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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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July 17th deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

1 Chronicles 24:1-26:11 / Romans 4:1-12 / Psalm 13:1-6 / Proverbs 19:15-16

Standout Verse:

Proverbs 19:16

“He who keeps the commandments keeps his soul.  But he who is careless in his ways will die.”

Obedience is a big deal.  Not for the sake of “rule keeping” or “staying on “God’s good side” – it’s ESSENTIAL for our own growth, peace and ability to hear God’s voice.

As we walk in obedience our ears become more tuned into what God is saying and the things He is leading us into. THERE IS GREAT SAFETY IN WALKING WITHIN THE PARAMETERS OF HIS DESIGNS FOR OUR LIVES.  His peace that surpasses all understanding not only fills us, it becomes a normal feeling. God’s best for us is what we should desire because it leads to LIFE!

If we become careless in our walk with the Lord allowing small, seemingly “harmless” areas of disobedience, we will find our selves not walking in peace, and not being sure footed.  “Safety” is replaced by directionless uncertainty and His LIFE in us becomes compromised and snuffed out as we become “dulled” to those things that separate us from God’s best for us. 

Any area of disobedience in our lives must be dealt with swiftly and decisively. The Lord always provides a way of escape from sin and will show us His path if we are willing to see it and obey.

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July 16th deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

1 Chronicles 22:1-23:32 / Romans 3:9-31 / Psalm 12:1-8 / Proverbs 19:13-14

Standout verse:

Psalm 12:6“The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”The Bible (God’s word) is UNCHANGING, COMPLETELY TRUE and UTTERLY INFALLIBLE.  In it we learn about the character of our God, His truth, promises, faithfulness, mercy, love for His people, His heart for restoration, His hand of provision, etc…

One particularly mysterious and awesome aspect of the Bible is that, though all the events are historical, IT’S FULLY AND COMPLETELY RELEVANT TODAY – it’s LIVING and ACTIVE, sharper than any two-edged sword. It contains unchangeable, truth and is Holy Spirit inspired; specifically written about each one of our lives - no other book can claim such truth!

The power of God’s Word (the Bible) coupled with His “words” (the things He speaks to us and shows us as we avail our heart and minds to Him and the things He wants to show us) is a LIFE-CHANGING, LIFE-GIVING COMBINATION that will change us, every relationship we have, and the course of our history in the most amazing ways we could ever hope or dream of! Let’s dive in! 

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July 15th deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:

1 Chronicles 19:1-21:30 / Romans 2:25-3:8 / Psalm 11:1-7 / Proverbs 19:10-12

Standout Verse:

Psalm 11:2-3

“For look, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow on the string that they may shoot secretly at the upright at heart.  If the foundations are destroyed what can the righteous do?”

The enemy’s full time job is to lie and deceive us.  Sometimes he is overt, other times he is subtle.  Either way, he strives to shoot his “arrows” to weaken and destroy us.  This is why building and guarding our “foundations” (our beliefs, our marriages, our families and our children’s foundations) is so vitally important.  We live in a day and age that can easily overwhelm us if we allow it.  We MUST be on RED ALERT – AWARE, SHARP AND EDUCATED IF WE WANT THOSE VITAL AREAS OF OUR LIVES TO BE SAFE AND STRONG.  We MUST pay attention to the state of our foundations and the materials we are using to build them, staying far away from utilizing anything that would represent “mixture” – it’s through mixture that the enemy secretly fires his arrows to weaken, compromise and destroy what should be solid and steadfast.

In the book of Nehemiah it talks about how Nehemiah and the people re-built the city wall with a tool in one hand and a weapon in the other.  They knew the job they had before them, and knew they needed to build a strong wall that would surround and protect them from any enemy attack.  But, they also realized and acknowledged that they had to stay on guard at all times, alert and aware of the enemy’s secret sneak attacks. 

We don’t need to fear or allow ourselves to get overwhelmed.  OUR HEAVENLY FATHER PROMISES FULLY TO EQUIP US, BY THE POWER OF HIS HOLY SPIRIT, TO BUILD SOLID, UNSHAKEABLE FOUNDATIONS IN OUR OWN LIVES AND THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN. We must remember and stand on this truth: GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN US THAN HE WHO IS IN THE WORLD!

FRONT-END FIGHTING AND CAREFUL BUILDING (WITH TOP-QUALITY MATERIALS) WILL SAVE US FROM BACK-END PAIN AND EMERGENCY REPAIR WORK.

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