Monthly Archives: June 2018

1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8; 1 Timothy 5

At the end of twenty years, in which Solomon had built the house of the LORD and his own house, Solomon rebuilt the cities that Hiram had given to him and settled the people of Israel in them. 2 Chronicles 8:1-2 ESV

At the beginning of 2 Chronicles 8, Solomon has finished his major building projects and the people of Israel are settled. The rest of the chapter recounts some more of accomplishments of Solomon, from building and fortifying cities to appointing divisions of priests.

The LORD appeared to Solomon…And the LORD said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked…I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David… 1 Kings 9:2-5 ESV

After Solomon finished the LORD’s house, his palace, and his other building projects, the LORD appears to him for the second time. This time the LORD declares that He will fulfill His promise, the permanent establishment of David’s royal throne, as long as David’s sons follow Him. However, God warns that if David’s sons turn away from Him, He will cut Israel off from the land He gave them.

In 1 Timothy 5, Paul gives Timothy some rules and warnings for the Church, just as God gave rules and warnings to Solomon. After his instructions, Paul charges Timothy to keep them fairly.

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. The sins of some men are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are no cannot remain hidden. 1 Timothy 5:21-22, 24-25 ESV

Paul warns against treating people within the church unfairly due to prejudice or partiality. He also tells him to keep himself pure, not engaging in the sins of others. Paul knew there would be times in Timothy’s life, just like there are times in mine, when others tempt you to sin. I am instructed, just as Timothy was, to keep myself pure and to not take part in their sin.

Dear God, please help me follow You and Your ways, instead of following others into sin. Please also help me to treat others fairly and without partiality, just as Timothy was instructed to. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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

One thing I know about cultivating a new habit is that it takes intention. I didn’t become a runner by getting off the couch and lacing up my shoes. In fact, my first day out, I barely rounded the bend of my driveway. The second day out, I might have made it twenty-five feet farther. The third day out, I made it to the top of the driveway. I had to plan on it. I had to get out and do it. I had to push myself. I still have to push myself, but my distance, thankfully, is farther than the top of my driveway.

But what credit is it to run but be weak in areas of eternal matter?

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. 10 This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers. (1 Timothy 4:8-10, NLT)

Paul encourages Timothy to be an example “in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. (1 Timothy 4:b, NLT)” Aren’t we all an example to someone? A coworker. A neighbor. A stranger. A friend. A family member. An enemy.

When I think of the end of my time, some of the goals I’ve set may not hold entirely great significance–the daily run in itself is conditioning for my body, works on discipline and self-control–good things, yes. But what if I did not live a life true to the person God made me to be? What if I neglected the gifts?

14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 15 Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:14-16, NLT)

Father God, I am thankful to you that you hear my prayers. You are quick to forgive. Your faithful love endures forever. Thank you for watching over my life, Maker of heaven and earth. Thank you for loving me so well. I offer my life song to you in praise.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Kings 8; Psalms 30; 1 Timothy 3

All of today’s passages reflect on people’s behavior and how it affects their standing in the temple/church.

First, a Psalm of Thanksgiving from David for forgiveness of his past sins.

“Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy name.  for his anger is but for a moment, his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:4-5 ESV)

Later his son, Solomon, dedicates the temple.

“Oh Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like You in Heaven above or earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart, who have kept with Your servant, my father David, that which you have promised him; indeed, You have spoken with Your mouth and have fulfilled it with Your hand as it is this day.” (1 Kings 8:23-24 ESV)

Finally, Timothy gives instruction concerning leaders in the church and how they are to live.

I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:14-15 ESV)

Lord, we’re thankful for all of the examples of people in the bible who “mess up” but are forgiven.  Thank you for forgiving and saving us.

Kellie (mmattix)

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

My drive time to work in the morning is an extended part of quiet time I’ve had with the Lord.  Some mornings I can’t get it together and fly out the door before even acknowledging God.  But I can depend on having at least 35 minutes of uninterrupted time in my car as I drive to work.  Some of my most profound moments have been in that quiet time. There are mornings so beautiful the praise flows in spoken prayer.  Sometimes I listen to music and praise at the top of my lungs because it is in that space I can sing like no one is listening except the Lord.  Other times there are tears streaming down my face as I think about how good He is to me and how grateful I am for all that He continues to do in my life.  There have also been times when the tears are from a place of pain as we’ve worked through some trials, some pruning, and places of brokenness.

7 You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies;
    you disgrace those who hate us.
8 O God, we give glory to you all day long
    and constantly praise your name. (Psalm 44:7-8 NLT)

This week’s readings spoke to me about the quality of what I do for God.

Solomon had received instructions from the LORD on how to build his Temple. We learn in a previous chapter that he had asked for a master craftsman to be sent from Tyre.  The brass maker, Huram-abi, was sent.  I can imagine he took his time and created each intricate piece to be placed in the temple. He was giving God his best.  These articles were going to be used for the sacrifices and glory of God in His holy temple.  God created him to have this talent and he painstakingly used his gift for the articles God had given instruction to create.

