1 Kings 1-2

Adonijah, one of David’s sons, set up himself to be king. He wasn’t given the authority, by a very old King David. However Adonijah, was accustomed to doing as he pleased.  Nathan and Bathsheba sought to make things right, since Solomon was promised to be the next king.

While there are many important points, I have two of which to share:

(1) Notice the prophet Nathan’s heart, as he approaches King David. While Bathsheba only shared that Adonijah didn’t invite his brother, Solomon, to this large gathering, Nathan reveals his heart. Nathan wasn’t concerned solely with his own self, but for all those who are involved. This shows us the kind of man Nathan was. He was one who wasn’t self absorbed, even when he had a chance to be.

“[Adonijah] has invited all the king’s sons. He has also invited the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest. Even now they are eating and drinking with him. They are saying, ‘May King Adonijah live a long time!’ But he didn’t invite me. He didn’t invite Zadok the priest or Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada. He didn’t invite your son Solomon either (1 King 1:25b-26, NIRV).”

(2) After David ordered for Solomon’s entrance as king, his response is most inspiring. As an old man, whose sons compete for the title of king, he bows in worship from his bed. King David chose to worship God, knowing He has proved to be faithful throughout his life.

“The royal officials came to give their blessing to our master King David. They said, ‘May your God make Solomon’s name more famous than yours! May he make Solomon’s kingdom greater than yours!’ While King David was sitting on his bed, he bowed in worship. He said, ‘I praise the Lord. He is the God of Israel. He has let me live to see my son sitting on my throne today as the next king.’ (1 King 1:47-48)”

How do we respond to the events of our lives? And when they come, what do our actions say about our heart?

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Psalm 119

Today’s reading plan includes this incredible chapter. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. You can find in around the middle section of your physical Bible. I cannot cover all of this beautiful chapter, but let’s find some treasures to note – shall we?

Happy are all who perfectly follow the laws of God. Happy are all who search for God and always do his will,  rejecting compromise with evil and walking only in his paths (vv. 1-3; TLB).

I have thought much about your words and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin (vv. 11).

 I will meditate upon [God’s Word] and give them my full respect. I will delight in them and not forget them. Bless me with life so that I can continue to obey you. Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word (vv. 15-18).

I am completely discouraged—I lie in the dust. Revive me by your Word (vv. 25)

Turn me away from wanting any other plan than yours. Revive my heart toward you (vv. 37).

For these laws of yours have been my source of joy and singing through all these years of my earthly pilgrimage (vv. 54).

 You made my body, Lord; now give me sense to heed your laws. All those who fear and trust in you will welcome me because I too am trusting in your Word (vv. 73-74).

 I faint for your salvation; but I expect your help, for you have promised it (vv. 81).

Your faithfulness extends to every generation, like the earth you created; it endures by your decree, for everything serves your plans (vv. 90-91).

Accept my grateful thanks and teach me your desires. My life hangs in the balance, but I will not give up obedience to your laws.  The wicked have set their traps for me along your path, but I will not turn aside.  Your laws are my joyous treasure forever. I am determined to obey you until I die (vv. 108-112).

Lord, deal with me in loving-kindness, and teach me, your servant, to obey; for I am your servant; therefore give me common sense to apply your rules to everything I do (vv. 124-125).

 As your plan unfolds, even the simple can understand it. No wonder I wait expectantly for each of your commands (vv. 130-131).

Lord, see how much I really love your demands. Now give me back my life and health because you are so kind. There is utter truth in all your laws; your decrees are eternal (vv. 159-160).

I have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me, for I have not turned away from your commandments (vv. 176).

There is sooo much more to be discovered! Take some time and read through this passage of Scripture. Maybe even, allow an online audio Bible become a tool to help you.

Psalms #5

Psalm 108 –

(1) Have a ready heart. While we make sure to get dressed physically before leaving for church each Sunday morning, we need to become a people who get their hearts ready to enter into the Lord’s presence! It isn’t just a Sunday morning thing, either.

O God, my heart is ready to praise you! I will sing and rejoice before you (vv. 1, TLB).

