Tag Archives: God’s strength

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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Filed under 1 Kings, 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Philemon

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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Filed under 1 Kings, 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Romans

Judges 13,14,15; Luke 15:1-10

Again.

Again the Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord handed them over to the Philistines, who oppressed them for forty years. Judges 13:1 NLT

I was reading a chapter for a bible study about thorns in life. Next to the stick-figure face with pointy horns, it reads the devil is the one who gives us thorns. It felt really good to read that. I had someone to blame for pain in my life. I had a way to make sense of the yucky stuff I’ve experienced. My mind wandered to Job, and God’s offer to Satan, “Have you considered my servant?”

All that tragedy, God approved. I struggled with it. But I still had Satan to blame. Here in Judges, the word “again.” Again, they did evil, and this time, the Lord handed them over to the Philistines. Again, they returned to sin–and God let them go into the consequence.

Samson wants a wife, and the impression I get is that his parents weren’t too thrilled with his choice. But he insists on that one.

His father and mother didn’t realize the Lord was at work in this, creating an opportunity to work against the Philistines, who ruled over Israel at that time. Judges 14:4 NLT.

He gets that girl. She betrays him by telling the answer to his riddle. He goes and kills thirty men. Later sets crops on fire. Goes into hiding, only to kill 1,000 more men. All the while, there’s a lot of blaming. “If you hadn’t plowed with my heifer”; “Because you did this, I won’t rest until I take revenge upon you”; “I only did to them what they did to me.”

Sometimes tragedy comes upon us–hand selected and delivered by Satan. And sometimes we bring it upon ourselves. Either way, God will use it for good–because He is good. Samson seems a bit self-entitled and vengeful. But God let Samson continue in his way to eventually reveal His strength.

In the New Testament, Jesus is talking about the one lost sheep–and wouldn’t the shepherd leave the flock to search for the missing one? Jesus, the one the Pharisees complained about because he kept company with sinners, (this man who came to heal the sick, because the healthy don’t need a doctor) the one who will go after the one lost sheep. (I love him for that!)

Joy repeats in Luke. And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! (Luke 15:5-7, NLT).

Lord, that I could be more aware of my sin so that I can turn from it to bring you joy. I want to walk with you–not away from you! You love me, still, to find this lost sheep–with joy, claiming me as yours. I am grateful that you have power over evil, to bring good from it. Your power made perfect in my weakness. Help me to see. Help me to turn from it and return to you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Judges, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament