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August 28th deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

Job 28:1-30:31 / 2 Corinthians 2:12-17 / Psalm 42:1-11 / Proverbs 22:7

Standout Verse: 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ and through us, diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.  For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are perishing.  To the one we are the aroma of death and to the other we are the aroma of life leading to life.”

As we walk closely with the Lord, the natural “outflow” from our life spent with Him will be a permeating “fragrance” that others will notice.  Our lives will be attractive to some, drawing them to the Lord – a fragrance of LIFE (exciting!).

Others will be repelled by the same fragrance.  It’s good that we know this will happen, but we can’t allow it to affect us or influence us to change the way we are living. We simply need to acknowledge this reality, be “okay” with it as we continue to press on staying focused on the Lord.

The truth is, the different responses we will encounter from those around are beyond our control.  Knowing this frees us to concentrate on our job - to simply love God and love others well!

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August 27th deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

Job 23:1-27:23 / 2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11 / Psalm 41:1-13 / Proverbs 22:5-6

Standout verse:

Proverbs 22:5-6“Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; he who guards his soul will be far from them.  Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Yesterday’s Proverb talked about being prudent, foreseeing evil and removing ourselves from it before it messes us up.  Today’s Proverb again acknowledges the “thorns and snares” that life is sure to deal.  As parents, our job is to lean into the Lord as He promises to help us raise our children and build their lives on the strong foundation of His TRUTH.   We must guard their hearts and keep their minds safe, and at the same time, help them grow in wisdom, showing them how to identify the “thorns and snares” and make wise choices to keep themselves safe.

Satan would love us to believe that raising strong, Godly children is some unattainable, unrealistic “ideal” and no matter what we do or how much time we give to raising them, the best we can do is “cross our fingers” and hope for the best. That thinking is hopeless and overwhelming and causes us to give up, believing the culture is TOO strong to combat…secretly believing they’ll “probably have to go wayward” in order to “figure things out”.

CAN WE JUST KICK THAT THINKING TO THE CURB? WE HAVE THE GOD OF THE UNiVERSE ON OUR SIDE TO LEAD US AND GIVE US GREAT STRATEGIES TO RAISE STRONG, GODLY CHILDREN WHO WILL BECOME PASSIONATE LOVERS OF GOD AND OTHERS!

We must do everything we can to build strong foundations of truth for our children (in the early years) and WITH them until adulthood. Our main goal is to help them understand the vital importance of KNOWING and WALKING WITH their Heavenly Father – and, helping them understand that without Him, each one of us is toast! 

Teaching them Godly discernment, and equipping them to identify the strategies of the enemy unto making LIFE-SAVING CHOICES is a HUGE part of the training.  Helping them develop a hunger for the “good stuff” is KEY – teaching isn’t all about saying “NO”, its also about continuously exposing them to Godly things that are TRUE, NOBLE, JUST, LOVELY, AND OF GOOD REPORT. 

Yes, as our children grow they will surely make wrong choices and have to learn from the pain and consequences.  But the hope is, the lessons learned will be clear-cut and well understood.

As they experience the PEACE and FREEDOM that comes from making RIGHT CHOICES and learn to “love what is good and hate what is evil” THEY’LL BE ABLE TO WALK STRONG AND SURE-FOOTED THROUGH THEIR LIVES AND, THEIR PERSONAL DESIRE WILL BE TO CONTINUE ON WITH THE LORD AND NOT DEPART FROM HIM!  

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August 26th deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

Job 20:1-22:30 / 2 Corinthians 1:1-11 / Psalm 40:11-17 / Proverbs 22:2-4

Standout Verse:

Proverbs 22:3

“A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the naive walk into it and are punished.”

Evil WILL come our way, temptation WILL occur, and we must be PREPARED and WISE.  There is an enemy who wants nothing more than to “take us out” (come between us and the Lord).  Catching us off-guard and unprepared is one of the things he likes best. 

So, knowing this, the wisest, most prudent thing we can do is to have a plan in place for when we encounter evil.  We must make choices ahead of time and know where we stand so we can be steadfast and immovable when the heat comes.  If we are forward thinking we’ll be able to anticipate and turn the other direction, easily escaping what was meant to entangle us.

We have all made mistakes and, at times, have chosen the wrong path.  Hopefully, we learn from the consequences of our bad choices and gain wisdom from our failings.  Learning from our mistakes is definitely one way of gaining wisdom, but it’s not the best way, and it’s certainly not the easiest way.

God’s “A Plan” for us is that we trust Him, take Him at His word, and understand that His ways lead to LIFE and allow Him to guide us as we face evil and temptation so we stay safe. 

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August 25th deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

Job 16:1-19:29 / 1 Corinthians 16:1-24 / Psalm 40:1-10 / Proverbs 22:1

Standout Verse:

Psalm 40:9-10

“I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness in the great assembly; indeed I do not restrain my lips, O Lord, You Yourself know. I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed You lovingkindness and Your truth from the great assembly.”

Earlier in Psalm 40 it talks about how God hears our cries, and rescues us from a life of separation (here on earth and eternally) from Him.  This terrible separation is described as a horrible pit, and miry clay – neither sound appealing. It then tells how God saves us, sets us on solid ground (Himself) and gives us a "new song" – a beautiful testimony of His faithfulness, goodness and love for us.

Some Christians say, “My walk with the Lord is personal and private…I don’t like to discuss it.” OR “God and I have our own thing going, I’m uncomfortable talking publically about it.” However, if we really understand what we’ve been saved from, IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO BE SILENT.  If we have truly been set free,  understand what that means, and the massive blessings that come with this decision, we will be ready to passionately proclaim the saving, life-giving, lovingkindness of our Heavenly Father.

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August 24th deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

Job 12:1-15:35 / 1 Corinthians 15:29-58 / Psalm 39:1-13 / Proverbs 21:30-31

Standout verse:I Corinthians 15:58 - “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

Proverbs 21:31 - “The horse is prepared for battle, but deliverance is from the Lord.”

Both of these verses allude to preparation and hard work with the belief that, as we prepare, walk with the Lord and are diligent, the Lord won’t allow our efforts to be in vain.  God calls us to listen to Him, and steadfastly determine to do the things He has created us for – NO COMPROMISE!

We need to trust that God is working behind the scenes in ways we can’t see.  His timing is perfect – He has the PERFECT PERSPECTIVE – the “aerial view” and knows exactly what He is doing!  We must stay faithful - not growing wearing in doing good, knowing that in due time (His perfect timing) we will reap IF we don’t lose heart (2 Thess 3:13).

When we find ourselves in a season of waiting, it’s super important to remember this: God HAS NOT FORGOTTEN US (That’s a lie straight from the enemy)! He is involved in the smallest details and is working things together for good beyond our line of sight.  PROMOTION AND DELIVERANCE COME FROM HIM…all we need to do is trust Him, obey Him, keep our eyes on Him and continue to work with hope-filled expectation!

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August 23rd deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

Job 8:1-11:20 / 1 Corinthians 15:1-28 / Psalm 38:1-22 / Proverbs 21:28-29

Standout Verse: JOB

A great New Testament backdrop to the book of Job can be found in Romans 8:28, “And we know all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose”. While this is a beautiful verse of life-giving truth, it can also be one of the hardest verses in the Bible to truly believe– especially when we are in the middle of pain and heartache.  None-the-less it’s a truth we MUST STAND ON AND BE SURE OF as we walk through this life in our broken bodies in this fallen world.

Sometimes, due to negligence and poor choices, we can find ourselves facing poverty, sickness and loneliness. BUT, sometimes, things happen that are beyond our control. It’s in these times that we find must cling to the TRUTH we know about our Heavenly Father: He loves us deeply, wants GOOD THINGS for us, and PROMISES that even in famine and drought, “our shoes will never wear out” and our “leaves will continue to be green.”  When we remember this, we can plant our feet firmly and choose to TRUST Him with everything we have (and everything we don’t have) no matter what we are facing.

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August 22nd deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

Job 4:1-7:21 / 1 Corinthians 14:20-40 / Psalm 37:30-40 / Proverbs 21:27

Standout Verse:

1 Corinthians 14:33
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.”

 …Just a few of God’s awesome characteristics:

He loves PEACE and offers it to us!

His ways are CLEAR and SIMPLE

He is MERCIFUL, KIND, and LOVING

He is just and wants us to live RIGHT!

He loves REBUILING AND RESTORING people’s hearts and lives

He ALWAYS FORGIVES

He is abundantly PATIENT

He wants HIS BEST for us

When we encounter situations that breed confusion, frustration, and strife, we must slow down and identify what is really happening.  Satan is the author of confusion.  He specializes in wide spread ‘marketing and distribution” of lies, and deception as he tries to disorient our thinking, dull us to God’s truth and get us off track.

So, when we find ourselves in a place where we are experiencing anxiety, disorder and confusion, we need to stop and say, “Lord, I know and believe that YOU ARE THE AUTHOR OF PEACE. What I am experiencing right now is opposite of who You are.  Help me identify what is going on here so I can get YOUR PERSPECTIVE and see the things I need to see so I can start walking in the PEACE THAT CAN ONLY COME FROM YOU!”  

