Tag Archives: Faith

2 Chronicles 29-31

Hezekiah takes an honest look. But more than that, he takes action.

Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him. They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel. Therefore, the anger of the Lord has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes. This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity. 10 Now I intend to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense.” (2 Chronicles 29:6-11, NIV, emphasis added)

And by his order and example, the people follow.

He extends an invitation to celebrate Passover to neighboring areas.

10 The couriers went from town to town in Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun, but people scorned and ridiculed them. 11 Nevertheless, some from Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem. 12 Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the Lord. (2 Chronicles 30:10-12, NIV, emphasis added)

God’s hand, their feet.

What starts at home works outward. A parent’s heart and choices. The involvement in the faith community. The effects of action and attitude in a whole region.

I was not raised in a Christian home, but I thank God for people who were and all those who came to know the Lord later–who took their calling seriously to share the Gospel with me, to tell me his name. But this presses on me: home is a powerful influence. When my children are grown and gone, it still starts in my home. What I watch. What I read. What I say and do. Who am I when it is just me?

Do not be negligent now

This reading speaks of wholeheartedness, abundance, faith, joy, prosperity. It even speaks of scorn, ridicule, abandonment/negligence, and faithlessness. It shows me the fruitful, joyful life and relationship with God, and the difficulty and attitudes one will face in the journey. Oh, do not be negligent now

20 This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. 21 In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered. (2 Chronicles 31:20-21, NIV)

Lord, help me to take an honest look at my life. When I wonder where I can make changes, immediately I know: my heart. I’ll start there. And I know that’s exactly where you’ll meet me.

Courtney (66books365)

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover

2 Chronicles 20:14-24:14

This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march out against them. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Juhah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 NLT

There was a vast army coming against Judah. King Jehoshaphat was terrified and he begged the Lord for his intervention and asked everyone to fast. In the midst of his fear he declared the Lord’s power in prayer and worship. Than the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of his men and prophesied God’s promise to fight for them. The people began to worship before the victory.

Than King Jehoshaphat bowed low his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshipping the Lord. After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: ”Give thanks to the Lord; His faithful love endures forever!” At that very moment they began to sing and praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting amongst themselves.” 2 Chronicles 20:18-22 NLT

A friend once told me that prayer and worship combined are a strong weapon against the enemy. I was feeling defeated and oppressed under my circumstances. This is how I would rise above them, just like King Jehoshaphat did.

When all the surrounding kingdoms heard that the Lord himself had fought against the enemies of Israel, the fear of God came over them. So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.” 2 Chronicles 20:29&30 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for fighting for me. So many times I get weary for taking the battle on myself. I give it over to you again & again. Thank you that you hear my prayers. Thank you for your faithfulness. The victory is yours. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, Uncategorized

1 Chronicles 6:31-8:28

A name. A legacy. A portion. A purpose. Chronicles tells me who, what, where and how.

Musicians used their talent to worship the Lord.

31 These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the Lord after the ark came to rest there. 32 They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them. (1 Chronicles 6:31-32, NIV)

Others served the Lord with their hearts.

48 Their fellow Levites were assigned to all the other duties of the tabernacle, the house of God. 49 But Aaron and his descendants were the ones who presented offerings on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense in connection with all that was done in the Most Holy Place, making atonement for Israel, in accordance with all that Moses the servant of God had commanded. (1 Chronicles 6:48-49, NIV)

And still others served Him with their strength.

40 All these were descendants of Asher—heads of families, choice men, brave warriors and outstanding leaders. The number of men ready for battle, as listed in their genealogy, was 26,000. (1 Chronicles 7:40, NIV)

In these lineages of people, I find it interesting the few phrases that highlight their actions–the whole of a life condensed into a sentence or two. What stands out as well: the service and the willingness to work for the Lord.

This past weekend, I ran a race. I stayed around for the awards ceremony. I watched people receive an award for firsts in their age group. I felt a sadness that certain things had not been valued in my family lineage, and I admit I envied the youngest athletes for their opportunity–that their families valued endurance and fitness. But it was pointless to let my thoughts land there. I give thanks to God for His intervention in my life–I may not have been raised to pursue (certain things, qualities, or even the Lord). But because of God, I can live out a portion of my life pursuing Him, loving Him, serving Him. Whenever I run (or write, or learn something new, or work towards something), I keep my eyes on the Lord. He is my Good Father who sings over me, guides me, teaches me, encourages me, loves me. He is my portion.

