I'm on a journey to read through the Bible in chronological order. Taking it one day at a time, I will read based on a list I found on the internet and blog about what happened, thoughts provoked, emotions conjured, etc. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jeremiah 30-37

God further explains His promise to deliver Judah after the appointed time--everything will be better for them. God also says that each man will be punished for his own sins, not the sins of their ancestors. Of course this will change again when Jesus comes, but thats for later :)

God tells Jeremiah to buy a plot of land. He is really torn up about this because the people are about to be captured and ravaged and there he is--buying land. God tells him that after this is over, lots of people will buy land; God is just providing for Jeremiah early. There will be a great restoration, all in God's timing. The people are rejected because people see their own God turning them away. But God will change all of this and raise his nations up again.

But for now, they are still living in sin. People are diligently following things their ancestors told them to do and not to do, but they still refuse to do the Lord's will. Ridiculous. How can you just listen to your father, and not obey your heavenly father??

God has Jeremiah put the prophecies on a scroll which is read to the people. The officials hear about it, and burn the scroll. No big deal. God has Jeremiah write another one put some fun extra words in it about special damnation that will come to the guy who threw the scroll in the fire... not a smart guy.

Jeremiah was then thrown in jail for again warning the people that the Babylonians were going to plunder, burn and pillage their land...

Denial sure is the best.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jeremiah 23-29

God promises to raise up an honest king who will rejuvenate the land--Jesus. What a great prophesy to read right before Christmas!

23: 5 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.
6 In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The LORD Our Righteous Savior.

God warns against false prophets and how destructive their lies are. The people seem to get caught up so easily by whoever the best speaker is. Sadly, they don't want to listen to Jeremiah's warnings and continue on with their gods and false teachings.

God sends Jeremiah out yet again to warn the people. They become enraged and threaten to kill him, but ultimately relent. if God knows the future and what the people are going to do, why send Jeremiah out? One of those though provoking circumstances... is Jeremiah speaking for the good of the people, or is God using the tough circumstances to strengthen his faith?

God gives Judah over to Babylon as slaves. They are warned to not listen to the false prophets who will tell them they don't have to be slaves. A false prophet does come forward and ends up getting the people into even more trouble and more bondage. They are really dumb...fo real.

29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

This verse in context is so much more powerful! God promises that after 70 years in Babylon, the people will be reconciled and He will hear their prayers once again!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Jeremiah 14-22

The people cry out because they are experiencing famine and drought. God says they can fast all they want--He doesn't care. Prophets can pray for them--He's not listening. They can burn offerings--He won't accept them. False prophets tell the people that peace is coming, but this just makes God angrier.

At one point God says that Judah's sin is engraved on their hearts.. I kinda got chills because after Jesus comes, HE is written on our hearts and our sins are wiped away... This whole book just shows what a jealous God we have--and how thankful we should constantly be to Him for sending Jesus to us to take our place against His wrath.

God has Jeremiah go to a potter's house and watch him work. Then God reminds him that He can mold Israel just as the potter does--He has all the power. He buys a pot and takes some leaders on a walk. He reminds them that God is calling them to repent and that they will be like a broken pot (here is where Jeremiah smashes the pot), beyond repair. Another prophet hears all of this and has Jeremiah thrown in the stocks.

Jeremiah had quietly complained here and there, but now he really loses it. He's tired of being laughed at and ridiculed. The life of a prophet is not as dazzling as one might think--it's tough business. Jeremiah knows that God is with him, but is tired of God talking about all He's going to do to these wicked people and not acting fast enough for his liking.

Jeremiah soon gets his wish--Judah is about to be attacked by Babylon. the Judean (sp?) asks God to help them. Not only will God NOT help them, He promises to actively fight against them and to help the Babylonians. To add insult, God offers to spare the lives of those who surrender to their enemies. It's so sad to me that people would rather surrender to an enemy in battle than to repent of a sin and surrender to God.

Jeremiah 10-13

10:3 For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
4 They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.
5 Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field,
their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them;
they can do no harm
nor can they do any good.”

6 No one is like you, LORD;
you are great,
and your name is mighty in power.
7 Who should not fear you,
King of the nations?
This is your due.
Among all the wise leaders of the nations
and in all their kingdoms,
there is no one like you.

Jeremiah's message continues. Jeremiah asks God why He hasn't taken action yet...God tells him that everything will happen in time. To give Jeremiah a visual, God tells him to buy a linen belt and wear it around for a bit--it is clean and perfect. Then God has him hide it in a crevice. After a while, he goes back to the crevice to find the belt tattered and useless...the belt is like the people--they will be withered but it will all happen in God's timing.

Jeremiah 4-9

Jeremiah continues speaking the Lord's words to the people, warning them of the disaster to come. He promises to not completely destroy the earth, but will put a serious hurtin' on it.

God even promises to forgive the city if they can find just one truthful and honest person. Jeremiah thinks...surely in the temple there will be someone...but nope. God is angry at how many times the people have been warned and have not listened. I can understand how frustrating this must be. The only confusion I am having is--when Adam and Eve sinned, the whole world was fallen. God knows this is our nature, while He still wants better from us, He still knew that the people would not listen... it just seems weird that he would know what was going to happen, but was still upset when it did.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jeremiah 1-3

Jeremiah is the son of Josiah's head priest. When he is very young, God comes to him and starts priming him. He puts the words in his mouth and then sends him out to talk sense into Israel. God is not happy with either Israel or Judah, but shows more favor with Israel. He wants to use Jeremiah to turn his people back to Him.

Jeremiah thinks he is too young and that people won't listen to him. God tells him that He will give him the words to say.

1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

6 “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

7 But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.

8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.

Zephaniah

During Josiah's reign, Zephaniah is given a vision:

A general smackdown is coming to Judah for their wickedness. Then each area is listed by name with their offenses and the hurtin' that's coming their way. He wants his people to return but He knows they are stuck. He will destroy the bad and uphold the good on His day of judgement.

I'm just sayin, I'm getting angry at how much flip-flopping is going on in Judah, I completely understand why God is mad.

2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 34-35

King Josiah has his men go out and restore the Temple to what it should be. Give it a little sprucing up if you will. While they are working, they find a book with words from God in it. Josiah reads a little bit and becomes sad because he knows the laws in the book were not followed by his ancestors. A prohpet tells him that Judah will one day be punished for their actions, but because Josiah is a wise and repentant man, he will not see this suffering in his lifetime.

Josiah takes the book and reads it to all of his people who then promise to keep the covenant. His and his priests then went on a rampage throughout the land destroying all false idols and evil practices.

Even though Josiah was only 8 (yes 8!) years old when he became king, even lnog after his death he was thought to be a favorite of the kings of Judah.

The 2 kings following Josiah returned Judah to their evil ways. This must be so confusing for the people... for 10 years they worship God, then for 7 they follow baal, then for another 15 they follow God, etc... how can they stand the yoyo?!?!?!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nahum

The prophet Nahum is seeing that God has plans to destroy Ninevah. He sees them trying to build up their army, but they just stumble. They are pillaged and ransacked; left for nothing. Why the animosity towards Ninevah? The passage calls them a "city of blood". They were murderers, committed evil with their hands and their hearts and showed no remorse. God does not like an unrepentant heart! Ninevah had fallen off track and God was going to punish them for their actions. I am not sure where Jonah comes in, but I'm sure he is sent to give Ninevah a warning to allow God to work in their hearts before destruction hits.

God is an angry jealous God, but He longs to show his people compassion. Most always get a warning beforehand and have to make their own choice as to where they will go from there.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2 Kings 20-21; 1 Chronicles 32-33

More evil kings doing bad things...Manasseh began his reign at age 12.. yes TWELVE. Can you imagine a 12 year old running a region?!?! As he grew he established pagan traditions, asherah poles, etc. He even sacrificed his own son--to a false God. Can you imagine? In Kings, his story simply ends with his death, but in Chronicles, we get to see God work in his life. God sends the Assyrians to capture him--he becomes distraught and cries out to God for help. When he is released, he gets rid of all of the idols and turns things around. 33:3 "And when he prayed to him, the LORD was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD is God. "

His son follows in his evil footsteps as king and is assassinated. Nothing else is really mentioned.

Before both these kings, the story of Hezekiah is told. I've already read about this in Isaiah, but its always good to get another writer's perspective. Yes that is the same story in 3 books... must be a big deal. What isn't mentioned in Isaiah is the extended taunting that happened between Hezekiah and the Assyrians. If you don't remember, Hezekiah feared an attack from Assyria and was advised to ask God what to do. God told him not to worry about it--He's got their back. An angel wipes out the troops, and all is well. In Chronicles, they are jeered at for days and begin to fear for their safety. But God sends an angel who wipes out the army. Defeated, the Assyrian king goes to his temple and is killed by men, including his own sons.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Isaiah 64-66

Praising God can help us keep ourselves in check. Take a moment to think about his power, awesomeness and magnitude...do you feel smaller? We so often feel compelled to shower those around us with affection and affirmation, but do we take the same time to praise God for His work in our lives?