We then must wait EXPECTANTLY for the Lord, knowing that though we may be confused, He is NEVER confused.  We can trust Him to bring CLARITY to our situation and show us whatever strategies we’ll need to walk forward in “the shoes of peace” (Part of the Armor of God…Ephesians 6:15)!

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August 21st deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

Job 1:1-3:26 / 1 Corinthians 14:1-19 / Psalm 37:12-29 / Proverbs 21:25-26

Standout Verse:
Psalm 37:16
“ A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.”

It‘s always good to stop and take a look at what it is we value.  It can be a hard task in this crazy world we live in which tells us that success in life is measured by our bank accounts, the size of our homes, the school we attend, and the clothes we wear.  The crazier thing is, we find ourselves taking the bait as we strive to measure our worth by these same standards.  When we don’t match up, we are left “wanting”, insecure and unsatisfied.  If we do match up, we can find ourselves resting in a false sense of security, doing all we can to “hang on”, keep up appearances and maintain our “success”.

The thing is, it takes a HUGE amount of TIME, ENERGY and MENTAL FOCUS to keep up with the ever-changing value system the world advertises.  And, if we buy into what it is selling, we will find ourselves running on an ever-spinning “hamster wheel” trying to satisfy ourselves while the most important things (The REAL GOLD and RICHES) are waiting on the sidelines neglected. 

God’s measuring stick of TRUE RICHES AND SUCCESS have nothing to do with what the world tells us to value – He loves simple, uncomplicated living: Seeking first the Kingdom of God (our relationship with Him – His heart for us, others and the world); allowing that to change the way we see all of our relationships (marriage, parenting, friendships, the world around us). 

If these are the things we are pursing wholeheartedly, we’ll experience real joy, true peace, close friendships and deep purpose - we’ve already won the GOLD!  

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August 20th deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

Esther 8:1-10:3 / 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 / Psalm 37:1-11 / Proverbs 21:23-24

Standout verse:1 Corinthians 13:1 & 13

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become a sounding brass or a clanging symbol.  (V.13) And now abide, faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

This chapter is completely focused on the great importance of loving others – THE SECOND GREATEST COMMANDMENT.  The world we live in directly opposes this and tries to shape our thinking to be otherwise, telling us, “as long as we look like we’re being loving we are good”.  We’ve become used to living with SELF in the center and are consumed with “getting and taking” rather than “giving and loving”.

God tells us that no matter how “spiritually” educated we are, no matter how our “church resume” looks, no matter how many things we volunteer for, if we aren’t LOVING PEOPLE WELL and serving them, we are missing the boat…it adds up to nothing.  In fact, it’s confusing to those around us.

THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT IS TO LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART, SOUL, MIND AND STRENGTH. If we are engaged in that KEY relationship with Him, there will be a natural outflowing of authentic love, compassion and a concern for the well-being of others. We won’t have to try to drum it up or strive to keep it going, it will just come!

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August 19th deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

Esther 4:1-7:10 / 1 Corinthians 12:1-31 / Psalm 36:1-12 / Proverbs 21:21-22

Standout Verse:

Esther 4:14

“…Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

This sentence is worded as a question but is actually a statement.  Mordecai is speaking his niece, Esther, wanting her to understand that she was born at JUST THE RIGHT TIME to do JUST THE RIGHT THINGS that God had specifically created her for.

Esther knew it wasn’t merely because of her beauty that she was given a privileged position.  She had no idea how everything was going to unfold, but she chose to trust God.  She patiently walked in obedience and integrity and kept her ear tuned to the Lord’s voice.  And, as she walked in His timing, she was used in a miraculous way; saving the Jewish nation from destruction!

We need to truly get ahold of the FACT that each one of us was handcrafted by God to live in this world RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW to be a part of the great and marvelous things He is doing.  When the gifts, talents and purposes God poured into us as He was making us collide with the timing of when He chose to put us on this earth, exceedingly abundant things can happen!  No one made by God is a mistake – He didn’t build any one to be overlooked and He hates to see anyone of us “sitting on the sidelines”. 

The key to living the purpose-filled life our Heavenly Father created us for is to deeply believe that God made us to experience an ever-growing relationship with Him so we can know Him, learn the sound of His voice and TRUST Him for each step we take.  If we are living our lives with Him at the center, we can be assured that we will become the very people He designed us to be! We don’t have to see how it will all unfold to believe it – we can believe it because He says it’s true, and we can embrace the peace He offers as He is working all things for our good behind the scenes, beyond our line of sight. 

As Christians we have the incredible privilege everyday to wake up and ask our Heavenly Father to show us the things He wants us to do, the people He wants us to connect with, the places He wants us to go. As we walk in faith and obedience, resting in His PERFECT TIMING we can be EXPECTANT, knowing that He put us on the earth at the PERFECT time in history, FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS!!  SO EXCITING!

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