Monthly Archives: June 2021

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)

From the archives. Originally published June 28, 2018.

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1 Kings 8; Psalm 30; 1 Timothy 3

“If we don’t stare at God, we’ll spend our time staring at lesser things. Namely, ourselves.” Francis Chan

Often, in my Bible reading, I am so eager to find the application—how a certain passage can comfort or convict or guide me—that I miss all it can teach me about God.  After all, knowledge yields delight.  If I want to truly LOVE God, I must first truly KNOW Him.  To that end, while reading and rereading Psalm 30, I attempted to just “stare at God”, to concentrate solely on HIS nature and character rather than staring at myself. 

First, a bit of context—David wrote Psalm 30 as a song of praise at the dedication of the “temple”.  There are differing opinions on whether the “temple” David mentions was his personal home or the temple that his son, Solomon, would later build in Jerusalem.  However, because my intention was to “stare at God”, the physical building David was referring to wasn’t important.  In fact, it was a good reminder that God’s nature and character never change regardless of my physical location or circumstances. 

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
God deserves all the credit.  He alone is my deliver and my vindicator before others. He will not allow my enemies to gloat.

O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
God longs to help me. He hears me whenever I call.  He heals me (physically and otherwise) according to His will not my plans and desires.

O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
God is powerful enough to save me from the “pit of hell”, whether that is spiritually through salvation in Jesus or physically by preserving my health and safety. He delights in giving me “second chances”.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.
God longs to hear my praise—individually and corporately.  His good works on my behalf should be shared with others who can, in turn, praise Him along with me.

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.
God’s holiness demands loving discipline.  But His short-lived displeasure with my sin is never greater than His endless pleasure in me as His daughter.

Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
God allows sorrow and pain to increase my dependence on Him.  But He is also my hope and peace in those times. Just as I am certain that morning will always follow night, I can know that God will always bring joy after sorrow.

As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed.
God blesses me with good things, but they are never meant to replace my dependence on or joy in Him.  He longs for relationship with me, and He is grieved when I think I can manage without Him. He alone is enough.

To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!”
God never tires of hearing my prayers.  David cried out to God in verse 2, and he’s crying out again (still?) here.  God’s mercy is guaranteed.  He wants me to request His help.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
God is worthy of my praise in happiness or sadness.  He is loving and powerful enough to remove the darkness of my sorrow and replace it with utter joy SO THAT I will give Him the endless praise He deserves.

Father, help me seek YOU with the assurance that as my knowledge of You increases, my joy in You will increase as well.     

Jen

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

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

How does the God who is worthy of Bronze sculptures and Gold Furnishings allow the sons of Korah to question His intentions so blatantly?

“Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?”

Psalms‬ ‭44:23-24‬ ‭NIV

The boldness of the sons of Korah in Psalm 44 is amazing to me. Have you ever been as honest with God as the sons of Korah? There was one time in particular where I strongly questioned God and His intentions in my life. My heart was broken, I was confused and felt extremely alone. I thought I had heard Him so clearly telling me to continue walking in a specific direction. My hurt and pain led to me being honest with God with language that I don’t normally use with those in my life.

How could I have so misheard Gods voice? Did I mishear or did God intentionally lead me into heartache?

I know I can be honest with God, however, He is still God. The creator of the universe. The one worthy of gold altars and bronze pillars. He is capable of destroying with just a thought. He is also My God that I love and serve and believe loves me in return. So how honest can I be?

I hear a sarcasm in the words of Psalm 44. They knew God wasn’t asleep but in their despair and hurt they were communicating to God what His silence felt like. In the end they called on that love to hear them and rescue them.

“Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love.”

Psalms‬ ‭44:26‬ ‭NIV

Honesty with God has more to do with our heart and our need to be heard than it does with God. He knows. He already knows what we need. Vulnerably sharing with God what’s going on in our hearts invites a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. The amazing thing about our God is that He hears through the sarcasm and the harsh words. He sees the heart and His desire is to meet you and comfort you and provide for you.

Dear God, in my imperfect words of honest hurt and pain may I sense your nearness. Forgive my tone and words and hear my heart. Hear the hearts of my friends today. May they find the hope and peace in the midst of pain that you provide. Amen.

Mandy

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1 Kings 6; 2 Chronicles 3; 1 Timothy 1

1 Kings 6: 1 (MEV): In the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Ziv (which is the second month), he began to build the house of the Lord.

Before he died, David told Solomon to do two things—take care of those who betrayed him and build a house for God. Solomon had the men killed right away, yet he didn’t start to build the house of the Lord for four years?

How am I like this? What do I do to satisfy the flesh before I do what God asks me to do? They say you see and are critical of things in other people that are most similar to how you are and how you treat others. The bible says to take the plank out of your own eye before you try to take the toothpick from someone else’s eye. I need to give God his proper priority in my life. He doesn’t deserve anything less. I believe God gives us these examples to help us along our life’s journey.