We read more promises of things for Zion, for those who follow Him. Giving praise is one of the easiest ways to show someone respect. It shows the condition of your heart and allows you to humble yourself before God and affirm that you are with Him. I await for the day that these prophesies come true and I find myself in the new heaven and earth... just praising God for all eternity!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Isaiah 59-63

1:3 For your hands are stained with blood,
your fingers with guilt.
Your lips have spoken falsely,
and your tongue mutters wicked things.

What a convicting way to start today's reading. In short, we are scum. We are unable to save ourselves and have done things too numerous to count. But nothing is beyond the reach of God. He sent Jesus to intervene and to take on our sins. I won't even dive into the magnitude of this act--save that for another time.

The rest is all prophesy and the promises to Zion and God's people. No more hurt, the paupers will be kings, etc. Pretty great if you ask me. I think something important to note here is that just becoming a Christian does not mean that we will all of a sudden obtain the greatest riches and be placed next to kings. While we are storing treasures in Heaven, this life will still be filled with pain and struggles, but it's all for God's glory and our benefit. God's promises are wonderful and divine.. you just have to be willing to wait!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Isaiah 54-58

We begin with a promise of Zion. There is a poignant story of a barren woman who will be redeemed and her house will fill larger than she can manage. Of promises fulfilled, of cities rebuilt, of tyranny and terror wiped from the earth. I take great comfort in knowing that the daily burdens and fears will all be nothing compared to what's coming. It's so hard to stay focused sometimes though...as a control freak I hate leaving my future in someone else's hands, but whenever I let go of the reigns and just let Him work, it always works out better. Who knows better than the guy who made everything?

55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.

God also briefly touches on the issue of fasting and His intentions for it. He is outraged at the people who just bow their heads and wallow around in sackcloth and ashes and think He will be pleased. He's not stupid--He knows when you're just going through the motions with no heart behind it.

58:9 “If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

What an amazing promise!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Psalm 46; Psalm 80; Psalm 135

It's hard to reflect on Psalms anymore. Sometimes it seems like the same thing and feels redundant, but they are a great reminder of how we should be thinking. God is a refuge, unfailing and one to be respected and revered. I know this is short, but its a simple message we can all understand!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Isaiah 44-48

44:22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you.”

I get great happiness and strength knowing that God is the only God and that He alone has the power to save us. Chapter 44 talks a lot about the people who carve idols from wood or forge them from metal. How in the world can you worship a block of wood?? I know some people might think it's crazier to worship something you can't see, but that's what faith is all about. How easy would it be to pray to and worship a god that was sitting in front of you. How much scarier is it to let your prayers float into space and trust they go to the right place? God never designed our walk to be easy. He wants us to struggle to refine and strengthen us on the other end. He has redeemed us and therefore wants the very best for us and from us.

46:8 “Remember this, keep it in mind,
take it to heart, you rebels.
9 Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.’

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Isaiah 40-43

What an encouraging group of verses! This entire reading had to do with God's power and sovreign mercy/love for us.

God knows the world and all that is in it because He made it! Who can hold all the sand of the world in his hands, or know how wide the skies are...? We are meant to take comfort in knowing that He knows all and has taken care off everything, so why should we worry? No one compares to God and all other things and people fall short, but God is always on and always there.

We have been redeemed. Called by name. We are HIS.

How then do we respond? Do we quietly say thank you, and move on with our day. Isaiah says no! We should not stay quiet, we should proclaim (as a woman in childbirth according to the reading, haha). So go proclaim, and rest assured in His infinite love and wisdom!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Isaiah 37-39; Psalm 76

Hezekiah is afraid for what will become of his people. He fears attack and goes into mourning mode. His official remind him that God is on their side and that he should pray about it. After hearing official word that the Assyrians are planning an attack, he goes to the Temple and lays it all out for God. God promises that there will be no attack, and send an angel to kill most of the army. They are so scared at what happened, they disperse and forget their plans.

Hezekiah becomes ill and learns he is near death. He prays for reprieve and God grants him 15 more years... I sure wish it was that easy for everyone now-a-days but God knows who should go when they go...Babylonians come bearing gifts for the sick king and Hezekiah gives them a grand tour. After learning this, Isaiah tells him that this was not a good idea... now his enemies know what amazing things he owns and that one day it will all be carried off by bandits. So much for showing your guests hospitality! Can you imagine having guests over, letting them tour your house and the entire time they were casing the joint for goods?? Crazy, but I guess thats what a king gets!

A closing note from Psalm:

11 Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them;
let all the neighboring lands
bring gifts to the One to be feared.
12 He breaks the spirit of rulers;
he is feared by the kings of the earth.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Isaiah 35-36

Isaiah 35 is an uplifting passage! It's all about the restoration of the redeemed and their joyful response. How amazing will it be where there is no more sorrow, no more shady places, no more pain, no more drought...

They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

I don't know about you, but this is so encouraging!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day who knows: Isaiah 31-34

As you may have noticed I have completely lost track of days, but I have been reading. I recently went to Mexico to live and play with orphans for a week and was able to play a little catch-up. While I'm sorry I can't share my wisdom on here, I want it to be known that I have been reading!!

This was a very gory and intense reading. It started out charging the nation to not rely on their own strength and ended with a foreshadowing of the end times. The opening is such a good reminder to not rely on men or ourselves for victory. Our "heroes" are only men and will ultimately fail us. Only God will stand the test of time and never leave or fail. The rest is a promise of God's unfaltering love for His people as well as an assurance that He will take care of us in hard times. I know sometimes that it can feel like we are left all alone, but it reminds me of that footprints in the sand story that even when we felt alone, God was really carrying us through.

Over all, I am feeling greatly encouraged today. I started a new Bible study, and having read today's passage I am feeling more and more rejuvenated in my faith. It takes times like this to remind me of why I am here and what I am toiling for!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 179: 2 Kings 5-8

Wow its been a long time. A lot has been going on at work and home and has left me gasping for air! Hopefully I will feel caught up soon.

Elisha cures Naaman from leprosy (among his may talents and wonders performed via God's power). When Naaman comes to Elisha to be healed, Elisha tells him to bath in the Jordan 7 times and he will be healed... Naaman balks at this request, expecting Elisha to wave his hands like magic wand, utter an incantation and heal him. But his friends talk sense into him and he bathes in the Jordan... lo and behold--his skin is good as new. It is a simple reminder of how stubborn we can be sometimes. God asks very little of us--faith--and yet we balk and expect Him to give so much and for us to do nothing in return.

Next, Elisha makes an axhead float so a man who dropped it accidentally in a river can continue to work (defying gravity btw), blinds an entire army with a single prayer, predicts the end of a famine and predicts the overthrow of a king.

I am in just utter amazement at the power given to Elisha...

Test

http://romans15six.blogspot.com/2010/10/comfortable-christianity.html

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 178: 2 Kings 1-4

Ahaziah (wicked king) falls through a lattice and is injured. He sends men to ask an idol as to whether or not he will recover. Along the way, Elijah intercepts them and tells them the king will surely die. In outrage, the king sends 50 men to confront him, they are consumed by fire from God. This happens a second time, but with the 3rd group, the captain begs for mercy. Elijah shows it and delivers his message personally to the king--Ahaziah dies as predicted.

Elijah is taken to Heaven in a whirlwind and chariot of fire. Elisha witnesses this and in turn inherits a portion of his spirit. The reading indicates that both of them know beforehand what will happen. Elisha refuses to leave Elijah's side, and Elijah asks Elisha if there is anything he can do for him before he goes. I'm not sure how they know, but its kinda cool that they did.

A few little tidbits of Elisha are shared--he turns a city's water sweet again and has some youths mauled by bears... haha not kidding. They called him a "baldhead" so he called upon the Lord and 2 bears mauled 42 kids...not sure if thats a good lesson to follow, but its a good read so I'll post it below :) He also helps a widow who is left destitute and only has a little bit of oil. Elisha has her gather jars from her neighbors and fill them with the oil she has left--the oil never runs out until the last jar is filled. She is then told to sell the jars, pay off her debts and live off the rest. He raises a boy from the dead, turns a poisonous pot of stew to normal and feeds 100 men with 20 loaves of bread... all in a day's work!

Elisha Is Jeered
23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!" 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 177: Obadiah; Psalms 82-83

Edom has been very naughty! I've never read Obadiah, but its pretty short. The one chapter book is basically just a vision that Obadiah had from God--the destruction of Edom. The following Psalms are from a prophet who is crying out for God to take justice on Edom and the like who are going against God. The vision is a scary prophesy of what is to come..

