Monthly Archives: October 2013

2 Kings 13; 2 Timothy 3; Hosea 5,6; Psalm 119:145-176

When Asherah poles are left standing, it’s an invitation and an indication–sin is still present.

But they continued to sin, following the evil example of Jeroboam. They also allowed the Asherah pole in Samaria to remain standing. 2 Kings 13:6 NLT.

Sin is sometimes the dirty undershirt that smells beneath the clean cover-up. And sometimes it’s the filthy garment that is the obvious cloak for public display.

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 2 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT.

Guard this heart.

Now their false religion will devour them along with their wealth. Hosea 5:7b NLT

Lord, you mercifully closed doors I tried to push open. And when I found myself in the loneliest places, you sat with me and caught tears.

150 Lawless people are coming to attack me;
    they live far from your instructions.
151 But you are near, O Lord,
    and all your commands are true. Psalm 119:150-151 NLT

Your word sustains me, gets into my heart, transforms me.

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT.

Where would I be without you?

I want you to show love,
    not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know me
    more than I want burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6 NLT

Thank you for wanting a relationship with me, for showing me love, and letting me know you. Thank you for stopping me from pursuing destructive desires–that you love me enough to let me be lonely. I am so grateful for your work in my life.

169 O Lord, listen to my cry;
    give me the discerning mind you promised. Psalm 119:169 NLT

Courtney (66books365)


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2 Kings 12; 2 Tim 2; Hosea 3&4; Psalm 119:121-144

Joash did what pleased God for as long as he lived.  King Joash called Jehoiada the priest and the company of priests and said, “Why haven’t you renovated this sorry looking Temple?” 2 Kings 12:2&7 MSG

Joash wants to restore the temple. God is a God of restoration…

So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ.  If we die with Him, we’ll live with him; If we stick it out with Him, we’ll rule with Him; If we turn our backs on Him, he’ll turn His back on us; If we give up on him, he does not give up -for there’s no way He can be false to Himself.  Repeat these basic essentials over & over to God’s people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple…Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness- faith,love, peace -joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God.” 2 Timothy 2:1-22 MSG

“I will restore the years” He says. He is faithful, even when I am not…

Then God ordered me,”Start all over : Love your wife again…Love her the way I, God, love the Israelite people, even as they flirt and party with every God that takes their fancy.  But in time they’ll come back, these Israelites, come back looking for their God and their David-King.” Hosea 3 MSG

But, He is more concerned about restoring my heart…

Let your love dictate how you deal with me; teach me from your textbook on life. I’m your servant-help me understand what that means, the inner meaning of your instructions.  Every word you give me is a miracle word-how could I help but obey? Break open your words, let the light shine out, let ordinary people see the meaning.  Steady my steps with Your word of promise so nothing malign gets the better of me.  Even though troubles come down on me hard, your commands always gave me delight. The way you tell me to live is always right; help me understand it so I can live to the fullest.” Psalm 119:121-144 MSG

Dear Jesus, I am so grateful for times in my life where I can now look back and see how You have redeemed brokenness.  Thank you Father for your unfailing love and faithfulness. Amen

What do you want Him to restore in your life today?


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2 Kings 10, 11; 2 Timothy 1; Hosea 2; Psalms 119:97-120

For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline. (ASV)

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. (AMP)

For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of strength and of love and of temperance. (JUB)

God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. (MSG)

God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control. (NCV)

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (NIV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (NKJV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (NLT)

For God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a good mind. (NLV)

God didn’t give us a cowardly spirit but a spirit of power, love, and good judgment. (NOG)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. (TLB)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit. (VOICE)

2 Timothy 1:7

Since I have been walking with the Lord, this is one of my go-to verses. When I am struggling in the battlefield of my mind – when I am full of anxiety and fear, filled with bitterness and resentment, feeling insignificant, overwhelmed, and out of control – it helps me remember that I have not been abandoned to my own devices. It reminds me that I am not alone, even when it sometimes feels like it, because He is in me and I am in Him (John 15:5). It reminds me that God has equipped me with the tools that I need to overcome every struggle. And, it prompts me to look to the Lord for the strength I need to triumph over the tactics of the enemy to control and manipulate my thinking and disrupt my journey.

