Tag Archives: 2 Kings

2 Kings 22-23; Psalm 73; 2 Corinthians 5

23But I am always with you.

You have held my hand.

24You guide me with your advice.

And later you will receive me in honor.

25I have no one in heaven but you.

I want nothing on earth besides you.

26My mind and my body may become weak.

But God is my strength.

He is mine forever.

27Those who are far from God will die.

You destroy those who are unfaithful.

28But I am close to God, and that is good.

The Lord God is my protection.

I will tell all that you have done. Psalm 73:23-28

I’m going to be completely honest. I’m really struggling right now. My life is in a tough spot and the situation is less than ideal for our family. The physical and emotional toll that having our family separated and strewn across the world is frustrating and difficult for all of us.

On the surface, to the ones looking into the window of our life, the answers seem simple and no brainer. Without understanding the nuances of our circumstances, judgements are made, advice is given. The pressure of so many expectations and the stress of not living up to any of them has got me second guessing almost everything.

Except for God.

It doesn’t matter that I can’t see God with my natural eyes, I trust that He is there guiding my steps, holding me by the hand in the journey, in the ups and downs, in the struggle. He’s the still small voice that leads me in my walk, encouraging me to keep up the good fight no matter how difficult it is.

My mind and body feel weak, exhausted from not sleeping well for way too many nights in a row, having too much on my shoulders that drains the life out of me, and not experiencing enough moments of joy.

But God is my strength. He protects me. He provides for me, He gives me rest and peace.

The key is remembering, in the hard moments, to crawl up on His lap, nestle into His arms, and stay close to His heart.

Yesappa, I need a hug today. I need You extra close today. I need Your strength. I need Your love. I need Your grace. And, I need an extra measure of peace today. 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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2 Kings 20; Isaiah 38-40; Psalm 68; 1 Corinthians 11

29The Lord gives strength to those who are tired.

He gives more power to those who are weak…

31But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again.

They will be able to rise up as an eagle in the sky.

They will run without needing rest.

They will walk without becoming tired.

Isaiah 40:29-31

I. AM. EXHAUSTED.

My roles as solo mama to three under the age of six, house cleaner for my own home (well, I’m trying) and for three others, sole breadwinner, daughter, friend, leader, studier of the Word…and on top of that never sleeping for more than 3-4 hours straight due to kids having nightmares or the insomnia brought on by thinking about my ever-growing to do list, has made me truly understand what it means to be sleep deprived.

And yet, I can’t stop. I can barely slow down; though there are days that I force myself, because I can’t afford to get benched by illness, and the cleanliness of my house suffers or we have cereal for dinner for the third night in a row. As much as I’ve pared down and said “No” to as much as possible, just the basics of life completely take it out of me…and unfortunately, there are way too many things left that if I don’t do them, they don’t get done.

I am desperate for strength and power. I am desperate to walk and run and rise up like the eagle. I am desperate to thrive and not just (barely) survive. I am desperate to live. I am desperate for God.

2Hezekiah turned toward the wall and prayed to the Lord. He said, 3“Lord, please remember that I have always obeyed you. I have given myself completely to you. I have done what you said was right.” And Hezekiah cried loudly. 2 Kings 20:2-3

Hezekiah’s situation was different; he was literally on his death bed. He was desperate. And so, he cried out to Jesus, he cried loudly, unashamed. God heard his cry, honored his faithfulness, and restored his health.

To survive this season, all seasons of my life, it is so important to call on Jesus. Every day. Every moment. It is necessary to seek His presence, His, strength, His grace, His mercy. I can’t do it on my own.

3But those who do right should be glad.

They should rejoice before God.

They should be happy and glad.

4Sing to God. Sing praises to his name.

Prepare the way for him

who rides through the desert.

His name is the Lord.

Rejoice before him. Psalm 68: 3-4

When I take the focus off myself, my struggles and difficulties, my needs, and put the focus back on God’s goodness, I am immediately refreshed. When I praise Him through song, lifting His name to the heavens, I am strengthened, because I am reminded that He never leaver nor forsakes me. When I rejoice, I am encouraged in the ways He provides for my needs in the midst of my struggles, my fatigue, my overwhelm, and He meets me where ever I am.

Yesappa, Thank You for hearing me and being bigger that my circumstances. Thank You for meeting me where I am, despite my fatigue and my overstretched to do list. Thank You for Your strength and Your rest. Thank You for healing my body, my mind, my heart when I cry out to You. 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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Isaiah 17-19; Psalm 62; 1 Corinthians 1

18The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those who are lost. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19It is written in the Scriptures:

“I will cause the wise men to lose their wisdom.

