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July 31st deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

2 Chronicles 29:1-36 / Romans 14:1-23 / Psalm 24:1-10 / Proverbs 20:12

Standout Verse:

2 Chronicles 29:

“And he(Hezekiah) said to them, “Hear me Levites!  Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers and carry out the rubbish from the holy place.  For our fathers have trespassed and done evil in the eyes of the Lord our God; they have forsaken Him, have turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the Lord, and turned their backs on Him”.

Israel had become dull. Over time they had stopped seeking their God, intermarried with the inhabitants of the land and polluted their culture with the customs and gods of the surrounding people. No longer did they remember their awesome God who freed them from slavery, parted the the Red Sea, lead them by cloud and fire and helped them take the land He’d promised them.

King Hezekiah caught the vision once again – God’s vision for this great nation that had been blurred for many years. He “cleaned house” and inspired the people to return to the Lord and seek Him wholeheartedly. 

Sometimes we can find ourselves in a place where we’ve lost God’s vision for our lives.  Usually this happens over a period of time - we stop seeking Him, our time gets filled with all manner of distractions, our hearts get pulled in all kinds of directions, we forget who God is and His great faithfulness over and over in our lives – we become dulled to Him and the plans and purposes He created us for…we lose the vision.

That’s when we need a Hezekiah “house clean” – a shot in the arm, a good ‘ole kick in the pants!  As we read these LIVING AND ACTIVE passages in the WORD, let us hear what the Lord is saying to us TODAY!  He’s calling us to REMEMBER.  Remember Him, WHO HE IS, HIS GREAT LOVE FOR US, And the PLANS HE HAS FOR US AND THROUGH US. 

Getting back on track with the Lord is only ONE choice away.  HE’S WAITING WITH ARMS OPEN WIDE TO HELP US GET CLEAN, STAY CLEAN AND WALK CLOSELY WITH HIM- ALL THE WAY, NO END IN SIGHT – GET INSPIRED!!  

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July 30th deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

2 Chronicles 26:1-28:27 / Romans 13:1-14 / Psalm 23:1-6 / Proverbs 20:11

Standout verse:

2 Chronicles 26:16“But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up, for he transgressed against the Lord His God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the alter.”King Uzziah had become successful, well known throughout the land, and victorious over his enemies – all by the hand of God.  Yet, despite God’s faithful provision, Uzziah’s heart became lifted up and he began to see his achievements as his own, rather than due to the Lord.  As pride crept in and took hold, Uzziah lost his “need” for and dependence on God – he felt he was able to rule over his kingdom in his own strength.  The outworking of his pride was displayed as he took it upon himself to burn incense in the temple – a job strictly limited to the priests of the line of Aaron.  The Lord resisted Uzziah and struck him with leprosy, resulting in him having to live in isolation for the rest of his life.  

Many times we find ourselves in seasons of dependence on the Lord for virtually everything – usually seasons of desperation.  Then, when things begin to go well, we can tend to slip into an attitude that says, “thanks God, I’ve got it from here” and we lose our desperation for Him.  Then, when things get tough again, we cry out to the Lord and ask for His help. 

If we find ourselves in this kind of cycle, we can usually boil it all down to the fact that we’ve allowed pride to creep into our hearts causing us to “utilize” the Lord on an “as needed” basis – “sometimes I need Him, sometimes I’m just fine without Him”.  Things never go well that way…we end up in a “wreck” and wonder how in the world we got there. 

God gets mad FOR us when we live this way – HIS BEST FOR US IS THAT WE CHOOSE TO WALK CLOSELY WITH HIM, not because He needs the attention, but because He is our Loving Heavenly Father who made us, knows us and wants to lead us in the amazing plans and purposes He created us for.  HE DESPERATELY WANTS THINGS TO GO WELL FOR US BECAUSE HE LOVES US!

Let’s learn to quickly identify our own pride and recognize it for what it is.  It’s us believing we are capable of handling things on our own; needing to be in control instead of resting in, relying on and walking in a deliberate, consistent, daily relationship with the Lord.  

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July 29th deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

2 Chronicles 24:1-25:28 / Romans 12:1-21 / Psalm 22:19-31 / Proverbs 20:8-10

Standout verse:Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Everyone agrees the ‘renewal of the mind’ sounds like a good thing. We can all recall times when we’ve wanted our minds to be refreshed and renewed.  Usually when we’re feeling this way we can find ourselves thinking, “wouldn’t a vacation be perfect right now… If I could spend a few days ‘vegging out’ on the beach, I’d feel so much better.” That’s the world’s answer to renewal.

God promises that we can be renewed and refreshed DAILY. He is talking about the transforming power of His Word as we open it up each day and take in His truth. Knowing WHO our Heavenly father is and His unshakeable, unchangingtruth, equips us, strengthens us and gives us “God confidence” (as opposed to self-confidence).  We find ourselves refreshed and armed with strategies,  confident in the Lord’s loving heart toward us and settled on His promises to provide us with everything we need for each day. 