God has given me so many gifts, not because I did anything in my life to deserve them, but because He is my Father and He loves me. The most important gift He gave me was grace given through the sacrificial payment for my sins by Jesus on the cross. At the moment I believed, in Christ’s death and resurrection, I was made new and filled by God’s Spirit. His Spirit became alive in me, and transformed my essence from one of fear and desperation to one of strength.

The original Greek1 offers deeper insight into this spiritual transformation. God gives me the inner quality and character of ability (dunameos), of love (agapes) and of sanity (sophronismou).

God is capable. He is effective, productive, powerful and mighty. Because He has empowered me and given me boldness; even in my weakness, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

God is love (1 John 4:7-9). His love enables me to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind and makes it possible for me to love others generously (Matthew 22:37-39; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

God is the epitome of self-control, discipline and balance. He gives me the ability to exercise good judgment, to govern myself, to manage my emotions and not allow them to enslave me. He gives me awareness in times of danger, wisdom, forethought, and common sense. He helps me use my resources well and helps me keep my priorities in godly order.

John MacArthur says:

…all believers possess these marvelous, God-given endowments: power, to be effective in His service; love, to have the right attitude toward Him and others; and discipline, to focus and apply every part of our lives according to His will. When those endowments are all present, marvelous results occur.”2

Just as I am assured that these good gifts come from the Lord, I am certain that when I experience a spirit of dread (deilias), it is an offering from my enemy designed to trick me into taking my focus off of God. At times, because I am human, I will still experience fear and anxiety; a lack of courage will creep into my psyche or my self-confidence will wane. But, putting my focus back on God, on His goodness and grace, will help me to quickly move from a self-destructive state to a position of strength and poise. His love removes the fear, injects peace, and quiets my heart (1 John 4:18-19).

Yesappa, Thank You for Your life-giving Spirit. Thank You for being with me always. Thank You for giving me wisdom, understanding, and direction. Thank You for building strength and instilling in me the knowledge and reverence of God. Thank You for casting away my fear and replacing it with power, love, and discipline. You are my hiding place and my shield. I love Your teachings, Your Word. Help me to meditate on them throughout each day, allowing them to become a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. Through You, and by You I live; only because of You, I am saved. In Jesus’ name. Amen.3

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

1Greek Word Study and Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:7

2MacArthur, J. 2 Timothy. Chicago: Moody Press.

3Isaiah 2:11; Psalm 119:97-120

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2Kings 9; 1Tim. 6; Hos. 1; Ps.119:73-96

How long do God’s promises stand?

How do God’s promises stand?

How can we tap into them in our lives?

Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. ~ Psalm 119:89-91

 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands. They stand this day according to Your ordinances, For all things are Your servants. ~ Psalm 119:89-91

 If Your law had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have revived me. ~ Psalm 119:92-93

Revive means “to live, have life, remain alive, sustain life, live prosperously, live forever, be quickened, be alive, be restored to life or health.”

God’s promises stand firm FOREVER!  They stand because He ESTABLISHED them to do so.  We tap into them when we DELIGHT ourselves in God’s Words.

So of the things that mean “revive,” which one do you need?

I need them all.  I desire them all.  And since they are available to me, then I will stand on them all—and I will keep standing until they have been fulfilled in my life.

Father, thank you for your promises and that they stand firm forever.  Thank you for reminding me that I can choose to stand on them and not sink into the muck.  Do I believe that this is a battle? Yes.  Do I believe that I will continue to have to battle?  Yes.  Do I believe I have to lose?  No, because Your Words—which are buried in my heart—tell me that I am more than a conqueror and I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  I pray that whatever parts of “revive” we need, that You would lead us to Your Promises and that we would be able to stand on them.  I pray that we would stand with and for and by each other.  Lord be with us today.  Give us comfort, protection, rest, and Your peace.  Continue to supply all of our needs.  It’s in Jesus’ Name that I pray, Amen.


