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Tag Archives: 1 Kings

  • Every Doing Starts With a Step

    Posted on April 29, 2014 by Shelene Bryan

    Shelene Bryan

    "When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'" 1 Kings 19:13 (NIV)

    When I was about 13 years old, my family vacationed in the beautiful Hawaiian Islands with friends. We heard about a local waterfall with a smooth slide carved into the rocks. We were up for the adventure, so we went to check it out.

    The water slide looked spectacular. As we made our way to the top of the rocks that formed the slide, I noticed a handful of local kids jumping off of the adjacent towering cliffs into the water. Whew, that looked scary!

    After about an hour of fun on that wonderful natural slide (it's still the best water slide I've ever been on in my life), we started eyeing the cliffs and the local kids who were jumping. We looked at each other to see who would conjure up the guts to be the first mainlander to climb the cliff and jump.

    Seeing how I always wanted to beat the boys, I volunteered.

    I made my way up a path cut into the rock wall. As I stepped up to the edge of the cliff, where the overhang suspended me 30 feet above the water, I began to seriously appreciate how high I was. Basically I started to freak out.

    Tim, one of the younger boys in our group, joined me on the cliff. He said, "If you're not going to jump, move over and I'll jump. Are you chicken?"

    Before I could answer his challenge, a local man, who must have been watching me for five minutes as I contemplated jumping, said, "Just step off."

    "What?" I yelled.

    "Just step off," he repeated.

    "Yeah," Tim echoed. "Just step off."

    Just taking a step seemed easy. I took steps all day long. What was the big deal? It's just a step. With that, I moved to the edge, closed my eyes tight and simply took a small step forward. My body instantly plunged into space and I free fell with a scream of thrill all the way to the water. I came up out of the water feeling like a stunt girl on Hawaii Five-0.

    Are you standing on a "cliff," unable to jump? Are you feeling like God wants you to make a radical change, but you just can't? Some people are born jumpers. Others are more like I was: frozen on the edge of that cliff, unwilling to jump but willing to take a small step.

    Throughout history God has prodded His people with questions and suggestions to help us figure out what we are doing for Him. Kind of like that man's comment to me to step off the cliff.

    An example of this kind of question is asked of one of my favorite Bible characters: A prophet named Elijah. Elijah had a deep love of God. And in 1 Kings 19, God quietly called out to Elijah through a whisper in the midst of a series of riotous distractions.

    God asked a very simple question: "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

    The question was not for God's benefit and certainly not for His information. God already knew the answer before He whispered the question. God designed that question to help Elijah come to grips with what he was going to do.

    Nearly three millennia later, God asks the same question of me: "What are you doing here, Shelene?"

    His question asks me to consider where I am. It challenges me to see where I need to go. And then it prompts me to take my next step.

    I may not be a jumper, but I can take a step.

    Lord, help me recognize Your voice when You call. Help me recognize Your trustworthy character and trust that You have my best interests in mind. Burn into my heart the desire to do the tasks You want me to accomplish for You. Give me the strength and courage to take the first step toward what You want me to do. In His Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What insecurities are holding you back from taking a step toward the things God is calling you to?

    What small steps can you start taking this week?

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 37:23-24, "The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Shelene Bryan. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 1 Kings

  • Wise Process

    Posted on January 5, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king.
    He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”
    1 Kings 3:24-25

    A wise process protects. It protects life; it protects relationships; it protects resources; it protects commitments. The process, on the surface, may not seem smart, but time wins you over with its wisdom. It is tempting to bypass the process. After all, you know what needs to be done, or so you think. It is tempting to barrel ahead into activity because the need is so great and the time seems so short.

    But even if you are confident of the needed outcome, continue to trust the process. At the very least, it will involve others who need the process for understanding around requirements and support of a new role. For example, your work may require a new position to be filled. Will you fill this role with the first interested warm body or will there be a defined process for the protection of the company and the protection of the one being interviewed? The rule of three is normally a wise process to employ. Interview three legitimate and good candidates with the purpose of selecting one.

    During the process of interviewing, you may discover new issues related to what the job really requires. You may even rewrite the job description. Perhaps this process of employee selection needs to include four or five other interviewers. Their perspective and wisdom is invaluable, as you seek to discern the most qualified person for the position. These “people” processes need not be rushed so that everyone is protected from unwise decision-making. Opportunity evokes emotion. Process channels positive energy into better options.

    Jesus understood this. He spent a 30-year process of preparation before He embarked on a relatively short three years of ministry. In addition, He took his followers through a process of discipleship, teaching, and on-the-job training. His process with people was pregnant with questions, discovery, and hands-on experience. Ultimately, His process culminated in the cross and the Resurrection.

