God’s Abundant Supply (June 22)

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June 22
God’s Abundant Supply

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 136:23-26 | 2 Kings 3:1-4:17 | Acts 14:8-28 | Proverbs 17:22

Today’s Scripture Focus: 2 Kings 3:1 -4:17

Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. [4] Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” (2 Kings 4:3-4 NIV)

The widow found herself in a desperate place. Unable to pay her debts, her children were about to be taken into slavery. God saw the need and sent his prophet Elisha. God intended to work in such a way that His power and provision would magnify his goodness (as he so often does).

Elisha told her to gather jars from her neighbors—as many as she could. Then she began to pour the little bit of oil she had left into the jars. God began to multiply the oil and it continued to pour until she had filled all the jars she could gather. Then she was able to sell the oil and pay off the debt and have some left over to live on.

Elisha’s word to the woman demanded two things: obedience to God and expectant faith. As she obeyed the word of the Lord (gathering jars) and as she acted in expectant faith (pouring the oil in the jars), God provided.

God sees your need. He is more than able to meet it. His ability to provide is unlimited. Walk in obedience to God’s leading step by step, expecting his provision.

God, My Provider, I look to you to fill the empty jars I’ve gathered. I stand in need of your provision today and everyday. I am watching and waiting for you. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Bumps in the Road (June 21)

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Quote from Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

June 21
Bumps in the Road

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 136:10-22 | 2 Kings 1:1-2:25 | Acts 13:42-14:7 | Proverbs 17:19-21

Today’s Scripture Focus: Acts 13:42-14:7

“Some of the Jews convinced the most respected women and leading men of the town that their precious way of life was about to be destroyed. Alarmed, they turned on Paul and Barnabas and forced them to leave. Paul and Barnabas shrugged their shoulders and went on to the next town, Iconium, brimming with joy and the Holy Spirit, two happy disciples” (Acts 13:50-52 The Message).

The narrow road of life in Christ can be a bumpy road sometimes. But even then, we can find joy in Christ.

Paul and Barnabas got a mixed reaction as they preached. The crowds showed up, but so did the persecution. Jealous religious leaders stirred up the crowds against Paul and Barnabas.

Gentiles seemed to be the ones most responsive to the good news, clarifying Paul’s primary calling of taking the message to the Gentiles. “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth” (Acts 13:47, ESV).

But things got rough. Jewish leaders incited riots and persecution. Eventually all they could do was shake the dust off their feet and move on to the next city.

But the mixed reaction, the opposition, and even the persecution could not steal their joy. The gladness found in our relationship with Christ and bubbling up from within by the Holy Spirit can not be taken away by mere circumstances. They went on their way “brimming with joy and the Holy Spirit.”

The road can get bumpy sometimes, but Jesus is always there with you. Depend on him to bring you joy by the Holy Spirit. Depend on him to give you strength to press on in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, as we journey this bumpy road fill us with the joy of the Holy Spirit. When we are received well by others, let us rejoice. When we are rejected give us the strength to shake off the dust and move on. In it all, may we brim with joy in the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Inquire of the LORD (June 20)

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June 20
Inquire of the Lord

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 136:1-9 | 1 Kings 22:1-53 | Acts 13:16-41 | Proverbs 17:17-18

Today’s Scripture Focus: 1 Kings 22

“Will you go with me to fight against Ramoth Gilead?” Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses. But Jehoshaphat also said to the King of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the LORD” (1 Kings 22:4-5 TNIV).

Ahab and Jehoshaphat were ready to join forces to recapture Ramoth Gilead. Jehoshaphat made one wise request before pledging full support, Let’s seek the counsel of the LORD. He knew that to make a decision with out inquiring of the LORD was to make a decision too quickly.

The LORD’s wisdom includes information about the seen and the unseen. We see only part of the picture. God knows what will happen. He knows the hidden purposes he will accomplish. His ways are higher than ours—but he has promised to reveal his wisdom if we ask for it.

The LORD’s wisdom is not always what we want to hear, either. Ahab was hesitant to call on the prophet Micaiah since he always prophesied what Ahab didn’t want to hear. We sometimes surround ourselves with counselors who will only tell us what we want to hear. But there is wisdom in seeking the LORD’s counsel from one who has the integrity to tell us the truth—even when the truth hurts.

The messenger sought out Micaiah and asked him to speak the same words as the other prophets. His response was filled with wisdom, “As surely as the LORD lives, I can tell him only what the LORD tells me.” To speak in any other way is to become a false prophet.

Seek the LORD and his counsel. When he speaks, listen, even if it is not what you want to hear.

When you are asked for counsel, seek the LORD and his wisdom first. Do not presume to know his will without seeking his counsel. Do not just tell people what they want to hear. Hear from the LORD and speak the truth even when it isn’t popular.

Lord, fill me with wisdom and understanding. Surround me with people who hear from you and speak truth. Help me to listen even when the truth is not easy to hear. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Becoming Like the One You Worship (June 19)

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June 19
Becoming Like the One You Worship

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 135:15-21 | 1 Kings 20:1-21:29 | Acts 12:24-13:15| Proverbs 17:16

Today’s Scripture Focus: Psalm 135

The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. (Psalm 135:15-18)

The Psalmist suggests that we become like the one we worship. The idols of the nations were sometimes beautifully crafted in precious metals, but they remained the lifeless works of human hands: having mouths but not able to speak; having ears but being unable to hear; having mouths but being unable to breathe. They were often beautiful, but always lifeless.

He is suggesting that these gods made by human hands have no life in themselves. They don’t bring any life to those who make them. They don’t bring any life to those who trust in them. In fact they leave their worshipers just as lifeless as they are.

