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

2 Kings 15:1-16:20 / Acts 19:11-41 / Psalm 147:1-20 / Proverbs 18:4-5

Standout Verse:
2 Kings 15:34-35
“And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord; he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done.  However, the high places were not removed and the people still sacrificed and burned incense in the high places.”

1st and 2nd Kings is filled with commentaries just like this one – stories of kings with good intentions, who started out well with their hearts pointed toward the Lord, but in the end they weren’t fully sold out to Him.  They trashed most of the idols of the land – the obvious ones – and tore down the sacred pillars thinking that would be good enough, but they allowed the high places to remain.

High places are those less obvious, private, things no one can see – but they do exist and they do affect us (our thoughts, beliefs, actions), and if they aren’t completely removed, they will lead to compromise in our walk with the Lord.  Compromise stinks because in the end, we are the ones who get ripped off due to the fact that we’ll never fully experience all that the Lord has for us.

Let’s ask the Lord to show us areas in our lives where we have allowed the high places to remain so we can identify them and remove them, allowing us to walk FREE and grow closer to the Lord.  Whole-hearted, sold out, fully devoted - that’s when things can really get exciting!

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

2 Kings 13:1-14:29 / Acts 18:24-19:10 / Psalm 146:1-10 / Proverbs 18:2-3

Standout Verse: Psalm 146:5-9

“Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God who made Heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps forever, who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.  The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.  The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous!”

This Psalm describes the fact that God is the Creator of the Universe – HE IS ALL-POWERFUL, AND, AT THE SAME TIME, HE IS ALSO ALL-PERSONAL!  He cares about the details of our lives.  He isn’t distant, vague or hap-hazard.  He’s a loving and caring God that has good things for His children.  He rejoices when we understand and take hold of the fact that He wants to walk WITH us through this life!   He opens people’s eyes to His truth, and by it, they are set FREE from all manner of things that have kept them captive (addictions, secret sin, etc.)

Happiness, joy and deeply rooted peace are available to those who open their hearts to Him. What amazing TRUTH we can stake our lives on!

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

2 Kings 11:1-12:21 / Acts 18:1-23 / Psalm 145:1-21 / Proverbs 18:1

Standout Verse:
Psalm 145: 8-9, 15-16
“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.  The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. (V.15) The eyes of all look expectantly to You and You give them their food in due season.  You open Your hand and satisfy every living thing.”

These verses are packed with beautiful truth about our God!  His character is incredible.  It’s mind-blowing that we get to walk each day with our Heavenly Father who is:

GRACIOUS

FULL OF COMPASSION

SLOW TO ANGER

GREATLY & TENDERLY MERCIFUL

GOOD, GOOD, GOOD!!!!

OUR PROVIDER

This is who our God is.  He offers us ABUNDANT LIFE.  He promises never to leave or forsake us.  He promises to walk each and every day with us.  He has great plans and purposes for each of our lives.  HE OFFERS US ALL THESE THINGS FREE OF CHARGE.  All He requires is that we open our hearts, minds and lives to Him and allow Him to lead and direct our paths and show us the incredible things He made us for when He knit us together for such a time as this!

We’d be crazy not to take Him up on this offer!  Let’s not get ripped off – Let’s dive in to the relationship He’s extended to us…Let’s allow the Lord to make us the people He created us to be!

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

2 Kings 9:14 -10:36 / Acts 17:1-34 / Psalm 144:1-15 / Proverbs 17:27-28

Standout verse:2 Kings 10:31“But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart; for he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam who made Israel sin.”

Jehu is an example of “religiosity”.  He had completely ‘cleaned house’ and killed off Ahab’s entire family line as well as ridded the land of the priests and worshippers of Baal.  His actions were righteous, noble, and fulfilled the prophesies of Elijah, however, he had no relationship with the Lord therefore the effects of his “good deeds” were temporary and didn’t lead to lasting change in his heart OR the hearts of the people.  RELIGION WITHOUT RELATIONSHIP LEADS TO EMPTINESS, CONFUSION AND SEPARATION FROM THE LORD.  Jehu, like many of us, “get the apple cart before the horse” – we try to do all the “stuff” we think Christians should be doing, running around trying to ‘save’ the world.  However, if our actions aren’t flowing out of a deep and intimate relationship with the Lord and we’re trying to do “good stuff’ in our own strength, we end up swimming in a pool of religion - our lives simply end up not working, and we find ourselves dazed and confused.