    Therefore, some processes require death before there can be life. The death of a vision may be needed before it can be realized. Hence we are all in a process. We are all learning along the way in preparation for God’s next assignment. Process grooms you for greatness. If you run ahead of the process, you may very well disqualify yourself from greatness. Therefore, it is wise to be patient in the process and enjoy its excursions. Your vision may be dormant at best, or even dead for now. Do not give up on its feasibility. This may be part of God’s bigger process. Process is His protection for your family. Without a prayerful process, you might over-commit to the neglect of those who need you the most.

    You can implement prayer immediately as your number one process component. Make Christ your process consultant. Default to “what does Jesus think?” before you ask Him to bless your “seat-of-the-pants” process. Prayer is your best process. Employ it well and employ it often. Allow prayer to define, initiate, and conclude the process. Prayer that seeks the wisdom of God and the wisdom of godly counselors is guaranteed a great process. Therefore, weave prayer throughout the process, and watch God work. Allow the Holy Spirit to drive the process. Hearts, minds, and spirits align around a prayerful process. You can’t beat a process interwoven with intercession and punctuated by prayer.

    Post/Tweet today: Jesus understood the process of preparation before He embarked on a relatively short three years of ministry. #wiseprocess

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Kings

  • High Places

    Posted on April 14, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the LORD.  Solomon showed his love for the LORD by walking according to the statutes of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.  1 Kings 3:2-3

     

    High places haunt, hurt, and hinder your relationship with God because they are direct competitors with Jesus. They are altars of worship from your past that you never completely destroyed or removed from your life. You are deceived when you  think they can coexist with Christ and not bring you harm. You tolerate them; even thinking your love for the Lord allows you to have this mistress, who in fact, derails you into not finishing well. The wisest man in the world, next to Jesus, learned this the hard way. Solomon thought he was smarter than God (not so wise), and went to the high place of degrading marriage. But it blew up in his face by debilitating his family. His high place of pride kept him from experiencing God’s best and from finishing well. No one is immune from sin’s insidious outcome.

     

    Your high place may be the propensity to drink too much; indeed, alcohol has become your altar of escape. Or you may be secretly serving the god of sex. The Internet with its streaming video or publications with their glossy photos have captured your affections in direct opposition to your devotion to Christ. Your high place may be the residue of salty language, eating too much, or exercise—either the lack of it or the obsession with it. High places are indiscriminate; they bring down celebrity Christians and everyday followers of Jesus. God’s remedy is to rid them from your life and destroy them before they destroy you. Paul described your need for and the ability to discard your old habits and put on new spiritual disciplines in Christ:

     

    “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

     

    Hunker down in your faith and ask heaven to help you obliterate the high places in your heart. Ask your spouse or a trusted friend to help you identify and define them. Then invite them to hold you accountable to a process of removing high places from your home and work. Your high place may be as obvious as anger or as discreet as undisciplined thinking. It may be necessary for you to add or uninstall software on your computer. The seriousness of its influence on your life may require a drastic step such as dumping your boyfriend or girlfriend or changing jobs. If it is the high place of money, ignore its allure by giving more away. Develop friendships that have nothing to do with finances, only an opportunity to grow a relationship without getting something in return.

     

    Above all else, go to the low place of increasing your dependence on God and decreasing your dependence on yourself. He must increase and you must decrease (John 3:30 KJV). Your path to heaven, absent of high places, leads you into a life that finishes well.

    Your worship is much higher than high places; it is Jesus and Jesus alone.

    Post/Tweet: Go to the low place of increasing your dependence on God and decreasing your dependence on yourself. #lowplace

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with 1 Kings

  • Where Faith Gets Awfully Messy

    Posted on January 24, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

    Last year I had emergency surgery on my ears. And while the pain went away, there is still a really loud, constant ringing in my left ear.

    Because of this ringing, I've had many sleepless nights. But one night in particular proved to be more than I thought I could handle. The screeching in my ear reached an all time high and not even medication helped. My throat tightened as frustration of this situation threatened to spill out in a million tears. I could feel myself slipping over a terrifying edge ... that edge where hopelessness steps into the moment and you feel too weak to resist it.

    I whispered, "I'm slipping God. I can't stand this another minute. Much less five more minutes. Or five more hours. Seriously God. I can't. I'm trying to be brave. I've begged for Your healing. And I truly believe You are healing me. But I'm freaking out. And I'm so sorry if 'freaking' is a bad word — I'm still on the fence about that one. But God, I feel myself falling and I can't figure out what to grab onto."

    This is where faith gets awfully messy, isn't it?

