Tag Archives: 1 Kings

2 Chronicles 15-16; 1 Kings 16; Philemon

…The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you obey the Lord, you will find him2 Chronicles 15:2

The Lord searches all the earth for people who have given themselves completely to him. He wants to make them strong… 2 Chronicles 16:9

Two verses stood out to me within the reading for today. Though obviously pulled out of the context of the Old Testament histories of the Kings they are still statements of truth, regardless of the contrast of what would happen to the Israelites if they chose to ignore these truths.

These verses are reminiscent of two of my favorite “go-to” verses:

“Be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid of them. Don’t be frightened. The Lord your God will go with you. He will not leave you or forget you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“I can do all things through Christ because he gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

When I follow God, obey His commands to love Him and love others, read His Word, pray, worship…I will find God in everything. I won’t be alone. He will be right there with me. He will strengthen me, encourage me, and lead me through life with wisdom.

What does it mean to give myself completely to God? To obey Him?

Onesimus was separated from you for a short time. Maybe that happened so that you could have him back forever— not to be a slave, but better than a slave, to be a loved brother. I love him very much. But you will love him even more. You will love him as a man and as a brother in the Lord. Philemon 1:15-16

Onesimus was a man who gave himself to God. It’s understood that he was a runaway slave, who most likely stole some of his master’s property before he fled. In most circumstances, once caught, it would have been a death sentence. When he crossed paths with Paul, he became a believer in Jesus’ saving grace and became like a son to Paul.

Whether Paul encouraged him to return to Philemon’s house or he felt convicted in his own heart by Holy Spirit, he decided that it was time to do the right thing. It might cost him everything, including his life, but it might bring change to a household: uniting men in Jesus’ name, creating a bond of brothers, instead of a relationship between master and slave.

Yesappa, Thank You for being there for me as I follow you, no matter how imperfectly. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to bridge the gap for our relationship and to bring master and slave together as brothers. Help me give myself to You completely. Give me strength and be with me as I walk the path You’ve set before me. 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 3; 2 Chronicles 1; Psalm 42; Romans 8

4King Solomon went to Gibeon to offer a sacrifice. He went there because it was the most important place of worship. He offered 1,000 burnt offerings on that altar. 5While he was at Gibeon, the Lord came to him in a dream during the night. God said, “Ask for anything you want. I will give it to you.”

6Solomon answered, “You were very kind to your servant, my father David. He obeyed you. He was honest and lived right. And you showed great kindness to him when you allowed his son to be king after him. 7Lord my God, you have allowed me to be king in my father’s place. But I am like a little child. I do not have the wisdom I need to do what I must do. 8I, your servant, am here among your chosen people. There are too many of them to count. 9So I ask that you give me wisdom. Then I can rule the people in the right way. Then I will know the difference between right and wrong. Without wisdom, it is impossible to rule this great people of yours.” 1 Kings 3:4-8  (2 Chronicles 1:7-10) (ICB)

If God had come to me like He came to Solomon and said, “Ask for anything you want. I will give it to you.” I’m not sure what I would have said. Having read these accounts, I would know to ask for wisdom and understanding, but I also have a list of wants and (in my mind) needs – I want a cosponsor for my husband to be able to come to US and our family be reunited; I want greater financial stability; I want to live in a nicer, more spacious house with a fenced in yard in an awesome community of friends; I want an iPhone that actually works correctly, I want…I want…I want….

I suppose the reality is that asking for wisdom and understanding would make a way for gaining the solutions to my wants list. But I wonder if my fallen nature would think immediately to the bullet points on the list rather than the all encompassing wisdom.

In the midst of a lot of lingering unknowns in my life right now, I struggle every day with the desire to have answers to all of the uncertainty. If someone asks me what my plans are, what I want, I can list out all the things I think “should” be happening; but are my “wants” lined up with what God knows is best for my, for my family, not to mention His timing. I don’t know.

He knows the big picture, the eternal. I can only see my little moment of that eternity. But in my weakness, when it seems like nothing is going as I hoped, it is frustrating.