I will make the wise men unable to understand.” Isaiah 29:14

20Where is the wise person? Where is the educated person? Where is the philosopher of our times? God has made the wisdom of the world foolish. 21The world did not know God through its own wisdom. So God chose to use the message that sounds foolish to save those who believe it. 22The Jews ask for miracles as proofs. The Greeks want wisdom. 23But we preach Christ on the cross. This is a big problem to the Jews. And it seems foolish to the non-Jews. 24But Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God to those people God has called—Jews and Greeks. 25Even the foolishness of God is wiser than men. Even the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26Brothers, look at what you were when God called you. Not many of you were wise in the way the world judges wisdom. Not many of you had great influence. Not many of you came from important families. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. He chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28And he chose what the world thinks is not important. He chose what the world hates and thinks is nothing. He chose these to destroy what the world thinks is important. 29God did this so that no man can brag before him. 30It is God who has made you part of Christ Jesus. Christ has become wisdom for us from God. Christ is the reason we are right with God and have freedom from sin; Christ is the reason we are holy. 31So, as the Scripture says, “If a person brags, he should brag only about the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (ICB)

The Cross.

The symbol believers look toward for redemption. The knowledge that God’s Son, come to earth in the form of man, willingly laid Himself down as a sacrificial Lamb, so that all mankind could be saved for eternity.

In one of my ministry school classes, we were encouraged to really study the Cross, to be CSI as it were-to get intimate with the bloody crime scene of our Savior’s death; to truly understand the lengths that Jesus went to because He loves us SO much.

My favorite biblical movie to date is The Passion of the Christ. It’s my favorite because the graphic portrayal of what happened that day over 2000 years ago. For the first time I truly understood the anguish, the pain, the suffering that Jesus chose to experience for me. The childhood pictures of a pristine Christ with a crown of thorns around His curly locks, nails in His very white hands and feet, and a thin line of blood in His side blinding me to the horrors of that day fell like shackles off the eyes of my heart.

The Cross…foolishness.

In no other religion, that I have studied, do the ‘gods’ sacrifice themselves for their people. In many of those religions, the ‘gods’ actually require the people to do heinous things to their own bodies. Things like walking across fire, leaving the feet with third degree burns, or putting metal hooks in the skin and pulling their god’s chariot through the village.

And, yet, Christ did what made no sense to the wisdom of man. He laid Himself down, humbled Himself, as low as a man could go, into death, a thief’s punishment, so that upon His resurrection, everyone could be restored into right relationship with God.

Nothing I can do makes me right with God, only Jesus revives my connection to Him. It doesn’t matter how hard I try to be sin-free, only my Savior makes me blameless before the Father. No matter how righteous I act, only Christ makes me holy. Only He redeems my life and makes it truly worthy.

Yesappa, Thank You for the foolishness of the Cross.

 

Blessings, Julie

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2 Kings 25; Hebrews 7; Amos 1; Psalms 144

Lord, why are people important to you?

Why do you even think about human beings?

People are like a breath;

their lives are like passing shadows. Psalm 144:3-4 (NCV)

There are times in my life when I suffer from hopelessness. In those moments, my world as I know it comes crashing down around me, dreams shatter and desires smash. And, like most people, I begin questioning “why”.

When I feel hopeless, I experience a sense of depression. I wonder if I am valuable to anyone, loved by anyone. I start thinking about what could have been, fantasizing about greener grasses. It is easy to listen to the lies of the enemy when I am vulnerable, the whispers of worthlessness, insinuations of rejection.

…Now a better hope has been given to us, and with this hope we can come near to God. Hebrews 7:19b (NCV)

Before I knew Jesus, my hope was based on my aspirations and on my relationships with people who surrounded me. Then, when the Lord revealed Himself, arms wide open, waiting expectantly for me to walk into His embrace, I began to see that my hope needed to be grounded in Christ. I realized the importance of centering my expectations on the Everlasting, Always-Loving God.

…Because Jesus lives forever, he will never stop serving as priest. So he is able always to save those who come to God through him because he always lives, asking God to help them.

Jesus is the kind of high priest we need. He is holy, sinless, pure, not influenced by sinners, and he is raised above the heavens. He is not like the other priests who had to offer sacrifices every day, first for their own sins, and then for the sins of the people. Christ offered his sacrifice only once and for all time when he offered himself. Hebrews 7:24-27 (NCV)

When I put my hope in the fallible things around me, in mutable thoughts of the future I will inevitably be disappointed. When I put my hope in other people – family, friends, and those I don’t even really know – I am often hurt, my heart disillusioned and feeling more lonely than ever.

