Monthly Archives: June 2016

1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8; 1 Timothy 5

He was a king who made history, known for wisdom and wealth. He had a royal palace built for himself. He built the Lord’s Temple.

25 Three times each year Solomon presented burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar he had built for the Lord. He also burned incense to the Lord. And so he finished the work of building the Temple. (1 Kings 9:25, NLT)

He rebuilt towns and fortified others.

He also rebuilt Baalath and other supply centers and constructed towns where his chariots and horses could be stationed. He built everything he desired in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout his entire realm. (2 Chronicles 8:6, NLT)

When once she was known as wife–and perhaps mother, grandmother, aunt–her title was transformed to widow in an instant. Her days had been full of caring for others and tending her home; now she finds herself in need of care and tending.

A widow who is put on the list for support must be a woman who is at least sixty years old and was faithful to her husband. 10 She must be well respected by everyone because of the good she has done. Has she brought up her children well? Has she been kind to strangers and served other believers humbly? Has she helped those who are in trouble? Has she always been ready to do good? (1 Timothy 5:9-10, NLT)

Solomon’s achievements and name are still inked into time’s pages, leafed through by living hands today. The widows, the women, the others of us–known and treasured for only a time in the hearts of strangers for an act of kindness.

All of it for God’s glory.

I used to compare myself to the inexhaustible extroverts who lived loud and large–or placed value (or lack thereof) on whether actions received acknowledgment. Sometimes my contribution felt insignificant and invisible–was it worthless? Oh, the doubt and disappointment in my efforts. An enemy will whisper words of failure; sometimes speaks them outright from mouths of the very ones we serve; and other times it’s our own comparison that devalues our offerings.

24 Remember, the sins of some people are obvious, leading them to certain judgment. But there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later. 25 In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light. (1 Timothy 5:24-25, NLT)

Lord, help me to see my offerings as an outpouring of my delight in you. Help me to block out the critics that tell me (it’s) not enough or not even good enough. It is not about my glory, but yours. You have chosen these things in advance for me–big or small. You will equip me for the task.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Chronicles 5-7; Psalm 121; 1 Timothy 4

12You are young, but do not let anyone treat you as if you were not important. Be an example to show the believers how they should live. Show them with your words, with the way you live, with your love, with your faith, and with your pure life. 13Continue to read the Scriptures to the people, strengthen them, and teach them. Do these things until I come. 14Remember to use the gift that you have. That gift was given to you through a prophecy when the group of elders laid their hands on you. 15Continue to do those things. Give your life to doing them. Then everyone can see that your work is progressing. 16Be careful in your life and in your teaching. Continue to live and teach rightly. Then you will save yourself and those people who listen to you. 1 Timothy 4:12-16

It doesn’t matter if I’m old or young (or in between), as a believer, it’s my mission to be an example to the people around me of what it means to follow Jesus.

But what does it mean to be an example of how I should live as a believer?

In his letter, Paul encourages Timothy to be an example with his words, in the way he lives, with love, with faith, and with a pure life, using the gifts that God gave him to equip him for his life mission. To me this means that I need to watch what I say, being sure that my words are edifying, positive, life giving and not like a double-edged sword cutting down the people in my path. I need to be sure that I am living in the best way possible, being a good steward of the things God has put in my life to tend, being honorable, trustworthy, extending grace to the people in my life, whether I know them personally or not. I must obey the greatest commands to love God with all my heart, soul, and strength and to love everyone else around me, from my enemy to my loved ones. I need to walk faithfully in relationship with my Father, trusting Him always. I must strive to live in purity, following in Jesus’ footsteps.

As a parent, it’s even more important to be ever vigilant in my example, because my little sponges will copy my behavior and my choices no matter if they are good or bad. When I inevitably stumble and make mistakes, choosing to humbly repent and asking for forgiveness, to both God and my children, is also very vital.

I also must remember that my children can be an example for me. They are young, preschoolers, with very little life experience, but they are still able to teach me in ways no one else could. I am able to see the world and the people around them through their unadulterated eyes. I can learn about trust, faith, joy, love…and, through, my relationship with them, I am able to better understand God as Father and how He feels about me.

My middle child is so full of compassion. She has never met a person she didn’t love with a pure, unconditional love. She is happy when they are happy and saddened when they are crying. She seems to supernaturally sense when someone needs a hug or an encouraging word. Through the years, my own heart has hardened, calloused by wounds and the scars they’ve produced. But when I watch her interact with others, I am reminded of how much more I could love people, and parts of me are healed. At three and a half years old, she is a role model for me, and how I can act more like Jesus.