26Also, the Spirit helps us. We are very weak, but the Spirit helps us with our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us. The Spirit speaks to God with deep feelings that words cannot explain. 27God can see what is in people’s hearts. And he knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit speaks to God for his people in the way that God wants. Romans 8:26-27 (ICB)

When Solomon asked for wisdom, God was pleased, because Solomon trusted God. God saw that Solomon was looking to God, not to riches or power, and so God, in turn, gave Him everything. It’s so important for me to press in and really trust God, trust His wisdom, His timing, His provision. It’s important for me to trust His goodness as my Father, no matter if I have the answers, the understanding, the wisdom, or not.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your Spirit. Strengthen me, in my weakness. He me better understand Your ways. See my heart and make it wise because I turn to You. Check my spirit when I look to my own understanding, so I can put my focus back on You. In Jesus name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie

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1 Kings 17-18; Psalm 119; Jude

20So Ahab summoned all the people of Israel and the prophets to Mount Carmel. 21Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent.

22Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only prophet of the lord who is left, but Baal has 450 prophets. 23Now bring two bulls. The prophets of Baal may choose whichever one they wish and cut it into pieces and lay it on the wood of their altar, but without setting fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood on the altar, but not set fire to it. 24Then call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the lord. The god who answers by setting fire to the wood is the true God!” And all the people agreed.

25Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “You go first, for there are many of you. Choose one of the bulls, and prepare it and call on the name of your god. But do not set fire to the wood.”

26So they prepared one of the bulls and placed it on the altar. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning until noontime, shouting, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no reply of any kind. Then they danced, hobbling around the altar they had made.

27About noontime Elijah began mocking them. “You’ll have to shout louder,” he scoffed, “for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!”

28So they shouted louder, and following their normal custom, they cut themselves with knives and swords until the blood gushed out. 29They raved all afternoon until the time of the evening sacrifice, but still there was no sound, no reply, no response.

30Then Elijah called to the people, “Come over here!” They all crowded around him as he repaired the altar of the lord that had been torn down. 31He took twelve stones, one to represent each of the tribes of Israel, 32and he used the stones to rebuild the altar in the name of the lord. Then he dug a trench around the altar large enough to hold about three gallons. 33He piled wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood.

Then he said, “Fill four large jars with water, and pour the water over the offering and the wood.”

34After they had done this, he said, “Do the same thing again!” And when they were finished, he said, “Now do it a third time!” So they did as he said, 35and the water ran around the altar and even filled the trench.

36At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O  lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. 37O  lord, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O  lord, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.”

38Immediately the fire of the lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! 39And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The lord—he is God! Yes, the lord is God!” 1 Kings 18:20-39

There is NOTHING weak about God. There is nothing that He can’t do. He is not limited by an earthly body that gets lost in daydreaming, that succumbs to sleep, that needs time to get business done in the bathroom, that goes away and hangs a “be back soon” sign up on the door to heaven. He is everywhere all the time. He sees everything, hears everything, knows everything. He has complete understanding of every moment that every human being – past, present, and future – has ever experienced; He knows every struggle, every temptation, every sin, every sadness and grief, every jealousy, every bitterness, every resentment, every frustration and anger, every love, every joy…

I think sometimes I forget this as day-to-day life tramples over me. When I am feeling out of control, it seems much easier to believe the lies of the enemy instead of Truth. It is easier to make idols of the things around me, looking to others for answers, relying on money to save me, turning to food to comfort me, zoning out in front of the TV thinking that giving my brain a “break” will revive my soul, worshipping my kids (when they’re making good choices and pleasant to be around), and so on.

But, each moment that ticks by, He is calling me back to Himself, calling me by name, choosing me over and over, so that I can know Him. He wants me to know who He is, and who I am in Him. He wants me to experience His love so that fear and hopelessness will be swept away. He wants me to experience His mercy so that condemnation and judgement will vanish. He wants me to experience His grace so that bondage will be replaced by true freedom. He wants me to experience His glory and power, a fire that consumes everything in a flash, so that I will not waver in my belief, so that I will know that He is the only true God, the One who will never leave nor forsake me, who walks beside me in my journey, who provides everything I need to thrive.

Yesappa, Thank You for being my firm foundation, the mountain of strength on which I stand. Thank You for drawing me to You, even in my weakness and shame. Thank You for loving me into who You created me to be and showing me my identity is in You, righteous and holy. Thank You for showing Yourself to me over and over, reminding me of Your goodness, reminding me of who You are. Help me always keep my eyes on you, in the good times and in the struggles of life. Help me always follow You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8; 1 Timothy 5

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. In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light. 1Timothy 5:24-25

So many things have been happening in the ‘United’ States over the past few months that have caused havoc in the hearts of everyone – riots in Baltimore, terrorism in the south, decisions made about the legalities of marriage, just to name a few.

