Would You Past This Test? –1 Chronicles 29:25

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Psalm 83; 1 Chronicles 29:23-25; 2 Chronicles 1:1; 1 Kings 2: 13 through 3:4; 2 Chronicles 1: 2-6; 1 Kings 3: 5-15; 2 Chronicles 1:7-13

What if you were more successful than any person before you?

How would you handle the test of success?

In today’s scripture, a story begins to unfold that shows us how one man handled success.  It will take a few days of reading to find out if he passed his test, but there’s plenty to learn from his first date with success!

And the Lord exalted Solomon in the sight of all Israel, and he gave Solomon greater royal splendor than any king in Israel before him.   –1 Chronicles 29:25

Solomon was very young when he became king.  Scholars can’t seem to agree on his age; I saw everything from eight to twenty years old—let’s just say he was a “very young”  king of Israel.  At this young age Solomon had three important things going for him:

  • Solomon had a great example to follow, his father king David
  • Solomon loved the Lord and followed all the decrees of his father, David… –1 Kings 3:3
  • He saw the importance of teaching his leaders to consult the Lord.   — 2 Chronicles 1:2-3

Everything seemed to be going well for Solomon and then things went from good to great!

God appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “What do you want?  Ask, and I will give it to you!” –1 Kings 3:5

Okay folks, Solomon was twenty; think about the average twenty-year old of today, what would he ask for?

Probably not what Solomon asked for—

  • An understanding heart
  • To know the difference between right and wrong

The Lord was pleased and granted him his request.  God also gave Solomon what he did not ask for—riches and fame!

From what we’ve read, it seems that Solomon saw his success as a responsibility to lead well, not a license to rule over others.

I’d say that so far Solomon is handing success pretty well.

I am reminded of another person who was shown his future through a dream—Joseph. **See January 14th post, “When Our Dreams are Shattered”

Joseph didn’t do as well as Solomon; as soon as he woke up from his dream he immediately told his father and brothers that they would be bowing down to him.   I guess it’s safe to say that Joseph wouldn’t have asked for wisdom if he’d been in Solomon’s position.  I guess that’s why Joseph had 13 years of “pride removal” in a jail cell.

If your future was as bright as Solomon’s or Joseph’s, would God be able to use you immediately like Solomon, because you knew where you wisdom came from, or would you have gone to prison with Joseph for pride removal?

Lord, I believe you have a special success plan for each of us.  Help us to seek You and the tools that Solomon desired–an understanding heart and the wisdom to know what’s right and wrong, so that we will be ready to handle the success You have for us.

In Jesus Name!  Amen and Amen.

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  1 Kings 3: 16-28; 1 Kings 5: 1-18; 2 chronicles 2: 1-18; 1 Kings 6: 1-13; 2 Chronicles 3: 1-14; 1 Kings 6: 14-38

 

 
 
 
 

How to Get Your Prayers Answered—Psalm 79:9

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Psalms 79 through 82

Do you struggle in knowing how to pray?

Do you question the discipline of prayer when your prayers aren’t answered?

Then I would encourage you to read Psalm 79 out loud.

As you read this imagine Asaph as a mediator between the Israelites and God. His way of talking to God in this psalm reminds me of Moses.

Asaph gives God the gory details of everything that is going on in “His” (God’s) land.  It’s the same old story:  complaint, prayer, and promise to be good next time (Does this sound familiar?)

But in verse nine it takes an interesting turn.  Here’s the prayer we can learn from Asaph—

Help us, O God of our salvation!

Help us for the glory of your name.

Save us and forgive our sins

For the honor of Your Name.

Psalm 78:9

What could happen–

–if–

the only thing we cared about was making sure our life glorified and honored the name of Jesus?

I know Asaph wanted God to go in and kill their enemies, so his motive may not have been entirely pure, but there’s still a lesson for us to learn.

This life is not about our glory.

It’s not about our leaders’ glory.

It’s not about our country’s glory.

It’s about pointing EVERYTHING and EVERYONE to Jesus so that He receives the glory and the honor.

What if our prayers sounded something like this…

  • when we prayed for finances– we prayed for God to intervene so that He would receive glory and honor
  • when we prayed for a spouse– we prayed for God to divinely place us with the person in whom He could get the most glory
  • when we prayed for a career change– we believed God for His Glory and Honor to be noticed is His career choice for us
  • when we prayed for our healing –we first asked God what we needed to do to facilitate the healing process and then we asked him to intervene in our health in a way that would bring His Kingdom the most glory

Friends, make no mistake, I am not here yet!

