Welcome 2014!

This is going to be an amazing year!  It’s such a fun thought to know that there are bunches of us who want to know God better and are waking up and beginning everyday meeting with Him.  It makes those blurry-eyed mornings a little more “doable” when you know you’re not the only one in the world who is going for it! 

The Daily Reading section is going to be used for notes about the daily readings. The purpose is to simply highlight the fact that God wants to speak to us every day.  He isn’t silent!  Sometimes we just need a little extra perspective to see the things He may want us to see.  Our hope is that these daily comments would provide encouragement, open your heart in a new way or simply just “add to” your own personal time with Him. Wewill have new entries each day that correspond with the daily reading schedule – so keep checking in! 

God bless,

Phil Joel

 

Daily Reading

Thursday
Dec182014

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

Habakkuk 1:1-3:19 / Revelation 9:1-21 / Psalm 137:1-9 / Proverbs 30:10

 

Standout Verse:

Habakkuk 3:19

“The Lord is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on high hills.”

Habakkuk found himself in a place of overwhelming lament and concern for the state of Judah’s idolatry, violence and injustice – much like we see in our own culture today.  Sometimes it seems like evil and godlessness flourishes to such a degree that our hope is cut off and we are certain to be overtaken by it’s dark shadow.  If we allow ourselves, we can easily walk in discouragement, despair and defeat.

However, like Habakkuk, we can choose to look beyond our present circumstances, and place our hope in our strong, steadfast, never-changing God.  Yes, we are living in dangerous days where sin is alive and well and evil is expanding.  But as Christians, we must REMEMBER that we serve the LIVING GOD!  No matter what we face, no matter what we encounter, God promises to be our Ever-Present Help, and our Defender.  He promises to make us wise beyond our circumstances and supernaturally equip us to navigate treacherous waters.  He will show us things we don’t know on our own (Jeremiah 33:3) and give us strategies to help us not merely survive, but THRIVE right here, right now.  Like the precision of a deer’s footsteps on high hills, we can safely negotiate the twists and turns this world presents as we allow the Lord to be our strength. 

Let’s take our EVER-FAITHFUL GOD up on His promises!  Greater is He that is in us than he who is in the world.  Let us be expectant, hope-filled and confident in His goodness!

Wednesday
Dec172014

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

Nahum 1:1-3:19 / Revelation 8:1-13 / Psalm 136:1-26 / Proverbs 30:7-9

 

Standout verse:

Proverbs 30:7-9

“Two things I request of You (deprive me not before I die): remove falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty or riches – feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, “who is the Lord?”  Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God.”

This Proverb has a very level-headed message.  First, Solomon (the writer of most of Proverbs) asks that God would remove falsehood and lies from him.  Solomon understood that he lived in a sinful world and that his best chance at combating lies and deception would be to have greater wisdom regarding his ability to discern right and wrong/good and evil.  He wanted to be quick to identify evil so he could flee from it. 

Second, he addresses the subject of finances.  Experience tells him to ask the Lord for neither poverty, nor riches.  While he didn’t want to have to live on the edge, continually struggling, he realized that having too much wealth and material possessions could cause him to feel self-sufficient and without the need to rely on God – Jehovah Jireh, his provider…a scary place to be. 

It’s unrealistic to ask God to remove falsehood, sin temptation and lies from us due to the fact that we live in a fallen, mixed up, messed up crazy world.  However we absolutely CAN ask Him to equip us, give us wisdom, and help us identify and navigate the evil we are sure to encounter.  We can become experts in foreseeing evil and keeping ourselves far from it!  Very cool truth!! 

And, regarding material wealth, our prayer should be something like this:

“Lord, You are good.  I know You love me and have GREAT plans for my life.  Whatever Your plan for me regarding money, material wealth may be, I don’t want to have to spend my mental energies continually struggling, but I also don’t want to have so much so that I forget my need for You, become self-sufficient, and grow apart from You…dangerous.  You made me, You know me, You are the creator of the adventure I was born to be on with You.  Give me just what I need regarding possessions.  Help me to steward and grow everything You give me, work with excellence and multiply my gifts.  Help me be truly content and grateful with whatever You choose to provide”.

Tuesday
Dec162014

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

Micah 5:1-7:20 / Revelation 7:1-17 / Psalm 135:1-21 / Proverbs 30:5-6

 

Standout verse: Micah 6:7-8
“Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgressions, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly before your God.”

God is not concerned with all the things we run around and “do” for Him. All the “churchianity”, “religiosity”, and charitable deeds in the world can never replace a true, authentic lifestyle of devotion and obedience to our God. Simply put, He wants us. He wants us to know Him, love Him, grow in our relationship with Him, spend time with Him everyday, listen to Him, go where He leads, let Him direct every area of our lives, etc…When we are walking humbly with our God and doing “justly” (those things that are good and right), all the “good stuff’ will begin to come out of us naturally…mercy, an authentic desire to love and serve others, etc.

Good deeds, actions and intentions without a true and growing relationship with God results in empty religion. However, an authentic, growing relationship and daily intimacy with the Lord results in a fruitful lifestyle of devotion, which seeks to love and serve those around us. 

1. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”: Our personal relationship with the Lord = first priority!
2. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”: Loving and serving others will flow from our personal relationship with the Lord.

Monday
Dec152014

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

Micah 1:1-4:13 / Revelation 6:1-17 / Psalm 134:1-3 / Proverbs 30:1-4

Standout Verse:

Micah 4:2,5

“Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob.  He will teach us His ways and we shall walk in His paths. (V.5) For all the people each walk in the name of his god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God. 

In the day and age in which we live, there is a line in the sand that is very clear. One side of the line represents living with God, the other side represents living without Him. The choice is ours: follow after the ways of the world OR walk with the Lord…pretty straightforward.

God is calling us to take a stand and CHOOSE LIFE WITH HIM, declaring that, “we will walk in the name of our God.”  Living “with Him in the center” of our hearts is a place of great safety, peace, growth and good fruit.

Sunday
Dec142014

December 14th deliberatePeople. post by Phil and Heather Joel + today's dP reading schedule:  

Jonah 1:1-4:11 / Revelation 5:1-14 / Psalm 133:1-3 / Proverbs 29:26-27

 

Standout Chapter – Jonah

Jonah felt that, because of the Ninevites sin and rebellion, they were not only undeserving of, but were far beyond God’s grace and forgiveness.  He wanted to see them pay the consequences of their sin and was resistant to extend to them God’s call to repentance. 

Though the Ninevites were in fact living in sin and rebellion, GOD’S HEART FOR THEM WAS RESTORATION.  When the people heard God’s message of conviction that Jonah reluctantly delivered, their hearts were quick to respond to their sin and they set about to fast, pray, humble themselves, turn away from their sin and toward God. 

The Ninevites are a great example of true confession, repentance and change unto a restored relationship with the Lord.  Jonah, on the other hand, is an example of “what not to do”.  Despite spending 3 days in the belly of a whale, he chose to continue on with disobedience, bitterness and self-preservation. The hardening of his heart, a judgmental spirit and lack of mercy toward others cheated him out of experiencing the freedom and blessing of true fellowship with his God.