15 "The day of the LORD is near
for all nations.
As you have done, it will be done to you;
your deeds will return upon your own head.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 176: 2 Chronicles 19-23

Jehoshaphat tears down idols and appoints Godly judges to help his people. When a nearby land threatens war, he consults with God to ask for wisdom. God tells them to go and stand against the army--they will not even have to fight. Meanwhile, God sends an ambush and all of the enemies are killed. When Jehoshaphat and his people go to fight, all they see are dead bodies. The took the plunder from and enemies; there was so much it took 3 days.

It amazed me that these people just up and decide "I think I'm going to kill these people" and just go to war... but God protects His people :)

Jehoram comes next and isn't much better than Ahab. He's so evil that tribes start breaking off and making their own kings. He killed his own brothers to keep them from over throwing him and married a daughter of Ahab. God gave him what he deserved though... he came down with an "incurable disease of the bowels" that got so bad, his bowels eventually just fell out and he died. What a terrible way to go.

Ahaziah comes next and is again an evil one. God brings his downfall, but he has a seriously wicked mother who goes crazy and takes over the land. She killed all the princes, some of them her own grandchildren! But one was hidden for 6 years while she ruled the land. In the 7th year, the followers of Judah stage a coup and overthrow her reign by crowning Joash (the hidden child) as king. The devil woman is killed, shrines are torn down, and all is right with the world...

For now...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 175: 1 Kings 22; 2 Chronicles 18

I've been having the worst time getting motivated lately. Especially for reading. Apologies for my skipage of days and short blogs!

God allows a "spirit" to put ideas into another king's head and he asks Ahab to go to war against Ramoth Gilead. Ahab decides to consult with the prophets first, but they are not prophets of God--only Micaiah is left. All 400 prophets tell him to go for it, that God will deliver them into his hand. Micaiah tells him that yes, his people will win, but he will face certain death if he pursues this. Basically, Ahab goes to war, dies in battle, his chariot is cleaned off in the river where prostitutes bathed and his blood is licked up by dogs... nice. Ahab even tries to disguise himself when he goes into battle so the enemy won't know he is the king--he is still struck by a "random" arrow for a perfect kill shot. God always gets His man :)

Another king comes along and does some good by tearing down idols and such, but the natural flow of things happens again and another corrupt king succeeds him and builds it all up again--I'm def seeing a trend.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 174: 1 Kings 20-21

Ahab is not my fav. From today's reading, he is cranky and not the best leader.

Ahab gets into a little conflict with another king. Ben-Hadad decides he wants in on what Israel has and threatens to come and take it all. But God is on Ahab's side and grants them victory in battle. Ben-Hadad strikes again and is again subdued. A truce is made between the two. So he did a little good, saved his people and handled matters accordingly, but this is one good drop in a sea of terrible ideas.

Later on, he decides he wants a man's vineyard this is near his palace. The guy won't let him have it, so he sulks and mopes around the palace. Sneaky Jezebel tells him to grow up... she will acquire the vineyard for him. Jezebel writes a letter to the city officials and basically sets it up for the man to be stoned to death. After he's dead, Ahab takes possession of the land. God is not to excited about this and sends Elijah to rebuke him. He threatens horrible death on Ahab and Jezebel for their evil ways. But then Elijah watches Ahab for a time and sees him wearing sackcloth and showing true repentance. God decides to spare him for now, but will show his wrath to Ahab's future generations. This is the second time I've noticed the evil person getting off and his children paying for it... doesn't seem right does it? But who am I to question...

I tell you what,, that Jezebel is a wily temptress!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 173: 1 Kings 17-19

We begin with a great story of God's provision to Elijah. Ahab is currently king and is angering God even more than all the kings of Israel that went before him. Elijah tells Ahab he will get no rain and God sends Elijah to a ravine to await further instruction. While he's waiting, God lets him drink from a nearby brook and has ravens bring him bread and meat each day...how cool is that? When the brook dries up, he send him to a woman who will provide food and drink for him.

The woman is distraught and tells him that she only has enough flour and oil to make one last meal and then her and her son will have to starve to death. Elijah gives her confidence and tells her to make him some bread and then some for herself--there will always be enough flour and oil. Just as he says, for days on end there is always enough provisions for all 3 of them to eat. After a while, the lady's son gets ill and dies. She is naturally a little upset about this, but Elijah intercedes and God gives him his life back. The woman is in awe and realizes that he truly is a man of God.

God then sends Elijah for the ultimate showdown---God vs. Baal, Elijah vs. Ahab. They each make an altar and prepare an animal for sacrifice. Ahaband his people cry out for Baal to light the altar on fire for hours and hours=nothing. Elijah then covers his altar with boo-koodles of water and asks God to show his glory=complete incineration.

Jezebel (wife of Ahab) threatens Elijah so he flees. An angel renews his strength with food, water and rest, but he still feels inadequate as he is the only prophet of God left. God personally comes to him, renewing his strength and gives him a plan for new leaders and a successor/protege.

What an amazing testimony to God's provision. Even the most "holy" of men get down on themselves and doubt their purpose... this was such a great encouragement to me!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 172: 1 Kings 15:25-16:24; 2 Chronicles 17

Being an OT king was gruesome business. Today's reading goes down a long list of kings and just a few details about their lives. Bottom line, they were almost all wicked.

In Israel: Baasha killed Nadab and took over the throne, committed all kinds of evil and brought God's wrath upon himself. Elah (Bassha's son) comes next and is killed by Zimri for the throne. Zimri then kills off all of Baasha's family. This is a fulfillment of prohesy since God said Baasha would pay for his wickedness, but I don't think Zimri went about it in the right way. When Israel heard how evil Zimri was and how he got the throne, they named Omri king--Zimri is scared and lost and burns himself alive in his palace.

Meanwhile in Judah: Asa is now dead and Jehoshaphat is king. God favored him as he did not consult idols and sent out men into the land to preach the Law. He become widely known and feared and men brought him gifts from all over.

The main lesson for today is something that is reoccurring throughout scriptures... OT leaders who relied on God and trusted in His prophecies thrived... seems like a no brainer to me :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 171: 1 Kings 15:1-24; 2 Chronicles 13-16

Abijah takes over and makes the same dumb mistakes. God still shows some mercy just because he is a descendant of David.

Asa comes next and does it right. He tears down all the idols and even displaces his own grandmother who was doing evil things. During his first battle, he seeks God and is blessed beyond his wildest dreams. Only in his older years does he begin to stray and rely on his own strength. He uses another army without consulting the Lord to conquer an enemy king and does not ask God for help when his foot becomes severely diseased. He ultimately dies from the foot infection.
I think it just goes to show that no one is perfect and power can make anyone corrupt.

Below is a picture of what an Asherah pole most likely looked like (like the one Asa's grandmother made and he destroyed). The Asherah pole was a kind of idol and was set up in honor of a goddess.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 170: 2 Chronicles 10-12

This reading is very similar to yesterdays but the last chapter goes into more detail about Rehoboam's rule in Judah. God decides to gives him over to enemies and a lot of his riches are stolen. His and the leaders repent and God shows mercy.

12 Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the LORD's anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 169: 1 Kings 12-14

Rehoboam gets his first test as king. A leader of Israel (Jeroboam) comes to him asking for their yoke to be lightened. He asks for 3 days to make a decision. In the meantime, he consults with the elders who tell him to do as they say. He ignores this and asks his friends...bad idea. They say to make their lives even more miserable and make their yoke heavier. Of course, this all came from God as fulfillment of prophesy.

The head of forced labor gets stoned, and Rehoboam escapes with his life--Jeroboam is crowned king. He doesn't do such a great job either. He gets worried that if the people keep going to Jerusalem and worship God too much, they will want Rehoboam back. He builds 2 idols and puts them in place that are easier to travel to than Jerusalem to seduce the people. He lets just about any become a priest and just has a free-for-all.

God sends a prophet to warn Jeroboam. He tells him that his altars will be split and a new king--Josiah will be brought up. His son becomes ill and he gets even more bad news that his whole world is about to come crumbling down. Not much more is said other than he dies, his son becomes king and there is more history written in the annals of Israel.

During all of this, Judah is the only tribe that remains loyal to the house of David (Rehoboam). They make Rehoboam their king and he continues to do a crappy job and ignores God. He dies and his son Abijah is made king over Judah.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 168: Proverbs 30-31

7 "Two things I ask of you, O LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:

8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.

9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the LORD ?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

Wisely spoken. These words and others in chapter 30 are spoken by an oracle who realizes that he truly knows nothing. He knows his place in the universe and knows that only God if infinite. His words are refreshing and really spoke to me.