But I want to be; I’m moving toward this goal by “Knowing Him More.”

The bottom line: 

If every prayer we prayed asked God to work the circumstances so that He received the glory and the honor, ALL of our prayers would be answered!

 

To God Be The Glory!

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Psalm 83; 1 Chronicles 29:23-25; 2 Chronicles 1:1; 1 Kings 2: 13 through 3:4; 2 Chronicles 1: 2-6; 1 Kings 3: 5-15; 2 Chronicles 1:7-13

One Thing That Makes God FURIOUS! — Psalm 78:21-22

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Psalms 75 through 78

When we set out on this journey in January our goal was to know God more.  We have learned so much about the nature of God. Just yesterday we found out God wants us to be thankful for what He does for us.  In today’s reading I found another clue to the nature of God—He gets angry when we do not believe Him or trust Him to take care of us.

 When the Lord heard them, he was furious.
The fire of his wrath burned against Jacob.
Yes, his anger rose against Israel,
for they did not believe God
or trust him to care for them
.

Psalm 78:21-22

 In Psalm 78, the psalmist Asaph recounts the journey of the Israelites through the wilderness.  He mentioned the disobedience, sin and rebellion that God had to put up with throughout that journey.

God saw the Israelites’ complaining as not believing Him and not trusting Him to take care of them…it really ticked Him off!

Why?

The best way to understand this is to think about the parent/child relationship.

What hurts a parent more than thinking their child doesn’t believe or trust them to take care of them?

Not much.

The difference between God and parents:

While parents may have the best of intentions sometimes we still miss it.

But God is, well God and He is perfect!

He ALWAYS has our best interest at heart.

Why don’t we ALWAYS trust our Heavenly Father to take care of us?

I think it’s doubt.  We may never say this or consciously think it, but sometimes we really wonder if He’s…really real.

We wonder if…

He REALLY has everything under control…all the time?

He REALLY has my best interest all the time?

Isn’t it interesting that the very reason we don’t always trust God to take care of us is the same reason the Israelites did not trust Him—

UNBELIEF–not believing God is who He says He is and that He will do what he says He will do!

Friends, this is why we have to continue this journey.  The more we know God and his nature the less we will doubt!

Lord, just like the father who brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus for healing in Mark 9:24, we say…

Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief! 

In Jesus Name.  Amen and Amen

 

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Psalms 79 through 82

I Don’t Need Your Cows! –Psalm 50:9

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Psalm 50, Psalms 73-74

Have you ever had a day when you were feeling “all that” and someone comes along and puts you in your place?

It happens to me quite often.  I remember a few years ago  when I was going to college and sitting in the head of the adult education department’s office talking about my “wealth” of experience as a 50 year-old and he proceeded to correct my pronunciation of the word “exegetical.”

—I felt pretty stupid!

I promise you being corrected by a professor was nothing compared to the living God of the universe tapping the Israelites on the shoulder through the Psalmist Asaph.

7 “O my people, listen as I speak.
Here are my charges against you, O Israel:
I am God, your God!
8 I have no complaint about your sacrifices
or the burnt offerings you constantly offer.
9 But I do not need the bulls from your barns
or the goats from your pens.
10 For all the animals of the forest are mine,
and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird on the mountains,
and all the animals of the field are mine.
12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for all the world is mine and everything in it.
13 Do I eat the meat of bulls?
Do I drink the blood of goats?
14 Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God,
and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
15 Then call on me when you are in trouble,
and I will rescue you,
and you will give me glory.”
 

–Psalm 50:7-15

Do you feel as small as I do?

The Lord doesn’t depend on my worship for survival. He instituted the sacrifices not because He needed the animals but because the people desperately needed Him.

The good news is we now know what pleases God!

THANKFULNESS

Once again, I see God as a parent.

Isn’t it wonderful when your kids are thankful?

There’s nothing like it; it makes you want to give them more.  I think our heavenly Father feels the same way.

He said, “If you’re thankful, then you can call on me when you are in trouble and I will rescue you and you will be more thankful! (My paraphrase)

He says this again in verse 23 of Psalm 50:

 But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.  If you keep to my path,

I will reveal to you the salvation of God.

After reading this Psalm is sounds pretty simple:

God wants his people to be thankful, to fulfill their vows, and to follow His ways.

And…

He wants us to call on Him when we’re in trouble and He will rescue us.

And, then…

He wants us to give Him the Glory.

 

Heavenly Father, help us, to have a thankful heart!  Holy Spirit, show us Your way!   Thank you for Jesus!