In the newspapers, radio, TV, and the internet, opinions are being lobbed by both sides of the ‘battle’. All knowing they are ‘right’, everyone talking, no one listening… Now, obviously that is a grand generalization. I’ve seen a few observations that are ‘spoken’ in love; and there are hundreds of thousands who haven’t made their opinions public. But overall, venturing onto Facebook is akin to a combat encounter.

I have no intention of getting ‘political’ nor am I going to share my own views…that’s for another time, preferably over a hot cup of coffee, sitting on a comfy sofa, in a face-to-face conversation. But, all of these matters have really got me thinking about where I stand.

I stand before God, ALL of my sins laid bare before His all-knowing, all-seeing eyes. When I look at myself honestly, at the content of my own heart, I don’t only see the purity that is given to me though Christ’s gift of grace and mercy through the cross. I also see the sins that are covered by His blood.

My sins aren’t blatant – I haven’t physically murdered anyone, I haven’t robbed a store, I haven’t broken any laws (unless you count going 5 or so miles over the speed limit or forgetting to use my turn signal every once in a while)…

My sins are hidden (well, at least they were). They are sins of the heart – bad attitudes, anger, resentment, bitterness, envy, jealousy, judgement, and I could go on and on. You may never see any of those faults in me because I am pretty good at covering it up, at putting on a social mask that makes me ‘look’ okay to the average Jane (or maybe I’m just deluding myself and you can really spot them a mile away…).

The reality is that I sin; no matter how hard I try not to, no matter how much I strive to be like Jesus, my human nature rears her nasty head periodically (okay, more like 100 times a day).

As I’ve been walking with God, I have been learning that it is less about my sin, and more about what I do with my sin. If I try to ignore my sin and sweep it under a proverbial rug, it accumulates and eventually reveals itself, whether in an argument or a bad choice, usually when I am exhausted or hangry (which happens more often than I wish, taking care of 3 littles). But, when I face that sin head on, being purposeful to confess it and ask for forgiveness, it can no longer control me and I can no longer use it to try to control and manipulate others. My own repentance, as well as forgiveness opens the doors of my heart to be able to give and receive love.

And the truth is: “All we need is LOVE”!

Yesappa, Thank you for loving me and helping me love others – my friends and my perceived enemies. Help my eyes be more and more open to seeing the sins of my heart so I can turn to you for forgiveness, restoration, and freedom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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1 Kings 4; Proverbs 1-2; Psalm 43; Romans 9

My child, listen to what I say,

and treasure my commands.

Tune your ears to wisdom,

and concentrate on understanding.

Cry out for insight,

and ask for understanding.

Search for them as you would for silver;

seek them like hidden treasures.

Then you will understand what it means to fear the lord,

and you will gain knowledge of God.

For the lord grants wisdom!

From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.

He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.

He guards the paths of the just

and protects those who are faithful to him.

Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,

and you will find the right way to go.

For wisdom will enter your heart,

and knowledge will fill you with joy.

Wise choices will watch over you.

Understanding will keep you safe. Proverbs 2: 1-11

The Lord gives me wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. He gives me common sense. He guards and protects me because I believe in Him, because I am His child.

And yet, sometimes I don’t always seek Him right away for the knowledge and wisdom that I need. I don’t always ask Him to help me make wise choices as I journey through time. I don’t always ask Him to give me wisdom to handle my kids’ daily shenanigans or to manage my household without feeling completely exhausted and overwhelmed.

It’s more often than not, that I remember to ‘cry out for insight and ask for understanding’ when I am at my wits end, when I am not sure how I’ll survive another moment. And sometimes, even when I do cry out, I have difficulty filtering God’s still small voice out from the cacophony of living with three small children.

But all who listen to me will live in peace,

untroubled by fear of harm. Proverbs 1:33

In reality, He is always there for me, always willing to share His heart, offer counsel, and enlighten my mind. He wants me to understand the right steps to take, and know which way to walk. He wants me to be privy to His expansive knowledge, pieces of hidden treasure, God’s ‘hacks’, as it were, to the ups and downs of life.

