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2 Chronicles 5-6:11; 1 John 4; Nahum 3; Luke 19

015A friend laughs when she thinks of me and a time she had come over to my house during the Christmas season. This friend has decorations for every holiday imaginable–and I mean boxes full of them. She even swaps out her picture frames to match the occasion. We were sitting on my couch, and I mentioned to her that I couldn’t wait for Christmas to be over because I was so overwhelmed by the decorations in my home. I felt like it was closing in on me. She looked around my house–I had a Christmas tree and a wreath.

That was a few years ago. Now in a different home, I have a few more wreaths I put up at Christmas time, a tree, an ornament banner, and a string of lights across the mantel. Our style is pretty minimalist. I appreciate the effort others make when decorating their homes. Some people are wired with creative talent for making things beautiful. For the rest of us, there’s Pinterest. And I’m ok with that.

I’m impressed today with the readings about preparing room for the Lord.

  • Solomon finishes a beautifully built and adorned temple for the Lord to dwell. God’s presence fills the space as a thick fog, and there is great celebration.
  • Ninevah was a prosperous and bustling town that was filled with riches and success, but a warning predicts a disgraceful fall, this enemy of the Lord.
  • Jesus tells Zacchaeus he’s coming to his house for dinner.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. Luke 19:5-6 NLT.

But it’s in 1 John 4 where it gets driven home, right to my very heart.

13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

Lord, your Spirit in me is stronger than this spirit in the world–let me be aware of that above all. I want to carry this reminder of making room for you, and loving others–my brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for your great love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Chronicles 24,25,26; 2 Corinthians 11:1-15

When I was younger, I learned the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.”

Now, thanks to Pinterest, I’m exposed to all kinds of witticisms and Post-it Note-ish philosophy. Like this one, “You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.” I repinned it on a board, along with other quips and wordy things. I don’t often revisit them, but I hope if I do, this one will cause me to slow down and pause over the influences in my life.

Two Chronicles 24:2 reads, “Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest.” Not only did Jehoiada select wives for Joash, he was also instrumental in the collection of funds for the restoration and strengthening of the Temple of the Lord.

However. After Jehoiada died, Joash–who had done things that were pleasing to the Lord (and the Lord’s people)–gets a new set of advisers.

17 But after Jehoiada’s death, the leaders of Judah came and bowed before King Joash and persuaded him to listen to their advice. 18 They decided to abandon the Temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and they worshiped Asherah poles and idols instead! Because of this sin, divine anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem. 19 Yet the Lord sent prophets to bring them back to him. The prophets warned them, but still the people would not listen.

Joash, a king, turns from who he was to the point he wouldn’t even listen to the prophets who tried to bring him back to the Lord.

Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly, 2 Chronicles 25:2 NLT. Amaziah even had listened to advice from a man of God regarding the organization of his army. Yet, at the end of that battle, this is what he does:

14 When King Amaziah returned from slaughtering the Edomites, he brought with him idols taken from the people of Seir. He set them up as his own gods, bowed down in front of them, and offered sacrifices to them! 15 This made the Lord very angry, and he sent a prophet to ask, “Why do you turn to gods who could not even save their own people from you?” 2 Chronicles 25:14-15.

Amaziah turns on the prophet. And after consulting with his advisers … well, it doesn’t go well for him.

2 Chronicles 26, Uzziah becomes king. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who taught him to fear God. And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success.

But Uzziah becomes powerful and proud, and when the priests warn him of his actions, he rages against them.

New Testament, Paul addresses the Corinthians:

For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. 2 Corinthians 11:2-3. (emphasis mine)

Pure and undivided devotion to Christ can be corrupted. Christ followers can be deceived. Anyone can be deceived … by the cunning ways of a serpent, by the advice of experts, or even by the comments of friends on a girls night out.

Lord, help me to guard my heart, to take thoughts captive and make them obedient to you.

Courtney (66books365)

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