    Faith.

    Most days, I'm like a little kid on the swing going higher and higher without fear. I know the swing will hold me. I know the chains are secure. I'm bold. Assured. Confident.

    That night though, I was terrified of the swing. The chains felt more like unraveling threads with a screaming me dangling at the end. My faith felt small.

    But my faith was right in front of me. And when one falls, out of instinct they grab onto whatever is right in front of them.

    And I just want you to know that even small faith is completely able to hold you. It held me that night. Through the minutes and hours I didn't think I could press on.

    I started recounting all the ways God made sure my faith was front and center for this slip. I thought about the ways I'd seen His hand even in the previous days.

    Recounting His faithfulness secured the chains. Showed me I wasn't dangling by a thread out on my own.

    One of those ways was discovering my husband's sound machine is a gift. That crazy sound machine has aggravated the stink out of me for years. But when put on the rain setting, it helps soothe the screeching in my ear.

    Without having told my pastor about my ear, he sent me a text saying he was praying for me and God had put 1 Kings 18:41-46 on his heart.

    And what are those verses about?

    Rain. The sound of a heavy rain.

    A rain that happens in between two vastly different displays of faith in Elijah's life. One minute he's swinging with great faith so bold and secure he calls fire down from heaven.

    Then only a few verses later he's dangling by a thread as he runs and hides in a cave.

    The Lord comes to Elijah in a gentle whisper and shows him what to do at the end of that thread. "Go back the way you came." (1 Kings 19:15a NIV)

    God was saying, "Backtrack and remember all the places I've been faithful in your life. And know with assurance. And boldness. And confidence. I AM. I AM the same faithful God."

    So, I let these words slip into my soul. I turn up the sound of rain. I grab onto my faith right in front of me. And discover, I am held by the great I AM. I guess I just wanted to be that friend today who reminds you, no matter what you're going through — the same is true for you.

    Dear Lord, thank You for being so faithful, even when it feels like things are slipping away. Help me today as I let Your promises and truth sink deep into my heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you feel like things are slipping and you are out of control, Unglued, by Lysa TerKeurst, was written just for you.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What past trials has the Lord helped you through?

    It is so important that we remember God's faithfulness. It can carry us through those dark times in our lives. Write down three specific situations when the Lord has proven faithful even when you felt hopeless.

    Power Verse:
    1 Samuel 12:24, "But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Hebrews, 1 Kings, Faith

  • Hot For God

    Posted on December 31, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16

     

    Institutions of God can lose their intimacy for God. Like the marble floor of a stoic cathedral, the culture of a once vibrant ministry can become cold and hard. Indeed, Christ calls out His church to make a clear commitment to His commands and not waffle like a reluctant bride or groom at the altar. A community of faith fossilizes for a lack of faithfulness to the tenets of the truth. Lukewarm disciples are repulsive to the Lord. 

    Is your faith on fire or is it simmering under the influence of sin? There is no room for neutrality toward religion rooted in Christ. Are you for Him or against Him? Apathy is a vote against Him. Passivity to prayer and public worship is lukewarm leadership for your home. Thus, use the beginning of the new year to attend church with your family. Join a friend in a year long Bible reading plan and/or sign up for a mission to serve the poor.

    “This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side [Jesus’], you’re the enemy; if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse.” Luke 11:23, The Message

    The world wants us to make everyone happy, but how can we at the expense of disappointing our heavenly Father. Companions who cool our commitment to Christ are not wise to be around. It is our red hot heart of righteousness that needs to rub off on those unsure of their salvation. Our humility and compassionate care are like kerosene to another’s flickering flame of faith. Our combustible love explodes another’s faith in God.

    Therefore, come out of the closet with your commitment to Christ. Do not be ashamed of the gospel, but instead proclaim it. Because you have been given so much--you can give much! Be bold in your faith without being obnoxious. The cross of Christ carries its own offense without any added judgments. Look to your heavenly Father to fuel your faith and to the Holy Spirit to ignite it. Burn hot and bright for God’s son Jesus Christ!

    “Elijah went before the people and said, “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

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, create in me a hot heart for what is important to You.

    Related Readings: Joshua 24:15; Psalm 119:113; Matthew 6:24; Romans 12:11

    Post/Tweet today: There is no room for neutrality toward religion rooted in Christ. #bold

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Luke, Revelation, 1 Kings

  • Diligence Rules

    Posted on October 2, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor” (Proverbs 12:24).

     

    How hard do you work, or do you hardly work? God said to Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food” (Genesis 3:17, 19). And He explained to Moses, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20:9–10).