What stuck out to me in chapter 31 was a "definition" of a good wife. She instills confidence in her husband, works hard, uses her earnings to plant things for herself, helps provide for her family, gives care to the needy, she is strong and excited about things to come, her children love her and she fears the Lord. Honestly, this woman sounds pretty BA to me and has so many qualities I strive to have. I love that the verse does not have a tone that suggests a woman should remain in the shadows and submit. Instead, she is to be at the husband's right hand, earning money of her own and making her own decisions, has wisdom and strength to get through hard times and keeps her family together... this chapter is going in my back pocket for days that I question my purpose :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 167: 1 Kings 10-11; 2 Chronicles 9

The queen of Sheba drops by to see Solomon for a visit. She had heard of his great wealth and wisdom and wanted to see for herself. She was overwhelmed and realized that not even half of the greatness had been told to her. She gave Solomon a few gifts, and went on her way.

Solomon was a baller at this point... he had every covered in gold and made an elaborate ivory and gold throne for himself. His army's shields were made out of gold and is ships brought in gold by that boatloads.

Sadly, Solomon also had a wandering heart and fell in "love" with many women from place that God had advised him not to take wives from. He had 700 freaking wive and 300 concubines... this is why I said he was in "love" haha. Just as God warned, the women led him astray and he started worshiping and making sacrifices/offerings to other gods. God vowed to strip him of the kingdom, but out of compassion decides to not do it during his lifetime--it will happen during his son's lifetime. So the son is basically getting punished for his father's mistake... doesn't seem right does it?

God does raise up adversaries to make the rest of Solomon's life a bit more challenging. Even one of his own officials turns against him. Not much more is said other than Solomon dies and his son Rehoboam gets the kingdom.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 166: Ecclesiastes 7-12

Chapter 7 has some great verses about focusing on whats ahead and not behind. It says in a lot of different ways that the beginning is not as important as the end. It's not how we started out, it's how we end up when we leave this life. To me, it gives hope and a reminder that its not over and I shouldn't dwell on the past.

Another main lesson from this reading is that no man can know the heart of God. He has a path laid out for us, and who are we to try and guess where it's going? I'm not necessarily saying that God predestines everything we do, but I do think that He knows where it is going and it's foolish for us to worry and stress over every little thing.

Of course there are some Debbie-downer moments... my personal favorite is in chapter 9":9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun— all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun." So encouraging huh? Have fun with your meaningless life, toiling away and just accepting it as fact... woooo....

But it ends with a nice summary and strong charge:

13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.

Have a blessed holiday weekend!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 165: Ecclesiastes 1-6

I've never even opened this book of the Bible so I'm interested to see what its all about!

Just the titles alone for this book are depressing. Every heading starts out with " is Meaningless". Wisdom, pleasure, etc...all meaningless. What's the point if being wise when wisdom only brings grief? Why obtain wisdom when the wise and foolish ultimately have the same fate? Why toil and labor over something that someone can just come and take? This guy needs some Prozac...

Basically, the only thing not meaningless is standing in awe of God. Don't make promises you can't keep and choose your words to God carefully.

The later part of this reading helps to put it all into perspective. The author does not mean to be depressive but to offer wisdom that he has learned. Amassing riches, fame, power, etc. are ultimately worthless when compared to God and the glory to come. Working for something means nothing if it is not for God. Although it does end on a depressing note... I am trying to take it all into stride and understand where he is coming from.

12 For who knows what is good for a man in life, during the few and meaningless days he passes through like a shadow? Who can tell him what will happen under the sun after he is gone?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 164: Proverbs 27-29

This reading bounced around a lot. Literally every sentence talked about something different... so for today I will just post my favs :)

27:17 As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another.

19 As water reflects a face,
so a man's heart reflects the man.
20 Death and Destruction are never satisfied,
and neither are the eyes of man.

These are great verses about accountability and using fellow Christians to stay on track. I love the verse about never being satisfied--as humans we are always looking for the next thing and never seem to get our fill.

28:23 He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor
than he who has a flattering tongue.

Basically, its better to tell someone the truth in love, than to lie through your teeth just to be nice. It all goes back to sharpening one another. Allowing a friend to point out your weaknesses can be a painful process, but also an amazing tool in strengthening your relationship with God.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 163: Proverbs 25-26

The main thing I've taken away from the beginning of this reading is that we are to be wise about what matters we pursue and bring before higher authorities. Don't hasten to raise yourself up in higher courts, but wait for someone in power to exalt you. Be careful about how you speak about your neighbor. Don't dig too deep into their business and don't overstay your welcome.

The bottom line is: humble yourself, think before charging ahead and always exalt your neighbor--not yourself!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 162: 1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8

After the Temple and palace are built, Solomon gets to work restoring broken lands. He gives a good portion to Hiram for offering his amazing services to help build the Temple. He also restores places that were destroyed by Pharaoh and lets the Israelites set up shop.

He offered sacrifices as he was supposed to and kept all of the holy festivals.

All in all, Solomon is doing a stand-up job as king :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 161: Psalms 134, 146-150

I like to think that this grouping of Psalms is a pouring out from the people to God after the Temple is complete. Google tells me that these were written after the Exile and are called the "Hallelujah Psalms"... quite fitting I think :)

God's power is outlined and then all of creation is incited to rise up and praise. How can we not praise as a simple response to all that He has done for us? So many Psalms talk about inanimate objects praising and worshiping--rocks, trees, mountains. Obviously they are not literally shouting out loud, but just the simple sway of tree branches, the soft sound of a creek flowing over the rocks below, the snowfall on top of a mountain... they are all working the way God created them to. Can you imagine what a world this would be if WE worked the way we were created to?

As a kid, I learned my "purpose" in life from the Catechisms... my job is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. This is what I was created to do. I definitely don't do it perfectly, or even well on most days,. But am freed by the simple fact that I don't have to do it perfectly, God doesn't expect that of me and loves me for who I am. This is not something that is attained, but should be a daily struggle...in the meantime, I will focus on not letting a rock outdo me :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 160: 2 Chronicles 6-7; Psalm 136

Solomon's requests are heard and answered. God's presence fills the Temple and He consumes the offering that was made (over 100,000 sheep and cattle!!!). God also tells them that He is pleased with the Temple and that he will answer the prayers of His people when they pray and offer sacrifices there.

7:15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

The Psalm closes with a hymn of praise as God's many accolades are laid out, with each sentence ending with "His love endures forever...".

23 to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.

24 and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.

25 and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.


Amen :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 159: 1 Kings 8; 2 Chronicles 5

Solomon brings the Ark into the finished temple and finally places it in its resting place. His decisions are affirmed when the presence of the Lord fills the Holy Place in the form of a cloud. What an amazing feeling... to do all of this work and then have the Lord just come and settle all around you!

Solomon then blesses the Temple with a prayer and asks God to help those who seek refuge there, whether they are aliens, being oppressed, experiencing a drought, etc. His prayer is actually pretty amazing... you can tell that he truly loves and cares for the people he has been appointed to lead.

An offering was made and then they partied for 14 days... what I wouldn't give to be a part of the celebration! All of the hard work and labor has finally come to fruition, God has put His blessing on it and they can finally rest and rejoice in the fruits of their labor...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 158: 1 Kings 7; 2 Chronicles 4

This is kind of a downer, but today's reading was just more details about what went into the Temple. Most of the items can be seen from the picture I posted yesterday...its very obvious that Solomon spared no expense at getting this structure absolutely perfect.

He also built himself a palace and made sure his wife had her own little portion :)

I wish there was more to report today!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 157: 1 Kings 5-6; 2 Chronicles 2-3

I know I've been such a slacker... Haven't read/blogged in several days!!!

Solomon joins up with another king named Hiram to build the Temple of his father's dreams. Hiram's men are better at felling timber and have skilled men that are just what Solomon needs. God promises that if Solomon builds the Temple to spec, He will fulfill all of the promises He made to David. He builds everything exactly how it was supposed to be built--all in all it takes 7 years to complete. Think about how fast that could have been done with modern construction equipment and techniques....

It must have been so exciting to actually see this come to fruition. The Temple had been talked about and planned for years and now it is finally a reality!

Just listening to the description of this place is breathtaking... it was all stone, cedar and gold with cherubim everywhere. Since I don't know what a cubit (or any other ancient measurement) is, here is a picture to give you an idea of what it looked like.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 156: Proverbs 22-24

22:2 Rich and poor have this in common:
The LORD is the Maker of them all.

What an amazing verse to start my morning out with! Such a simple, yet poignant reminder that we really are brought into this world the same. While circumstances and choices lead us in all different directions, at the end of the day we belong to Him and are part of His wonderful creation.

Keeping this in mind helps to keep me in check. It also puts a few of the other Proverbs into perspective. If we view the world in this way, then how can we not show compassion to the needy, give what we have to others that are struggling, forgive without abandon, etc. In the same light, we shouldn't kill ourselves to increase our wealth. If we are given blessings, then awesome! We should use them for God's glory and be good stewards, but we should never seek to amass wealth. This mentality can be a slippery slope. Not saying that everyone who has money is a bad person, just saying that spending all of your energies to simply gain wealth/fame/etc. is a lost cause.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 155: Proverbs 19-21

The whole book really is just choc-full of little one-liners to live your life by. It's so hard to summarize an entire reading, but I am enjoying what God is having stand out to me...