So at last Huram-abi completed everything King Solomon had assigned him to make for the Temple of God:

12 the two pillars;
the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
the two networks of interwoven chains that decorated the capitals;
13 the 400 pomegranates that hung from the chains on the capitals (two rows of pomegranates for each of the chain networks that decorated the capitals on top of the pillars);
14 the water carts holding the basins;
15 the Sea and the twelve oxen under it;
16 the ash buckets, the shovels, the meat hooks, and all the related articles. (2 Chron. 4:12-16 NLT)

I thought of my own gifts and talents.  Where has He asked me to use them? Am I giving Him my best?  Do I do everything with excellence or are there times I do just enough to get by?

I have noticed the difference when I serve God with what I think I am supposed to do vs when I am actually serving doing what He has called me to do.  With the later, somehow I never tire, am full of enthusiasm, and the time flies.  If someone gives me praise for what I’ve accomplished, I quickly point to God and give Him the glory for I know it was from Him I was able to do whatever it was.  However, there have been times when I did things out of a place of insecurity and wanting people to notice me.  There is no fulfillment in me when that happens, no joy, and I feel drained.  Over the years I have learned it is never good to strive to do what I want to do.  Learning to listen to God for those opportunities draws me deeper into relationship with Him.  It always amazes me how He sends me to the exact place, to the exact person, or the exact event where I can use my gifts and talents. When we all are acting as our part of the Body of Christ, we can see God make lasting change in people’s lives.

Heavenly Father, I continue to look to you to do what only You can do through me.  I never want to miss out on an opportunity to serve you, to be Your hands and feet, and fulfill my place in the Body of Christ.  My soul is filled when I empty myself and my motives and give You control. Thank you for letting me share the story of what you’ve done in my life with others.  In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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1 Kings 6; 2 Chronicles 3; 1 Timothy 1

We are half way through the Bible at the end of this week. This is a good passage to contemplate as we think about what our place is in the Christian community and in our relationship with Jesus.

1 Timothy begins with the purpose for the writing of these two letters Paul wrote to young Timothy. His purpose is found in the first two verses:

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord (1 Timothy 1:1-2 [ESV]).

The Christian life is all about relationships. Paul starts out with his in connection to Jesus. He’s an apostle by God’s command. There was no way out of it for Paul. He was destined even before he became a Christ follower to be an apostle of His.

And then he turns to Timothy. He views him to be his true child in the faith. Paul was the one that must have led Timothy to a saving knowledge of Jesus. Paul was discipling Timothy. There was a special relationship between the two. Paul was guiding Timothy as he grew in his Christian faith.

As we approach the midway point of the year these two verses beg the questions, “Who is my Timothy, who is my Paul?” As stated earlier we are meant to live in community. Relationships are critically important in the Christian life.

So who is your Paul? Are you growing through their input in your life? Have you asked them to? Who is your Timothy? Who’s life are you building into? Start this second half of 2018 intentionally growing through the influence of others and be a catalyst to those who need to grow in their spiritual lives.

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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)

From the archives. Originally published June 23, 2016.

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

I wonder if I asked ten people, “What is the greatest thing you could give? What is the greatest thing you could receive?” What would the answer be?

For love is as strong as death,
    its jealousy as enduring as the grave.
Love flashes like fire,
    the brightest kind of flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
    nor can rivers drown it.
If a man tried to buy love
    with all his wealth,
    his offer would be utterly scorned. (Song of Solomon 8:6b-7, NLT)

When imagining an end goal, designing a path to take, getting swept into sweet daydreams, what are the things that shape the journey and define the destination? I heard it recently on an audiobook about focus: one can spend his whole life building something to later realize his ladder was propped against the wrong wall.

A whole life.

Unless the Lord builds a house,
    the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the Lord protects a city,
    guarding it with sentries will do no good.
It is useless for you to work so hard
    from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
    for God gives rest to his loved ones. (Psalm 127:1-2, NLT)

Time, talent, treasure–where is it spent? How is it used? What does it speak about you? These are things we are each given in different measures. And whether intended or not, how each is used will speak of our heart, either during our lifetime, or in the memories we leave behind.

2 Thessalonians 2 tells of the man of lawlessness, a great deceiver, who will exalt himself and “use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. 11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. 12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10b-12, NLT)

I don’t want to live deceived. Lord, I keep my eyes on you. Help me to align my time, talent and treasure with a kingdom focus.

11 Solomon has a vineyard at Baal-hamon,
    which he leases out to tenant farmers.
Each of them pays a thousand pieces of silver
    for harvesting its fruit.
12 But my vineyard is mine to give,
    and Solomon need not pay a thousand pieces of silver.
But I will give two hundred pieces
    to those who care for its vines. (Song of Solomon 8:11-12, NLT)

Grateful for your word, your love, your guidance, Lord.

Courtney (66books365)

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