Tag Archives: direction

Isaiah 36-37; Ephesians 6; Psalm 76

If there’s one thing Christians have in common, it is suffering. Trials are part of God’s plan for our lives because through resistance, pain, and turmoil, our faith is proven strong and He is proven faithful. Much as I wish there were another way, real growth only comes through those times of testing.

The account of Sennacherib coming against Hezekiah and the nation of Judah in Isaiah 36-37 has a lot to teach me about how to handle persecution, suffering, and trials.

First, Hezekiah recognized that this was a spiritual fight, not a physical fight.

Isaiah 36:13-15 NIV
Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you! Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord when he says, ‘The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’

This encounter was not about one king fighting another – it was a spiritual battle, and it was about God. In my own life I often fail to recognize God at work in my circumstances, instead chalking things up to not getting enough sleep, a day of bad traffic, someone else’s ignorance, or even dismissing things with the mindset of, “that’s just how it is.” But what if God wants to use everyday difficulties to grow me and to teach me how represent Him in every painful or frustrating circumstance? Even more, what if He wants to use my daily frustrations to defend His own power and glory through my responses?

Next, Hezekiah understood the importance of not engaging the enemy in conversation.

Isaiah 36:21 NIV
But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, “Do not answer him.”

Oh. My. Goodness. Do you have any idea how hard that is? When someone attacks me, I am overwhelmed with a desire to defend myself and put them in their place. But that urge is far greater when the person attacked is someone I love and respect. Yet, when their beloved King was disparaged, the people remained silent.

Oddly enough, silence is one of our greatest tools in a trial. My gut reaction is the complete opposite – it’s to defend, accuse, cry, fuss, and demand. But when I begin to engage the enemy in conversation, I quickly find myself on a slippery slope to justifying compromise. At best, I end up overwhelmed and discouraged; at worst, I throw caution to the wind and engage in sinful behavior to deal with the pain.

Finally, Hezekiah sought God’s direction.

Isaiah 37:1, 15 NIV
When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord

Rather than engaging the enemy in conversation, Hezekiah engaged God in conversation. This chapter records a beautiful plea from Hezekiah, where He reminds God of His power and His promises and asks Him to defend His name and intercede for Judah.

Sometimes I take the “keep silent” part a little too far, and I don’t go to the Lord with my struggles. In doing so, I miss out on what God is doing in the situation because I’m not seeking His direction, and I also cut myself off from my only source of hope, as He is the only one who has the power to deliver me from what I’m going through. Therefore I have to make a conscious effort to engage God in conversation, reminding Him of His promises and asking Him to intervene in my life.

Isaiah 37:35 NIV
“I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant!”

God gave Hezekiah and the people of Judah a great victory.

I want that victory, too.

So whether I’m just “having a day,” or I’m going through a months-long trial, I will choose to see what God is doing in my situation and look for what I can learn through it. I will choose to take my thoughts captive and refuse to entertain and engage the temptations that come to me. And most importantly, I will pray and plea with the Lord for His direction and deliverance.

Father, forgive me for losing sight of you in the messiness of life. Help me to see you in the things I go through, and help me to represent you well. Help me to keep my mouth shut with the enemy and my mouth open with you. Help me to seek Your glory and help me trust You for deliverance. Thank you for how you’ve delivered me before. Thank you for being loving and faithful in all you do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Filed under Isaiah, Old Testament

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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Lev. 25; Ps. 32; Eccles. 8; 2 Tim. 4

I’ll never forget going to summer church camp as a child and going on the horse trails.  Younger years there was a trainer who led as you rode, and I longed for the day when I could take the reins and ride ALONE.  Well, that year finally came and I was so excited and jumped up on my horse, named LUCKY, and I began to trot off.  I tried to turn the horse left, he wanted to go right. When I made attempts to slow down, he sped up going off the course causing the saddle to come loose and me to fall off.  Thankfully the only injury was my ego! Someone retrieved Lucky and helped me back on, showing me  the proper way to lead him.  When the trail ended, we were handing the horses to the next riders and I handed over the reins and said, “If you are as lucky as I was on Lucky, then you will definitely be taught a thing or two!”

In Psalms 32:8-9 it says: “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.  Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

My horse had a bit and bridle, but it was me who was out of control with my thinking–requiring a spiritual bit and bridle to be put upon me to keep my pride in order. I love how we are promised that God will guide us along every pathway and watch over us. He does not need us to plan our own routes and hold tightly to the reins.

Life-changing moments stand out: the horse’s saddle, and the old, wooden, splintery pew in an outdoor open chapel service at the camp that same week.  For that is where I released the control of the reins of my life and heart over to the Lord.

Ecclesiastes 8:17 “This reminded me that no one can discover everything God has created in our world, no matter how hard they work at it.  Not even the wisest people know everything, even if they say they do!”

Lord, I ask that when I start to believe that I have it all under control and know everything, I pray that you knock me off the saddle again and help me to willingly hand back the reins and give you the control of my thoughts, actions, words and paths I take in life.

Leviticus 25:20-21 “But you might ask, ‘What will we eat during the seventh year, since we are not allowed to plant or harvest crops that year?” “I will order my blessing for you in the sixth year, so the land will produce a bumper crop, enough to support you for three years.”

BOUNTIFUL BLESSINGS OVERFLOWING! He doesn’t owe me an answer, but I’m thankful that He always does give one IN HIS TIMING and I’m working harder each day at having more  faith that when He says GO LEFT I will GO LEFT, even if I really  think going right would be better! Sitting down in a seat of Faith will provide for me a better pathway paved!

2 Timothy 4:3-5 “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to right teaching.  They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever they want to hear.  They will reject the truth and follow strange myths.  But you should keep a clear mind in every situation.  Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at bringing others to Christ.  Complete the ministry God has given you.”

I’m thankful for what I have been given and pray that I use it properly to help LEAD others to Christ!

Erica (guest on 66 Books)

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Filed under 2 Timothy, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ecclesiastes, Leviticus, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms

Isaiah 23,24,25; Ephesians 5:17-23

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. ~ Ephesians 5:17

 

I was listening to the radio the other day and heard a song that basically said without knowing God’s plan and without His help, I will go when I need to stay and stay when I need to go.  That’s where we are—my husband and I—right now.  We are following a path, one that we feel we should stay on, as all other doors are closed to us, right now.  But the prayer in my heart, my deepest desire, is to understand the Lord’s will, so that I may follow it and be in it.  When I say “understand,” I don’t mean that I need Him to answer me each time I ask, “why.”  I guess to a certain degree, I want insight into this path, but mostly so I make sure I’m on the right road, going the right direction, for the right amount of time.

 

Father, today my prayer is that you would help me to be wise in the understanding of your will.  I do not want to be known as foolish, but as wise concerning your desires for me.  Father, above all else, my desire is to follow where you want me to go—to follow you.  Please continue to show me the way, that I may follow you all the days of my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

HeatherPotts5

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