Yesappa, Thank You for my children who are able to teach me more about You without even realizing they are doing it. Thank You for other family members, friends, and strangers, who show me how I can be a better person. Thank You for also choosing me to be an example in my relationship with You. Help my words, my actions, my life, be a testimony of Your goodness and glory, one that draws others toward Your heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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1 Kings 8; Psalm 30; 1 Timothy 3

I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health. You brought me up from the grave, O Lord. You kept me from falling into the pit of death. Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping through the night, but joy comes in the morning. When I was prosperous, I said, “Nothing can stop me now!” Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain. Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.” Psalm 30:1-7 NLT

Psalm 30 means a lot to me. It helps me to remember how far God has brought me. And the many pits I’ve fallen into that he has helped me out of. But, just like David, I can be so forgetful. I fall into the trap of thinking I can handle things on my own. But, that robs me of the peace that only God’s presence can bring. Because, like my pastor said in a sermon…“His presence is better than my freedom.” This convicts me and my wandering heart. Sometimes I have to cry out to him like David did.

I cried out to you, O Lord. I begged the Lord for mercy, saying. “What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness? Hear me. Lord, and have mercy on me. Help me, O Lord. You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” Psalm 30:8-12 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for the the times that you have rescued me. I pray that I would remember your faithfulness, so that I don’t turn back to my old ways. Thank you for meeting me where I am and never leaving me. Amen.

Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire community of Israel. He lifted his hands toward heaven, and he prayed, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. You have kept your promise to your servant David, my father. You made that promise with your own mouth, and with your own hands you have fulfilled it today.” 1 Kings 8:22-24 NLT

Amy (amyctanner)

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1 Kings 7, 2 Chronicles 4, Psalm 44, 1 Timothy 2

The world around us changes minute by minute. Each morning I wake up to unbelievable headlines and not just here in the US but also on the other side of the pond. Each day I wonder if this is the day Christ will return for we know we are living in the “last days”.

As the local and world events unravel it is easy to get distracted from our goal as Christ followers and throw our two cents into the mix with our selfish, human opinions. I have been reading friends posts on Facebook after the recent events in England and the sit in from our own government and I see fear, hopelessness and defeat. I see people claiming to have the solutions to all of our world’s problems but what we forget as Christians is that this world is not our home. This world will continue to decline and the speed at which this will happen will continue to increase like a train derailed. We are not called or promised to have an easy life but we are promised that the Lord will never leave us or forsake us.

Here, Paul reminds us to pray for those people whom we may not always agree with; people in position of authority or government. We don’t know any of their hearts. We do know that the Lord works all things according to His greater plan.

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2: 1-4

Our prayers for those in high positions (leaders, teachers, politicians, pastors, parents….) should not be out of selfish ambition but instead desire to bring God the glory and praise he is due. God’s plan is rarely clear to us as we are in the process of trail, persecution, pain or confusion but He is always with us. It’s those experiences that turn hearts to him. It is not our personal power that solves the problems or turns a heart but the Holy Spirit. But we are told our prayers are “good and pleasing in the sight of our God our Savior”.

Like in the days of the Psalmist, we need to remember that it is the Holy Spirit working in and through us to accomplish the will of the Father. He will never leave us and his plans will always prosper.

“O God, we have heard with our ears,
our fathers have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
in the days of old:
you with your own hand drove out the nations,
but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples,
but them you set free;
for not by their own sword did they win the land,
nor did their own arm save them,
but your right hand and your arm,
and the light of your face,
for you delighted in them.” Psalm 44: 1-3

 

Thank you, Lord for the opportunity and privilege to come before with our prayers of request, thanksgiving and intercession. Help us to be diligent in praying not only for those who are easy to pray for but also those whom we disagree with. Help us to seek your will and in all things bring you glory. Amen.

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1 Kings 6; 2 Chronicles 3; 1 Timothy 1

God is the author of beauty and creativity.  All things created pour forth from Him and are meant to glorify Him.

I am in awe of the artistry of the Temple.  God gave the skill to people to accomplish such amazing works of art.  The people carved, they sculpted, they sewed, they adorned.

