Author Archives: 6intow

About 6intow

Erin (6intow) Raised in a Christian home, my faith became personal early on and grew immensely during high school and college. God has blessed me with an amazing, godly husband to lead our home and six kids ranging in age from four to seventeen. I love homeschooling, blogging, and sharing my faith with others. I look forward to walking through the Bible together this year and learning all that God has to teach us. I love that His Word is rich and living, and always fresh and refreshing.

1 Kings 22; 2 Chronicles 18; Matthew 2

Jehosophat and Ahab make strange bed-fellows. Jehosophat genuinely wants to seek God’s best, and Ahab just wants his own best. This has to be one of my all time favorite stories in the bible. Every time I must read it multiple times completely envisioning the scene. So, humor me and let’s see how this plays out:

Ahab had pulled out all the stops to get Jehosophat in his corner, and the plotting had finally accomplished its goal. But, Jehosophat had one last request, “Let us just make certain that this military campaign is in obedience to God’s word.”

“Of course, of course!” schmoozes Ahab. “I would never want anything less. Let me just ask all my highly reputable prophets standing by to bring me the Word of the Lord. I have four hundred of them, so one of them is sure to tell us what we want to hear. I mean, well, you know.”

With all the pomp and circumstance he can muster, Ahab calls to them, “Oh prophets of the most high God, Shall we go to battle against Ramoth-gilead,” here his voice takes on a sour note, “or shall I refrain?”

“Go up, for God will give it into the hand of the king,” echoes an immediate chorus of voices from around the crowd.

“That was easy enough,” Ahab thinks as he flashes his most charming smile toward Jehosophat.

Almost ready to make any excuse to leave, Jehosophat tries again, “Maybe my question was not clear. Is there not here another prophet of the LORD of whom we may inquire?”

Ahab’s eyes roll almost into the back of his head as he momentarily loses any semblance of royalty, knowing who he needs to summon. He must force the halting words from his lips, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah the son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil.” (Full pout).

Jehosophat has no doubt this is true as it is abundantly clear that Ahab has no genuine desire to hear God’s word if it contradicts his own, but he tucks that response beneath his royal robes and merely says, “Let not the king say so!”

Ahab lets out a deep sigh and realizing there is no escaping the inevitable, snaps at the nearest officer, “Bring Micaiah. Quickly.”

The hundreds of prophets around them continue to babble their meaningless “prophecies” of great military success. One had created horns out of some handy iron scraps and as he mimics a bull charging into a crowd creatively says, “Thus says the LORD, ‘With these you shall push the Syrians until they are destroyed.'” Back slaps all around with that one. One after another steps forward or shouts from the back urging the kings to go and fight and win with God’s blessing.

On the other side of town, the messenger reaches Micaiah. “The king wants you to come. Let me warn you, all the prophets are speaking in unity that God favors his plans to fight Ramoth-gilead. Be like them this time, Micaiah, for your sake.”

Wondering why he should even both going with that invitation, Micaiah knows he cannot avoid this encounter. As soon as they reach the kings (who had continued to hear the prophets blathering like fools the entire time they waited), Ahab asks for his advice.

Micaiah has no respect for this ruler that ignores God’s laws and has compromised his people. Micaiah leans against a pillar, picking at his fingernails, “By all means, go up and triumph. Sounds like a winner to me,” he deadpans.

Ahab grips the arms of his throne in exasperation, “How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” As if Ahab ever really wanted the truth.

Straightening up, but his face still clearly clouded by doubt, Micaiah takes a breath and delivers the true word of the Lord. It is not what Ahab wants to hear.

Spit flies from Ahab’s mouth as he jerks toward Jehosophat and gestures toward the one dissonant voice, “Do you see what I mean? I told you so! He never has anything nice to say about me.” (More pouting)

But, Micaiah wasn’t done. God had more to say through his lips, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. 19 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab the king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. 20 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ 21 And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’” (2 Chronicles 18:18-21 ESV)

Zedekiah cannot stand the insult to his name and family. He steps forward, slapping Micaiah across the face, “Oh really? A spirit made me lie? Tell me this, since you know so much. Which way did the Spirit of the LORD go from me to speak to you?” and he turns on his heel and walks off with his head raised.