BUT, when our RELATIONSHIP with our heavenly Father is the TOP priority in our lives, our actions will begin to reflect what is going on in our hearts.  As we spend time with Him, we begin to hear His voice as He leads and directs our path.  We get fueled by the things God is doing in us and the strength He is giving to us that enable us to do the things He’s calling us to.  That’s when things start to get really good and the effects of our efforts produce long-lasting fruit that impacts our lives and the lives of those around us! 

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

2 Kings 8:1-9:13 / Acts 16:16-40 / Psalm 143:1-12 / Proverbs 17:26

Standout verse:Acts 16:25“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the prisoners were listening to them…”

Paul and Silas had just been attacked, slandered, beaten severely with rods, thrown into the dark hole of a prison, and were chained to the wall in stocks.  Yet, in the midst of this overwhelming persecution, they were awake at midnight speaking and singing praise to their God. Despite their circumstances, they chose to praise the Lord and keep their eyes fully focused on Him.  I’m sure they weren’t in denial about their present reality, they simply chose to deal with their situation completely dependent on and yielded to the purposes of their Father, knowing that He held the only answer to their predicament.  They were choosing not to process their present situation in their own strength and understanding, but through the Lord and His strength and understanding.

Their ability to rise above the intensity of their circumstances is inspiring!  It would be so easy to focus on any one of those things and get dejected, filled with fear, or overwhelmed with hopelessness.  This story is an encouraging example of how when we focus on God and His power with praise and expectancy, rather than focusing on circumstances and trials through our own human eyes, we open the door to breakthrough and freedom.  God wants us to see Him as our source.  He is able to show us His hand of provision, protection and deliverance from even the most desperate of circumstances.

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

2 Kings 6:1-7:20 / Acts 15:30-16:15 / Psalm 142:1-7 / Proverbs 17:24-25

Standout verses:II Kings 7 – The Syrians lay siege to Samaria.

This story shows how God is able to turn around what looks like an impossible situation - from a human perspective - with ease. God is all-powerful and the King of creative strategies! He caused the Syrian army to abandon their highly effective siege of Samaria, with what sounded like chariots, horses and the stampeding of a 'great army'. The Syrians were driven back and the siege was ended by nothing more than clever sound effects! Who could have made up such a simple solution to what seemed an impossible problem? Only our God!

Sometimes we find ourselves in the midst of problems and challenges that seem overwhelming and impossible. We can find ourselves getting crippled with discouragement at times due to our limited, human perspective. But we need to remember that our Father in heaven loves us, has a plan for our lives and is backing us – we need to stand on this promise! From His perspective, what seems impossible is an opportunity for Him to build our faith as we trust in His power, provision and strategies! Let us be confident in the mighty, creative, strategic hand of our God!

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

2 Kings 4:18-5:27 / Acts 15:1-29 / Psalm 141:1-10 / Proverbs 17:23

 

2 Kings 1-15
The Story of Naaman

 

Naaman needed physical healing, but more than that, God wanted to address the pride that was in his heart so it could be removed because it was blocking Naaman from freely obeying God and receiving His best for him.

 

Pride is a cancer that can slowly cripple our lives and come between us and the Lord.  If left “undiagnosed” it will compromise the great things God wants to do in us and and through us as it affects our hearts, minds, attitudes, relationships, finances - even our God given dreams and visions.

 

God wants His children to be, think, and operate as healthy individuals.  Pride cannot co-exist in our hearts if we want to walk strong in the great things God has for us. 

 

To effectively combat pride, we must regularly schedule “check ups” and humbly ask the Lord to show us if we are walking in humility (with Him in the center) or in pride (with “self” in the center).

 

What's great is, if we slow down long enough to listen, He promises to show us the condition of our heart (because He loves us and wants His best for us!) so we can quickly identify and remove any root of pride that seeks to spread compromise throughout our hearts and lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

2 Kings 3:1-4:17 / Acts 14:8-28 / Psalm 140:1-13 / Proverbs 17:22
Standout Verse: 2 Kings 4:1-7

The story of Elisha, the widow, and the jar of oil

This is an amazing story of God’s faithful, unfailing provision.  This woman found herself in extremely difficult circumstances brought on by the death of her husband.  The threat of having her children taken from her loomed large due to her terrible financial situation and lack of assets.  The only thing she had left was a small jar of oil.

Elisha’s first question to her was “what DO you have?”  He knew that God wasn’t a mean, un-caring God who had abandoned this desperate woman.  He knew that God wanted to show Himself powerful in this woman’s life in a way that only He could do. As she stepped out in faith and obeyed the word of the Lord delivered through Elisha, God multiplied the little jar of oil in a massive way. In the end, the woman and her sons found themselves with an abundance of oil – enough to pay off all their debts and live on for a long time to come.

