A thorough house cleaning is a wonder. It breathes new life into a home; windows are opened for fresh air to replace the stale. Spaces are decluttered so precious things can appreciated for what they are. Dark corners are combed of cobwebs and dust is swept away.
Hezekiah took hold of the house of the Lord and ushered in a new era. His people set themselves apart to the difficult task of restoring the once sacred space. It wasn’t the exclusive work of the professionals– the priests; the help of the Levites was necessary and “they were more conscientious than the priests in sanctifying themselves.” 2 Chronicles 29:34.
“And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because of what God had done for the people; for the thing had come about suddenly.” 2 Chronicles 29:29
When the sore soul, weary of bearing the kicks and scuffs of life, relinquishes control, resentment, anger and bitterness to God, the heart becomes the sacred space it was intended to be. When the soul confesses it’s sin against God and repents, He is quick to forgive and restore what was broken. Why the holy One of Israel wants to take residence in this fragile, fickle human heart is a mystery. New life, a new song fills me. I am made new. Joy finds a home:
“Great and amazing are your deeds, Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, King of the nations! Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name? For you are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your judgements have been revealed.” Revelation 15:4-5.
Lord, I hear your invitation to abide in you and your promise to abide in me. Come Lord Jesus. You make my heart your sacred home. Thank you for the depth of your love and the riches of your grace. Amen.
Note: This is my last post for the foreseeable future. I won’t be joining you next year, but thank you Sixty-six Books Community for sharing these past years. It’s been wonderful and I look forward to continuing to read the blog.
David handed Solomon the plans–equipping him with information that would assist him in the task of building the temple. But it wasn’t just any task–it was a task singled out for Solomon.
God chose David to be a warrior and a leader. God chose Solomon to build the temple.
9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 10 Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.” 1 Chronicles 28:9-10, NLT.
In a season of changes, I think on what God has called me to do–and what a true privilege to serve the Lord (oh, that I would keep my perspective clear). That he knows my heart, my desires, my every thought–and he makes the same promise: if I seek him, he will be found by me. He is always present. He is always faithful.
First Chronicles 28 speaks of being chosen, of inheritance, of purpose. It speaks of legacy, of equipment, of heart. Whether the task is one of a king leading a nation or another leading a historical building project for the Lord God (or perhaps the quiet and lasting influence of a mother–building a house as the sanctuary)–be strong and do the work.
I speak this to myself: Be wholehearted. Be willing. Be strong and do the work. Seek the Lord.
20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished. (1 Chronicles 28:20, NLT)
“On that day David gave to Asaph and his fellow Levites this song of thanksgiving to the Lord:
“Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given, you children of his servant Israel, you descendants of Jacob, chosen ones.” 1 Chronicles 16:7-14
We each took turns writing what we are thankful for on a pumpkin. On the days I’m not feeling thankful, it reminds me of God’s faithfulness to my family. How does thankfulness become a way of life? As David says, I need to continually seek the Lord. I look back at the notes I took on Sunday… “Thankful hearts run to God and not away. Thankfulness begins in my thinking. Do I trust the heart of the Father? Thankfulness is a sacrifice when storms come, when disappointment comes. Thankfulness isn’t a response to my circumstances, my circumstances respond to my thankfulness.” I can learn a lot from David. He wasn’t just thankful when he felt like it. His spoken and penned words had the power to change his perspective.
“Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods.” 1 Chronicles 16:24&25 NLT
I have so many things to be grateful for, but oh how quickly I can become discontent. When I focus on what I don’t have, instead of what I do. And start comparing myself to others. But, when I worship and write down the numerous ways he has provided, my heart overflows with gratitude. I pray this would spill over into every area of my life. His praise coming out of my mouth more than anything else.
“People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth.” James 3:7-10NLT
Lord, I need you!
“Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” Luke 5:31 NLT
Dear Father, I praise you for who you are. I want to cultivate a grateful heart. You are good! Amen.
“As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.” Psalms 138:3 NLT
“Because he is my Father, I do not wonder if his plans for me are good, if he’ll come through like he should.” (I Am No Victim, Kristene DiMarco). I’ve been listening to this song a lot. I wish I could say that I always believe it. How quickly I can forget his faithfulness. Even after all my pleads and prayers and cries to him. But, he is so good. He will show up in unexpected ways to remind me 0f his constant care.