Micaiah goes to jail (until Ahab returns from his “certain” victory). The armies go to war. Ahab dies. God saves Jehosophat. And we have a few lessons to learn.

Who am I listening to?

Am I discerning in my listening?

Do I hear only what I want to hear?

Do I ignore God’s word if it contradicts how I want to believe or think?

Do my prayers genuinely invite God into the conversation and situation?

Am I more like Ahab or Jehosophat?

So much food for thought when we try to see ourselves in the people of the bible.

God, give me your wisdom. Wisdom to hear, discern, and submit. May I never re-interpret your words to make them fit my preferred narrative. May I never simply make a show of reading your words to check a box that I tried. May I never pray without a genuine desire to hear from you and follow. Surrendered fully to your plan is my heart’s desire. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Filed under 1 Kings, 2 Chronicles

Ecclesiastes 10-12; 2 Timothy 4

13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 ESV

Judgement. The penetrating, righteous declaration of a loving God will one day declare the ultimate “end of the matter.” At that time, all will be laid bare and it will be abundantly clear if we have followed Him sincerely. God knows the secrets of my heart. He knows if I have godly desires or self-driven agendas. There is no fooling Him, even if at times I might be able to convince myself that my ill-conceived motives are noble.

Ultimately, my salvation rests in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but that does not mean I can relax or tolerate sin in my life. The Christian life is an intentional life. Choosing to live, obey, and deny myself.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

2 Timothy 4:1-2 ESV

Paul might have been specifically speaking these words to a preacher, but they also carry broader application. All believers have access to the truth of God’s word and are preachers throughout each day. Sometimes only to myself, sometimes to my kids, in Bible study, small groups, classes, with friends. My pulpit might look like a lawn chair around a campfire or the passenger seat of a car, but wherever I speak, I need to be ready to speak The Truth. I need to be careful though to not cross that line between preaching and being preachy.

I must be a constant student of God’s Word so that I can accurately represent it as I have opportunity. Expanding each word in verse two based on an interlinear text it goes something like this: To share the message publicly with conviction both when it is convenient and welcomed and when it is inconvenient and rejected; convincing with solid evidence to expose truth and error, warning others to prevent them from going down the wrong path, being a spiritual advocate, with extensive and intensive patience through a summarized body of reliable, time-honored teaching.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:6-7 ESV

Living out my faith can be exhausting. It is pouring out my life on behalf of others. It is speaking up when silence is less complicated. It is fighting for what matters. It is running an ultra-marathon and then a Spartan Beast, and then an Ironman Triathlon, week after week, year after year. Not in my own strength, because that would never get me through the first leg. But, if I’m not pouring out, fighting, and racing, I’m missing the amazing gift that comes when you completely deplete your own resources and begin to fight and race only with His.

Only by faith.

Lord God, long ago I reached the end of myself and yet I still wake up thinking I can do today on my own. Call me to your side again. Help me speak Your words, love with Your love, discern with Your wisdom, and run by Your strength. Not giving up when the way demands more than I have, but plunging so deeply into You that there is always more to draw on. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Filed under 2 Timothy, Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes 1-3; Psalm 45; 2 Timothy 1

“Vanity, Vanity, all is vanity.”

Oft quoted. Sometimes even correctly attributed to the bible. But, what does it really mean, and what is the greater truth behind the statement?

I love digging into the original languages of Scripture and here we find the word “hebel” that is translated vanity. Hebel refers to something that is short-lived. Other translations of this word include the following: delusion, emptiness, fleeting, fraud, futile, mere breath, nothing, useless, vapor, worthless.

Calling everything vanity is not giving it any compliments.