A verse that immediately stuck out to me was that we should not be zealous without knowledge. I cannot count how many times I have seen someone (myself included) get excited about something they really don't know anything about. It's easy to get caught up in "mob rule" or take someone else's opinion as fact, but how can we really get pumped about something that we don't know much about??

It also talks about how so often the rich and powerful are inundated with people trying to be their "friends" and the poor and powerless are left alone. But we are charged to love everyone, befriend the homeless and the rulers. You never know what life you could touch or what seed you could plant. This is always easier said than done, but definitely a goal to reach for!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 154: Proverbs 16-18

Lately, I have constantly been reminded of what I read today. We can plan out whatever we want, but ultimately God is the one who makes it happen. I have spent so much time being stressed about the future and decisions before me. At the end of it all, everything has worked out perfectly and there was no need to stress in the first place. We should be humble and open to God's plan and stop trusting in ourselves. There will always be others put before us meant to make us question our faith, cause us to stumble and forget our mission for a while. But God is so faithful and longs to see us succeed--this is why He never gives up on us.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 153: Proverbs 13-15

Proverbs is so packed with little nuggets of wisdom that its so hard to summarize everything. What I mainly took away today, was that we are to be wise with our money...leaving an inheritance for our relatives, not taking dishonest money, etc. We should also learn to speak wisely and not open our mouths without thinking. This can bring calamity upon ourselves if we aren't careful. We should seek counsel that is wiser than we are. Whether it be parents or elders, or just someone who has been around the block a couple times, it always helps to look to others that have a different perspective.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 152: Proverbs 4-12

I missed my reading over the weekend so I am going to combine a few days into one...

We are taught to hold wisdom in the highest esteem. To value it and seek it at all time. This means keeping your eyes on the prize and not stepping to the left or right. We should love wisdom over earthly treasures; chances are we will be rewarded much greater, whether in this life for in Heaven.

We are to rejoice in our husbands and wives and not give into adultery. It goes into great detail about the treacherous and destructive nature of affairs...scary stuff. How can you play with fire and not get burned?? "9:27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death." I know I am young, but I have seen friends and family members fall into this snare and it is a tough pit to dig out of... I pray that Travis and I never experience it.

Laziness is also warned against. We are told to watch how the ants work--they have no leader, but stay busy and work feverishly all the time. I have witnessed this personally as my office has an intense ant problem that I seem to be constantly battling. Trust me, those little buggers don't give up!

Ultimately, wisdom is the key to better understanding God and to keeping our lives in perspective.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 151: Proverbs 1-3

Since Solomon was so wise, he wrote a little book called Proverbs... For Solomon, wisdom was everything. It led to a deeper understanding of who God is, how we should behave, think and view the world. He wants to remind us to keep ourselves in check. We do not know everything and we are not God! We should be looking outside of ourselves and upward, accepting discipline with humility and understanding. Earthly pleasures and temptations may be great, but they are only a temporary fix. We should guard ourselves with wisdom to know when we are being tempted, and when to say no. Wisdom gives us roots; makes it so that we are not easily swayed when something new and enticing comes along.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 150: Song of Solomon

I would like to preface today's reading with an embarrassing story from my past. When I was about 11 or 12, I got my friends together to form a club. Formerly called the Georgia Peach Club, the Tie-Dye Club (the name changed after we dyed shirts at our first meeting) met a few times a month and had a slumber party. The evening was always filled with Disney movies, truth or dare, and lots of giggles. After my parents went to bed, however, we would pull of Song of Solomon and laugh hysterically at it... nothing short of awkward, but made for a great story at my wedding (thanks to one of my lovely bridesmaids, a former member of the TDC).

I never really took the time to see this book for what it is. Basically, a woman is coming to Solomon and trying to entice him to think about taking her as a lover. She is not dirty or slutty about it, she is reverent and honors the king and wants him to see her as more than just a field hand. The book goes back and forth from the woman and Solomon in a sort of dialogue. They are obviously love sick and completely infatuated. It shows movement from initial interest and courtship to marriage (later talks about wedding day and bride).

As weird and awkward as some of the language may be, it really is a beautiful book. Men, there are some seriously awesome verses in here to woo your lady!!! Take note :)

8:6 Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
7 Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.

The last thing that really caught my eye was a verse about keeping foxes out of the vineyard in chapter 2: "Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom." If you think of your marriage like a vineyard that must constantly be tended and kept safe from attack, it really makes sense! Foxes are sly creatures that sneak into vineyards and pillage and plunder it to ruins. Things like this are always assailing marriages--idolatry, pornography, lust, boredom, resentment, etc....these are the "foxes" we must keep watch for. I've only been married 6 months, so we are still in the throes of marital bliss, but I know the days of hardship will come. Its important that we help each other stay focused on God and each other and keep our lines of communication completely open. There is never a surefire way to "foxproof" your relationship, but with God's help, you can sure try!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 149: Psalms 119:89-176

With a human brain, it's quite easy to think of God as we think of ourselves-finite and fallible. What's so great about God is that he is infinite, everlasting, and "practically perfect in every way". Sorry, I've been thinking about musicals a lot and Mary Poppins "popped" into my head :) If we view God in this light, how can we not turn right around and give him the honor and praise he deserves? He does not want us to give to him out of obligation or guilt, but out of joy and desire.

108 Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth...

Keyword here: willing. This entire Psalm screams of his willingness and desire to follow and praise God. There is no feeling of forced wills or hesitation. The author is excited and eager to follow what God has laid before him. If only I was that eager...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 148: 1 Kings 3-4; 2 Chronicles 1; Psalm 72

I'm back after a couple days hiatus. Life is a little crazy right now--waiting on job offers, moving, etc.

Solomon takes a wife. God really likes him and tells him to ask for whatever he wants and it will be granted--Solomon, in all humbleness, knows that he is young and naive and asks for wisdom and discernment. Because he did not ask for riches or victory over his enemies, God not only gives him wisdom, but the riches and fame as well-what a great deal!

Solomon gets his first chance to awe the land with his wisdom when approached by two prostitutes. Both women had sons--one woman rolled over on hers in the middle of the night and killed hers so she swapped babies to make the other woman think she killed her son. The two bring their case to Solomon and his solution is simple--cut the baby in two and give each woman half. One woman cried for mercy and that the live baby be given to the other woman--she was granted the baby because only the mother would react this way.

We end with a final Psalm from David asking mercy and justice to be bestowed upon his son and new king. What a great final blessing and way to close out his life--asking God that Solomon receive nothing but goodness from life and that he rule with wisdom and fairness.

Solomon's wisdom is described as unmatched throughout history. There was never a man as wise as him to that day, and no man will ever be as wise as him. People came from all over just to hear him speak...what an amazing blessing! I thought David was my favorite, but Solomon just might take his place :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 147: Psalms 119:1-88

The author of this Psalm longs to have a deeper, fuller relationship and understanding of God and everything that He is. Something that really convicted me is the following verses:

36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.

37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.

Lately I have found myself being consumed with myself and my issues. Every now and then I will be made aware of this and be consumed with guilt and shame. I've even done this to my own husband! On the day he was finished with 2 of the last finals he ever took in his college career, I was completely wrapped up in my own stresses and problems and completely forgot what a big deal that day was for him.

Another was:

59 I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to your statutes.

60 I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands.

I may eventually make the move towards obeying what God has laid before me, but I don't always "hasten" to obey. Obedience is not something that comes easy for me and definitely something I could work on! I know that even now God is testing my patience and obedience towards Him and I struggle everyday with this. Sometimes I am stubborn and restless, but He always gets me one way or the other ;)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 146: 1 Kings 1-2; Psalms 37, 71, 94

A different side of Solomon becoming king is brought to light. When David was very old, and near death, a man decided that he would become king and established himself as such. Bathsheba tells David about this and makes sure that he knows that once he is dead, she and Solomon will be treated like criminals if Solomon is not made king. David formally has him anointed and paraded around. Once the "king" hears about this, he realizes that kingship is not something that can just be claimed and begs for his life. Solomon agrees as long as he promises to be a good boy.

David gives Solomon a few last words of wisdom before he dies and Solomon takes his place as king. Solomon cleans house and kills all of the men who brought guilt and shame on David's household. He appoints a new head priest and army leader.