He wants me be filled with hope and joy that is found in insight. He wants me to be overflowing with love that replaces fear. He wants me to live in His peace, the peace that surpasses human understanding, and untroubled by the potential of harm.

Yesappa, Thank You for being there for me always, providing for my every need. Tune my ears to hear your voice and help me concentrate on Your Words. Remind me to continuously seek out Your understanding. Help me treasure every tidbit of wisdom and insight that You offer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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1 Kings 21-22; John 3:1-21

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18

For God SO loved me that He gave His only Son for me so that I will have eternal life because I believe in Him. He offered me salvation. He offered me new life.

When sin entered into the world twisting and corrupting it, God already had a plan in motion to set things right again. His plan was to become the ultimate sacrifice, the required blood sacrifice for redemption. He did not want his creation to be condemned because of sin; He wanted to buy back freedom, to pay off debts owed.

And when Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and fasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster upon his house.” 1 Kings 21:2-29

In the Old Testament times, before Jesus came to earth, people paid penance when they realized they did something wrong. Like Ahab, who tore his clothes, wore sackcloth and fasted. He did these things to show his sorrow, to show his humbleness before God. God responded to these supplicant actions, because, at the time, there was no other way to be delivered.

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:3-6

But now there is another way, an eternal way, to be redeemed.

BELIEVE…

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth. He was a man faced with temptation, yet He resisted and overcame. He brought heaven to earth, healing the bodies and hearts of the multitude. He was wrongly accused, beaten, crucified. He died, was buried, and then rose again into life on the third day, a perfect form bearing the marks of His sacrifice. He ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of His Father, to intercede on behalf of those who trust in Him; He will sit there until God sets the time for Him to return to His people.

The Bible says that when I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead, I will be saved. And when I am saved, I have been born again, born of the Spirit, born into everlasting life. I am adopted into God’s family as a daughter. I become a co-heir with Christ; I become His faultless bride.

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” John 3: 20-21

Now, when I fall into sin, instead of paying penance, I ask Jesus for forgiveness, repent before Him, turning away from my iniquity. He stands in the gap for me, covers me with His blood and washes me white as snow, taking away my shame, my guilt. I no longer cower in the dark, but I stand in the light. I am a reflection of God’s glory.

Yesappa, Thank You for loving me SO much…

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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1 Kings 6, 7; Luke 23:27-38

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do…” Luke 23:34a

Forgiveness is such an amazing thing. The forgiveness that Christ offers daily is even more so. In the midst of His crucifixion, He prayed, asking forgiveness to the men nailed Him to the cross, to the onlookers who mocked Him, the disciples who abandoned and betrayed Him, to all mankind, to you, to me…

Through excruciating pain, His focus was always on the people who He came to save, even as they were rejecting Him. His heart was always filled with mercy. His motivation was true love. His goal was a gift of grace that is immovable.

The English word “forgive” means simply to no longer feel angry or resentful towards someone for an offence, flaw, or mistake. But, looking deeper into the roots of that word has opened my heart in understanding of the depth of what forgiveness is.

“Forgive” comes from the Latin word “perdonare,” which means to give completely, without reservation. It is also the source of the word “pardon”, which is what Jesus did for me on the cross.

It also stems from Germanic roots which indicate a person giving up the desire or the power to punish. When Christ became the sacrifice for my sins and I accepted His gift, my Heavenly Father overturned the verdict of judgment for my sin, and chose to not use His power to punish me.

In Aramaic, the word “forgive” means to untie a knot. When the Lord forgave me, He released the tie of sin that held me captive. He broke the chains that imprisoned me and kept me from freedom.

The Hebrew words for “forgive” mean atonement, or the action of making amends for a wrong, lifting up, carrying, or taking away a burden, and to cover, cover over, or overspread. Christ’s blood offering covers me and covers over my sin, so that all God sees is His Son. He took away my burdens, lifting me up from the grave, to a place of redemption. He took my shame and paid the price for my sin, removing the debt that I owed.

The depth of love and compassion for me offered to me before I even came into the world is staggering. I am overwhelmed by the unwarranted gift of life, of freedom, of reconciliation that Jesus gave to me; and I am compelled by that grace and mercy to extend forgiveness to others, even when they know not what they do to me.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your forgiveness. Help me to forgive others as you forgive me. Protect my heart from being offended by the actions of others and help me not to cause offense. Give me Your heart of mercy, grace, and everlasting love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

 

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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