Few in the western world worship such idols. We are more sophisticated (or so we think). I believe it was Calvin that called our hearts an “idol making factory”—on that point I would firmly agree. The gods we dream up—greed, materialism, hedonism and the like—have neither eyes nor ears. They are just as lifeless—and bring us no more life than the more traditional idols. As we trust in them, we become more like them.

There is another alternative, of course. We can worship and serve Jesus Christ. To trust in him, to worship, is to become more and more like him. The one who trust him finds life abundant and eternal.

Who do you trust?

Lord Jesus, I want to be like you. Uproot the idols of my heart and rule as Lord and King. I worship you! Transform me into your image. In your name I pray, Amen.

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Surprise (June 18)

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June 18
Surprise!

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 135:8-14 | 1 Kings 19:1-21 | Acts 12:1-23 | Proverbs 17:14-15

Today’s Scripture Focus: Acts 12

“Peter is standing at the door!””You’re out of your mind,” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel. “Meanwhile, Peter continued knocking. When they finally went out and opened the door, they were amazed (Acts 12:14b-16 NLT).

James had already been killed. Now Peter was in prison and a similar fate was expected. The church called a special prayer meeting.

They gathered and prayed at Mary’s house (mother of John Mark): “the church prayed very earnestly for him” (5).

Despite their earnest praying, they all stood completely amazed when Peter showed up at the door—Alive! Let’s be honest, we too are sometimes amazed when God answers our prayers.

Often we pray more out of desperation than in expectation. We pray more because we feel overwhelmed than because we are overflowing with hope. Their disappointment at the death of James, perhaps also weighed in—when we feel confused and overwhelmed by that which we do not understand it is sometimes hard to hold on to hope.

Still, whatever deficiency there may have been regarding their expectation, God did answer their prayer. An angel of the Lord awakened Peter. His chains fell off and he was led to safety. Peter went to tell the others.

He knocked on the door and the servant girl answered. She was so amazed and overjoyed that she left Peter at the door knocking while she told the news to the others. Despite their fervent praying, they couldn’t believe their ears.

Finally they had to see for themselves. Opening the door, they were completely amazed to find Peter without a scratch.

God answers prayer. Pray fervently and expectantly. And don’t be too surprised when the answer you are seeking comes knocking at the door.

Lord, help us to pray with expectation. May we never lose hope or give up. And when the answer comes knocking on our door, fill our hearts with gratitude and praise. In Jesus name, Amen.

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The God Who Answers (June 17)

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June 17
The God Who Answers

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 135:1-7 | 1 Kings 18:1-46 | Acts 11:1-30 | Proverbs 17:12-13

Today’s Scripture Focus: 1 Kings 18:1-46

“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” (1 Kings 18:21 TNIV)

“LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” (36-37 TNIV)

His bold faith brought him to a dangerous place. Elijah took on King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. He called them to reject Baal worship for the living God. He challenged them to a “duel” where the true God would answer by sending fire.

The prophets of Baal did everything they could to get their god’s attention. Louder, even louder, they cried. Then they took desperate measures, even cutting themselves to try to gain Baal’s attention. But there was only silence. “But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.” (29)

Elijah rebuilt the altar of the LORD. He placed the sacrifice on the altar and then to make it harder, he had them pour water–lots of water–on the sacrifice. Then he prayed.

This time, there was an answer. The living God showed himself to be a God who hears and answers prayer. He answered by fire, consuming the sacrifice.

We often find it convenient to worship other gods—often gods of our own making or imaginations. These gods bring us some pleasure or satisfaction, but in the end they cannot save—they bring no real hope. When we really need someone to be there, someone to answer, we are left with silence.

How good it is to know that there is a God we can always turn to, one who always listens. He is able to save us no matter where we find ourselves. It is time to stop wavering between false gods and the living God. It is time to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the one who loves us and hears and answers our prayers.

God, give us the faith of Elijah. Help us to stand bold and strong for you. May our prayers be as powerful and effective as Elijah’s. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Always Enough (June 16)

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June 16
Always Enough

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 134:1-3 | 1 Kings 15:25-17:24 | Acts 10:23b-48 | Proverbs 17:9-11

Today’s Scripture Focus: 1 Kings 15-25-17:24

“So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her son continued to eat from her supply of flour and oil for many days. For no matter how much they used, there was always enough left in the containers, just as the LORD had promised through Elijah” (1 King 17:15-16 NLT).

God has revealed himself in scripture as “The Lord our Provider.” The story of Elijah is a reminder of how God is able to provide in extraordinary ways.

At first God used ravens to feed Elijah. Each morning and evening they would bring meat and bread to Elijah. After a period of time, though, God used another method. This new method required an even greater measure of faith and obedience.

He was told to go to a widow in Zaraphath. God would provide for Elijah’s need through someone in need. Apparently God had already spoken to her about the situation. Still it was quite the test of faith for all involved.

She had only enough flour and oil to feed her son and herself. They were expecting it to be their last meal. Then Elijah comes expecting to be fed as well. The timing just didn’t seem right.

Elijah encouraged her that God would provide if she would feed him, in faith and obedience to God. So she took the step of faith. And of course, God supplied. He supplied again and again each day. The flour and oil containers refused to be depleted. There was always enough!

God is our provider. Follow his instructions carefully. Walk in obedience and faith. Trust him to provide. He is the God who makes sure there is always enough!

Father, you are my Lord, my Provider. Those who trust you lack no good thing. So we wait for your provision. We wait for you to provide for all our needs. Give us the faith to trust you to supply in both ordinary and extraordinary ways. In Jesus name, Amen.

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