Wednesday, February 20, 2013

1 Kings 9-11

For me, this weeks reading tags along from last week's reading. We serve such a merciful God...who gives warnings and a heads up to His kids! That's what was crazy to me about this week's reading. I never had noticed that before, but the beginning of Chapter 9, God affirms Solomon and reminds him that if he follows all of God's law, like his father David did, his family would rule Israel forever. It almost seems repetitive of God to do this...but low and behold...just a few verses on we read how Solomon's heart turned away from God. Granted, we don't have an actual timeline, but this wasn't the first time God cautioned Solomon about what not to do.

We read on and see how much wealth Solomon had and how talk of his wisdom reached all over the world! It is in these chapters that that I see God's extreme mercy and grace. And He shows us all this mercy and grace, not just Solomon.

Yahweh did not take away Solomon's wisdom...his gifting...even though Solomon turned away from Him.

This reminds me of the scripture that talks about God's gifts and calls are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). God has given us all giftings. We may or may not use them for His Kingdom, but they are still from Him. I'm sure you have all met extremely talented people that don't serve God. This is why. Irrevocable means that nothing can take away the gifts and call that God has given to you. This is yet another thing that reminds me that God's ways are way way higher than our ways.

Lastly, in His great mercy, Yahweh refrained from taking the kingdom away from Solomon until after he died. All because of His commitment to David. I want to have that kind of relationship with Yahweh!!! His relationship and commitment to David was something we can all learn from. David was a man after God's heart...and because of this, God spared a change of history occurring until after his son, Solomon's death.

God has given you gifts and a call. Be like David and use them for His Kingdom. Surround yourself with Godly counsel and friends that you allow to speak truthfully into your life to help you in times that you may be straying. Listen to God's caution. It will save your life!

 If you're interested in learning more about your gifting and call, a book that Philip and I have been reading that goes closely with this week's Thought is The Anointing; Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow by R.T. Kendall.  It has really encouraged us to be diligent to what God has called us to and to keep using our giftings even if people don't "get it" or think us weird and strange.  I hope this book will impact your life and encourage you like it has us.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

1 Kings 6-8

1 Kings 6-8

Solomon spend 7 years building Yahweh's temple and 13 years to build his palace.  Everything written in these chapters is so detailed my mind can hardly picture what everything looked like!  (I even Googled "Solomon's Palace and Temple" to find some pictures of what people think it looked like.)  From what I read, everything seemed to be intricate and spectacular...only the very best.

The whole time I read these chapters about the great task Solomon took on in building Yahweh's temple, it makes me sad because of the path Solomon's life went shortly thereafter.  In chapter 8, Solomon takes almost the whole chapter to dedicate the temple and speak praises of God.  His words are very powerful in this section.  His words were powerful and true, but his actions didn't line up with them.

What I took away from this week's reading is this:  We can say great and wonderful things about God...all of which could be very true...but God wants our actions to be pleasing to him as much as our words are.  I'm sure we've all met people who seem to sound like great Christians but their actions don't speak of their faith at all.  I believe that Solomon meant everything he said a the dedication, but it was because of his poor actions that God later took the kingdom away from him.  I left this reading challenged to have my words AND actions line up with God's Word, not just one or the other.

If this is something you struggle with, find a trusted friend who loves Jesus, that can help hold you accountable.  A rebuke from a friend can be trusted, but your enemy just flatters you (Proverbs 27:6; my paraphrase)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

1 Kings 4-5

What struck me about this week's reading was I was reminded of how different Solomon was from his father David.  Their strengths were very different but each of them flourished during a different season in the history of Israel.  David was great in a time of conflict and Solomon during a time of peace.

David was a passionate warrior while Solomon was a refined thinker with vast knowledge.  David was revered and a king loved by his people but Solomon was also loved and revered.  What this shows me is that our giftings are all different and for a purpose. 

I'm reminded of the scripture in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 where Paul talks about he body of Christ and the different parts.  We all aren't called to be preachers or pastors and we all have different personalities and strengths and weaknesses.  We were created unique for unique purposes.

If Solomon was exactly like his Father I don't think he would have been as successful as King.  God gave him his own unique set of skills and talents.  What the Lord gave Solomon was really what Israel needed at that time.

If you ever feel like you're different or that you're not as good at something as those around you, don't see it as a negative thing, but see it as an opportunity because God is going to use you in his own unique way because you are his unique creation.

Written by Philip Day

Friday, February 1, 2013

My Dad--My Hero

Today is my Dad's birthday.  He would be 58 years old!  I always called him Oh Ancient One :-)

My Dad died Friday, October 21st, 2011 at 9:45pm.  We were all at home and my brother, mom and I were all holding his hands and laying on his chest.  I don't ever want to forget it.  The peace of God was so tangible in that room....I wish I felt it that strong every day since.

This week I heard a verse from the Bible that has really been in my heart since October 21, 2011.  "Eternity is hidden in the hearts of men."  Since my Dad has died, I haven't stopped thinking about eternity.  Heaven was made way more personal to me since his death.  I've never wanted to be in heaven so much as I have since my Dad moved there.