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2 Kings 8; 1 Timothy 5; Daniel 12; Psalm 119:49-72

Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. Daniel 12:10

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8

Teach me knowledge and good judgment for believing your commands. Psalm 119:66

God used family problems this week  to refine and purify my actions.  Initially I fixated on my sister’s culpability. After all she did curse at me. Certainly I was above reproach. (Ha!) Then the Scriptures opened my eyes to how my own behavior contributed to the situation.

In constantly trying to rescue her from her problems we as a family had robbed her of the ability to cope on her own. In turn I had denied myself the opportunity of receiving assistance from her.

The best One to judge everything is the One who is in control. Had we inquired of God  first perhaps things would not be so out of control now. Yet I praise Him for showing me that there are better ways to handle challenges than the way we have always done.

Father, You put me in frustrating situations time after time to help me grow. Thank you for teaching me how to respond to others to create more healthy balanced relationships. Thank you for your mercies new every morning.


Reposted from the archives, October 27, 2010.

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2 Kings 7, 1 Timothy 4, Daniel 11, Psalms 119:25-48

2 Kings 7:1-2 “Hear this message from the Lord! This is what the Lord says: by this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, five quarts of fine flour will cost only half an ounce of silver, and ten quarts of barley grain will cost only half an ounce of silver. The officer assisting the king said to the man of God, ‘that couldn’t happen even if the LORD opened the windows of heaven!'”

Psalms 119:41-42 “Lord, give to me your unfailing love, the salvation that you promised me. then I will have an answer for those who taunt me, for I trust in your word. 44) I will keep on obeying your law forever and forever.”

I had the pedal to the medal as I headed to work one morning last week.  Believing I was going to be late, it occurred to me that I had wasted an entire hour playing silly online games instead of being fully prepared and punctual.  The red truck with a rusty bumper in front of me was doing 40 in a 50 and for a moment my thoughts drifted to, “Oh, this stupid driver, don’t they know THEY are going to cause me to not show up on time!”  Suddenly, my phone rang and noticing that it was my boss I contemplated not answering it. “Hello” I said,  “Erica, I just want you to know that these confounded morons out here on the road are %$##^&* me off and I’m going to be 20 minutes late because of idiotic stoplights and $#@%^ slow stupidity!” This cringing ranting went on for a few more moments and I suddenly knew God wasn’t going to knock any louder on my heart and voice, so I interrupted him and said, “Sir, perhaps your morning drive to work could be more pleasant if you were to look at the situations of the vehicles around you and stoplights you are encountering not as a negative, but one in which you believe that each second you are sitting at it is possibly God’s way of saving you from an actual accident up ahead.”  His response was, “Your God could care less about me or else He would not have allowed me to have numerous traffic tickets and fines along with other problems in my life.  if you want to be positive you go right ahead, but be sure that there is only so much of it and then it is gone, and not even God can undo the bad all around us.”

The call ended and I sat in the parking lot and spoke this prayer, “Father, thank you for amazing me yet again with pricking my heart and mind to the negative I was dwelling on and in turn using that to be a tool to reach out to my boss.  I pray that you will overflow me with continued daily positives that can ward off any negatives that are placed in front of me.  Soften his heart, Lord to see the good around him and keep my faith strong allowing me to not be wavered by his taunts of unbeliefs.  Move his heart the way you move mountains!

At the time I had not yet read my passages for this entry, and I had somewhat set that incident to the side of my brain with a penciled in sticky note reminder to be on guard and keep praying for him, and so I went back to my normal routine of day to day.   God knew that the #2 lead would easily fade though if He did not provide me with a permanent sharpie marker to rewrite it with!  I love you Lord for knowing what I need when I need it and I ask that you will continue to provide me with your unfailing love and that as your word says, “I will keep on obeying you forever and forever.” Amen



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2 Kings 6; 1 Tim. 3; Dan. 10; Ps.119:1-24

Whose responsibility is it anyway?