(2) God’s Character. We see the reality of who the Lord really is. He is so great that the heavens cannot contain Him. His love and faithfulness is at such a high capacity, that it cannot be measured. This is how much God loves us, and the level of His pursuit for us.

For your loving-kindness is great beyond measure, high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches the skies (vv. 4).

Psalm 109 – 

Each of us need God’s help. We need God to meet us in our current circumstances, that are too much to bear. Let’s go back to remembering whose child we are. For the follower of Jesus Christ, we are His sons and daughters. He is going to share His resources with us, because He is so kind, and faithful.

But as for me, O Lord, deal with me as your child, as one who bears your name! Because you are so kind, O Lord, deliver me. . . Do it publicly, so all will see that you yourself have done it (vv. 21, 27).

But I will give repeated thanks to the Lord, praising him to everyone. For he stands beside the poor and hungry to save them from their enemies (vv. 30-31).

Psalm 110 –

The Lord said to my Lord, Sit by me at my right side until I put your enemies under your control.” The Lord will enlarge your kingdom beyond Jerusalem, and you will rule over your enemies (vv. 1-2, NCV).

This Scripture points to Jesus. This was a prophesy , that Jesus would reign as King forever – and He will! Not only will He reign as King, He is going to defeat our enemies. Having enemies is soo difficult, but God is going to give us the victory! He will be our help!

May our response to Jesus be to worship Him, and continually seek His help.

Job 21-23

Chapter 21 – Job speaks

“Listen to what I say. Let this be your way of comforting me. Be patient while I speak. Then after I have finished speaking, you may make fun of me (vv. 2-3, ERV).”

All Job wants is – comfort. He is hurting on an intense level, and his friends aren’t showing much comfort or compassion toward him. He desperately needs to hear from God.

Even when we have been given good comforting friends, we still need comfort and to hear from God more than anyone else.

Jesus, as our Comforter, reminds us that we can draw near and allow our relationship with Him to be the most important thing in our lives.

Jesus Christ is the Comforter we stand in need of. No matter what kind of friends we have, our need for Jesus never changes!

We need Him to overwhelm our souls with His goodness, hope, and eternal salvation.

We have Jesus Christ as our great Savior. He came to give us a new beginning, where we dwell in the presence of our God. God loves us, and pursues us – daily!

Chapter 22 – Eliphaz Responds

Haven’t you done many evil things? Don’t you sin again and again? . . . That’s why traps have been set all around you. That’s why sudden danger terrifies you (vv. 5, 10, NIRV).

This is why Job’s friends have a bad reputation. They are convinced that sin has caused all of Job’s trouble. These men didn’t know about Job 1-2. This is where we learn that our relationship with God, causes the Devil to become angry and seek to devour us.

The closer Job got to God, the more the Devil wanted to try and destroy him. As we see from the last few chapters, Job gets even more prosperous as he sought God.

Let’s stay steadfast in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. God is far greater than the Devil or anyone else, just like verse 12 teaches us.

You agree, don’t you, that God is in charge? He runs the universe—just look at the stars! (MSG)

Lastly, we have verses 21-30. This is a Scripture worthy of our attention, which teaches us three key points –

  • Obey God and be at peace with Him.
  • Let’s put away our sin and return to the Lord!
  • Make Jesus Christ your delight.

Chapter 23 – Job Speaks

But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside. I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food (vv. 10-12, NLT).

Amen! When the time of testing is over, we will come out as gold. Our time of testing shows where our faith has stood in our darkest hour.

How will we come out of our testing time, and will we cling to the hope found in Jesus Christ no matter what?

I want to live my life in such a way, so that after the testing I can feel unashamed about how I responded.

 

Leviticus 1-2

Then the Lord called to Moses and said to him from the meeting tent, Speak to the Israelites and say to them: When any of you present a livestock offering to the Lord, you can present it from either the herd or the flock (1:1-2, CSB).

The Lord is deliberate in teaching the Israelites how they can pursue reconciliation with God. The person was to put their hand on the head of the sacrificed animal, so they could be given reconciliation. This was before Christ came, and was not an “one time” sin offering. Unlike the sacrifice through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the people had to continue make sacrifices – to be given reconciliation – restoration with their heavenly Father.