Next, we need to ask, “What is vanity? What is worthless?” (aside from the obvious, “all”)

What does man gain by all the toil
    at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
    but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
    and hastens to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
    and on its circuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea,
    but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
    there they flow again.
All things are full of weariness;
    a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
    nor the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
    and what has been done is what will be done,
    and there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:3-9 ESV

Nothing new under the sun, just lots of same ol’, same ol’ and chasing after the wind.

Solomon searched the earth for some type of meaning, purpose, or value. He tried it all. He poured himself into his work, he indulged every impulse, he achieved power and wealth, even in his wisdom he found only “vanity”– emptiness, a fraud.

That’s a little depressing. Is life just meaningless then?

10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

Ecclesiastes 3:10-13 ESV

Even in this vapor we call life, there is a meaning beneath the surface. In God’s love for us, He gave us this beautiful gift called life. Yes, it is full of ups and downs. Days of success and days we want to crawl back in bed, or worse. But all of that is beautiful in its time. Today I was chatting with a lady who was remembering her days of living in an urban setting and how parking tickets and getting her car towed unfortunately seemed to come with the territory. Now she can laugh about it. At the time it was a huge frustration. Now, it is a beautiful piece of the fabric of her life that even makes her smile at the memory.

22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot.

Ecclesiastes 3:22a ESV

I might see an awful day (or even a good one) as mere vanity, but God’s weaving of my life takes light and dark threads. Not for my glory, but for His. Any earthly accomplishments are useless if not done in joy for God’s glory.

My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;
    I address my verses to the king;
    my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.

Psalm 45:1 ESV

The psalmist learned this. His tongue was ready to verbalize praise to God. He was ready, waiting for the opportunity. Sometimes the chance knocks me over the head before I take a breath and realize the perfect circumstance for praising God surrounding me.

Every moment is favorable for praise.

Promotion, lost job. Graduation, failure. Birth, death. Pain, ecstasy. Love, indignation. Fear, confidence. Change, stability. Dark, light. Progress, regression. Feast, famine.

All of it can usher us into the throne room to worship.

14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. 2 Timothy 1:14 ESV

Guard – from the Greek Phulasso. To guard, watch, constantly. Uninterrupted vigilance.

Both mountain-tops and valleys can pull our focus away from God, yet if we guard the spiritual gift of faith that we have, we will find them both a perfect time to praise Him. Uninterrupted vigilance will keep our eyes open to the spiritual perspective.

Awesome Creator-God, You have given me many gifts that I do not steward as carefully as I should. Strengthen my vigilance that it may truly be uninterrupted in guarding the purity of my faith in You and Your word. I want to worship You in each moment and learn the lessons and celebrate the moments that You place in my path. Help me to find the joy in the journey and not just rush through forgetting that You are my purpose. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Filed under 2 Timothy, Ecclesiastes, Psalms, Uncategorized

Song of Solomon 1-3; Psalm 72; 1 Thessalonians 5

For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

I Thessalonians 5:5-8 ESV

As different as night and day. That is the call to the church.

  • Asleep vs. Awake
  • Drunk vs. Sober
  • Dark vs. Light
  • Purposeless vs. Hope

We should stand out from those around us. My faith should make my logic different from the world’s short-sightedness. My hope of salvation looks beyond and guards my mind just as a true helmet would. My God-given faith and love protect my heart and will from the world’s distortions and manipulations.

It is quite likely in the months and years ahead that those taking a firm stand for the gospel and truth will suffer persecution. Genuine persecution — not just the verbal gut punch some people bring on themselves through unloving ranting on social media.

Because our faith stands in such opposition to the culture around us, we must encourage each other to stand strong. Encourage, encourage, encourage. I find it easy to analyze or even criticize those around me within the church, but the message here is quite clear. Everyone that is joined with us in the body of Christ needs our encouragement and support.

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.

I Thessalonians 5:12-13a ESV

Encourage the leaders and volunteers in the church. Notes of thanks, a smile, a verbal affirmation. So many ways to show that we are in this together, that they don’t labor alone. As someone deeply entrenched in the kids’ ministry at our church, I can say that nothing tells me someone is on my side like offering to get involved, even shouldering a small piece of the burden of ministry.