Amen and Amen!


©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Psalms 75 through 78

Do You Live in the Land of Forgetfulness? –Psalm 88:10-12

Today’s Scripture Reading: Psalms 144-145; 88-89

Are your wonderful deeds of any use to the dead?

Do the dead rise up and praise you?

Can those in the grave declare your unfailing love?

Can they proclaim your faithfulness in the place of destruction?

Can the darkness speak of your wonderful deeds?

Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about your righteousness?

 –Psalm 88:10-12

God’s blessings are useless to the dead and those who can’t remember them.

Can I go as far to say that in the context of these verses ‘not’ remembering God’s blessings is the same as being dead?

I hate it when I forget something.  Unfortunately, things like brain overload, stress, aging, etc. can cause us to be forgetful.

I wonder if God says in an understanding way, “They are just so busy; they forgot.”

They forgot…

  • Who provided the job
  • Who provided the nice salary
  • Who blessed them with a spouse and kids
  • Where their talents and gifts came from
Just last night I had two friends sharing in amazement the great things God is doing in their lives.  I said to both of them, “Write it down, or you will forget.”  I know that journaling isn’t for everyone, but you don’t want to forget what God has done and you don’t want to forget how you felt when He did it!

 

How do you think God feels about our forgetfulness?

Heavenly Father, help me not to live in the land of forgetfulness.  If I begin showing signs of  going there, get my attention.  I don’t want to forget all that you have done for me!  Jesus, thank you for the cross.

In Your Name I pray.  Amen and Amen!

 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Psalms 50; Psalms 73-74

9 Things to Do When You Feel Hopeless–Psalm 143

Today’s Scripture Reading: Psalms 131, 133; Psalms 138-141, 143

Come quickly, Lord, and answer me, for my depression deepensDon’t turn away from me, or I will die. —Psalms 143:7

Have you ever been in this place?

King David, “The man after God’s own heart,” who wrote these words knew about depression.  He probably didn’t call it depression. Depression is a term that has become a household word only in the last 40-50 years, but he certainly mentioned one of the common characteristics of depression–hopelessness:

What do you do when you’ve lost all hope?

God allowed David to go through times of depression and hopelessness. He also  had David journal these times in the Psalms so that you and I can make it through our times of hopelessness.

If you are severely depressed by all means seek medical help, but for many of us following David’s example could be the missing piece in our pursuit of hope.

Here’s what David did:

1. Go to GodHear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my plea (Psalm 143:1).

2. Tell Him exactly how you feelMy enemy has chased me.  He has knocked me to the ground and forces me to lie in darkness like those in the grave.  I’m losing all hope; I’m paralyzed with fear (Psalms 143:3-4).

3. RememberI remember the days of old, I ponder all Your great works and think about what You have done (Psalms 143:5).

4. Spend time worshiping GodI lift my hands to You in prayer.  I thirst for You as parched land thirsts for rain (Psalms 143:9).

5. Update God on your ProgressCome quickly, Lord, and answer me, for my depressions deepens.  Don’t turn away from me, or I will die (Psalms 143:7).

6. Trust God for the outcomeLet me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting You (Psalms 143:8).

7. Ask for directionShow me where to walk, for I give myself to you (Psalms 143:8b).  May Your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing (Psalm 143:10b).

8. Be teachableTeach me to do Your will, for You are my God (Psalm 143:10).

9. Have the right motiveFor the glory of Your name, O Lord, preserve my life.  Because of Your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress (Psalms 143:11).

Heavenly Father, I pray for my friends who feel hopeless tonight. Pursue them. Come close.  Lord, help them to know that Your Word is their lifeline. Holy Spirit, speak to them. Give them hope.  Heal their sadness.  Replace it with Your joy.  Lord, do it for the Glory of Your Name.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!



©2013, Dianne Guthmuller
 
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Psalms 144-145; Psalm 88-89

What If–Psalm 124

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Psalm 103; Psalms 108 through 110; Psalms 122, 124

Do you ever play the “what-if” game?

What if I would have…

  • been born at a different time
  • lived in a different country
  • had a different set of parents
  • married a different person
  • been smarter, thinner, darker, lighter, etc…

King David played the what-if game too:

1 What if the Lord had not been on our side?
Let all Israel repeat:
2 What if the Lord had not been on our side
when people attacked us?
3 They would have swallowed us alive
in their burning anger.
4 The waters would have engulfed us;
a torrent would have overwhelmed us.
5 Yes, the raging waters of their fury
would have overwhelmed our very lives.