This story is so fun!  When we find ourselves in times of desperation, when our resources are at an all time low, we need to train ourselves to default to thinking on God’s TRUTH instead of falling for the lies the enemy wants to use to breed hopelessness and discouragment causing us to think God doesn’t care about us or our circumstances. 

GOD’S TRUTH is this:

1.  HE IS GOOD

2.  HE HAS A PLAN FOR US

3.  HE CARES ABOUT US DEEPLY

4.  HE WILL WALK WITH US THROUGH EVERY SITUATION EVERY STEP OF THE WAY (He will NEVER leave us or forsake us)!

5.  HE WILL GIVE US GREAT STRATEGIES IF WE WILL PUT OUR TRUST IN HIM AND BE EXPECTANT FOR THE THINGS HE WANTS TO SHOW US AND THE WAYS HE WANTS TO GROW US!

6.  HIS WAYS AND THOUGHTS ARE HIGHER THAN OURS.  Sometimes our human minds can’t figure out what He is doing exactly, but we can rest confidently knowing that what He is doing behind the scenes is ALWAYS in order to grow our faith in Him by way of showing us His loving, miraculous, creative power!

The FIRST thing we should ask ourselves when we are in a situation where are resources are super low is this, “OKAY, WHAT DO I HAVE?”  This requires us to stop looking around, lamenting over all the things we DON’T have and fix our minds on what we DO have (i.e. what God HAS provided).  As we do this, God gets excited and says, “Alright, now we can get this party started!” 

As we look to Him EXPECTANTLY for His strategies and say to Him, “What do You want to do Lord…I’m excited to see what You have planned for this situation”, HE WILL SHOW US THINGS, GIVE US GREAT IDEAS WE COULD NEVER HAVE THOUGHT OF ON OUR OWN, and BLOW OUR MINDS AS HE TAKES SOMETHING SMALL and/or INSIGNIFICANT AND MAKES IT GROW AND MULTIPLY FOR OUR BENEFIT AND FOR HIS GLORY! FUN STUFF!!!

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

2 Kings 1:1-2:25 / Acts 13:42-14:7 / Psalm 139:1-24 / Proverbs 17:19-21

Standout verse:Psalm 139

This is an AWESOME Psalm that talks about the workmanship and detailed creation of each of us individually.  OUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS THE ULTIMATE MASTER CRAFTSMAN who has created each of us with a PLAN, a PURPOSE and a DESTINY. As we pursue a deep, intimate relationship with our Maker, He will lead us into the purposes He has uniquely created us for.

Psalm 139 is a beautiful word picture of UNSHAKEABLE TRUTH for us to STAND ON when the enemy tries to persuade us to think that God is uninvolved, “way up high in the sky”, doesn’t have time for us, or has no real plans or purposes for our lives. We must TRASH THOSE LIES and embrace God’s awesome truth!

Standout verse:Psalm 139:23&24“Search me O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Here is another great verse from Psalm 139 that talks about laying our hearts and lives open before the Lord. David is yielding to the Lord with a teachable spirit, asking Him to examine him, and reveal to him areas that need work, as well as areas that are anxiety-filled rather than faith-filled.  If we are serious about laying our lives out before the Lord like David was, we need to be prepared to spend time with Him so we can hear what He is saying. As He reveals things to us, we should write them down (as David did) as a clear reference point and reminder of the things He has shown us.

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

1 Kings 22:1-53 / Acts 13:13-41 / Psalm 138:1-8 / Proverbs 17:17-18

Standout Verse:
Psalm 138: 3 & 7-8
“In the day when I cried out to You, You answered me and made me BOLD with STRENGTH IN MY SOUL. (V. 7&8) Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me.  You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me.  The Lord will PERFECT that which concerns me.”

Lots of promises here…As we cry out to the Lord in times of need, He will strengthen us and give us the boldness we need to face down any adversity we encounter.  Even in the midst of trials we can rest assured that our Heavenly Father is right there with us, and, as we ask Him, He will give us the strength we need and show us specific strategies that will help us navigate challenges.

If we are deliberately listening to the Lord, asking Him to lead us, and obeying the things He is calling us to do, we can be assured that He will stand against our enemies, breakthrough adversities and PERFECT the things He has for us to do in these days we are living in.  No enemy, no scheme…NOTHING can stop the work God wants to do in us and through us!  WHAT PEACE-GIVING, LIFE-GIVING, CONFIDENCE-BUILDING TRUTH!

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