14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

I Thessalonians 5:14-15 ESV

Encourage those who struggle. Don’t condemn them or criticize their obvious weakness. Speak words of life. Seek to do good. Intentionally choose to bring peace to a situation and growth and maturity to the body of Christ as a whole.

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

I Thessalonians 5:23-24 ESV

Remember, you need encouragement, too. I am still far from perfect, and God in His faithfulness is continuing to refine me. I am thankful that there are others praying for my continued growth and wisdom.

 Brothers, pray for us.

I Thessalonians 5:25 ESV

When we feel we have nothing to offer or no way to encourage someone, prayer fills that void best.

Lord God, the darkness seems so deep at times, but help me to never add to it. The contrasting light seems too great to stand in, but hold my feet firm. Help my words to encourage myself, my family, and the body of Christ without wavering. Keep refining. Your faithfulness is sure. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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2 Samuel 15-17; Psalms 3, 63; Romans 1

Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.” 10 But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” 11 And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. 12 It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today.” 13 So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust. 14 And the king, and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan. And there he refreshed himself.

2 Samuel 16:9-14 ESV

David’s life seems to fall into three phases as I read through Scripture. The first phase, through young adulthood, shows his heart for God, his time of growing and learning to rest in His strength, and his patience as he waits for his reign to begin. These are not easy years, but they are years of growing in wisdom and faith and he relies heavily on God through every challenge. Then he enjoys years of great success. David becomes king and has many children, especially many sons, he seems victorious on every battlefield, and the people love him as Israel is united under his crown. Finally, he begins to reap the consequences of bad choices and falls prey to an occasional tendency to be a people-pleaser.

This final phase is where we find him today. Conflict in his home and around it, and curses from a member of the house of Saul, his long time adversaries.

Do you remember who Abishai is? He is David’s nephew. Joab, Asahel, and Abishai were David’s nephews and were some of his strongest supporters for many years. This might or might not be accurate historically, but I always picture them having a sweet relationship from David at a young age. It wouldn’t surprise me if David was the fun uncle growing up, the one they always clamored to sit by at family holidays and climbed all over every chance they got. Might be a stretch, but it helps me make sense of their passionate allegiance to him as he becomes king.

So, it was only natural for Abishai to want to go chop off Shimei’s head when he was threatening his beloved uncle, King David. David stops him, distancing himself from these harsh remarks. Abishai has much more to learn from his uncle’s wisdom. David considers that these curses might actually be given out of obedience to God!

I don’t think that has ever been my thinking when I was the object of an attack or criticism — maybe God told them to be mean to me!

Despite the challenges to his reign, David shows his heart is still chasing hard after God and he is still trusting God to fight his battles.

O Lord, how many are my foes!
    Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
    “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy hill.

Psalm 3:1-4 ESV

These were not easy days for David, but he continually cried out to God for strength and protection. Spiritual growth and learning never end. After years of seeing God come to his aid, he again lays it all out to Him in prayer. He chooses to follow. Faithfulness, determination, perseverance. David’s life was not easy, but it was continually surrendered and re-surrendered to His God and King.

Because your steadfast love is better than life,
    my lips will praise you.


for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:3,7-8 ESV

And God was right there. Not even a breath away. Lifting David’s head, satisfying, helping, protecting.

For in it [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Romans 1:7 ESV

David lived by faith, and in doing so he lived out what that should look like for me.

What living by faith is not — seeking man’s praise, experiencing a smooth journey, having no enemies, a one time decision.

What living by faith is — chasing hard after God daily, being genuine in prayer, trusting God when His plan is not evident, letting challenges and accusers push me closer to God, and coming to God for every need, including refreshment when the road is hard.

Lord, help me to keep my heart solely for You. Show me where I might be holding something back from You today. Help me to make each step by faith and trust Your plan when the waters are choppy, when adversaries speak out, when the way seems less clear. Help me to live by faith. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Filed under 2 Samuel, Psalms, Romans