It is important to note how these worship tools of the old, were described: “The priest will then completely burn all of it on the altar as an entirely burned offering, a food gift of soothing smell to the Lord (1:9b).”

They were a sweet smelling aroma. This was acceptable to God.

The burnt sacrifice was designed to propitiate the anger of God incurred by original sin, or by particular transgressions; and its entire combustion indicated the self-dedication of the offerer—his whole nature—his body and soul—as necessary to form a sacrifice acceptable to God (Ro 12:1; Php 1:20). – Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

In chapter 1, entirely burned and flawless male are two phrases that immediately stand out to me – as I read through the chapter. Jesus Christ is our spotless Lamb. He who knew no sin, became for us our sin offering. There is no need for additional sacrifices to atone for our sins, because Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He is enough. He is the source of our salvation.

For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Chapter 2 –

The offering we give to God – has to be deliberate. God reminds us that it was about choice flour. It wasn’t throwing together something at the last minute, to give unto God. But, it was an act of worship that took time and a lot of heart.

It is called first choice offering, requiring thought and action.

Thus offered, the grain is described as a memorial, an aroma pleasing to the Lord (see 2:2). Implicit in the term is the idea that the offerer remembers God’s constant grace in providing one’s daily food (Asbury Commentary).

While we are still in the Old Testament, we are reminded of the importance of salt. Salt signifies something great. Salt gives flavor, and leaves an impact. Things are never the same again with salt.

You must season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not omit the salt of your God’s covenant from your grain offering. You must offer salt with all your offerings (vv. 13).

Let’s resolve to keep remembering the covenant God has made with us – through His Son Jesus Christ. We have been given new life, where we can completely start over. Our worship is given, in light of our covenant with God and His enduring grace. Our worship offerings are for Jesus and to expand the kind of relationship we have with Jesus the Christ – our Savior and King.

How can we draw nearer to God and allow Him to leave His influence on our lives – enabling us to be “the salt of the earth”?

Genesis 8-11; Psalms 6-7

Assigned Reading for January 3: Genesis 8-11; Psalms 6-7

Genesis

In chapters 8-11, we find a lot of things going on. This is 4 chapters of life being lived and learning how to follow God or struggling with sin but not enjoying it as much as it promises. While Satan promises comfort and satisfaction, sin cannot provide these things.

Psalms

Psalm 6 – Even though, there is much grief experienced when we realize the number and effect of our enemies, David helps us realize that there is hope and victory found in God. We have the One greater than all of us, fighting on our behalf with all of His power at work. In our grief, we can still boldly declare to our enemies that God is greater!

Psalm 7 – This psalm is beautiful. Here we are given the reminder, that God is our Protector and acts for us! God rescues us from our enemies before we become devoured. In this psalm, David states something profound. In his prayer, he is honest with himself and God that these attacks are not the result of wrongdoing on his part. Often times, we play the blame game where we blame ourselves for the attacks. While he exposes the lie we often face, he is solely focused on God’s justice and protection. He doesn’t lose focus, even in his grief.

{Summer} Psalm 124

This is where my heart has sat these past few days. While I am in the middle of preparing our home for our all-too-often apartment inspection, I had to take a few moments to write on this.

Click here to read Psalm 124. A short, but meaningful Psalm.

The Psalmist, David, points out one pondering question.

Where would we be – if it were not for the Lord?

The statement “if not for the Lord,” reminds us to take a look at what our great God has brought us through.

Although our lives are difficult, as Jesus promised us they would be, God is in the midst of it. He is working on our behalf, in unimaginable ways.

He is keeping our families safe.

He is providing many essentials in our lives.

He is giving us encouragement and an eternal hope.

He is causing our hearts to draw near to His.

. . . God is doing soo much behind the scenes, and it’s left unseen to the human eye.

When we doubt God’s protection, may we remember this passage and remember the tremendous blessing of following our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we choose to draw near and follow our Lord Jesus Christ, He will act on our behalf.

So, keep drawing near.

So, keep praying.