6 Praise the Lord,
who did not let their teeth tear us apart!
7 We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap.
The trap is broken, and we are free!
8 Our help is from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth
.

          Psalm 124

I can just see King David looking out over Jerusalem at sunset, rubbing his chin and saying these words and then pausing for a long time to think about what it would be like and then saying the words again.

What if the Lord had not been on your side?

Where would you be?

I’m serious when I say this, if the Lord had not been on my side I believe I would be in a psych hospital or dead.  I’m not trying to be a drama queen, but I cannot put into words the peace that Jesus Christ has brought into my life…peace in the midst of life’s storms.

I often wonder how people who don’t believe in Jesus cope with the day-to-day challenges of life.  Who do they turn to in the middle of the night when they’re scared to death?  Where do they go when life just doesn’t make sense?

These are tough times that we live in.  It’s really easy to ask questions like:

What if…

  • I lose my job
  • I lose my house
  • I get cancer
  • I lose my religious freedom

The list could go on and on—

As Christians we will always have a choice…

We can live in constant fear

Or we can say with David…

Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!

Amen and Amen!

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller
 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Psalms 131, 133; Psalms 138 through 141; Psalm 143

 

Who Do You Know That’s Crying for Help? –Psalm 69

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Psalm 68 through 70; Psalm 86; Psalm 101

Many years ago I had a dear friend who made a one night mistake that wound up taking her life.

For years I didn’t know what was wrong; finally about ten months before she died she told me—she had A.I.D.S.  I knew she had been very sick, but the naïve person that I am would have never suspected that dreaded disease.

A few days following that life-changing conversation the Holy Spirit prompted me to write prayers from the scriptures everyday for my friend and mail them to her.

Not long after I began the daily prayers I came across Psalm 69.  The Lord used this Psalm to show me the pain, sadness, shame, loneliness and desperation my friend was going through.

Save me, O God,
for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
2 Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;
I can’t find a foothold.
I am in deep water,
and the floods overwhelm me.
3 I am exhausted from crying for help;
my throat is parched.
My eyes are swollen with weeping,
waiting for my God to help me.
4 Those who hate me without cause
outnumber the hairs on my head.
Many enemies try to destroy me with lies,
demanding that I give back what I didn’t steal.

5 O God, you know how foolish I am;
my sins cannot be hidden from you.
6 Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me,
O Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated,
O God of Israel.
7 For I endure insults for your sake;
humiliation is written all over my face.
8 Even my own brothers pretend they don’t know me;
they treat me like a stranger.

9 Passion for your house has consumed me,
and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.
10 When I weep and fast,
they scoff at me.
11 When I dress in burlap to show sorrow,
they make fun of me.
12 I am the favorite topic of town gossip,
and all the drunks sing about me.

13 But I keep praying to you, Lord,
hoping this time you will show me favor.
In your unfailing love, O God,
answer my prayer with your sure salvation.
14 Rescue me from the mud;
don’t let me sink any deeper!
Save me from those who hate me,
and pull me from these deep waters.
15 Don’t let the floods overwhelm me,
or the deep waters swallow me,
or the pit of death devour me.

16 Answer my prayers, O Lord,
for your unfailing love is wonderful.
Take care of me,
for your mercy is so plentiful.
17 Don’t hide from your servant;
answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble!
18 Come and redeem me;
free me from my enemies.

19 You know of my shame, scorn, and disgrace.
You see all that my enemies are doing.
20 Their insults have broken my heart,
and I am in despair.
If only one person would show some pity;
if only one would turn and comfort me.
21 But instead, they give me poison[
a] for food;
they offer me sour wine for my thirst.

I am suffering and in pain.
Rescue me, O God, by your saving power.

30 Then I will praise God’s name with singing,
and I will honor him with thanksgiving.
31 For this will please the Lord more than sacrificing cattle,
more than presenting a bull with its horns and hooves.
32 The humble will see their God at work and be glad.
Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.
 33 For the Lord hears the cries of the needy;
he does not despise his imprisoned people.

Friends, someone you know is crying for help today!

No, my friend wasn’t healed of her sickness.

She went through tremendous physical and emotional suffering but at God’s perfect time she was rescued from it all; like David she praised God’s name with singing and honored Him with thanksgiving.  She told me of multiple “God moments” during her last days and wrote many beautiful songs that are still blessing others today.

There are many, many people suffering today and crying out for help.  You and I may be God’s answer to their prayers.  Yes, we feel helpless, but if we step out to help them God will make a way for us to know how they feel.