Happy are those who are like this;

happy are the people whose God is the Lord. Psalm 144:15 (NCV)

But, when I draw near to God, placing my hope in Him, I am able to give thanks in all things. And, when I choose to bless His name, especially when circumstances are challenging, happiness arises from His gift of sufficient grace. I remember my heavenly identity and the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the cross. I find joy in my salvation. I discover that I’ve become strong despite my weakness and my faith has been fortified.

Yesappa, Thank You for being my hope, my salvation. Thank You for thinking of me and counting me as important, valuable, and worthy of Your Love. Thank you for Your steadfastness and Your grace. Thank you for drawing near to me as I draw near to You. Thank You for Your many blessings over my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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2 Kings 18; Philemon; Hosea 11; Psalms 132, 133, 134

The field commander said to them, “Tell Hezekiah this:

“The great king, the king of Assyria, says: What can you trust in now? You say you have battle plans and power for war, but your words mean nothing. Whom are you trusting for help so that you turn against me?

“Don’t listen to Hezekiah. He is fooling you when he says, ‘The Lord will save us.’ Has a god of any other nation saved his people from the power of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? They did not save Samaria from my power. Not one of all the gods of these countries has saved his people from me. Neither can the Lord save Jerusalem from my power.” 2 Kings 18:19-20; 32b-35 (NCV)

When I am in the midst of a struggle in life, I can hear two voices at war in my head.

The voice of the enemy screams at me, shouting half-truths about the struggle and solutions to the problem, taunting me with intimidation, threatening my life, and questioning the faithfulness of my God. The enemy tries to scare me into believing that I am all alone, that maybe the Lord really isn’t all-knowing, all-powerful, that He isn’t a loving God but an angry God. The enemy attempts to turn my heart, my mind, my soul against the only True and Living God, tries to weaken my trust in Him.

“Israel, how can I give you up?

How can I give you away, Israel?

I don’t want to make you like Admah

or treat you like Zeboiim.

My heart beats for you,

and my love for you stirs up my pity.

I won’t punish you in my anger,

and I won’t destroy Israel again.

I am God and not a human;

I am the Holy One, and I am among you.

I will not come against you in anger.

Hosea 11:8-9 (NCV)

The voice of God whispers, still and small, yet clear. He speaks kindness, love. He shares His heart for me, His child; He reminds me that He will never leave me nor forsake me, even when, according to the world’s standards, I may have done something to deserve punishment. He retells His Good News – He gave His Son, the final blood sacrifice, offered me the priceless gift of grace and mercy, and provided redemption and reconciliation. He shares His strength with me, shares His truth with me, shares His wisdom with me. He gives me the answer – Trust. In. Me.

It is up to me to decide who to trust, what voice to listen to. Sometimes it is hard to hear anything but the loud, clamoring noise from the enemy camp. It is hard to stand up to the heckling and there are moments in my human weakness when I succumb to the jeers and give in. I start to believe the lies of the enemy.

Maybe Onesimus was separated from you for a short time so you could have him back forever— no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a loved brother. I love him very much, but you will love him even more, both as a person and as a believer in the Lord. Philemon 1:15-16 (NCV)

Then, in my feebleness, in those moments of separation from my Heavenly Father, I feel a strength that is not my own lifting me up, strengthening me. His truth rings in my ear, reverberates into my heart. His low tones rumble encouragement to my spirit and I remember the choice I made years ago to trust in Him and lean not on my own understanding. I remember that He chose me first, before the beginning of time, before I ever cared for Him. The battle of the voices ends and God’s voice resounds clear.

The Lord has chosen Jerusalem;

he wants it for his home.

He says, “This is my resting place forever.

Here is where I want to stay.

Psalm 132:13-14 (NCV)

I am in Him and He is in me forever and ever. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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2 Kings 14; 2 Timothy 4; Hosea 7; Psalms 120-122

Hosea speaks from the very heart of God.  God yearns to buy back his people from their self imposed slavery and free them from the lies they tell about themselves and the God whose name they are supposed to hold sacred.

I long to redeem them but they tell lies against me. 

God wants to comfort the aching hearts of his people, but they turn their faces from him.

They do not cry out to me from their hearts but wail upon their beds. 

He wants to be the reason for their parties and bring them joy deeper and fuller than they have ever dreamed of.