So, keep engaging in Bible study.

So, keep asking Him questions.

So, keep building relationships with other Christians.

So, keep trusting in Him as your priority.

So, keep worshiping our great God.

Whatever you are going through, my friend, God will have your back – as you place your trust in Him. Allow God to be your number one priority, because that’s when you will receive the most protection from God (also when you will be most aware of His protection and pray for it).

if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us (Ps. 124:2-3, NIV).

If He had not been with us when the villains came for us, When their anger flamed around us, they would have swallowed us up alive! (VOICE)

{Summer} Psalm – 4

I want to talk with you all about Psalm 4. Pull out your Bible, and read it for yourself before we get started. I will wait…

. . .

. . .

The Beginning

Stand before the Lord in awe, and do not sin against him. Lie quietly upon your bed in silent meditation (vv. 4; TLB). From this day forward, offer to God the right sacrifice from a heart made right by God. Entrust yourself to the Eternal (vv. 5; VOICE).

We are taught to sit quietly, self-reflect, and worship God. We have to spend time, where we soul search, and come to God in absolute awe of who He is. This is what quiet meditation {one-on-one time with the Lord} does.

Soul Searching Reflection

Out of all aspects of this Scripture, this is the part I need to wrestle with. Because, I am not good in living out this part.

This is my humanity shows itself in my relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I am horrible with silence, especially when in bed. I generally always have Netflix or music playing as background noise, to have volume, when silence is actually what I need.

With Christ, I can begin to live out this Scripture and allow it to impact my life. It is by faith, that I begin to live it out.

This is the passage I need to:

  • Reflect on.
  • Pray about.
  • Allow into my heart.
  • Allow to further God-given transformation.

The Latter

Lord, many are asking, “Who will make us successful?” Lord, may you do good things for us. Fill my heart with joy when the people have lots of grain and fresh wine. In peace I will lie down and sleep. Lord, you alone keep me safe (vv. 6-8; NIrV).

God redefines success for us. While we may not have this world’s version of success, we are given the better prosperity through our great God. In this passage, we see specific words that can only be understood through the context of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Apart from Christ, we will never experience any of these things. This is why we need Jesus Christ as our Savior and Companion!

{Summer} Psalm – 3

Because of today’s psalm, I could utter “I have many enemies” and direct it into a prayer for my God. We serve an incredible God! Our God is real, all powerful, and soo loving toward His children (those who chose to trust and follow Jesus Christ as their Savior).

God cares about us and wants to help us, as we bring these needs to Him.

I don’t know what you are going through, but God has a message in this psalm for you.

Lord, I have so many enemies! So many people are rising up against me! (vv. 1, NIrV)

This verse has stayed in my thoughts today. Many of us are facing a battle, but God wants to meet us here. This Bible teaching furthers this point, and is soul stirring.

Other Truths

Lord, you are like a shield that keeps me safe. You bring me honor. You help me win the battle. I call out to the LordHe answers me. . .  because the Lord takes care of me (3-5).

Lord, rise up! My God, save me!. . . Lord, you are the one who saves (7a, 8a).

1. God is our place of safety, because He takes care of us! Knowing God cares for us – is the greatest thing we could learn. God will fight for His children!

2. We can expect God to hear our prayers and answer us. God wants to hear and answer our prayers. One thing to remember: Sin hinders our prayers and relationship with God, which is why we need a Savior {Jesus Christ}. Without Jesus Christ as our Advocate and Savior, our prayers are most definitely hindered.

Our God is loving, but honest about His expectations concerning our relationship. God wants an authentic two-sided relationship with the people He has created! Sin has no place in our lives, as it is the destroyer of our relationship with God.

Jesus Christ came to save us from sin and restore our relationship with our heavenly Father. We need Jesus as our Savior, in order to pursue this two-sided relationship which comes with answered prayers.

When you pray, confess your sins and turn from them – and rejoice over our Savior who is to be worshipped!

If I entertain evil in my heart, the Lord will not hear me (Psalm 66:18; VOICE).

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9, NIV).

3. How are we entering our secret place to confess, pray, and share our struggles?