Father God, I may not have had the best start, but because of you, I can finish well. Thank you that you loved me enough to have a relationship with me, invest in me, and watch over me. Thank you for showing me what matters, for giving me opportunities to bring you glory, and for showing me you keep your promises. You have grown my faith, my trust, my hope, my love, and you have given me endurance. Please help me to keep a kingdom focus and to honor you with my life.

Courtney (66books365)

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover

2 Kings 14:11-17:18 

And the bronze altar that was before the LORD he removed from the front of the house, from the place between his altar and the house of the LORD, and put it on the north side of his altar. 15And King Ahaz commanded Uriah the priest, saying, “On the great altar burn the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering and the king’s burnt offering and his grain offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their grain offering and their drink offering. And throw on it all the blood of the burnt offering and all the blood of the sacrifice, but the bronze altar shall be for me to inquire by.” ~ II Kings 16:14,15 ESV

Israel continues to slide further from God, each new king marking a new record low. Ahaz sacrificed his own children to false, foreign gods. He burned incense to them, he took money from the temple of the true God to pay for an alliance with an ungodly king. He sold himself out.

He also tried to hang on to the faith of David, a little. Taken with the model of an idol’s altar, he had one made just for him. He tried to “keep up with the Jones’s” and still keep God within reach. Moving the true altar to the side, he wanted to keep it on hand in case he ever had a question.

The power of the great I AM was unmistakable, but he wanted to retain the sacrifice part of  faith (hoping to gain victory in battle and direction in times of uncertainty) without having to worry about the obedience aspect of it.The rest of the time (the morning offering, the evening, the blood, the kind’s offering, the grain offering, etc.) he wanted to call the shots.

Our faith is not built on a pick and choose mentality. It’s all or nothing. It’s the pearl of great price. Jesus Christ needs to be our everything.

We cannot borrow models from the world’s design. God has laid out how we should live and a book that shows us who He is. I need to avoid temptation to add or take away from God’s character based on what sounds pleasant to my human mind.

God needs to stay the center of my focus. He can’t be just part of the picture, He needs to be the center, the guide, the lead, the driver, the instructor, the epicenter that everything else reverberates out from.

Dear Lord, I want You to always be my ultimate priority. Give me the strength and wisdom to perpetually keep You first in my life. I don’t want You to be my last resort, but rather my first defense. Help me to put a hedge around Your place in my life and not let anything infringe on that. Lord, I don’t want to pattern my life according to the world’s example, but rather to always look to Your instruction and standards even when my sinfulness threatens to pull me a different direction. Thank you for Your gracious forgiveness when I fall short and the graphic reminders in Scripture to keep me learning at Your feet. ~Amen

5intow (Erin)

From the archives. Originally published May 7, 2009.

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover

Judges 8-9

I was standing next to a woman and noticed she had a chess game in her bag. I told her I had a board just like it.

“It’s my son’s. He’s really good at playing chess. He beats me all the time. He knows where he wants to go and how many moves it will take him to get there,” she paused. “Isn’t that just like God too? He knows all the moves it takes.”

22 After Abimelek had governed Israel three years, 23 God stirred up animosity between Abimelek and the citizens of Shechem so that they acted treacherously against Abimelek. 24 God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelek and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him murder his brothers. (Judges 9:22-24, NIV)

Part of the road to Gideon’s victory is tainted with resentment and vengeance. A people take an occasion to honor God and turn it into idol worship. A brother conspires against his family for his own power and gain, a drive that is merciless, scheming, and murderous. Years pass. Lives are lost. And in an unexpected turn, God uses the unexpected to achieve his goal–a mortal blow hastened to an end by a trusted servant.

50 Next Abimelek went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it. 51 Inside the city, however, was a strong tower, to which all the men and women—all the people of the city—had fled. They had locked themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof. 52 Abimelek went to the tower and attacked it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, 53 a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull.

54 Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.’” So his servant ran him through, and he died. 55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelek was dead, they went home.

56 Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelek had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers. 57 God also made the people of Shechem pay for all their wickedness. The curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal came on them. (Judges 9:50-57, NIV)

Likely, Gideon never imagined the events that would follow his victory. But God knew. And this story emphasizes to me that in the crazy, the unthinkable, the deceitful and vengeful things of life, in the loss and injustice I witness, there is a just God who knows. He is so many steps ahead and already working things out toward an end he has known all along.

Lord, I don’t know all the details. But you do. Your word prepares my heart and gives me a perspective, a hope, and a gratitude of your sovereignty, might, and justice. Who would I be without your mercy, faithfulness, and love? Oh, to know that no matter what, you hold me in your hand. Thank you.

Courtney (66books365)

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover, Judges