find I have to promote myself more than I am comfortable with.  And there is a fine line between self promotion and prideful boasting.  After all these years, while praying is a lot easier, I still have a hard time getting started on occasion.  Sometimes I wonder if I truly am seeking Him, and can any of us say we have truly turned from sin?  Saying I have would actually be a sin.

What’s truly interesting to me is that even though the culture of today is obviously vastly different from that of Solomon’s day, God’s promise is still relevant.  Many non-beleivers think the bible is either not relevant, or worse, fiction, because our culture is so much different.  They equate the bible with religion.   The sad part about it all is that they get hung up on the word “religion.”  God didn’t invent religion,  flawed humans did. We did it as a way to try and make the pure Word of God mean something more than it does. We simply weren’t convinced that what He tells us in His Word was all there was to it.  But, that’s were we erred.  That is all there is. It is as simple as that verse. God loves us all, regardless.  He wants everyone to seek Him.  He’s given us the Way to do that, we just have to believe.  I firmly believe the Bible is the only true Word of God.  Religion has ruined it.  God wants us to seek him and the best way to do that is to get back to the Word, and really READ it.  It will change us.  God will change us.

God, thank you for your Word.  It allows me to find you – know you – love you.  Amen

Jim (jmitch1)

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2 Chronicles 4, 5, 6; 2 Corinthians 1

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (MSG)

Over the years, as I have witnessed bad things happening in people’s lives, I have been intrigued by their reactions and how they process their trials and tribulations. I have seen many people blame God for the horrible, tragic events, becoming more and more angry and bitter. And, I have seen others grip even harder to their faith, growing closer and more intimate with Him, fully walking in the belief that no matter what happens in life their walk with God is more valuable than being resentful for the events in their lives.

I have such an admiration for those who press into God during their trials…like facing cancer or losing a loved one…and who walk through the experience with strength and the peace that surpasses human understanding. It is encouraging to watch these people grow stronger in faith and stronger in their relationship with their Heavenly Father. It is inspiring to see them walking alongside others who are experiencing similar trials and, in the midst of their own hurt and heartbreak, supporting and nurturing them.

Our fellowship with God is vital; and I believe that a part of that fellowship also includes the company of other believer to encourage, support, pray, and comfort each other. I fully trust God’s work in my life. I fully trust that he will use every event in my life for good, in spite of how it looks to my human eyes, or feels to my human heart. I know that He is there for me always and will never leave me nor forsake me.

At the same time, I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have other believers behind me and beside me in the midst of everyday ups and downs or in the most tragic happenings of my life.

So many times, as a missionary in a foreign land, I experience a physical isolation that often makes me forget that there are people who care about me. I am put in the position where I have to fully trust in God to pull me through. I know I can’t do anything myself and I choose to rely on His strength rather than my own. I choose to grip harder to my faith.

Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part. 2 Corinthians 1:9-11 (MSG)

Then, when I wholly put my trust in God, He gently reminds me, shows me that there are many, all over the world who are supporting me with prayers and encouragement. I am not alone. I don’t have to walk through life by myself – I will always have my Father and I will always have other family in Christ with me…

 

When you are walking through a trial, I want to encourage you to put your trust fully in Christ, regardless of how you are feeling in the moment, regardless of your fear or your anger or your bitterness. Put yourself in His hands and grip onto faith that remembers that He loves you with an everlasting love. He has always been there for you and will never abandon you. He will support you, provide for you, and give you what you need. He will walk next to you when you’re able to walk and carry you when you can’t. And he will send others to encourage you, people who have walked a mile in your shoes and will stand with you and agree with you in prayer.

 

Yesuvae, be with those who are struggling right now. Show them in a tangible way how much you love them with your perfect, eternal love. Send others to support them and help them grip onto their faith in You. Put intercessory prayer on believers’ hearts at just the right moments for strength, protection, and provision. In Jesus name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India

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2 Chronicles 1-3; 1Corinthians 16

The Queen of Versailles is a documentary about the Siegels, a wealthy American couple who set out to build the largest single home in America.  The Siegels and Solomon had one thing in common;  God allowed both almost unimaginable wealth. The key difference was that Solomon sought the wisdom of God over personal wealth and gain. Our American mogul used his wealth to build a monument to his success.

Solomon amasses vast resources in building “a temple for the Name of the Lord and a royal palace for himself” 2Chronicles 2:1.  The results were stunning. The Temple reflected the beauty and mystery of heaven,  the glory and goodness of God. Tragically, all this beauty, wealth, work and effort became dust. It took centuries for Israel’s story to unfold. Spoiler alert: it took a few short years for things to fall apart for the Siegels.

The writer of Hebrews brings a happy ending to our story.  The Temple, in all its grandeur, was a whisper of things to come. Rituals and blood sacrifice were incomplete in cleansing us so we could stand in the presence of our Holy God.  No physical home, place of worship or ritual can meet our souls’ need. It’s only in the shelter of Christ’s love and sacrifice for us that we find our place of rest.

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption…How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences form the acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!  Hebrews 9:12, 14

Lord, thank you for the shelter of your presence. Thank you that in you, I am made whole; sin and shame have no hold on me. With you, I rest. I need no other home. Amen

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I Chronicles 28 & 29; I Corinthians 15:29-58

Passing the baton.

King David was a man of bloodshed; though he loved God with all his heart.  His son Solomon was chosen by God even before birth to be David’s successor on the throne.  God said that Solomon would be a man of rest.  At age 18 Solomon became coregent with David, indicating the trust that David had in God’s word that Solomon would build this house of worship.  David knew that Solomon needed supernatural direction, and told his son, “God will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.”

In David’s prayer of praise to God, he says what Solomon seems to have echoed in his writings on the vanity of this earthly life (see Ecclesiastes).  David prays, “For we are aliens and pilgrims before You, as were all our fathers; Our days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope,” (I Chr. 29:15).  Our life on earth is as a shadow of the spiritual life we can only experience when we awake to the knowledge of God’s sovereign care and blessing through Christ Jesus

This theme of living an earthly life giving way to a spiritual life is the most important concept that Paul passed on to the church, specifically written in a letter to the Corinthians.  He spoke sharply to them to remember that there is a resurrection of the dead. “What you sow is not made alive unless it dies,” I Corinthians 15:37; and “It [the body] is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body (I Cor. 15:44).  We are in this space and time, mortals alive and running towards a point in which we let go of earthly matters; yet at that same time will take hold of heavenly mysteries.

It isn’t easy to prepare for this run, but like Solomon received encouragement from David, we have many before us who have laid the foundation for our faith.  Perhaps godly parents who exemplified a steadfast faith in God, or maybe a church home where the Word was preached, or even through overcoming the physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges of living in poverty, or with abuse, with disabilities, or in addiction. However we learn to walk amidst the ungodliness of the world and confront the automatic negative thoughts and actions of our own sinful nature, the assurance from God is that we do not labor in vain on this earth. Rather we run in such a way as to win the prize of living forever with Christ Jesus.  So I run with anticipation that though our bodies may die on this earth or be changed in the twinkling of an eye at the resurrection, in that passing we will become spiritual bodies that will run eternally with Christ.

by Janet

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