That is the real stuff that will sustain us and renew us. It’s real and it’s available to us each and every day 100% free of charge!!

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

2 Chronicles 21:1-23:21 / Romans 11:11-36 / Psalm 22:1-18 / Proverbs 20:7

Standout Verse:

Psalm 22:5

“They cried to You, and were delivered. They trusted You and were not ashamed”.

It’s no news flash that tough things will happen as we walk this life. It’s a broken world in which we live and it’s inevitable that at some point, we will face painful challenges and experiences. As believers, WE MUST KNOW WHERE TO TURN and WHAT THE TRUTH IS in order to stand firm and to not allow our hearts to be swayed. In tough seasons we must cry out to the Lord and settle the fact in our hearts that:

HE’S COMPLETELY AWARE OF OUR SITUATION (Psalm 46:1)

HE’LL NEVER LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US (Hebrews 13:5)

HE IS WORKING ALL THINGS OUT FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE HIM (Romans 8:28)

We are a people who walk by faith and not by sight. We don’t always see everything that is going on behind the scenes.  Sometimes our trust in God can seem ridiculous to others (just like Joshua and the Israelites who marched around Jericho). But, as we simply put one foot in front of the other and keep walking by faith without demanding that God would explain what’s going to happen, we will see miracles and “breakthrough” happen. The peace of God will fill our hearts as we watch God “make a way in the wilderness”, tear down walls and bring deliverance to seemingly impossible circumstances.  OUR HEAVENLY FATHER WILL ALWAYS COME THROUGH – HE’LL NEVER LET US DOWN!!

Hebrews 13:6 – “So we may boldly say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?”

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

2 Chronicles 19:1-20:37 / Romans 10:14-11:10 / Psalm 21:1-13 / Proverbs 20:4-6

Standout verse:

2 Chronicles 20:12“O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”

When faced with opposition, the first thing Jehoshaphat did was go before the Lord in prayer, humbly asking for His saving power and deliverance from the powerful army that was positioned to strike. Clearly, in his flesh, Jehoshaphat didn’t have a clue how his people would be able to defeat their enemy or escape from the impending attack. Even so, he was determined to walk through this challenge standing steadfastly on God’s truth and His past track record of faithfulness.

He chose to fight the battle with the weapons of faith, prayer, fasting and spoken praise. He trusted that God was able to deliver His people and, that His power would be a sign and wonder throughout Judah.

When we find ourselves facing incredible odds, when the outcome seems impossible or the attack seems too strong, we need to realize that God is waiting for us to run to Him. He wants to use these situations to build our faith as He demonstrates His faithfulness and power.

LET’S CHOSE TO RUN TO THE LORD FIRST WHEN WE FACE OPPOSITION - keeping our eyes upon Him and His power instead of the intimidating circumstances; asking Him to fill us and strengthen us with His truth. When we do this, we allow Him to move in mighty ways that our finite minds cannot fathom!

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

2 Chronicles 17:1-18:34 / Romans 9:25-10:13 / Psalm 20:1-9 / Proverbs 20:2-3

Standout Verse:

Psalm 20: 7

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.”

All it takes is turning on the news each night to see how topsy turvy our world is.  The economy is a high-speed rollercoaster that can be in our favor one day and against us the next.  Gas prices, Housing prices, bank loans, jobs/joblessness, unexpected layoffs, the “promise” of employment with a degree in higher education… all of these “systems” (the “horses and chariots” of our times) have been set up around us and we are told that we must rely on them in order to “make it”, become successful and find security in this world.  The problem is, these systems are ever-changing and unstable.

OUR AWESOME GOD IS THE ONLY THING WE CAN TRULY COUNT ON AND MEASURE OUR WORTH BY.  He is true, lasting, faithful, reliable, NEVER-CHANGING, and steadfast through the ages.  HIS GREAT LOVE FOR US NEVER FAILS and He promises never to leave us or forsake us even in the most trying times. 

Let’s place our trust in Him, look to Him and keep our hearts and minds fully devoted to Him, because no matter what is going on around us, He will give us His perspective on the world’s systems of “security and success” and provide EXACTLY what we need in the midst of them. 

GOD IS OUR ULTIMATE SOURCE, OUR GREAT AND MIGHTY PROVIDER – JEHOVAH JIREH!  As we seek Him, He promises to to give us the strength and strategies to walk through any “battle”, financial crisis, job loss, or economic downturn we are facing.  This is AWESOME news we can stake our hearts and lives on!

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

2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14 / Romans 9:1-24 / Psalm 19:1-14 / Proverbs 20:1

Standout Verse:

2 Chronicles 15:2&15

“And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him, “Hear me Asa, the Lord is with you while you are with Him.  If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. (V.15) And Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him with all their soul, and He was found by them…”

Very simple and straight forward.  God clearly tells His people over and over again that WHEN WE SEEK HIM HE WILL BE FOUND. He’s not hiding, He’s not stand-offish.