1 Kings 6: 11-13: Now the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying,” Concerning this house which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes and execute My judgements and keep all My commandments and walk in them, then I will carry out My word with you, which I spoke to David your father, and I will dwell among the people of Israel and will not forsake My people, Israel.”

God felt the need to remind Solomon of the importance of doing things His way. If you do___, then I will do __. I remember what He told Solomon. “If you keep my statutes, I will give you peace on all your borders for all your days.” This is just what we pray for Israel today—Peace!! Will that be enough incentive for Solomon? That is yet to be determined.

But what if God said to me, “If you do__, then I will do__ .” Would that be enough for me? We know for sure that God keeps His promises, but do I keep mine? Thank goodness God gives me do overs and forgives unlimitedly. It doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences for me, it just means that God knows that I am “but dust” and is patient with me. God sees my heart, and He knows if I am moving towards Him, or away from Him. He knows the difference between straying or an occasional mishap. That is the grace and mercy of God. The ways of God are a mystery to me, but I am so thankful for grace and mercy.

1 Kings 6: 37-38 (MEV): In the fourth year, in the month Ziv, the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, and in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul (which is the eighth month), the house was completely finished. All the details and plans were met. So, he took seven years to build it.

God’s many details in the temple were amazing to me, and I am sure the end result was breathtaking, but 7 years?

7 is the number of completion– coincidence? I think not!

1 Timothy 1:

Like God reminded Solomon, Paul likewise reminded Timothy what was truly important:

V3: …Teach no other doctrine…

V5:…love from a pure heart, and from a good conscience and from sincere faith.

V18: …..fight a good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience……

Paul said good conscience twice. Have you ever had a guilty conscience? I sure have. I am miserable until I do the thing I need to do to make it right again. God gave us a conscience to direct us and show us where we messed up. A good conscience is a good and important thing for me to have. It is truly a blessing.

Paul came from a background contrary to Christianity. He even killed to defend his beliefs. But Paul was wrong in his beliefs. God showed Paul mercy. The grace of God overflowed into Paul’s life so much and he never stopped being thankful for God’s forgiveness and grace. He could never stop talking about all God had done for him. Christ, whom Paul persecuted, had patience with Paul and loved him into the faith. Christ will do that for anyone, not just Paul. And He did it with such great patience so that we could learn the lesson from Him, and treat others with the same patience that Jesus showed Paul. If we loved others the way Jesus loved us, wouldn’t the world be so much better?

Paul reminded Timothy that he was the worst of the worst. He told his testimony to show the love of God that is available to anyone, even if they think, like Paul, that they are the worst. Don’t be afraid to share your testimony. You never know whose life you are going to touch! God uses your past, to teach others, so that perhaps they won’t need to travel down the same road. Nothing is wasted in God’s kingdom journey.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your love. Help me to keep your ways by keeping a pure heart, a clear conscience and a strong faith in You! But most of all help me to love others, share my testimony, even though I think it is nothing, it may be just what someone needs to hear. Help me to follow the Holy Spirits promptings, even when I am afraid to do so. God, I want to honor you with my life. Help my faith, help my heart, and help my life bring you the praise and glory that you alone deserve. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen!!

Carol (carolvorwe)

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1 Kings 5; 2 Chronicles 2; 2 Thessalonians 3

Solomon had a job to do, and he knew how to go about getting it done. He contacted people who would help him reach that goal–to build a temple. And those people knew other people who were highly skilled in their field.

I may not personally know people who can help me get the job done, but technology has made it so that I can learn from them. I can learn from people who’ve done the things I want to do or they can inspire me to do something altogether new. I can get a book. I can follow a social media page. I can watch a video. I can listen to a podcast. I can join groups online and connect with others.

Sometimes it has taken me out of a routine or a comfort zone–volunteering at an event to help make it a success, or putting my hands to work in a project with people I’d just met to meet the needs of a community. I walked into these situations by myself, without the comfort of someone I knew to help ease the newness of the unknown.

Most of my treasured mentors are people I’ve never met, but whose stories I return to again and again. I’ve learned that reaching a goal isn’t nearly as satisfying in itself as who I become in the process.

In 2 Thessalonians 3, under the subhead “An Exhortation to Proper Living,” Paul has this to say:

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 3:6-15, NLT)

Lord, I praise you. I’m so thankful for the doors you’ve closed in my life, even though I didn’t understand at the time, and for the doors you’ve opened. This is an amazing time to be alive, to be able to learn from complete strangers, to reach across continents or into the past and know people who inspire me to persevere, to never get tired of doing good. I know that if there weren’t these examples, if I didn’t have your word or these others spurring me on, I would have tired by now. Thank you, God.

Courtney (66books365)

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