We end with a Psalm from David that almost seems like a closing statement for his life. He reiterates his beliefs that God will always uphold the righteous and that the wicked will eventually get theirs. I like to imagine that this is geared towards Solomon as a "pep talk" before his reign begins...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 145: Psalms 111-118

If you just read the Psalms, it would be easy to conclude that if you love and follow the Lord, good things will always happen to you. From reading the rest of the Bible, and examining your own life, you've probably figured out that this isn't the case at all. Good things don't always happen... the bad always comes in with the good. What gives us hope is from the other passages in the Bible that explain that bad things happen in order to test and refine us in our faith. If we always had good things, I seriously doubt that many of us would actually take a moment to examine our lives and our trust in God. It's easy to trust when things are good...but God wants us all the time, through the good and bad.

For me, the Psalms gives hope of a new future. While on earth we endure trials and hardships, there is a promise for the saints who persevere. That is what keeps me going--the promise of things to come. I think to put the Psalms into full context, you must think beyond the here and now and focus on what is to come--God will not let the righteous fall on the day of judgment.

116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 144: 1 Chronicles 26-29; Psalms 127

Further jobs in the Temple are outlined: gatekeepers and treasurers and other officials; armies are laid out and are to be on rotating duty each month; tribal heads are established; the king's overseers are appointed (those over the fields, storehouses, herds, counseling, etc.).

David then gives a moving speech to his son Solomon about the work at hand and gives him all of the plans for the Temple so that he may move forward with implementing them. "1 Chron. 28:20 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." People came forward and freely gave of their materials for the building to be complete. It says that the willingness of the people to give was overwhelming. I can't remember the last time I went to a church whose members giving was "overwhelming"...something to think about.

Samuel is formally anointed as king and succeeds David after his death... well done David, well done :)

It's a fun and exciting time for the people. There is a time of rest and everyone is coming together to make this Temple possible. A new, young king is put into place and it seems that the land is getting a fresh, new start!

The reading ends with a Psalm from Solomon...he basically says that if the labor they do is not got God, then it is all done in vain.. the boy may be young, but he's on the right track!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 143: Psalms 131, 138, 139, 143-145

David shouts praises after the temple is built. I think he hopes that others will see the value of the temple and want to worship as much as he feels led to. I love this part of chapter 138:8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.

Psalm 139 is a pretty famous Psalm...talks about how God formed us from the inside out and knows every little detail about us. We cannot escape Him because He knows everything about us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

In response to this, David also says in chapter 145:

8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.

9 The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.

David loves God... truly and deeply. He longs to deepen his relationship with Him and longs for other to feel the same need for God. Being a leader is never an easy thing, but David seems to constantly be examining his own heart in order to stay faithful and lead with justice and mercy...hands down my favorite king so far. Yes, better than Moses, better than Noah... Something about David speaks to my human heart and helps me realize that even strong men fall and stumble, but David's heart was in the right place and he never lost sight for too long. Something just about anyone can relate to!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 142: 1 Chronicles 23-25

I am so relieved that Chronicles turned out to be so much more than genealogy...

David makes his son Solomon king and proclaims that it is no longer necessary for the Levites to be in charge of the Tabernacle--God has settled in Jerusalem. They were, however, given duties in the new temple. The priests were chosen and divided up. Musicians and singers were appointed to lead worship...

What an exiting time! I am currently attending a relatively new church plant, so I have somewhat experienced the joys of being in a "baby" church. The people are finally settling and have established an amazing place of worship. Leaders have been chosen and everything is falling into place. Everyone is given a role to play--there are not big or small parts, they are all getting to serve and worship God!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 141: Psalms 108-110

David gives us yet another inspiring Psalm about his steadfast faithfulness and assurance in God. Bottom line--if God is on your side, why should you worry about anything else?

Tonight I am babysitting for 3 amazing kids. Ages range from 2-7, but the kids are fantastic. Last time I sat for them, I learned that the middle child (age 5) was in recovery from having a severe brain tumor and she even showed me the scar. Her and her older brother talked openly about the whole experience and it absolutely touched my heart. The faith that has been instilled in this family is amazing. They all work together as a team and its obvious that they understand how truly blessed each one of them is. I am so excited to sit for them again.. to engage in intelligent conversation with a 5 year old who recently had brain surgery just blows my mind... our God is an awesome God.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 140: 2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21-22; Psalms 30

David decides to take a census of all of the fighting-abled men in the lands of Judah and Israel. After doing so, he realizes that he has does a sinful thing and begs God to allow him to reconcile. God gives him 3 options to choose from: 3 years of famine, 3 months of fleeing from pursuing enemies or 3 days of plague. David chooses plague and over 70,000 people die. David even comes face to face with an angel of the Lord and asks him to spare the people because he is the one who sinned. David builds an altar and God accepts his prayers of behalf of the people and calls off the plague.

I can't imagine which is worse--being personally punished for my sins or watching others get unpunished for my sins… I would think it would be worse watching the innocent suffer for my sins…it’s a tough one.
The Samuel and Chronicles passages talk about the same story, but with an interesting twist of words. In Samuel, the reading starts out saying that the "anger of the Lord burned against Israel" and that caused David to take the census. In Chronicles, the reading says that "Satan rose up against Israel"… Just another one of those differences that makes you wonder why its even there. To me, it makes more sense that Satan would plant something in David's heart to make him sin, but I can't help but wonder why in Samuel it talks about the anger of God???

Another part that struck me (I guess it was the wording in Chronicles) is that God asks the angel to withdraw his hand from the plague because he is so saddened watching his people die and suffer. He then allowed David to repent of his own sin to atone for the wrong that was done. It is a great example of how God is not the evil one with the magnifying glass trying to zap the humans with the suns rays… he hates watching us suffer and longs to show us compassion. But just like a parent must punish a child to teach and refine, so much God act towards us.
David decides to build a temple for God and has his son Solomon take up the brunt of the work. He begins the work, with the blessing of God. The Psalm in the reading is a dedication song for the temple from David.

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 139: Psalms 95, 97-99

How often do we really think of the earth as belonging to God and not to man? Would this change your perspective on how you treat His creation? Would it change how you think God takes care of you? Kind of puts things in another light for me. Makes me understand where the Psalmists (is that a word???) are coming from! If God reigns, then no other god can be above Him. He is the end all be all of justice and truth.

Helps me to keep my eyes on the prize and remember where I came from and where I am going. Life has been a little hectic lately, but knowing that God takes care of the earth and will ultimately take care of me and my husband helps keep me sane :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 138: 2 Samuel 22-23, Psalm 57

David sings a song of praise after being delivered yet again. Who is God but God? Who can do what He does? David reflects on these thoughts and just opens his heart up to God. David's life and faith is a true testament to what we should strive for on a daily basis. Sure he sinned just like everyone else, but he knew the redemptive power of faith in God and was tested daily. He often describes himself as being in a pit of lions, having enemies all around us. I know that I have felt like that too many times...feeling like I have no one on my side. David got the fact that God is a shelter, a deliverer. Someone who fights for the underdog and won't let his people fall... what an amazing God we serve!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 137: Psalms 5, 38, 41, 42

Knowing all of David's background definitely helps give meaning to the words of the Psalms. Since a lot of them were written by David, it makes sense that they are full of anguish and torment. The man has been through hell and back and still keeps his eyes on the Lord. He knows that no matter what enemy he faces, no matter who turns against him--God is always there.

Psalm 42: 11 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 136: 2 Samuel 19-21

David's intense mourning over his wicked son totally turns off his men. They wonder if David would be happy if they had died and his son had lived...David returns to the palace, but there is a rift between Israel and Judah. A man (Sheba) begins leading Israel away from David so he has his army pursue him.

The followed him to a fortified city and began battering the walls. A wise woman came out to seek peace and they reached an agreement--they would leave the city alone if they could have Sheba... soon after they threw his head over the city walls.

During David's reign, there was a long famine that was attributed to the Gibeonites (who were disgraced by Saul) not achieving vengeance. David asks them what he can do to make amends and they decide they want to kill 7 of Saul's descendants. Their request is granted and the famine ends.

This reading seems like a "day in the life" kind of thing for David. It goes to show just how much pressure there is on a public leader who has to make decisions that impact an entire nation. He constantly has people rising up against him and has to put his own agendas aside to ensure the longevity of his people.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 135: Psalms 26, 40, 58, 61, 62, 64

David's song is one of transformation. We were taken from slimy mudclods and turned into beautiful, holy beings--all through the power of Christ. You can tell that he is really broken up about his sin and oppressors and truly trusts that God alone will get him through it all. God is a fortress, a rock, a deliverer, an ever-present help in time of need...I just love that through it all, David's faith remains unshaken!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 134: 2 Samuel 16-18

While David is still in the wilderness, a friend bring him and his men food and drink... how kind! While they are venturing, they come across a man pelting them with stones and cursing him. All the men want to kill him, but David says no. He shrugs it off and decides that hopefully God will bless him because of his endurance.

Meanwhile David's son get advice to sleep with all of his dad's concubines in open view of the people... not sure who thought this was a good idea... The chief idea-giver gives some other bad advice and finally David and God's plan to confuse Absalom's advisers are coming true. Ab seeks other counsel and the previous adviser hangs himself--oh woe is me.