His death has been the hardest thing I've ever walked through in my life.  I think it's safe to say most people don't understand how I'm feeling most of the time, so it's been quite lonely.  But I don't want to write about his death in this post, I'd like to write about his life!

Dad was born in Washington State, USA, this day 58 years ago!  He was raised in a home with 3 of which killed himself when Dad was 18.  He was the one that found his brother.  When Dad was 21, he was on his way to kill himself when he drove past the church of the youth pastor that preformed his brother's funeral.  He remembers thinking, "Why not go in?"  His life was forever changed.  He found the Youth Pastor and was led to the Cross.  Drug and alcohol addiction was broken instantly as the Creator of the Universe found my Dad.

I think of this alot because my Dad grew to be a man he should never have been if his past and family dictated his destiny.  He should have ended up dead somewhere never knowing Salvation.  But God found him.  He should have been lonely for the rest of his life.  But God found him.  He should have turned into an angry drunk.  But God found him.  He should have become an abusive father. But God found him.  He should have been the most insecure man that found his security in drugs, alcohol and sex.  But...God found him.

Thank you God.

My Dad become pretty unrecognizable after God found him.  Full of hope and healing.  Full of purpose and destiny.  Eternity was hidden in his heart, and for the next 35+ years, he chased after Jesus with all his heart.

That's the man that I knew.  He always talked about Jesus as this person...this man that was apart of our family.  God was never this "thing" in the sky that was too far away for us to ever know.  God was always apart of our daily living.  Dad always tried his best to be the best example of Christ in our home.  I know he was always nervous that he wasn't the best Dad or husband, but I think what made him those things is his willingness to learn and grow when he wasn't his best.

I remember times when my Dad would tell stories about being a new Dad.  He was always afraid that he would be abusive like his father was.  He would say, "Sometimes I would have to walk out of the room and just leave you and your brother there to be sure I didn't hurt you."  That might be shocking to some, but to me I thought, "Are you kidding me?  You know how much BRAVERY that took?!  I am SO stinking proud of my Dad!!!!"  Dad never once hurt us...and I know it was because he chased after Jesus everyday to the best of his ability.  Not just for the sake or "doing" Christianity, but because he wanted to BE like Jesus.  That's the man I knew.

I say all this because I know this was a struggle for him even until the day he died.  A few days before he died, I remember him asking me, "Hannah, was I good father to you and John-Michael?"  I just wept with him and kept saying, "You were the best Dad I could have ever asked for."  He was so humble...and the only thing he ever wanted was to be like Jesus.  Yes, he made mistakes and wasn't perfect.  But you know, now that he's gone, all I can think of are the incredible things he's done!  And what an incredible man he was.

So that's what I wanted to share with you.  Not many people ask me these days what kind of man my Father was.  But without any hesitancy, I will always be able to say, "He was like Jesus."

I want to share something with you, and with any Dad or Mom reading this.  Here is a picture of the front page of a Bible my Dad gave to me when I was 11.  It was his preaching Bible and I treated it like treasure!  It has since been through a moldy basement and with tears I had to throw it away, but I saved the front page.

It reads:

To Hannah,
       My beautiful young woman that I love very much.  Learn at the feet of Jesus.  You'll never go wrong if you follow what I have told you.
                                                         Aug. 25, 1999

Dad always treated me as more than I ever was in the moment...and I know that is partly why I have grown into a beautiful young woman.  I always listened to my Dad...even when I didn't want to! :-)  And I still listen to my Dad now that he is no longer here on earth.  His words are still true.  How many can say, "Follow me as I follow Christ!" like what Paul told the 1st Century Church?  Because of my Dad's example, I want to be able to say this to my kids some day.

Lastly, I want to share a few pictures of me and my Dad with you.  These are some of my favourites.  I don't have alot from when I was a kid, but just imagine me shorter and Dad with more hair, lol!

Thank you for reading this.  I hope my Dad's life can keep rubbing off on people...even those that never knew him.

Thank you Dad for being human.  For making mistakes.  For getting things wrong sometimes.  And thank you most of all for showing me Jesus.  For apologizing when you were wrong, even though you didn't want to!  For showing me unconditional love and walking out of a room for fear you would hurt someone.  Thank you for always thinking of Heaven as your home.  Thank you for showing me what an incredible husband looks like and for treating Mom with so much love and respect.  Thank you for walking me down the isle and with every step whispering to me "You are the Bride of Christ.  You are pure and spotless," over and over again.  Thank you for teaching me how to be goofy.  Thank you for showing me I can be proud of who God created me to be, even though it will most of the time not make sense to others.  Thank you for being my Dad.  I love you Papa!
Love, Turkey-lips/Noodge-Baby/Puddin-head/Gorta

This is the picture of him whispering who I am, as we walked down the isle....he got to be quite the softy in his "old" age :-)