  • “The inside of the temple was cedar, carved with gourds and open flowers…” 1 Kings 6:18
  • “So he overlaid the whole interior with gold…” 1 Kings 6:22
  • “In the Most Holy Place he made a pair of sculptured cherubim and overlaid them with gold.”  2 Chronicles 3:10
  • “He adorned the temple with precious stones…” 2 Chronicles 3:6
  • “He made the curtain of blue, purple and crimson yarn and fine linen, with cherubim worked into it.”  2 Chronicles 3:14
  • “…he carved cherubim on the walls.”  2 Chronicles 3:7
  • “…He also made a hundred pomegranates and attached them to the chains.”  2 Chronicles 3:16

God gives people the ability to create beauty.  In the building of the Temple, this gift from our Creator God was used to bring Him glorify.  But this is not always the case.  Humans used this creativity to build other beautiful temples, devoted to “other gods”.  We always have a choice in whether we use our talents to serve God.

My hope is to always bring glory to God through what I do.  I am not particularly artistic, but I appreciate the talent for creating beauty.  If God gives me the ability to do something, may I use that ability to point people to Him.

Dear Father, You are the creator of all beauty.  I look around me and see the works of Your creative hands in nature.  I also see beautiful works of art that You inspired and accomplished through human hands.  Thank you for giving us this ability to create and the awareness to appreciate beautiful creations.    

Diona

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1 Kings 5; 2 Chronicles 2; 2 Thessalonians 3

King Hiram sent a master craftsman to help build the temple. Solomon had a sizeable workforce. When people come together with a common purpose, great things can be done.

Second Thessalonians 3, Paul warns:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. 10 Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”

11 Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. 12 We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. 13 As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.

14 Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. 15 Don’t think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-14, NLT.

A message in the day’s reading on work, focus, purpose.

Paul writes of an example worth imitating–whose example do I imitate? Who is imitating my example? Just as when people come together with a common purpose, great things can be done, so too can great damage be done when idle hands let things fall into disrepair. Whether tearing apart what should be built, or neglecting the tasks at hand–idle living is linked to disobedience and shame.

How does that happen? Does it stem from a loss of focus or purpose? Or is it a shift in focus–towards self rather than towards the Lord? (Oh Lord, let me keep my eyes on you in the work you’d have me do at home, at church, within a greater community context.)

Lord, help me to keep your call on my life in perspective so that I don’t grow tired of doing good. I want my days filled with praise for you, and not complaint. You have given me wonderful work, and I am grateful.

Courtney (66books365)

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Song of Sol 7-8; Psalm 127; 2 Thessalonians 2

If the Lord doesn’t build the house,
    the builders are working for nothing.
If the Lord doesn’t guard the city,
    the guards are watching for nothing.
It is no use for you to get up early
    and stay up late working for a living.
    The Lord gives sleep to those he loves. (NCV)

Sometimes age has its advantages.  For instance, once I turn 62 I can get a National Parks Service pass for $10 that will let me visit any National Park for the rest of my life.  I can get into movies cheaper once I turn 60.  I can eat off the Senior Menu at Denny’s once I turn 55!  Age has also brought me some wisdom in my walk with the Lord.  I wish I could say I learned it as easily as I learned about the discounts that I can take advantage of as I age.  Mostly I learned it through the “school of hard knocks.”

The years I have spent walking with Him have taught me God is sovereign in everything and needs to be included in everything we do or else we toil in vain. These verses remind us of this fact.  The “house” referred to here is a metaphorical house, I believe it is referring to our lives.  These verses are warning us that we need to include God in our homes, our cities, and our jobs–every area of our lives.  Otherwise we are going through the motions for nothing.

I did not become a Christian until later in life. I made all the mistakes you could possibly make and saw what life is like when I tried living life without Jesus as my focus.  The Lord was not part of my household and all the years spent building a family were like building a house on sand—when the storm came, our “house” got swept away (Matt. 7:26-27).  But God . . . I love that there is a “But God” in the story of my life . . . changed all that.  Through trials He taught me the importance of letting Him build my house.  He is my strong foundation, my solid Rock.  He watches over me and guards me.  Only that which He allows comes my way.  We have had some “bops to the head” moments over the years as I do not always learn His lessons the first time, but He is a patient God.

I also spent a lot of time working at a job but got nothing but frustration—and a lot of lost sleep. I was trying to impress my boss and gain significance from my job.  I brought work home, missed spending time with my family.  Over time, God has taught me my significance comes from him, that I can rest in Him, and trust Him to provide for me. If I look to Him to help set my priorities, I get a much better night’s sleep.  The verse says that He gives sleep to those He loves and I know He loves me.

Lord, you have taught me some hard lessons over the years. But I have gained wisdom from my mistakes.  I thank you for your everlasting love, your patience, your mercy, and your guidance.  I thank you for being the rock, the solid foundation for us to build upon.  I thank you that you keep diligent guard and protect us.  I thank you for the rest we get when we trust you are sovereign and in control of our lives.  You are our Prince of Peace, Jesus!  Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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