If we turn our backs, choose to walk away and forsake Him, He won’t stop us.  He will give us over to those things that we desire and allow us to pursue the things our heart longs for.  His hope is that we will come to our senses and realize the deep emptiness of a life apart from Him.  And, if we return to Him with yielded hearts and an authentic desire to pursue Him, He will be there ready and waiting to receive us back (remember the father in the story of the prodigal son…a beautiful picture of God’s Father Heart for each of us!).

He created us with a free will that isn’t controlled.  A relationship with our Heavenly Father is a decision on our end to seek the Him and yield our hearts to Him – He’s already made the decision on His end…the answer is “YES”…He is steadfast, always here and absolutely wants us to experience and enjoy a relationship with Him!

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

2 Chronicles 11:1-13:22 / Romans 8:24-39 / Psalm 18:35-50 / Proverbs 19:27-29

Standout verse:2nd Chronicles 12:1

“Now it came to pass when Rehoboam had established the kingdom and had strengthened himself, that he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel along with him.”

Rehoboam represents a “roller coaster” way of living.  A few verses prior to this talk about how he “walked in the ways of David and Solomon for the first three years of his reign” and that he strengthened the kingdom of Judah.  When times were tough and he was vulnerable and desperate for help, he turned to the Lord.  Yet, when he felt stronger and “up on his feet”, he no longer felt the deep need to walk closely with Him.  He quickly developed a “thanks God, I’ve got it from here” attitude.  

When his heart shifted away from the Lord, things quickly took a downhill turn.  Because he’d turned from God, he’d left himself and his people wide open to enemy attack.  The king of Egypt came against Jerusalem with a vast army and threatened to destroy them. 

With trouble surrounding him, Rehoboam realized his pride, humbled himself and turned back to the Lord.  God was gracious toward Rehoboam - He heard his cries for help, saw his humbled heart and received him back. 

After a period of time, when he was “out of the woods” and his situation improved, his heart turned away AGAIN.  The last verses of chapter 12 say, “And he (Rehoboam) did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord.”  A sad way to finish.

Rehoboam’s life is a great example of “how NOT to live”. Up, down, twisting here and there depending on what season we are in and/or level of difficulty (or ease) we are facing. 

The deal is this: this kind of living is completely unbeneficial and unhealthy.  It’s confusing, damaging and TOTALLY NOT WORTH IT.  Though our God is gracious and will receive us back when our hearts are humbled and yielded, this lifestyle is absolutely NOT His best for us.  HIS BEST FOR US IS TO GET CLOSE AND STAY CLOSE TO HIM IN EVERY SEASON, difficult and easy. 

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

2 Chronicles 8:11-10:19 / Romans 8:12-23 / Psalm 18:16-34 / Proverbs 19:26

Standout verse:

Psalm 18:28-34

“For You O Lord will light my lamp.  The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.  For by You I can run against a troop.  By my God I can leap over a wall.  As for my God, His way is perfect.  The word of the Lord is proven – He is a shield to those who trust Him.

(v. 32) It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.  He makes my feet like the feet of a deer and sets me in high places.  He teaches my hands to make war so my arms can bend a bow of bronze.”

SUCH GOOD TRUTH…these are some particularly cool highlights:

1. Our God LIGHTS OUR WAY in the darkness

2. He gives us SUPERNATURAL strength to face challenges

3. He SHIELDS and PROTECTS those who put their trust in Him

4. Like a deer on a steep, rocky mountain ledge, He equips us to walk through HIGH LEVEL challenges.

5. He TEACHES US and EQUIPS US to FIGHT for those things in our lives that are most precious (Our relationship with Him, our marriages, our children, our families, our friendships, etc…)

LORD, YOU ARE SO FAITHFUL!  Thank You for Your awesome promises to us!  We want what You have for us!

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

2 Chronicles 6:12-8:10 / Romans 7:13-8:11 / Psalm 18:1-15 / Proverbs 19:24-25

Standout verse:

Psalm 18:2-3

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength in whom I trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.”

Sometimes life can feel so overwhelming and draining, but in the midst of difficulties, we must CHOOSE to stand on the FACT that YOUR WORD IS TRUE AND YOU WILL PROVIDE ALL THAT WE NEED TO HANDLE ANY SITUATION.  There is nothing that we are facing that is too difficult for You God!  You are our fortress, our deliverer, our shield, and our stronghold. 

Challenges, difficulties, sadness, and sickness are a part of living in a fallen world.  But, the great news is, that as we walk through these times (Psalm 23), YOU ARE EVER-PRESENT (ALWAYS WITH US) and YOU CAN BE COMPLETELY TRUSTED! YOU PROMISE TO GIVE US EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED to walk through any situation or season peacefully.

As we meditate on this TRUTH and stand securely on it.  Lord, let our faith arise!

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