Thank you David for being obedient to God and opening up your heart to give us a glimpse your pain so that we may comfort others.

Lord, I pray that you will use us to help the hurting!  No, we can’t help everyone, but we can help someone.  Show us the “one”  Holy Spirit.   Help them to “Hold Fast, Help is on the Way.”  Use us Jesus, to be your hands to the hurting.

In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen!

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 “Hold Fast, Help is on the Way” by Mercy Me

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Psalm 103; Psalms 108 through 110; Psalms 122, 124

It’s Time to Worship—Psalm 66: 1-2

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Psalms 61 through 62; Psalm 64 through 67

When I read the Psalms I sometimes forget they were songs. Theses Psalms are equivalent to today’s top worship songs, such as Chris Tomlin’s, “How Great is Our God,” and Jennie Lee Riddle’s “Revelation Song.”  Whether you’re a charismatic worshiper or someone who enjoys the consistency and beauty of a more liturgical style of worship, today’s scripture is a call to worship the one, true, living God.

Shout joyful praise to God, all the earth!

Sing about the glory of his name!

Tell the world how glorious he is!    –Psalm 66: 1-2

As I read these two verses several times I noticed…

It doesn’t say shout, sing and tell—IF

  • You’ve had a good week, everyone’s healthy, and you had a great hair day
  • You’re a gifted shouter, singer, or teller
  • You’re feeling it
  • You’re at church

Jehovah God is worthy of our praise.  Just like the psalmist reminded the children of Israel of God’s faithfulness in Psalm 66:6; we need to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness to us.  What I find interesting is the psalmist sang about a miracle that had happened several generations earlier.  In our instant gratification society, we don’t spend enough time remembering.  I guess Jesus knew how we would be so he told us to observe the Lord’s Supper to remember what He did for us on Calvary.

When the psalmist penned these words Jesus had not came to the earth, died on the cross, and rose from the dead.  For those of us who have asked Jesus to come into our hearts and be our Savior and Lord we have more than enough to shout, sing and tell.

Today, let’s shout and proclaim Jesus as our Lord; sing to the top of our lungs of His greatness, and tell the world about our Savior so that they may know Him more!

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Psalm 68-70; Psalm 86, Psalm 101

The More I Thought About It, The Hotter I Got! –Psalm 39: 1-4

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Psalms 39 through Psalms 41; Psalms 53, 55, 58

Do you talk to yourself?

If you said, “yes” you’re in good company.

King David did as well:

I said to myself, “I will watch what I do
and not sin in what I say.
I will hold my tongue
when the ungodly are around me.”
But as I stood there in silence—
not even speaking of good things—
the turmoil within me grew worse.
The more I thought about it,
the hotter I got,
igniting a fire of words:
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.    —
Psalm 39: 1-4

Friends, this is amazing to me, approximately three thousand years ago, “the man after God’s heart” struggled with holding his tongue, struggled with turmoil within and struggled with thinking, chewing, and dwelling on something so long that it ignited a fire of words.

This is very comforting to me.

I know– misery loves company…

I want to please the Lord, but I’m just so…ugh…human!

I do pretty well with the average people on the street, business associates, friends and acquaintances.  It’s the people I LOVE the most that get the worst of my tongue.  No, I’m not talking profanity; I’m talking about my opinion…

I can’t seem to NOT give it!

I’m trying to teach, train, help, and fix my family. My motive is love, but I’m sure it doesn’t always sound or feel like love!!!

I will say that I’ve gotten better over the years, but it is still a struggle for me.  The tongue has been one area the Holy Spirit has worked on me throughout my life.  I remember when I was a young mom, sitting in the nursery and “chatting” with other moms.  I would go home and feel convicted over gossiping.

At the young age of 22 the Lord pointed me to Philippians 4:8…

 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.        

I literally began asking myself after a phone or in-person conversation:

Was that true, was it honorable, right and pure, lovely, and admirable?

Most times I would have to repent, but I slowly began to learn what I was supposed to think and talk about.  Believe me I’m not perfect, but I’m a whole lot better than I used to be.

After reading verse 4 of David’s prayer I think I have a new question to ask when I’m tempted to try to fix my family.

Does this thing that bugs me have anything to do with eternity?”

If the answer is “No” with the help of the Lord I’m going to let it go!

I join King David in this prayer:

Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.

Remind me that my days are numbered— 

how fleeting my life is.

In Jesus Name Amen!

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Psalms 61 through Psalms 62; Psalms 64 through 67

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