“What are mere mortals that you should think about them, or son of man that you should care for him? Yet for a little while you were made lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them authority over all things.” Hebrews 2:6-8 NLT
My son was telling me how excited he was to serve at the banquet that night. We walked through the corn maze and all I could think about was my already aching feet. Jesus served others, he said…he washed others feet. Later that evening as we poured water for the guests, my thoughts turned outward. Oh, how easy it is to get caught up in my own restlessness. It’s when I step out in faith in my weakness, that God shows himself strong. He sustains me.
“The Lord is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud. Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your hand, and the power of your right hand saves me. The Lord will work out his plans for my life-for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.” Psalms 138:6-8 NLT
David knew that the Lord was with him in the midst of his troubles.
When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, O Lord, how I have always been faithful to you and have single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.” Then he broke down and wept bitterly… “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you, and three days from now you will get out of bed and go to the temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria.” 2 Kings 20:1-6 NLT
The Lord knew that David and Hezekiah had hearts who sought after him.
“I have been the Lord your God ever since I brought you out of Egypt. You must acknowledge no God but me, for there is no other savior. I took care of you in the wilderness, in that dry and thirsty land. But when you had eaten and were satisfied, you became proud and forgot me.” Hosea 13:4-6 NLT
Dear Father, I want to have a grateful heart. Thank you for your provision in my life. I love you. Amen.
“I give thanks, O Lord, with all my heart; I will sing your praises before the gods.” Psalms 138:1 NLT
“When David was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all the surrounding enemies, the king summoned Nathan the prophet. “Look,” David said, “I am living in a beautiful cedar palace, but the ark of God is out there in a tent!” But that same night the Lord said to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord has declared: Are you the one to build a house for me to live in? I have never lived in a house, from the day I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until this very day.” 2 Samuel 7:1-5 NLT
It seems like David has forgotten that the Lord had always been with him. He never left his side.
“Now go and say to my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord of Heavens’ Armies has declared: I took you from tending sheep in the pasture and selected you to be the leader of my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies before your eyes. Now I will make your name as famous as anyone who has every lived on the earth!” 2 Samuel 7:8&9 NLT
But, the Lord won’t let him forget. He reminds him what he delivered him from and David is humbled.
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed, “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And now, Sovereign Lord, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving your servant a lasting destiny! Do you deal with everyone this way, O Sovereign Lord? “What more can I say to you? You know what your servant is really like, Sovereign Lord. Because of your promise and according to your will, you have done all these great things and have made them known to your servant.” 2 Samuel 7:18-21 NLT
I think about my own life and how I am prone to forget how far God has brought me.
“It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm in Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.” 2 Cor 1:21-23 NLT
He put his Holy Spirit inside me to give me power. All too often I let ingratitude creep in and I am depleted of joy. And I don’t live in the freedom that he has promised me.
“For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.” Psalm 56:13 NLT
Father, thank you for all that you have done in my life. For restoring the broken places. I pray that I never cease to be grateful. I pray that I would rely on your Holy Spirit always. I need you. Amen.
“I will thank you, Lord, among the people. I will sing your praises among the nations. For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.” Psalms 57:9&10 NLT
David honors Saul and Jonathan’s memory with a funeral song.
Paul speaks of spiritual gifts–their diversity, necessity and purpose.
4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.
7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7, NLT)
Ezekiel describes the glory of God.
Psalm 49 reminds the fleeting worth of wealth.
The readings toggle two realms: here and hereafter.
Lord, this year especially has me sorting through so many thoughts of past, present and purpose. Help me to order my days in light of your calling on my life. It is a joy and honor to serve you.
Saul is rejected.
Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.” (1 Samuel 16:1, NLT)
Paul admonishes believers.
10 So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. (Romans 14:10, NLT)
A nation mourns.
Jerusalem, once so full of people,
is now deserted.
She who was once great among the nations
now sits alone like a widow.
Once the queen of all the earth,
she is now a slave.
2 She sobs through the night;
tears stream down her cheeks.
Among all her lovers,
there is no one left to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her
and become her enemies. (Lamentations 1:1-2, NLT)
I read through Psalm 32 and find joy in a Father God who removes the burden of sin and guilt and forgives freely–what love!
7 For you are my hiding place;
you protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of victory. (Interlude)
8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you.
9 Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
10 Many sorrows come to the wicked,
but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.
11 So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!
Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure! (Psalm 32:7-11 NLT)
Lord, you look to the heart. You desire repentance and a turning to you. I want to walk always in truth. Thank you that you will guide, advise, and watch over me (too!). My joy and gladness is in you!