They gather together for grain and new wine but turn away from me. Hosea 7:13.

God raised them up to serve him and reflect his glory, but they used the goodness he brought to turn against him.

I trained them and strengthened them, but they plot evil against me. Hosea 7:15

He longed to see their hearts turned towards him and be saved from death.  Instead, they self destructed.

They do not turn to the Most High; they are like a faulty bow. Their leaders will fall by the sword because of their insolent words. For this they will be ridiculed in the land of Egypt. Hosea 7:16

I read the story of a man whose father sold him into slavery years after the Civil War (The Emancipation of Robert Sadler).  Robert Sadler learned to live to please his sadistic torturer of a master. When he finally escaped, he struggled with learning how to live as a free man. At one point, he even went back to try and serve his master. As crazy as that sounds, I can be just like Mr. Sadler and the people of Israel and Judah.  I know where true freedom lives and I am quite capable of turning away and walking the opposite direction if it were not for the patient and persistent voice of Jesus calling me back. Amazing grace.

Kathy

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2 Kings 10, 11; 2 Timothy 1; Hosea 2; Psalms 119:97-120

For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline. (ASV)

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. (AMP)

For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of strength and of love and of temperance. (JUB)

God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. (MSG)

God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control. (NCV)

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (NIV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (NKJV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (NLT)

For God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a good mind. (NLV)

God didn’t give us a cowardly spirit but a spirit of power, love, and good judgment. (NOG)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. (TLB)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit. (VOICE)

2 Timothy 1:7

Since I have been walking with the Lord, this is one of my go-to verses. When I am struggling in the battlefield of my mind – when I am full of anxiety and fear, filled with bitterness and resentment, feeling insignificant, overwhelmed, and out of control – it helps me remember that I have not been abandoned to my own devices. It reminds me that I am not alone, even when it sometimes feels like it, because He is in me and I am in Him (John 15:5). It reminds me that God has equipped me with the tools that I need to overcome every struggle. And, it prompts me to look to the Lord for the strength I need to triumph over the tactics of the enemy to control and manipulate my thinking and disrupt my journey.

God has given me so many gifts, not because I did anything in my life to deserve them, but because He is my Father and He loves me. The most important gift He gave me was grace given through the sacrificial payment for my sins by Jesus on the cross. At the moment I believed, in Christ’s death and resurrection, I was made new and filled by God’s Spirit. His Spirit became alive in me, and transformed my essence from one of fear and desperation to one of strength.

The original Greek1 offers deeper insight into this spiritual transformation. God gives me the inner quality and character of ability (dunameos), of love (agapes) and of sanity (sophronismou).

God is capable. He is effective, productive, powerful and mighty. Because He has empowered me and given me boldness; even in my weakness, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

God is love (1 John 4:7-9). His love enables me to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind and makes it possible for me to love others generously (Matthew 22:37-39; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

God is the epitome of self-control, discipline and balance. He gives me the ability to exercise good judgment, to govern myself, to manage my emotions and not allow them to enslave me. He gives me awareness in times of danger, wisdom, forethought, and common sense. He helps me use my resources well and helps me keep my priorities in godly order.

John MacArthur says:

…all believers possess these marvelous, God-given endowments: power, to be effective in His service; love, to have the right attitude toward Him and others; and discipline, to focus and apply every part of our lives according to His will. When those endowments are all present, marvelous results occur.”2

Just as I am assured that these good gifts come from the Lord, I am certain that when I experience a spirit of dread (deilias), it is an offering from my enemy designed to trick me into taking my focus off of God. At times, because I am human, I will still experience fear and anxiety; a lack of courage will creep into my psyche or my self-confidence will wane. But, putting my focus back on God, on His goodness and grace, will help me to quickly move from a self-destructive state to a position of strength and poise. His love removes the fear, injects peace, and quiets my heart (1 John 4:18-19).

Yesappa, Thank You for Your life-giving Spirit. Thank You for being with me always. Thank You for giving me wisdom, understanding, and direction. Thank You for building strength and instilling in me the knowledge and reverence of God. Thank You for casting away my fear and replacing it with power, love, and discipline. You are my hiding place and my shield. I love Your teachings, Your Word. Help me to meditate on them throughout each day, allowing them to become a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. Through You, and by You I live; only because of You, I am saved. In Jesus’ name. Amen.3

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

1Greek Word Study and Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:7

2MacArthur, J. 2 Timothy. Chicago: Moody Press.

3Isaiah 2:11; Psalm 119:97-120

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