I remember as a young boy growing up that my father instilled a sense of responsibility into all of his children that all of us were a part of the house… that each of us had to contribute in some way if the house was to continue to function. For many years, I always thought that my Dad had me growing up too fast… having me be more responsible than I should have been for a young boy. As a father myself now and having lost my Dad recently, I realize… my father got it right… always expecting a little more of me than I expected from myself and holding me to a higher standard. My Dad didn’t care if his way was popular… he knew he had a responsibility to raise me right… to prepare me to survive in a crazy world, regardless of the ridicule he received because of his approach. Yeah… my Dad got it right… and in so doing, he unknowingly was preparing me for how my heavenly Father expects me to be, how to act, and how to lead… by holding me to a standard that is unaffected by current thought, politics, or emotions. The question is… who’s responsibility is it anyway to lead God’s kingdom?

As participatory as I am at my church, recently, while enjoying church service, I looked around to see how many empty chairs there were. Were the empty chairs the Pastor’s responsibility to fill? After all… he is the one who is supposed to lead his people… isn’t he? I began thinking am I doing all that I could be doing for God’s church on earth? I kept hitting a brick wall… I wasn’t coming up with anything more I could do. Then, as I was leaving… I heard the words “you need to step it up…”, but how? I was active in a number of areas in the church… what more could I do to fill those empty seats during the service?

I need to learn to slow down more… I seem to live in a world of close-to-zero margin… always having something to do. I need to learn to push back more on the demands of my time to create a safe place to rest with my Lord. I believe that doing so can only bless me by allowing my Savior to strengthen and equip me for the days ahead. Daniel 10:19 speaks of this strength in his vision of a man… “Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my Lord, since You have given me strength.” By allowing some additional margin in my day, I came to a defining moment to ask… what was the church? Perhaps stepping it up wasn’t so much about doing more inside the building, but rather becoming a stronger leader so God could use me to support His church body. The church isn’t the building as I was taught as a young child. The Greek term ekklesia refers to church as people who are “called out” by God into His service.

In 1 Timothy 3:5, Paul tells the young evangelist Timothy that if an elder does not know how to rule his house, “how shall he take care of the church of God?” Additionally, Paul tells Timothy that he is writing so that he may know how he ought to conduct himself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). What a privilege to be called to be a leader in the church of Jesus Christ, His Bride, His Army, and His Family! I believe this is why God’s Word has laid before us challenging requirements for Christian leadership. The standards are high, not only for the sake of the church’s vitality but also for the sake of the leader’s vitality. If each of us could shift our focus to consider ourselves as potential leaders for God’s church… imagine the possibilities!

There are a number of biblical readings related to leadership and the requirements needed for leadership development… all centered on commitment, conviction, competency, and character. Are we deeply committed to Jesus as Savior and Lord? Do we have a passion to know Him in all of His glory? Not everyone expresses passion the same, but one thing is clear… there must be a fire within us to know the One who died for all sin. Do we have biblically-based convictions about who Jesus is, who we, as humans are, and the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection? Do we have the competency to make our way through Scripture? What are we doing with the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Are we developing relational skills to help bring more people to Jesus? Do our relationships manifest the love and integrity of Jesus? Do we demonstrate self-control, hospitality, gentleness, holiness, temperance? Is there evidence of dying to ourselves, of material things, to manipulation? The emphasis of these questions is not the seeking of perfection, but rather direction… we must continue to work so that ours heart are changed so our actions are pleasing to Jesus for “Blessed are they who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart” (Psalm 119:2).

Lord, it isn’t easy to lead. Even with Your masterful ways, Your own people turned their backs on You. Leading is less about watching and correcting and more about listening and connecting with others. Help us to focus less on the love of power and more on the power of love. Lord, as we work to strengthen our role as leader, let us using the model of servant leadership we’ve read about in your son, Jesus. Lord, help us to strengthen our greatest passion in companionship, our greatest strength in love, and our greatest victory in peace. Amen.

Greg Stefanelli (gstefanelli)

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