Ab and his father finally go to war... funny story though--Ab is riding a mule. The mule goes under a tree, Ab's head gets caught in the branches and the mule keeps going=Ab's head is stuck in a tree... really?!?!?! At what point do you not duck? Or not get your head stuck at all? Hilarious... sadly though while he's stuck in the tree, David's men surround and kill him--epic fail. But even after all the Ab has put David through, he weeps bitterly upon finding out about his death.

David shows true character in this reading. He brushes off his haters and mourns the loss of a sworn enemy (even though it is his son). I'm so glad I've gotten to see these other little stories and parts of Davids life. The only real think I knew about him was that he defeated Goliath and slept with Bathsheba.. I'm learning so much!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 133: Psalms 3-4, 12-13, 28, 55

David's response while his son is estranged and while he is later driven from his own kingdom for safety. He is obviously torn and conflicted about the whole thing. He looks to God for help and trust in His will. It's amazing how candid and open he is... just bearing it all before God. Refreshing.

David is dealing with a lot of wickedness in his life. He's got his own sin he's working out and now his sons are raping their sisters and killing each other and threatening his throne... its a lot for a man to deal with. David is in a tough place where he is not sure what is going on and what to do.. he has no choice but to rest in God and trust it will all be ok--a hard thing to do!

One of my favorite verses is in this reading. It's gotten me through some tough times so its only fitting that they came from David--the king of tough times!

55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD
and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 132: 2 Samuel 13-15

This is straight outa Jerry Springer... so one of David's sons (Amnon) falls in love with Tamar--who happens to be the sister of another one of David's sons (doesn't that make it his sister too???). She's a virgin and he gets himself all worked up because he can't have her. He works up a plot to trick Tamar into coming over. Once there, he takes her and rapes her.. then kicks her out. Nice guy huh? Tamar is now disgraced, her virginity gone and is pretty much ruined for life because her brother raped her. 2 years later, Absalom gets his revenge and kills Amnon for raping hi sister. 2 whole years later??? What a patient man.

Absalom flees for several years, fearful of what David might to do him. He eventually is allowed to come back, but not allowed to see the king. After 2 years he is finally reconciled with his father. He has several children that are mentioned, and even names one of his daughter Tamar in honor of his sister. Once back in town, he uses his charm to steal the hearts of the Israelites away from David. They even start calling him king! David and his men flee the city in case Absalom decides to attach (ungrateful jerk) and wait for a sign...

At first I though Amnon was a shmuck and Absalom was just the wounded brother trying to avenge his sister. But then he goes behind David's back and attempts to make the men love him more...bad move. God called David the anointed one, not Absalom.. just sayin that I wouldn't want to take my chances against God's anointed one!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 131: Psalms 32, 51, 86, 122

How many of us truly find our identities in Christ. In the Psalms, David is all about hiding himself and truly resting in Christ... when was the last time I did that? My husband and I have been so stressed lately, getting him through school and job searching. We pray together at night and talk about the options, but I know neither of us are 100% resting in God's plan for our lives. Sure we don't have enemies assailing us, or people seeking to kill us, but we do find Satan trying to creep in any way he can. 7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

I also came across a verse about original sin; the idea that we are born sinful and not a "tabula rasa". 5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me
If you look at life in this light, there is truly nothing you can do to save yourself. If you came into this world dirty and rotten, how are you supposed to turn that around? YOU CAN'T! But God can :) The verse also goes on to not only ask God for cleansing and renewing, but after one has received this, he should in turn go out and tell others. What good is being transformed if you don't do something with it? As Christians, it is important for us to be constantly outpouring what we receive from God onto others!

Another thing David asks for is an "undivided heart". This means only having one true love and not letting your desires stray from God. A truly powerful image of what every Christian should desire in his or her walk.

This week, I pray that I will truly rest in God's plan for my life and my future and not fill my heart with desires that might take me away from Him. A undivided heart... love it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 130: 2 Samuel 11-12; 1 Chronicles 20

The Golden child finally falls... During all this fighting with the Ammonites, David takes a load off on top of his roof. He glances down, sees Bathsheba, brings her in and sleeps with her--all the while knowing she is married. Naughty naughty!! Bathsheba realizes she's preggers, so David brings her husband (Uriah) home from battle, hoping he will sleep with her and cover up her infidelity. David realizes that Uriah is not going home at night because he doesn't think its fair that they other men are away from their families and he should be able to come home. David even tries to get him drunk to no avail---Uriah won't sleep with his wife. Talk about a stand-up guy, a man's man. Uriah has some pretty good character and solidarity with his fellow soldiers. David gives up and has Uriah sent back into battle on the front lines--he's killed, David takes Bathsheba as his wife.

God brings Nathan to David to rebuke him... God is not going to make this easy on him. Bathsheba and David's son becomes ill and dies. God shows mercy and allows them to have another son--Solomon who is later named Jedidiah which means "loved by the Lord".

David's life goes back to normal. At least for now :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 129: Psalms 65-67, 69-70

I've found my first proponent of predestination:
Psalm 65 :4 Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.

Blessed are those YOU choose. I am a "predestinist" by denomination (PCA), but I have my reservations. There is the ever-present question: If we have free will, why would God choose some and not others? Does that not nullify our right to choose? I've struggled with this and can never come to a conclusion that satisfies me. Regardless of whether or not He chooses to begin with, it is still beneficial for me to show His love and kindness to make others wonder why. Since no one has the answer but Him, I like to assume that anyone can be chosen, its not my job to save them, just my job to plant the seed. If God wants them, He will get them. It is ultimately He who can save, but it never hurts to spread some goodness around when you get the chance!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 128: 2 Samuel 10; 1 Chronicles 19; Psalm 20

2 Passages depicting David's defeat of the Ammonites and a coordinating Psalm from David's perspective.

The Ammonite king does and his son succeeds him. David send a group of men to express his sympathy for the passing of his father. The kings nobles convince him that David only sent the men as spies with malicious intent... in retaliation, he shaves the men completely and cuts out the back of their robes-exposing their butts- and sends them back. What the heck? I mean I know people who have taken my kind intent and turned it into something bad, but this is one a whole other level. Back then, shaving a man's head and beard was the utmost form of humiliation. And to top it off, they had to travel back to David with their bums on display.

Realizing that they may upset David once he realizes what they've done, they assemble an army. David learns about the army--attacks, and wins.
Psalm 20:
6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he answers him from his holy heaven
with the saving power of his right hand.

7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 127: Psalms 50, 53, 60, 75

We begin with a very powerful Psalm. I get the image of God coming down in fire preparing to judge the earth. He explains that He does not need our sacrifices. Why would he need a bull when all the animals of the earth are His? Our offerings are meant to be thanksgiving in return for all His mercies.

God does not want the offerings of the unbeliever. He despises those who pretend to follow His word; He knows their heart.

Some Psalms start out with "to the tune of..." As in you are supposed to sing the following Psalm to the tune of song obsolete song.. I wish I knew the songs they are talking about.. maybe it would be more fun to sing them than to read them. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 126: 2 Samuel 8-9, 1 Chronicles 18

I have yet again fallen behind... only 2 days this time though! Since Monday I've been fighting off a nasty summer cold which I am convinced is so much worse than a winter cold... who wants to be sick when its beautiful outside?! Took Tuesday off work and barely made it to lunch yesterday without having to go back to bed... Every day I'm feeling better... slowly but surely :)

David's conquests are listed... and they are many. He even plays an old school version of "eeny, meeny, miny, moe" by laying down all the men in an opposing army, measuring off the length of a cord and allowing everyone in each 3rd length to live... I don't know about you but I'd be sweating bullets to see where I fell in the cord length!

What's great is that David gives all the glory and riches back to the Lord. It could be so easy to claim them for himself. David remember's Jonathon's amazing kindness to him and seeks out his only remaining son--a cripple. He blesses him with riches and requests his presence at his table for the rest of his days... can you imagine being a cripple, an outcast, someone no one wants, and being revered by the king and asked to eat at his table???

David is so far proving himself to be the man God wants him to be. He rules with justice and a keen eye for the underdog. He gives back to God and seeks out ways to help the poor... Before now, I have only known a bird's eye view of who David was. I'm so glad to be learning so much about such an important character in Biblical history.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 125: Psalms 25, 29, 33, 36, 39

Have you ever thought about letting yourself be a student of God? "4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; 5 guide me in your truth and teach me..."One of my favorite verses here is about begging God to not remember the sins of my youth... I made so many mistakes when I was younger. Some mistakes I'm still making now, but some I wish to never think of again. This was one of my favorite verses when I became a student of God and let Him transform my life.

