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

2 Chronicles 4:1-6:11 / Romans 7:1-12 / Psalm 17:1-15 / Proverbs 19:22-23

Standout verse:
Psalm 17:5 “Uphold my steps in Your paths, that my footsteps may not slip.”

Our daily relationship is so important if we want to walk in His ways step by step.  Satan has a plan to distract us and throw us off the path that God wants us to walk.  If we aren’t in consistent fellowship with the Lord with a deliberate plan to pursue Him, know Him, and hear His voice, we become vulnerable to the enemy’s strategies to “take us out”.Even as Christians, we can walk apart from the Lord.  This doesn’t mean we don’t love the Lord or have a passion for Him; it doesn’t mean we aren’t saved.  It simply means that this world is continually competing for our attention and our affection and unless we are intentional and purposeful in our relationship with the Lord, we are opening the door wide open to things that would ‘cause our feet to slip’.  Time alone with the Lord at the start of the day, connecting with Him by reading His word (the Bible), through prayer, thanksgiving, and fellowship are vital if we want to stay in step with the things He has planned and purposed for us.

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

2 Chronicles 1:1-3:17 / Romans 6:1-23 / Psalm 16:1-11 / Proverbs 19:20-21

Romans 6: 11-13

“Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus out Lord.  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as being instruments of righteousness to God”.

Each day consists of a series of decisions. Sometimes we move so quickly through our days that we aren't conscious of the fact that we've even been making decisions.  We get so used to “doing our own thing” and “calling the shots”, we can forget WHO we are.  If we are Christians, we are no longer on our own – Christ lives in us and with us - a powerful team! He makes us ALIVE to the things of God and DEAD to sin!

All through the Bible there are stories of God's people (individuals and groups) who got themselves off track by making decisions based on their own desires and ideas. They forgot who they were and whose they were and, it didn't go well for them as they left God out of the equation.

As we slow down our speeding hearts, listen to Him and choose to do what He's saying then we find LIFE. As we seek Him, through His word, we find general truths that are utterly vital and life–giving!  We also find specific truths He knows we need for our day and for the decisions we need to make moment by moment.

It's mind blowing to realize that the God of the universe has specific plans, thoughts and direction for EACH of US, TODAY! This life truly is an adventure with God! HE IS PRESENT AND IS READY TO SPEAK AS WE CHOOSE TO LISTEN AND FOLLOW. 

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

1 Chronicles 28:1-29:30 / Romans 5:1-21 / Psalm 15:1-5 / Proverbs 19:18-19

Standout Verse:

Proverbs 19:18

“Chasten your son while there is still hope and do not set your heart on his destruction.”

Anyone who is a parent knows it is a weighty job that comes with all kinds of challenges that seem to keep coming!  The great news is God has given us all the instruction we need to do our job well right in His Word!  This little verse is packed with so much truth…

“While there is still hope” refers to when a child is young – from the earliest age possible when the basic foundation of who they are, and are becoming, is being set – that’s when children are the most teachable and “shapeable”.  Parenting challenges increase as children grow older and attitudes and behaviors are more practiced and have had time to “set in”.  The earliest years are critical time that we as parents need to BE FULLY FOCUSED!  The responsibility of nurturing our children, shaping them, teaching them, and helping them become the people God created them to be rests on our shoulders!

Is it a tiring season? Yes.  Is it overwhelming at times?  Definitely.  But the truth is this: WE CAN’T GIVE UP OR LET UP.  WE CAN’T TURN OUR JOB OVER TO OTHER PEOPLE OR THE TV SCREEN IF WE WANT TO DO THE JOB GOD HAS GIVEN US WITH EXCELLENCE – excellence our children desperately need so they can be strong, healthy and equipped to navigate this crazy world as they move into each new season of their lives.

AS WE CHOOSE TO SEEK OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AND LEAN ON HIM AND HIS WORD HE PROMISES TO LEAD US, STRENGTHEN US AND “TEACH US HOW TO TEACH” OUR CHILDREN!  That’s unbelievably GREAT NEWS!  He wants to blow our minds and give us strategies and ideas we could never know on our own!  IF WE TAKE HIM UP ON WHAT HE OFFERS, OUR “EMPTY TANKS” WILL BE FILLED, REVIVED AND INVIGORATED SO WE WILL BE ABLE TO FULLY and EAGERLY EMBRACE THE JOB SET BEFORE US!

BTW…The amazing news is our God is a God of HOPE.  It’s never too late – there is always HOPE set before those who love Him.  No matter where we find ourselves in our parenting season, God promises the same things to us.  He always offers His SUPERNATURAL STRENGTH, AND HIS INCREDIBLE STRATEGIES for EVERY AGE AND STAGE WE ARE IN!

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July 18th deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

1 Chronicles 26:12-27:34 / Romans 4:13-4:25 / Psalm 14:1-7 / Proverbs 19:17

Standout verse:

Romans 4:17-20“…(as it is written, “I have made you (Abraham) a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him who he believed – God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”  And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body already dead (since he was about 100 years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.  He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith giving glory to God.”

Romans celebrates the great faith of Abraham.  God promised Abraham and Sarah that they would have a child and, from that child, a mighty, numerous nation would come.  This promise required a great deal of faith due to the fact that it was physically impossible due to their ages 100 and Sarah was 90, and, up to that point, she’d been unable to have children.  By making this promise to them, He was setting the “scene” in order to demonstrate His ability to defy logic and override any kind of human limitations.

When God spoke His promises to Abraham, he simply believed.  He could clearly see the fact that God’s promise was physically impossible (in human terms).  Yet, he knew that if God said it, it would be. He waited with expectation to see how/when God would move.

Sometimes we find ourselves waiting on God’s promises over our lives that never seem to come (Remember God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah re: having a child took 10 years to be fulfilled) OR the circumstances surrounding the promise seem completely impossible by human sight/logic. 

If we find ourselves in this place we need to ask ourselves these questions:

Am I walking in FAITH and OBEDIENCE?  Is there anything I’m involved in that is blocking me from hearing Him clearly? (secret sin, participation in things that are causing “mixture” and confusion in my heart/mind) Am I chasing after the Lord and walking closely with Him, listening to the things He is telling me?

We can use those questions as a personal “checkpoint”.  It’s great to take spiritual inventory and honestly access at where our hearts are.  If we need to confront things and make changes to our side of our relationship with the Lord, LET’S DO IT! 

Then, rather than losing hope, WE MUST CHOSE TO TRUST HIM AND WAIT WITH EXPECTATION and watch as the Lord brings His promises to pass in our lives (sometimes little by little, sometimes all at once!).

God loves to confound those who are “wise in their own eyes” and blow our little human minds!  HE LOVES TO TAKE WHAT LOOKS IMPOSSIBLE AND SHOW US THAT WITH HIM, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!!!  

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