    Has our culture become accustomed to receiving good things without great effort? Who is entitled to influence without being industrious? Perhaps there is a dearth of diligence that has depressed people and economies. Laziness leads to the control of others, while honest labor is given opportunities and advancement. Do not despair in your diligence for you are set for success. Mind your business meticulously, and you will enjoy the business.

    “Now the man Jeroboam was a valiant warrior, and when Solomon saw that the young man was industrious, he appointed him over all the forced labor of the house of Joseph” (1 Kings 11:28 NASB).

    Indeed, intense industry leads to preferment. Your faithfulness to your work is not going unnoticed. Your diligence is a distinctive that separates you from the average or lazy laborer. Security comes with this level of service. Promotion follows performance that produces the right results the right way. Be an industrious example others seek to emulate.

    Lastly, the Lord blesses hands that are hard at work. He smiles when He sees your service exceeds expectations. You go the extra mile to make sure others are cared for as you would like to be treated. God knows, because of your thoroughness on the job and your integrity in its execution, you can be trusted with more.

    “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).

    Prayer: Lord, what task do You desire that I diligently complete before beginning another?

    Related Readings: 1 Kings 12:20; Proverbs 10:4; Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 4:15

    Post/Tweet: Promotion follows performance that produces the right results the right way. #diligence

    Get free eBook “Infusion” by inviting 5 friends to Wisdom Hunters http://bit.ly/PEbaBJ


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Proverbs, Genesis, 1 Timothy, Exodus, 1 Kings

  • A Place of Forgiveness

    Posted on October 1, 2012 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    " ... Keep your eyes open to this Temple night and day, this place of which you said, 'My name will be honored there,' and listen to the prayers that I pray at this place. Listen from your home in heaven and when you hear, forgive." 1 Kings 8:28-30 (MSG)

    Claire sat on the floor with a wad of tissues in her hand. Her husband had left her three days earlier for someone else.

    Sitting there crying, in her brokenness she sensed God whisper, "Pray for him."

    Fists clinched, she shook them at the ceiling. "It's too soon, God. If You love me, You won't ask this of me. You are focusing on the wrong person. He's the one who should be kneeling and asking for forgiveness."

    In 1 Kings 8, we find the story of God's temple being built, a temple where God's presence would dwell. It took seven years, a labor force of over 130,000 and King Solomon's leadership to complete the temple. It was built with cypress, olive wood and cedar, and inside the doors were overlaid in gold. When the temple was completed, Solomon stood in awe as God's presence filled it (verse 10), and he began to pray.

    He could have asked God for many things. That the temple be a place of power where his kingdom would shine. That his enemies, and those of his father, King David, would be slain. That the sinful man would walk through the doors and be condemned for his sins.

    Instead he asked that God's Name be honored in the temple, and the magnificent structure would be a place of forgiveness.

    Scripture declares that we are His temple. Three days after discovering her husband's secrets Claire hadn't eaten. She hadn't slept. Her temple was crumbling.

    By asking her to forgive so soon, God wasn't showing a lack of compassion over her pain or her husband's abandonment, but a sign that He knew her well. By asking her to forgive, God was asking for a place to move into the demolished areas of her life.

    Forgiving would allow Him to fill her with His presence, putting His Name there forever, no matter what her situation.

    Daily, Claire walked intentionally in her relationship with God, reading the Bible, talking honestly with Him, listening to worship music. This became her sanctuary as she went through the most challenging parts of an unwanted divorce. The more she nurtured her heart and His presence inside of her, the less room there was for sadness, grief, anger, and loss.

    And then the day came. She knelt on the carpet and she told God, "I forgive him," and she meant it.

    A deeper meaning to the word forgive is "to abide" or "to set free." Claire experienced both of these as she made room within her heart, mind and soul for God's presence and forgiveness to dwell.

    It's been nearly a year. She is still beginning each day with God and inviting Him to fill her up with Himself. Moments of joy now surprise her just as grief once did.

    Dear Lord, I knew instinctively that one day You would ask me to forgive, but today I understand why. You want to move in to the demolished areas of my life and let Your presence shine. Help me to begin to forgive with Your help. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    A Confident Heart by Renee Swope dives deep into the affects unforgiveness, heart-break and rejection that keep us from living fully in Christ. If you want to know how to let God's redeeming love heal your heart and usher you into a place of security and hope, click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How are you currently filling the empty places left by unfaithfulness or hurt?

    What do you feel God nudging you to do differently? List one way you can begin to intentionally walk into a deeper relationship with Christ, regardless of your situation.

    Power Verses:
    1 Corinthians 6:19-20a, "Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price." (NLT)

    © 2012 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Forgiveness, Suzie Eller, 1 Kings

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