Ultimately, we cannot save ourselves from anything. Only God can lift us up from troubles, enemies, even death. His love is deep and wide (like the childrens song :) and knows no boundaries. Once we stop thinking with our human constrictions, we can begin to understand His depths more fully. If that doesn't overwhelm you when you let it sink in, there must be something wrong with you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 124: 2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17

David feels convicted that he is living in a house while the Ark of God dwells in a tent. God gives his servant Nathan a vision to relay back to David: basically, God says that he cannot be contained in a house, nor does that mean anything to Him. He's been on the move from place, dwelling in a tent and has never asked for a house, so why should He have one now? God also promises that He will never remove His love for David like He did for Saul. David responds in humility and doesn't understand why God chose to bring him up to this amazing position.

I think it's endearing that David is concerned that he is living in a better dwelling than God. But he is thinking in earthly terms. The Ark in no way contains God and it doesn't make a difference where it dwells. God reminds David that while his thoughts are sweet, they are completely unnecessary and puts things back into perspective for him. I know that I have often gotten ideas into my head that I thought would be sweet only to learn that I was way off base... sometimes you just need a loving push to get you back in the right direction.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 123: Psalms 89, 96, 100-101, 105, 132

I wonder if I will ever feel a passion and desire for God as the writers of the Psalms. I don't "sing" of God's love daily nor am I very good and even incorporating Him into everyday conversations. I'd like to say it was easier for them back then without all the distractions and such of modern day, but I'm sure in their time, it was just as hard.

Psalm 101 is a convicting one. The author is promising to not sin even in his heart, to not put anything vile before him, to keep evil men far away from this counsel. Obviously, no one can keep something like this perfectly, but can you imagine how much your heart would change if you really tried? Something I read the other day in a magazine really convicted me, and it wasn't even a faith-based magazine. It said that if you change the way you look at others, you will feel better. Instead of looking at someone and saying "that bathing suit is trashy", consciously think "that bathing suit is red". Over time, it is supposed to help you change the way you look at others. I know they were probably not going for God thing, but can you imagine what change would happen in your heart if you made a conscious effort to not judge others in your heart and see them how God sees them? Definitely something I need to work on!!! God may judge them, but it is not my place to do so.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 122: Psalms 1-2, 15, 22-24, 47, 68

Another uplifting Psalm... The man who looks to God will be affirmed and uplifted... I certainly do not want to be like ashes in the wind... floating away to nothingness! God laughs when men attempt to conspire against what he has put into place. Think about a 5 year old attempting to take over the presidency...kind of a joke. We should not only should honor God ourselves, but respect others to honor Him as well. It's about becoming a family in Christ, a group of like-minded individuals coming together for a common purpose.

The words of men who think God has left them are that of a tortured soul... bones feeling out of joint, feeling like a poured out water pitcher... nothing but emptiness. But the ever famous Psalm 23 shows that God is always present and is a calming, comforting presence that will never leave. He gives us strength to face our troubles and leads us to times of mercy. Who is this king of glory? The Lord almighty...

From this mercy and comfort should come an outpouring of ourselves back to God. We are to worship Him--just as David danced with all his might!

Bottom line: the righteous will rise up, and the wicked will perish. Don't judge and claim this right for yourself, but allow God to make the judgments. Don't worry about what is happening to other people and whether or not they are getting their "just deserts". Just worry about your own heart and your relationship with your holy father...

Amen :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 121: 2 Samuel 5:11-6:23; 1 Chronicles 13-16

This reading from Samuel runs alongside a previous reading from Chronicles but goes into better detail. It tells of the man who reached out to protect the Ark of the Covenant from falling and God strikes him down. For a while, David was scared to have the Ark in his land and kept it away for 3 months. He finally brings the Ark home and dances the whole way. In fact, it says he "danced with all his might". I would have LOVED to see this--a king of Israel dances fiercely before God... fun times. One of Saul's daughters comes out and tells him he's being ridiculous, and David basically tells her she's just jealous because God chose him and not her dad--boom roasted!

The Chronicles passage is very similar to the Samuel passage, but the order of things reads differently. In Samuel, David becomes king, defeats the Philistines then moves the Ark twice. In Chronicles, he becomes king, moves the ark, defeats the Philistines, then moves the Ark again. Not sure why there is a disparity, but the Samuel passage definitely reads easier. It's really helpful to read the same passage from 2 different points of view. It offers new insight and understanding.

From what I read, the entire time they are moving the Ark and setting it up, there is great dancing and music. How amazing would it have been to witness this first-hand--an entire nation making music and dancing and singing to God in celebration... oh how I'd love to be a fly on the wall.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 120: Psalms 106-107

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good". These are the lyrics to a song we sing at my church all the time and I just learned where it came from! It's so nice having this put into context and such :)

The sins of the Israelites are called out again and I came across a phrasing that I LOVE. "20 They exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull...". I often forget that God is creating an amazing glory inside of me for my future in Heaven. When the Israelites turned against God, it's described as exchanging their glory. It's a perfect description of what is going on! In God's great love and compassion, he delivered the Israelites just as He's looking out for me. He quiets the storms in our hearts and brings us rest. It behooves me to return just a portion of the love and respect that He has bestowed upon me.

43 Whoever is wise, let him heed these things
and consider the great love of the LORD.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 119: 2 Samuel 5:10; 1 Chronicles 11-12; Psalm 133

Nice to have such a short reading after a long weekend. Having a little trouble staying focused, so it's good to have a break!

Saul is dead, and David becomes king. He became very powerful because he had God behind him--settled in Jerusalem and it became the City of David. He had a "posse" of many mighty men (who are listed out in great detail) who are willing to live and die for him at any moment.

In Psalms, David rejoices at how wonderful it is when he and his men work together in unison.

At this point, David is on the up-and-up and can do no wrong. God has blessed every move him and his men make and has bestowed him with so many things. He now has his own plot of land and a kingdom to call his own... David truly was a favorite! Not saying that God plays favorites... but if He did, David would totally be teacher's pet.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 118: 1 Chronicles 7-9; Psalms 102-104

The main thing I've taken home from Chronicles is that birth control is magic. I mean seriously, these families are HUGE!!!! We are talking about each family line having thousands and thousands--enough for a small army. I'm sure there are large families you've known that joke about having an army, but these guys are playing around.

I have again merged a few Psalms into today (I was already behind from when I was sick a few weeks). More lamenting from a man pouring out his sorrows to God. He's eating ashes and drinking tears... pretty serious stuff. The main point is that God's love surrounds us... He never leaves and never forsakes...

103:8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

He will give us exactly what we need and longs for us to be happy! And he is pro-wine :)

104:14 He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:

15 wine that gladdens the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine,
and bread that sustains his heart.

Bottom line--God loves you and longs for you to love Him too!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Day 117: 1 Chronicles 6; Psalms 81, 88, 92-93

Happy Independence Day America!!!

More genealogy, I wish I would claim independence from the Book of Chronicles... I decided to merge today's reading with what is supposed to be tomorrow's reading to spice things up a bit. Since there really isn't anything to talk about from Chronicles, I will move right into Psalms.

These readings are riddled with despair as the writer is wondering why God is hiding His face. I'm sure we have all felt like that at some point--why has He abandoned me?? But then the writer remembers the good times and that God never leaves. He has seen his enemies destroyed and realized that his trials really aren't that bad. What's great about the Psalms is the absolute love and passion that is felt from the words. The writers truly and deeply are IN LOVE with the Lord. Well, either in love or in despair... but still. Their words are beautiful and moving!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 116: Psalms 73, 77-78

Psalm 73 speaks to every Christian who has ever dabbled with sin=everyone. A righteous man is venting about how he watched the ungodly and how carefree they seem to live. They are free from laws and amass wealth, do whatever they please and take from life what they want. He wonders if he has been living in vain and doing wrong by not enjoying these things. He is confused--until he remembers God and remembers what future lies ahead for the wicked. The wicked are easily washed away, but he will be upheld by God because of his faithfulness. It's an amazing reminder that once we lose focus on God, we begin to wander into the things of this world. It only takes a moment in His presence to being us right back to our senses!

The rest is singing praises to God and asking to not be forgotten; recalling His faithfulness to the Israelites in the desert, despite their wickedness. It's a great comfort to know that I am just as evil in my heart as the Israelites--if He still loved and took care of them, how much more will He then look after me?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 115: 1 Chronicles 3-5

More genealogy...

The main thing that stuck out was that a few sisters were mentioned...finally some female shout outs! Reuben was not listed in birth right order because he defiled his marriage bed and the rights went to Joseph. Jabez is mentioned momentarily--his mother named him so because of the great pains of labor and he asked God to not give him pain in life; God agrees.

Still a hard book to get through... slowly but surely! In other news, I'm really excited about this weekend coming up and hoping for some good times with family and friends. Hitting the river tomorrow with the Duggan family for some tubing and BBQ, picking up little sis from the airport, Eclipse, pasta making, fireworks... its gonna be a good 3 days :)